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Every year, tens of thousands of Americans lose their lives to car accidents, far too many of them in Palm Springs. These crashes are often devastating. Not only are they intense and catastrophic in the moment, but also they can leave long-term impacts on survivors’ lives. Many Palm Springs car accident victims find themselves unsure of where to turn after their accidents. There’s a lot of conflicting information—in the news, across the Internet, circulating through social circles—that may prove confusing and unhelpful when someone is trying to recover damages.
The best step to take is to work with a Palm Springs personal injury lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys whose knowledge and advice you can trust. Our Palm Springs car accident attorneys can guide you through the legal process and help you fight to protect your rights.
COMMON CAUSES OF CAR ACCIDENTS
There are no two ways about it: distracted driving is dangerous. It’s one of the most common causes of car accidents because it’s so rampant. A lot of drivers practice distracted driving without even realizing it.
All of the following, for example, constitute distracted driving:
- Driving while emotional
- Eating while you drive
- Turning around to check on or adjust children in a back seat
- Listening to music extremely loudly
- Checking text messages
Speed limits exist for a reason. When negligent and reckless drivers speed, it puts everybody at risk. Sometimes speeding plays a small role in someone’s overall aggressive driving behavior. At other times, someone might speed because they believe that they have a good reason or as a way to chase exhilaration. None of these reasons impact the truth: speeding is dangerous, it leads to accidents, and it takes lives.
Being faced with an aggressive driver on the road is scary. This umbrella term can encompass a lot of different behaviors, but all of them put people at risk. Lots of aggressive drivers are past the point of caring about their own safety—let alone the safety of anyone around them.
Some behaviors to look out for if you suspect an aggressive driver include:
- Excessive swerving
- Yelling, using obscene gestures
Some of us are more accustomed to driving at night than others; but even if you’re used to heading out in the dark, there’s no denying that nighttime means reduced visibility. It leads a lot of drivers into accidents that never would’ve happened in broad daylight.
Lots of drivers neglect to turn on their headlights or take additional precautions once it’s dark outside. If you’re driving in the dark, you should always use your headlights and avoid poorly-lit areas when possible.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving under the influence doesn’t only refer to operating a car after drinking alcohol or partaking in recreational drug use. Even over-the-counter and prescription medication can be improperly dosed or cause effects that make driving appropriately impossible. If you believe that somebody is driving under the influence while you’re on the road, it’s important to maintain a safe distance and notify authorities.
GOMEZ TRIAL ATTORNEYS: EXPERIENCED CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS SERVING PALM SPRINGS & PALM DESERT
We are Gomez Trial Attorneys, and as a firm of educated, experienced, and compassionate attorneys, we understand how to support car accident survivors as they begin legal proceedings. If you have questions about your rights after an accident, contact us today. We’ll connect you to a qualified legal professional in our Palm Springs office who can help assess your case.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Your top priority after any accident should be to ensure the immediate safety of yourself and anybody else involved in the crash. The advice below assumes that you are safe, nobody else who was hurt needs your help, and you can carry out these actions.
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that if you can’t do any of this after your accident, that’s okay. Some of these steps will really benefit a car accident case, but lawyers work with accident survivors who can’t take these steps every day. The legal system was built with an awareness that victims can suffer serious trauma; if you were hurt or incapacitated for any reason, you may have a case.
- Remain on the scene. You should never leave the scene of an accident before the proper time arrives; in fact, in most cases, it’s a crime to leave before law enforcement determines it’s okay to do so. Even when it’s not a crime, it’s still in poor form. If you’re wondering whether you can leave, first make sure to determine whether:
- Everyone has received appropriate medical care
- A police report has been filed
- Relevant evidence has been documented (if possible)
- Get in touch with EMS and local authorities. You’ll need to call authorities to let them know the crash occurred. It’s best to call 911 for an accident, as it allows dispatchers to ensure that both police and medical personnel reach you quickly.
- Share driver information, collect witness statements. If you can, you should collect some basic information about the other drivers involved in the crash (like their names, insurance and license information, and phone numbers). Sometimes, crash survivors have the opportunity to talk to eyewitnesses, too. If possible, you should collect their information, as well.
- Document evidence. A lot of car accidents leave behind visible and documentable evidence. Lots of survivors use photos and videos of their injuries, damage to their vehicles, or other signs, like skid marks in the road, to help prove their cases.
- Seek medical treatment. You should make an appointment for a check-up with your primary care provider as soon as you can after an accident. This goes for crash survivors who were treated on-site or in a hospital and those who went straight home. Furthermore, this helps keep your doctor up-to-date on your condition and allows him or her to double-check for delayed-onset symptoms.
- Contact your insurance provider. Nobody wants to call an insurance company to report an accident. Fortunately, if you want to make this easier for yourself, you can! A personal injury or car accident lawyer can help advise you as you communicate with your insurance company.
HOW LONG SHOULD SOMEBODY FEEL SORE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?
It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. In a perfect world, car accidents wouldn’t even exist, and if they did, they wouldn’t leave survivors sore for long. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.
The truth is that lots of injuries that are considered common results of car accidents are known to cause pain for quite a while. Sometimes, it’s “normal” for a car accident survivor to feel pain at varying degrees for months. If you are experiencing constant and persistent pain, you should be working in tandem with your doctor to try to find results that give you relief.
With all of that said, plenty of post-accident pain does signify undetected and underestimated injuries.
Car accident victims should understand what to expect in terms of pain after a crash.
- Pain that does not appear until hours or days after the accident is normal.
- Some injuries are known to cause prolonged soreness, including:
- Whiplash is caused by forceful and rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck.
- Traumatic brain injury, which sometimes leads to dizziness, confusion, and more.
- Disc injuries: the discs in our spinal columns can slip, herniate, and even prolapse.
- Bone fractures
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ damage
- Your age and the severity of your accident are two key factors that can influence how long you experience pain after an accident.
- Soreness after accidents is common, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.
- Some car accidents do cause chronic or degenerative conditions, and if you believe that you or somebody you love may be impacted in this way, it’s important to seek medical and legal counsel as soon as possible.
RECOVERABLE DAMAGES IN A CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT
Some of the most common questions that car accident attorneys receive involve compensation and damages.
If you were injured in a car accident, you may recover compensation that accounts for:
- Medical bills (including past, present, and future bills associated with the accident)
- Property damage (relating to your vehicle or possessions inside of it)
- Pain and suffering and mental anguish (to account for exceptional physical and/or emotional pain after an accident)
- Lost wages and diminished earning potential
- Vehicle repair
- Vehicle towing
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT FROM A CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT?
Absolutely nobody, not even your attorney, can tell you how much your car accident settlement is worth. They can tell you, however, how much you might recover. The legal system leaves ample room for plaintiffs and defendants to argue their cases, which will affect the final value of a claim.
Your car accident lawyer may estimate a potential settlement amount. Your car accident lawyer will ponder the following to build up a case estimate:
- Impact on your wellbeing and day-to-day life. Car accidents can affect people’s lives in totally different ways. Courts consider how a car accident survivor’s life changes after a crash. Instances where an accident clearly hurts a victim’s wellbeing generally command higher settlements.
- Your ability to work after the accident. Some car accident victims only need to take a few days or weeks off of work to recover before they return to their normal routines. Others take months off to heal serious injuries. In more extreme cases, injuries may render victims unable to perform the work they did before their injuries. All of these factors impact a case’s value.
- Present and future medical expenses. Your medical expenses, obviously, play into how much you can expect from a car accident settlement; courts even consider future medical expenses that stem from accidents.
WHAT IS THE EXPECTED TIMELINE OF MY CAR ACCIDENT CASE?
Nobody can tell you for sure. However, some factors will certainly influence the time it takes a case to settle.
If you think or know that your case involved any of the following factors, ask your attorney what he or she thinks about your case timeline.
- Minimal or inadequate information
- As mentioned above, some car accidents occur in ways that make it impossible to collect evidence at the scene of the crash.
- If you don’t have photos of damage or witness statements to help your case, it may take longer to strengthen it.
- Insurance issues
- If you get stuck playing phone games with your insurance company, it can definitely complicate the timeline of your case.
- You should never agree to anything an insurance agent offers without the guidance of a qualified attorney.
- Health and safety were not prioritized
- The majority of personal injury cases do not settle until a victim’s path to recovery is clear.
- If you don’t prioritize your health and safety, you may worsen your injuries, or it may lead to delayed treatment and misdiagnoses.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
HOW THE RIGHT PALM SPRINGS CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER CAN HELP YOU RECOVER
No one wants to get into a car accident. Even the most minor car accidents are an extreme annoyance and can result in increased insurance premiums, not to mention minor injuries.
But the more serious car accidents can be life-threatening. After the most serious car accident injuries, victims’ lives are never the same.
In fact, the average driver in the United States will get into a car accident every 17.9 years. This means car accidents are not necessarily something we can avoid. If you drive for long enough, odds are you will get into an accident at some point.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation from the negligent driver. To find out for sure, speak with an experienced Palm Springs car accident injury lawyer today.
WHAT CAUSES PALM SPRINGS CAR ACCIDENTS?
Distracted driving has been the leading cause of car accidents for many years running. People eat, put on makeup, zone out, and of course, use their mobile phone when they should be focusing on the road.
The many other causes of car accidents include:
- Failure to yield.
- Running a red light or stop sign.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Drowsy driving.
- Poor road conditions.
- Bad weather.
- Inexperienced drivers.
No matter what caused your car accident, you could be entitled to compensation. If your injuries were not your fault you should not bear any responsibility to pay your medical bills. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could face astronomical medical expenses that could leave you in financial hardship if you end up having to pay for them yourself.
Your best chance of avoiding this situation is to work with a skilled Palm Springs car accident attorney. Your lawyer will help guide you through the complex car accident claims process and work to get you every dollar you deserve. Paying out of your own pocket for your medical bills that came from injuries you did not cause just adds insult to injury. Let a car accident injury attorney in Palm Springs be your guide.
WHAT WILL MY RECOVERY LOOK LIKE?
Your recovery will depend a great deal on what injuries you suffered. Car accident injuries range from mild bruises to life-threatening traumatic brain injuries. While most car accident victims make a full recovery, some Californians are less fortunate.
If your injuries are minor, you may only spend a short time in the hospital or be lucky enough that you do not need surgery. But even a quick visit to the hospital can be an expensive endeavor. Do not automatically assume that your insurance will cover your hospital visit. Even if it does, it may increase your rates. To avoid this, file a car accident claim against the negligent driver to try to recover the full value of your claim.
If your injuries are more serious, you may face extreme life challenges, including:
- Extended hospital stays.
- Multiple surgeries.
- Time out of work.
- Multiple doctor’s visits.
- In-facility rehabilitation.
- In-home rehabilitation.
- Prescription drug costs.
The more serious your injuries, the higher your medical bills will be. But that’s not all you will need to worry about after a car accident. You may not be able to return to work for some time, or at all. Even if you can return to work, you may be unable to return in the same capacity as before your car accident.
If this happens, you will likely lose income and you may not make as much money over your lifetime as you otherwise would have. This can place an unnecessary burden on your family to cover the loss of your income by taking on more work or extra jobs. That is not a burden they should bear—if someone else caused your injuries, they should bear the burden of covering your financial losses.
To seek compensation from the at-fault driver, you need to speak with a seasoned car accident injury lawyer in Palm Springs. Your lawyer has your best interests at heart and does not want to see you or your family suffer any more than you have already. That’s why if you hire a trusted car accident attorney, they will work hard to help you maximize your recovery.
HOW DO I FILE A PALM SPRINGS CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Filing a car accident claim requires substantial knowledge and understanding of the legal process. This is a complex process that only an attorney you trust should handle.
When filing a car accident claim, your attorney must prove the following elements of your claim:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care to drive in a reasonably safe manner.
- The other driver breached that duty of care by driving in an unsafe manner.
- As a result of the other driver’s breach, they caused an accident.
- You suffered injuries from the accident.
This might seem simple enough. After all, you are the one who suffered the injuries. You feel the pain and you remember the accident. Unfortunately, that’s not enough for the legal process. You must prove these elements and that’s why you need a trusted legal advisor at your side.
The legal process is not only complex, but you have a lot riding on getting it right. If your car accident claim fails, you may have to pay out of your own pocket for your medical bills and be on the hook for your other financial losses. Your lawyer has an awesome responsibility to get this right. Not all law firms are created equal, so make sure you choose a firm that has proven results in helping Palm Springs car accident victims like you recover.
DO I HAVE TO FILE A PALM SPRINGS CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM SOON?
Yes—in California, you only have two years from the date of your injury to file a car accident claim. You might think two years is a long time but you will face many obstacles during that time period and you might miss the deadline to file if you wait too long. If you miss the deadline, there is no going back. You will end up paying out-of-pocket for your medical expenses and other losses.
That is why you need a Palm Springs car accident injury attorney as soon as possible after your car accident. While you put all of your effort and energy into your physical well-being, your legal team can work hard to ensure your car accident claim gets the attention and skill it deserves.
The greatest benefit of handing over the legal burden is that you can focus on your recovery. When you allow that burden to shift to your lawyer, you no longer have to worry about the legal complexities, the deadlines, and the stresses of collecting information to bolster your case. By reaching out to a Palm Springs car accident lawyer right away, your case can move forward quickly while you focus on your recovery.
HOW MUCH IS MY PALM SPRINGS CAR ACCIDENT CASE WORTH?
This question is the one we get asked most frequently. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The amount you can recover for your injuries will depend a great deal on the injuries you have suffered, your recovery prognosis, and other items that affect your financial well being.
Your lawyer might try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of life enjoyment;
- Present and future medical bills; and
- Rehabilitation costs.
Your ability to recover what you need also depends on knowing the full value of your claim. Your chosen legal representation can help you create an accurate estimate of your future medical needs by taking into account not only the medical bills you already see piling up, but also the medical bills you will have in the future. The at-fault driver should cover all expenses related to this accident.
Keep in mind that your medical bills are not the only financial impact you have to face. When you spend time out of work, even for a few days, your earning potential and your ability to cover your bills are impacted. Again, this should not be a burden that you bear if someone else was at fault for the accident. When you work with a knowledgeable Palm Springs car accident lawyer, you give yourself the best chance of recovering every dollar you deserve.
SHOULD I ACCEPT A SETTLEMENT IN MY PALM SPRINGS CAR ACCIDENT CASE?
Car accident victims like yourself generally want to put this terrible experience behind them as quickly as possible. You want nothing more than to return to your regular life right away. We understand and we know that a quick settlement may seem like it will get you there. But we urge caution.
The insurance company representing the at-fault driver does not share your interests. In fact, their interests are opposite from yours. Their goal is to keep as much money as possible out of your pocket and in theirs. If you have received a quick settlement offer from the insurance company and you have not yet hired a lawyer, now is the time.
Your lawyer can help you review the settlement offer to ensure it contains enough funds to cover all of your expenses, present and future, as well as all of your financial losses. This is where the accurate estimate of your future financial needs becomes extremely useful.
If you decide to take a settlement without a lawyer, be aware that you will waive all rights to bring any future claims against the insurance company for this accident. That means, months or even years later, if the settlement funds have run out but you still have medical bills to pay and financial losses to cover, it will be too late and you will have no recourse.
That is why it is so important to work with a skilled car accident lawyer in Palm Springs. Your lawyer will share your interests and can work hard to protect your rights and help you collect every dollar you deserve.
HOW CAN A PALM SPRINGS CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER HELP ME?
The lawyer you choose can make a difference in your ability to recover maximum damages for your car accident injuries. Not all lawyers and law firms are created equal. Do your due diligence and make sure you choose the best lawyer for you and one who you feel comfortable with handling your car accident claim. Your lawyer holds the cards to you collecting the money you need to get better. You should not trust this responsibility to just anyone.
Your lawyer may help you by investigating your car accident, speaking with witnesses, reviewing police and medical records, hiring expert witnesses, negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, and protecting your rights at trial. We know that almost everyone just wants to settle their case quickly, and most car accident claims do settle out of court with no time-consuming trial.
But sometimes the insurance company refuses to settle a car accident injury claim for a fair and reasonable amount. When that happens, we are willing to take our client’s case to trial to help them maximize their recovery.
We start preparing for trial the moment we take a case. Any lawyer you hire should do the same. We work hard to settle every case but we also want to be prepared in case a trial comes along, that way we do not add any unnecessary delays. This is why you not only want a lawyer who has experience battling the big insurance companies, but you also want a lawyer with car accident trial experience, in case your car accident claim goes to trial.
Contact us today. We stand by, ready to show you how we can help you seek every dollar you deserve and get back on your feet.
WILL A LAWYER HELP?
Of course! We’ve said it already, but we’ll say it again: A car accident lawyer can help you with your car accident case. In fact, working with our experienced Palm Springs car accident attorneys is the best way to ensure success in court. A lawyer can help smooth out the legal complications of bringing a case and call on experts to help strengthen your side of the story.
Car accidents attorneys can help survivors in many ways. If you select a trustworthy and experienced Palm Springs car accident lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys, he or she will empower and educate you as you move through the legal process.
DID A PALM SPRINGS CAR ACCIDENT INJURE YOU OR SOMEBODY YOU LOVE? CONTACT GOMEZ TRIAL ATTORNEYS FOR HELP
If you or somebody close to you were injured in a Palm Springs car accident, our team is prepared to help. We have extensive experience litigating car accident cases, and we are dedicated to obtaining justice for residents in Palm Springs.
Accident victims need to partner with a lawyer that they can trust as soon as possible after an accident. If you’re ready to take that step today, contact us or dial (619) 237-3490 to speak to a qualified legal professional.
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