If you’ve suffered a severe injury, emotional distress, and other damages due to an accident that wasn’t your fault, your main concern during this difficult time should be recovering your mental and physical health. The auto accident lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen understand how difficult your life can become following an auto accident.
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another person, speak with an experienced car accident lawyer in Richmond, CA, who can help you navigate the complex legal system. With our personal injury lawyers by your side, you’ll benefit from our years of experience and the resources of an established firm.
What to Do After Your Richmond Car Accident
There are some steps you must follow after a car accident in Richmond to protect your rights and your car accident claim. Protecting your rights and your case can include:
Gather evidence at the scene of the accident if you’re physically able to. This can include taking photos of the damage done to all vehicles involved, your injuries, missing traffic signs, debris on the road, and anything else you believe may have contributed to your accident.
Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers
Don’t Admit Fault
Whether you’re speaking to a police officer, the other driver involved in the accident, or an insurance adjuster, never admit fault.
Following an accident, you will feel disoriented and anxious, and you may also be in pain. You may not remember important details of the accident until several hours after it occurred. Additionally, an insurance company may deny your claim if you accept liability or blame for the accident.
When speaking to a police officer, avoid providing more information than necessary. Avoid speaking to an insurance adjuster without first speaking to an attorney.
Do Not Accept Immediate Compensation
The negligent driver may attempt to offer you compensation for the accident immediately after or in the days following the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance carrier may also try to offer you a fast settlement.
In both cases, you cannot expect to receive adequate compensation for your damages. Speak with an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer before you accept compensation. An attorney will investigate your case and can provide an accurate estimate of the value of your claim.
Get a Checkup and Preserve All Receipts
To ensure the success of your claim, be sure to seek medical treatment immediately after the accident. Delaying medical treatment can harm your case.
If you wait several days before you seek medical treatment for injuries sustained in the accident, an insurance company or defense attorney will use this delay in medical treatment against you. They may claim that you were injured after the accident took place or that your injuries are not as severe as you claim they are.
You should also keep the billing statements for all your medical expenses, including medication, modifications made to your home and/or vehicle, physical therapy, medical devices, doctor appointments, and any other medical expenses that are directly related to your accident.
Keep a Journal
Keep a journal of your injuries, your doctor visits, and the treatments that have been performed. Take note of how you’re feeling each day, whether you’re in pain or anxious about the mounting medical bills, and note how your injuries are impacting your life. You will also need to keep track of the days you have missed from work due to your injuries.
Contact a Richmond Car Accident Attorney at Nadrich & Cohen
Don’t sign anything or give any statement without first calling a car accident lawyer. Following an accident, you may be contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company or the driver’s attorney. Dealing with an insurance company or defense attorney can be frustrating and overwhelming, especially if you have been severely injured.
In some cases, the insurance adjuster may pressure you to accept a settlement. Most insurance companies will quickly make a small settlement offer before they know the extent of your injuries. These offers are made hoping car accident victims are desperate enough for money that they will accept less compensation than they deserve for their car accident claims.
Different Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle
At the law firm of Nadrich & Cohen, our car accident lawyers in Richmond have the resources and experience to handle many types of accident cases involving motor vehicles, including but not limited to:
- Automobile accidents
- Hit-and-run accident
- Drunk driving accidents
- Distracted driving accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Defective car part accidents
- Hazardous roadway condition accidents
Car Accident Damages You Can Pursue
If you were injured by a negligent driver, you can file a personal injury claim for monetary compensation for physical pain, emotional damage, and other types of damages, including but not limited to:
- Past and future medical costs
- Emotional pain
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Wrongful death
In some cases, auto accidents can involve criminal charges against the person who caused the accident. However, your civil case and the driver’s criminal case will be separate. These cases are handled by different courts and will require different types of evidence to prove the allegations against the other driver.
Examples of Traffic Crimes That Cause Car Accidents
The moment you get behind the wheel of your vehicle, you’re at the mercy of other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, not all drivers will follow traffic laws or drive responsibly. Some of the crimes a driver can commit while behind the wheel can include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving without insurance
- Driving without a license
- Drunk driving
- Failure to operate within one lane
- Passing on the right
There are many other laws that a motorist can break while driving. Some of these crimes can result in a catastrophic accident that injures you or a loved one. The two most common causes of crashes our Richmond car accident attorneys see involve distracted driving and drunk driving.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents all over the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people are killed every day in auto accidents caused by distracted drivers in the United States.
Distracted driving doesn’t just involve smartphone use. Other common forms of distracted driving include:
- Drinking or eating
- Fiddling with the radio
- Performing personal grooming
- Managing children
- Managing pets
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to another passenger in the vehicle
Driving while under the influence of alcohol significantly slows down a driver’s reaction time and impairs their judgment. Unfortunately, a drunk driving accident can result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
If a motorist was driving while under the influence, there will be criminal charges against them. While their criminal case will be tried separately from your civil case, your accident lawyer can obtain a copy of the police report and information regarding the drunk driver’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident.
If you are the victim of an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, you need to speak with an accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your personal injury attorney can use this as evidence to prove negligence and help you receive maximum compensation.
Pure Comparative Negligence Rule in California
California doesn’t follow the principle of contributory negligence. Instead, it applies pure comparative negligence rules.
Under pure comparative negligence rules, the person who is responsible for an auto accident will only compensate the accident victim based on his or her percentage of fault. The careless driver’s percentage of fault is determined by a jury.
For example, if the jury finds that one driver is only 25% at fault for the accident, that person will only be liable for paying 25% of the total amount of damages.
How Is Negligence Determined After a Car Accident?
A knowledgeable car accident attorney will gather evidence and hire expert witnesses to build a strong case that will prove the other driver was negligent. If the driver failed to yield, was speeding, or driving while distracted, it can demonstrate negligence on their part.
The Richmond, CA, auto accident attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen can help prove fault in a claim or lawsuit using this evidence.
Common Auto Accident Injuries
Many accident injuries can result in ongoing medical costs for physical therapy, modifications made to the home and vehicle, medication, medical devices, and more. Some of the most common car accident injuries we come across in personal injury claims include:
- A head injury, such as a concussion or traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fire and burn injuries
- Bruises, lacerations, and other types of minor injuries
How Long Do I Have to Take Legal Action?
Statutes of limitations can vary from state to state. In the state of California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the accident, per Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 335.1. You will be barred from filing a lawsuit against the other party if you fail to file a lawsuit within this time frame.
Delays in the Legal Process
Most motor vehicle accident claims can be settled out of court without the victim filing a lawsuit. But the timeline for reaching a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company can vary and will depend on many factors of the case, such as:
- Disputes over who is at fault for the auto accident
- The other driver’s insurance policy limit
- Timing of medical treatment
In some cases, the accident injury victim may want to delay settling their case until they have a complete picture of their current and future medical treatment needs and medical costs.
If a defendant or insurance company delays payment after a settlement, it’s possible to enforce the settlement by filing a collection or legal action.
What Impacts a Settlement Timeline?
Unfortunately, a delay in receiving a settlement payment can create additional emotional and financial burdens for the accident victim, who may be overwhelmed with lost wages and mounting medical bills.
While some auto accidents are settled quickly, others can take several months or years to resolve. The circumstance of every case determines the timeline. Examples of what can cause potential delays include:
- Complexity: If the accident victim’s injuries are complex or extensive, it can take longer to assess the full extent of the accident victim’s losses, including future medical treatment needs.
- Disputes over fault: If there’s a dispute over who should be held liable for the accident, it can take more time for both parties to investigate and agree on fair compensation.
- Policy limits: The negligent driver’s policy limit can also impact the timeline of the settlement. A case with a smaller insurance limit can settle faster if the medical bills and other damages are larger than the policy limit. This will trigger the insurance company to pay out policy limits and move on.
While a delay in compensation for damages can be costly and frustrating, the accident victim should not sacrifice the value of their claim for the sake of faster payment.
Our experienced car accident attorneys in Richmond, CA, will not let an insurance company or defense attorney harass you, intimidate you or take advantage of you during this challenging time.
We will take over communication with the insurance company and/or defense attorney to ease your burden. We will focus on building a strong case so that you can focus on your recovery.
Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney at Nadrich & Cohen Today
Traffic accidents can be life-changing experiences. After a serious accident, auto accident victims may be struggling to make ends meet as the medical bills continue to pile up. Don’t allow the stress of the accident to force you into accepting a small settlement. The Richmond car accident lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen are committed to ensuring you get the fair compensation you deserve.
Our auto accident lawyers have extensive experience in personal injury law, and we have the skills and resources to take on insurance companies and defense attorneys to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your serious injuries and other damages.
Contact our office today or text or email us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an auto accident attorney. We want to help you during this challenging time by handling every aspect of your claim while you focus on healing. Your consultation is free, and you owe us nothing unless and until we win your case.