Oakland Car Accident Lawyer
Thinking about contacting an Oakland car accident lawyer? Here you can learn about:
- Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Oakland?
- What are the Benefits of Hiring an Oakland Car Accident Lawyer?
- Do You Really Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident in Oakland?
- What are the Risks of Not Hiring an Oakland Car Accident Attorney?
- 5 Reasons You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Your Car Accident in Oakland
- 5 Types of Compensation Oakland Car Accident Lawyers Can Help Their Clients Recover
- 5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When You Have a Car Accident Claim in Oakland
- Oakland Car Accident Data: Statistics and Most-Dangerous Roads
- FAQs: What You Should Know about Hiring an Oakland Car Accident Attorney
Were you injured in a car accident while commuting, running errands, driving to or from an Athletics game, or visiting downtown Oakland? If so, you are not alone. Many local residents and visitors have been injured in car accidents, and many of these victims have hired Oakland car accident lawyers to help them recover the financial compensation they deserved.
Located along the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay, Oakland is among the fastest-growing cities in California. It is now the eighth largest city in California; and, unfortunately, the city’s infrastructure is struggling to keep pace with its growth. In particular, Oakland’s roads are becoming increasingly crowded, and this means that car accidents are on the rise.
From I-80 and I-580 to the Nimitz Freeway and the streets of downtown Oakland, car accidents are a daily occurrence in and around the city. Regardless of where your accident happened, if you were injured in the crash a Oakland car accident lawyer can help. Local lawyers are available to speak with you 24/7, and hiring a lawyer promptly could be crucial for maximizing your financial recovery.
There are several benefits of hiring a lawyer if you have been injured in a car accident. For example, some of the main reasons to hire an accident lawyer in Oakland include:
Benefit #1: Making Sure you Protect Your Claim(s)
When you get injured in a car accident in Oakland, you need to make sure you protect your claim(s). While you may be entitled to financial compensation, you could lose your ability to collect this compensation if you aren’t careful. From collecting evidence of liability to filing your claim(s) as soon as possible, there are many ways experienced Oakland car accident lawyers will be able to help you.
Benefit #2: Seeking Maximum Compensation for Your Injuries
Protecting your claim(s) is just one piece of the puzzle. You also need to know how much your claim(s) are worth. How much can you collect from the other driver’s insurance company? How much can you collect from your insurance company? Is another company (i.e. a vehicle manufacturer or the other driver’s employer) liable for some or all of your losses? These are all key questions an experienced local accident attorney will be able to answer for you.
Benefit #3: Avoiding Unnecessary Issues with the Insurance Companies
Speaking of the insurance companies, they will take advantage of you if you let them. They will try to avoid liability all together; and, if they eventually accept liability, they will still try to pay you as little as possible. When you hire an Oakland car accident attorney to represent you, your attorney will deal with the insurance companies so that you don’t fall victim to their tactics.
Benefit #4: Being Able to Rely on Your Lawyer’s Negotiation Skills
Most car accident claims in Oakland are resolved via settlement. But, as an accident victim, it is imperative that you not settle for less than you deserve. An experienced Oakland car accident lawyer will know how to negotiate with the insurance companies—and will be able to use this knowledge to seek a settlement that provides just compensation for your medical bills, prescriptions, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Benefit #5: Letting the Insurance Companies Know You are Serious
Perhaps most importantly, hiring an accident attorney lets the insurance companies know you are serious. It tells them that you won’t let them take advantage of you, and it tells them that you are prepared to fight for your legal rights in court if necessary.
Even with these benefits in mind, you may still be wondering: Do I really need a lawyer for my car accident in Oakland?
To be fair, the technical answer is no, you do not need a lawyer. Nothing in California’s laws says you need to hire a lawyer to represent you. But, while this may technically be true, practically speaking, it is only true if you are willing to accept less than you deserve. From gathering evidence of liability to proving the “value” of your pain and suffering, there are numerous important steps Oakland car accident lawyers can take that you won’t be able to take on your own.
You may also have questions such as:
- Do you need an Oakland car accident lawyer if you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? If the accident wasn’t your fault, this is all the more reason to hire a lawyer to represent you. You should be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries under California law, and an experienced California car accident lawyer will be able to help you assert your legal rights.
- How can a car accident lawyer help if you were injured in a car accident that was your fault (or was partially your fault) in Oakland? Even if your car accident was partially your fault, you are still entitled to partial compensation under California law. An Oakland car accident attorney can prove your percentage of fault (and not let the insurance companies overstate your percentage) and then fight to recover the compensation you deserve.
- What if you don’t know who was at fault in your car accident? The reality is that you won’t know for sure who was at fault in your car accident until you hire a lawyer to conduct an investigation. This is one of the first and most important steps your lawyer will take to protect you.
Let’s say your still not convinced. Even though you know all of the various ways an Oakland accident attorney can help you, you are still thinking about trying to deal with the insurance companies on your own. If you do this, what are the risks involved?
Risk #1: You Will Say (and Do) the Wrong Things
If you try to handle your situation on your own, you run the very real risk of saying (and doing) the wrong things. This includes saying things to the insurance companies that you can’t take back. It also includes making mistakes that leave you with virtually no chance of recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
Risk #2: The Insurance Companies Will Find You At Fault
Without an Oakland car accident lawyer representing you, there is a much greater chance that the insurance companies will find you at fault. Since you won’t have proof of fault, you also will have no way of knowing what claim(s) you are eligible to file.
Risk #3: You Won’t Receive the Full Compensation You Deserve
If you have an insurance claim and it is clear that the other driver hit you, you might be able to obtain some money from the insurance companies. But, without evidence of your future medical needs, future loss of income, and your pain and suffering (among other losses), you won’t receive the full compensation you deserve.
Risk #4: You Won’t Receive Any Compensation for Your Injuries
Not only might you end up with less than you deserve, but you might also end up without any compensation at all. Insurance companies routinely deny accident victims’ claims for invalid reasons; and, if this happens to you, you could face the financial consequences for years to come.
Risk #5: You Will Never Know What Could Have Been
Finally, if you don’t hire an Oakland car accident attorney to help maximize your recovery, you will never know what could have been. You won’t know how much you left on the table, and you won’t know how much better your life could be if only you had hired an experienced attorney to deal with your situation on your behalf.
So far we’ve focused on the reasons to hire a car accident lawyer in Oakland, and we’ve mentioned that one of key reasons is that you need proof of fault. Not only will this tell you if you have a claim against the other driver, but it will tell you if you have a claim outside of auto insurance as well.
There are several reasons why you may be entitled to compensation for your car accident in Oakland. California car crash lawyers can help local accident victims pursue claims for reasons including:
Reason #1: Driver Negligence
Most car accidents in Oakland result from driver negligence. If you got hit by a car that was being operated by a negligent driver, you are entitled to financial compensation under California law. Some of the most common forms of driver negligence include:
- Driving aggressively (tailgating, weaving, passing illegally, and road rage)
- Driving carelessly (turning or merging without the right of way, rolling through an intersection, or creating an unnecessary accident risk)
- Driving under the influence (alcohol, marijuana, medications, or other drugs)
- Driving while distracted (texting, emailing, talking on the phone, setting GPS directions, or using social media behind the wheel)
- Driving while fatigued (or falling asleep behind the wheel)
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals (running red lights or stop signs)
- Speeding (exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for road or weather conditions)
Reason #2: Employer Negligence or Vicarious Liability
Many accidents in and around Oakland involve trucks, vans, and other company-owned vehicles. If the driver who hit you was working at the time of the accident, an Oakland car accident attorney may be able to help you file a claim against his or her employer.
Reason #3: Dram Shop or Social Host Liability
In addition to filing a claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company, you may also be able to file a claim under California’s dram shop or social host liability law if you were injured (or a loved one was killed) in a DUI accident. These laws apply when a bar, restaurant, or homeowner serves alcohol to someone who is under the age of 21.
Reason #4: Vehicle Defects
An alarming number of car accidents in Oakland involve vehicle defects. If a defect with your car (or the other driver’s car) caused your accident or your accident-related injuries, you can—and should—hire an Oakland car accident lawyer to file a claim against the manufacturer. Common vehicle defects include:
- Airbag defects
- Drivetrain defects
- Electrical system defects
- Engine and transmission defects
- Seatbelt defects
- Tire defects
Reason #5: Road Hazards and Defects
As many of Oakland’s roads continue to deteriorate, accidents involving road hazards and defects are also becoming increasingly common. The constant presence of road construction zones is a major contributing factor in Oakland’s high number of car accidents as well.
Oakland car accident attorneys can help drivers, passengers, and family members pursue claims against the Alameda County Transportation Commission, Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and government contractors for accidents caused by:
- Cracked road surfaces
- Dangerous corners and curves
- Road construction zones
- Low shoulders
- Poorly-timed and malfunctioning traffic signals
- Potholes and sinkholes
As a car accident victim in California, you may be entitled to various forms of financial compensation. For example, Oakland car accident lawyers can help their clients recover compensation for their current and future:
Type #1: Medical Expenses
The first type of compensation your lawyer can help you recover is compensation for your medical expenses. This includes compensation for your diagnosis, treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, therapy, medical supplies, medical devices, and prescriptions for as long as necessary.
Type #2: Other Out-of-Pocket Costs
An Oakland accident attorney can also help you seek compensation for your other out-of-pocket costs. This includes transportation, vehicle repair or replacement, childcare services, landscaping and cleaning services, and other necessities.
Type #3: Loss of Income
If your car accident puts you out of work, your lawyer can also seek just compensation for your loss of income. This includes your lost wages, salary, commissions, benefits, tips, and future earning capacity.
Type #4: Pain and Suffering
California law entitles car accident victims in Oakland to just compensation for their pain and suffering. If you are entitled to pain and suffering damages, your lawyer can accurately calculate the value of your claim and help you document the day-to-day effects of your accident-related injuries and trauma.
Type #5: Other Non-Financial Losses
In addition to pain and suffering, Oakland car accident lawyers can help their clients recover just compensation for other non-financial losses as well. This includes emotional trauma, scarring and disfigurement, loss of consortium and companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.
As we’ve discussed already, the most costly mistake you can make when you have a car accident claim is failing to hire a lawyer to represent you. But, even when you hire a lawyer, there are still mistakes you need to avoid. For example:
Mistake #1: Waiting Too Long to Contact a Lawyer
When you get injured in a collision, it is important to contact an Oakland car accident lawyer right away. It is never too early to contact a lawyer, but it can be too late.
Mistake #2: Waiting Too Long to See a Doctor
In addition to contacting a lawyer promptly, you should also see a doctor as soon as possible. You need to begin treatment immediately, and you need your medical records to show that your injuries are accident-related.
Mistake #3: Giving Too Much Information to the Insurance Companies
As we mentioned above, there are certain things you can say to the insurance companies that you can’t take back. If you give too much information to the insurance companies, this can come back to haunt you—especially if the information proves not to be true (i.e. if you incorrectly state that you caused the accident).
Mistake #4: Getting Too Anxious about Your Claim
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be stressful. This is especially true once your bills start piling up. But, you need to avoid getting anxious—follow your lawyer’s advice, and only settle when it is truly in your best interests to do so.
Mistake #5: Settling for Too Little Money
No matter what, you should not settle for less than you deserve. If you give up and give in to the insurance companies’ tactics, you will regret it. You need to stand up for your rights so that you don’t bear the burden of someone else’s mistake for years, if not decades, to come.
Oakland Car Accident Statistics
Oakland sees tens of thousands of car accidents each year. Of these accidents, more than 2,000 result in injury or death according to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). Here are some more notable statistics on car accidents in Oakland and the surrounding areas of Alameda County from the California OTS and other sources:
- Oakland ranks seventh among all California cities for the most car accidents resulting in serious injuries and fatalities annually.
- Oakland ranks first among California’s largest cities for the most hit-and-run accidents each year. Overall, Alameda County ranks fifth.
- Oakland ranks second among California’s largest cities for the most accidents occurring at night, between the hours of 9:00pm and 3:00am.
- Roughly 8% of all injury-involved and fatal accidents in Oakland involve drunk drivers.
- Throughout all of Alameda County, there are more than 10,000 injury-involved and fatal car accidents each year.
Oakland’s Most-Dangerous Roads and Intersections
Several of the Oakland area’s roads and intersections are particularly dangerous. Reasons vary, from high traffic volume to poor road maintenance. As part of its Safe Oakland Streets Initiative, the City of Oakland has identified several “high injury corridors.” These include:
- 14th Street
- 35th Avenue
- 73rd Avenue
- Foothill Boulevard
- Grand Avenue
- International Boulevard
- Macarthur Boulevard
- Market Street
- Martin Luther King Jr. Way
- San Pablo Avenue
- Telegraph Avenue
According to an article published on Oaklandside.org, Oakland’s most-dangerous intersections for drivers are the intersection of 38th Avenue and International Boulevard and the intersection of 35th Avenue and International Boulevard.
Should I Hire a Lawyer if I was Injured in a Car Accident in Oakland?
Yes, if you were injured in a car accident in Oakland, you should hire a lawyer to represent you. If the other driver (or a third party) was at fault in the accident, you will need a lawyer to prove it. You will also need a lawyer to calculate just compensation for your financial and non-financial losses, and you will want to have your lawyer negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf.
Can I Talk to an Oakland Car Accident Attorney for Free?
Yes, Oakland car accident lawyers typically provide free initial consultations. During your free initial consultation, you can ask any questions you want to ask, and you can expect the lawyer to provide an initial assessment of your legal rights. If it appears that you may have a claim (or multiple claims), the lawyer will also go over your next steps if you decide that you want to move forward.
How Much Do Oakland Car Accident Attorneys Charge?
Oakland car accident attorneys represent their clients on a contingency-fee basis. Different lawyers may charge different contingency fees, but most typically charge between 25% and 40% depending on the stage at which a case gets resolved. While these percentages may seem high, it is important to remember that your lawyer will most likely be able to help you collect far more than you could obtain on your own.
Can I Hire a Lawyer to Sue After a Car Accident in Oakland?
Yes, you can hire a lawyer to sue after a car accident in Oakland. But, whether your lawyer will need to file a lawsuit is another question. In most cases, car accident claims settle without going to court. Since this saves time and money, it will generally be in your best interests to accept a settlement if there is a fair offer on the table. If you do not receive a fair offer, then your lawyer can sue and take your car accident claim to trial.
Will My Insurance Rates Go Up After a Car Accident in Oakland?
Whether your insurance rates will go up after a car accident in Oakland depends on several factors. This includes the insurance companies’ determination of fault. This is yet another reason to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you. If you were not at fault, hiring a lawyer to prove it can help you avoid increased insurance premiums—in addition to helping make sure you receive just compensation for your medical needs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
What is the Best Way to Choose an Oakland Car Accident Attorney?
The best way to choose an Oakland car accident attorney is to sit down for a free initial consultation (either in-person, over the phone, or via Zoom). Once you meet with an attorney, you can decide if you think he or she is capable of handling your claim effectively. If so, you can hire the attorney and move forward. If you think there may be better options available, you can schedule another free initial consultation with another attorney—just keep in mind that it will be important for your attorney to conduct an investigation as soon as possible.
How Do I Choose the Best Oakland Car Accident Lawyer for Me?
Choosing the best Oakland car accident lawyer for you requires an assessment of your priorities. Do you want a lawyer who will focus on getting a settlement offer quickly? Or, do you want a lawyer who will fight for maximum compensation? Do you prefer that your attorney involves you as little as possible? Or, do you want to be kept up to speed every step of the way? The best choice for you won’t necessarily be the best choice for someone else. You can use CarAccidentSource.com to get started by requesting a free initial consultation with an attorney near you.