Car Accidents cause millions of dollars of damage each year, along with even more costly medical expenses related to accident injuries and fatalities. Many people who were injured or who lost loved ones in vehicle accidents sought compensation by filing Personal Injury lawsuits. Most of those legal actions were resolved prior to court, with a Car Accident Settlement. When no agreements are reached, cases proceed into courtroom litigation. A settlement is a much faster process than a trial procedure; this method of dispute resolution also is less costly to all parties.
San Diego Car Accident Settlement – FAQ
Being injured in a car accident because someone else or a company was negligent can create enormous financial expenses in addition to the bodily injuries, pain and suffering the victim endures. An experienced Personal Injury Attorney will work closely with you, building a strong case based on police reports and other evidence from the accident scene. Your attorney will use those items along with medical care reports and other non-economic claims you have to help you obtain fair compensation for your car accident injury claims.
This process will take some time, but right away you may want answers for some frequently asked questions about Car Accident Settlements:
What Happens First?
Get medical attention for all who are injured. Make the police report and contact and employers, property owners or others who should be notified. Take photos and get witness information and statements if possible. Contact your insurance company and your attorney. If you do not already have an attorney, ask friends, family or coworkers for a reference. You also could check with the local Bar Association for a referral.
Should I File a Lawsuit?
If the car accident was caused by negligent or deliberate behavior, defective equipment or a road hazard, your attorney will likely suggest filing a Personal Injury lawsuit to recover expenses related to your injuries and the accident. This should be done quickly, as each state has a Statute of Limitations for filing Personal Injury claims. If you miss this time deadline, you may not be able to file that lawsuit.
What Expenses Can Be Claimed?
Your car accident lawsuit can claim economic and non-economic damage claims. These are expenses or losses that are directly related to your car accident injuries. Here are some typical claims:
- Economic Claims: medical expenses, hospital/doctor/nurse and other healthcare bills, nursing home or home care costs, physical/psychological therapy, rehabilitation, work loss, lost benefits, job retraining, costs for disability impact, future income losses, funeral and burial costs, and other verifiable monetary costs. Some property damage may be included, such as vehicle repair or replacement.
- Non-Economic Claims: pain and suffering, loss of a loved one’s companionship, consortium and guardianship, mental stress, emotion and psychological suffering, fear, anger, anxiety and other claims that do not have a set value.
What Documents Are Needed?
Police reports, medical care invoices, witness information and statements, insurance documents, documents that prove expenses related to elements you paid for as part of your recovery and other papers that help support your claims should be provided to your attorney.
What is Negligent Behavior?
When someone exhibits negligent behavior, they act in a risky manner that jeopardizes safety. A company may be negligent if products they sell do not perform as warranted, or those items fail in use, causing harm. When a person neglects their duty of care, and the result is harmful, they are responsible for the effects related to their actions.
How Does Liability or Fault Affect My Claims?
In states like California that follow a pure comparative negligence rule, your compensation would be reduced by a percentage of responsibility for the accident that is attributed to you, if any. Otherwise, the person(s) or company determined to be negligent and at fault for the accident is liable for accident claims. In cases of workplace violence when an attacker acts deliberately to harm others, they are at fault and liable for damage claims.
What Portion Will Insurance Companies Pay?
Insurance companies will pay the least amount possible. If the other driver lacks insurance, you must deal with your own company; they may have a cap on payments or reduce payment by any share of liability you bear. If the insurance company does not pay the full amount of all your claims, you may need to file another lawsuit against the defendant to place a lien on their property or obtain payment.
Will My Case Be Litigated In Court?
Most Personal Injury lawsuits are resolved in a settlement prior to court. Court cases take much longer and fines could be much higher, especially if a jury levies a punitive fine on the defendant(s). If you do not accept the settlement, your attorney will represent you in court litigation.
How Long Will My Case Take To Resolve?
Personal Injury cases may take a short time to resolve or several years, depending on the details of the case. Part of the lengthy time is due to investigation of all evidence, discovery and interviews with all parties and expert witnesses, and the time it takes to receive responses to the initial summons and other inquires. This is one reason why many plaintiffs accept settlement offers, to save time and legal costs.
Will My Payment Be Taxable?
Awards for punitive damages would be taxable like regular income. Awards for the usual injury claims are generally not taxable.
San Diego Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by negligent behavior, you may file for fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other non-economic damage claims like pain and suffering. Many plaintiffs find that a good solution is to negotiate a fair settlement between the parties.
You always benefit when you work with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney, even if your case is settled quickly, without any court appearances or long investigations. Insurance companies are not working for your benefit; only your own attorney will be looking out for your best interests. Start today to move forward; contact our experienced Personal Injury Attorney to handle your Car Accident Settlement or other legal matters related to your car accident and injury case.