Exceptional Legal Representation for California Car Accident Victims
Every day, thousands of Californians are involved in motor vehicle accidents. These individuals have their lives disrupted—sometimes permanently—due to the negligence of another individual.
As an accident victim, you could be entitled to compensation under California’s personal injury laws. However, you must act quickly to ensure your legal rights are protected.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Car Accident Claim?
In California, motor vehicle accident claims proceed as negligence claims. In a negligence claim, the injured victim must show:
- The at-fault party owed the accident victim a duty;
- The duty was breached because the at-fault party was negligent; and
- Due to the at-fault party’s negligence, the accident victim suffered damages.
Each of these elements must be proven for a motor vehicle accident victim to prevail in a claim. With the assistance of an experienced California car accident attorney, the odds of success increase exponentially.
All California drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and reasonably on public roadways. Following traffic laws and adjusting one’s speed for bad weather are examples of reasonable driving.
Many breaches of the duty to drive reasonably and safely are also violations of traffic laws. For example, texting while driving, drinking and driving, and running red lights would all be types of negligence.
More Than Just Medical Bills: Damages and the Value of a Car Accident Case
After a car accident in California, one of the biggest issues for victims is medical bills. These expenses pile up fast and often reach tens of thousands of dollars or more. However, medical bills are not the only type of loss that accident victims have after a crash.
In general, damages—which impact how much a case is worth—include:
- Medical expenses
- The estimated cost of future medical care
- The cost of remodeling a home to accommodate an injury (for example, building wheelchair ramps or installing handrails)
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Property damage
Did you have emergency surgery after an accident? Did you miss out on a big bonus at work because you were recovering? Was your car towed after an accident? Is it sitting in a storage yard collecting fees?
Do you need to get repairs, a replacement, or a rental car reimbursement? Car accident claims can be a challenging maze to navigate, but California personal injury attorneys are here to make sure you are going in the right direction to maximize your recovery.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?
Time is of the essence after a car accident—California limits how long accident victims have to file a lawsuit, no matter how seriously injured they may be. This deadline is called the statute of limitations.
In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in a motor vehicle accident is two years from the date of the accident. If an accident victim does not file a claim by this deadline, the case will be dismissed and the victim will be entirely responsible for the financial losses he or she has incurred—even if the victim was not at fault for the accident.
Therefore, if you have been involved in a car accident in California, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible so that work on your case may begin.
The Most Frequent Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents happen every day throughout the United States. No matter what has caused your accident, an experienced California personal injury attorney is able to help you recover damages for your losses.
Texting while driving, talking on a cell phone, eating, and other such activities are dangerous for drivers. Distracted driving is defined as actions that take ones hands off of the wheel, one’s eyes off of the road, or one’s mind off of driving. Nearly half a million drivers use their cell phones while driving during daylight hours.
Every driver in America knows that you should not get behind the wheel if you are intoxicated—and yet, thousands of individuals are injured or killed every year because of drunk drivers. Those injured by drunk drivers may be able to seek compensation.
Speeding remains one of the top causes of crashes throughout the country. The odds of a fatality increase significantly with speed.
Where Do Accidents Occur in California?
Accidents happen in California every day. However, they are more likely to occur in some locations.
For example, in San Francisco, accidents are most often reported at the intersection of Mission Street and 16th Street. The second-most common accident location is at Market Street and 5th Street, and third is 9th Street and Mission Street.
In San Rafael, the most dangerous intersection is 2nd Street and Irwin Street, followed by Manuel T. Freitas Parkway and Del Presidio Boulevard and Hetherton Street and 3rd Street.
Why Should You Call A Personal Injury Lawyer Before You Call the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company?
Insurance agents, on behalf of the insurance company of the at-fault driver, will try to position themselves in a way that maximizes profitability. These agents will usually call you in the early days after an accident and usher you down a road that will settle your claim for the least amount of money possible.
The insurance companies know that you have expenses piling up and are under an enormous amount of stress. They will make you an offer that is likely far too low to fairly compensate you for your losses in hopes that you will settle your claim and take the money.
However, if you settle your claim, you inevitably sign your rights away and eliminate your ability to hire an attorney and pursue a personal injury claim.
Dos and Don’ts After a Car Accident
After a car accident, the advice you receive is often conflicting. There are certainly steps you should take after your accident, as well as actions you should avoid.
DO speak with an experienced California car accident attorney as soon as possible. These attorneys may speak with insurance companies on your behalf, shielding you from pressure to settle your claim. These attorneys ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the case.
DO seek medical attention immediately—even if you do not think you are seriously injured. Some injuries have a delayed onset of symptoms and may not exhibit any symptoms at the time of the accident. Insurance companies love to argue that an accident victim is not seriously injured if medical attention was not sought quickly after the accident.
DO keep detailed records of your accident. Take photos of the crime scene, write down your recollection of the events as soon as possible, and keep copies of all of your medical records. This information will help your attorney pursue damages on your behalf.
DON’T have lengthy conversations with the at-fault party’s insurance company about the accident. Simply tell the adjuster or agent that you are hiring an attorney and that any questions may be directed to the law firm. You do not want to risk making a statement that could be used against you later.
DON’T discuss the case on social media. Even seemingly innocent posts that state something like, “We were in an accident today, but we are okay!” may be used against you by the insurance company.
DON’T keep anything from your attorney. Even if you think some of the facts of your case will hurt your claim, you need to disclose these to your attorney. Chances are, they will not seriously damage your claim! Your attorney needs the full picture of your case to thoroughly protect your rights.
What Kind of Evidence Should Be Collected at The Scene Of A Car Accident?
The more evidence you have, the better. Evidence can go a long way in helping your car accident attorney build a successful claim on your behalf. There are a number of pieces of evidence that can be collected at the scene of an accident to help your attorney:
- Information on any drivers involved: The most important thing you need to collect at the scene of the accident is the information on any drivers involved in the accident. You’ll want to gather license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, insurance policy numbers, and contact information.
- Witness information: After collecting information from any drivers involved in the accident, you’ll want to obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Witness statements can help piece together the events of the accident and can also be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
- Documentation of vehicle/property damages: The cost of damages to your vehicle and/or other property items can be claimed in your case. You’ll want to take photos of any damage sustained after the accident. You may also take photos of your injuries.
- Documentation of road signs: In certain cases, it can be helpful to take photos of nearby road signs, such as reduced speed zone signs and stop signs. This evidence is especially helpful if the driver that caused the accident negligently ignored or disobeyed the signs.
- Documentation of road conditions: Negligent drivers are not the only cause for road accidents. In certain cases, dangerous road conditions can contribute to the accident. Hazardous road conditions include uneven surfaces, large potholes, broken concrete, road debris, and similar conditions. If any of these conditions existed, they should be documented with photos.
- Location of security cameras: Look around and take note of any red light cameras or security cameras in the vicinity of the accident. The footage captured by the cameras can often be acquired and used in your case.
With More than 40 Years of Combined Experience, We Can Help You with Your Accident Case
At Kuvara Law Firm, our car accident attorneys represent clients throughout California. We gladly offer a free consultation so that you may learn about your legal options, as well as the services we offer. To schedule your free consultation with our firm, contact us today.