After a car accident, it is OK—even necessary—to take some time just to process what has happened and take the first steps toward recovery. One step you may consider at some point is filing a lawsuit. Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices can help you decide if this is the right option for you. If so, we can provide you with a Lancaster car accident lawyer to protect your interests. Call us at (888) 522-6291 for a free case evaluation.
What to Do if You Have Been in a Car Accident
The first moments after a car accident are critical, both to your health and to any legal action you may wish to take.
First, take stock of your injuries (and the injuries of your passengers). If you have a serious injury (e.g., heavy bleeding), call emergency medical services immediately. Otherwise, it is better to call the police and stay on the scene until they arrive. The responding officer will want to hear from you about what happened.
While waiting for the police, there are other actions you can take that may help you recover monetary compensation in the future. If the other driver has not left the scene, get their contact and insurance information. If your phone is working, get some photos of the accident scene, taking special note of any property damage or personal injuries you suffered.
A lot of this advice is easier said than done; the aftermath of even the “simplest” car accidents can be chaotic and frightening. Just do the best you can. If you hire a lawyer, be honest with them about what actions you took immediately after the accident.
Your Accident May Entitle You to Damages
Every state has a statute of limitations. This law gives accident victims a certain time to file their lawsuits. In California, per California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1, that time is two years. In other words, if you want to be able to collect monetary compensation, you must start your case within two years of the accident.
Before you file your lawsuit, however, you must know what you are suing for. Most likely, your injuries and losses will fall into one of two categories: economic damages or non-economic damages.
Economic damages are compensation for any money you lost because of your accident and/or accident injuries. For example, you may qualify for economic damages if you:
- Lost income because your injuries prevented you from working
- Lost earning capacity because your injuries will always prevent you from earning as much as you could have before
- Incurred medical expenses to treat and manage your accident injuries
- Incurred repair expenses to fix the damage that the accident did to your vehicle
Non-economic damages are compensation for any physical harm or psychological trauma you suffered because of your accident and/or accident injuries. You may qualify for non-economic damages if you experienced:
- Pain and suffering due to your physical and/or mental wounds
- Reduced quality of life because your injuries prevent you from handling basic tasks or engaging in favorite hobbies
- Loss of consortium because your injuries have negatively impacted your marriage
- Scarring or disfigurement due to injuries that did not heal completely
An Attorney Can Help with All Aspects of Your Case
Still not sure if you want to file a lawsuit? That is understandable—legal action is a big step to take. If you think it would be helpful to talk to a law firm first, call Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices at (888) 522-6291. We will assess your case and address your concerns. Then, if you decide to retain our services, a Lancaster car accident lawyer will figure out how best to approach your case. They may take any or all of the following steps:
Documentary evidence—photos and police reports, for example—can help convince the liable party’s insurance company to pay what you are seeking. A lawyer will collect all available evidence as they build your case.
They will also identify any laws that pertain to your accident. For example, California Vehicle Code (VEH) §23123.5 prohibits the use of any handheld electronic device while driving. If your accident was caused by a distracted driver, your lawyer can look for proof, specifically showing that they broke this law.
The insurance company is often willing to settle out of court. Getting them to agree to a fair settlement, however, can still be difficult. Instead of arguing with them yourself, let your lawyer represent you in negotiations. We are not afraid to get tough when we have to.
Once a settlement has been reached, your lawyer will draw up the necessary paperwork and go over everything with you before you sign. This way, you can be confident that the agreement is fair and includes everything you need to move on with your life.
While most cases end in a settlement, some do end up in court. If that happens to you, do not worry: your lawyer will continue to fight for you by taking your case to trial. This generally involves scheduling the court dates, submitting documentary evidence to the presiding judge, and presenting arguments before a jury. It is then up to the jury to decide whether to award you damages and, if so, how much.
Call Us Today
If you need a lawyer serving Lancaster, California, call on Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices. A Lancaster car accident lawyer from our firm will work for you in exchange for a contingency fee, so you do not need to worry about paying us until you have received your money. Our phone number is (888) 522-6291, and we have team members standing by to take your call all day, every day.