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If you have recently experienced any type of accident, the steps you take immediately following the incident determine your chances of securing recovery for your losses. Unfortunately, many California car accident claimants make serious mistakes that jeopardize or even neutralize a legitimate claim for damages. It’s essential to know these common errors so you can avoid them in your own accident case.
Failure to Secure Vital Documents
After any type of vehicle accident for which you could claim damages in a personal injury claim, a police report is generated for the incident. California state law requires drivers to report accidents that result in injury or property damage. It is always best to immediately report a motor vehicle accident, so there is a legal record of the incident.
You need a copy of this police report if you are going to pursue legal action for your losses. You can typically obtain one easily by contacting the police precinct whose officers responded to the call for your accident. Obtaining this police report is crucial. Your Sacramento personal injury attorney will want to review it carefully, ensure the elements are accurate, and verify that the police handled the matter appropriately.
If you do not secure a police report, you could risk losing a record of valuable observable information from the accident scene that may be crucial in proving liability for your damages.
Failure to Seek Immediate Medical Care
After experiencing any type of vehicle accident, it is essential to seek medical treatment, even if you think your injuries are only minor. This will create a record that you responsibly sought medical care after your accident and helps establish your future claim for medical expenses. Your physician’s medical report will outline the full extent of your injuries and likely prognosis, including future complications your injuries might present.
Many accident victims make the mistake of waiting too long to seek medical care. Some internal injuries can reach catastrophic levels without immediate treatment, yet they do not cause immediately noticeable symptoms. Not only does failing to seek prompt care incur the risk of allowing an unseen injury to worsen without treatment, but it also does little to establish the credibility of the plaintiff’s claims for medical expenses. The court will assume that since the plaintiff did not seek immediate medical treatment, their injuries were not as severe as claimed.
Talking to Insurance Companies Without Legal Counsel
Most motor vehicle accidents lead to insurance claims. California upholds fault-based statutes regarding liability for motor vehicle accidents. An injured driver’s first step toward recovery after an accident is typically an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s policy. Unfortunately, insurance companies look for any and all reasons they can find to reduce or deny claims. It’s also not uncommon for insurance companies to attempt to compel a claimant to accept a lowball offer by preying on their desperation and uncertainty.
Without legal counsel to assist in your communications with insurance companies, you run the risk of being pressured and/or duped into accepting a settlement that is far lower than you rightfully deserve. This can pose serious problems as accepting such a settlement generally involves releasing the other driver from their liability. Always consult a Sacramento personal injury lawyer before speaking to any insurance company after an accident.
Failure to Seek Prompt Legal Counsel
You have a two-year statute of limitations to take legal action for any personal injury in California. While this sounds like plenty of time, the time limit shrinks faster than many expect, and it may take time to build a solid case. It is vital to seek legal counsel as soon as possible from a reputable Sacramento personal injury attorney as you prepare your accident claim. Your legal team will ensure your case meets all filing deadlines and appearances with the court, so you do not face any procedural delays in your case.
Failing to secure legal counsel for an accident claim can also lead to a much lower settlement than you should have received. An experienced attorney can identify routes of compensation you would have otherwise overlooked, increasing the overall recovery you secure from your claim.
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Unfortunately, these common errors have led to many accident claimants losing valuable compensation they could have otherwise used to rebuild their lives. An accident can lead to long-term medical complications, lost income, and various other damages that can take extreme tolls on victims’ lives. If you need to discuss your legal options after an accident in Sacramento, take a proactive approach to your case and contact the Kreeger Law Firm to schedule a consultation with our team. An experienced Sacramento personal injury lawyer will provide you with a professional interpretation of your situation and your best available legal options.