When someone is involved in a car accident, they may feel overwhelmed – even lost. If you have been in a recent Shasta County car accident and are feeling as if you don’t know what to do next, read on. According to Shasta County car accident attorney Art Morgan of Halkides, Morgan & Kelley, most people suffer from a range of emotions after a car accident. Anger, sadness, depression, helplessness and confusion are common emotions. If you have never been through the process of car accident litigation, then it can certainly appear to be a daunting process. While every car accident has a different set of facts and circumstances surrounding it, the basic process that follows is usually similar.
The first step in a car accident case is to make sure that you receive a thorough physical examination. It is critically important to your health and to your car accident case that you are checked out for any possible injuries as soon after the accident as possible. It is also important that you follow through with any follow-up care that is prescribed for you.
The next thing that will happen is that any damage to your vehicle needs to be assessed and estimates gathered. Many people think that they have to wait until the end of their car accident case to be compensated for damages to their vehicle. That is not always the case. Many times, the damages to your vehicle can be repaired, or your vehicle replaced, within days after the accident, according to Shasta County car accident attorney Art Morgan of Halkides, Morgan & Kelley.
Don’t forget, to photograph the vehicle damage thoroughly, including any frame damage. Often times victims of auto accident simply take photos of the “cosmetic” damage i.e. broken tail lights. The evidence most critical is what is sometimes not readily apparent such as the bending and or cracking of the frame and vehicle under-carriage. Do not release the vehicle for salvage unless you have complete photo documentation of the damage in hand. Along the same lines, make certain you have photos of all your injuries. They body will immediately undergo its natural healing process and thus the photos should be taken immediately after injury. This will help to preserve the state of your condition following the accident. It is not a bad idea to also keep a photo diary i.e. pictures of the healing process weekly.
Once the most immediate concerns of your health and your vehicle have been handled, then your attorney will start to investigate your accident to try and determine who was negligent. Negligent is a legal term that essentially means fault or blame. Sometimes who was at fault is obvious, but many times it is not so clear. In California, more than once party, or entity, can be at fault in an accident. If the other driver’s insurance company admits that their driver was at fault then your attorney can begin to negotiate a settlement. If they are not admitting fault, or they disagree as to the percentage of fault that their driver has, then your attorney will need to begin to prepare for a trial to determine negligence.
If fault has been agreed upon, then your attorney will start to prepare damage figures. Damages are a legal term for injuries and can include everything from medical bills to pain and suffering with many things in between. Your attorney will present your damage figures to the other driver’s insurance company along with a settlement demand. If your attorney is able to get the insurance company to agree to the settlement that you have asked for, then your case is done. All you have to do is sign the paperwork and wait for the check. If, however, the insurance company is not willing to agree to the damage amount that you have asked for, then your attorney will prepare to litigate your case in court.
As you can see, the litigation process can be long and complicated. Having an experienced Shasta County car accident attorney on your side will make the process much smoother.