Pursuing a civil claim following a serious car accident is your right under California law. How much to expect depends upon a variety of factors, including the severity of your injuries and the number of liable parties involved. A car accident lawyer can help you navigate a claim by representing your best interest throughout the process.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
A car accident is a sudden event that can turn your world upside down. Your commute to work or trip to the store can result in life-changing injuries because of the reckless actions of another driver. Common causes of car accidents include:
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), distracted driving kills an average of nine people per day in the United States. Another 1,000 people experience serious injuries due to a crash involving a distracted driver.
No one should suffer traumatic injuries due to another driver’s inability to keep their eyes on the road. Maintaining control of their vehicle is a responsibility many drivers fail to recognize. The reckless decision to send a text while driving, to drive after a few drinks, or to cut you off in traffic demands accountability.
Types of Serious Car Accident Injuries
The force of impact from another car or a large truck can result in catastrophic injuries for you and your passengers. No matter how defensively you drive, there is no way to predict the actions of another driver. Types of serious car accident injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
Depending on the severity of the injuries, your loved one may require around-the-clock care. Skilled living facilities are very expensive. In California, such a facility can average between $8,000 and $9,000 per month. A car accident victim with a spinal cord injury can require medical care that climbs into the millions of dollars each year.
You or your loved one deserve quality medical care for your injuries. When another driver causes you harm, you must protect your financial future. Filing a car accident claim is a smart idea worthy of your consideration. Each case is different, however, you have nothing to lose and possibly much to gain by contacting a car accident lawyer.
Determining Liability for Your Car Accident Injuries
Before pursuing a civil claim for your car accident injuries, you must determine who is liable for the accident. When you file a car accident claim—or an attorney files one on your behalf—you become the plaintiff and the party you file your claim against are the defendant(s). Determining liability for your car accident injuries may involve one defendant or several. For example, a car accident caused by a negligent truck driver may include the trucking company that employs the driver.
If a speeding or distracted truck driver crashes into your car, the trucking company may face liability if:
- They failed to conduct a background check for prior traffic convictions, such as DUI.
- They failed to properly maintain and inspect the truck for items such as poor brakes or tires.
If one driver is at fault for your accident and they face a criminal charge, your civil action is a separate matter. You can pursue your civil case regardless of the outcome of their criminal case.
Liability is a key element of personal injury law. Depending upon the circumstances of your accident, multiple parties may have liability for your injuries. This is why it makes good sense to contact a car accident lawyer regarding your accident. Their experience with car accident victims is what you need to aggressively fight for compensation, while at the same time, treating you with the respect you deserve.
Compensation for car accident injuries typically involves two main types of compensation: economic and non-economic. It is generally up to a jury to decide how much compensation to award for your damages.
Economic damages are much easier to determine than non-economic damages. This is because economic damages are specific. Medical bills are a good example of economic damages. The numbers are black-and-white and provide a clear statement of expenses you incurred for your care. Other examples of economic damages include:
- Property loss
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages are a little harder for juries to attach a dollar amount to. For example, assigning a dollar amount to your pain and suffering is challenging, when the factors used to evaluate pain and suffering are highly subjective and unique. While a medical bill provides a tangible piece of evidence, pain and suffering are more closely associated with emotions and feelings.
Other examples of non-economic damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
In some cases, proving economic damages can also include your future medical care costs—something that isn’t easy to determine. Presenting the case for an award of damages on your behalf often requires the skills of an experienced trial lawyer.
A car accident lawyer experienced with presenting cases before a jury is your best option for pursuing justice. While juries are often unpredictable—and judges are too—your financial future is too important to risk with the wrong lawyer.
If you experienced serious injuries due to the negligence of another driver, you may want to discuss your case with a lawyer soon. The statute of limitations for filing your claim is two years from the moment of injury. The sooner you contact a car accident lawyer, the sooner they can review police reports and witness statements. Preparing your case for the best outcome possible takes time.
While there is no quick fix to your current situation, there are legal options. Your injuries were not your fault and you don’t have to go through civil litigation alone. If you want to learn more about the process of filing a civil claim, contact a car accident lawyer today.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident caused by another driver, you may be entitled to a wrongful death claim. California law is specific as to who may file a claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
The nature of your relationship with the decedent may entitle you to pursue the following damages:
- Final medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost of potential income
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of companionship
While no amount of money can replace your loved one, it can ease your financial stress during this difficult time. The average cost of a funeral is $9,000, an unexpected expense that most people do not plan for.
The death of your loved one was preventable had the other driver exercised care. When a negligent driver causes the death of someone special to you, consider your options for a car accident claim.
Beware of Insurance Company Offers
An insurance company representative may contact you soon after the accident to offer you a settlement. It is important that you not speak with them and secure legal representation instead.
Accepting an initial settlement offer can prevent you from pursuing a civil action later if your condition worsens. It can also leave you without enough funds for your future medical care.
Securing the compensation you deserve requires a skilled negotiator. Your time immediately following a car accident or the loss of a loved one is no time to deal with insurance companies. Do not add to your stress by trying to negotiate with them on your own.
Insurance companies are businesses, and as such, they want to protect their best interests. They may offer you a large check to tempt you into settling. With rising medical costs and your future medical needs uncertain, it is best to decline any offers. By contacting a car accident lawyer, you can better protect your best interests by having a licensed attorney represent you.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
There is no way to predict how much you can expect from a car accident settlement. Each case is different and depends upon a variety of factors, including:
- Who is at fault for your injuries.
- The seriousness of your injuries.
- Who is at fault for the loss of your loved one.
- The impact the loss of your loved one has on your life.
Car accident lawyers often offer free case evaluations. This means you have nothing to lose by reaching out to one today. The statute of limitations for filing your claim can pass quickly. After a car accident you may be grieving or dealing with medical procedures, and a year can pass before you realize it. Time flies, so to speak.
A car accident lawyer enters this particular field of law to help people like you. They work hard to learn the laws and to protect the rights of those seriously injured due to no fault of their own.
Many car accident claims reach a settlement out-of-court. The right lawyer will not stop until they secure the best possible outcome for you. If this means going to trial, they must have the trial experience necessary to successfully represent you.
A car accident lawsuit takes time. The outcome isn’t known until the case is over. While exercising patience is difficult, it is necessary for letting the process work as it should.
Securing a car accident lawyer can reduce your stress. While not knowing the outcome of your case right away may seem stressful, trying to deal with your case alone is even more stressful. Stress can affect your body’s ability to heal and your ability to rest.
Trusting your lawyer to represent your best interests and letting go of what you cannot control is essential for your health. Friends and family can help you through this difficult time as you await the outcome of your case.
Time Is of the Essence
Contacting a car accident lawyer is easy to put off for later; however, when it comes to pursuing a civil lawsuit, time is of the essence. In fact, discussing your case with a car accident lawyer should be at the top of your to-do list soon after the accident.
By gathering accident scene photos, the contact information for witnesses, and police reports, you can help an attorney prepare your case. Evidence like this can greatly assist your car accident lawyer in determining the best strategy for a jury trial.
It is dangerous to think you have all the time in the world to pursue justice—you don’t. To pursue the compensation you deserve, you must act quickly.
The time following your accident is one of anxiety and fear as you adjust to your new reality. Your injuries were not your fault and you do not have to fight for compensation alone. A car accident lawyer can help you by providing the representation you need, whether it is with insurance companies or in front of a jury.
A driver’s license is a privilege. If another driver abused that privilege and caused you serious harm, hold them accountable with a civil claim. Don’t fall for the high-pressure tactics insurance companies use to get you to accept less than you deserve.
While there is no way to predict the type of settlement or award you might receive, you have nothing to lose by trying. Consider contacting a car accident lawyer today to discuss your options for getting your life back on track. It may never return to the way it was before the accident, but you nonetheless deserve the best quality of life possible.
No matter how defensively you drive, dangerous drivers surround you every day. By holding them accountable for the injuries their actions caused you, you may help to prevent the same thing from happening to another person.
Take control of your financial future by discussing your options with a car accident lawyer today. Let them utilize their education and experience to help guide you toward a brighter future.