Car accidents are a common occurrence; from fender benders to serious and potentially fatal accidents, there are some important steps that should be taken whenever you are involved in an accident. For instance, in California, all accidents involving damage greater then $750, injury or death, must be reported. Failure to report such an accident could result in criminal charges for hit and run.
California also requires that all drivers carry a minimum insurance policy, policies limited to comprehensive or collision coverage do not meet these minimum requirements. Failure of a party to carry the requisite coverage may be helpful in any legal claims related to your accident. California follows a comparative negligence standard, which means the amount of money you can recover will be based on your percentage of fault in the accident.
But if you don’t want to leave your car accident claim in the hands of a jury, there are opportunities for settlement of these claims. In fact, the majority of these types of cases will often end in a settlement. A settlement is an agreement to drop a pending lawsuit in exchange for an agreed upon award of damages. The settlement allows both parties to negotiate and reach an outcome that they are comfortable with.
Generally the amount of a settlement will be based upon the at-fault driver’s insurance. Damages can include compensation for medical bills, car repairs, pain and suffering, lost wages and loss of consortium. You must file a car accident claim within two years for any personal injury and within three years for property damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain a timely settlement and receive just compensation for any injuries or damages related to your car accident claim.
Source: Findlaw.com, California car accident settlement process and timeline, accessed Jan. 30, 2018.