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Can I Make a Personal Injury Claim for My Car Accident?

car accident bumper to bumper

Car accidents can be frightening in the short term, and traumatic in the long term, both for the victims and their families. They can be a strain on finances, mental state, and physical abilities. 

However, it might be possible to get compensation for your car accident if you can make a personal injury claim.

Is My Car Accident Considered Personal Injury?

It can be, provided you answer yes to the three following questions:

  1. Did the accident occur because of negligence from the other driver?

  2. Did they cause harm?

  3. Did the accident incur costs (hospital bills, lost wages, etc.)

Car accident

Is There a Time Limit for Suing After a Car Accident in California? 

In the state of California, you may be able to bring the claim to court up to two years after the accident occured. However, since even a clear cut case may take up to several months, it is recommended to act as soon as possible. 

What Other Factors Can Influence the Claim? 

The most challenging part of claiming personal injury for a car accident is to determine liability. This is done by analyzing a number of factors, such as: 

  • The road conditions at the time of the accident  
  • Weather conditions 
  • Police reports  
  • The mental state of the drivers (were they distracted, inebriated…) 
  • The chain of events that led to the accident 
  • Etc...
car accident in winter

Why Can’t My Car Insurer Cover The Costs? 

Your car insurance will cover some of the costs. Moreover, their report will be an important piece of the puzzle if you wish to take the claim to court. However, bear in mind that  

  • Your insurer will do everything possible to pay as little back as possible 
  • They will not pay for a lawyer to help with your personal injury case 

How Much Will it Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in California? 

Most attorneys will charge what is called a contingency fee. It is commonly set at 33% of the settlement money. Note that it is common  not to be charged unless there is recovery.

This is the famous No Fee, No Recovery model. Note that this does not cover case expenses, so make sure the fee structure is clear before you select your California personal injury lawyer for a car accident.

Do I Need to Hire a California Personal Injury Lawyer?  

Some accident victims may prefer staying in control of all the documentation and processes required to make a personal injury claim. However, bear in mind that personal injury claims require: 

  • Gathering proper documentation 
  • Ensuring the paperwork is filled properly 
  • Preparing to appear in court to assert your claim 
  • Negotiating to get the maximum compensation based on precedent cases 

This is where hiring an experienced lawyer can go a long way, even if their skill lies in negotiating out of court settlements.

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