When you have been injured in an accident, you can’t help but think of how you will get your insurance company, or the insurance company of the other driver, to pay your bills. When you are injured and another driver is at fault, you are due compensatory damages to pay for the expenses related to your accident. These damages fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are for expenses related to the accident such as repairs to your car and medical bills. You may also ask for compensation for lost wages and other monies you have paid out that are related to your accident, such as bills you have paid for alternative medical treatment. You may also be able to recover money for major life events you have missed due to a wreck, such as a vacation you had already paid for or an event to which you had purchased tickets.
Non-economic damages are for pain, suffering, and emotional trauma related to the accident. There are some states that cap the amount of money that someone can ask for noneconomic damages. In the state of California, there are limits on the amount of non-economic damages for which a person can sue a doctor in a malpractice case, but no such law exists for traffic accident cases. Awards for emotional pain and suffering are very controversial and subject to change.
Pain and suffering can be hard to gauge and, if you feel you should be compensated for your distress, you should find a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles who has a lot of experience in traffic accident law.
What to do if you are Injured in an Accident
If you are in an accident with injuries, make sure to call the police and wait for them to arrive. Give them as many details as you can, and exchange information with the other driver. Call your insurance company right away and give them every detail that you can remember.
Reading an Accident Report
Whenever you are in an accident, you will get a Police Traffic Collision Report. Although the report may not be admissible as evidence in a civil lawsuit, an insurance company will need it to settle your claim. The report should document when and where the accident took place and what happened. Be sure to check that the time and the date of the accident are correct. All states have statutes of limitations for filing insurance claims and lawsuits, and a report with the wrong date on it can be a costly error.
The accident report should also state whether or not the police have pictures of the collision on file. If there are pictures, you are entitled to copies.
The report will have the names of the driver involved in the collision and the names of any passengers or witnesses. Witnesses can be very important to file a claim for compensatory damages. A good report will also list any contributory factors for the accident, including weather and traffic conditions.
Documenting Medical Expenses
Be sure to document all of the expenses related to your accident. Get a receipt for every medical visit that you have and for any medicine that you take for your injuries. Get documentation from your employer as to how much work you have missed and the effect of your absence on the business. If you are seeking compensation for emotional pain and suffering, you may want to be evaluated by a mental health expert. It is always best to see a licensed therapist or psychiatrist.
Insurance Laws in California
There are two types of auto insurance systems in the United States: “no-fault” and “tort.” In a no-fault state, an individual is responsible for all expenses related to an accident no matter who is at fault. In a tort state, the driver who is at fault must pay for all the expenses related to the accident. If both drivers are at fault, they will each be held responsible for their percentage of fault in an accident. California is a fault state.
Finding an Attorney
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Bauman Law can help you get the compensation that you deserve. They have settled over 6000 cases and have a team of dedicated legal researchers who will use every resource at their disposal to fight for you.
- Personal Injury Law & Statutory Rules in California
- How Is Fault Determined in California Personal Injury Cases?
- Types of Personal Injury Compensation in California
- Steps to Preserve Your Legal Claim When You Are Injured by Another’s Actions
- Limits on Injury Damages in California