When someone causes a car accident that you’re injured in, there are so many costs that we don’t even typically realize we are going to have to deal with. Depending on how severe the injury is, you may have expensive medical bills that could even extend far into the future if they require ongoing care. Because of this, a Burbank car accident attorney should be one of your first calls.
After an injury, there are also costs from missing work and wages. That, too, may lead to long-term financial impacts if the injury means a loss in future earning capacity. Sometimes, in light of the physical injuries, the damage to the vehicle can seem small, but it’s still a cost that matters. There are also the non-financial costs from the pain, suffering, and disruption in an accident victim’s life.
In these circumstances, the victim of the accident is due to receive recovery and damages from whoever caused the accident. Usually, that money is supposed to be paid out by the insurance of whoever caused the accident. The insurance companies, though, will try to minimize the amount they will pay. To get what you deserve, you must fight for it. Fortunately, that’s not something you’ll need to do alone. The Law Office of Nabil Chelico is ready to stand in for you and advocate on your behalf.
Seeking recovery for a car accident falls under California’s personal injury law. The process for seeking recovery is set by that law. Before a claim is even filed, your lawyer can investigate the particulars of your case. They can also put together an assessment of the damages that you may be owed. Depending on the circumstances, they may negotiate first with the insurance companies to see if a settlement can be reached to avoid a lengthy court battle. There are times when a settlement can be preferable, as it avoids the lengthy court process and can get you your damages sooner. However, if they refuse to settle for the amount that you need, then your lawyer can help file your claim and present your case in court.
If you are seeking to be compensated by someone who injured you, then the most important thing that your lawyer must do is prove that the defendant is, in fact, liable. An experienced attorney can help with this. In personal injury law, which governs car accident injuries, that means proving something called negligence. Negligence consists of three components, each of which must be true for the defendant to be found liable, allowing you to seek damages. Those three components are:
The final step in a car accident claim, or personal liability, is for your lawyer to be able to argue for damages to cover the costs incurred because of the injury. Everything that the damages cover must be able to be tied directly back to the injury that was caused by the defendant’s negligence. The damages that you could receive in a car accident case will most likely fall into two categories. These two categories of damages are:
There is another kind of damages that can be involved in personal injury law, but they rarely come up in car accident cases. Punitive damages are a special kind of damages that are meant to be a kind of punishment for a particular behavior. These are only awarded if the defendant can be shown to have acted out of oppressive or malicious intent. Typically, this is not the case in car accidents. However, if it could be shown that the other driver was attempting to use their vehicle as a weapon against you, then it is possible that punitive damages may also be awarded.
One way in which your potential damage payout could be limited is because of California’s system of modified comparative negligence. What this means is that, even though the defendant may be largely responsible for the accident, there is a possibility that you may be found partially responsible. For instance, if a drunk driver swerved into your lane and hit you, it’s likely that the drunk driver will be found at fault. However, if you were speeding at the time, it’s possible that you might be found to be at least partially responsible for the accident.
The court will assign a percentage of fault to all parties involved. You are only able to collect damages commensurate with the defendant’s share of the blame. You will not be able to collect a percentage of the damages equal to your share of the blame.
Therefore, if you were found to be 15% to blame for an accident, then you can only receive 85% of the damages award. This is part of why it is important to be careful about what you say to any insurance agents involved with your case. They may attempt to use something you say as grounds for partial fault and a way to save themselves some money.
Part of what your lawyer will do is to not only prove negligence on the part of the defendant but also defend you against allegations of negligence. Their investigation will involve looking for anything the defendant’s lawyers may use and preparing to challenge those accusations.
The defendant’s lawyers will have the burden of proof for proving the elements of negligence. This is important to remember because even if you were committing something that could be considered a breach of duty, they will have to show that your breach led to the accident. Even if you know that you were doing something like speeding or committing another breach at the time of the accident, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be found at fault.
In most personal liability cases, including car accidents, the statute of limitations is two years from when the injury occurred. This means that a claim must be filed within two years of the accident.
An exception to this may be if the injury was discovered later. In that case, there are two years to file from when the injury should have reasonably been discovered. If it truly was a later-manifesting injury that can be traced back to the accident, then you would have two years from that discovery to file.
With such a short time frame, it’s important to realize that the insurance company may attempt to stall until after this time limit without paying you everything that you’re owed. This is one reason to contact our office as soon as you can. The sooner we can start our investigation, the better, and we can also manage the insurance companies on your behalf.
Some of the most important moments for a car accident claim are those immediately following the accident. This is not to say that all cases are won and lost in those moments; it’s just to say that some things that may be very beneficial can be done right away. With that in mind, even before you’ve been in a car accident, it’s a good idea to understand some basic principles of what you should try to do right after a car accident.
Some of the pictures that you may want include:
Let Us Help You Seek the Damages That You’re Owed When Someone Causes a Car Accident
A car accident happens in just a moment, but the consequences extend in every direction, sometimes in significant ways. Injuries, financial concerns, and even just basic logistics requiring a functioning car can be very stressful. When someone else causes the accident, you’re owed recovery for the challenges that you face.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay what you’re owed. They’re a business, and every dollar they pay to you is a dollar taken away from their bottom line.
The bottom line for you is that you’re going to have to fight for what is yours, but you don’t have to do it alone. At The Law Office of Nabil Chelico, we can fight for you. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and need someone to help you get what you’re owed, contact our office today.