California Car Crash Lawyer

California Car Crash Lawyer

hollywood car crash lawyer

Injured in a collision? Here’s everything you need to know about recovering your losses with the help of a California car crash lawyer:

Do You Need a California Car Crash Lawyer?

A man involved in a car accident calling his attorney in California.You were injured in a collision. Do you need to hire a California car crash lawyer? While some people worry that hiring an attorney will be stressful or expensive, the reality is that it can cost far more and be far more difficult to try to handle your claim on your own.

Why? When you need to seek financial compensation for a car accident in California, there are a lot of steps involved. Also, the insurance companies are not on your side.

You could also be entitled to compensation outside of auto insurance. If you don’t hire an attorney, you won’t file these claims, and you won’t receive the full compensation you deserve.

So, whether you live in San Diego, Los Angeles, Northern California, or anywhere in between, you owe it to yourself to seek help. Local California car crash lawyers are available 24/7, and they can help you at no out-of-pocket cost. You have nothing to lose by seeking help, and your attorney will be able to help you seek maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.

What to Do After a Car Accident in California

If you have been injured in a car accident in California, you should take the following steps as soon as possible:

1. Get Medical Treatment for Your Injuries

Your first priority after being injured in a car accident should always be to obtain medical treatment. Go to the emergency room if necessary, and use your health insurance for now. The auto insurance companies will take care of your bills later if you receive compensation.

2. File a Claim with Your Auto Insurance Company

As soon as you are able to do so, you should file a claim with your auto insurance company. Tell your representative where and when the accident happened, and provide the other driver’s insurance information if you have it.

3. Keep and Record as Much Information as You Can

When seeking compensation, it is important to have as much information as possible. So, keep all of your photos and records, and try to make a list of all of the details you can remember from your collision.

4. Be Smart about Protecting Yourself

Recovering your losses after a car accident is not easy. You need to be smart about protecting yourself—and this includes avoiding the mistakes we discuss below.

5. Get Help from a California Car Crash Attorney

Hiring a lawyer is the best way to maximize your financial recovery after a car accident. Local California car crash lawyers are available 24/7, and you can get a free consultation with a lawyer near you through CarAccidentSource.com.

What NOT to Do After a Car Accident in California

There are several mistakes you need to avoid after a car accident in California. Here are five things not to do when recovering from a collision:

1. Give Too Much Information to Your Insurance Company

While you need to file an insurance claim, you also need to be careful not to share too much information. Any information you provide will only be used against you, and you won’t be able to take statements back once you make them.

2. Make Assumptions about What Happened

It is extremely important not to make assumptions after a car accident. Don’t assume you were partially at fault, don’t assume the insurance companies will treat you fairly, and don’t assume you will receive the compensation you deserve.

3. Let the Insurance Companies Calculate Your Losses

Accurately calculating just compensation is one of the most-important ways California car crash lawyers help their clients. If you let the insurance companies calculate your losses, you will end up with less than you deserve.

4. Talk about the Accident with Others

When seeking compensation for a car accident, you should only discuss the accident with your attorney. Avoid talking about it with friends and family, and don’t post about it on social media.

5. Try to Handle Your Situation on Your Own

The biggest mistake you can make is trying to handle your situation on your own. Recovering your losses requires legal knowledge and experience, and this is what California car crash lawyers offer. You have no reason not to seek help, and attorneys are available to speak with you 24/7.

What to Expect from Your California Auto Insurance Claim

In most cases, recovering compensation after a car accident in California involves filing an auto insurance claim. California law requires all drivers to carry minimum coverage of:

  • $15,000 for injury to one person
  • $30,000 for injury to more than one person
  • $5,000 for property damage

While $15,000 might sound like a lot of money, this can go quickly when you have medical bills to pay and your injuries keep you from working. Don’t forget that you may also be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other non-financial losses.

If you opted to purchase medical payments (MedPay) or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance, you can use this coverage to seek additional compensation. While MedPay provides “no fault” coverage, filing a UIM claim is similar to filing a claim with an at-fault driver’s insurance company. As a result, even though you will be dealing with your own insurer, you will still want to have an experienced California car crash attorney on your side.

Once you file your claim, your insurance company should conduct an investigation and make a good-faith determination of liability. Unfortunately, this is not always what happens. California car crash attorneys can help protect your right to coverage, and the best thing you can do is contact an attorney right away.

5 Reasons Why You are Entitled to Compensation for Your Car Crash

Car crashes happen for lots of different reasons. While you may not be entitled to much if you are responsible for your own injuries (in this scenario, you may be limited to seeking Med Pay coverage under your policy), you could have a claim for significant compensation if someone else was to blame.

The following are five common reasons why car accidents happen. If any of these played a role (or may have played a role) in your accident, you should speak with a California car crash lawyer about your legal rights:

Reason #1: The Other Driver was Aggressive or Reckless

Aggressive and reckless driving are common reasons for car crashes. California law defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle, “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” While the law does not define aggressive driving, this is commonly understood as a form of reckless driving that involves intentionally taking risks or being threatening towards other motorists. Some of the most common forms of aggressive and reckless driving include:

  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Excessive speeding
  • Passing on the shoulder or across a solid yellow line
  • Road rage
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Tailgating
  • Weaving through traffic

Reason #2: The Other Driver was Negligent

In addition to reckless and aggressive driving, many other forms of driver negligence can (and do) lead to car crashes in California. A driver is considered to be negligent if he or she makes any avoidable mistake that puts others in harm’s way. The following are all common examples of driver negligence for which California car crash lawyers can help their clients seek just compensation:

  • Alcohol-impaired driving
  • Drug-impaired driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Entering an intersection without the right of way
  • Failing to stop in time to avoid a crash
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Merging or changing lanes without looking

Reason #3: A Vehicle Defect Caused the Crash

From tire blowouts to defective brakes and other manufacturing defects, all types of vehicle defects can be reasons for car accidents. Defective airbags are also a frequent cause of accident-related injuries. When a vehicle defect causes an accident or contributes to an accident victim’s injuries, the victim’s California car crash attorney can file a claim against the manufacturer.

Unlike claims against aggressive, reckless, and careless drivers, claims against vehicle manufacturers do not require proof of negligence. Instead, California’s product defect law establishes what is known as “strict liability.” With strict liability, manufacturers can be held accountable for putting dangerous vehicles on the road—regardless of whether or not they were negligent in doing so.

Reason #4: A Road Defect Caused the Crash

Road defects like potholes, crumbling shoulders, and poorly-marked lanes and intersections are common throughout California. Issues like blind curves, malfunctioning traffic signals, and sinkholes are less common, but they still contribute to numerous car crashes each year. If you were injured in a single-vehicle or multi-vehicle accident caused by a road defect, your California car crash lawyer may be able to pursue a claim against the California Department of Transportation (CDOT) or another government agency.

Dangerous road construction zones are another common reason for car accidents in California. Construction zones are a constant presence on highways and local roads statewide. Inadequate warnings, cones and debris in the road, restricted traffic, and numerous issues related to poorly-managed construction zones can support claims against government agencies and government contractors.

Reason #5: You Have a Claim Against an Employer or a Rideshare or Delivery Company

California law holds employers “vicariously liable” for their employees’ negligence. This means that if you got hit by someone who was on the job—whether a truck driver, salesperson, landscaper, technician, or other employee—your California car crash attorney may be able to pursue a claim against his or her employer. Since companies usually have more insurance coverage than individuals, this could significantly increase the amount of your recovery.

Rideshare and delivery companies like Uber, Lyft, and Postmates also carry insurance that covers many types of accident claims. While rideshare and delivery drivers should have insurance coverage of their own (California has special requirements for these drivers), passengers and other drivers may still need to pursue claims at the company level in order to fully recover their losses.

5 Reasons to Hire a California Car Crash Lawyer

A lawyer and her client happy about the successful car accident case in California.Why should you hire a lawyer to represent you? Here are five reasons why all collision victims should hire California car crash lawyers to represent them:

Reason #1: Collecting Evidence to Prove Fault

Proving fault (and collecting compensation) after a car accident requires evidence. Your California car crash attorney can conduct a thorough investigation and collect the evidence needed for your claim.

Reason #2: Identifying All Available Claims

While filing an auto insurance claim is one option, it might not be your only option. If you have a claim for a vehicle defect, road defect, or other issue, California car crash lawyers can help you seek additional compensation.

Reason #3: Calculating Your Current and Future Losses

When you have an auto accident claim, you need to know how much you are entitled to recover. In order to accurately calculate your current and future losses, you will need to rely on the advice and representation of an experienced California car crash attorney.

Reason #4: Negotiating for a Fair Settlement

California car crash lawyers can negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf. If you try to negotiate on your own without knowing how much you are entitled to recover, you will be putting yourself at a severe disadvantage.

Reason #5: Maximizing Your Take-Home Recovery

Even taking contingency fees into account, California car crash attorneys can help collision victims take home more than they could recover on their own. If you receive a settlement offer, your attorney can help you decide whether to accept or keep fighting for more.

What to Expect from Your California Car Accident Lawyer

Now that you know some of the reasons to hire a California car crash lawyer, what can you expect from your legal representation?

  • Clear Communication – You can expect to receive prompt responses from your attorney, and you can expect your attorney to keep you informed and involved in your claim(s). You can expect your attorney to talk to you in language you can understand.
  • Focus on Your Best Interests – You can expect your lawyer to handle your claim(s) with your best interests in mind. California car accident legal practitioners do everything they can to help their clients recover maximum compensation as quickly as possible.
  • Contingency-Fee Representation – You can expect your lawyer to represent you on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you will pay nothing unless you receive financial compensation.

Will a Lawyer Be Able to Help You Obtain a Car Accident Settlement in California?

In many (in fact most) cases, California car crash lawyers can help their clients obtain settlements. The vast majority of car accident claims settle, and hiring an experienced lawyer will give you the best chance to obtain a favorable out-of-court settlement.

What is the Car Crash Statute of Limitations in California?

In California, the statute of limitations for a car accident claim is two years from the date of the collision. But, you should not wait to get started. There are two important reasons why. First, the deadline to file a claim under your policy could be much shorter. Second, unnecessary delays can make it much harder to recover just compensation. In contrast, there are no reasons to wait, and you can get started with a free consultation anywhere in California 24/7.

California Car Accident Statistics

California has more fatal car accidents each year than any other state. While this is attributable in part to California’s exploding population (which is also the highest in the country), there are other factors involved as well.

If you’ve been injured in a car crash in California, the statistics on other people’s accidents might not seem to matter—and you’re right to an extent. But, understanding how many people face similar situations to yours and why most accidents happen can be helpful for determining your next steps. With this in mind, here are some notable statistics on car accidents in California from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and other sources:

  • Recent data suggest that fatal car accidents in California are on the decline. Despite this, California still has the highest number of fatal car accidents in the country as noted above.
  • Alcohol-involved car accidents are also on the decline in California according to the California OTS. However, alcohol is still a factor in about 1/3 of fatal car accidents and in about 1/10 accidents resulting in non-fatal injuries.
  • Accidents involving drug-impaired drivers appear to be on the rise based on the California OTS’s data. These accidents were up 8 percent in the most-recent year for which data are available.
  • Accidents involving teen drivers appear to be on the decline in California, which is very good news. However, the California OTS’s numbers still suggest that, on average, a teen driver causes a fatal car crash in the state about every other day.
  • Despite California’s auto insurance requirements, California has the 10th highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the country. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), more than 16 percent of California drivers are uninsured.
  • Some of California’s cities are much more dangerous for drivers and passengers than others. According to Insurify, California’s most dangerous cities for motorists are Simi Valley, Huntington Beach, and Norwalk. In terms of the largest car crash totals, the following cities lead the way (in order from most to fewest): Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Riverside, Bakersfield, and Stockton.

RECAP: What You Need to Know After a Car Crash in California

We’ve covered a lot of information about your legal rights, the process of filing a claim, and the benefits of hiring a local California car crash lawyer on this page. To recap, here are seven of the most important facts you need to know:

1. There are Lots of Reasons to Hire a California Car Crash Lawyer

From proving the reason for your car accident to calculating your accident-related losses, there are lots of reasons to hire a California car crash lawyer. This is especially true if you were injured. Car crash lawyers devote their careers to helping accident victims recover just compensation, and many of them are exceptionally good at what they do.

2. There are Lots of Reasons Not to Handle Your Situation on Your Own

Just as there are lots of reasons to hire a lawyer, there are also lots of reasons not to handle your situation on your own. Among them, it is extremely easy to make mistakes from which you can’t recover. If you say the wrong thing to your insurance adjuster, or if you accept payment before you know how much you are entitled to recover, you will not receive the full financial compensation you deserve.

3. There are Many Grounds for Pursing Car Crash Claims in California

Drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians can pursue claims in a broad range of circumstances. Grounds for pursuing car crash claims in California range from driver negligence (i.e. speeding, driving under the influence, and driving while distracted) to road and vehicle defects. The factor(s) involved in your accident will determine which claim(s) you can file, and this will determine how much your California car crash attorney is able to help you recover.

4. California Law Allows for Recovery of Financial and Non-Financial Losses

If another person (or a company) is responsible for your accident, you are entitled to compensation for your financial and non-financial losses. But, you will need an experienced accident attorney to help you recover the full compensation you deserve. When you hire a California crash lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will seek just compensation for your:

  • Medical bills, prescription costs, therapy costs, and other treatment-related expenses
  • A rental car or other transportation costs while you don’t have your vehicle
  • Other out-of-pocket costs such as hiring a housekeeper or nanny if you need help at home
  • Loss of wages, salary, tips, commissions, benefits, and any other forms of income
  • Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and post-traumatic stress
  • Loss of consortium, services, support, and enjoyment of life

5. California Law Allows for Recovery of Current and Future Losses

When dealing with your claim, it is critical to ensure that you are seeking just compensation for your current and future losses. While it is easy to focus on your immediate needs and try to settle your claim quickly, your future losses could make up the largest portion of your claim by far.

Calculating just compensation for future losses requires a clear understanding of your injuries’ long-term effects and in-depth knowledge of California law. As a result, it is essential to hire an experienced local lawyer who focuses his or her practice on helping car crash victims recover just compensation.

6. A California Car Crash Lawyer Can Help Maximize Your Take-Home Recovery

The best California car crash lawyers focus on helping their clients collect more than they could reasonably hope to recover on their own. When you discuss your case with a reputable lawyer, the lawyer will only take your case if the lawyer believes he or she can help maximize your take-home recovery—or the amount you receive after paying your legal fees and expenses.

7. Delays Can Be Costly

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, delays can be costly. While California’s statute of limitations for car crashes is two years, you should not wait anywhere near this long. To protect yourself—and to give your California car crash attorney the best chance to maximize your recovery—you should get started today.

FAQs: Working with a California Car Crash Attorney

How Long Does an Auto Insurance Company Have to Accept or Deny a Claim in California?

Under Section 2695.5 of California’s Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, auto insurance companies are supposed to acknowledge receipt of claims 'immediately,' but they technically have up to 15 days. The same applies to all other communications regarding a claim, 'that reasonably suggest . . . a response is expected.' Under Section 2695.7, auto insurance companies have 40 days to accept or deny a claim after receiving proof from the claimant (or the claimant’s lawyer).

How is Fault Determined in a Car Crash in California?

Contrary to popular belief, the police do not determine fault in a car crash. While the responding officer may identify one or both drivers as “contributing” to the accident and may issue a ticket if either driver appears to have been in violation of California’s traffic laws, fault is ultimately determined through the insurance claims process (or in civil court if necessary). While the insurance companies will (or should) investigate when you file a claim, you do NOT want to rely on the insurance company’s determination of fault. Instead, you should hire a California car crash attorney who will investigate your accident with your best interests in mind.

What is the Average Settlement for a Car Crash in California?

This question does not have a simple answer, and there are several reasons why. First, settlements in cases involving property damage only are typically just a fraction of the amount of settlements in cases involving personal injuries. Then, there is an equally large (if not even larger) disparity between cases in which crash victims hire and don’t hire a lawyer. So, while you may find some average settlement values for car crashes in California, it is important to understand that these averages likely take into account an extremely broad range of settlements—some very high and some very low. Additionally, regardless of any average figures, the amount you will be able to recover depends on: (i) who was at fault in your accident; (ii) the amount of your financial and non-financial losses; and, (iii) whether you hire an experienced California car crash lawyer to represent you.

Can I Sue After a Car Crash in California?

While most cases involve insurance claims handled outside of court, it is possible to sue after a car crash in California when necessary. In addition to suing the at-fault driver’s insurance company (if necessary), your options may also include suing the driver directly, suing a vehicle manufacturer (if your crash involved a defect), suing the driver’s employer or rideshare company (if the driver was working), and suing various other third parties. To determine whether it is in your best interests to sue (and, if so, who you need to sue after your car crash), you will need to discuss your accident with a California accident attorney.

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Crash that Wasn’t My Fault in California?

It is a good idea to speak with a lawyer after being injured in a car crash that wasn’t your fault. You are facing a challenging situation; and, if you have a claim for compensation, you will need to hire a lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve. When you sit down for a free initial consultation with a California car crash lawyer, the lawyer will evaluate your legal rights, explain your next steps, and walk you through what you can expect if you move forward with pursuing a claim.

How Much Do California Car Crash Attorneys Charge?

California car crash attorneys represent their clients on a contingency-fee basis. This means that they do not charge any out-of-pocket costs, and your legal fees (if any) will be calculated as a percentage of your financial recovery. Most attorneys charge 33% for obtaining a settlement, but some charge less, and some charge more if they need to take a case to trial.

Will I Have to Pay My Lawyer if I Don’t Receive Compensation for My Car Accident?

No, with contingency-fee representation, you don’t pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful. While no attorney can guarantee that you will receive compensation, California car crash attorneys generally only take cases they believe they can win.

What are the Risks of Trying to Handle My Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?

There are several risks involved with trying to handle a car accident claim on your own. The biggest risk is that you will not receive any compensation for your accident-related injuries. The insurance companies use a variety of tactics to deny claims, and if you do not strictly comply with the terms of your policy, you could end up without the compensation you deserve.

When Should I Hire a California Car Crash Lawyer?

If you’ve been injured in a car crash in California, you should hire a lawyer right away. Your lawyer will want to get to work quickly, as it will be important to preserve all available evidence before it disappears. Also, the sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner you can collect compensation and move on with your life.

How Do I Choose the Best California Car Crash Attorney for Me?

Choosing the best California car crash attorney for you is a personal decision that you need to make based on who you believe gives you the best chance of recovering maximum compensation. The best way to get started is simply to schedule a free initial consultation. If you talk to a lawyer and he or she seems like a good fit, then you can move forward. If you want to talk to someone else, then you can schedule another free consultation.

Contact a California Car Crash Lawyer Near You

If you have been injured in a car accident, you should speak with an attorney right away. Click the button to get a free consultation from a California car crash attorney near you.