If you have been injured in an accident, you have undoubtedly had to face multiple doctor appointments, time off of work and a lot of pain.
If you have filed a claim with an insurance company in California, they will have 15 days to acknowledge it and 40 days after that to accept or deny the claim. If they accept the claim, they will make you a settlement offer, but before you accept it, you should talk to a qualified personal injury attorney. Motor vehicle accident law in California is complex and it takes a personal injury lawyer to negotiate with insurance adjusters.
Insurance Law in California
There are two different insurance rules in the United States: fault and no-fault. In a no-fault state, a driver’s own insurance company will pay for any accident-related bills. In a fault or “tort” state, the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying any bills that were associated with the accident.
California is a tort state. More specifically, it is a comparative fault state which means a driver is still entitled to damages even if some of the accident was their fault. If a person was ten percent responsible for an accident, they may be able to recover 90 percent of their bills from the other party’s insurance company.
How Much Insurance Is a Driver Required to Carry?
Like all states, California requires that its drivers carry a certain amount of collision insurance and a certain amount of insurance to cover medical bills if they should collide with an uninsured driver.
The State of California mandates that drivers carry injury coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. They must carry at least $5,000 for property damage. They must also have uninsured driver coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you have lost a loved one to an accident, you may sue them for wrongful death. One has two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Immediate family members and adopted dependents of the decedent may file a wrongful death lawsuit. You may receive compensation for such things as lost income and loss of companionship.
If you cannot reach a fair agreement with an insurance company, or if the amount of your medical bills exceed the amount for which you were covered, you may want to sue the at-fault driver for negligence. You will have two years from the time of the accident to take your case to court.
When you have an accident with injuries, be sure to call the police and wait for them to arrive. Get the names of witnesses and take pictures if you can. Make sure to save each of your medical bills and receipts for medications. Ask your employer to write you a letter stating how many hours you have missed from work.
Selecting an Attorney
The attorney you select should be well versed in California state law and have years of experience dealing with insurance companies. They should be in good standing with the state bar and have a well-trained staff that will have the time to devote to your case.
Car accidents are time-consuming and expensive, but with the right lawyer, you can alleviate the expense and get on with your life.