An horrific accident in Newport reminds us that bad drivers are not the only hazards on the road. Five teens were killed when their car went off-road and hit a tree. Upon impact, the car split in two and caught fire. No other vehicles are believed to be involved in the crash. A veteran firefighter remarked that it was among the worst accidents he ever witnessed.
If you suffered an injury in any type of auto accident, first get immediate and complete medical attention. After you receive medical treatment, consider whether you should pursue legal avenues.
Commonly asked auto accident questions include:
How long do I have to file my case?
If your case is against another private party, you must normally file your case within two years of your accident to satisfy the statute of limitations. If you are suing a government agency, you generally have less time ― typically six months or less, depending on which agency you are suing. If you wait too long to file your case and the statute of limitation lapses, you may be permanently barred from suing.
Who can be held responsible in an auto accident?
Any party that in any way led to the accident can be held responsible. Often, but not always, the responsible party is the driver the police report indicates was responsible for the accident. Less obvious third parties like governments, vehicle manufacturers and even passengers may also be held responsible.
What if I am also responsible for my injuries?
If you believe this to be the case, only share this with your attorney, as you may be mistaken. But even if you are somewhat at fault, other parties may also be blameworthy. Under the California pure comparative negligence standard, you can obtain the percentage of damages you are eligible for, minus the percentage of the damage that was caused by you.
What types of damages am I entitled to be compensated for?
Depending on the scenario, you may be eligible for the following:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Mental and emotional suffering
- Physical pain and suffering
- Lost salary
When someone’s negligence causes a death, the victim’s surviving family can seek compensation for funeral costs, economic losses and non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship.
Do I need a lawyer to represent me?
The vast majority of cases are settled by the parties before trial. Whether or not you intend to go to go to trial or settle your case, an experienced firm can help you immensely, particularly with the insurance companies that are looking to lower their exposure. If you have to litigate your case, a good firm can skillfully investigate the accident and fully comprehend the legal significance of every party’s behavior to determine their respective faults.