Automobile or auto accidents are major cause of injury and death in America today. Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities increased in 2012, after six consecutive years of declining fatalities on our nation’s highways. The nation lost 33,561 people in crashes on roadways during 2012, compared to 32,479 in 2011. The increase in crashes, and the resulting fatalities and injuries, can be seen across many crash characteristics—vehicle type, alcohol impairment, location of crash, etc.—and does not seem to be associated with any one particular issue. In California, that number increased by 1.5 percent in California, to 2,857 deaths, in addition to countless serious and life-changing injuries. Here in San Diego, our car accident lawyers know that trend holds true as well.
Many auto accidents are occurrences that could not be prevented and are nobody’s fault. However, many auto accidents are caused by the recklessness and negligence of others. When that happens, you need a good attorney who can ensure that you are compensated for your property and monetary losses, and for you pain, suffering, and other losses you may experience. No amount of money is ever sufficient compensation for a life that is lost or irrevocably changed as the result of a car crash; however, holding negligent drivers accountable for the misery they’ve caused and making them pay can help the injured get their life back on track, and in the case of a fatality, can help bring closure to a bereaved family. To accomplish this, you will need the services of an experienced California car accident attorney. We at the Lee Law Group are experienced in litigating auto accident cases and can fight to ensure that you are compensated when you suffer losses due to an auto accident.
If you are injured in an auto accident you may be entitled to receive compensation to pay medical bills, to replace lost earnings and for other expenses caused by the accident. In addition, you may be entitled to receive compensation for pain, suffering and emotional distress you may have experienced due to the auto accident.
If You Are in an Auto Accident What Do You Do Next?
The actions you take immediately after you have been in a car accident can make all the difference in the amount of money you’ll be able to recover for your injuries.
Do not engage in any discussion with the other driver or anyone else involved, other than to exchange information. Never apologize or make any statements. Drivers sometimes do this out of politeness, even if the accident was the other driver’s fault. Don’t discuss whether or not you’ve been injured, except to request an ambulance.
Even if you think you’re all right, you may discover over the next few days or even weeks that you’ve sustained injuries that were not apparent at first. It is extremely common to think you are uninjured right after a crash when in fact you have serious injuries. For example, herniated discs, complex regional pain syndrome, and some traumatic brain injuries may not show symptoms right away.
The Things You Should Do Immediately Upon Having an Auto
Accident, Unless You Are Injured and Unable to Do So.
(Note: If injured call 9-1-1 and wait on the ambulance. Also, ask the other driver to write down their name, address, driver’s license number, and name and contact information of their vehicle insurance company.) :
• Call the Police.
Always call the police and wait until they arrive. Never allow the other driver or someone in your vehicle to prevent you from doing so because they are afraid of the police or are in a hurry to get to their destination.
• Write down the names of drivers, and their plate numbers and insurance companies.
Be sure to obtain this information fully. If you are able, copy any pertinent information from the other driver’s license and insurance card.
• Write down any statement of the other driver and if able get them to say they were at fault.
This could be very important later if you are forced to litigate and the other driver’s story changes or claims that you are at fault for the accident.
• Get names and contact witnesses' information, if any.
This could be very important later if the other driver tries to avoid liability, or their or your memory fails.
• Photograph any cars involved in the accident if possible.
This is an important way to record your and, or the other driver’s vehicle damage.
• Go to a hospital emergency room, or your personal physician to be examined for any injuries and be sure to continue to be on the look-out for symptoms of injury. This is important to create a record of your exact injuries, when they developed, the cost associated with their treatment, and the degree of your pain and suffering from them.
• Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
This should be done as early as possible, the very next day if you are able, so that your attorney can begin working for you. We sincerely hope you call, email or write the Lee Law Group so we are the attorneys who protect your financial interest and your general well-being if you are in an auto accident.
• Refer all Contacts from Insurance Companies, including your own, to your attorney.
When the insurance adjuster calls, whether from your own insurance company or the company that insures the other car, do not discuss the accident. Decline the insurance company’s requests for a recorded statement or signatures on any documents, including any requests for a medical records release. In fact, refer all insurance company representatives to your attorney, and do not sign anything unless your lawyer instructs you to.
• Understand Insurance Companies.
Insurance companies are not unfair businesses, but serve a needed purpose in our society. However, keep in mind that insurance companies are in business to make money by taking in as much as possible in premiums while paying out as little as possible in claims. Generally, they are impersonal, bottom-line businesses, not interested in fair compensation for accident victims, but strive to diminish or deny claims to reduce what they pay out.
You May Be Eligible to Receive Damages
You may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages. Generally speaking, economic damages are those to replace money you have lost through expenditures or lost earnings. Examples of these damages include, but are not limited to, loss of earnings and future earning potential. In addition, if there is an injury or death, economic damages include medical expenses to be repaid to your healthcare insurance company, Medicare, Medi-Cal or any other medical treatment or care provider engaged on your behalf. Economic damages also include those for expenses for treatment you are expected to need in the future, along with out-of-pocket payments for medical devices, prescriptions, transportation, household assistance, and any other such expenses you may experience. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Non-economic damages are serious losses that are more difficult to assign a dollar value, including pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life.
What If I Am Injured and/or Have Property Damages. What Do I Do Next?
If you are injured or suffer a loss in an auto accident contact the Lee Law Group and we will assist you throughout the entire ordeal, most times at not costs to you unless and until you recover your loss. It is important to contact us, or some other attorney, as soon as possible because if you eventually have to file a lawsuit you must file it within a specified period of time by law. This period of time, known as the ‘statute of limitations’, could bar your case if you do not act in time.
Once you contact the Lee Law Group we will be able to call on experts, for example, accident reconstruction experts, to provide a professional opinion concerning theories of fault and damage causation in relation to the nature and extent of your injuries and, or property damages. In addition, if you are injured, we will work closely with your medical care providers to ensure you obtain the best possible care. If you do not have a physician or other medical care provider the Lee Law Group will engage a respected physician, whether you need an internist or specialists, all on your behalf with no payment required until your case is resolved. These medical care providers will provide a professional opinion concerning the extent of your injuries and your prognosis.
Further, we will contact all applicable insurance companies to ensure that your vehicle and other property damages are assessed and evaluated. If your vehicle is a total loss, we will assist you in obtaining an assessment of the vehicle’s value from the applicable automobile dealer.
Then, once we have a firm idea of both the costs of your medical treatment and fair compensation for your property damages we will write a settlement demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company for compensation to cover all you damages. Usually negotiations are required at this point and the Lee Law Group will conduct your negotiations with the insurance company until we have a settlement agreement that you can accept because final approval of any potential settlement rests with you, not the attorneys. Many cases are settled in this way. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer a settlement that you can accept, we will file a lawsuit to obtain just compensation, still at not costs to you unless and until you recover compensation.
What Happens If I File A Lawsuit After an Auto Accident?
If the Lee Law Group is forced to file a lawsuit to obtain just compensation we will litigate your case from start to finish explaining the process to you every step of the way. We will instruct you on what to do and when to do it thereby making the process as simple as possible. More than 85% of auto accident cases are settled with the other driver’s insurer after filing a lawsuit without having to actually conduct a trial. However, if a trial is necessary we at the Lee Law Group are experienced in trial work and will try your case energetically, still at not costs to you unless and until you recover compensation. If you are in an Auto Accident, contact the Lee Law Group so we can fight for you.
If you are in an Auto Accident, contact the Lee Law Group so we can fight for you.