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Complicated Collisions

Understanding Different California Car Accident Personal Injury Cases

Complicated Collisions: Understanding Different California Car Accident Personal Injury Cases

California roadways witness daily, even hourly, accidents. While most are straightforward and leave injured Californians with a clear path to recovering compensation with a personal injury claim, some are more complex. To help you understand your compensation and recovery rights, this article dives into some of these exceptional car accident scenarios, including:

  • What happens in California when you are partially at fault for the accident that left you injured.
  • How you can still recover compensation after an accident with an uninsured driver.
  • Why you need to hire a personal injury attorney even when the fault is obvious and the case straightforward.

I Was Partially At Fault For The Car Accident That Caused My Injuries. How Will That Impact My Personal Injury Claim?

Perhaps the most common complication in California accidents is that accidents are not always cut and dry. It is not always clear who is at fault, and sometimes you will bear some of the blame for the accident which injured you.

Fortunately, you can still recover compensation under the personal injury claim system. However, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. This is called the comparative fault doctrine.

If you get all the way to a jury trial, a jury is going to determine what percentage at fault each party shares for the accident. Then, their final compensation verdict will be reduced in proportion to the percentage fault.

Note, however, that because the fault is so hard to determine, you should not assume you bear full responsibility just because an initial police report says you are faulty. The police often get it wrong, so it is still worth contacting an attorney if you think you might be primarily at fault for the accident or if the other driver says they are not insured.

I Was Injured In A Car Accident Caused By An Uninsured Or Underinsured Driver In Southern California. Can I Still File A Personal Injury Claim?

While insurance is mandatory in California, there will always be those who drive without it. More common than that is discovering that the other driver’s insurance is too low to cover the full extent of your injuries. This is particularly common with catastrophic injuries.

Fortunately, one of the types of insurance that you can buy (and should immediately if you do not have it) is underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. It means your own insurer is going to cover you as if they were the defendant driver should you ever be hit by an uninsured or unidentified driver.

Now, if the other driver is simply underinsured, you can still collect everything you can from their insurance policy and then make a claim against your own underinsured motorist policy.

If you do not have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, it might be tougher, but not impossible, to claim compensation – and it is always worth contacting an attorney to see the options. Sometimes, there might be a problem with a road, and the county could be sued. Other times, the uninsured driver might be driving as part of their employment, and an employer can be sued.

Sometimes, you will not even know the other driver’s full insurance situation until you bring a claim or lawsuit against them. If it turns out they are uninsured or underinsured, it is a simple matter to transfer the claim to your own insurance or another liable party.

I Was Hit In A Head-On Collision Caused By Another Driver. How Can I Pay For My Medical Bills While I Wait For Settlement From The Insurance Company?

The personal injury claims process is built to recover the costs associated with all sorts of injuries, but it is not immediate or even fast (and you should be very suspicious of any rapid insurance company offer). You might be left wondering, in the meantime, how to cover the rising medical costs from your car accident injuries.

First and foremost, if you have health insurance, that will continue to pay for your medical bills. If you do not have health insurance, do not panic; there is almost always the option of getting some or all of your medical treatment “on lien.” Under such a deal, the medical provider waits until you resolve the lawsuit to recover payment for the medical treatment out of the settlement. If your car accident occurred on the job, workers’ compensation might also be able to cover some of the medical costs.

Your personal injury attorney will be able to help you identify the best available methods of covering these costs until the settlement comes through. Fortunately, medical bills are not the only costs you will be able to recover.

What Kinds Of Damages Can Be Recovered In A California Personal Injury Case? How Are They Calculated?

Regardless of the complexities of the scenario or car crash, a personal injury claim in California allows you to recover compensation for all the damages and harm suffered as a result. Obviously, this includes the medical costs associated with your injuries, but it can also include any or all of the following:

  • Past, current, and future medical treatment – including medicine, surgery, and long-term care. 
  • Wages and income lost due to time missed from work or the inability to work in the future. 
  • Non-economic damages such as emotional pain and suffering.

Adding up all these damages, however, is not simple. Even understanding them is complex and often requires the work of medical or financial experts. This is one reason why you will always want to hire an experienced personal injury attorney, even if your case seems otherwise simple.

What About Clear Cases Where The Other Driver Was At Fault? Do I Still Need To Hire An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney?

Now that we have covered the more extreme and fringe personal injury cases, you might be wondering what to do if your case is straightforward and the blame is clearly on the other driver. Unfortunately, establishing fault is only part of the case.

Even if you do not have to prove fault (and you would be surprised how often insurance companies try to evade responsibility even when things seem obvious), there is still the vital question of how much your claim is worth. That is the area where an attorney’s experience is essential. We make sure that you get as much compensation as possible to cover medical costs, lost wages, and emotional harm.

Doing so is often dependent on expert witness testimony. Even in a normal and straightforward car accident case, you will probably need at least one liability expert, and possibly a medical doctor, a vocational rehabilitation counselor, an economist, and a life care planner. All of which an experienced personal injury attorney will have connections with.

While fault is important, it is only a small part of the complexities inherent in any personal injury case. And arguably, the second part, the calculation of damages, is where the real value of your case is determined.

What Will Hiring A California Car Accident Attorney Do For My Personal Injury Claim?

Handling the legal intricacies of a personal injury case on top of dealing with your injuries and recovery is a recipe for burnout or disaster. Hiring an attorney will take a lot of stress and worry off your shoulders.

You should be focused on getting better and returning to work if possible, not on the little details involved in making an insurance claim or a lawsuit. Your personal injury attorney will handle all the day-to-day litigation and insurance claim business while also being more experienced and avoiding falling for any insurance company tricks and tactics to deny, dismiss, or delay your claim.

Your personal injury attorney will also advance all the costs involved in the claim or lawsuit. Cases can become fairly expensive in terms of time and costs, especially if there is a lot of litigation. It requires taking depositions, hiring experts, and conducting investigations. The law firm will advance all of these costs so that you do not have to pay for any of them.

This is all the more essential because chances are you will not be able to work while injured and cannot afford to pay for the costs of the claim or lawsuit on top of everything else. Instead, your personal injury lawyer will collect those costs out of the final compensation or settlement, which means they also take the financial risk so that you do not have to.

Finally, your attorney will act like a quarterback or team coach. They will know everyone that you need and be able to bring them together to get a successful lawsuit going. An experienced personal injury lawyer will have connections with all those essential experts as well as doctors in the area willing and qualified to testify or be able to cover your medical needs on lien.

For more information on Auto-Accident Injury Claims In California, a FREE initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 966-4471 (San Francisco Office) | (831) 387-7871 (Monterey Office) today.

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