Auto Accident Lawyer Simi Valley, CA
If you suffered injuries in a car crash, you should consult an auto accident lawyer Simi Valley, CA from Barry P. Golberg. It is important that victims know their options in pursuing compensation for their losses. A lawyer from our law firm can help you file a lawsuit against the negligent party and protect your legal rights.
We urge you to reach out today if you were recently in a car accident where you sustained serious injury and financial loss, and are now interested in seeking restitution from the at-fault party for what you have been through.
How to Handle a Call with an Insurance Adjuster After an Auto Accident
If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, the negligent party’s insurance company may give you a call soon. It’s important to know what to say and what not to say. Here are some tips for dealing with a phone call from an insurance adjuster:
It’s natural to feel a wide range of emotions after being involved in a car accident. However, you should keep your composure when communicating with an insurance adjuster. If you yell and make rude comments toward the adjuster, it may negatively impact your personal injury statement.
Provide as Little Personal Information as Possible
When you speak to an insurance adjuster, don’t provide a lot of personal information about yourself. You’re only required to provide your full name, address and phone number.
Avoid Giving Details About the Accident
During your phone call with an insurance adjuster, you can expect to be asked about how the car accident happened. Although the question might seem innocent enough, you should avoid answering it. They may twist the information you tell them and use it against you in court. Politely tell the insurance adjuster that you can’t discuss details about the accident without your auto accident lawyer in Simi Valley CA.
Don’t Be Tempted to Settle
It’s possible that the insurance adjuster may offer a settlement during your first conversation. When your medical bills are piling up, you may be tempted to accept the settlement. Don’t make this mistake. The first settlement offer likely isn’t enough to cover all the damages that resulted from the accident.
Take Notes About the Conversation
It’s a good idea to write down everything that the insurance adjuster said to you during the conversation. You should also jot down everything you said.Don’t Give a Recorded Statement
If the insurance adjuster asks to record the conversation, politely decline. If you know you’re being recorded, you might get nervous and make an incomplete or inaccurate statement. It’s illegal for an adjuster to record the conversation without your permission.
Preserving Evidence at the Scene
When presenting a successful lawsuit or claim after a car accident, evidence will be a crucial influencing factor. If you have been hurt in a car crash, making sure you get medical attention for injuries is paramount. However, if your injuries aren’t severe then it can help to gather evidence at the scene, such as:Pictures of car damage and surrounding area including debris, skid marks, property damage, guardrails, road defects, and anything else that could be relevant to the collision.
Photographs of your visible injuries.
Gathering information from other drivers, witnesses, and passengers.
Video recordings of the entire crash scene.
Other information that should be obtained as evidence are listed as follows:
Records for maintenance of your vehicle. This documentation can be helpful especially if you are trying to prove that a faulty product contributed to the car accident happening.
Copy of the police report. The police report will be needed when filing your insurance claim. Be sure to ask the officer who took the report about where and how you go about getting a copy as soon as possible.
Work absence records. You may seek reimbursement for loss of wages if you missed work due to injuries from the accident.
Signs You Have a Good Auto Accident Lawyer
Being in an auto accident is stressful enough. Naturally, you want to know that you’ve chosen the right auto accident lawyer in Simi Valley CA. When you’re choosing which attorney you want to help you, consider the following signs that the person you’re working with is a good lawyer.
The Lawyer Has Good Reviews
Any good lawyer is going to have good reviews and references to back it up. Do a quick Google search for the attorney you’re interested in hiring and look at the information that comes up. Google, Yelp!, or other reviews websites should have a high star rating and plenty of written reviews. Beware of too many good reviews that seem to look exactly the same, though, as they could be paid. In addition, search their names on websites for legal institutions or ethics in law to ensure they have never been in trouble before.
The Lawyer Has Experience With Car Accident Cases
Naturally, if you’re dealing with a car accident case, you want an auto accident lawyer in Simi Valley CA who already has experience with the same types of cases. While there is not necessarily anything wrong with hiring someone who isn’t experienced with this type of case, you are more likely to get the results you want if you work with someone who already understands all the legal nuances that surround car accident cases and who knows how to bite back when insurance companies use tactics that try to make it look like you were the one in the wrong. Hiring someone with experience is important, especially if the case is a complicated one.
The Lawyer Makes You Feel Heard
A good lawyer knows when to speak up and knows when to be quiet and let you do the talking. Your auto accident lawyer in Simi Valley CA, should be a careful listener who asked clarifying questions and doesn’t try to get you to change your story. An attorney who listens attentively to you is more likely to be able to find the right evidence to support you in your case. One who rushes can miss out on the little details that could make or break your case. Furthermore, when your attorney listens to you and shows that he or she values your time by being punctual and professional, you are more likely to have a good outcome in your case.
The Lawyer Explains Things Well
While you want a lawyer who will hear you, you also want one who knows how to speak well. You probably aren’t as knowledgeable as your attorney about the court process, what to expect from the case, and what everything means. A good lawyer will take the time to sit down with you, explain what is going on, ensure you submit all paperwork on time, and walk you through what to expect during your court case. Your lawyer should answer your questions honestly and thoroughly as well.
Above all else, you want an auto accident lawyer in Simi Valley CA who is licensed and who has a solid reputation among his or her peers. Don’t be afraid to research several attorneys before finding the right match for your needs.
4 Questions To Ask Your Lawyer
When you’ve scheduled your consultation with a Barry P. Goldberg auto accident lawyer in Simi Valley CA, it’s a good idea to come prepared with the questions you’d like to ask. Here are four questions to ask your lawyer at your consultation.
1. How Do You Plan To Help Me?
This first question is simple and effective, especially if you’ve never consulted with an auto accident lawyer in Simi Valley CA. It gives your representative the chance to explain their role, the role of other practitioners, and how legal cases of this kind typically unfold.
If your lawyer uses legal terms or concepts that you’re not familiar with, take the opportunity to ask for definitions. Along these lines, it’s a good idea to take notes during your consultation so that you can ask questions or request clarifications once your lawyer finishes laying out the plan.
2. What Is the Timeline for My Case?
Most lawsuits run from a few weeks to more than a year to resolve. While your lawyer may not be able to give you an exact start and end date, a ballpark idea allows you to prepare for any impact on your professional or personal life. For example, you may need to request time away from your workplace to organize paperwork or attend legal meetings. While most cases tend to settle out of court, you will need to prepare for time off work if your case goes to trial.
3. What Paperwork or Information Will I Need To Submit?
Your lawyer will instruct you on the type of paperwork or information you might be required to provide, ranging from witnesses to photograph or video materials. Knowing sooner rather than later what you need to gather lets you get a headstart on the process. Don’t forget to ask your lawyer how to provide this information, from hard copies to digital files on thumb drives.
4. What Else Should I Know or Do?
This fourth question is a fitting last question for legal and many other types of professional consultations. It gives you and your Barry P. Goldberg lawyer a chance to review your conversation and return to any unfinished or undiscussed items. It’s also a good time to query your representative on the frequency and mode of your communication throughout your case. Knowing how you two and any company associates will work together can give you more confidence in the process.
Who can serve best as witnesses?
As your auto accident lawyer Simi Valley CA victims trust from Barry P. Goldberg can discuss with you, there are many potential witnesses that you can use for your case. As your lawyer may ask, were there any passengers in the vehicle with you when the accident happened? Were there any bystanders who rushed over to help? Was there anyone else around who had seen the accident happen, or the aftermath of it? These are examples of people who can be used as witnesses for your case. Depending on where the accident happened, you may or may not have many witnesses present.
How will I know if a witness will benefit my case?
What your Simi Valley auto accident lawyer can do is contact witnesses after the accident, just to be sure that their statement doesn’t actually work against your case. While witnesses sure are helpful, if what they say does not support your side of the story, then they may have the opposite effect. Your lawyer can ask certain questions just to see with the person saw, and whether they are a good candidate to be a witness.
Do I need to get a witness statement at the scene?
You don’t have to worry about getting a full statement from a witness at the scene of the accident. The situation may be too chaotic to do so, so just gather the witness’s name and contact information if they’re willing to share this with you. Don’t be dismayed if some witnesses don’t want to become involved in your claim, as some people are standoffish when it comes to being a part of legal disputes. There are other ways to show that you were not at fault for the accident aside from just witness testimony.
What else can be useful evidence?
In addition to witnesses, useful evidence can be things like photographs and video of the scene, the clothing and shoes you were wearing, confiscated debri or car parts in the road, street camera footage, and the type of and extent of your injuries, among others. Don’t be too worried if you don’t have all of this kind of evidence, as that is something your lawyer can help you gather. Depending on the factors of the accident, certain evidence may have more weight and support your side of the story than others.
What if I wasn’t able to speak with witnesses?
If your injuries were so severe that you were not able to take photographs of the scene and obtain the driver’s information, then there are other ways to support your side of the story as the victim. If there were passengers in the vehicle with you, they can attest to what you went through. As our Simi Valley lawyer auto accident team would suggest, if you were too seriously injured to even think about witnesses or gathering scene evidence, then you can use other elements of proof for your case, such as medical documentation, expert testimony, police reports, and more.
Understanding California Auto Accident Laws
As our Simi Valley, CA auto accident lawyer can advise, being informed about these laws is essential for anyone involved in an auto accident in California.
In California, navigating the legal landscape following an auto accident involves understanding specific state laws that govern these incidents. The state’s unique rules and regulations can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
At-Fault State And Pure Comparative Negligence
California operates under an “at-fault” system for auto accidents. This means the person responsible for the accident is liable for the damages. However, California also follows the rule of “pure comparative negligence.” This rule allows a damaged party to recover compensation even if they are 99% at fault. However, their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if you are found to be 30% at fault for an accident, your compensation will be reduced by 30%.
Statute Of Limitations
There is a specific timeframe within which you must file a lawsuit after an auto accident in California. This is known as the statute of limitations. For personal injury claims, the deadline is typically two years from the date of the accident. For property damage claims, it extends to three years. Missing this deadline usually means losing your right to seek compensation, making timely consultation with a Simi Valley auto accident lawyer crucial.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
California law requires all vehicle owners to have a minimum amount of liability insurance. This includes $15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person, and $5,000 for property damage. Despite this requirement, it’s not uncommon to encounter uninsured or underinsured drivers, complicating the compensation process.
Reporting The Accident
In California, you must report any auto accident involving injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000 to the California Highway Patrol or the local police within 24 hours. Additionally, within ten days, you must report such accidents to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) using the SR-1 form. Failure to report can lead to legal penalties, including the suspension of your driving license.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
While not mandatory, California law allows for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in auto insurance policies. This coverage can be invaluable in accidents where the at-fault party lacks sufficient insurance. It’s an additional safety net that can cover medical bills and other losses.
In navigating these complex laws, the expertise of a knowledgeable auto accident legal specialist is invaluable. They can guide you through the intricacies of California’s auto accident laws, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation.
At Barry P. Goldberg, we understand the intricacies of California’s auto accident laws and are dedicated to helping our clients navigate their legal journey with confidence. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, don’t hesitate to reach out. Get in touch with a Simi Valley auto accident lawyer from our office to get started.
Call Barry P. Goldberg Today
Dealing with a car accident is immensely stressful, and no one should have to battle it alone. Many people don’t realize that they are eligible for substantial compensation after a serious car accident. And unfortunately, this means so many victims have to pay for medical bills and other losses out of their own pocket. With our team, you can trust that we have your best interest in mind always. We know how to advocate for our clients in a compassionate yet strategic way. For the legal assistance you need, schedule a consultation with a Simi Valley, CA auto accident lawyer from Barry P. Goldberg today.