Have you recently been involved in an auto accident in the San Jose area? Here is an informative article that has been written by our own San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys to help you throughout the legal process.
Our San Jose Personal Injury Lawyers Suggest That You Take Photos Of Your Recent Crash!
Here’s Why Taking Pictures of Car Accidents is Important After a Crash
Each year in the United States 37,000 people die due to car accidents. This doesn’t even account for the millions of others who are injured or left disabled after an accident occurs.
If you have ever been involved in a car accident, you know how confusing the situation can be. Not only are your plans for the day ruined, but you or your passengers may be facing severe, long-lasting injuries.
While most people want to ensure everyone is okay after an accident occurs (and this is extremely important), there’s something else you should do as well – take pictures.
The fact is, pictures of car accidents, right after they happen, are vital if you plan to seek compensation for your injuries and any damages you incur.
Learn more about why pictures are important and what you can do to ensure you capture the evidence needed, here.
Pictures Help to Prove Damages, Injuries and How an Accident Occurred
As the old saying goes, a photograph is worth a thousand words. If an insurance adjuster doesn’t believe what you tell them about the extent of your injuries, a picture of them can help to substantiate your claim.
If the other person involved in the accident claims that the accident didn’t cause damage to your vehicle, a picture can show what happened.
Try to capture pictures that capture skid marks, a yield sign at an intersection or rainy weather. These can all be an indication that the accident took place because the other driver was traveling too fast in the rainy weather or because they did not yield.
A picture that shows a lack of skid marks indicates a driver was distracted and that they didn’t press their brakes before the collision occurred. Photographs of damage to specific parts of a vehicle can also prove fault.
The bottom line is – you can’t take too many pictures of the accident. It’s a good idea to ask passengers in the vehicle with you to capture pictures, as well. They may get photographic evidence of something you missed.
What Happens if You Don’t Take Pictures of Car Accidents?
If you fail to take photos, the insurance company representing the driver considered at-fault may dispute how the accident occurred and who is responsible. In some cases, it comes down to your word against someone else’s.
If there’s no documentation of the damages or injuries, especially if you didn’t seek medical care right away, it may be inferred by an insurance adjuster as a failure to document the injuries. If you don’t photo the damages at the accident scene, it may be hard to prove who was at fault.
Capture Photos of Everything Related to the Accident
In addition to taking pictures of the accident scene, weather conditions, your injuries and damages to your vehicle, you should take photos of witnesses, their information and the police officer responding to the accident.
If you fail to do this, then you may forget the relevant details. An accident can be traumatic. It isn’t unusual to suffer from some level of memory loss after a serious accident occurs.
Amnesia is common in individuals who suffer any severe head injury after a collision. If you have pictures, it can help you remember who to call after an accident for statements or how the accident occurred.
What if You Can’t Take Photos After a Car Accident?
The best time for you to take photos is immediately after the accident occurs. Try to take them before the police even arrive and before any vehicles are moved.
However, it’s clear that taking pictures of the actual scene of an accident won’t always be possible. In some cases, your injuries may be so severe that you need immediate medical attention.
If you can’t take the photos yourself, ask someone else to do this for you. There are other options, too.
There is a good chance that someone else who was at the accident scene took some pictures. This could be the police officers or investigators who responded to the crash, the other driver involved, or the witnesses to the accident.
A thorough investigation conducted by a quality San Jose Personal Injury Attorney can help to track down these individuals. When you know who has the photos you can get a copy. In some cases, there may have even been a business’s security cameras that captured footage of what happened.
It may also be possible to have a friend or family member go to the scene of the accident to capture photos. If you hire a lawyer, the attorney can collect any photographic evidence related to the accident.
Always Take More Photos than You Think You Need
When you are taking photos after a car accident, the most important thing you can do is to make sure you take more pictures than you could ever need. Don’t overthink the situation.
Even if you don’t have an amazing camera, capture what you can. It will be beneficial in the long run.
Be sure you share these photos with your attorney as soon as you can. They can use the information they contain to help build and prove who was at fault in the accident.
Photos of San Jose Car Accidents: They’re More Important Than You Think
If you are involved in a car accident, the most important thing you can do is make sure everyone is okay. However, after that, you need to preserve as much evidence as you can.
Taking pictures of car accidents is the best way to do this. If you need more information, contact our team of attorneys.
You can also visit our blog to learn more about if your insurance will cover your accident and how an attorney can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve lived in other places, you may be familiar with the basic car accident laws, but San Jose, California is a unique city when it comes to automotive accidents.
In this article, you’ll learn everything that you need to know about San Jose’s car accident laws and how they may pertain to your circumstances.
Like many other states, the Golden State requires drivers to carry car insurance. Drivers must have liability insurance with the following minimum amounts:
- $15,000 for injury or death to an individual
- $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person
- $5,000 for property damage
In some instances, drivers may provide other forms of financial responsibility, including cash deposits or surety bonds.
California has a “fault” system. Drivers are responsible for paying any costs due to fault, even if it is not covered by their insurance. For instance, if an individual’s car insurance only covered 80% of a victim’s expenses, the at-fault driver would be expected to make up the additional 20% out of pocket.
As a result, Californians oftentimes choose higher coverage options that will help them pay for any additional damages.
If caught, uninsured drivers may face fines, license suspension of up to four years and an impounded car. Additionally, underinsured and uninsured drivers are still responsible for paying all lawsuit damages and cannot receive non-economic damages themselves, even if they were not at fault.
Reporting a Car Accident In San Jose
Anyone involved in a car accident involving injuries, death or damage estimated to cost over $1,000 in repairs must report the incident to the police. Failure to do so can lead to fines, hit-and-run charges, and license suspension.
Additionally, drivers should report the incident to the DMV within 10 days if someone is killed, property damage exceeds $1,000 or an individual is injured. Not doing so can lead to your license being suspended or revoked.
Regardless of how minor an accident may have been, it is always recommended drivers file a police report in case future issues arise.
If you have insurance, drivers will also have to report the incident to a claims representative. However, it is advisable to avoid giving a recorded or written statement until you’ve discussed the accident with an attorney.
Before an insurance company will pay for any damages, California requires the policyholder must be found responsible for the accident. Because of this rule, California is considered a “fault” state, also referred to as a tort state.
In no-fault states, claims are encouraged to remain out of court by going through the insurance companies. Regardless of blame, the insurance company will compensate the policyholder for minor damages accrued.
In fault states, the person at fault for the accident bears all liability. If multiple people are responsible for the accident, liability is split.
If individuals wish to sue in California, they can take one of the following actions:
- File a claim through their personal car insurance company
- File a claim through the other driver’s insurance company
- Pursue a personal injury lawsuit
The restrictions inherent in no-fault states are limited in California, and citizens can choose several avenues through which to receive compensation. Many choose to file a lawsuit because insurance companies may attempt to undercut those seeking damages.
The Statute of Limitations
Each state has different statute of limitations, a deadline by which an individual must file a claim if he or she wishes to sue. Because California is a “fault” state, many victims of accidents may have to sue for personal injury in order to receive full compensation.
Once the statute of limitations has passed, very rarely will an individual be able to pursue a case.
If you’ve been in a car accident, Californians have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If the accident resulted in a death, plaintiffs will have two years from the date of the death to file.
However, if you would like to file a lawsuit concerning only vehicular damages, California Code of Civil Procedure section 338 provides three years to pursue the claim.
If you choose to pursue a lawsuit, it is integral to the case’s success you prove the other driver was at fault.
Keep any photos and documents associated with the accident. Write down in detail what occurred and keep a list of contact information for officials, eyewitnesses, and drivers.
In a car accident case, proving fault will require demonstrating four things:
- The other driver had a duty toward you. In this case, that duty would be to drive safely.
- The other driver breached that duty.
- The breach resulted in an injury to the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff suffered real injuries.
Mostly, the fault is proven through documentation or even recreations of the accident.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Californians can sue for personal injury or other damages even if they were partially responsible for the crash. However, there is a catch.
Florida follows a comparative fault system. Individuals can claim compensation from at-fault parties, but if they were also at fault, they will not receive the full finances awarded. This procedure is called comparative negligence.
For example, if a driver was found to be 10% at fault and received recompensation of $10,000, he or she would only obtain $9,000.
Fault is determined based on police reports, eyewitnesses and any other evidence demonstrated during the trial.
This regulation is only in place for when a lawsuit is settled in court, which happens rarely. Many times, tort cases are solved before ever reaching a judge.
Hire a San Jose Car Accident Attorney
Navigating the after-effects of a California car accident can be difficult, especially concerning the many laws unique to The Golden State. That’s why Californians should consider hiring an attorney.
Car accidents are frightening experiences, but the stress afterward doesn’t have to pull you under.
Whether it’s a car accident or another form of personal injury, Mova Law Group is here to help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation, where we will discuss the specifics of your case and determine the best steps for your situation.