California Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be overwhelmed by a laundry list of tasks to handle. From replacing or repairing your vehicle to trying to decide how to pay medical bills, it’s easy to see why calling a lawyer might not be in the front of your mind.
At Cutter Law P.C., our car accident lawyers are well aware of the devastating consequences a car crash can have. The effects of an automobile accident can tremendously impact your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Your quality of life is significantly affected and you may not be able to work, putting you and your family in financial jeopardy. In addition to dealing with the mental and physical trauma, you need financial resources to help you recover from your catastrophic injuries.
The insurance company will take advantage of your vulnerability during this time, trying to coerce you into settling for far less than you need or deserve.
Their focus is on getting you to accept the lowest amount possible so they can protect their profits. The time following a car accident is stressful and traumatic, and you may feel a great deal of pressure to get back to work quickly or agree to the insurance company’s terms.
If your loved one has died in an automobile accident, this time is filled with grief and you may not feel you want to deal with an insurance company or car accident lawsuit.
We can help you during this difficult time. The car accident attorneys at Cutter Law are passionate about ensuring your rights are protected following an automobile accident.
Our team will give you and your family personalized attention, so we develop a thorough understanding of how the car accident has affected you and your loved ones.
Our attorneys fight tirelessly for you, making sure you receive the maximum amount you are entitled to following your devastating motor vehicle accident.
We will guide you through the process and ensure you fully understand all your rights and your options, so you can make the decisions that are in your best interests, not the insurance companies.
If you have any questions about your car accident or would like to schedule a free case consultation, contact a car accident attorney.
What Should I Do After a California Car Accident?
The time following a car accident can be overwhelming and chaotic. If you have suffered any type of brain injury, even seemingly minor, you might have difficulty making decisions and sorting through the people who may contact you with settlement offers or to get statements from you.
Even answering questions may feel like a challenge. Not all of the people attempting to speak with you will respect your rights, and some may behave unethically.
Working with an experienced car accident lawyer will help you navigate this stressful time. Your lawyer can communicate with all other parties, so you don’t have to. They will also ensure your rights are respected and make sure no one takes advantage of you for the sake of saving money.
Here’s what else you need to know following a car accident:
Stay on the scene – Make sure everyone in your vehicle and any other people involved do not require medical attention. If anyone requires medical attention, call 911 to request an ambulance.
If you do not require urgent medical attention, here are some steps to take. Do not make any statements of guilt or issue apologies as these can be used against you at a trial.
In the moments after a car accident
Call the police — Even if there aren’t any serious injuries resulting from the car accident, it is a good idea to call the police. Chances are your insurance company will require a police report, even if it’s just for damage to your vehicle.
Call your insurance company — Reporting the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible is important, even if you are completely at fault. Make a note of the time and location the accident occurred.
Take pictures and notes — Pictures of the damage and scene are important. Having proof of the extent of the damage can help you with the insurance claim and serve as evidence if there is a dispute. Notes, like pictures, are important in detailing the car accident and the nature of any injuries.
Seek medical attention — Not all injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are immediately obvious. Many people report pain or discomfort after 24 to 48 hours have passed. Unless you are certain that you have not suffered any injuries, seek medical attention from your local emergency room or physician.
Slight accidents can still result in severe and potentially permanent spinal cord injuries. Losing consciousness or becoming confused for even a short time following an accident could suggest a concussion or closed head injury.
In the days and weeks following the car accident
Be careful whom you talk to — Do not speak with insurance companies representing the other parties involved in your accident. If you have an attorney, they can communicate on your behalf with all insurance companies involved.
Don’t accept the first settlement offer— Your wellbeing is not the insurance company’s primary concern. Its concern is settling your claim for the least possible amount. Often this process involves making several low offers in an attempt to save money. If you accept their first offer, you will receive a fraction of what you are entitled to and you most likely will not be able to file a lawsuit later if you discover your injuries are more significant than initially believed.
Keep a file — It is important to keep a file of all of your accident-related documents and information. This should include a claim number, the claims adjuster who is handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car, and any additional expenses you may have incurred related to the accident. Keep a record of any communications you have regarding the accident and medical appointments.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive After a California Car Accident with Injuries?
If you’ve been injured in an accident in California, no doubt you are concerned about what the future will bring. You may be especially concerned about what kind of financial provisions there may be for you.
Several factors determine the value of your personal injury case. The severity of your injuries could be a factor.
California is a comparative negligence state. This means that people can be proportionally responsible for an accident. If you bear a percentage of responsibility for your crash, this will affect the amount of compensation you can receive.
Types of Compensation for a Car Accident
Two kinds of damages can be recovered in a car accident: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning ability
- Property losses
- Burial costs in wrongful death cases
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify but are just as real. They include:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent disability, impairment, or disfigurement
When you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a car accident in California because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation, whether for quantifiable economic damages or for non-economic damages that affect your quality of life.
What If My Family Member Died In a California Car Accident?
If you believe that a car crash caused a family member’s death and that someone else is responsible for their death, you need to make sure you have the right to file a claim. Under California law, a spouse, domestic partner, or child may file a claim for wrongful death.
If the person who was killed was not married and did not have children, their parents or stepchildren may file a suit. In any case, you may only file a wrongful death suit if you can prove that you were financially dependent on the deceased.
You have two years to file a wrongful death suit if you are eligible to file. The clock on the statute of limitations begins on the date of death. If you’re uncertain about your eligibility to file or about the timeline, you should contact the wrongful death lawyers at Cutter Law.
Time Limit to File a California Car Accident Lawsuit
The statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit in California is two years from the date of the accident or injury. This means that if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you have a limited amount of time in which to file your suit. If you wait longer than that time, you will likely be barred from filing your claim.
It is in your best interest to speak with a knowledgeable car accident attorney as soon as possible.
A skilled accident attorney who is experienced at managing motor vehicle claims will begin building your case immediately, including speaking to witnesses, hiring medical experts and negotiating with the insurance company.
If the insurance company does not come through with a reasonable settlement offer for your motor vehicle accident, it’s vital that you have a thorough claim ready to go forward.
The sooner a personal injury attorney can begin working on your file and investigating your car crash, the stronger your case will be.
The statute of limitations for public entities
If you are involved in an accident with a public entity, the statute of limitations is only six months from the date of the accident.
Public entities–also referred to as government agencies–include the state government, local government, Caltrans, public schools, public hospitals, government employees and other people, organizations or departments of the government.
The regulations surrounding filing a lawsuit against a public entity are complex and require you to file an administrative claim. If you fail to do so, you may be barred from later filing a lawsuit against the government agency involved in your car accident.
That’s why it is vital that you work with an experienced accident attorney who can manage your claim and ensure all required paperwork is filed and deadlines are met.
Why Should I Hire Cutter Law to Handle My Car Accident Case?
At Cutter Law, we are your best choice for attorneys to handle your personal injury or wrongful death case. We have 130 years of combined legal experience, and we’ve won numerous honors for our work on behalf of our clients both locally and nationally.
Over the years, we have won over $100 million in damages for our clients in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Our commitment to our clients ensures that you will receive our best efforts at maximizing the compensation you’ll receive in your lawsuit.
The personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Cutter Law are ready to meet with you in a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact us today. We can help you determine the merits of your lawsuit and help you understand what your suit could be worth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you’ve been injured or had a loved one killed in a car accident, you probably have questions. Some of the questions you have may be answered here.
Under California law, liability for an accident can be divided into a percentage. If you are found partially to blame for your accident, you can still recover damages. An attorney can help you understand how this rule might apply to your case.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might approach you with a settlement offer. You should not discuss your accident with anyone or accept a settlement offer without first speaking to a lawyer.
Auto insurers in California are required to offer uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to their customers. If you declined this coverage and you are injured by an uninsured motorist, you might find it difficult to collect damages.
After a motor vehicle accident, it’s always a good idea to consult an attorney. If your injuries worsen and you end up incurring out-of-pocket expenses, a lawyer can still help you negotiate a settlement. Let an experienced lawyer help you decide whether your claim is worth pursuing.
Cutter Law operates on a contingency fee basis in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. This means that if you don’t recover damages, we don’t get paid. Our approach to fees protects you from any risk in filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
If you hire an attorney early on, it’s likely that you will recover some sort of settlement. Personal injury lawyers review cases before they take them to ensure they have merit and are likely to result in compensation.
If you filed a case on your own and lost, a personal injury attorney can still help appeal that decision. Call Cutter Law today to discuss your options.
Every vehicle collision is different and the circumstances that affect your particular MVA must be examined to determine how much compensation is due.
Ultimately, whether you are eligible for financial compensation from your motor vehicle accident rests on two factors:
- That the accident was caused either completely or partially by another party’s negligence
- That the accident caused your injuries
Although those factors sound simple, insurance companies will do what they can to prove that you were responsible for your accident or that the crash itself did not cause your injuries.
An insurance company may try to show that your injuries were pre-existing or are not as substantial as you claim. They may use your own words against you or force you to see one of their medical professionals who will downplay the nature of your injuries.
If you drive in California, you know some places are more dangerous than others. Of particular danger in the Sacramento area are the intersections at:
- Folsom Boulevard and Howe Avenue
- 12th Street and B Street
- Elder Creek Road and Stockton Boulevard
- Franklin Boulevard and Mack Road
- Mack Road and Valley High Drive
If you regularly travel through these intersections in Sacramento, be cautious.
You also want to be vigilant if you travel through the following Santa Rosa intersections. Dangerous intersections in Santa Rosa include:
- Highway 12 at Mission Boulevard
- Corby Avenue and Hearn Avenue
- Santa Rosa Avenue and Hearn Avenue
- Dutton Avenue and Sebastopol Road
- Guerneville Road and Marlow Road
It may be that you drive through these intersections daily. It could be that you’ve been involved in an accident in one of these places that was someone else’s fault. If so, Cutter Law can help.
California traffic accident laws are not always straightforward. California follows rules of comparative fault. This means that you can receive compensation for your accident even if you were partially to blame.
The amount you are entitled to recover, however, is reduced by the percentage of fault you carry. If you are entitled to $100,000 and you are 5 percent at fault, your recovery will be reduced by five percent.
There are different rules if you are filing a claim against the government.
If you are involved in a collision with a person who is on-duty for the government or driving a government automobile, you may need to file a claim against the government. Such circumstances have only a six-month statute of limitations.
Up to 15 percent of California drivers have no insurance, meaning there is a good chance the person driving the other vehicle either has no insurance or has insufficient insurance to cover your medical costs.
The attorneys at Cutter Law can explain how the various laws affect your claim and what your best options are moving forward. Contact us to find out how we can put our skills and resources to work for you.
Protect Your Rights, Call Cutter Law
Many of our clients come to us after attempting to negotiate claims on their own. Nearly all of them are surprised at the tactics employed by insurance companies to get them to settle.
These tactics can include harassment, pressuring you to accept an offer, not returning calls and discounting injuries by claiming that the accident doesn’t warrant either side seeking medical attention.
No one wants to deal with this, especially when they’re hurt. Contacting an attorney immediately after the accident will allow you to simply focus on getting better and fixing or replacing your car.