Answers After Your Accident
Am I entitled to compensation?
If the other driver caused your accident, you should have grounds to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim with the goal of recovering compensation. The courts in Modesto and throughout California recognize the right of an accident victim or surviving family member to sue for damages after an accident caused by another person's negligence. In order to shield against legal liability and to ensure that injured parties can recover compensation, state law requires drivers to carry liability insurance, and you can most likely file a claim against the other driver's policy.
How do you prove that the other driver is at fault?
Demonstration of fault depends on being able to find evidence that the other driver did something that caused your accident or failed to do something to prevent it. For example, the police accident report may reveal that the other party was driving drunk, speeding or driving recklessly. Witness statements may reveal that the driver cut you off or denied your right-of-way. We may even be able to subpoena the driver's cell phone records in order to show that he or she was talking or texting on a cell phone at the time of the accident. We carefully investigate the case to find the necessary evidence to prove that the other driver is to blame for causing the crash.
What if I am partially to blame for causing the accident?
It is natural to look back over an accident and find things that you should have done differently and that may have made it possible for you to avoid the collision. Do not, however, admit to even partial fault because the insurance company is likely to use such an admission as grounds to deny your claim. Even if you were somewhat to blame, you can still claim damages under California's comparative fault law. If, for example, your claim is worth $50,000 and the jury finds that you are 20 percent at fault, you may still be able to recover $40,000 in damages.
What if the other driver's insurance doesn't pay enough?
The minimum amount of liability coverage in California is only $15,000 per person for bodily injury or death; $30,000 per accident for bodily injury or death; and $5,000 for property damage. Given that most drivers choose to purchase only the minimum amount of coverage, it is a common occurrence for a driver does to not have enough insurance to fully pay for the costs of a personal injury claim. When this is the case, we often help our client file a claim against his or her own uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage, which the vast majority of insured drivers have on their policy. When even this does not provide the full compensation that our client deserves, we may still pursue additional payment by filing a lawsuit against the other driver with the goal of obtaining a wage garnishment or property lien that can be used to satisfy the remaining value of the claim.
Will my case go to trial?
In every car accident claim we represent, we always attempt to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement out of court. If the insurance company refuses to pay you the amount you deserve, however, we may then choose to bring the case to court for a full trial, leaving it up to a jury to decide whether to rule in your favor and how much to award you in damages. With nearly a decade of proven courtroom experience, we are fully prepared for even the most demanding and challenging trial.
How much does it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?
Retaining legal representation can be a costly proposition, but it does not have to be. If you bring your case to Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated, you will be glad to know that we work on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay us any type of fee up front. In fact, you do not owe us a dime unless we win your case.
Learn more about this arrangement and find out how much your case may be worth by contacting us now for a free case evaluation!