04 Oct Claims for Personal Injury in car accident
By Atty. Crispin Caday Lozano
In some situations, such as rear-end collisions, the other driver will almost always be considered at fault. However, other types of accidents are not so clear.
The best way to help your car insurance company determine fault is to present your claims adjuster with a thorough explanation of what happened. If you don’t feel you’re at fault, present a reasoned argument detailing why and provide supporting details.
Any careless behavior that contributes to a car accident is called negligence.
Most states including California, use a comparative negligence system when deciding how to compensate victims of car accidents. Under comparative negligence, your compensation may be reduced if you are partly at fault.
Factors that the claims adjuster will review include:
- – The police report.
- Whether and how quickly you sought medical attention.
- Visit the emergency room or your physician as soon as possible after an accident if you are injured.
- – Any pre-existing injuries that you are claiming became worse as a result of the accident.
- Ask your physician to take new x-rays or ultrasounds of those injured areas. Comparisons in the pre-accident and post-accident scans can help show that the accident caused additional damage to the area.
- – DUI/DWI charges and other citations related to the accident.
- – Statements that you make to other drivers or passengers after the accident.
- Keep in mind that although your emotions might be intense following a car accident, you should avoid making promises or statements of blame.
- – Witness testimonies.
- – Photographs taken of the accident scene.
- – Records and documents that validate the number of days and wages you lost due to the accident.
- – Personal injury limits written into your car insurance policy.
Evidence and Documentation
Solid evidence makes your claim stronger. You want to prepare as much documentation as possible when preparing to submit a claim to the car insurance company. You can gather evidence in the days following a car accident.
- – Take notes on anything you can remember about the accident as soon as you are physically able.
- Return to the scene of the accident to search for and take pictures of evidence.
- You may notice something, such as a dirty traffic sign, that led you to make a driving mistake and get into a car accident.
- – Preserve physical evidence, such as a torn piece of clothing or a rock that was in the middle of the street, causing you to lose control.
- – Contact witnesses.
- If you collected witness contact information at the time of the accident, contact them as soon as possible to get their observations down on paper.
- Document your injuries.
- Take photographs and get medical attention to provide evidence of the seriousness of your injuries.
Damages in Personal Injury Cases
The “damages” in a personal injury case refer to the cost of your injuries. They consider the following as they relate to your injuries sustained in an accident:
- – Direct financial cost.
- – Emotional and indirect costs.
– Compensatory damages are most common. They include the following:
- – Specific damages. This refers to the specific valued amounts related to accident-related injuries or loss. They include:
- Cost of medical bills.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of earning capacity.
- Property loss.
- – General damages. These damages are those that do not have easily calculated dollar amounts and are subjective. They include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Inability to have children as a result of accident-related injuries.
- Loss of an extremity.
- Loss of consortium, if the accident caused a strain on your relationship.
If the defendant was especially careless when causing the accident, you may also receive punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant, and are imposed by the court.
Note: This is not a legal advice.