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Riverside Car Accident Lawyer

Riverside Law Office

11801 Pierce Street, Suite 200
Riverside CA 92505

P (951) 329-9466

Car Accidents

Car accidents happen every day throughout Riverside, and yet so many Californians are unprepared to deal with them. Fortunately, calling an attorney is an option for all those victims suffering from serious, long-term injuries resulting from these accidents. When all the questions and legal matters leave your head spinning, relying on an attorney can be a great reprieve.

Let’s say that you’re heading down the road on a Friday morning. You’ve just dropped the kids off at school and now you’re heading to work at a local factory. Suddenly, another driver runs a stop sign, crashing right into the side of your car. You are left stunned, injured and with a car that simply won’t run.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Once the accident has happened and you’ve exchanged information, you are stuck with a number of looming questions. They’re accusing you of causing the accident in spite of the fact that you know you had the right of way. You are instantly overwhelmed with new issues. Who is going to pay for damage to your car? How will you pay for those medical bills? Will you be able to get back to work soon? This is where a lawyer comes in.

Coping with all those claims and settlements can be intensely difficult on your own, but who knows the law better than a personal injury attorney? Not only can your attorney answer all those pressing questions, but they can also advise you of your limits as well as how long you have to file a lawsuit. It’s time to stop wondering and start knowing by getting a lawyer immediately after an accident.

Filing a Lawsuit

One of the most helpful things a personal injury attorney can do for you is file a lawsuit on your behalf, typically against an individual or an insurance company. Unfortunately, personal injury lawsuits can be tedious and time consuming. Without an attorney, you may find the daunting process overwhelming.

There are plenty of examples of cases in which deserving victims of car accidents were unable to collect compensation. For instance, California laws include a statute of limitations for injured parties two years after an accident. This means that you have only two years after a car accident to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations is even shorter in the event that you are filing a claim against a government agency — just six months.

Shared Fault Laws in California

It is also wise to speak with your lawyer about shared fault laws, which are actually quite relevant to California car accidents. It is extremely possible that the defendant in your case will argue that you are also to blame for the accident, and California law could agree that some of the liability rests on your shoulders. This can severely affect the amount of compensation you receive.

Perhaps the defendant did run the stop sign, but you were also driving 10 miles over the posted speed limit. You may take on a percentage of the blame. Perhaps you are found to be 10% at fault for the accident. If you filed a lawsuit for $20,000 in damages to your car and person, you would receive $18,000 once your fault is subtracted.

Financial Limits for California Lawsuits

California places limits on financial gains for certain types of damage. One of the best examples in the case of an uninsured driver. Uninsured drivers are not eligible to collect as much money as those who do have insurance, especially when it comes to non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Exceptions are often made in cases where the other driver was convicted of a DUI while causing the accident.

This is yet another good reason to have an attorney look over your case. There are often exceptions to the rules that you may qualify for. Additionally, your personal injury lawyer will ensure that you are asking for the compensation that you deserve. You are not in charge of researching legal loopholes. Your job is to recover gracefully, and that’s hard enough on its own.

In the end, your personal injury attorney is your advocate in court. Our offices offer the assistance you need when you are trying to cope with a car accident. There is no need to worry yourself with the specifics of the law when we can do it for you.

What to do, and not to do, after a Car Accident

When you’re in a car accident, it’s important to know what to do–as well as what not to do–both at the scene of the accident and in the days, weeks, and months following your accident. You’re very likely shaken up and scrambling after a car accident, the following guidelines can help protect your legal rights after your accident and increase your chances of a favorable personal injury settlement for your car accident claim.

At the Car Accident Scene

  • DO call the police after an accident–a responding officer’s police report is one of the most critical pieces of evidence when it comes to your car accident claim.
  • DON’T move your car unless it is required by law or unsafe for others in its current location.
  • DON’T say too much at the scene of the accident–even something as innocent as apologizing to the person in the other vehicle could be construed as admitting fault.
  • DO take photographs of the scene of the accident, including the location of the vehicles after the accident, damage to each vehicle, and any hazardous road conditions that you see which may have contributed to your car wreck.

Here is a quick reference list of what to do if possible:

  • Use your phone camera. You can use the video camera to record the accident and evidence at the scene. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the driver, and the license plate. Often negligent drivers want to take off after an accident, and a photo can be a key piece of evidence to help identify him or her later. You should also take pictures of any cars stopped in the area, as they could provide valuable information later in the process.
  • Don’t leave the scene of the accident. Move your vehicles out of traffic after a crash, but do not leave the scene until you have exchanged insurance information with the other driver. Make a note of his or her driver’s license number, insurance company name, policy number, name, address, and phone number.
  • Get information from witnesses. If there are witnesses to the car accident, get their contact information, as well as their recollections of the accident while fresh in their minds. Video record them if possible.
  • Record your own memories of the crash. If you’re too shaken up to write it out, video tape yourself. The sooner you make notes about your the auto accident, the more reliable your version becomes down the road.
  • Seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, you should seek medical treatment after a crash. Injuries may not appear until several days or weeks after an auto accident.
  • Call your insurance company immediately. Report your accident within a reasonable time. Waiting too long may cause issues with coverage.

After Your Accident

  • DO seek immediate medical attention. Getting proper medical treatment is critical when it comes to pursuing a personal injury claim for your car accident.
  • DO seek legal advice from a car accident lawyer right away. One of the key factors of a successful personal injury claim is the representation of a competent personal injury attorney who has experience in handling car accident cases.
  • DON’T sign any paperwork from the insurance company without having an attorney review them first. Paperwork that an insurance company is asking you to sign isn’t always in your benefit.
  • DON’T get too friendly with an insurance representative. Keep in mind that they work for the insurance company, not you.
  • DO start journaling your medical treatment. Doctor’s appointments, medical visits, and how you are feeling in the days after your injury.
  • DO track the time missed from work. You can be compensated from your income lost during this time.

Police Reports

After your car wreck in, it is critical to obtain a copy of the car accident police report that was filled out by the officer that responded to the scene of the accident. A police report is often one of the most important pieces of evidence in a car wreck case.

How to Obtain a Police Report

Getting a copy of the police report for your car wreck is a relatively simple process. After your wreck, be sure to call the police to have someone come to the scene of the accident. The responding officer should give you a receipt that includes an identification number. To obtain your police report, you’ll just need to call the local police department and provide the number. If you weren’t given a receipt, or if you’ve misplaced the receipt, you can also get a copy of your police report by providing the date, time, and location of your car wreck.

There may be a small fee required to obtain your report but don’t let that put you off–this document can be invaluable when it comes to proving fault in your car wreck and recovering the compensation  you deserve.

Why a Police Report is Critical to Your Claim

After a car wreck, the importance of a police report can’t be understated. The accident report is the “official” version of what happened during your accident, often stating who is to blame for the wreck, and is one of the key pieces of evidence that an insurance company relies on when determining fault and issuing compensation for your injuries. As such, a police report is one of the first things that an insurance company will look at to conduct its investigation of who was at fault in your car wreck. Without this document, a car accident claim will be incomplete, and can result in an offensively low settlement offer, or even an outright denial of your claim.

What Information does a Police Report Include?

A police report is filled out by the officer who responds to the scene of the accident, and provides a summary of the officer’s investigation of the accident. This report contains all of the relevant details about your car wreck, including:

  • Date, time, and location of the wreck
  • Name, addresses, and insurance information for the parties involved in the auto wreck
  • Any traffic citations issued to the parties of the wreck
  • Identifying information for any witnesses to the wreck
  • The officer’s opinion as to who was at fault in causing the wreck

Contact our Riverside County Personal Injury Attorney at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.

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