A serious Costa Mesa car accident can change your life irrevocably. If and when this happens, it is crucial to know and understand your rights, which include the right to pursue financial compensation for the damages you endured due to another person’s negligence or recklessness.
Keep in mind that just because you, as a car accident victim, have certain rights does not mean that the other driver or their insurance company will not try to ignore or exploit them. That is why it is so important to seek qualified legal representation immediately after a car accident.
If you were injured in a serious car accident, reach out to a Costa Mesa car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
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The Right Not to Make a Statement
Following a car accident, the other driver’s insurer is going to contact you within a few days and ask you to provide them with a recorded statement. What the insurance adjuster is not going to tell you is that you have the right to refuse. When deciding whether or not to exercise this right, remember that the adjuster is looking for the opportunity to use what you say against you.
Insurance adjusters are skilled manipulators. Their primary objective is not to fairly compensate you for your damages; it is to settle your claim for as little as possible with no consideration given to the adverse impacts on your life. Their questions are specifically worded so it is easy to take your responses out of context or twist their meaning. Even a basic apology uttered out of mere politeness can be used to shift blame for the crash onto you. get twisted into claiming fault for the crash. You should never provide the insurance company with a recorded or written statement or sign any documents until you have spoken with an experienced Costa Mesa car accident lawyer who can help you draft a statement that ensures you won’t accidentally jeopardize your claim.
The Right to Pursue Financial Compensation
Costa Mesa car accident victims also have the right to pursue financial compensation, also known as damages, from the person at fault for the collision. Although this person is almost always the other driver, more than one party could be liable depending on the circumstances of the crash. For instance, if a defective car part, like faulty brakes, caused or contributed to your accident, then the garage or parts manufacturer could be liable. The same goes for car accidents caused or contributed to by road defects such as potholes and missing signage.
Under these circumstances, you may be able to bring a claim against the local, county, or state government agency responsible for the roadway’s maintenance and upkeep.
The statute of limitations for filing a California personal injury lawsuit is, in most cases, two years from the day your accident occurred. Once that deadline expires, your claim will be time-barred. When a claim is filed against a government entity, however, the deadline is much shorter. These claims must be brought no later than six months from the day of the accident, so it is important to speak with an attorney right away.
Although every car accident is different, car accident victims in Costa Mesa are generally eligible to receive damages for:
- Current and projected medical bills
- Lost earnings
- Damage to property
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of fellowship
California does not cap damages except in medical malpractice claims.
The Right to See Your Police Accident Report
One vital piece of evidence that car accident lawyers rely on is the California State Vehicle Accident Report. This document is what the responding officer fills out at the accident scene. It contains information regarding who was involved in the crash, witness statements, what happened, and the officer’s take on exactly how the accident occurred and who may be at fault.
In the hands of a skilled attorney, this report can be a useful tool in proving the defendant’s recklessness or negligence, which will enable the plaintiff to receive compensation. This is one reason why filing a police report is so important after a Costa Mesa car accident. Whether or not you were injured, it is always a good idea to have a copy of the police report in case you experience accident-related damages that were not immediately obvious. It will also help keep the insurance adjuster from claiming you were to blame for the collision.
The Right to Hire an Attorney
Although California has no laws stating that you have to work with a lawyer when pursuing damages for a car accident, it is strongly recommended that you do so. Many accident victims choose to seek legal representation and counsel so they can focus on their recovery while a seasoned professional handles the legal aspects of their case. You have the right to hire an attorney at any point in time during the insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit process.
While hiring an attorney is no guarantee that your case will yield the results you want, it is certainly a step in the right direction. A qualified car accident lawyer can investigate your accident, collect evidence that strengthens your claim, and handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. Regardless of the circumstances of your Costa Mesa car accident, working with an experienced lawyer increases your odds of seeing a successful resolution to your injury claim.
At the end of the day, deciding whether you want to hire a car accident attorney depends on how comfortable and capable you are at handling the claims process on your own.
Protect Your Rights
Your Costa Mesa car accident lawyer will work hard to protect your rights, but there are also ways you can protect them yourself.
Never comment on or post pictures of your accident on any social media platform. Insurance adjusters routinely search social media, hoping to find information they can use to their advantage. Ideally, you should stay off social media altogether or at least refrain from posting anything personal until after your case is settled.
After an accident, go directly to a hospital emergency room or urgent care center, even if you think your injuries are minor. A lot of injuries are not immediately obvious and can worsen quickly if not treated right away. Not only can postponing a medical examination potentially endanger your health, but it can also damage your claim. The insurance adjuster can claim that by not seeking prompt medical attention, you contributed to your own injuries, that if your injuries were really that serious, you would not have put off seeing a doctor, or that your injuries were not caused by your car accident.