How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Car Accident?
The aftermath of a serious vehicle collision can often be a more difficult situation than the wreck itself. Many car crash victims suffer from emotional trauma like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the collision, which means they’re really in no state to be dealing with the struggles of filing a personal injury claim.
Still, a little knowledge goes a long way, and understanding the answer to this question—How do I file a personal injury claim for a car accident?—may help you overcome some of the fear and anxiety you have been feeling about your financial future.
What Person or Party Are You Suing?
The first step in filing a personal injury case is deciphering what caused your vehicle collision and who you should sue. This can be a tricky process, as you won’t always be suing the driver of the vehicle. Many external forces could have played a role in the crash, and investigating who caused your wreck could be complicated.
Nevertheless, you will need to know who to file your claim against if you want to succeed. Once you’ve decided who’s responsible, you will need to gather the evidence to prove your case against the at-fault party or parties.
Is Your Case Timely?
All states have what is called a statute of limitations, or time limit, on filing a personal injury claim. In California, the time limit is two years from the date of injury or accident. Does your case fall within the two years? If not, do you have a very good reason that it doesn’t, like, a two-year coma you just came out of? All other cases will be thrown out.
Filing the Paperwork
You must file all the proper legal paperwork, including sending demand letters to insurance companies and negligent parties. This can be a lengthy and difficult process by itself, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Help is available.
Negotiate with Insurance Companies
Before you file a lawsuit, which means you’ve decided to take your case to court, you can demand that insurance companies “settle” with you. A settlement is an offer of compensation for your injuries and suffering, usually paid to you by the at-fault party’s insurance company.
If you reach a fair settlement with the insurer, you can accept the offer and never set foot in a courtroom. Negotiating a fair offer isn’t an easy task, though. Insurers have their firsts tightly clenched around their money, and they won’t hand it over without a fight.
Take Your Case to Court
Sometimes, the insurance companies refuse to part with their cash, and the only way to get the money owed to you is to fight for it. You will then file your case in court, where it will be heard and decided on by a judge or jury. Trials can be unpredictable when it comes to personal injury cases, but having a lawyer helps your chances.
Want Some Help with Filing Your Personal Injury Claim?
Now you have the know-how to get your claim started, but knowing how to file a personal injury claim for a car accident isn’t the same as having legal experience. The attorneys at Golden State Lawyers, APC have the knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you need.
Can you afford us? Certainly! We work on a contingency fee basis for personal injury cases, so we won’t get paid unless we win you fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Call 408-279-4222 or fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation with us.