front of car after accident

If you’ve suffered injuries or other damages in a car accident in Oakland, contact the Oakland car accident attorneys at Cutter Law today for a free case review.

OAKLAND

Car Accident Lawyers

Every week, many car accidents happen in Oakland and surrounding areas, with injuries ranging from minor to severe to catastrophic. For many people injured in car accidents, it’s vital to obtain the help of a car accident attorney who can help you navigate the confusing and often complicated process of filing insurance claims and seeking fair compensation via a civil lawsuit to assist in financial burdens due to incurred expenses and losses stemming from the accident and injuries.

What should I do after a car accident in Oakland?

If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident in Oakland, there are a few steps you need to take immediately to protect yourself and ensure your legal rights.

Call 911 immediately to report the accident. A police officer will come to the scene and write a police report detailing the event of the accident. Unless you need emergency medical attention, it’s essential to remain at the accident scene.

1

Gather contact and insurance information from everyone involved in the accident, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, license plates, and vehicle identification numbers. Insist on seeing everyone’s driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations. If the accident involved a parked car with no occupants, leave a note on the car with the names and addresses of everyone involved in the accident.

2

You should also document everything you can about the accident, including photographs of the vehicles, the accident scene, and your injuries. Finally, determine whether there were any witnesses and, if so, collect their contact information, as they may later become invaluable in piecing together the cause of the accident.

3

In any accident involving injuries or damages exceeding $750, California law requires persons involved to report the accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days. Failure to do so may lead to the suspension of your driver’s license.

4

Seek immediate medical attention after the accident, even if you think your injuries are minor, to ensure you aren’t suffering from any latent injuries and to document your injuries. Injuries are sometimes not always apparent right after a car accident, so you may also want to conduct a follow-up examination with your doctor.

5

Finally, it’s imperative to contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Your insurance company will likely try to settle your claim soon after the accident. Insurance companies have an interest in maximizing their profits; therefore, they may try to get you to accept a settlement offer that is well below what you’re entitled to recover.

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Often, people undervalue the worth of their claim and take less than what they deserve. Before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company, you ought to contact a personal injury lawyer with years of experience handling car accident claims who can advise you whether the settlement is fair and what legal rights and options you have for the best possible outcome and maximum compensation.

How common are car accidents in Oakland?

Car accidents are unfortunately widespread in Oakland. Every week, at least two people are either severely injured or killed in car accidents on Oakland roads and surrounding areas.

If you or a family member experienced injuries after an auto accident in Oakland, obtaining legal representation to help you build a strong case will ensure the protection and preservation of your legal rights. The legal team at Cutter Law is here to answer all your questions via a free initial consultation.

What are the common causes of car accidents in Oakland?

Common causes of car accidents include distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, aggressive driving, mechanical failures, and poor road conditions due to road defects or inclement weather. Increased cell phone use leads to more distracted drivers on the roadways, and it takes only a few seconds for a driver to take their eyes off the road to cause an accident.

Drunk drivers are also often responsible for accidents because their response time significantly slows, and they experience impairment in their decision-making skills and judgment, necessary for driving effectively. Finally, speeding and aggressive or reckless driving are prevalent causes of accidents. A speeding driver, or a driver that’s recklessly driving in and out of lanes, is often undetected by other drivers until it’s too late to avoid a crash.

Oakland is a beautiful city that’s especially popular with cyclists. Unfortunately, this means that it also has a relatively high number of accidents involving cyclists and vehicles. In a recent tragic accident in December 2020, a cyclist suffered critical injuries in East Oakland. It was the second hit and run accident in less than 24 hours.

Recently, cycling advocates called for improvements to some of the city’s cycling lanes, specifically where bike lanes cross over entry points for cars and pedestrians.

drinking beer in car and looking out window
car engine
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blurry photo of car at night

Traffic Hotspots in Oakland

To get an idea of traffic hotspots in Oakland, look at the map below. The blue circles represent major traffic accidents and show areas that likely have more congestion and slower movement. In the top left corner of the map, it’s not surprising that we see a high risk of accidents and quite a bit of traffic backups. Where I-80 meets I-580 and I-880, with drivers headed on and off the Bay Bridge, it’s by far the busiest area of Oakland. You’ll also notice that there’s a fair bit of congestion south of downtown all along I-880. This traffic holdup continues for a long stretch until San Jose. Additionally, there are a fair bit of accidents that happen along I-580 heading into downtown Oakland, but this road is less busy and dangerous than I-880.
Below you can see the average time it takes to drive 30 minutes from our office location, just a couple miles from downtown Oakland. The 30-minute commute is what we call the Marchetti Constant. No matter the era we live in and the means by which we travel, people always tend to live on average about 30 minutes from work. The green outline shows how far you can get in 30 minutes from our office.
As we all know, often we’re stuck in traffic for longer than 30 minutes. In the map below, you can see how far, on average, you can drive in 60 minutes from our office, represented by the black border. Both of these outlines show not only where you are likely to find traffic congestion but also the sprawl of where people live, commuting to and from Oakland.

What types of accidents happen in Oakland?

In Oakland and throughout the U.S., car accidents most commonly occurring include:

Head-on collisions

Sideswipes during lane passing

Single car crashes where the vehicle goes off the road and hits an obstacle

Vehicle rollovers

Rear-end collisions

T-bone accidents

Multi-vehicle accidents

Accidents involving motorcyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists

Common Injuries from Car Accidents

Car accidents can result in injuries ranging from minor cuts and scrapes to permanent disabilities and fatalities. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for persons under 30 years old, with about 96 people dying every day from car accidents. In addition, every year, motor vehicle wrecks result in $44 billion in medical expenses and lost wages because of missed work.

Car accidents can also result in emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), where the person involved in the accident relives the event repeatedly via flashbacks and nightmares. California law allows victims of car accidents to recover damages for mental anguish and pain and suffering endured after an accident.

The most common injuries in car crashes include:

  • Whiplash
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Loss of limbs
  • Herniated discs
  • Hip and lower leg fractures
  • Disfigurement

Cutter Law Car Accident Cases

Although every type of car accident is different, injury claims resulting from one fall under the governance of California’s negligence laws. Our personal injury attorneys at Cutter Law handle all types of car accidents, including:

Distracted and drunk driving accidents
• Hit and run accidents
Accidents involving trucks, bicycles, pedestrians, and motorcycles
Airbag injury accidents
Rollover accidents

Who is liable for my damages after a car accident?

California is a comparative fault state, meaning each person recovers damages according to their determined percentage of fault or responsibility contributing to an accident. For instance, if the court determines that you’re 15% percent at fault for the accident, then the court can reduce any compensation awarded to you by that same percentage.

Our car accident attorneys in Oakland will work hard to build your case to reduce the amount of fault attributed to you in a car accident to get you the compensation you deserve for your incurred injuries and damages.

How can I prove the other party is liable
after an auto accident?

California law provides that if another person’s negligence caused your injuries, you can recover damages from that person. All drivers in California owe a duty to others to drive safely and reasonably. If someone breaches that duty—for instance, if they drive drunk or operate their vehicle recklessly—and injures you directly because of that breach, then that person is liable for driving negligently, and they will have to pay you to compensate you for your injuries and damages.

In legal terms, your burden of proof is to show that the other person’s conduct “proximately caused” your injuries, meaning your injuries were a natural and direct consequence of their actions and without which you wouldn’t have been injured.

A plaintiff or injured person in California must show the following elements to prove negligence:

  • The defendant (negligent party) owed a duty to act with reasonable care.
  • The defendant breached this duty.
  • The defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • The defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, and the plaintiff suffered actual damages.

An example looks like the following:

  • A driver uses their cell phone to text while driving, knowing that this conduct could injure another person, thereby ignoring their duty to follow traffic laws and drive safely to avoid harming others on the road.
  • Texting while driving is breaching a duty to operate a vehicle safely and reasonably.
  • The driver’s texting causes an accident, and another person is injured.
  • The texting driver acted negligently, implicating them for liability. In addition, the injured party has medical records and other evidentiary support of their incurred damages due to the accident.
In California, a car accident lawyer can help you investigate and build your case to show that another person’s negligence caused the accident, resulting in your injuries and other damages.

What kind of damages can I
receive after an accident?

If you suffer injuries in a car accident in Oakland, you can receive compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include all direct costs you paid as a result of your car accident. These costs typically include:

Medical bills (e.g., doctor's office visits and hospital stays)

Physical and occupational therapy or rehabilitation

Future surgeries

Present and future lost wages due to missed work

Property damages (e.g., physical damage to your vehicle and its diminished value)

Rental car costs

Towing fees

California law also recognizes that car accident victims may suffer non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are intangible or not easily calculated damages intended to compensate victims for pain and suffering and mental anguish endured due to the accident. For example, if a car accident leads to the loss of one of your legs, you may be unable to participate in certain activities you enjoyed before the accident, resulting in a loss of enjoyment or emotional suffering. The value of this loss is somewhat subjective, but a personal injury attorney can help assign your pain and suffering a monetary worth to assert a claim for compensation.

Finally, California allows for recovery of punitive damages if the other driver’s conduct was reckless, willful, or grossly negligent—for example, if they were driving drunk when the car accident happened. Punitive damages intend to punish the wrongdoer rather than compensate the harmed party and deter future wrong actions.

How can I receive compensation for my damages after an accident?

After a car accident, you need to call your insurance company and inform them that it happened, regardless of who was at fault. Then, the insurance company will start investigating your claim and extend an offer to settle it.

As part of the investigation, the insurance company may take a written or recorded statement from you. Don’t ever admit guilt, even partially. You should speak with an attorney before giving any statements to the insurance companies.

An insurance adjuster will also likely inspect any vehicle damage and submit an estimate of costs to repair the vehicle. The insurance company will usually pay the cost to repair the vehicle or the vehicle’s actual value, whichever is less, keeping in mind they aim to protect their interests and bottom line.

Insurance companies often offer less than what your claim is worth. A personal injury lawyer can advise you on whether you’re receiving a fair settlement. Your lawyer can also negotiate to receive an offer closer to or at your claim’s worth.

If the insurance company refuses to settle your claim for a reasonable amount, then your attorney can file a civil lawsuit on your behalf, initiating the discovery process and allowing a judge or jury to weigh in on a fair payout.

How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit in Oakland?

Every state has laws setting forth deadlines or time limits for filing specific legal actions, known as “statutes of limitations.” The statute of limitations in California for initiating a civil lawsuit for personal injuries stemming from a car accident is two years from the date of the accident or the time you became aware of your injuries. These limits are strict, and there are some exceptions with even shorter deadlines. Missing a deadline can cost you the ability to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages.

Your car accident attorney will know the time limits for filing your lawsuit and other required documents to progress your case. You must speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your car accident to help ensure the timeliness of your claim.

How long does it take to get a settlement in an Oakland car accident case?

The time it takes to receive a settlement after a car accident depends on the facts of your case. After you report an accident to your insurance company, an insurance claim representative will usually contact you within a reasonable amount of time.

If you haven’t heard from a claims representative within two weeks of your accident, you should follow up with your insurance company. If the insurance company doesn’t respond within a reasonable time after that, or if you believe that the company is taking an extraordinary amount of time to settle your claim, you should contact the California Department of Insurance to notify them.

An Oakland car accident attorney will work hard to ensure you receive compensation as soon as possible. Your attorney can also file a timely lawsuit, if needed, to help you get the compensation you deserve.

How can an Oakland car accident law firm help me?

An Oakland car accident lawyer can help you by:

Collecting evidentiary documents and relevant information to support your claim and recover maximum compensation for your injuries and damages, including gathering witness and expert testimony regarding the causes of the wreck, the police report, and medical and hospital bills

Communicating with third parties on your behalf, such as insurance companies and the other driver or persons involved in the crash

Offering you legal advice concerning your claim’s worth and whether the insurance company has offered you a fair settlement

Hiring experts to assess future damages (e.g., loss of income, rehabilitation costs, future surgeries, ongoing medical expenses, accommodations for temporary or permanent disabilities) to avoid underestimating your claim’s value

Why should I use Cutter Law to represent me after a car accident with injuries?

Our attorneys and staff at Cutter Law have decades of experience handling all types of car accidents. With offices in Oakland, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa, we serve a broad area of California, so we can be available to you where you are.

Additionally, our attorneys have obtained highly favorable results for our clients. For instance, our firm successfully represented a cyclist who suffered a broken jaw and brain injuries after riding over a pothole on a roadway in Sonoma County. A jury awarded the plaintiff $1.895 million in compensation after our attorneys showed that the pothole was a “dangerous condition of public property.”

Cutter Law attorneys represented a pedestrian struck by a vehicle suffering injuries to the knee and pelvis in another case. The pedestrian received a verdict of $678,000.

Our attorneys vigorously fight for our client’s rights to obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible to aid in their recovery after a car accident.

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