Santa Rosa Car Accident Lawyers
Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Even a quick drive to the grocery store is an opportunity for a collision to occur. While some cases are minor enough that they only cause negligible damage, some accidents are devastating and painful experiences that can alter your life forever.
You might sustain serious injuries that require extensive medical care. Once you are stable and your most critical injuries have been treated, you may feel overwhelmed about what to do next. An experienced Santa Rosa personal injury lawyer can help you handle all legal issues and defend your rights as a claimant.
How common are car accidents in Sonoma County?
Like most large cities in the United States, Santa Rosa has a high density of vehicle traffic. Most of the city’s roadways experience congestion, and accidents can be frequent. The California Office of Traffic Safety estimates accident fatalities occur at an average of fifteen people per county daily. In 2019, there were about 3,904 traffic fatalities in California, with an additional 277,160 people sustaining severe injuries. This accounted for about 19% of the total national average.
Dangerous Roads And Intersections In Santa Rosa
Highway 12 near Melita Road is one of the most notorious areas in Santa Rosa for accidents. Most of the fatal vehicle accidents in Santa Rosa happen here. In September, a multiple vehicle collision in this dangerous area caused catastrophic injuries and significant traffic congestion. Another high-risk accident location is Highway 101, south of Santa Rosa. Recently, a driver veered off this highway, which resulted in their death.
Common Types Of Santa Rosa Car Accidents
Several factors can lead to auto accidents, but most are caused by driver negligence, including:
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving occurs when a driver focuses their attention on something other than the road, such as their cell phone.
- DUI: Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances can cause a catastrophic accident.
- Traffic violations: Disregarding traffic rules is a significant cause of many Santa Rosa accidents.
- Speeding: Speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents, especially severe ones. The impact of two vehicles colliding at top speed is extremely dangerous to drivers and passengers.
- Tailgating: Following another vehicle too closely can cause a serious collision.
- Dangerous lane changes: Changing lanes without considering the appropriate blind spots can be hazardous.
- Fatigued driving: Driving when you are drowsy, sleepy, or tired can cause you to doze off behind the wheel.
Other than these acts of negligence, any of the following can also cause an accident:
- Road construction
- Unclear traffic signs
- Poor road or weather conditions
- Livestock on the road
One of the most crucial responsibilities of an accident attorney is to investigate the cause of a crash. They will work to establish the negligent party, whether a driver, government entity or private service company.
Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
A car accident might result in any of the following injuries:
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Damaged internal organs
- Spinal cord trauma
- Emotional trauma
If you have been in an accident, it is essential to seek medical care as soon as possible. Although you may walk away feeling fine, injuries and symptoms can present after the fact.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Santa Rosa
Following a car accident in Santa Rosa, taking specific steps may help you protect your rights to file a claim for compensation later. These steps can help ensure you have the legal means to challenge any liable parties and involved insurance companies in a legal claim or lawsuit.
Call the Police
After an accident, the first thing to do is call the Santa Rosa Police Department or Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office if you are in an unincorporated area. Even if the accident was minor, you should notify the proper authorities to log the incident. A Santa Rosa Police report can also be valuable evidence to validate your claim for recovery for both bodily injury and property damages. After arriving on the scene, an officer will investigate the accident and file a report. Be sure to obtain a copy.
Collect Photographic Evidence if Possible
Photos and videos of the crash scene are vital pieces of evidence for your accident claim. It’s nearly impossible to invalidate or dismiss photographic evidence documenting the scene of the accident, the injuries sustained, property damage to vehicles, road conditions, traffic signs, and other details of the accident. If you can, try to collect photographic or video documentation of as many of these elements as possible.
Be Mindful of What You Say and Don’t Admit Fault
Even if you feel you were partly to blame for the accident, do not say anything that implies that you take responsibility for the incident. Even offering something as simple as an apology can be used by the insurance company to indicate liability on your part. The other driver or their insurer can use anything you say against you later on.
Don’t Accept a Hurried Settlement
The insurance company of the at-fault driver may contact you in an attempt to offer a settlement to cover your damages right away. You will want to be careful because the first settlement offer is often well below what you may be entitled to and what you will need to recover fully. You might suffer injuries that will require costly future medical treatment, and your car could be severely damaged. It is wise to run any settlement proposals past an attorney.
Get Medical Treatment
Your health should always come first. See a doctor who can check for any injuries that are not immediately apparent, such as soft tissue injuries or internal body damage. A doctor’s report and testimony is another piece of evidence you’ll need to file a successful claim.
Contact A Car Accident Attorney
Following an accident, the final step is commencing the legal journey by hiring a Santa Rosa car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you file an injury claim, ensure you meet the California statute of limitations to file a claim, and build the evidence you need to support your settlement amount.
How long do I have to file for a car accident claim In California?
California has specific statute of limitation laws that dictate how long you have to file a car accident claim. For injury cases in Santa Rosa, the victim has up to two years from the date the accident occurred to file a claim against the liable parties. Failure to do so may eliminate your legal right to receive compensation. At Cutter Law, P.C., we advise all Santa Rosa car accident victims to contact us as soon as the accident occurs to begin the legal process promptly.
Insurance companies may have their own time limits to consider, which could be as short as two to three days from the date of the accident. You should notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible to ensure your claim is not delayed or denied.
When You Should Talk To A Car Accident Lawyer In Santa Rosa
A car accident is a devastating experience that may result in significant medical, financial, and legal burdens. Your primary focus should be your health, while your attorney handles legal responsibilities on your behalf. For this reason, it’s essential to contact a Santa Rosa car accident lawyer as soon as possible to begin an investigation into the accident.
Who is liable for my car accident injuries?
Proving liability for a car accident can be a complex process. However, California has a pure comparative negligence system that allows victims to recover at least 50% of their damages even if they were partially responsible for the accident. In cases where the other driver was entirely to blame for the accident, you can recover as much as 100% of your total damages.
How much is my car accident worth?
The amount you can be awarded in compensation for your damages depends on the extent of your injuries or property damage. In California, there are two categories of damages you can be compensated for after an accident. These include special damages and general damages. Special damages cover everything monetary, including medical expenses, lost income, lost earning capacity, and property damages.
General damages cover the pain and suffering you have to endure due to the accident, including loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, pain, suffering, emotional trauma, and punitive damages.
How can a Santa Rosa car accident attorney help?
Recovery is a long and expensive process after an accident. Furthermore, insurance companies can be ruthless with victims and dispute your claim or offer an insufficient settlement. These frustrations can add to your pain. Thankfully, a Santa Rosa car accident attorney can navigate these hurdles to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Here’s what an attorney at Cutter Law can do to help you:
Conducting An Investigation
Proving fault will likely require an investigation to gather critical evidence. We can work with the police on their investigation and conduct our own examination into the cause of the accident to identify all responsible parties.
Filing a Claim
We can handle the legal processes of filing your claim with the insurance companies involved. As we ensure your documents are correctly submitted on time, you can focus on your recovery.
Validating the Claim
To file a valid claim, there must be substantial evidence proving the at-fault party’s negligence. We can build evidence to ensure proof of fault, leaving no room for doubt regarding the requested compensation amount.
Insurance companies will do their best to reduce the amount of your settlement. We can handle all negotiations with the insurance company and even work through the mediation or alternative dispute resolution process if necessary.
Proceeding with Litigation
When negotiations with insurance companies fail, the last resort is filing a personal injury lawsuit with the correct Sonoma County Civil Court. Our team of Santa Rosa car accident lawyers will prepare your case as if it’s going to trial from the beginning, so you are equipped for whatever you need to do to recover the compensation you need.
Contact the Legal Team at Cutter Law, P.C. For Help With Your Santa Rosa Accident Claim
After an accident in Santa Rosa, you may be left with devastating injuries and lasting changes to your life. However, you need not suffer alone. At Cutter Law, P.C., we can help all victims of auto accidents in the Santa Rosa area and other parts of Sonoma County.
If you are a victim of another person’s negligence, don’t wait; call or contact us today to learn more about how we may be able to help with your claim.
We’ve won millions for our clients, and have even earned several awards and recognitions for our legal prowess. Some examples of our most successful cases include:
- $1.895 Million – Jury Verdict – Cyclist – Attorneys Celine Cutter and Todd Walburg
- $678,000 – Verdict – Pedestrian Injured By A Car – Attorney John Roussas
- $596,000 – Jury Verdict – Injured Motorist – Attorney John R. Parker
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Our Office Location
51 E St
Santa Rosa, CA 95404