Following a car accident, it is okay to feel overwhelmed. If you have sustained serious injuries, you should call 911 right away. Call a law enforcement agency, and wait for the police to arrive at the scene. Check if other drivers and passengers need assistance. Don’t let someone talk you out of calling the police. Also, if you feel okay, you need to exchange details with other drivers, including insurance information. In case there were witnesses to the accident, get their contacts, and more importantly, take as much photographic evidence as you can. Among other things, calling a reliable injury law firm would be a wise idea. Below is an overview of important laws related to car accidents in California.
The Statute of Limitations
There is limited time to file personal injury lawsuits after a car accident, if the other driver was negligent or at fault. The statute of limitations in California allows just two years to file such lawsuits, counting from the date of the accident. In case of wrongful death lawsuits, the deadline remains the same, but the clock starts counting from the date of death, which can be different from date of accident. If a government employee was responsible for the crash, you have 6 months to file a claim.
Understanding Pure Comparative Negligence
California is one of the states that follows the pure comparative negligence rule. If a driver was at fault to an extent and suffered injuries, they can still file for compensation, but their settlement will be reduced by their share of fault (in percentage). One can file a personal injury lawsuit, even when their share of fault is more than 50%. This is different than states that follow the modified comparative negligence rule.
Call An Attorney
Please note that you are required to file a crash report with California DMV within 10 days from the date of accident. This is a must if the accident resulted in death, injury, or property damage worth $1,000 or more. Call an attorney right from the accident scene, so that you don’t make a mistake related to the lawsuit. Your attorney will evaluate every aspect of the accident, do their share of investigation, and establish fault. The lawyer is also instrumental in determining the value of your claim and negotiating with the insurance company.
Most attorneys take up car accident claims on a contingency basis, which means you don’t have to pay the lawyer right away.