California’s car accident laws: Check the basics here!

The aftermath of a car accident is always complicated, and unfortunately, such accidents and crashes are reported every month in California. If you were injured in a car accident, your immediate concern should be about seeking medical assistance. Call 911, no matter who is injured, or what/who caused the accident. Also, you should call local law enforcement, and contact a car accident lawyer, to know your rights and interests. In this post, we are sharing more on California’s accident laws. 

Reporting the accident

What happens if someone was injured or killed in an accident? In such circumstances, drivers are required to make a written report of the crash and submit the same to California Highway Patrol (or local police) within 24 hours. If you called the local police, and an officer was there at the accident scene, you don’t need to file a written report separately. Accidents that result in property damage worth $1,000 or more must be reported to California DMV within 10 days from the date of accident. 

Determining fault

California follows the pure comparative negligence rule. Take this example – You were partly at fault for the accident and also endured significant losses and injuries. Can you file a lawsuit against the other driver? In California (other states that follow the pure comparative negligence rule), you can do so, no matter your share of fault. However, your eventual settlement will be reduced by percentage of your fault. 

The statute of limitations

California’s statute of limitations allows two years to bring personal injury lawsuits against the driver at fault. The count starts from the date of accident. In case the accident resulted in someone’s death, the immediate family or heirs can bring a wrongful death lawsuit within two years. However, the count will start from the date of death, which may be later than the date of accident. Note that the statute of limitations doesn’t apply to insurance claims. 

Do you need to hire a car accident lawyer?

Although a personal choice, hiring a car accident lawyer can increase your chances of getting a fair settlement. Attorneys know what it takes to pursue a personal injury claim, and they can handle negotiations with the insurance company, without you getting directly involved. Your lawyer can also decide to file a civil lawsuit, if negotiations don’t work, or the insurance company of the other driver is not enough to cover your losses. 

Contact a car accident lawyer soon after your California accident.

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