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Steps To Take After A Car Accident – Car Accident Lawyer

Need a Car Accident Attorney? We Can Help! 

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our car accident attorneys have over 100 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases. We have handled more than 5,000 cases and recovered over $1 billion in settlements for our clients. As we continue to succeed with our objective of providing client satisfaction, we remain confident that we will deliver a good outcome for each client we represent. 

Our services are on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that if we do not win, you owe us nothing. If you are seeking the legal assistance of a car accident attorney, contact our 24/7 legal team today by calling (818) 982-8128 or completing our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Below, our knowledgeable car accident attorneys will go over car accidents in California and what steps you should consider taking after being involved in one. 

Car Accidents Explained by Our Expert Personal Injury Attorneys

California is known for its reputation of having bad drivers. According to Policygenius, in 2019, the state was ranked first with the highest number of fatal car accidents (3,606 deaths out of 3,316 accidents) in the United States. 

In 2020, California continued to have high rates of fatal traffic accidents and deaths. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the state had a total of 3,558 fatal traffic accidents and 3,847 deaths. About 59 percent were identified as single-vehicle accidents, while 41 percent were multi-vehicle accidents. 69 percent of these fatal accidents occurred in urban areas. 

Common factors that have contributed to the cause of these car accidents include distracted driving, drowsy driving, speeding, ignoring traffic laws, drunk driving, and drug-impaired driving. If a driver is found committing either unlawful action, they will face legal repercussions for any damages, injuries, or deaths. 

Victims of a car accident are given the right to file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. If the victim passed away from the car accident, the victim’s heir(s) will be qualified to pursue legal action. 

To better your chances of winning your personal injury claim (or wrongful death claim), you will be expected to gather evidence and documentation that will help prove negligence being the main cause of the car accident. The three elements of negligence include the following:

  • The defendant owed you (or your loved one) a duty of care;
  • The defendant breached their duty of care; and
  • The defendant’s unlawful actions resulted in your injuries (or the death of your loved one).

It can be difficult to obtain evidence while you are going through such a traumatic event. Although it is easier said than done, we encourage car accident victims to remain calm and focused. This will help you recollect your thoughts and take the initiative of performing important steps that will help benefit you in the long-run. 

Below, you will find a list of steps to take after a car accident. By following these steps, you may better your chances of obtaining a fair settlement offer that will help cover for any damages caused by the reckless driver.

6 Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident in 2022

  1. Contact the police and let them know that you are injured and in need of medical attention. Even if you decline the ambulance ride, law enforcement will still arrive to document the scene of the car accident.
  2. Exchange information with the other party involved in the car accident. Make sure to share each other’s driver’s license details, license plate numbers, contact information, and insurance information. 
  3. Gather evidence to strengthen your claim. This includes photographs or video footage of your injuries, damages, and the location of where the accident took place. You should also document your perspective of the accident in a diary or journal. Lastly, make sure to request a copy of the official police report and your medical records relating to the accident.
  4. Ask a witness for their consent to obtain their contact information. A witness testimony can greatly support your car accident claim. 
  5. Visit the doctor as soon as possible. Even if you do not feel harmed or injured after the car accident, it could be due to the shock or adrenaline rush. To stay on the safe ride, schedule a doctor’s appointment and have a medical expert examine your wound(s). Failing to do so will make it difficult for you to acquire fair compensation. Insurance companies will argue that you were not actually injured from the car accident since you did not seek medical attention right away.
  6. Contact a car accident attorney. It is best not to handle your claim on your own as you may come across many mistakes that can affect the outcome of your car accident claim. Your attorney will handle all of the hard work while you focus on your recovery. This includes strengthening your claim and negotiating with insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve.

Types of Damages Available in a Car Accident

Obtaining evidence that helps support your claim will better your chances of getting the compensation you deserve for your losses. Typically, in a car accident case, a victim will be granted compensatory damages, such as economic damages and non-economic damages, if they are successful in showing proof of the other party being at-fault for causing the car accident. 

Economic damages are calculated based on the amount of out-of-pocket losses the victim has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. Some examples of economic damages include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.

If the victim was killed in a car accident, the surviving family may be granted recoverable compensation for medical bills, hospital visits, funeral expenses, burial costs, and loss of financial support from the deceased victim.

Non-economic damages are intended to cover for losses that are considered as subjective and do not compensate for out-of-pocket losses. Examples of non-economic damages include emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. 

Although punitive damages are not part of compensatory damages, it is still possible to award it to a car accident victim. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and may only be granted if the victim is able to show proof that the defendant had displayed malicious or intentional acts of harmful behavior.

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