How Do I File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in California

Following a car accident in California, it is important to make an urgent report to your insurance company. A call is always sufficient but, in some instances, you may be required to fill out a claims form at the website of the insurance company. Some insurance companies have their apps which can be accessed by use of mobile phones. It is imperative to ensure that a notification is issued to the insurance company within the shortest time possible.[1]

Worthy to note is that such notification is given to the insurance company regardless of whether you have an opinion that you are not the party at fault or not. For uninsured parties, you may opt to pursue the claim with the counterpart insurance company based on a percentage of fault.

How Do I File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in California

Which party should be the first point of call after a car accident in California?

Following such an accident, you have to call the following persons in order of priority:

  • Medical practitioners if any harm is sustained in the whole process.
  • The police followed an attendance of emergency medical treatment.
  • The insurance company depends on the proportion of liability for the accident.

Following the said steps is a guarantee that all the involved parties can recuperate while protecting viable evidence for the pursuit of claims.

How Do I File an Insurance Claim: What Steps should I take if I was Liable for the Accident?

The first step in all instances is to notify insurance companies of the occurrence of the accident in question. The same should happen irrespective of the perception of fault and attribution thereof. This is a key step that must not be skipped in the whole process.

The doctrine of contributory or comparative negligence will always come to aid all parties and regardless of attribution of liability, parties may be entitled to recover compensation.

The main aim of contacting an insurance company is that you will be in a position to preserve the substratum of your claim.

Is it necessary that the Department of Motor Vehicles is informed following an Accident in California?

The answer to this question is in the affirmative. To that effect, it is not only important but also necessary that the same must be done within ten (10) days from the date of the accident.[2] This is the only way of ensuring that your rights are protected.

A claim for damages will subsequently follow.

Contact our competent team of attorneys today to help you understand your position in filing claims against an insurance company.

What average timeline does it take for a victim to obtain damages for car accident injuries?

It is important to note that reporting to the DMV should be done within ten (10) days following the occurrence of a car accident. In all instances, a claim for compensation should be filed within two (2) years following the occurrence of the accident.[3]

Filing a complaint with the insurance companies on the other hand should be undertaken within the shortest time possible.

What happens ordinarily when a Victim does not have Insurance Coverage?

You will have to institute your suit by filing a notice with the other party’s insurer. The worst case scenario could occur where the other party has no insurance as well.

It is important to contact a duly competent team of attorneys to help you understand such possible scenarios.

Where will I take my Car for Repairs after an Accident?

A victim may not be free to choose the repair garage they are going to take their cars. The most important step is thus to contact the insurance company before taking any steps. Such companies may also have garages with discounted repair charges. The most eminent advantage of this approach is that the insurance company always cater for all the expenses.

How can I have my car repaired while I am Injured?

Before signing any document, make sure that you have your attorney beside you. Do not sign what you don’t understand.

A duly qualified attorney understands the approach to be taken while pursuing the suit and at the same time having the victim go through the recuperation process.

Is there any need for legal representation to pursue such claims?

It is not always a must to have legal representation following a car accident. However, it is good to retain an attorney to protect your interests while you undertake your journey to recovery.

Your attorney will always ensure that you obtain the best settlement in terms of compensation. Sometimes, where the doctrine of comparative negligence gets into play, punitive damages may be awarded and in that case, an attorney will help in ensuring that you get the same.

If a victim wants to pursue insurance claims on their own, it is always going to their disadvantage. Insurance companies are in the marketplace for business purposes and will always try to maximize their profits while downplaying the costs. In such cases, the victims will always land on the tough end of the law.

What are the Steps for Pursuing a Car Accident Injury Claim?

Finding an Insurance Adjuster

The insurance company shall give a victim a claims adjuster to assess the veracity of their claim. Such adjusters also assess fault and who was at fault at the time of the accident. They also know the pieces of information required for evidence purposes and to that effect, they work on ensuring that you make the best claim.

It is worth noting that such adjusters may not be working for your interests also. They could be working for the interests of the insurance companies and maybe to your detriment. Ensure that you retain an attorney to guide you in the whole process.

What the victim must also note is that insurance claims adjusters work to ensure that the insurance company parts with the least costs. Such means include even using your words against you. Have your car accident lawyer in the whole process to ensure that you get the best outcome for your claim.

Avoid speaking to an adjuster at all costs lest your words be used against you.

If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident, contact our competent team of attorneys and you will get the best representation.

Should I record a Statement with the Insurance Adjuster if requested to do so?

It is not advisable to record a statement with insurance adjusters. In any event, words uttered to an adjuster can be used to derail your claim and ultimately will go against you. If you must answer any questions. Use evasive terms to the extent that you may not be implicated.

Is there any need for a Medical Examiner besides that of an Insurance Company?

If the adjuster calls for an independent medical practitioner, it is good practice to decline the same. Ensure that your attorney attends to all the questions from the insurance adjuster.

Such purported independent medical examiners are not as independent as the name suggests but are sent by the insurance companies to protect their interests.

Is there any specific evidence that the insurance adjuster may need?

The insurance adjuster will always be keen to collect documentary evidence and as such, some of the documents they will end up collecting include the following:

  • The claim form
  • Any recorded statement
  • Witnesses account
  • Motor inspection report
  • Pictures of the crash scene
  • The extent of damage
  • Healthcare expenses
  • Health records

Every relevant piece of information is considered and to that effect, even posts on social media mustn’t be against your claim.

Related FAQs

Q: What are the average timelines under which a victim can obtain compensation?

A: The timelines are not cast in stone, and one cannot estimate duration with precision. However, the duration can be discerned from the time required for notification of the insurance company. The insurance company must respond within the given duration.

Such duration also depends on the complexity of the claim and where the same is simplified, it may take the shortest time while complicated ones may take longer time.

Q: What should I do with the First Offer for Settlement

A: The insurance adjuster will always approach you with an established figure in mind. Always, remember that insurance adjusters will always attempt to obtain the best bargain for the insurance company. Keep your words as limited as possible.

Should you accept an offer before you fully recover, medical expenses can move beyond your expectations.

Q: Is there any need for a Demand Letter?

A: It is very advantageous to dispatch a demand letter to address issues of costs should litigation become the last available option. Set out your demands in a concise manner.

Whenever you retain our team of attorneys, we will always dispatch a demand letter on your behalf.

This also helps to ensure that the adjuster does not take much advantage of you. Our attorneys will always advise on the circumstances to send or not to send a demand letter.

Q: Is it viable to approach negotiations?

A: Negotiation is the most available option. In the process, it is key to have your attorney negotiating in your place. This is the only way to ensure that you get the best outcome for your matter

Q: Is there a need to do an out-of-court settlement?

A: It is always advisable to have such agreements to ensure that you obtain your compensation promptly. There is a need to expedite the process to benefit you while you undertake your journey to recovery. Have your attorney assess the settlement offered by the insurance adjuster before the same is taken as a conclusive agreement.

Q: What means will I be compensated upon entering into a settlement agreement?

A: First, the insurer deals with repair costs for your motor vehicle. Other damage shall then be assessed and pursuit of the same be done as described in the preceding parts.

In as much as the insurance companies cater for most expenses, a victim may also be enjoined to meet other expenses. It is important to have your attorney in place to protect your interests.[4]

Importance of contacting a car accident attorney after being involved in a car accident

Contacting an experienced California accident lawyer is fundamental in ensuring that you get the compensation that you deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney will ensure that your car accident insurance claim is drafted in a manner that is going to ensure that you are successful in your pursuit of compensation.

The personal injury attorney shall also ensure that you beat the statutory timelines required when filing personal injury claims and property damage claims following car accidents in California. Failing to adhere to the timelines would likely result in you not getting the compensation that you deserve or in getting any compensation at all. You must therefore involve a personal injury lawyer in your car insurance injury claim.

The California personal injury lawyer shall also ensure that they adequately deal with the other party’s insurance company during negotiations to ensure that you get better settlement money in your California car accident claim. As the negotiations are usually intense, it is fundamental that you have a lawyer who can ensure that your rights and interests are well protected during these intense negotiations. The personal injury attorney shall also deal with any issues that may arise with your own insurance company.

Big Ben Lawyers

Big Ben Lawyers are available throughout the week and are ready to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve. You must reach out to us as soon as you are involved in a car accident. We have dealt with many car accident claims and we shall be more than able to get you the compensation that you rightfully deserve.

We shall help you collect all the evidence in support of your case and will ensure that we prepare compelling personal injury claims or property damage that would result in you getting the compensation that you deserve.

Contact our team of attorneys today to ensure that you obtain the best compensation following such car accidents. Our contacts are available on our website as well as on the online platform.

Big Ben Lawyers
144 N Glendale Ave.
Suite 250
Glendale, CA 91206


1. California Department of Insurance, So you’ve had an accident, what is Next? (2018), available at, accessed on 21st February, 2024.

2. California Department of Motor Vehicles, Vehicle Collisions, available at,property%20damage%20is%20over%20%241000, accessed on 22nd February 2024.

3. Pain and Suffering Calculator, available at, accessed on 22nd February 2024.

[1] California Department of Insurance, So you’ve had an Accident, what is Next? (2018), available at, accessed on 21st February, 2024.

[2] Ibid.

[3] California Department of Motor Vehicles, Vehicle Collisions, available at,property%20damage%20is%20over%20%241000, accessed on 22nd February 2024.

[4] Pain and Suffering Calculator, available at, accessed on 22nd February 2024.


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