Filing An Irvine Car Accident Claim

After you retain an experienced Irvine car accident lawyer to represent you, the next step to take would be for the car accident attorney to determine whether the adverse negligent driver has insurance. This can be accomplished by contacting the adverse driver, or a police report may indicate insurance information.

Following this step, it is necessary to establish that the insurance coverage was in forceĀ on the date of the accident. Sometimes people initially have an insurance policy, but they donā€™t pay the premium, so the policy may lapse due to a failure to renew. It isĀ important to remember that just because someone has an insurance card in their glove box or their wallet, and they give it to the police officer at the scene of an accident, does not confirm that their insurance policy was in effect on the date of the incident.

By confirming this insurance informationĀ and by contacting the insurance company or the adverse negligent party, an Irvine car accident lawyer can help clients take the first steps in presentingĀ the claim. The adverse driverā€™s insurance company will open a claim file, which is an official company record that a claim is being presented on your behalf.

Pursuing a Case in Civil Court

One important distinction to make is that filing a claim with an insurance company is not the same as filing a case in court. Commencing litigation by filing a complaint inĀ Superior Court comes later, after the car accident attorney deals with the insurance company and makes a determination as to whether there will be good faith settlement discussions before commencing the litigation process. Litigation is then initiated by filing a formal complaint in Superior Court, which requires a certain filing fee, which in Orange County, California and most parts of California is in the range of $450 to $500. The personal injury attorney will generally advance this costĀ on behalf of the injured client.

The next step of the case would include pre-trial discovery (exchanging information as evidence) and preparing the case for trial or arbitration. If the deposition (statement under-oath) of the client is required, the experienced car accident attorney will prepare you and attend to protect your rights.

How Cases in Irvine Differ From Other Jurisdictions

Amajor specialized statute in Irvine and throughout California is if the adverse negligent driver who caused the car accident works for a governmental agency or entity.

For example, if an Orange County public bus rear-ended the injured victim, or if a police officer caused the accident, the specialized statute requires that the injured party file a government claim within six months of the date of the accident.

If you miss the six-month deadline, then the injured party may have difficulty obtaining appropriate compensation. That is much shorter than the two-year statute of limitations deadline to file a complaint in a personal injury case in California.

Comparative Negligence in Irvine Car Accident Cases

Comparative negligence is a legal term that was initially called contributory negligence. Comparative negligence refers to the relative amount, or ā€œpercentageā€ of fault that can be attributed to a given party involved in an accident. The following is an example that will help illustrate how this works in a car accident case:

If you have a motor vehicleĀ accident where two parties were involved, and the negligent party who caused the accident was not 100% at fault, this means that the injured party may have also contributed to the cause of the accident. In this example, ifĀ driver number one could be held 75% at fault but driver number two (the injured client) did contribute somewhat (25% at fault). Under this assessment, the individual who is 25% at fault should be able to collect 75% of their damages, depending upon the category of damages.

These calculations can get more complicated based on the extent of the injuries, medical expenses, and lost earnings, but that is basically the role of comparative fault in a car accident case.

Importance of Contacting An Attorney Early On

In a car accident case, it is very important for the attorney to have the opportunity to conduct the appropriate investigations.Ā This means following up to confirm or question the facts listed in the police report, gathering evidence independently, or speaking with key witnesses.

If you or a passenger have the identifying information of a witness who failed to give a statement to the police following the accident, it would be important to give the attorney this information to make sure that the liability is established in the case. Gathering key witness statements for the purposes of re-creating or confirming the dynamics of an accident can often be a key factor in establishing liability in car accident cases.