It is very common for car accident injury victims to have questions about what they ought to do in the aftermath of a car accident. Moreover, many car accident victims are uncertain of what they can expect during the insurance claim process and/or civil lawsuit process. Here are the answers to some of the more common questions car accident injury victims have in California.
What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
Your first concern should be the safety and wellbeing of yourself and any passengers traveling with you. If anyone has any obvious signs of injury, or if you are uncertain of the extent of injuries you or others sustained, summon medical assistance immediately. If you or your passengers are in immediate danger (leaking fluids, fire, or in the middle of a lane of traffic), take appropriate action to get yourself and your passengers to safety. Then you can focus on getting pertinent information from the other driver(s) involved and any witnesses who saw the crash.
Should I Take Pictures of the Accident Site?
If it is possible to do so and you would not endanger yourself or others in doing so, then yes. “Pictures are worth a thousand words,” as the old saying goes. It is easier to show a picture of the damage to your car, the injuries you received, and/or the layout of an intersection through a picture than it is through verbal descriptions. Make sure that you have good lighting and take the time to focus your camera/smartphone properly. It is unfortunate when car accident injury victims take the time to snap pictures but the pictures are not helpful because they are blurry and out of focus.
Is It Okay to Talk with the Other Driver About the Accident?
You can talk with the other driver, the police officer, or anyone else you want about the accident so long as you are careful about what you say. Even saying something as simple or natural as “I’m sorry” can have a negative effect on any car accident lawsuit you ultimately file. You should refuse to give any “official” statement or recorded statement until you have had a chance to speak with an attorney.
Will My Car Accident Case Settle?
A great majority of court lawsuits settle out of court, but it is impossible to predict ahead of time which cases will settle and which will not. If fault is contested or if the monetary damages you are seeking appear to be too high, the other party may choose to contest your lawsuit and insist on a trial. Your attorney will likely want to help you get your case resolved as quickly as possible so you can receive your compensation quickly, but sometimes this is not always achievable.
How Much is My Car Accident Case Worth?
This is impossible to answer as it depends on your unique circumstances and the facts of your case. Damages in any car accident case can consist of medical bills, lost wages, lost future earnings, pain and suffering, loss of comfort and companionship, loss of household services, property damage, and other similar losses. Experienced car accident lawyers should be thorough in investigating your case and identifying all the ways in which you have been injured or suffered a loss.
Can I Get Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages – monetary damages meant to punish the other party – are usually not available unless the at-fault party acted recklessly or intentionally. Your car crash attorney will need to investigate the facts and circumstances of your case before being able to determine whether punitive damages are available.