Auto accidents are an all-too-frequent occurrence in California. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), in 2017 alone, 277,160 people were injured in crashes in the state. That same year, 3,904 people died in traffic accidents.
If another driver caused an accident, they can be held financially responsible for your losses. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. A skilled Fremont accident attorney can help, starting with a free consultation, where they will explain your legal rights and options for pursuing a claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
At Kuvara Law Firm in Fremont, we aggressively advocate for each of our clients, working hard to get them the maximum compensation for their injuries. We handle all Fremont personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t pay a fee unless we recover money for you.
Common Causes of Fremont Motor Vehicle Accidents
A car accident can happen at any time, for almost any reason. One of the most common causes of car accidents, however, is driver error. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of all traffic accidents in the United States are caused by driver error.
Driver error is a broad category that encompasses everything from not paying attention to being reckless behind the wheel. In Fremont, CA, car crashes are frequently caused by:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Aggressive driving
- Drowsy driving
These driver errors may result in rear-end collisions, t-bone wrecks, sideswipe accidents, and other types of crashes. In addition to driver error, weather and road conditions and vehicle defects are responsible for a comparatively small number of car accidents each year.
Motor vehicle accidents can cause serious injuries – and may even lead to death. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we routinely represent clients who have suffered a range of injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Cuts and scrapes
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Neck and back injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
Many injury victims also suffer from emotional trauma from being in a car accident. A Fremont car accident attorney can seek compensation for your full range of losses, including psychological harm and intangible losses like loss of enjoyment of life. If you lost a loved one in a car accident, we may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible driver.
Filing a Claim in a Fremont Car Accident Case
Car accident lawsuits are typically based on a theory of negligence, which is the failure to use the care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. To win a negligence claim, you must prove four elements:
- Duty: the at-fault driver (defendant) owed you (plaintiff) a duty of care;
- Breach: the defendant breached, or violated, that duty;
- Causation: this breach was the proximate, or but for, cause of the accident; and
- Damages: you suffered damages (losses) as a result.
For example, all drivers in California have a duty to operate their vehicles safely on public roadways. If another driver was not paying attention and slammed into your car when trying to change lanes, they breached that duty of care. Their failure to pay attention and check before changing lanes was the proximate cause of the accident, and you suffered injuries as a result.
If you can demonstrate these four elements, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. There are three types of damages that you may recover: economic, non-economic, and punitive. In most cases, injury victims will be able to request economic and non-economic damages, as punitive damages are only available in rare cases where the at-fault driver acted intentionally or recklessly.
Economic and non-economic damages are both compensatory, which means that the goal is to compensate you for a specific loss. Economic damages are for tangible losses, such as past and future medical expenses, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and property damage. Non-economic damages address intangible losses, like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and scarring or disfigurement.
The process typically starts with a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. If you decide to hire the law firm to represent you, they will conduct an investigation into the facts of your case and research case law. Your Fremont car accident lawyer will then send a demand letter to the insurance company, setting out the facts of the claim, the legal reason why their insured is responsible, and a demand for damages.
This begins the negotiation process, where the insurance company will make a counter-offer and the parties go back and forth until a settlement is achieved. Most car accident claims are resolved via this process. However, if the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit with the help of your Fremont personal injury lawyer.
Is It Worth Getting an Attorney for a Car Accident?
After a motor vehicle accident, the other driver’s insurance company may try to get you to settle your case right away. The adjuster may tell you that the insurer accepts responsibility, and ask you to sign paperwork to receive a settlement check. While it may be tempting to do so, it is often a costly mistake.
The insurance company is in business to make money, and one way that they do this is by denying or minimizing legitimate claims. Your Fremont car accident lawyer will represent your interests and will work hard to ensure that you get the maximum compensation that you are entitled to under the law. Most people who are represented by an attorney in a personal injury claim receive a much higher settlement than they would have if they handled it themselves.
What Is a Reasonable Settlement for a Car Accident?
As with many legal questions, the answer is: it depends. Each case is unique, and settlement amounts will vary widely based on the specific facts of your claim. Factors that influence the settlement value include the nature and severity of your injuries, the percentage that each party is at fault, and the amount of insurance that the other driver carries.
During a free consultation, a Fremont car accident lawyer may be able to provide you with a ballpark figure of the value of your claim. As the case proceeds, this number may increase or decrease as more facts are uncovered.
How Much Do Lawyers Charge for Car Accident Cases?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee agreement, you won’t pay anything up front. Instead, if you recover money through settlement or a verdict at trial, your lawyer will receive a percentage of this recovery for their services.
This percentage is typically in the 30% to 40% range, with the higher amount often required in situations where the case goes to trial. In addition, you will usually be required to pay costs associated with your case. Be sure to read your fee agreement carefully, and ask your Fremont car accident lawyer if you have any questions.
Injured in a Car Accident? We Can Help.
A car accident can be incredibly traumatic. In addition to struggling with physical injuries, you may also experience financial uncertainty and emotional distress in the aftermath of an accident. Our personal injury law firm will advocate for you, taking on the insurance companies so that you can focus on what is truly important: your recovery.
With law offices in Fremont, San Jose, Redwood City, Vallejo, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fairfield, the Kuvara Law Firm is well-positioned to represent accident victims throughout Northern California. We represent clients on a range of personal injury matters, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, and slip and fall cases. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us at 510-839-0400 or fill out our online contact form.