If you are involved in an accident, dealing with the insurance company and any other involved parties can be difficult. In some instances, determining who is at fault can be even more difficult when it is a “he said, she said” situation. A San Diego accidents lawyer can be instrumental in helping you understand what the law says on the matter, and how much you can expect to recover.
What does California law say?
There are several different ways of determining fault throughout the country, but the state of California uses pure comparative fault as the method to determine how to award damages in the event of an accident. The insurance company or companies will determine what percentage of an accident is your fault and what percentage is due to the other party, and you will pay or collect accordingly. If an accident is deemed to be 30% your fault, for example, 30% will be deducted from the damages you can collect.
What if each party blames the other?
Your insurance company and the company of the other party will negotiate fault. Hiring an accidents attorney will increase your chances of the best outcome. While the insurance company is often looking for ways to make more money for itself, your attorney will be dedicated to ensuring that you are awarded the damages you deserve if you were the injured party, or that you will have to pay as little as possible if you were more at fault.
What if one party is uninsured?
Make sure that your current insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, which will at least partially cover your damages if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, or if the other driver leaves the accident before you can get his information. If you are the uninsured party, an accidents lawyer can help you minimize the damages you may have to pay out-of-pocket if you were partly at fault.
How soon should I hire a lawyer?
The sooner you act after being involved in an accident, the better. In California, you have two years after an accident to file a claim for personal injury and three years to file a property damage claim. So filing a claim with your insurance company and hiring a lawyer long before these deadlines increases your chances of the best outcome – when a court case is looming before the insurance companies, you and your lawyer have more leverage to negotiate a positive outcome for you.
Understanding how the state of California determines fault in an accident, and what you can do to protect your rights, can mean the difference between a denied claim and fair compensation from your insurance company. Every individual case is different, so the best way to figure out how much compensation you are entitled to is to consult an auto accidents attorney. This will keep you from encountering any surprises when you file an insurance claim.