When it comes to car accidents – the leading cause of injuries in our country – laws and regulations regarding how to file a car accident claim vary greatly from one state to another.
Today, we asked our Los Angeles car accident attorney to spell out how the process of filing a car accident claim works in California, and in particular, in Los Angeles.
Fact: Los Angeles has one of the highest number of motor vehicle accident injuries and deaths in the county. Every year, more than 80,000 LA residents get injured in traffic collisions and between 700 and 800 LA residents die in fatal car crashes.
Talk to your insurer, but don’t be so quick
The first thing you should do after a car accident is notified your auto insurance company about the accident. However, contacting the insurer to start the claims process right away may minimize your compensation for injuries and damages.
While it’s advised to not delay filing a car accident claim in Los Angeles, do not forget that insurers in LA are not always on your side. In fact, you may run into several problems when filing your claim (and risking to receive a settlement that is less than you expected, or get denied altogether):
- Prove the damages or injuries for which you’re seeking compensation occurred as a result of the car accident in question;
- Provide a brief description of the motor vehicle accident in a way that would indicate you were not the at-fault driver;
- Request a settlement based on specific provisions in your current auto insurance policy;
- Give a recorded statement to the insurer with the understanding that it could later be used against you if your case ever goes to court;
- Assess the full value of your car accident claim to know how much you should be asking for;
- Either accept or turn down the initial settlement offer provided by your insurance company;
- Know what buttons to push to get the wheels turning on your case (insurers tend to be slow when it comes to reviewing, investigating and settling motor vehicle accident claims).
You won’t be able to complete all the above-mentioned steps properly and in your best interests without seeking the legal help of a Los Angeles car accident attorney. Always keep in mind that neither your insurance company nor the other motorist’s insurer is your friend.
It’s highly advised to speak to the best car accident attorneys in Los Angeles prior to contacting your insurance company in order to maximize the value of your claim and get compensation as soon as possible (without having to go through the exhausting, time-consuming and expensive court battle to resolve the case).
Get the other driver’s insurance information
After a car accident, you must also find out whether the at-fault driver is insured or not. While California laws require all motorists in the state to carry some type of auto insurance policy, you may still be dealing with an uninsured car driver.
In this case, you should be seeking compensation for your injuries and damages under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. Many insured drivers in California don’t realize this, but they can actually access payments under their own auto insurance policy to cover their injuries and damages.
Fill out required forms
When speaking to your insurance company, you will also have to fill out required forms and provide supporting documentation proving your injuries and damages (medical bills, car damage repair costs, etc.).
What types of damages can be recovered in a car accident claim
Damages stemming from a car accident claim always fall into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Compass Law Group P.C. can help you collect compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses (past and future medical bills)
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and lost capability
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Emotional distress
- Disability (or disfigurement)
Consult our best Los Angeles car accident lawyers here at Compass Law Group P.C. We know all the basics of filing a car accident claim like the back of your hands.
Moreover, we offer a free consultation and our attorney fees are affordable for the skilled legal representation that we offer. Contact our Los Angeles offices for a free case evaluation.