Understanding the Claim Process After an Auto Accident
Every year, there are more than 50,000 car accidents in the state of California. They range from a fender bender to a total loss. If you ever have the misfortune of becoming part of one of those accident statistics, you may want to file a claim against the at-fault driver of the other vehicle. We’ve found that over time many clients come to us wondering: what is the claim process after an auto accident?
California is a car insurance “fault” state, which means you have the option of filing a liability insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. The deadline for starting the car crash claim process in the state is two years. The required minimum amounts of car insurance are $15,000 if the injury or death involves one person; $30,000 if more than one person is involved; and $5,000 covering any property damage.
When Do I Start the Claim Process After a Car Accident?
Another common question we hear: when should you begin the claim process after a car accident in California? In some cases, you may not start it at all — because your car has only a slight dent and you are not hurt. The at-fault driver accepts liability and agrees to pay for fixing your car, and you feel comfortable accepting the terms. However, there are more complex accident scenarios which may involve more serious injuries, counter-claims listing you as the at-fault driver, and insurance companies. In these instances, it’s likely time to involve a car accident lawyer and begin the car accident claim process.
The main job of any car accident lawyer is to protect your rights and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. While you may think that you can act perfectly fine as your own advocate in these situations, do not underestimate the effect that a competent, aggressive lawyer working on your behalf has. Your attorney’s duties will likely include settlement negotiations with the other side and/or filing a car accident lawsuit in California’s court system. In some cases, the settlement may involve the “shared fault” laws in the state. In those cases, you basically accept a degree of liability in the accident, which will ultimately reduce the amount of compensation you are awarded.