Have you been injured in an accident? Here are some key factors to consider, even if you feel like you're going to be OK.
What if Accident Injuries Don't Show Up Right Away?
It happens. Your body reacts swiftly to impact and injury by producing adrenaline and other key endorphins. These mask and delay pain. Pain may take hold later:
- Bone breaks. Sometimes you can move your joints, and pain from a fall or other impact doesn't get any worse the next day, but x-rays show a fracture.
- Damage to tissues. A hard impact can injure tendons or muscles, making it hard to move parts of your body. Yet the pain may take a day or more to occur.
- Concussions. You might not know you've sustained one. Don't risk complications. Don't hope a headache or confusion will simply go away.
- Abnormal sleep patterns (sleeping more than usual or less than usual).
If you exhibit any of these signs following a car accident, you should seek medical treatment right away.
Take these Precautions After a Car Accident.
Be mentally prepared. Normally, people call the insurance company to locate an authorized tow and body shop. Here's what else to do.
- Get police assistance - Dial 911. Do your best to ensure a descriptive police report. It can help you in the claims process, settlement, or trial. For the sake of safety and an accurate report, it may be best to wait until the police arrive before trying to move the car if it's not in the way of traffic.
- Preserve images from the scene - Support your claims with photos; include factors such as intersections, signage, lighting, and weather. Take notes about the details. If there are witnesses, get contact details.
- See a doctor - Get a doctor's advice on watching for issues over time. A doctor can also help you avoid worsening an injury, by treating swelling and other issues.
- Record your medical details - Keep dated records of medical advice and treatment you receive and any changes in your health. Follow medical advice. Missing work or important events may affect your compensation.
- Don't rush - Avoid losing your legal option to pursue compensation that's your due. Don't agree to sign anything from insurance agents until your medical situation is clearly known. A medical professional is in the best position to know how much time you need to take.
- Get in touch with a lawyer - Discuss fault and compensation factors under state law. Do not assume your insurance agents know (their corporate claims office may be in another state). Avoid assuming that your agent is your advocate.
What Does California Law Say About Personal Injury Claims?
Should you put off medical treatment after an accident, an insurance company may deny you were hurt in the incident. But courts give you time, according to the law. Under California's statute of limitations, from the date your injury occurred, you have 2 years to sue the responsible parties. If your claim is against a government actor or state agency, you only get six months to file. Now the good news. If the injury didn't show up right away, you get 1 year from the date you discovered your injury.
Were both sides breaking laws or rules at the time of your injury? If so, this will impact the amount of damages you can receive from other at-fault people or entities. California's “pure comparative negligence" standard reduces your award of damage, proportionate to your degree of fault.
What if a dog bit or injured you? In that case, California imposes strict liability—making the dog owner responsible no matter what you did, and even if the incident occurred on the dog owner's property.
If you were driving without insurance, unless the other driver was driving intoxicated, you can't recover “non-economic” damages after a car accident. That means you can't get compensation for physical impairment, pain and suffering, or inconvenience. California also limits non-economic damages in most medical malpractice cases to $250,000.
Why Do I Need an Experienced California Personal Injury Lawyer?
Insurance companies are good neighbors until you need them most. Get an advocate, and the compensation to which you're entitled. At Johnson Attorneys Group, we are personal injury attorneys who have years of experience helping injured persons in California. From one of our 12 convenient locations, we'll carefully explain the legal process, and help make you whole again. We have the resources to help you find a doctor, even if you lack health insurance. We are proud to say we have recovered more than $98.4 million for our clients. Johnson Attorneys Group won't charge you unless we win or successfully settle your case.