A car accident can disrupt your life in many ways. In addition to the physical injuries, which can be extremely painful and debilitating, you may also suffer substantial financial losses if you require significant medical treatment and you are out of work for a lengthy period while you recover. It can help to understand more about California car accident law and what you should do after a car crash.
In this article our San Mateo County car accident attorney Robert Thompson discusses several issues car accident victims face after a collision including:
- What are the common causes of San Mateo County car accidents?
- Tips for settling a property damage claim after a car accident
- How to choose the right auto repair shop after a car accident?
- Things to avoid after a car accident
- What steps should I take following a car crash in San Mateo County?
- How much is my car accident claim worth?
What Are The Common Causes Of San Mateo County Car Accidents?
According to the OTS, there were 3,654 individuals injured or killed in car crashes in San Mateo County during 2016. This number represented a slight increase in car accident injuries and fatalities during 2015. Alcohol-impaired driving was involved in 399 injuries and deaths during 2016.
Thousands of people are injured or killed in automobile accidents each year. In many cases, the cause of the accident involves negligence or carelessness. Under California’s personal injury laws, a person or entity can be held liable for damages caused by a car crash that is the party’s fault.
Some of the common causes of car accidents in San Mateo County each year include:
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving, using a cell phone, eating, drinking, grooming, reading emails, watching videos, taking care of children, and programming a GPS
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Impaired driving, including drunk driving accidents and drugged driving
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Hazardous road conditions
- Poor weather conditions
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Aggressive driving or road rage
Regardless of the cause of a traffic accident, it is important to seek legal advice before talking to an insurance adjuster. If you agree to provide a written or recorded statement or sign a release without consulting with a San Mateo County car accident lawyer, you could hurt your chance of recovering full compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.
The insurance adjuster for the other party is trying to get information the company can use to deny or undervalue your claim. Take advantage of the free consultation provided by San Mateo County accident attorney Robert Thompson to learn more about how insurance companies settle claims and how to avoid insurance claim mistakes.
Things To Avoid After A Car Accident
Some of the things you do after a car accident in San Mateo County can hurt your chance of recovering full compensation for your injuries and losses.
- Avoid Admitting Fault for a Car Accident
For instance, admitting fault at the accident scene can reduce your compensation, even if you were not at fault for the collision. Avoid saying “I’m sorry” after a car accident because this statement can be interpreted as admitting fault. Your compensation can be reduced under California’s comparative fault laws if you are partially responsible for causing a car crash.
- Avoid Using Social Media After a Car Crash
Using social media after a motor vehicle accident can also be a problem. Insurance companies and defense attorneys may be able to access your online posts. What you say and the photos you post could be used against you if your case goes to trial.
For instance, if you post a picture of yourself at your niece’s birthday party, the insurance company may argue you were well enough to attend a party, so you should have been well enough to work. It may not matter that you were in constant pain and only stayed at the party for 30 minutes before you needed to go home.
It is best to avoid using social media or posting anything online until you speak with a San Mateo County auto accident attorney.
- Avoid Providing Statements and Signing Releases
Insurance adjusters may push you to provide a written or recorded statement or sign a medical release form. The adjuster may tell you that he cannot process your claim without a statement and a medical release. Do not fall for this insurance tactic. Anything you say can be used against you during your case.
For example, if the adjuster can get you to admit that you overslept and was running late, the company may use your statement to argue that you were running late the day of the crash. Therefore, you were speeding or distracted at the time of the collision, so you must have contributed to the cause of the car accident.
What Steps Should I Take Following A Car Crash In San Mateo County?
Some things that you should do after a San Mateo County car crash to help improve your chance of recovering a fair settlement for your car accident claim include:
- Always stay at the accident scene and call the police. You need an official report of the traffic accident. Do not discuss the accident within anyone other than the police officer. Be honest, but do not admit fault.
- Take pictures and make videos of the accident safe, if you can do so safely. Pictures and videos can help prove fault for the collision. Try to make sure you include pictures of the location of the vehicles, the damage to the cars, the roadway, signs, traffic signals, and the surrounding area.
- If anyone witnessed the traffic accident, you should ask the person for his or her name and contact information. The police officer may not talk to all of the eyewitnesses before making his report. Some eyewitnesses may leave before the police officer arrives.
- Always see a doctor as soon as possible after a car wreck. You want to see a doctor for two reasons. First, your aches and pain could be an indication of a more serious injury. Second, you need to document your injuries for an insurance claim. A delay in medical treatment could be used by the insurance company to claim you are not as severely injured as you claim.
It is also important to seek legal advice from an experienced San Mateo County injury attorney as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident. California’s Statute of Limitations limits your time to file a car accident lawsuit. Furthermore, if a government entity is involved, your time to file a claim could be drastically reduced. It is best to call a car accident lawyer in San Mateo County as quickly as possible.
The car accident attorneys with the Thompson Law Office can help you file your car accident claim seeking compensation for your injuries. Our legal team handles all aspects of the insurance claim, including:
- Investigating the accident scene
- Obtaining a copy of the police report
- Filing a notice of claim with the insurance company
- Obtaining copies of your medical records
- Discussing your prognosis with your medical providers
- Interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence
- Preparing a settlement demand package and negotiating a settlement with the insurance company
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary, to fight for fair compensation
For a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in San Mateo County, call 1-650-513-6111 or contact our office online.
How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
Determining the value of a car accident claim involves many factors. Car accident calculators or settlement calculators you find online do not consider all factors relevant to an injury claim. In many cases, these “calculators” undervalue your claim. Our San Mateo County car accident lawyers have extensive experience calculating the value of an insurance claim.
Some of the factors that impact the amount of compensation you may receive for a car accident claim include:
- Whether you were partially responsible for the cause of the car crash;
- The type and severity of your injuries;
- The availability of insurance coverage;
- The length of your recovery;
- The total financial losses related to the accident and your injuries;
- Whether you suffered permanent impairment or disability; and,
- You anticipated future losses and damages.
Our legal team aggressively pursues evidence of your damages, including evidence of your injuries, pain, suffering, and financial losses. The value of your claim includes economic losses (medical bills, lost income, travel expense, etc.) and your non-economic damages (physical pain, emotional suffering, scarring, disability, loss of quality of life, etc.).
We work to maximize the value of your claim to increase your chance of receiving the maximum compensation allowable by law for your car accident claim.
The Lawyers of The Thompson Law Office Believe in Your Right to All the Compensation Due You for a Car Accident Claim
If a negligent driver injured you or a family member, please contact our office to speak with one of our San Mateo County car accident lawyers. Call 1-650-513-6111 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim.
Most accident claims are accepted on a contingency fee basis. You will not pay any attorney fees unless we recover money for your claim.
Tips For Settling A Property Damage Claim After A Car Accident
A priority for many people is transportation after a car accident. If another driver or party is responsible for causing the crash, the person’s insurance provider should pay to repair the vehicle damage. You should always obtain several repair estimates, even if the insurance company does not require multiple estimates. Multiple estimates allow you to compare the damage identified by each auto body shop. Sometimes, a technician may miss damage that another technician discovers during an inspection.
You need to verify that the insurance company pays for new parts. Some insurance providers try to use aftermarket or used parts to lower vehicle repair costs, which could be an issue depending on your vehicle and your manufacturer’s warranty. Before you agree to a repair shop, you also want to ensure that the insurance company will provide a rental vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired.
If your vehicle is totaled, the insurance company should compensate you by paying you an amount equal to the fair market value of your vehicle. The fair market value for your vehicle is equal to the amount you could sell your vehicle in its condition before the collision. Most insurance providers obtain several comparables within 100 miles of your location. Comparables are vehicles that match your vehicle’s year, make, and model. In many cases, the difference is in the mileage. Vehicles with higher mileage are worth less compared to vehicles with lower mileage. Therefore, request to review the comparables and do a little research on your own to ensure that you are receiving a fair value for your vehicle.
Before signing any documents for the insurance company, read the entire document very carefully. You need to make sure that you are not releasing your right to file a personal injury claim or other claim. The release should only refer to your property damage claim. If you have any doubts, contact our San Mateo County car accident attorneys for a free consultation.
How To Choose The Right Auto Repair Shop After A Car Accident?
When you are searching for an auto body shop after a car accident, it can be difficult to know if you are choosing the right auto repair shop. Some of the things to consider when choosing an accident repair shop include:
- Online reviews
- Recommendations from friends and family members
- Complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau or other agencies
- Does the repair shop use new or aftermarket parts?
- What warranties does the repair facility offer?
- Does the auto body shop specialize in your vehicle’s brand?
- Is the auto repair shop licensed and insured?
Labor costs are a significant portion of a car accident repair bill. The location of the body shop can make a significant difference in the charges for labor. You may want to obtain estimates from several areas around San Mateo County to compare labor costs.
Also, using a repair facility authorized by the insurance company may have several advantages. If the technician discovers additional damage, the technician works directly with the insurance provider to approve payment for the additional repairs. In addition, the insurance company may offer a warranty or guarantee of work performed by an authorized auto body shop. This guarantee can save you money and headaches in the future if the work is faulty.
About San Mateo County, California
There are 20 cities in San Mateo County, including San Mateo and Burlingame. It is home to Silicon Valley, San Francisco International Airport, and Stanford University. The county encompasses approximately 58 miles of beautiful California coastline, San Francisco Bay, and 104 summits, including Borel Hill and Mindego Hill. Whether you enjoy the ocean or the mountains, neither are very far from the county’s best attractions, arts, entertainment, culture, historic sites, shopping, and dining.