If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately three million individuals suffer non-fatal injuries on American freeways and surface streets each and every year. It’s important to understand that although you are likely feeling overwhelmed right now – and are eager to focus on your physical recovery instead of worrying about medical bills, insurance claims, and lawsuits – that you don’t have to navigate the aftermath of your car accident alone. Because car accidents occur with such alarming frequency, our firm has extensive experience advocating on behalf of the rights of auto collision victims. If you live in Riverside or a neighboring community, or perhaps you were simply traveling through Riverside county when your crash occurred, know that our knowledgeable and dedicated legal team is here to help you clarify your legal options and to seek justice and compensation on your behalf.
Experienced, Knowledgeable Legal Representation for All Car Crash Victims
Too often, car accident victims shy away from speaking with an attorney about their legal options because they’re anxious, overwhelmed, or have made assumptions about the potential strengths and weaknesses of their case. Here’s why you shouldn’t allow these understandable emotions and states of mind to keep you from seeking any compensation to which you may be entitled:
- If you’re anxious – You may worry that an attorney will judge you if the accident was partially your fault, if you were driving without insurance, if you were driving without a license, if you’re undocumented, or if you don’t know how you’re going to afford legal services. We offer free, risk-free, and confidential case evaluations to accident victims because we believe that anyone – regardless of personal circumstance – deserves to receive informed, personalized feedback about their legal options. We believe that you shouldn’t have anything to lose by exploring your legal options in the wake of a crash and we conduct our firm’s business accordingly.
- If you’re overwhelmed – You may understandably be focused on recovering from your injuries, getting back to work, processing the trauma of the accident, or even grieving a life lost in the crash. Our experienced legal team has worked with so many car crash victims that we understand how overwhelming the aftermath of an accident can be. Know that as soon as we learn critical information about your crash, we’ll take over the legal “heavy lifting” so that you can refocus your attention elsewhere. Even though being overwhelmed right now is normal and healthy, it’s important to act quickly to explore your options so that we can preserve evidence related to your case and begin protecting your rights as a crash victim. Also, the law only gives accident victims so long to file a personal injury claim before California’s statute of limitations related to car accidents will bar you from filing a new claim.
- If you’ve made assumptions about your case – You may be under the impression that your accident was totally your fault or “enough” of your fault that you aren’t entitled to compensation at this time. It’s important to allow us to complete a case evaluation before you dismiss the idea that you’re entitled to compensation, as you could be unaware of the ways in which others were responsible for your accident. Similarly, you may be under the impression that your accident is too “minor” to address in a legal manner. However, chances are significant that even if you aren’t in a position to file a personal injury claim, you’ll need to deal with insurance claims adjusters. Working with an experienced auto accident attorney will help to ensure that your claims aren’t affected by delays, devaluation, or unreasonable rejections.
What if I Was Partially At-Fault for My Accident?
Causation and fault matter in personal injury cases. If your accident was 100 percent your fault, you won’t be able to sue anyone else for the harm you have suffered because there is no one else who can be held legally responsible for your crash. However, you may still be entitled to compensation in the event that the accident was only partially your fault. Generally speaking, if the accident was “more” some other party’s fault than yours (whether that party is another motorist, a manufacturer of auto parts, a municipality in charge of maintaining the road you were driving on at the time of the crash, etc.) you can hold that party responsible for the harm they caused you.
Most of the time, when a driver is partially at-fault but another party is significantly more at-fault, the accident victim’s compensation rate is reduced based on the percentage of fault assigned to that victim. Say that you were driving down the freeway at the time of your accident. Your car crashed when you were adjusting your rearview mirror. Yes, you were distracted for an instant while completing a task that should have been completed before you began operating your vehicle. However, the other driver had significant amounts of sleeping medication in their system and was texting when the accident occurred. Your compensation award may be reduced a minor amount because you were technically distracted at the time of your crash. However, the other driver was far more responsible for the collision than you were and may be held accountable for that contribution to the harm you’ve suffered as a result.
If I’ve Been Injured in a Crash, What Steps Should I Take Now?
If you haven’t yet received medical attention for your injuries, do so now. Too often, accident victims hesitate to seek medical attention following a crash because they are concerned about the costs of medical care or they are under the impression that their injuries are “not that bad.” Nothing matters more than your health. Chances are high that your medical costs will be covered by insurance settlements and/or personal injury compensation – but even if they’re not – you need to get checked out right away. Your legal options won’t mean much if your health is suffering and has been unattended to.
If you’re scanning this page quickly while you’re at the crash site, take pictures and/or video if you can. Also, get the insurance information of anyone else involved in the crash and the contact information of both fellow crash victims and any witnesses to the collision. If you haven’t already called law enforcement to file an accident report, do so now. If you’re apprehensive about interacting with the police or the highway patrol, that’s okay. Give our firm a call before you call to file the accident report and we’ll find a way to get you the support you need, ideally before law enforcement arrives on the scene.
Once you’ve navigated the challenges at the scene and received proper medical attention, reach out to our firm if you haven’t already done so. Avoid speaking with insurance claims adjusters and other insurance company representatives before you’ve spoken with our Riverside car accident attorney team as your communications could unintentionally compromise the strength of your case. We’ll be happy to handle the insurance negotiations on your behalf.
Finally, as soon as you can, record any memories you have of the moments leading up to the crash, the collision itself, and its immediate aftermath. This will serve as a powerful reference tool in the event that your memory understandably starts to fade over time. Our team benefits from access to as many details as possible when we’re building a strong personal injury case on behalf of a client.
Do I Need an Attorney to Receive Crash-Related Compensation?
There are two primary opportunities that most accident victims have to obtain compensation related to their injuries, lost wages, and other costs associated with the harm they’ve suffered as a result of a motor vehicle collision. These opportunities involve seeking direct settlements with insurance companies and/or filing personal injury claims in civil court. You may or may not be interested in filing a personal injury claim against others involved in the accident. If you are interested in this option, you’ll want to work with an experienced attorney who understands the California Vehicle Code inside and out. Navigating the civil justice system is a complex undertaking under the best of circumstances. You will not want to attempt to sue any individual or other legal entity (a business, a city, etc.) without personalized guidance from an experienced Riverside County personal injury lawyer.
You may be tempted to handle the legal aftermath of your motor vehicle accident alone if you’re not suing anyone. After all, dealing with insurance companies is often stressful but you don’t need a lawyer to handle these negotiations on your behalf, right? Take care before you make this assumption. Unless your injuries are so minor that you won’t require any follow-up care or treatment and you sustained virtually no property damage in the crash, you’ll want to speak with an attorney before you answer or initiate any calls having to do with insurance matters. Generally speaking, private corporations have a fiduciary duty under the law to act in the best interests of their shareholders. As a result, they operate in ways that – whenever possible – protect their bottom line. This means that when an insurance claims adjuster evaluates your case, their loyalty isn’t to you, regardless of whether you’re a policyholder or someone else involved in the accident is a policyholder. As a result, if they can reject your claim, they will. If they can devalue your claim or otherwise minimize your compensation in ways they can justify, they will. Our firm has years of experience in successfully negotiating with insurance companies.
Please allow us to protect your right to a fairly valued insurance settlement that is paid out in a timely manner. Speaking with an insurance claims adjuster before you’ve spoken with our legal team may result in an unintentional undervaluing or rejection of your claim. We know how to build the strongest claim possible under the circumstances, whether your crash was a relatively straightforward occurrence or unusually complex. Let us handle the legal “heavy lifting” on your behalf so that you can turn your attention elsewhere, confident that we’ll do our very best to fight for your rights.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and haven’t yet scheduled an obligation-free, no-cost case evaluation with our firm, please do so now. Acting quickly will allow us to preserve evidence and assess your case in ways that will allow you to make whatever informed decision is best for you and your family at this time. California law protects the rights of accident victims in a myriad of ways. Allow our extensive knowledge of the law and of the insurance industry to benefit you and your family during this challenging time. We look forward to speaking with you.