Car Accident

When Should You Sue After a Car Accident, and Can You Win?

meeting to file car accident claim

Have you been injured in a car accident that was not entirely your fault? If so, you may be entitled to justice and compensation. To have the best chance of winning your case, It’s important to understand what you need to do after a car accident.

Filing a lawsuit is not always a clear and straightforward process. Here is everything you need to know about filing a claim following a car accident in California. Keep reading for important information on the statute of limitations, the importance of hiring a capable lawyer, and much more.


When to File a Car Accident Claim

Every state in the US has its own laws with regard to the statute of limitations. This sets a time limit for a plaintiff to pursue legal action against the defendant. The timeframe can vary depending on the type of case. Additionally, under certain circumstances, the statute can be extended by the court.  

In this state, the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1 sets a two-year deadline for the filing of an action related to the injury or death of an individual caused by neglect or a wrongful act.

In this instance, it is also important to know when the clock starts running. If the car accident resulted in injuries, the clock starts running from the time of the accident itself. However, in the case of a wrongful death case brought by family members, the clock starts running on the date of the person’s death.

In the case where a lawsuit is being brought that is only related to damage of a vehicle, there is a three-year window to file a case against the at-fault party. Any case filed after the applicable deadline has passed will almost certainly not be considered.

We recommend that you do not delay filing your case, as this increases the likelihood that important evidence will disappear or not be available.


Where to Report the Car Accident

reporting car accident to police

The aftermath of a car accident can be difficult. However, if you are pursuing a case against the at-fault party, it is important to know where to submit the claim. 

Reporting an Accident to Law Enforcement

It is very important that you report a car accident to law enforcement in California if it resulted in any injuries or fatalities. This should be done as a written report within 24 hours and presented to the California Highway Patrol or to the local police department.

You will not need to make a written report if a law enforcement officer comes to the scene of the car accident, as they will make their own report.

Reporting an Accident to the DMV

If you are planning to file a claim following a car accident in California, then you should. The accident should be reported if there were any injuries, fatalities, or property damage exceeding $1,000. A Traffic Accident Report SR1 should be filled with the DMV in California within 10 days of the accident.

Reporting an Accident to Your Insurance Company

Your insurance contract stipulates that you must report a car accident soon after it occurred (within a reasonable amount of time). If this fails to happen, the insurance provider may seek to deny coverage in relation to the accident. Depending on the circumstances, a reasonable amount of time may be defined as one or two days.


What Is Pure Comparative Negligence?

When it comes to sharing part of the fault following a car accident, every state has different rules. California is considered to be a pure comparative negligence state. This means that you may recover compensation from the at-fault party regardless of the degree of your own fault in the accident.

Let’s look at an example of how pure comparative negligence works in practice. Immediately prior to a car accident, a driver makes a dangerous lane change and collides with your car from the side, though a police report and witnesses indicate that you were driving too fast at the time.

At court, it may be determined that you were 10% at fault for the accident, meaning the other party was 90% at fault. Let’s say that total damages come to $10,000. In this instance, you will be entitled to recover 90% of this amount (i.e. $9,000).


Why Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

personal injury lawyer recovers financial compensation

The simple answer here is that a car accident lawyer increases your chances of winning your case and receiving compensation and justice. A car accident lawyer will simplify the entire process and help you every step of the way. An experienced attorney will help in the following areas: 

  • Communicating with the at-fault party’s insurer
  • Obtaining evidence with respect to fault for the accident
  • Organizing medical records and bills
  • Communicating with health care providers
  • Organizing and presenting evidence to prove liability and damages
  • Negotiating with lien holders
  • Negotiating a satisfactory settlement


Get the Compensation You Deserve Following a Car Accident

If you have been hit by a car and injured, the above legal information will help you to understand how to file a lawsuit. Having a professional car accident lawyer by your side is highly recommended.

Daniel Kim and his team of experienced lawyers are the top-rated personal injury car accident attorneys in California. We have a success rate of more than 99% and are passionate about helping you get the justice you deserve. Request a free consultation today and let’s chat about your car accident injury