Do you have questions about car accidents an need a clear answer? People who suffer injuries in traffic accidents always have many questions whose answers are often unknown.
From where to report the accident to how to file a claim and receive medical treatment. There are many questions about car accidents that may arise. You may need an immediate response and that is why we are at your disposal.
The car accident lawyers in Los Angeles from the office of Lluis Law answer your questions and help you get fair compensation for an accident in California.
Frequently asked questions and answers about car accidents
These are some of the most recurring questions about car accidents our clients ask when they visit our offices in Los Angeles.
How do I report a car accident?
The victim of a traffic accident must notify the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The law establishes a period of 10 days to notify through Form SR 1, Traffic Accident Report.
The insurance company must also be notified of the person responsible for the car accident. You must also report to the victim’s company and the police if they did not show up at the scene of the accident.
Only accidents that meet the following conditions or characteristics should be reported:
- There are dead or injured victims in the accident.
- The accident produced material losses exceeding $ 1,000.
Failure to report such an accident to the DMV may result in the driver’s license suspension.
This is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions about car accidents that we receive daily. Here we give you an answer of the general process and the guidelines that you must follow.
So that we can give you personalized attention on your case please contact us at (213) 687-4412. Remember that the consultation is free.
What information should the accident report contain?
- Date of the accident.
- Place where the accident occurred.
- Personal and contact information of the holder of the insurance policy.
- Name of the insurance company, policy number and validity.
- Vehicle data: make, model and year.
- Amount of property damage if it exceeds $ 1,000.
- License number.
- Vehicle owner data.
- Name and address of the person injured or killed during the accident.
- Detailed information on damage to the vehicle and other properties. This includes the damaged object or animal (if cattle are involved in the collision), along with the owner’s data.
The SR 1R1 Traffic Accident Report must be mailed to the Los Angeles Department of Motor Vehicles.
Report of the accident to the Insurance Company
When in conditions and within a reasonable period of time, the car accident report must be made to the insurance company. Even if the accident was caused by another person, so that the company is aware. Later, the insured can defend his claim.
The risk of not reporting the accident is that the insurance company could cancel the policy. It is advisable to verify the reasonable period of time that the insurance defines for the notification of an accident or collision.
Police accident report
Under no circumstances should the police be left out in the event of a car accident.
Especially if there are injured or dead people in the accident. Section 20008 of the California Vehicle Code states that drivers must report the accident in writing.
The report must be made to the the Road Patrol (CHP) or directly to the Police Department belonging to the accident area. The established period is 24 hours, after the accident occurred.
The notification must include everyone involved in the accident. That is, drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians.
It is necessary to verify if there is any additional reporting requirement in the area where the accident occurred. Sometimes you should inform if:
- Some of the drivers were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Learn more about the topic in our “DUI Lawyers in Los Angeles” section.
- Some of the drivers fled the scene of the accident.
- There is public property involved.
When a police officer comes to the scene of the accident and raises a written report, it is not necessary to present a separate report. It is important to take note of the name and other information of the officer who was in charge of the accident for registration purposes.
What is the deadline to file a claim in California after a car accident?
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is 2 years. After this period the claim will not be processed. The time to claim property damage instead is 3 years from the date of the accident.
If a governmental, federal, state or local entity is involved in the car accident, the statute of limitations is only six months. When the agency ignores the accident and denies the claim, the time to sue is also 6 months.
The agencies that are most frequently involved in car accidents are the local police departments. Like toilet trucks and public buses.
If a relative was killed in the car accident, it is possible to demand compensation for death in a traffic accident.
How much can a traffic accident claim be worth?
This is one of the crucial questions that a good car accident injury lawyer will know how to answer correctly. According to their experience and after analyzing the severity of the injuries and their treatment. As well as the corresponding compensation after the car accident.
In general, a good injury lawyer does not take more than 10 minutes to calculate the approximate value of a claim. However, you must examine all the details and factors involved in the accident. That is: medical bills, treatment, partial or permanent disability, loss or not of work.
Likewise, the responsibility for the injuries and the way the accident occurred. Remember that responsibility in the accident can be shared. All these data yield an estimated cold amount to make the claim.
Then the additional amount of compensation for pain and suffering and for the circumstances surrounding the event must be calculated. Each case is different, therefore each claim for personal injury is also different.
Who will pay for my medical treatment?
The person responsible for the car accident is the one who must pay the medical bills and other costs derived from the accident. It is likely that while the claim is processed, you will see the expenses accrue, but there are several options. One is your personal health insurance.
Another option is medical payment coverage (Med Pay), which is acquired with car insurance. A prior agreement with the health care provider that your lawyer can help process also works. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages.
The most advisable to cover medical expenses after an accident is to use basic health insurance, if you have one. Because in certain cases, health care providers reject claims for auto accident injuries. Instead, the client is advised to use Med Pay coverage if he owns it.
However, there is no reason for the company to be sure to refuse to cover the accident injuries. Nor is the company with which he contracted the car insurance policy. The advisable thing in these cases is not to mention the other insurance, nor to say that you have a lawyer to process the claim.
If the insurer refuses to pay the expenses, your accident lawyer will know what to do to change your mind. If you do not have insurance, you should consider agreeing directly with the health care provider.
In many cases, the lawyer will help make these arrangements viable. Thus the victim of the accident can be calmer and concentrate on recovery, while the lawyer deals with winning the case.
Should I see a doctor after the accident?
Definitely yes, even if at the moment you do not notice an injury or feel pain as a result of shock and adrenaline.
Sometimes the pain and symptoms of auto accident injuries take time to appear. The doctor can determine if you have any bodily harm or not and establish a treatment.
On the other hand, to make any claim after the accident, it is essential to document the injuries suffered. The medical report along with the recipes and medications are the best evidence of the existence of an injury.
When waiting too long to go to the doctor’s office, the insurance adjuster may argue that the injuries are not serious. Therefore, the compensation for the accident is lower. The time to see a doctor after a car accident is now.
What are the most common car accident injuries?
A car accident can cause different types of injuries. However, some of the most frequent are:
- Injury to the spinal cord, head or face.
- Neck injuries (whiplash, fracture).
- Injuries to the foot, leg and knee.
- Miscellaneous head injuries.
- Back injuries (disc injuries, fractures, spinal cord injuries).
- Shoulder, arm and hand injuries.
- Psychological injuries / posttraumatic syndrome (fear of driving, depression, nightmares).
- In some cases the injuries are so severe that they cause death.
In our article on “common car accident injuries” you can get more information on the subject.
What is a traffic appeal?
When a case is lost in a trial court for a traffic offense, the case can be reviewed in a higher court. For this purpose, a traffic appeal is filed.
The Court of Appeals in most cases will consider only these two things:
- If the court of first instance made a legal error and,
- If this mistake affected the final decision issued in the case.
It should be clear that the traffic appeal does not mean:
- A new trial with witnesses.
- Another opportunity to present the case in court with a different judge.
- Another opportunity to promote new evidence or new witnesses.
The explanation is that the court of appeal is not empowered to change a decision of a court of first instance. What you can do is review the process to verify any legal error that led to the wrong decision. An example of legal error is the application of a wrong law in a trial.
If the court of appeal determines that there was an error, the court that handed down the sentence has the right to request evidence. You can also change your own decision. The court of appeal is entitled to reverse the decision of the court of first instance if it finds an error during the process.
The appeal also cannot postpone the deadline established by the trial court to pay fines or the sentence. The postponement of a sentence is only possible through a request addressed to the court of first instance. So suspend that sentence, and include an order for the payment of the fine.
What can I do if the other driver is not insured?
In California, it is mandatory to have liability insurance for automobiles to pay damages to other drivers. So when a driver hits another, there is a guarantee that it will cover the damage caused. However, some people violate this legal provision and drive without vehicle insurance.
It is likely that the expert car accident lawyer will force the responsible driver to indemnify part of the damage caused. Although the safest thing is that all the damage caused cannot be recovered, even if the claim wins.
If the negligent driver was unable to buy a civil liability insurance policy, surely he will not be able to pay for the claim. Being involved in a traffic accident with an uninsured and irresponsible driver harms other drivers.
What are the consequences of driving without liability insurance?
The consequences of driving without accident insurance are very serious. The driver is exposed to monetary penalties and even jail. The insurance serves to cover the damages of the accident: injuries to third parties, loss of wages and damage to property.
California law requires drivers to hire vehicle policies with injury or death coverage. If you want to know more about these two previous points, please review our article «Driving without insurance accident» .
Can I receive compensation after an accident?
There are injured drivers who may not be aware that they are entitled to compensation after a car accident. Others probably know, but they don’t know what kind of compensation they can claim. Compensation in a car accident covers medical expenses, loss of wages and other damages.
The compensation benefits for a vehicle accident depend on the State where the collision occurred. In California, for example, they are determined according to the comparative negligence rule. In other words, the responsibility of each of the parties involved is investigated and determined. Consequently, also the amount of the claim or demand.
A driver can be found responsible for 100% of the accident or just 80%. The remaining 20% of the fault would be the for the driver who filed the claim. This percentage of fault is then deducted by the insurance company from the final paycheck.
The car accident lawyer helps you calculate the percentage of liability and the amount of compensation. This does not fail in common questions about car accidents. We understand that it may be your main concern and therefore we invite you to contact us today.
To obtain fair compensation it is important to talk to expert lawyers.
Types of compensation
- Recovery of property damage (automobile and other personal property).
- Wages lost during the time the inability to work lasts. Even the loss of personal free time (PTO) benefits and other work benefits.
- Medical Expenses Coverage (exams, treatments, rehabilitation).
- Pain and suffering. What would be paid for being healthy and painless.
- Loss of “consortium”. Compensation for loss of company or intimacy with the couple resulting from the injury.
- Loss of leisure or enjoyment in activities of your choice (sports, travel, etc.).
- “Punitive” damages. It is not a proper compensation but it serves to persuade others not to commit the same crime.
To obtain fair and sufficient compensation you must hire expert car accident attorneys. Sometimes our lawyers promote psychological tests and expert opinions to prove and calculate these damages.
What happens if I leave the accident scene?
Leaving the scene after a car accident is considered a criminal offense. If you were to blame for the car accident, you should stop and try to verify if you are injured to offer them help.
Depending on the circumstances and the severity of the accident, in California it could be considered a felony. Fleeing without first talking to other drivers and exchanging information with them is sanctioned by law.
When there is damage to the property and the driver leaves the scene it can be sanctioned as a misdemeanor. But if there are injuries, the crime can be serious.
Leaving the scene of a car accident is not just something negative and we totally advise against it. In addition, it entails severe punishment.
Leaving the accident scene are punished with:
- Up to 180 days in prison in a county jail.
- 3 years probation.
- Fines of up to $ 1000.
- Compensation for damages to the victim.
For major offenses, penalties may increase from:
- 2 to 4 years in prison in a state prison.
- Fines of up to $ 10,000.
- Restitution of damages to the victim.
- Driver’s license suspension.
It may be surprising to know that this is one of the most frequently asked questions about car accidents. As you can see, it is very risky to flee the accident scene. It is better for everyone to remain on the place and exchange information with the other drivers and report the accident.
Should I talk to the other driver’s insurance company?
Before that is better to consult with the traffic accident lawyer. Because doing it or not doing it, depending on the situation, could be counterproductive. The other party’s insurance company is not interested in paying you fair compensation.
If you speak with an insurance agent from the other part, he will seek to make your case not prosper. Maybe you can try to reach an agreement with you where the company will win. In short, it is advisable to obtain the data of the responsible driver and contact your personal lawyer.
Do I have to sign an agreement with my insurance company?
It is normal for most automobile accidents to be resolved without having to go to court. However, before signing any resolution document for a claim, you must be aware of your rights.
Legal acts have legal consequences. Before signing we recommend contacting with a car accident lawyer to explain its contents. The fine print of the agreement with the insurer sometimes establishes clauses that harm the victim.
How much can a claim be worth?
It is not an easy question to answer without first studying the case and checking the type of injuries and their severity. However, it is possible to infer what damage can be recovered from the wounds and the corresponding medical evaluation.
Each claim is different and determining damage compensation is also accurate. The overall amount of compensation that will be attempted, depends on many objective factors. For example, injuries and property damage. Also of others of a more subjective nature, implicit in the negotiation process with the insurance company.
Some people after an accident, end up accepting only 25% of what really corresponds to them as compensation. Hence the importance of hiring a car crash attorney, to negotiate a reasonable compensation with the insurer.
An expert lawyer will always be more profitable. The objective is to be able to claim and obtain maximum compensation for your case.
What elements help determine the value of a claim?
- Cost of medical treatment, including hospitalization bills, surgeries, medicines, medical fees, exams, etc.
- Condition of the plaintiff before suffering the accident. Whether he worked or not, income, loss of ability to generate profits.
- Type of injury (if there is a temporary or permanent disability).
- Expenses associated with injuries (transportation, nursing staff and more).
Who can be sued after a traffic accident?
It is obvious that the other driver is the one to blame for the accident, however that must be demonstrated with evidence. Remember that negligence is not presumed, but is proven. Sometimes the responsibility for a car accident can be shared.
The expert accident lawyer analyzes the circumstances surrounding the accident to detect direct and indirect persons responsible for the accident. If the accident was caused by tires with manufacturing defects, the manufacturer could be responsible.
If it was due to the newly repaired brake system, perhaps the responsibility lies with the mechanical workshop where they were repaired.
In conclusion, the person responsible for an accident can have one or more drivers and even third parties. Therefore, when a lawyer takes a case, he must look beyond the obvious. Search among the hidden details for the cause of the accident.
Do you have questions about car accidents in reference to a lawsuit? We can help you.
What is the time limit to file a lawsuit?
The legal action for personal injury has a term established in accordance with the provisions of the California Statute of Limitations. When the person in charge is a natural or legal person, the term is two years. The account begins to run from the date of the accident. If it is a government entity, the limit for filing a traffic claim is six months.
For medical malpractice cases the limit established to sue is one year. Of course, you should not expect to reach the deadline to file a personal injury claim. The faster the legal action is filed, the better.
As medical malpractice expert attorneys in Los Angeles we can help you in this practice area too.
What to do if I have problems with my auto insurance company?
The insurance company is obliged to comply with the terms of the contract established in the car insurance policy. Either the accident was caused by the policyholder or the victim seeks to cover excess expenses. It all depends on the terms of the policy and the type of policy contracted.
When the claim is denied, not paid sufficiently or paid late, the insurance company could be sued. The argument will be that the company is working in bad faith. These cases are frequent within the insurance system when your claim is filed without the help of a lawyer.
Is legal representation of a lawyer expensive?
In cases of victims of personal injury, these lawyers generally work with contingency fees. This means that the lawyer only charges if he wins the case. So whoever actually pays the lawyer’s fees, is responsible for the accident or his insurance company. Lawyer and client agree to pay a percentage of the total settlement received by the claimant or plaintiff.
If the case is not resolved, the client has no obligation to pay the lawyer any professional fee. Read more on the subject in our article how much do car accident lawyers charge.
This is another of the most frequently asked questions about car accidents. We understand your concern and that is why we give you the option to review your case for free.
What are the advantages of hiring a Lluis law lawyer?
In accidents with personal injuries there are two fundamental elements when hiring an accident lawyer:
Experience. Because it guarantees that the procedure for obtaining compensation will be done in the most correct and effective way. Our lawyers know how insurers and courts operate in these cases.
Knowledge of the law . We are constantly updated on changes in the legislation established in the California Vehicle Code. In addition, we are criminal lawyers, which helps to better argue the lawsuits.
If we don’t win your case we don’t get any fee, it’s that simple.
Personalized and direct treatment with lawyers. You will be attended by experts David A. Lluis and Ramiro J. Lluis. Together they sum to over 50 years of combined experience.
The accident and personal injury lawyers of Lluis Law have extensive experience representing victims of personal injury. More than 40 years of professional work with a high record of cases won. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for damages caused in car accidents.
We answer your questions about car accidents with our free case review.
Do I really need to hire a car accident expert lawyer to win a case?
Hiring a lawyer does not mean that the client has already won the case, but it does guarantee the protection of their rights. The client is interested in obtaining the highest possible compensation for his injuries and the lawyer wins depending on what he is capable to obtain. It is a win-win relationship.
Insurance companies are very pleased that the victims come alone to negotiate a claim. With their ability and experience to negotiate, they manage to minimize the payment of accident compensation.
On the other hand, when the victim of a car accident or a family member is assisted by a lawyer, the treatment is different and the negotiation also. The insurance adjuster will try to lower the settlement amount and the lawyer will seek to obtain the highest possible compensation.
How long will it take for my case to be resolved?
This is a very frequent question on the part of injured people after a claim is filed. The urgency of the victims to obtain compensation puts them in a situation of urgency and anxiety. Although much depends on the case, a good car accident lawyer can reach a satisfactory agreement in a short time.
There is no standardized deadline to resolve a case because there are several factors that influence the process. Here are some of them:
- Severity of the injuries. The more serious the injuries, the greater the amount of compensation.
- Duration of medical treatment. Sometimes the treatment lasts longer than initially planned by the attending physician.
- Legal disputes. These generally arise when there is no clarity about the responsibility of the accident or when there are several responsible parties.
- Pre-existing injuries. The insurance company will try to find out if the claimant had a previous injury. In that case, they could claim that the injury already existed and was not caused by the accident. This will seek to cut the compensation value.
What factors are involved in the recovery of damages?
The severity of injuries is a primary factor to consider, because the treatment will be more expensive. In addition, it is possible that the person will be disabled for life. Then, perhaps, the negotiation to recover damages is delayed.
Sometimes, it is possible to resolve cases of severe injuries through an out-of-court settlement, but other times you have to go to trial.
What happens if I suffered an accident in Uber?
The Uber company has no employees, therefore, the drivers are independent contractors. Uber defines itself as a technology provider, not as a transportation company. In this way it places the greatest legal responsibility on the driver. However, this does not exempt the driver or the company from paying compensation for injuries caused to passengers.
Damage recovery is done through the driver’s individual insurance policy. Also of the third-party damage coverage stipulated by the company, which is a minimum of $ 1,000,000.
That is to say that after an accident, the passenger could be entitled to receive compensation for personal injuries for this amount. It all depends on the severity of the injuries and the medical treatment you should follow.
At Lluis Law, we are also Uber accident lawyers. In fact it is one of the common questions about car accidents that we get most.
What do I do if the insurance company of the other part contacts me?
Just as it is advisable not to discuss the case with the responsible part, neither is it to speak with their insurance company. The policy of US law that “everything you say can be used against you” applies in these cases. Therefore, in the claim process it is not convenient to speak with the insurance company of the responsible driver.
Contact your car accident lawyer first. Anything you say to the insurance company of the other party can be counterproductive for compensation.
These are just some of the questions about car accidents that come to us daily. You probably have many more or want to receive information about your case. To assist you in a personalized and direct way, our lawyers are at your service.