Automobile accidents, including cars, trucks, vans, and other motor vehicles, are leading causes of death in the United States. The latest data shows 19,051 traffic injuries in San Diego, 246 of which are fatal accidents. This is a concern for the residents of San Diego county. The increasing number of traffic collision reports by the San Diego police department also added to the growing anxiety of the residents.
What should you do after being involved in a car collision? This guide outlines how to file a case and find the best San Diego car accident attorney.
Understanding the law
A successful fatal car accident claim is pre-determined by your understanding of the law and the procedure for getting claims.
Remember that time is of the essence in any lawsuit. Like other states, California also imposes the statute of limitations, setting a reasonable time frame for the victims to file a personal injury claim. The same law dictates that one should pursue compensation for accident-related damages within two (2) years from the date of injury.
Failing to take legal action within this period will prevent victims from pursuing future claims. In any case, car accident victims should contact a law firm as soon as possible to assert their claims promptly.
Initiate insurance claims
Even if you’re undecided whether or not to pursue a case after suffering injuries, you can still file an insurance claim immediately. You must ask the at-fault driver if an insurance policy covers them. When you get an affirmative answer, you should get their insurance information, policy number, contact details, make and model of car, and the amount of insurance allocated for such an accident.
It is essential to discuss this immediately with your insurance agent. Insurance claims take a long period to process. While waiting, you can review, challenge, or deny the settlement amount. You should weigh if the insurance claim offered by the insurance company is enough to cover the costs for repairs, medical expenses, lost income due to your inability to work, and other damages suffered. If these expenditures are not fully covered, it is better to file a formal lawsuit.
In an automobile accident, the first question people will ask is who is the party at fault. In personal injury claims, the lawsuit’s success depends on proving the other party’s negligence for at least 50% of the injuries you sustained.
During the trial, your lawyer needs to get favorable answers. They can do this by asking these questions:
- Did the negligent person have a duty to keep you safe and secure?
- Did the other party violate his duty of care by acting negligently through their personal misconduct or inaction?
- Did the other party’s breach of duty directly result in your harm?
Aside from these, you must also counter the other party’s defense. The common defenses to claims of negligence are:
- The defendant has no duty of care towards the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff played a part in suffering their own injury through contributory or comparative negligence.
- The plaintiff assumed the risk of injury.
By proving the other party’s responsibility, you will be awarded the appropriate damages claim. You must also be wary of the other party’s defense of comparative or contributory negligence towards you. These may bar you from recovering damages.
Filing the claim
To get a brief overview of the accident, it is essential to draft a complaint with the help of a lawyer. In your complaint, review what happened in the accident, present damning evidence and testimonies from witnesses, and figure out the acceptable amount for compensation. In any case, make it a habit to document everything – from car repairs to medical appointments. This will ensure that you have sufficient evidence before filing a lawsuit.
It is always good to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. During the consultation, your attorney should be able to review your case, identify the types of injuries suffered, and determine if filing a suit is a good option. Pursuing a lawsuit as soon as possible will make it easier to claim the amount for settlement. This will answer for the damages you suffered.