General Information you need to know about your California Auto Accident Case
- If you have already been in an auto or other type of motor vehicle accident in the State of California, we highly recommend that you stop reading right now, and call our law firm for a free telephone consultation at (800) 816-1529, Ext. 1. We will tell you over the telephone if we think that you have a case and whether we can help you.
- If we believe we can help you, and you decide to retain us, we can then send our investigator to you with all of the legal forms necessary for you to retain our law firm.
- If you do not have medical insurance or a medical provider, we can immediately refer you to an appropriate doctor near you for medical treatment. (Yes, even if you do not have medical insurance)
- Yes, this can all be accomplished with one phone call to our law firm. We try to make the process as simple as possible for you.
TIME LIMIT TO FILE A LAWSUIT IN YOUR AUTO OR MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT (California STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS)
The present Statute of Limitations for filing a lawsuit for personal injuries related to an Auto or vehicle accident in the State of California is two (2) years from the date of the accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within two (2) years, you lose your right to sue!
If any of the parties to an accident is a governmental entity such as county vans and vehicles, a claim must be filed with that governmental entity within 6 months from the date of the accident. If the entity rejects the claim, you must then file a lawsuit within 6 months from the date of the rejection.
The only time that you should ever wait two years to file a lawsuit in an auto or motor vehicle accident, is if you are presently treating with a medical provider for injuries sustained in the accident. In such cases your damages are not fully known (ripe).
What do you do if you are in an Auto or other Motor Vehicle Accident?
Being in an auto accident or other type of motor vehicle accident can be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life, especially if you are seriously injured. Tens of thousands of people die each year in motor vehicle accidents in the United States.
If you are in any type of auto or motor vehicle accident, make sure you get a police report, especially if you are injured.
Many police agencies in California will not respond to what they consider to be minor auto accidents. If you are in an auto accident and you are injured, make sure you inform the police of this fact, and insist that someone come out to investigate the auto accident and take a police report. This is very important for your case.
If you are able, try to get the names and addresses of any and all witnesses.
Do not make any statements at the scene of the auto accident to anybody but the police.
If you are truly injured, call the paramedics or request that someone else call the paramedics for you. It’s better to error on the side of caution, than to find out later that you are seriously injured.
If the paramedics give you the option of not being transported to a hospital, tell them that you want to be transported to a hospital. By law the paramedics must transport injured persons to a hospital upon request. Again, it is better to error on the side of caution. We have seen all types of auto accident victims, and many types of auto accident injuries could result in internal bleeding or hidden damage that you might be aware of at the time of the accident. After an auto accident, the chemical adrenaline is produced by the body which increases your heart rate. During this process the pain you are experiencing might not seem too severe.
We cannot tell you how many of our clients have been involved in auto accidents and went home thinking that the pain they were feeling would go away, only to end up not being able to move a few hours later. GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM TO GET CHECKED OUT!
NEVER LEAVE THE SCENE OF An AUTO ACCIDENT, THE REQUIREMENT OF THE EXCHANGE INFORMATION
California Law requires that all persons involved in an auto accident to exchange driver’s license, Vehicle Registration, and insurance information with each other at the scene of an accident.
If you are physically able, you must also provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information to any other persons involved in the auto accident.
Never leave the scene of an auto accident without exchanging information. You could be charged with hit and run which is a felony and a crime in the State of California.
Do not drive down the street and then stop. We highly recommend that you leave your auto where it is until the police arrive so that they can observe the position of the auto or vehicle and do their report. Only if you have too, do we recommend moving your auto out of traffic to the side of the road or medium of a freeway. ONLY MOVE YOUR AUTO IF YOU HAVE TOO FOR SAFETY REASONS! In any case, never move your vehicle to a location where it can be construed by someone that you fled from the scene of an auto accident!
Unfortunately many persons in the State of California drive illegally without auto or motor vehicle insurance. It is for this reason that we always tell our clients to obtain auto uninsured motorist bodily injury, and uninsured motorist property damage insurance coverage.
You may find out while exchanging information with the other motorist you had an accident with that they have some sort of excuse for not having a current proof of insurance auto, or they may not even have a driver’s license. If this is the case, it is more likely than not that the other driver does not have insurance or a driver’s license. We do not recommend arguing with the other driver. Arguing can lead to physical violence. It’s bad enough that you just had an accident, the last thing you need is to go to jail for fighting with the other driver, or being physically assaulted. Use your brain! Get whatever information you can from the person even if they provide proper documentation.
When provided with the things mentioned above, write everything down in detail, i.e., Full Name, Address, Driver’s License Number, Date of Expiration, Date of Birth, Hair Color, Height, Weight, Restrictions, Insurance Company name, address, and telephone number, Insurance policy number, date of expiration of insurance, Year, Make, Model, License Plate, Vehicle Identification Number, and Color of all vehicles involved in the accident, Registered owner of vehicle, address, etc.
In other words, write down every piece of information from each of the items given to you by the other driver. It will only help us to prosecute your case!
Here are some things that you might try to write down aside from the required information mentioned above:
Were any of the parties involved in the auto accident driving a commercial vehicle, truck, van, and/or working at the time of the accident?
Any statements made by any of the persons involved in the auto accident.
A full description (race, height, age, weight, hair color and style, clothes, etc.) of each driver involved in the auto accident.
Whether any persons in the auto accident were wearing eye glasses or sun glasses.
Whether any persons involved in the auto accident appeared to be intoxicated.
Passenger information for all vehicles involved in the auto accident.
Whether the windows of any of the vehicles involved in the auto accident were tinted.
Whether any persons involved in the auto accident talking on the cell phone at the time of the accident. (their cell phone records can be obtained by us through subpoena if we are forced to litigate)
The facts of the auto accident as you understand them.
All witness names, addresses, telephone numbers, vehicle types, license plate numbers, etc. (sometimes witnesses will offer to help at the scene of the auto accident, but then become unavailable or refuse to return phone calls or mailings after the fact. Getting detailed information from them including their vehicle information may help us to locate them if necessary or they become non-cooperative.)
If you are physically able, call our office at (800) 816-1529, Ext. 1, from the scene of the auto accident, and we will try to immediately dispatch an investigator to the accident scene, depending upon where you are and the facts of the accident. If you cannot call us, try to contact level headed relatives or friends to come to the scene of the accident. They can not only help you to obtain information, but they can also act as witnesses to statements made by persons involved in the accident, property damage, and your injuries. Witnesses are always a good thing, especially if they are helpful to your case! They can also assist you in removing belongings from your vehicle if necessary, and give you a ride if you auto needs to be towed.
Following our advice will in the end help us to prosecute your case.
What do you do with your auto After an Accident?
You have been involved in an auto accident or other motor vehicle accident, what do you do with your auto?
Before discussing this subject, we want to discuss the subject of “Road Side Assistance Plans,” such as AAA, On Star, and/or insurance company provided plans.
We recommend that you always have a Road Side Assistance plan because it will not only help you out if your auto breaks down, you lock you keys in the auto, or run out of gas, and can also save you lots of grief if you do have an auto accident.
There are two types of accidents; (1) The type where your auto is totaled and/or not drivable; and the type of accident where you auto is drivable. There is also the situation where you may be too injured to make any decisions about your auto at the scene of an accident. We will not discuss that scenario right now.
If you vehicle is obviously totaled and/or not drivable, and you are able, we first recommend if you are able too, that you call your insurance company from the scene of the accident to report the accident. Your insurance company should be able to give you a list of approved auto body shops that you can have your auto towed too nearby, and you may find out that your insurance company will cover the cost of the tow. Often times your insurance company may arrange to have the auto towed to the nearest approved auto body shop. Using this process will also help speed up the process of the insurance company’s investigation, appraising the damage, and either having the auto repaired or totaling the auto. However, some insurance companies will not assign an adjuster to your case for 24-48 hours. Either way, try your insurance company first.
If the above is not possible, and you are in a situation where you can call your road side assistance company, call them, and inform them that you have been in an accident and ask them to send a tow truck to tow your auto. With most road side assistance programs this service is free. If you allow the police to have your auto towed, your auto will usually be taken to a tow lot that will then charge you for the tow and storage until your auto is removed from their lot. Although your insurance may pay for this, it will be harder to get your personal belongings out of the auto in the short term.
If you auto or vehicle is SAFELY drivable, then immediately drive it home or to your auto body shop to have get an estimate of the damage. It is very important to get the estimate in writing.
The Necessity of retaining counsel
The above information is just a small part what you need to know when dealing with accidents.
As a firm that handles personal injury cases, including all types of auto, motorcycle, truck, bus, and other motor vehicle accidents, we must above all, highly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you in your accident case. Preferably within the first 24-48 hours of the time the accident occurred.
We have dealt with many people who thought they could do it on their own without a lawyer, who in the end either by their own words or conduct unintentionally sabotaged their own case, or settled their case for a small fraction of what their case was actually worth.
More than anything, we dislike having to tell someone who attempted to handle this complex area of the law on their own, that there is nothing we can do for them because they already settled their case, or they waited too long to file suit, etc.
Our purpose as a law firm is to provide you with aggressive, competent legal representation on your case. The word competency is not just some marketing term. Competency means that you have the someone has the expertise and knowledge to handle something.
The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez has the level of competency necessary to get you maximum results in your case.
We have what it takes to prosecute your case. Don’t be a fool, and try to represent yourself. Lawyers are here for a reason; because we know the system and how to navigate through it. We know what you are entitled too and how to get it either through settlement or litigation.
You may call us now for a free consultation on your case at (800) 816-1529, Ext. 1; you have nothing to lose except the money you may be entitled to in your case!