Car accidents can result in severe injuries, making it difficult or impossible for you to continue working, let alone build a proper insurance claim to recover damages. Our last post discussed “10 ways to make money when injured and can’t work after a car accident.” Here, we discuss the crucial steps in securing an evidentiary foundation, which can help you prove your claim and dollar amount to the insurance company. Most of all, if you have been injured in a car accident and are unable to work, it is crucial to understand your legal rights and take appropriate steps to protect yourself against the other driver or liable parties when you plan on seeking damages under California state law.
Make a Police Report
Statements emanating from unbiased eyewitnesses (Ex: non-family and non-friends) can be very persuasive in establishing who caused the crash. Having this data makes it far more likely an experienced personal injury attorney and your own insurance company will accept your liability case. This is the first step in obtaining medical payments coverage and lost income under the California Insurance Code. In essence, liability and damages are the most important aspects of a claim. But you can’t prove damages unless you can prove the at-fault driver was primarily or wholly at fault. The police department can help you gather driver’s license and other important information regarding financial responsibility from the other driver’s insurance policy, as well.
This evidence can be lost forever if you don’t know how to contact witnesses or get their information to begin with (what if you were knocked unconscious from the jarring and jolting effect of the auto accident.) So step one, call 9-1-1 to ask for law enforcement to make a police report. For example, if the crash was on the freeway, seek a traffic collision investigation report from the California Highway Patrol.
When the police arrive at the auto accident scene, they’ll outline resonant facts, like the positions of motor vehicles and debris fields and vehicle damage caused by a car accident in California. The police report also provides valuable information, such as the insurance policy number, whether or not the other parties had collision coverage and a summary of how the auto accident occurred. Also included would be the other driver, passenger, or bystander statements.
In the end, the officer’s conclusions as to who was at fault among the parties involved. Don’t talk to the drivers or other passengers. Just get to the emergency room and stabilize any internal injuries or rule them out in a safe place away from traffic.
The Insurance Company is NOT Your Friend
Any statements you make to the other drivers or passengers can and will be used against you by the authorities and the insurance company. Reading this article before or while waiting for the police to show up will considerably help avoid problems with any future personal injury lawsuit or insurance company claim.
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you should do after a car accident is to seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel seriously injured or don’t have health insurance. Many injuries, such as whiplash or back pain, may not show symptoms immediately. Delaying medical treatment can make your injuries worse and make it harder for an injury lawyer to prove that the accident caused them. So it would help if you recorded everything with completed, accurate, and essential medical documentation for the insurance adjusters to review later. This information is extremely important to file a claim that will pay you effectively or an injured loved one for economic damages and other losses caused by the other party or their vehicle that hit you.
Notify Your Employer
If you’re unable to work due to your car accident injuries, it’s essential to notify your employer as soon as possible. This is because a settlement can take months to resolve while you don’t receive a paycheck. Let them know that you have been in an accident and that you will be unable to work for a while. Provide a doctor’s note, if possible, to confirm your injuries and the estimated time of recovery. You can seek paid sick leave if you have used up all of your paid time off. But you need to talk to your human resources (HR) or manager to discover whether short-term disability can be utilized during this difficult time period.
Offsetting Medical Bills and Lost Wages
It may be possible to be somewhat covered and benefit from such a plan until you are well enough to work. This is one way to help offset the cost of medical expenses after a traffic accident, especially when uninsured drivers are the reason.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
It is vital that you never give a recorded statement to the insurance company without legal counsel who is informed about and cares about you and your case. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, you might be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses related to damaged property after the accident. It’s crucial to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected for any given situation and things that can crop up.
TIP: When you don’t carry the proper insurance, it’s even more important to cooperate if you want to be awarded any damages at all. Failure to maintain valid liability insurance is not an absolute bar to obtaining some types of damages in the aftermath under Prop 213. However, you need to reflect on things a bit before going off half-cocked, demanding things. Although you can’t recover general damages, you could still obtain damages for your medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. However, as noted, you cannot seek damages for non-economic losses (aka general damages). In sum, general damages include things like pain, suffering, or loss of quality of life. The caveat is that you may also face criminal legal penalties for driving without insurance, including possible jail time, license suspension, fines, and penalty assessments.
Keep accurate, detailed records of all medical treatment, expenses, and communication with your employer and insurance companies. This information will be critical when pursuing and trying to collect compensation for your injuries and your percentage of lost wages.
Stay Positive and Patient
Recovering from a car accident injury can take time, and staying positive and patient throughout the process is essential. Follow your doctor’s instructions and take the time you need to heal properly. Your health care should be your top priority. So this means following orders or risk leaving money damages on the table.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are unable to work, it’s crucial to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your rights. Seek medical attention, notify your employer, contact an experienced car accident attorney, document everything, and stay positive and patient throughout recovery. After that, contact our Los Angeles car accident attorneys for superior legal assistance. Our legal team is ready to take your important phone call or email 24/7. You can simply call us at (213) 596-9642 to discuss the details and set up an in-person meeting anywhere in the State of California.