For past few years, auto accidents have been the top reason for people filing their personal injury claims in California. From the data released by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is clear that at least five people are being engaged in auto accidents every minute across the US. In California, which has some of the biggest and most advanced cities in terms of population, these accidents can create a huge concern amongst the people and the government.
In general, excluding all the states that have adapted “no-fault” law, car accident cases are being managed by the authorities under the “tort law”, specifically the statues on negligence. For this reason, car owners need to be cautious when driving their cars or other vehicles. Any failure to do so would mean negligence on their part and they would be held responsible.
Consequently, if any negligent driver causes an accident injuring an individual, his victim can file charges against him and may demand suitable compensation for the damages inflicted. However, the injured plaintiff or victim still has to prove the following factors before he or she succeeds in the claims case:
* The negligence was the biggest reason for the accident
* The driver failed to exercise due prudence in driving the car
* The accident resulted in the injuries
Therefore, it would be better if the victim consults an experienced car accident attorney for further information and advices on this legal matter.
Car Accident Statistics in California
There has been alarming increase in auto accidents in the sate. In a recent study, it was found that on an average 517 fatalities from auto rollovers cases happen almost every year. This figure is higher than last decade’s figures.
California permits high-speed transport on highways and this has been this biggest reason for high fatalities. In 2013 government study, it was found that in fatal crashes, sedans and wagons were first on the list followed by vans and SUVs with approximately 1123 fatalities.
Huge economic growth and large populations in the cities like San Francisco and LA have also attributed in number of accidents involving pedestrians.
Common Car Accident Causes
The NHTSA and various other agencies that look at safety conditions of out roads have now identified the flowing causes of most of the road accidents:
* Over speeding
* Driver incompetence
* Excessive lane switching
* Inappropriate overtaking
* Drunk driving
* Break and engine failure
* Other dangerous driving activities
Valuable Car Accident Tips
Any accident must be reported to the DMV within ten days when someone is injured, killed, or property damage exceeds $750.
If you want to report the accident to DMV, you, your legal representative or your insurance agent will have to complete Form SR-1 (Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California).
Form SR-1 should be filed in addition to the documents that police, insurance companies and other administrative agencies require. You need the following information to fill up the form………..
* Time and place of the accident
* Driver’s name, date of birth and address
* License information of other driver
* Other driver’s insurance carrier, policy details and expiration thereof
* Vehicle holder’s name and address
* Policy holder’s name and address
* Explanation of all injuries or property damages
The DMV SR1 is necessary regardless of whether the accident was caused by someone else or occurred on the private property.
If you’re injured in an auto accident, you’ll find that your case is likely to involve several parties. One of these parties is the insurance adjuster. The job of adjuster is to move claims process forward and settle as many of these as possible so that outstanding amount is kept low.
While these adjusters may appear to helping you during your claim, you may want to seriously consider getting in touch with your car accident attorney before speaking with an insurance adjuster.
Insurance Companies are For Profit
Insurance adjusters work for insurance companies that are large corporate entities that are publicly traded. They actually have a responsibility to ensure maximum profits for the company and they accomplish it by keeping the liability faced by the company to the minimum. The money paid to the injured claimants for their car accidents increases the liability.
Insurance Adjusters Try to Limit Liability
Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and get incentive to minimize claims paid. They negotiate with claimants and try to reach as low settlement as possible within a short span of time. So one of the best car accidents tips is not to negotiate with them directly but through your car accident lawyers.
The Myth of Independent Adjusters
If an insurance company does not have its local claims office in your city, it will use the services of an independent insurance adjuster. This adjusters works in a similar way as in-house adjuster expect that they do not have much authority to settle the claims and have to get them cleared by claims supervisor at the insurance company.
Many self-insured companies, insurance providers and government entities use an attorney in place of claims adjusters. There’s no need to panic if you’re negotiating with an attorney as they cannot do anything different than a normal adjuster.
The Job of an Adjuster
Most claim adjusters receive between 100-150 cases a month. They want to settle most of these cases without involving supervisors so quick settlement is in their best interests and they often don’t understand the true value of your claim.
Most of these adjusters do not have adequate legal or medical training. Therefore, you’ll have more understanding about your case than they will. Due to the volume of cases they handle, they don’t have time or resources to spend on research your case.
Settling a Case
By thoroughly preparing and being organized and by following the above mentioned car accident tips, you can easily have upper hand in negotiations. Adjusters do have authority to settle with you for an amount. They always want to settle for this amount as they can do so without reverting to their superiors. But its better to hire an attorney to take care of your interests.
Having to negotiate with your insurance company’s adjuster can be a big headache. While they might appear to be your side, they actually work for their company and look after their interests. With proper preparations, you can easily receive a fair settlement within a short time. If you do not have necessary experience negotiating claims settlements, you should consult an experienced car accident lawyer to aid in receiving the just amount for your car accident claim.