While California may be known for its idyllic beaches and vibrant cities, the legal aftermath of a car crash can be anything but smooth sailing.
When injured, sufficient financial compensation can make all the difference in your recovery. Unfortunately, many misunderstand what it means to file a claim and how to help ensure fair restitution. Disbelieving these two myths can help.
Reporting an accident equals filing a claim
Many crash victims believe reporting an accident to an insurance company is the same as filing a claim, but it does not work that way.
Insurers need to know about the accident to begin their investigation. However, reporting the incident does not trigger a formal claims process or guarantee compensation. After your report the crash, you still have time to seek treatment and an injury diagnosis before filing your claim.
Accident victims must file immediately
Contrary to common belief, you need not file immediately. In California, you have up to two years from the accident date or the discovery of a related injury to file a claim for bodily harm.
While you do not want to delay too long, it may be wise to wait a short time in some situations. Here are two examples.
- When injury severity is unknown: Waiting until you undergo a thorough medical exam and diagnostic procedures can help ensure that you account for all your injuries, even those with delayed symptoms.
- When you need more evidence: Delaying long enough to pad your claim with strong supporting evidence, such as video footage of the crash, physician reports and witness statements, may maximize your insurance proceeds.
You probably need your insurance payout right now, but try not to rush things, as it could lead to a lower settlement than you truly deserve. Legal guidance can offer additional claim protection.