Costa Mesa is a dynamic and culturally rich city that offers a mix of amenities, cultural attractions, and outdoor spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy. Its proximity to major metropolitan areas and the Pacific coastline adds to its appeal. Like many urban areas, Costa Mesa experiences traffic congestion, and with a network of roads and highways, car accidents can occur. In the event of a car accident, residents and visitors may seek legal assistance from reputable Costa Mesa attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases, helping them navigate the legal process and seek compensation for damages.
Any Costa Mesa car accident has the power to be life-altering, and what you do immediately after can have a significant impact on your physical and financial recovery. For most car accident victims, their car insurance is the first option for recovery, but before you can pursue either an insurance claim or a personal injury claim, you will have to prove fault. Most people who attempt to pursue claims following serious car accidents make unintentional but grave mistakes that endanger or even invalidate their claims.
An experienced car accident lawyer Costa Mesa can offer reliable legal advice to injured crash victims along with guidance that can be useful in the wake of a serious traffic accident. Listed below are five steps that are critical to take following any car accident if you want to protect your rights and increase your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
Report the Accident
The law in California requires drivers to report any motor vehicle accident that causes death, injury, or property damage. Failure to report an accident of this type can result in serious legal penalties for the at-fault party, up to and including criminal prosecution for a hit-and-run. Reporting your accident will also generate an official record. An officer will report to the scene, perform a preliminary investigation, and interview everyone involved in the crash, as well as any bystanders.
The accident report drafted by the responding officer could be a vital piece of evidence for any subsequent insurance claim or personal injury case. When the police speak with you after the accident, do not say anything to incriminate yourself, or that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Even something as simple as saying “I’m sorry” could open the door to accusations of fault from the other motorist. Do not lie, embellish, or add any unnecessary details. Answer the officer’s questions concisely and truthfully until they clear you to leave.
Seek Medical Attention
After any car accident, no matter how minor, it is important to seek prompt medical attention. Even if you think your only injuries are bumps and bruises, car accidents are traumatic events that can cause a rush of adrenaline, masking the pain of a serious injury. It is not uncommon for someone to walk away from a car accident thinking they escaped unharmed, only to wake up the next morning in excruciating pain. In addition to this, some injuries, such as internal bleeding, internal organ damage, and whiplash are not always immediately obvious but can quickly worsen if they are not diagnosed and treated immediately.
Getting medical care immediately following a crash will not only keep your injuries from getting worse but will also create an official record that shows you sought medical attention promptly after your accident. Additionally, your medical records will describe the severity of your injuries, and the scope of the medical treatments you need, as well as provide a prognosis for any future complications that could potentially arise.
Inform the Insurance Company
Auto insurance can be an invaluable tool following a Costa Mesa car accident. The law requires all California drivers to carry auto insurance that includes liability coverage for property damage and bodily injuries. If you were injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, you can file a claim against their insurance seeking financial compensation for your damages. However, you should never accept a settlement offer until after you have spoken with a qualified lawyer.
Although each insurance company has a different set of notification requirements, it is a good idea to notify them of your intent to file a claim as soon as possible after an accident.
Collect Important Documents
Whether you think your insurance claim is going to compensate you fully for your damages or you are expecting to take legal action via a personal injury lawsuit, the success of your efforts will rely heavily on whether or not you can present strong proof of your damages. This is another situation in which an experienced car accident lawyer can prove useful. For instance, you might require vehicle repair invoices, pay stubs, tax records, medical records, and other documentation that can establish the degree of your financial damages. You might also require expert witness testimony from a specialist who can assist you in proving liability and establishing the true value of your losses.
A positive outcome to a personal injury claim involves proving the full extent of losses caused by the defendant. You will also have to show that the defendant was the direct cause of your damages through either negligence or recklessness. A qualified lawyer can help you identify and locate any relevant evidence and documentation needed for your insurance claim and potential personal injury lawsuit.
Talk to an Experienced Costa Mesa Car Accident Lawyer
The best way to increase your odds of a successful insurance claim or personal injury suit is to partner with a reputable lawyer. They will be able to handle all of the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on your recovery without any added stress. Skilled legal counsel will also make it easier to obtain a just settlement offer from the insurance company and ensure you have the guidance and support you need to handle a complex personal injury lawsuit.
A Costa Mesa car accident attorney will understand how sudden and damaging car accidents can be; disrupting the lives of injured victims and their families. If you plan on handling a car accident claim on your own, keep in mind you are going to have to meet stringent procedural requirements in an insurance claim or a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Instead of trying to understand and juggle these complicated issues while you are trying to recover from serious car accident injuries, have an experienced Costa Mesa car accident attorney from Beckerman Anderson oversee your case so your recovery can go as smoothly as possible.
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