Dealing with Insurance Companies
After an accident, you should not apologize or volunteer that you were at fault. You might want to say something to be polite, but later you may learn that the other driver was more to blame than you were. While you should cooperate with the police by providing facts and exchanging information with the other driver, what you say to the police or the other driver may be used to show that you were negligent. It may also be complicated to deal with insurance companies after a car accident in Southern California. The Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Sharifi Firm can advise and represent you in your interactions with insurers and other parties.Dealing with Insurance Companies
After an accident resulting in injuries, you will likely need to talk to the insurer for the other party. It is a wise idea to talk to an attorney before you talk to an insurer for the at-fault driver. An insurer for the at-fault driver may tell you that it is routine to provide a recorded statement. However, an insurer for an at-fault driver is not on your side and owes you nothing. The purpose of the recorded statement is to get information that may reduce your damages or what you are offered in a settlement.
California follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. To establish the at-fault driver's negligence, you will need to show that the driver breached their duty to use reasonable care, and as a result, you were injured. With comparative negligence, your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your degree of fault, if any is found.
For example, if a jury determines that your damages are $100,000, but it also determines that you were 50% at fault for speeding, while another driver was 50% at fault for failing to yield, you can potentially recover $50,000, and you also will be responsible for the other $50,000. The doctrine of comparative negligence is meant to make the recovery of damages after an accident fairer, but it also incentivizes the practice of looking for ways in which a victim was at fault for an accident. Sometimes insurers twist statements made in a recorded statement to imply that you were at fault for the accident in a more significant way than you actually were.
You should not settle with an at-fault insurer too quickly. Under Civil Procedure section 335.1, you have two years to file your lawsuit. While you should not hesitate to locate an attorney, it often makes sense to take things slowly with regard to negotiating with an at-fault driver's insurer. Often, an insurance adjuster starts with a small offer, hoping to get rid of a case. However, the full extent of your injuries may not be immediately known. Sometimes certain conditions caused by an accident may become chronic or take time to show their full severity.
Moreover, having an attorney to deal with an adjuster may make things go more smoothly. The adjuster will understand that an experienced trial attorney may be able to persuade a jury that their client sustained substantial noneconomic damages, and thus it may be more likely to make legitimate offers. An experienced attorney can provide medical records, opinion evidence, and expert evidence on causation and damages that make it more likely that you recover the full value of your claim.
If you are dealing with an uninsured motorist claim against your own insurer, you should be aware that your own insurer steps into the shoes of the uninsured or underinsured driver and may take an adversarial position toward you. This means that your own insurer may emphasize ways in which you were at fault and should be considered negligent.Hire an Experienced Los Angeles Attorney for Your Car Crash Claim
At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our experienced motor vehicle collision lawyers may be able to help you recover economic and noneconomic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Dealing with insurance companies may be challenging, and it is best to do so through an attorney. Our Los Angeles lawyers can determine a strategy for you and take an aggressive approach to pursuing damages. Contact us online or call us at 1-866-422-7222 for a free consultation. Our firm also represents injured people in cities such as Temecula, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and Riverside.