Sacramento is a busy city with beautiful events, professional sports teams, concerts, businesses large and small, a major airport, and many other attractions that keep people traveling back and forth for various reasons. As a busy city, it’s no wonder that driving around the Sacramento area can be a dangerous proposition. In the U.S., overall, the statistics can be startling. Over 38,000 people die each year in traffic accidents in the U.S. Also, 4.4 million people sustain injuries that require medical attention. If you suffer from an injury you’ve obtained in a traffic accident anywhere in or around the Sacramento area, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Cutter Law.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Sacramento
A variety of factors can cause car accidents. According to research from the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most common causes of traffic accidents are associated with human error. Within that category, distracted driving is the number one cause. Following distraction, some causes include poor decision-making, not abiding by the speed limit, false assumptions of others’ actions, misjudgment of gaps, misjudgment of others’ speed, illegal maneuvering, poor control, and overcompensation. Sleep showed up as another cause of accidents that are attributed to human error.
If you or a family member experience a serious car accident or minor injuries, car accident victims should always take advantage of a free consultation with a Sacramento auto accident lawyer with extensive experience. You may be able to seek legal action and pursue a personal injury claim. Our legal team here at Cutter Law is dedicated to helping our clients seek the justice they deserve in their car accident cases throughout the state of California.
Types of Car Accidents in Sacramento
There are different types of traffic accidents. These types of collisions include rear-end collisions, sideswipe collisions, side-impact collisions, rollovers, head-on collisions, single-car accidents, and multiple vehicle pile-ups. There are also traffic accidents that involve pedestrians, motorcycles, mopeds/scooters, tractor-trailers, and so on.
A car accident at the intersection of Franklin Boulevard and 21st Avenue in Sacramento late last month killed a woman and sent her two-year-old son, who is now in stable condition, to the hospital. A pickup truck “t-boned” their vehicle as they drove through the intersection, resulting in a side-impact collision.
A car struck a twenty-one-year-old man riding his electric scooter in Sacramento on northbound Business 80 near the American River Bridge recently. This scooter-involved accident resulted in the man’s death at the scene.
An example of a multi-vehicle accident that occurred last month on Highway 50 near Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento involved a box truck and a private ambulance. The accident caused the box truck to overturn, and emergency responders took five people to an area hospital for injuries sustained during the accident.
Common Injuries After an Auto Accident
Injuries sustained in a traffic accident can cover a broad spectrum ranging from minor to severe injuries, to catastrophic injuries, to death. Here is a list of injuries that may occur as a result of a traffic accident:
- abrasions (“road rash”),
- broken wrists,
- broken/sprained ankles,
- fractured toes and feet,
- torn meniscus,
- loss, or a limb or other appendages,
- facial injuries resulting in disfigurement,
- broken bones,
- internal bleeding,
- organ damage,
- back injuries,
- spinal cord injuries/paralysis,
- traumatic brain injury (TBI),
- crushing injuries,
On top of all of the possible physical injuries, there are also non-physical injuries such as:
- emotional distress,
- and other mental health issues.
Emotional injuries can sometimes be just as debilitating as physical injuries. They can make it difficult or impossible to get back out on the road and get back to life, even after the physical injuries have healed.
West El Camino Avenue
This stretch of road had 85 vehicle injury crashes, six fatal/severe pedestrian crashes, and three fatal/severe bicycle crashes during the data period.
This road had 117 vehicle injury crashes and three fatal/severe pedestrian crashes.
This road had 140 vehicle injury crashes, five fatal/severe pedestrian crashes, and four fatal/severe bicycle crashes.
This road had 148 vehicle injury crashes, 11 fatal/severe pedestrian crashes, and three fatal/severe bicycle crashes.
There were 192 vehicle injury crashes, six fatal severe pedestrian crashes, and two fatal/severe bicycle crashes.
Proving Fault After a Sacramento Car Accident
The California Vehicle Code provides that every driver ought to operate their motor vehicle with care and vigilance. To file a claim after an accident, you need to prove that the other party was negligent and that they failed to operate their vehicle responsibly. The measurement for this metric is the “reasonable person” standard. Drivers need to act with a reasonable amount of caution and awareness, otherwise, they may cause an accident and be at fault. Insurance companies generally decide who is at fault for an accident.
The insurance adjusters will consider all the evidence, witness statements, the police report, medical bills, and any other records relating to the accident. These pieces of evidence will help the adjusters determine who is responsible. If one party has broken any part of the California Vehicle Code, they are considered to be at fault. If the insurance company offers an amount of compensation that is unsatisfactory, the other party may file a lawsuit to recover further damages. It is also a possibility that both parties share some of the blame. In that case, a judge may adjust the amount of compensation to reflect the proportion of culpability of each party. If one party is 20% responsible, then the judge may reduce the awarded claim by 20%.
How Can I Prove Negligence After an Accident in Sacramento?
California is an at-fault state regarding traffic accidents. That means that whoever was negligent and caused the accident is responsible for paying for the damages (or, rather, their insurance company must pay).
The public expects drivers to operate their vehicles in a manner that is safe and responsible. Many people apply the “reasonable person” standard to drivers on the road. How would a reasonable person have behaved in the same situation? If we do not operate our vehicle in a reasonable, safe, and responsible manner, we are being negligent. If that negligence causes a traffic accident, the law would regard us at fault for the accident.
Evidence of which party is at fault would involve things like the police report, witness statements, pictures of the vehicles and the scene, and medical reports. Insurance claims adjusters will look at these and determine who was at fault. A traffic citation to one party will go far in proving their negligence. However, suppose you dispute the findings of the insurance claims adjusters. In that case, you can also hire a personal injury attorney who will review all the evidence on your behalf to prove the other party’s negligence.
Important Motor Vehicle Laws in California
The California Vehicle Code is where you can find all the laws on motor vehicles and traffic laws. Included here are new rules that have gone into effect earlier this year. In the past, it was only a requirement on freeways that you slow down or change lanes when approaching stationary emergency vehicles by the side of the road. Now, the law requires that you do the same on local streets and highways.
A new law cracks down on handheld cellphone use while driving. If caught twice in 36 months, it will add a point to the driver’s record. A driver could have their license suspended if they receive four points in 12 months, six points in 24 months, or eight points in 36 months. Drivers must use a hands-free device for cell phone use, and it prohibits any driver under 18 from using a cell phone while driving.
Do I have to take reasonable care after an accident in Sacramento?
Reasonable care is tied to that “reasonable person” standard, as mentioned earlier. It is essential to exercise reasonable care even after a traffic accident. You do not want to do anything rash or irresponsible that could later jeopardize your claim against the other party. Stay calm and stay considerate and reasonable.
What should I do after a car accident in Sacramento?
If you are ever in a car accident in the Sacramento area, there are a few things you should do immediately after the accident.
You should first call 911 to have medical care and the police respond to the scene of the accident.
Then, you will want to get all drivers’ information, such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, and driver’s license numbers. Furthermore, you should get the vehicles’ information, such as license plates and vehicle identification numbers.
Also, get the information of any passengers and witnesses (names, addresses, and telephone numbers).
Take pictures of the damage and the scene of the accident to include traffic signs and any visual obstacles.
Contact a lawyer before speaking to any insurance company and certainly before accepting any type of settlement offer. The insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests. They are looking out for their bottom line, and the way they do that is by making you the lowest settlement offer possible.
The insurance companies will offer you the lowest settlement feasible, which is why you must contact a personal injury attorney before contacting the insurance companies.
How Do I Know if I Am Eligible for Compensation?
To know if you are eligible for compensation, you must consider a few criteria. First, you must take action within two years of the accident. Second, the other party must be at fault (or mostly at fault). Consider also the extent of your injuries and the significance of other losses. Also, consider whether the at-fault party has insurance. If not, that doesn’t negate your claim. Just be aware that it may be much more challenging to get any money from them. Generally, if it is still within the statute of limitations (2 years from the accident) and the other party is at fault, you are most likely eligible for compensation.
How much is a car accident claim worth?
It is impossible to guess how much your claim might be worth without spending considerable time to evaluate all the aspects of the situation. However, understanding those aspects may help to understand how claims are ultimately assessed. Several things must be taken into account. How much responsibility does the other party bear? Do you share in any of the fault?
Since California is a partial-fault state, whatever degree you may have contributed to the accident will impact the payout of your claim. If it is found that you were 10% at fault, then you will receive the payout minus 10%. Another factor will be the extent of the damage that was done to your and/or your property. If you sustained severe injuries and had extensive damage to your vehicle, you should receive more compensation than if you had no injuries and only minor damage to your vehicle.
Obtaining the Compensation You Are Entitled To After a Car Accident In Sacramento
After being in a car accident, you will want to make sure you get all the compensation you deserve. To do that, it will be crucial that you collect specific evidence related to the accident. This evidence includes things like the police report, pictures of the accident scene (vehicle damage, road signs, road layout, any road or sign obstructions, etc.), medical reports, and witness statements.
You can ultimately obtain compensation for economic damages, non-economic damages, and potentially punitive damages. Economic damages include actual costs related to the automobile accident, such as medical expenses, lost past and future wages, costs for medical treatment, any rehabilitation costs, any costs related to adjusting your lifestyle (i.e., installing a ramp in your home if you now need a wheelchair).
Non-economic damages include the pain and suffering you may experience after an accident.
Hopefully, any accident you have will be your first and last. Even if that’s not the case, an experienced car accident attorney will have much more practice in collecting all of this evidence and presenting it in a way that will optimize your claim and chances of success. That is why it is absolutely in your best interests to contact an experienced personal injury attorney after a traffic accident.
What Are California’s Minimum Insurance Requirements?
For private passenger vehicles, you must have at least the following minimum amounts of liability insurance: $15,000 that covers the injury or death of one person; $30,000 that covers injury or death of more than one person; and $5,000 that covers the damage of property. Keep in mind that this coverage only pays for the other party’s damages when you are at fault. They do not cover any damages you obtain in an accident. You will need additional insurance coverage to help you pay for damages that are not covered by another party’s liability insurance. Your liability coverage is there to pay the other party’s damages when you’re at fault. The other party’s liability coverage is there to pay your damages when they are at fault. This reciprocal coverage is why the law requires drivers to have liability insurance.
When Do I Have to File a Claim in Sacramento?
How do I file a car accident claim in Sacramento?
You don’t need to hire an attorney to file a car accident claim. You could just simply call the insurance company and tell them you need to file a claim and let them direct your next steps. However, unless your claim is minimal and straightforward, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table that an experienced personal injury lawyer would be able to collect for you. Either way, the insurance company assigns an adjuster to your case who will investigate your claim to make you a settlement offer.
You may negotiate for a higher offer. In this phase of the process, you can send a letter along with any other evidence you have that may justify a higher settlement amount. After negotiations, you and the insurance adjuster will sign a settlement agreement for the amount that was agreed on. Again, having an experienced personal injury attorney fighting this fight for you can be well worth it. They have much more experience with these cases since they do it every day. They know the process, and they know the common practices used by insurance companies.
How can a Sacramento
car accident lawyer help me?
A traffic accident can be one of the most harrowing experiences to go through—especially if you sustain serious injuries. Some people may even have latent injuries that show up a significant time after the accident. The emotional turmoil and the uncertainty of everything can make handling the insurance aspect quite burdensome and painful. Why try to navigate this delicate situation on your own? Obtaining legal representation will help you understand your legal rights after a car crash. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you by quickly getting through the process while ensuring that you get all the compensation that you are entitled to. Contact the experienced legal team at Cutter Law for a free case evaluation.