Car accidents can be a traumatic experience, causing physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial burdens. If you’ve been involved in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Depending on your situation, you could pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against the negligent driver.
The car accident settlement process can be lengthy and complex, but a California car accident attorney can help. A Bakersfield car accident lawyer can evaluate your case, identify your optimal path to compensation, and fight for your maximum recovery each step of the way.
California’s Fault-Based Accident Laws
California is a fault-based insurance state, which means that negligent drivers are financially responsible for any accidents that they cause. If you were injured in a collision, you have the right to pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver who caused your accident.
Most claims begin and end in the insurance stage. However, you may want to escalate your claim to a personal injury lawsuit if the insurer fails to offer an adequate settlement or denies your claim. Additionally, you may want to file a lawsuit from the beginning if your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits.
The Car Insurance Settlement Process
Your first course of action will likely involve filing an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. When you file your claim, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to investigate the accident and review your damages. This process may take several weeks or months, depending on the complexity of your case.
At the conclusion of your claim, the insurance company will decide whether to deny your claim or offer a settlement. Your attorney can help you review the potential offer, determine if they are fair and adequate, and negotiate with the insurance company if needed. If your claim is denied, your lawyer can pursue an appeal or escalate your claim to a lawsuit.
The Car Accident Lawsuit Process
If you are unable to settle your claim with the insurance company, your attorney may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit. This process takes place in the civil court system and begins when you file a complaint. Depending on your case, a car accident lawsuit can take one year or longer to resolve.
After your lawsuit is filed, your case will enter the discovery phase, where both parties exchange information and evidence relevant to the case. The parties may negotiate a settlement at any point during the discovery phase. If you are unable to settle, the case may go to trial, and a judge or jury will decide the outcome.
Contact a California Car Accident Lawyer Today
Recovering fair compensation after a car accident can be a challenging and time-consuming process. In these situations, it is important to have an attorney on your side who can protect your rights and advocate for your best interests.
A car accident lawyer can handle all of your legal matters on your behalf, from gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance providers. Your attorney can calculate your potential damages, build a compelling case for the courtroom, and prepare you for each stage in the legal process.
With legal representation, you can focus on your recovery and move forward with your life after a car accident. As soon as possible after your collision, schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a California car accident attorney.