Skilled Legal Guidance From A Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident that occurred because of another person’s negligence, you have the right to be fully compensated for any losses you suffered as a result. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to some level of compensation for your medical care, property damage and loss of income.
Obtaining fair compensation in these cases can be quite challenging, and the assistance of a qualified personal injury lawyer can be extremely beneficial. The Sacramento car accident lawyers at The Weinberger Law Firm represent clients throughout Northern California in a broad range of complex auto accident claims.
Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions we hear often from people who have been injured in car accidents:
- Do you really need a lawyer?
- In California, can my teen driver drive other teens around?
- Why it can be so hard to deal with insurance companies?
- Learn more about how insurance companies really work
- Do you know what steps to take after a car accident?
- Do you have the right insurance policy?
- What you should know about uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Types Of Auto Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents: A hit-and-run accident is when a driver crashes into another vehicle, a pedestrian or onto private property and then leaves immediately without identifying himself. A hit and run is a serious crime and depending on the circumstances it can be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony, but both are punishable by incarceration in a county jail or state prison and a fine. The person suing is entitled to damages that compensate him or her for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. These types of damages are designed to punish and prevent bad conduct by serving as a warning to others. The problem with these cases is that most of the time the drivers leave so quickly that the victim barely has time to recognize the make, model, year or even color of the car.
Rear-end accidents: Insurance companies are notoriously skeptical of claims involving rear-end accidents. They often treat them as frivolous claims that seek maximum compensation for a minor case of whiplash. Victims know the reality of these car accidents and the devastating harm the associated injuries can cause. If you or a loved one has been rear-ended, it is essential that you seek the advice of a skilled accident attorney in Sacramento, California, who knows the law and has the ability to properly handle your case.
Sideswipe accidents: Sideswipe collisions are often referred to as “blind spot” accidents which cause more vehicle damage than direct injuries. Because of that, many insurance companies may dispute certain injury claims. If you are involved in one of these accidents, know there is a “presumption of negligence” on the part of the car that was changing lanes, but bear in mind that insurance companies will fight hard to ensure their priorities are met first. Generally, insurance companies for the drivers will claim that these types of accidents will result in minimal damages because the cars traveled at the same speed and therefore, the impact forces are low. If you are injured, the injuries may not show up right away so hiring a Sacramento car accident attorney will help.
Common Car Accident Injuries
A car accident often results in many of the same catastrophic injuries. The sudden and violent nature of these accidents often results in injuries such as:
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Scarring and burns
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Nerve damage
- Neck and spine injuries
- Broken bones
While the types of car accident injuries often fall into the same categories, the outcome of each incident is entirely unique. Our goal as your legal representation is to identify the outcome of your accident and pursue fair compensation that accurately reflects those current and future costs.
What Causes These Accidents?
There are many ways that a reckless or negligent driver can cause an accident. It only takes a moment for a life-changing accident to be caused by:
- Updating a GPS
- Eating food
- Fixing appearances
- Changing the radio station
- Sending texts
- Looking at an accident or traffic stop
- Distracting passengers
No matter what may have caused your accident, we strive to hold the liable party accountable for their actions and see them pay for the cost of the consequences.
Who Is Responsible In Multivehicle Accidents?
Accidents involving more than one car usually occur in a chain of rear-end accidents. Typically, they happen because of the force of the first collision, which causes a chain reaction from the cars behind the first. Although these types of accidents can be a result of a single driver’s negligence, chain-reaction car accidents may involve instances of carelessness by multiple drivers. Because many vehicles are involved, many passengers may sustain injuries, resulting in lawsuits.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are two million multivehicle collisions each year. And determining fault is the biggest issue with them all. If a driver admits fault, then assigning liability is pretty easy. But when other factors are at play like bad weather, road construction, and drunk or distracted driving, proving liability becomes a bit more tricky. Our legal team has experience identifying the responsible party and holding them accountable.
While proving fault in a car accident may appear to be a pretty straightforward task, the reality is that your claim will require a considerable amount of supporting evidence before the insurance company will pay you for your damages. It is important to remember that an insurance company does not have your best interests at heart and will scrutinize your claim to minimize their financial liability. An attorney can thoroughly investigate the cause of your accident and help you build a strong case that maximizes your chances of success.
Your car accident investigation will involve collecting and analyzing the following evidence:
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Accident reconstruction
- Photographs of the scene
- Eyewitness testimony
- Damage to all vehicles
- Vehicle “black box” data
- Toxicology reports
- Video surveillance footage
California’s Comparative Negligence Laws
In California, you may pursue compensation from any other at-fault party after a car accident regardless of your degree of fault. With that being said, any compensation you recover will be reduced by your percentage of blame for the collision. This is known as “pure comparative negligence.”
For example, say you were injured in a crash in which another driver sideswiped your vehicle due to an unsafe lane change, causing you $100,000 worth of total damages. Your case proceeds all the way to trial, at which time it is revealed that you were traveling 10 miles over the speed limit at the time of the crash. Because of this, the jury finds you to be 20% at fault for the collision. As a result, you will only be able to recover $80,000 for your losses (or $100,000 less 20%).
Insurance companies are intimately familiar with these rules and will use this knowledge to limit their liability after a collision. An attorney can shield you from unfair treatment during your claim and help you recover every penny of your entitled compensation.
How Much Will Insurance Cover?
Depending on the nature of your accident, you will receive a certain amount from the insurance company. In California, the minimum amount of coverage a driver needs to have is:
- $5,000 for property damage
- $15,000 for injuries or death to an individual
- $30,000 if the accident injured or killed multiple people
If the liable party has more than the bare minimum of insurance, the victim is likely to receive more than the amounts above. If fair compensation for your accident exceeds the coverage the liable party has, we may be able to help you pursue additional income from other sources, like directly from the driver who hit you.
Statute Of Limitations For Car Accident Claims In California
Like any personal injury claim, car accident claims in California are subject to a legal deadline known as a “statute of limitations” which limits the amount of time you have to take legal action against the at-fault driver. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims following a car accident is two years from the date of the collision. Property damage claims are given a slightly longer window of three years.
Car accident claims against a government entity have a tighter deadline and must be filed within six months of the crash to be valid. Since these limits can potentially make or break your case, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are in compliance with all applicable deadlines.
The Crash Statistics For California
California maintains robust statistics for the crashes on the roads throughout the state. These statistics look closely at various factors that contribute to and describe the safety of the highways across the state.
The most recent data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) was for 2019. But even there, we can see the following important statistics:
Types Of Accidents
However, the fatality of an accident is less vital than the relative frequency of that accident. In total, there were 356,296 accidents tracked in 2019. The five most frequent types of accidents were, in order:
- Passenger car accidents: (272688)
- Pickup truck accidents (34986)
- Motorcycle accidents (22910)
- Tractor-trailer truck accidents (17172)
- Bus accidents (3486)
This accident data includes all types of injuries and death in an accident.
Actions Leading Up To the Accident
Do you know the most dangerous action to take on the road? According to the data, it’s “proceeding straight.” Three thousand one hundred thirty-five fatal crashes happened across California while the driver was driving straight on without turning. The next most frequent action was running off the road at 337. One of the most fraught actions on California roads (merging) only had seven fatal accidents in all of 2019.
The number of distracted driving accidents occurring in just a single year. There were accidents involving distractions such as:
- Cellphone use
- Electronic equipment
Together those account for 9,371 accidents, 99 of which were fatal.
Traffic Accident Fatalities
Let’s look a little closer to home now. The cities that The Weinberger Law Firm serve in our part of Sacramento and Placer counties. According to SWITRS:
- Roseville had 48 deaths and 16,016 injury-causing accidents
- Folsom had 224 accident deaths out of 5,424 injurious accidents
- Sacramento had 768 car accident deaths and a total of 85,264 accidents
This data covers from 2010 to 2019 and represents a large sample size. The accidents from this time represent millions of dollars in pain, suffering and damages that victims and their families had to fight for to get back on their feet.
Car Accident Lawyer Working To Secure The Best Available Outcome For Every Client
Our Sacramento car accident attorney has extensive experience with these matters which allows us to be much more proactive in our efforts to secure full and fair compensation for our clients. Our dedicated focus on personal injury law has given us a keen insight into the tactics that insurance company lawyers use, and we have trial-tested strategies in an effort to protect our clients’ interests.
We conduct a thorough investigation into your accident and build the strongest possible case in support of your claim for damages. We work hard to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If the insurance company will not negotiate in good faith, however, we will not hesitate to take the matter to court.
Speak with one of our lawyers about your auto accident injuries during a free consultation. Call 916-304-0952 today.