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Understanding the Auto Accident Claims Process in California

The range of beautiful outdoor spaces and thriving cities across California offer something for everyone. However, whether you are heading down the coast or simply traveling through your neighborhood, California’s open spaces require a good amount of driving. Unfortunately, auto accidents are an inevitable byproduct of all that car travel.

Car accidents are extremely stressful and frustrating. In addition to the mental and monetary toll, car accidents are also incredibly dangerous and can result in vehicular property damage, personal injury, and even death.

Because of the possibility of mishaps, it is ideal for drivers to have a working knowledge of the steps to take immediately after an accident occurs. Drivers should also be informed about the basic process of car accident claims and settlements in the state of California.

Steps Drivers Should Take Immediately After an Auto Accident

Following an auto accident your own health and bodily safety are the primary concern. Regardless of how severe the accident is, be sure to attend to any immediate medical needs first and foremost.

If you are seriously injured following an accident, seek medical care as soon as possible. Follow the instructions of your healthcare provider, both for the sake of your own health and also in case of any possible settlement resulting from the crash. If a future claim is presented, you will need to provide detailed evidence that you are seeking regular medical treatment and taking all possible steps to recover from the related injury.

After tending to issues of personal safety, drivers should properly document the circumstances surrounding the accident as much as possible. This is especially true in cases where another driver is at fault. Relevant types of evidence include:

  • Photos of the accident and vehicle damage from various angles
  • Videos of the aftermath of the accident
  • Contact and insurance information from all other drivers that are involved
  • Contact information from any witnesses who can corroborate what happened

While drivers are often understandably upset right after an accident, all interactions should be kept as calm and professional as possible. Never say or do anything that suggests that you are at fault in an accident.

In California, motorists must report all auto accidents that involve injury or death and those in which property damage exceeds $750. Failing to report a qualifying accident can result in extensive legal penalties.

When Drivers Should Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm

It is critical to contact legal professionals to ensure that the aftermath of the accident breaks in your favor. If an auto accident has resulted in an injury or death, it is best for drivers to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Under California law, personal injury claims must be filed within the first two years following the accident, while property damage claims must be filed within three years. However, filing a claim immediately after it occurs is typically better because drivers will have clear memories of the timeline of events and the relevant documentation on hand.

Enlisting experienced legal representation is invaluable when navigating the complex claims and settlement process. For example, after an auto accident the other involved driver will likely report the claim to their insurance company. When speaking with a representative of the insurance company of the other driver, your financial interests are not that company’s top priority. It is important to have a qualified attorney who can negotiate the process on your behalf and who works to ensure the best outcome for you.


Unfortunately, it is also the case that drivers’ own insurance companies sometimes engage in bad faith practices–rejecting claims without any explanation, denying coverage that has been paid for, or failing to provide compensation within a reasonable timeframe. Drivers are at a great advantage when they employ the services of an experienced legal team.

Auto Accident Settlement Timelines and Amount Estimates

While people often wonder how long a typical auto accident settlement takes, there is no uniform answer to this question. The duration of the claims and settlement process will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident in question.

When considering settlement timelines, it is important to remember that the statistical average does not deliver much useful information because each accident is unique. In each case, unique factors like the type and extent of personal injuries or property damage will influence how long a settlement will take.

Drivers also wonder about the kinds of financial outcomes they can expect from their auto accident settlement. Monetary amounts for each settlement are based on a range of relevant details, which is why motorists should contact legal professionals for more specific estimates. The factors that will influence the financial outcome include:

  • Incurred medical bills as a result of the accident
  • Evidence and extent of pain and suffering
  • Costs for any necessary in-home care
  • Lost wages as a result of injury
  • Vehicle repair costs

No matter what the unique circumstances surrounding an auto accident happen to be, drivers should contact a personal injury law firm in order to make sure that their interests are being represented throughout the settlement process.

If you believe you are entitled to a settlement as a result of a car accident in California, contact the trusted and veteran legal team at Lalezary Law Firm. Our results-driven approach and successful track record allow us to offer a no-fee guarantee unless we win your case. Our friendly staff and effective attorneys will provide personalized legal advocacy to ensure that you get what you deserve.

Contact Lalezary Law Firm online or call (888) 788-8888 today. We Fight. You Win. They Pay.

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