California Car Accident Laws

Contact a Car Wreck Lawyer Newport Beach Today

nullYou are a good driver. The same cannot be said of everyone else you may encounter on the road. Some people are so inattentive and reckless they should not be allowed behind the wheel. If you have been hit and injured by such a person, you should hold them accountable. The best way to do so is to call a personal injury attorney Newport Beach.

Your Obligations After an Accident

It is perfectly natural to be distraught over a car accident. If it was an accident that could have been avoided, you are within your rights to feel angry. In a minor accident, you may still have to pay for repairs to your car. And if you suffered minor injuries, you will still have to pay for the visit to the hospital and deal with any income you lost.

Even if the other driver was at fault, there are certain things you must do to stay within the law and put yourself in a good position to successfully sue them—if you need to.
The first thing you must do is report the accident. California Vehicle Code section 20008 makes it incumbent upon any driver involved in an accident to report it within 24 hours. Your first instinct after such a crash will be to call 911. You should follow this instinct and wait for the police to show up. In most instances, the officer who responds to the accident will be able to take your statement at the scene. They will ask you questions about the accident and the answers you give will form the report that is eventually filed.

You should also report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days if:

  • People were injured
  • Someone was killed
  • The crash resulted in more than $1,000 worth of property damage

Dealing with the Insurance Company

You will also need to report the accident to your insurance company. Before you do so, you should consult an attorney in Newport Beach. This will ensure that you know your rights as a policyholder. Most insurance contracts require the policyholder to report the accident soon after it happens. Your policy may have a strict time frame so you should review it straightaway. If you do not report the accident within a certain amount of time, the insurer may have the right to deny your claim.

There can be a lot of auto commotion surrounding an accident. A lawyer will help you get the settlement money from your insurance company, or, from the insurance company of the other driver.

If You Are the Victim of a Serious Car Crash

A minor fender bender is one thing. A serious crash is another. In the event of the latter, you will need to be rushed to the hospital. You may have to undergo a series of extensive surgeries which may leave you weak and laid up for weeks or months. You will not be able to earn income and you will be left with large medical bills. Once you are released, it may not be possible for you to return to work for some time. And if the accident has permanently disabled you, it may be impossible for you to resume your livelihood.

A severe car accident can throw your life into chaos and confusion. However, you need not deal with the financial consequences of such a cataclysm on your own. A car crash lawyer can help you get the money you need to deal with your situation.

Understanding Your Case

As you regain your strength and presence of mind, you should set up a meeting with a car accident lawyer. Once you are fit to understand your situation and talk about it, you should sit and collaborate on a thorough legal plan.

Your car accident lawyer will want to establish the facts of the case. You will need to describe the facts and circumstances leading to the accident. The main thing they will try to determine is who was at fault for it. In the state of California, you can get compensation from the other driver even if you were to some degree at fault. However, your compensation will be reduced according to your degree of fault. If you were not at fault at all, they will help establish this fact.

Law firms have a network of support professionals to help them build a civil litigation case. Your attorney will bring in a private investigator team to gather the relevant evidence. The investigators will go to the scene of the crash and review any traffic camera footage of it. They will also track down witnesses and interview them. In some cases, witnesses are found who have captured the crash on their cell phone cameras. 

Your attorney will also employ the services of an accident reconstruction expert. These professionals can develop a computer simulation of the accident based on the debris, dents, tire marks and other evidence at the crash site.

The main aim of multi-car accident lawyers Newport Beach is to get their clients as much money as possible. To this end, the first thing your attorney will do is determine the value of your case. If you have been seriously injured, your attorney will review your medical records and speak to your doctor. They will bring in an independent expert to review your case and get them to make a statement. Your lawyer will also speak to your family to better understand how your injuries have affected them.

The lawsuit need not go to trial. If your lawyer has gathered enough evidence against the respondent, they may be able to pressure them into settling. With all that you have been through, the last thing you want to deal with is a long court battle. Your lawyer will try to avoid that if they can. They will instead negotiate a settlement that is fair and adequate, and that will allow you to pay your bills, recover lost income, and receive compensation for pain and suffering.