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Car accidents happen every day in Richmond and throughout California for a number of reasons, many of which are unpredictable. Accidents happen unexpectedly, leaving victims wondering who is responsible and how they can recover their losses. All California drivers are required to carry auto insurance, but insurance alone may not cover a victim’s total losses, and there is never a guarantee that the at-fault driver will have appropriate coverage.
If you or a family member is struggling with injuries and economic losses from a car accident that someone else caused, it is important to know your legal options and how you can recover your losses as fully as possible. Rush Injury Law has a team of attorneys with years of experience representing clients in personal injury cases in Richmond, including those arising from motor vehicle crashes. We can provide the guidance and support you need in this challenging situation.
Before you are able to recover any type of compensation for your recent car accident in Richmond, you must be prepared to show exactly how the accident happened and identify the driver or drivers responsible for causing it. Proving fault is crucial for both your insurance claim and a subsequent personal injury claim, and car accidents can happen in various ways:
This is not an exhaustive list of all the ways that car accidents might happen, and regardless of the exact cause, if another driver is responsible for the accident, they bear liability for your damages. The first step in holding them accountable is filing a claim against their auto insurance policy.
All state-licensed drivers are legally required to have auto insurance that meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements. These include liability coverage for personal injuries and property damage. At a minimum, an auto insurance policy for an individual driver must provide at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person, and the policy must increase this coverage to at least $30,000 for multiple persons injured in a single accident. The policy must also cover at least $5,000 of property damage, such as the cost of repairing a damaged vehicle.
After an accident, the drivers involved are required to stop their vehicles and report the accident to 911. Specifically, the law states that drivers must report accidents resulting in significant property damage, injury, or death. If you are unsure whether your accident meets this definition, it is better to err on the side of caution and call 911 to report the accident. When first responders arrive, they will provide medical assistance to anyone injured, and ambulances may transport critically injured victims to the nearest hospital. If you feel well enough to do so safely, try to take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and the damage to your vehicle. These will expedite your insurance claim process significantly.
Your Richmond car accident attorney will be very helpful for the insurance claim process. Once an auto insurance carrier representative notices that you have legal representation, they will be more inclined to process your claim efficiently without any bad faith tactics. After the insurance company approves your claim, you will receive a
settlement offer. Your attorney will ensure the offer is suitable under the terms of the at-fault driver’s policy.
Unfortunately, California’s rate of drivers who are uninsured is the highest in the country. While not required by law, drivers are strongly encouraged to purchase uninsured driver coverage, which allows them to claim against their own insurance policies when they experience accidents caused by uninsured drivers. Otherwise, a driver injured by an uninsured driver must proceed directly to filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to recover their damages.
When you have exhausted your recovery options through insurance, or when an at-fault driver has no insurance coverage, you will have to file a personal injury claim against them to recover your losses. The foundation of a personal injury claim is actual harm caused by negligence or a failure to use reasonable care and caution in a specific situation. It is also possible for intentional and illegal misconduct to cause a personal injury. In this case, the defendant also faces criminal charges from the state.
If your car accident happened because of negligence, you must prove the at-fault driver had a duty of care they failed to fulfill and consequently caused your claimed damages. Your attorney will be very helpful in this effort, assisting you in gathering the evidence needed to prove their liability for your damages. If your accident happened from illegal misconduct, your Richmond car accident attorney could advise you as to how this may impact your civil claim against the at-fault driver.
When you have a compelling case, and the other party is clearly at fault for your accident, it behooves them to seek a settlement as quickly as possible. Most of the personal injury claims filed in Richmond do not go to litigation and are instead resolved through private settlement negotiations. As long as both the plaintiff and the defendant are willing to negotiate and compromise, both parties can save significant amounts of time and money they would otherwise spend on lengthy litigation.
During settlement, both parties and their legal representatives meet privately to discuss mutually agreeable settlement terms. The plaintiff may receive slightly less than they could win at trial, but the tradeoff is securing compensation much faster. The defendant could part with more than they could face from a judge’s decision, but they save time and money on legal expenses. Ultimately, settlement is the ideal way to resolve a personal injury case for all parties involved, but it may not work for every claim.
In the event that you cannot settle your car accident case for any reason, the case proceeds to litigation. This can take months to complete, with long waiting periods between courtroom appearances. If you must go to trial, the judge overseeing the case has the final say when it comes to the defendant’s liability and the plaintiff’s compensation. When you choose Rush Injury Law as your legal representation, we will seek to settle your case if possible, but we are prepared to represent you in court if necessary.
If you succeed with your personal injury case, you can potentially secure full repayment of all the economic losses you suffered from the accident in question. Economic damages you can claim in your personal injury case can include the following:
These economic damages, once accurately calculated with the help of a seasoned Richmond car accident attorney, could amount to much more than you initially expected at the outset of your case. However, your recovery does not end with your economic damages, as state law permits the plaintiff in a personal injury case to seek accountability for their pain and suffering as well.
There is no state cap on the amount of pain and suffering compensation the plaintiff in a car accident case can seek from a defendant. If you suffered injuries that are expected to heal completely in the near future, your attorney might recommend a “per diem” pain and suffering settlement that awards compensation for each day you spend recovering from your injuries. Alternatively, if you suffered life-changing catastrophic injuries, they will be more inclined to seek a large lump sum on your behalf. Depending on the severity of your medical condition after the accident, your pain and suffering compensation could amount to much more than the total of your economic losses.
There is no law that requires you to hire an attorney to help you recover from a car accident. However, it is essential to understand the value of investing in legal counsel you can trust after a negligent driver has injured you. Your attorney will handle all your legal affairs so you can focus on your medical needs in recovery. They will provide updates as your case progresses and will significantly increase your chances of maximizing your insurance claim.
If you cannot recover through insurance alone and must file a civil suit against the driver who harmed you, your Richmond car accident attorney will be an invaluable asset when it comes to gathering evidence to prove the defendant’s fault, substantiating your claim for compensation with appropriate documentation of your damages, and preparing you for each new phase of your case.
Rush Injury Law can help you approach your recovery efforts with confidence and peace of mind. Throughout the years of our firm’s operation, we have successfully represented many Richmond area clients and taken the time to learn each client’s unique story. We will help you understand the proceedings ahead of you and handle the procedural aspects of your claim so you can recover in peace.
A: Unfortunately, not all auto insurance carriers process claims in good faith and some clerical or technical issues could also result in unfair and unexpected denials. It’s a good idea to work with a seasoned Richmond car accident attorney when it comes time to file an auto insurance claim. Their guidance can significantly reduce the chances of meeting with an unexpected denial of coverage. However, if your claim is denied, your attorney can help you challenge the insurance company’s decision and/or pursue alternative legal action through a personal injury suit.
A: State law allows you to seek compensation for any and all damages another party caused through their negligence or intentional misconduct. If another driver caused an accident that resulted in physical injuries and economic harm, they are responsible for repaying all these damages. You can also seek recompense for the physical pain, emotional trauma, and psychological distress you experienced from the incident. The total amount of compensation you could win from your case depends on the severity of your losses.
A: If the other driver’s fault is clear and beyond dispute, and you have the right attorney representing you, it’s possible to resolve a car accident claim within a few weeks. The insurance claim process is just the first step in recovery, however, and if you must proceed with a civil suit against the other driver, it could take longer. If your case must be resolved through litigation, this can take several months.
A: If you lose a loved one in an accident someone else caused in the Richmond area, state law dictates that the beneficiaries of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim naming the driver at fault. In some ways, this kind of suit is very much like a personal injury claim but different in others. It’s vital to have legal counsel you can trust if you intend to pursue this type of case against another party in Richmond.
A: It’s natural to worry about the potential cost of legal representation when you need to file a car accident claim in Richmond, but this is no cause for concern when you choose Rush Injury Law as your legal representation. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, so you will only be required to pay a fee if we win your case, and the fee is a percentage of the total amount recovered on your behalf. This eliminates the risk of your legal fees overtaking your case award.
Rush Injury Law has built a solid professional reputation as a leading choice for personal injury counsel in the Richmond area, thanks to our commitment to client-focused legal representation. We’ll take the time necessary to listen to your story and address the specific legal issues that concern you the most after your car accident. If you’re ready to learn what an experienced Richmond car accident attorney can do for your recovery, contact us today and set up your free consultation with our team.
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