In the moments after a car accident, you will have several thoughts rushing through your head. “Was I injured? How bad is the damage? Who caused the accident? What do I do next?” You might have a serious injury that needs immediate attention. And, no matter the severity of the accident, you’ll likely be shaken up by your encounter.
Many accidents are caused by a driver who is clearly at fault. However, sometimes that driver won’t accept the blame. Innocent drivers can leave the scene of a collision and find out later that the other driver is falsely claiming they were to blame for what happened. That driver may even file a personal injury lawsuit against you.
It’s important to know what to do in such a situation and where to turn for help.
What if Someone Files an Insurance Claim Against Me?
An incident on a freeway may involve two or more motorists with two different points of view. Both drivers may feel the other driver was at fault. And there are times when drivers will lie about what happened in order to avoid the financial consequences of an accident.
There’s nothing to stop a driver or passenger from filing an insurance claim against you and your insurance company. They might even seek financial compensation for an injury or property damage. However, they would be required to show that they are truly injured and that you were the clear cause of that injury.
Establishing fault can prove to be a big hurdle to their case. A police accident report may lay out who the investigating officer thought was at fault, but this report isn’t concrete evidence. Drivers and their lawyers and insurance adjusters can question a police report and try to show that you were to blame.
When fault is disputed in an accident, it’s always a good idea to get a free consultation with a skilled personal injury lawyer. Allowing an experienced Los Angeles attorney to represent your case and protect your interests may be the only way to fight back. You don’t want to end up paying for someone else’s medical care and your own in an accident you aren’t to blame for.
Will My Insurance Company Defend Me?
The other driver initiates an insurance claim by filing with his or her insurance company. Their insurance company then contacts your insurance company.
Your insurance company will then conduct its own investigation into what happened. Your insurer will hopefully want to avoid paying out over a questionable claim and look into every aspect of your case. This effort could also save you from facing higher insurance premiums after a case is settled against you.
It’s important to notify your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident. Let them know you don’t feel you are liable for the collision. You can also help your attorney or insurance investigator by grabbing some evidence on the scene of your accident before everything is cleaned up.
- Contact 911: Make this call even if you feel your accident is minor. That police accident report is still valuable information for your case. Let paramedics check you out and attempt to check out the other driver.
- Take photos: If you are physically able, use your phone to take images of the damage to cars, relevant traffic signs, and lane markings.
- Get information from any witnesses: Find out what they saw and how to contact them.
- Check for the potential for security cam footage from cameras on nearby businesses and homes.
- Exchange information with the other driver: Don’t admit to fault on the scene or when talking to any insurance employee on the phone.
After all of this effort, your insurance representative may still decide to cave and pay out a settlement rather than risk having to fight a personal injury lawsuit later.
What if Someone Files a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Me?
Drivers may also take their case a step further and file a personal injury lawsuit, usually with the help of a personal injury attorney. Your insurance company would take a third-party role in this lawsuit and you may need legal representation of your own.
Lawsuits may still get settled by insurance claims adjusters, and these cases usually don’t reach a courtroom. Fault would still need to be determined in your accident. It’s also possible you could have to accept only a percentage of fault in an accident.
In California, drivers can share blame in a collision. You might only have to pay for a small percentage of the damages the other driver suffers, depending on how much you contributed to what happened. Your insurance company would provide the agreed-upon award, but the payment would be reduced by the other driver’s assigned percentage of fault.
Fraudulent California Accident Cases
Unfortunately, other drivers may lie about the circumstances of an accident, exaggerate their injuries, and sometimes orchestrating the accident altogether. Dishonest drivers have been known to try to create the right conditions for an accident and then collect insurance money by pretending to be injured.
As mentioned above, contacting 911 may be your strongest weapon against this sort of crime. Police officers will verify contact and insurance information and look into how the accident unfolded. Paramedics will try to verify if someone is hurt and offer assistance. If the other driver refuses treatment on the scene and later claims they are seriously hurt, it can appear suspicious. False motives often come to light during this investigation on the scene.
Witness testimony is also vital in catching the perpetrators in a lie. Showing how an accident unfolded in pictures may also be vital in demonstrating how someone intended to cause a crash.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
When you are seriously hurt in an accident, talk to a local attorney with experience at the negotiating table and in California courtrooms. This is an especially important step if you feel you are being forced to accept liability for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
If you are owed insurance compensation for your recovery and financial losses, hiring the legal team at Steers and Associates will actually cost you nothing unless they win your case.
Your attorney will conduct an investigation on your behalf and build a strong case that puts the blame back on the other drivers involved. This clears the way for you to target their insurance provider for financial support to pay your hospital bills and to replace your lost wages while away from your job.
A qualified legal professional also knows how to deal with your insurance company and the other driver’s carrier to earn you the most compensation available.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
When a car accident leaves you or a loved one with a serious injury, you’ll want to consult with a legal professional before facing off in a legal battle with at-fault drivers and their insurance representatives.
Insurance companies may or may not try to blame you for what happened, but they will always work to limit the amount of compensation you receive to rebuild your life. Allow our attorneys to turn the tables on an insurance company’s tactics and earn the compensation you need to cover all costs of recovery.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.