If you were injured or have lost a loved one in a car accident in the Solana Beach area, you can pursue compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Our Solana beach car accident lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys is ready to help victims of car accidents.
Our firm routinely takes on the hard cases that other lawyers can’t handle. We’ve won millions of dollars in car accident cases on behalf of our clients, including:
$13.5 million jury verdict for a brain injury suffered in a car accident
$5.2 million settlement for a brain injury suffered in a car accident
$2.65 million settlement for orthopedic injuries suffered in a car accident with the Border Patrol
$1.7 million jury verdict for an ankle injury sustained in a car accident
We have secured many more judgments and settlements for injured clients over the years. These results don’t constitute a promise of future outcomes, which depend on the facts of each individual case, but they should show that we fight hard for every dollar our clients deserve. Call now to see if we can help you, too.
Types of Car Accidents
There are many different types of car accidents. However, a few happen far more often than most. These include:
Rear-end accidents: These are one of the most common types of two-vehicle accidents and occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of another vehicle.
Broadside accidents: Also known as T-bone accidents or side-angle collisions, broadside accidents occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle. This type of accident generally occurs at an intersection when one driver fails to yield the right-of-way.
Head-on collisions: These accidents account for a small percentage of the total overall number of accidents that occur in California and the nation each year. However, they also account for a large percentage of the fatalities caused by traffic-related crashes. Head-on collisions occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the front of another vehicle. Head-on collisions often involve a vehicle that is traveling in the wrong direction on the roadway due to unfamiliarity with the road, alcohol impairment, or a previous accident that pushed the vehicle into an oncoming travel lane.
Sideswipe accident: These accidents occur when the side of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle. Sideswipe accidents are usually caused when a person drifts into another travel lane or fails to ensure a travel lane is clear before changing lanes.
Rollover: Rollover accidents involve the vehicle’s tires leaving the roadway and the vehicle rolling onto its side or roof. Rollovers are common in single-vehicle accidents where the vehicle leaves the roadway. They can also happen when a vehicle with a high center of gravity, such as an SUV, truck, or van takes a curve in the road or a corner too sharply or too fast.
Single-vehicle accidents: Single-vehicle accidents often happen when a vehicle either runs off of the road or strikes an object in the roadway. Accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists are referred to as single-vehicle accidents, since only one motor vehicle is involved.
Chain-reaction or pileup crashes: Chain-reaction accidents occur when three or more vehicles are involved in the accident. Most often this occurs when two vehicles collide and additional vehicles become involved when colliding with the initial accident scene. Sometimes there are many vehicles involved, particularly when the accident occurs on an interstate. This is referred to as a pileup.
The Causes of Solana Beach Car Accidents
In California, more than 3,500 people are killed in car accidents each year. More than 40 percent of drivers involved in fatal car accidents test positive for legal and illegal drugs, and more than 1,000 drivers involved in fatal car accidents were impaired by alcohol at the time of the crash.
While speeding and alcohol impairment are among the major contributors to accidents across the U.S., there are several other reasons why car crashes occur, including:
Distracted driving: Driver distractions include anything that causes the driver to take one or both hands from the wheel, draw their eyes from the road, or take their attention away from the task of driving. Some things result in more than one of these types of distractions, and texting involves all three. Other examples of driver distractions include other cell phone use, eating or drinking, visiting with passengers, dealing with loose pets in the car, adjusting stereo or vehicle controls, or external distractions such as a previous accident, a billboard, or other people and cars.
Alcohol impairment: Alcohol impairment results in around 10,000 traffic-related deaths in the U.S. each year. Alcohol impairment doesn’t begin at the legal driving limit of .08 percent blood alcohol content. Instead, it begins with the first drink and gradually results in deficits to the skills needed for safe driving such as the ability to focus on driving, the ability to maintain one’s own travel lane, tracking moving targets, braking effectively, and the ability to make good decisions during emergency driving maneuvers.
Speeding: Driving faster than the posted limit or than warranted by the conditions of the road is another major cause of collisions in the U.S. Speeding reduces the amount of time that a driver has to perceive a danger and react to it, and increases the distance the vehicle needs to stop safely. Speeding also increases the force of a collision, resulting in accidents that are more severe than they would have been if the driver was not speeding and causes the vehicle’s protective features such as the steel frame, airbags, and seat belts to work less effectively.
Failure to yield: Red lights and stop signs indicate that a driver should stop and wait for the light to change or a gap in the flow of traffic before proceeding. Failure to do so constitutes a failure to yield the right-of-way and is a common cause of broadside accidents.
Teenage drivers: Your teen may be ready for a driver’s license, but that doesn’t mean their safe driving skills are fully developed. Teens lack the developmental ability to scan the roadway for hazards effectively. They also lack the experience with driving that will help them to make sound driving decisions and are prone to fatigued driving due to additional sleep requirements for young adults as they grow and develop. For these reasons, teens are among the age groups most commonly involved in motor vehicle accidents.
Tailgating: Tailgating is the act of one vehicle following another so closely that its driver has little time to react or come to a stop when the vehicle in the lead suddenly brakes. This is the main cause of rear-end accidents.
Driver fatigue: Often experienced by night shift workers and long-haul truck drivers, drowsy driving happens when a driver has failed to get adequate sleep before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. Sometimes, even after getting the right amount of sleep, a driver may suffer a sleep condition such as sleep apnea, which causes temporary pauses in their breathing throughout the night, and leaves them drowsy during the day.
Aggressive driving / road rage: Often used interchangeably, the terms “aggressive driving” and “road rage” mean two different things. Aggressive driving is usually a result of impatience or a desire to push through traffic congestion by tailgating, red light running, or improper lane changes. Road rage, on the other hand, is an attempt to assault another driver or punish them for perceived driving infractions through behaviors such as deliberately tailgating, refusing to let the vehicle pass, honking, yelling, rude gestures, exiting the vehicle at a stoplight to confront another driver, or even attempting to bump or ram a vehicle off of the roadway.
The Often Serious Injuries That Car Accident Victims Face
Any part of a person’s body can be injured in a car accident, due to the force of the collision and the presence of sharp metal, glass, and other materials that can cause injury.
Some of the serious injuries that are frequently associated with car accidents are:
Traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries occur due to a violent jolt or blow to the head. Severe brain injuries can lead to devastating lifelong effects, including the inability to speak or understand language, difficulty controlling emotions or behavior, difficulty remembering past events, the inability to perform coordinated movements or to walk, and damage to the five primary senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
Spinal cord injuries: Like brain injuries, spinal cord injuries create damage that is often permanent. This type of injury can result in paralysis, which is the loss of sensation and function in part of the body. Spinal cord injuries occurring higher up in the neck area can result in paralysis of a person’s limbs, torso, and pelvis. This is known as tetraplegia or quadriplegia. Spinal cord injuries in the mid-back can result in paraplegia, which is paralysis in the legs, feet, and pelvis. This type of injury is categorized as complete, meaning that the victim has lost all sensation and function below the site of the injury, or incomplete, meaning that the individual retains some sensation and function below the injury site.
Broken bones: Broken bones are also a common injury suffered in car accidents as the violence of the accident can result in body parts being crushed or twisted. Broken bones that protrude through the skin are particularly concerning as they can lead to infections in the blood, tissues surrounding the bone, or even in the bone itself.
Internal injuries: Car accidents can also result in internal injuries, which can lead to serious blood loss. A common type of internal injury suffered in a car accident is a pneumothorax, which is a collapsed lung. This generally happens when an individual’s ribs are broken and a bone fragment punctures the lung.
Solana Beach Car Accident FAQ
As with most places, car accidents are a source of both danger and concern for residents of Solana Beach, where nearly two dozen individuals are injured or killed each year due to traffic-related crashes. If someone else’s reckless or careless behavior injured you in a Solana Beach car accident, California law allows you to seek damages. Below are answers to some of the questions our Solana Beach car accident clients ask us most often about the legal process of obtaining compensation after this type of accident.
Why is it important to seek medical care after a Solana Beach car accident?
From a safety standpoint, you should seek a medical evaluation after an accident even if you don’t “feel” hurt. The reason for this is that many serious injuries—including those involving the internal organs or the brain—can present with delayed symptoms and quick treatment may bring the best outcomes. Further, during times of trauma or stress, the body releases adrenaline that can mask the pain that would normally tell a person that they were injured.
From a legal standpoint, obtaining a medical evaluation after an accident creates proof that the injury occurred as the injured individual stated that it did. This proof can be used as evidence in a car accident case.
I can’t afford my medical bills for my Solana Beach car accident injuries. What can I do?
If your accident was the result of someone else’s reckless or careless behavior or intentional act, you can seek compensation through a car accident lawsuit. In California, a car accident lawsuit is a legal claim filed in civil court, generally within two years of the date on which the accident occurred. The purpose of this claim is to prove that the other party is liable for the accident victim’s injuries and to request damages, which are paid to cover the expenses and impacts that the injury caused the accident victim.
Why do I have to report my Solana Beach car accident to my insurance provider if I am not filing a claim?
Even if you do not plan to file a claim with your own insurance policy, you must always report your accident to your insurance provider. Why? Because the fine print on the contract you signed when you purchased your policy stated that you agreed to report all accidents. Failing to do so is considered a breach of contract and can result in your insurance company choosing to drop your coverage.
Problems with failing to report your accident commonly reveal themselves if another motorist files a third-party claim against your policy only to discover that your provider has not been made aware of the accident.
In addition to medical expenses from my Solana Beach car accident, what other expenses can I be compensated for?
California allows victims to seek both economic damages—payment for out-of-pocket costs such as medical expenses—as well as non-economic damages.
Commonly included costs in economic damages are:
Lost income, due to being too injured to work or missing work for medical appointments related to the injury.
Loss of future earning capacity, if your injuries leave you disabled and unable to return to work or to earn the level of income you earned before the accident.
The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
Non-economic damages are paid for the impacts that your injury has had on your life.
Common impacts considered to be non-economic damages include:
Physical pain and suffering.
Loss of the enjoyment of life, if the injury prevents you from participating in activities you previously enjoyed.
Loss of consortium, if the injury prevents you from providing your spouse with physical intimacy and companionship.
What type of behavior would make someone liable in a Solana Beach car accident?
The vast majority of car accidents are the result of human error.
Several human errors can lead to a motor vehicle crash, including these common ones:
Distracted driving: Distracted driving kills more than 2,800 people in the U.S. each year. The three types of driver distractions are manual distractions, in which the driver removes one or both hands from the wheel; visual distractions, in which the driver is looking at something other than the road; and cognitive distractions, in which the driver’s thoughts are on something other than the task of driving safely. Texting is a particular safety concern as it involves all three types of distractions. Other common distractions include visiting with passengers, eating or drinking, listening to music, messing with the stereo or other vehicle controls, or external distractions such as construction work zones, other cars, or billboards.
Drunk driving: Drunk driving results in one death in the U.S. every 50 minutes and is a factor in nearly one-third of all traffic-related fatalities. Alcohol impairment creates deficits in the skills needed for safe driving, including the ability to exercise good judgment, apply the brakes properly, maintain a travel lane, and multitask.
Fatigued driving: In extreme cases, fatigued driving creates similar deficits in driving skills to alcohol impairment. While any driver is capable of getting behind the wheel when drowsy, long-haul truck drivers and night shift workers are more likely than most to drive while fatigued because they are working when their body expects to be sleeping.
Speeding: Speeding refers not only to driving faster than the posted speed limit but also driving too fast for conditions, which can include wet roads from inclement weather, traffic congestion, or damaged roads. Excessive speed reduces the amount of time the driver has to react to a hazard on the roadway and increases the vehicle’s braking distance. Speeding also reduces the effectiveness of the vehicle’s protective equipment, including seat belts, airbags, and the steel frame, and increases the severity of a collision.
Failure to yield: There are several scenarios in which a driver in California must yield the right-of-way to other roadway users. Some examples include pedestrians at a crosswalk, approaching traffic in a roundabout, and motor vehicles and pedestrians on a through road at a “T” intersection. Failure to yield the right-of-way can result in several different types of accidents, including broadside accidents—also known as side angle crashes or T-bone collisions—in which the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another.
How do I determine who was liable for my Solana Beach car accident injuries?
If another party is found liable for your injuries, they are legally responsible for paying for the costs of those injuries and any related harms you have suffered.
To establish that someone is liable for your injuries, you must show that:
The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The duty of care depends on the at-fault party’s role in the accident and is based on what a reasonable person would do in similar circumstances. For example, if your accident was caused by another motorist, the duty of care that motorist owed to you was to operate their motor vehicle safely and legally.
The at-fault party breached its duty of care. The breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that were out of line with the duty of care they owed you. In the case of a car accident, this may have been speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, driving distracted, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or otherwise driving unsafely.
The breach resulted in an accident that caused you to suffer injuries that created expenses and impacts on your life.
We can help you establish these things and much more to file your Solana Beach car accident claim.
My loved one died in a Solana Beach car accident. Is there compensation available for me?
If you are the spouse or domestic partner, parent, or child of someone who died in a Solana Beach car accident that was caused by someone else’s careless or reckless behavior, you can pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Some of the costs you can seek to recover through a wrongful death claim include:
Medical expenses for the treatment of the deceased’s final injury.
Funeral services and the costs of burial or cremation.
Lost income, including the income the deceased would have earned if they had survived.
The loss of services and support provided by the deceased to their family members.
Loss of love, community, affection, and guidance provided to family members.
What happens if the at-fault driver in my Solana Beach car accident case is uninsured?
The availability of insurance is one of the most important factors in a Solana Beach car accident case, as it pays most settlements or awards. If the at-fault party does not have insurance in your case, this will present extra complications. While it is possible to file a lawsuit against an uninsured person and even to obtain a judgment in your favor, it is generally more difficult to collect compensation from the at-fault party directly. This scenario will make it particularly important to hire an experienced car accident attorney to represent you in your case.
Your attorney will carefully review your case to identify other potentially liable parties who have insurance resources that can compensate you. Additionally, tapping into your own insurance resources might be necessary, including auto policies with uninsured/underinsured motorist protection or MedPay, as well as your personal health insurance policy.
How much is the average car accident settlement in Solana Beach?
Because the unique facts of the case determine the settlement, there is no “average” settlement for a car accident case in Solana Beach.
Several factors can influence the value of your case, such as:
Whether the at-fault party has insurance.
Your age and where you are in your career at the time of the accident, as this impacts economic damage categories such as lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.
Your patience as you wait for your attorney to negotiate a fair settlement offer. Settlement offers can come at any time in the process, but generally, it takes time for your attorney to negotiate a settlement that comes close to covering all of your losses and is truly fair. Sometimes this requires filing a lawsuit and starting the litigation process, where the defendant’s insurance provider faces the choice to either pay out more than they wanted or pay for litigation and face the uncertainty of a trial.
If I file a Solana Beach car accident lawsuit, do I have to go to court?
The vast majority of Solana Beach car accident cases resolve before they see the inside of a courtroom. This means that it is likely that your case will settle out of court. Seek the guidance of an attorney who is comfortable fighting for the compensation you deserve through litigation, as well as negotiating a settlement.
Wouldn’t it be easier and more affordable to file my Solana Beach car accident lawsuit on my own?
No. Car accident cases are often complex, particularly for those who do not have legal experience. An experienced car accident attorney can provide services that would be difficult to replicate on your own. Most car accident attorneys do what they can to make their services available to anyone who needs them, regardless of ability to pay, by offering free case evaluations for prospective clients and working for a contingency fee, which allows their clients to use their services without making payments unless and until there is a successful outcome in the case.
Our Solana Beach Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
Solana Beach residents have two processes through which they can attempt to recover compensation after a car accident.
People who were injured in a car accident can file another type of civil lawsuit known as a personal injury claim. Some of the damages victims can seek through this type of lawsuit include medical expenses, repair or replacement of the injured person’s vehicle, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Family members of a deceased individual can seek compensation for their loved one’s loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the damages that may be available in this type of lawsuit include funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and loss of companionship or support. Family members who are eligible to file this type of lawsuit include spouses and domestic partners, children, grandchildren whose parents are also deceased, any other person who depended on the deceased for at least 50 percent of their support.
Let the experienced Solana Beach car accident attorneys at Gomez Trial Attorneys help you make sense of the legal process. We know the process for seeking damages after a Solana Beach car accident and we have the resources to do so with your interests at heart. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (619) 237-3490.
Injured in an accident? Get a real trial lawyer. Get Gomez.