Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
Do you need a Sacramento car accident lawyer? Here you can learn about:
- Do You Need a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney?
- When Can You File a Claim for a Car Accident in Sacramento?
- What Steps Should You Take After a Car Accident in Sacramento?
- What Mistakes Should You Avoid After a Car Accident in Sacramento?
- What Can You Expect from Your Insurance Company After a Car Accident?
- What Can You Expect When You Hire a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer?
- Fast Facts: What You Need to Know After a Sacramento Car Accident
- Sacramento, CA Car Accident Statistics
- FAQs: How Do Sacramento Car Accident Attorneys Help Their Clients?
If you have been injured in a car accident in Sacramento, there is a lot you need to know. You need to know your rights under your insurance policy, you need to know your rights under California law, and you need to know what to do (and not do) to collect the compensation you deserve. While you can try to handle your situation on your own, you can also hire a Sacramento car accident lawyer at no out-of-pocket cost.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident in Sacramento?
There are several reasons to hire a Sacramento car accident attorney if you have been injured in a collision. Your attorney can conduct an investigation, determine what claim(s) you need to file, calculate your losses, and seek just compensation on your behalf. Your attorney can also guide you through the recovery process and help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your legal rights.
Sacramento car accident lawyers are available to speak with you 24/7. With contingency-fee representation, you only pay if you win. An experienced attorney can help maximize your financial recovery, and hiring an attorney promptly will give you the best chance to collect the full compensation you deserve.
California law allows car accident victims, parents, and grieving family members to file claims when they have proof of fault. (The only exception is filing a Med Pay claim, which does not require evidence of liability). This fault can take many different forms. For example, a Sacramento car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover financial compensation by proving:
- Aggressive or Reckless Driving – Tailgating, speeding, running red lights and stop signs, and weaving through traffic are all common forms of aggressive and reckless driving. They are also common causes of car accidents in Sacramento.
- Alcohol or Drug Impaired Driving – As discussed in our Sacramento car accident statistics section below, alcohol-impaired driving is a leading cause of serious and fatal car accidents in Sacramento County. Drug-impaired driving (including marijuana impairment) is a growing concern as well.
- Distracted Driving – Hand-held phone use while driving is illegal in California, but this does not stop many Sacramento residents from texting and using social media behind the wheel. When distracted drivers cause car accidents, they deserve to be held accountable.
- Other Forms of Driver Negligence – In addition to aggressive, reckless, impaired, and distracted driving, Sacramento car accident lawyers can pursue claims for many other forms of driver negligence as well. This includes everything from rubbernecking to merging without looking, and from entering intersections without the right of way to falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Self-Driving Car Accidents – As self-driving cars become more prevalent on Sacramento’s roads, accidents involving these vehicles are becoming more common. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident caused by a self-driving vehicle, a local lawyer can help you pursue a claim against the manufacturer.
- Vehicle Defects – In addition to self-driving technology failures, many other types of vehicle defects can also cause accidents and accident-related injuries. Sacramento car accident attorneys can pursue claims for defects including (but not limited to) brake defects, tire defects, accelerator defects, airbag defects, and defective vehicle design.
- Road Defects – Road defects also present accident risks in many parts of Sacramento—including Sacramento’s most-dangerous road corridors listed below. Some examples of road defects that can lead to accidents include potholes, sinkholes, poor construction, dangerous construction zones, poor intersection design, and traffic signal malfunctions.
- Pedestrian, Bicycle, and E-Scooter Accidents – Sacramento has a high rate of car accidents involving pedestrians, bicycles, and e-scooters—much higher than California’s average. In addition to representing injured drivers and passengers, Sacramento car accident lawyers can also file claims on behalf of injured pedestrians, cyclists, and e-scooter riders.
After a car accident, there are some important steps you need to try to take promptly. The steps you need to take after a car accident include:
Step #1: Get a Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are experiencing any symptoms following your car accident, you should get a diagnosis and treatment promptly. In fact, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, it is still a good idea to see a doctor. Car accidents can cause many different types of injuries, and not all injuries have symptoms right away.
Step #2: Write Down What You Can Remember
Once you see a doctor, you should take 20 minutes to write down everything you can remember about the accident. Take your time, and try to think about the details. How was the weather? Where did the other car come from? Was the other car speeding? Did it look like the other driver wasn’t paying attention? These are all key pieces of information that will be useful to Sacramento car accident lawyers when assessing your legal rights.
Step #3: Report the Accident
You will need to report the accident to your insurance company, and you must also report it to the police and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you prefer, these are steps that a Sacramento car accident attorney can take on your behalf.
Step #4: Create a File
You will receive several different types of records related to your accident. This includes records from your healthcare providers, records from your insurance companies, perhaps a copy of the police report, and records from your employer if you miss time from work. Create a file and keep all of these records together in a safe place.
Step #5: Talk to a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney
You will want to talk to a car accident legal practitioner in California as soon as possible. As we mentioned above, there are lots of ways an attorney can help you. Local Sacramento car accident attorneys are available 24/7, and you can get a free consultation online through CarAccidentSource.com.
In addition to taking the steps listed above (in addition to any other steps recommended by your attorney), you also need to be careful to avoid costly mistakes. Some of the key mistakes you need to avoid after a car accident include:
Mistake #1: Saying the Wrong Things
While you need to report your accident to your insurance company, you also need to be very careful to avoid saying the wrong things. For example, you should not tell your adjuster that you caused the accident (in reality, you have no way of knowing until you hire a Sacramento car accident attorney to conduct an investigation), and you should not tell your adjuster that you feel fine. Stick to the facts, and avoid making any assumptions or saying anything that isn’t strictly necessary to initiate your claim.
Mistake #2: Ignoring Your Doctor’s Advice
Once you see a doctor, you need to follow your doctor’s advice. If you ignore your doctor’s advice, your injuries could get worse (or take longer than necessary to heal), and the additional costs might not be covered by auto insurance.
Mistake #3: Waiting Too Long
When you need to seek financial compensation after a car accident, you cannot afford to wait too long. This applies to everything—from seeing a doctor to speaking with a Sacramento car accident attorney.
Mistake #4: Settling Too Soon
While you need to take certain steps quickly, you need to avoid rushing others. In particular, you need to be extremely careful not to settle your case too soon. If you accept an insurance settlement, you won’t be able to seek additional compensation—even if you later realize that your losses are greater than you previously thought.
Mistake #5: Not Seeking Legal Advice
The best thing you can do after a car accident is seek legal advice. Sacramento car accident lawyers are available to help you, and you can get a free consultation 24/7. You have nothing to lose by talking to an attorney; and, if you are entitled to financial compensation, you will almost certainly collect significantly more with an experienced legal practitioner on your side.
When dealing with your insurance company after a car accident, it is important to have realistic expectations. For example:
- You can expect your insurance company to put its interests first. Even though you pay for coverage, your insurance company will seek to avoid paying for your car accident by all means available.
- You can expect your insurance company to do no more than is legally required. Your insurance company has a legal obligation to handle your claim in good faith. It does not have a legal obligation to explain your rights, calculate your losses, or offer a fair settlement.
- You can expect your insurance company to use your own words and actions against you. Remember how we said you should say no more than necessary when reporting your accident? This is because anything else you say will only be used against you.
When you hire an attorney to represent you, you are entitled to certain expectations. All Sacramento car accident lawyers should:
- Conduct a thorough investigation and identify all claims you have available. Your attorney should provide a thorough assessment of your claim; and, if it appears that you may be entitled to financial compensation, your attorney should conduct a thorough investigation. Based on the outcome of this investigation, your attorney should tell you what type(s) of claim(s) you can file.
- Represent you with your best interests in mind. Unlike your insurance company, your attorney will advise you with your best interests in mind. Your attorney should focus his or her efforts on helping you collect just compensation as quickly as possible.
- Represent you on a contingency-fee basis. Virtually all Sacramento car accident attorneys provide contingency-fee representation. With contingency-fee representation, you don’t pay anything up front, you don’t pay any monthly fees, and you don’t pay anything at all unless you receive financial compensation for your car accident.
From how to file a Sacramento accident report to how to choose between car accident lawyers in Sacramento, there is a lot you need to know after a collision. Here are seven fast facts about recovering from a Sacramento car accident:
Fast Fact #1: You Need to Report Your Car Crash in Sacramento
You are almost certainly required to report your car crash in Sacramento to your insurance company under the terms of your policy. If the accident resulted in injuries or property damage in excess of $1,000, you must also report it to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Finally, if the police did not prepare an accident report at the scene, you must file a Sacramento accident report with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or your local police department.
Fast Fact #2: You Can Get a Copy of Your Sacramento Accident Report if Necessary
If you need to get a copy of your Sacramento accident report, you can request a copy from the CHP or your local police department. When requesting a copy of your accident report, be prepared to provide as much information about the accident as possible. If you aren’t comfortable requesting a copy of your accident report yourself, a car accident lawyer in Sacramento can do this for you.
Fast Fact #3: Your Losses Can Add Up Quickly After a Car Accident in Sacramento, CA
Your medical bills and repair bills could be just a small fraction of the costs of your car accident in Sacramento, CA. Lost wages, lost future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other losses could significantly increase the amount you are entitled to – and need to – recover.
Fast Fact #4: Car Accident Lawyers in Sacramento Provide Contingency-Fee Representation
When you hire a car accident lawyer in Sacramento, your lawyer will represent you on a contingency-fee basis. This means you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket, and you won’t have to pay anything at all unless your lawyer helps you obtain a settlement or verdict.
Fast Fact #5: A Sacramento Law Firm Can Help Maximize Your Take-Home Recovery
Even taking your attorney's contingency fees into account, working with a Sacramento law firm will still allow you to maximize your take-home recovery. Insurance companies typically offer far less than accident victims deserve, and it takes working with a reputable law firm to recover just compensation.
Fast Fact #6: Filing an Insurance Claim Might Not Be Your Only Option
Another important reason to hire a lawyer is that filing an insurance claim might not be your only option. Sacramento, California lawyers also help accident victims pursue claims against vehicle manufacturers, repair shops, government agencies, and other entities. If you have a claim against one of these entities, you may be able to recover additional compensation for your losses.
Fast Fact #7: It Is Important to Take Action Quickly
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your car accident, it is important to take action quickly. Sacramento, California lawyers are available to speak with you 24/7, and you can get a free consultation through CarAccidentSource.com.
With a population of more than 1.5 million, there are tens of thousands of car accidents in Sacramento County each year. Within the City of Sacramento alone, there are thousands of serious and fatal car accidents annually. These figures are among the worst for California’s large cities. Here are some notable statistics on Sacramento car accidents from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS):
- Nearly 10% of injury-involved and fatal car accidents in Sacramento involve drunk drivers. This ranks second worst among California’s large cities.
- Speed is a factor in more than 20% of injury-involved and fatal car accidents in Sacramento. This also ranks second worst among California’s large cities.
- Nearly 1 in 10 car accidents in the City of Sacramento and Sacramento County is a hit-and-run accident.
- Each year hundreds of pedestrians and bicycle riders are injured or killed in car accidents in the City of Sacramento and Sacramento County. Roughly 10% of these victims are under the age of 15.
- Slightly less than 10% of injury-involved and fatal car accidents in the City of Sacramento occur at night, between the hours of 9:00pm and 3:00am. In Sacramento County, this number rises to slightly above 10%.
Whether you were injured in a car accident, your child was injured in a car accident, or you have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one, a Sacramento car accident lawyer can help you seek just compensation. Even if you (or your child or other loved one) suffered injuries in a hit-and-run, there are still various ways a lawyer may be able to help you recover financial compensation.
In 2021, the City of Sacramento adopted a plan to address city’s five most-dangerous road corridors. The plan is part of Sacrament’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to reduce (and ultimately eliminate) serious and fatal car accidents in the city. As identified in the plan, Sacramento’s most-dangerous roads are:
- Marysville Boulevard (North Avenue to Arcade Boulevard)
- El Camino Avenue (Del Paso Boulevard to Steelhead Creek)
- Broadway / Stockton Boulevard (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to 13th Avenue)
- South Stockton Boulevard (McMahon Drive to Patterson Way)
- Florin Road (24th Street to Munson Way)
The City of Sacramento’s plan to reduce the number of serious and fatal accidents on these dangerous roads involves steps, all of which are intended to reduce the risk of collisions between vehicles as well as collisions involving pedestrians, cyclists, and scooter riders. However, as implementing these steps will take time, the risk of car accidents in these corridors is likely to remain high for the foreseeable future.
Are Sacramento Drivers Required to Carry Auto Insurance?
Yes, California law requires all drivers in Sacramento to carry auto insurance. The minimum coverage requirements for Sacramento drivers are: (i) $5,000 in property damage liability coverage; (ii) $15,000 in personal injury liability coverage person; and, (iii) $30,000 in personal injury liability coverage per accident. As alternatives, drivers can make cash deposits with the DMV, self-insure, or post a surety bond. However, most drivers purchase auto insurance coverage, and many drivers purchase coverage well above the minimum requirements.
Can a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer Deal with My Insurance Company For Me?
Yes, your lawyer can deal with your insurance company for you. In fact, this is your best option when you need to seek auto insurance coverage for a serious accident. An experienced lawyer will be well-versed in the insurance company’s defense tactics, and will be able to handle your claim while helping you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your recovery.
Will My Lawyer File a Claim with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
If the other driver was at fault in your car accident, then your lawyer can seek financial compensation under his or her insurance policy. Your lawyer will deal with your insurance company and the other driver’s insurer to make sure you receive the full coverage to which you are legally entitled.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Car Accident Claim in Sacramento?
Strictly speaking, you do not need a lawyer to file a car accident claim in Sacramento. You are well within your rights to try to file a claim on your own. However, whether you “need” a lawyer and whether you “should” hire a lawyer are two very different questions. There are lots of ways a Sacramento car accident lawyer can help you, and an experienced lawyer may be able to help you recover significantly more than you could obtain from the insurance companies without legal representation.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident in Sacramento?
If you have been injured in a car accident in Sacramento, it will be in your best interests to get a lawyer. Some of the most-important ways a lawyer can help with your insurance claim include: (i) gathering evidence to establish liability (proof of fault); (ii) calculating the value of your insurance claim (including financial and non-financial losses); and, (iii) dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf (so you don’t unknowingly accept a low-ball settlement). Your lawyer can also determine if you have any claims outside of auto insurance, such as a claim against a vehicle manufacturer, the California Department of Transportation (DOT), or the Sacramento Transportation Authority.
Can I Sue After a Car Accident in Sacramento?
If you need help covering your medical bills and loss of income after a car accident (or if you have questions about seeking compensation for your pain and suffering), you should talk to a local attorney in Sacramento to find out if you can sue. It is possible to sue after a car accident in many cases. Potential options include suing the auto insurance companies if they refuse to offer a reasonable settlement, as well as suing vehicle manufacturers, drivers’ employers, government agencies, and other entities. You will need an attorney to assess your legal rights under California law; and, if you have grounds to sue, you will need an attorney to sue on your behalf. While you can technically sue on your own, you stand virtually no chance of recovering just compensation without an experienced attorney on your side.
Can a Lawyer Help Me if I was Partially at Fault in a Car Accident in Sacramento?
Yes, under California law, you can seek financial compensation even if you were partially at fault in a car accident. Your lawyer will be able to determine your percentage of fault, accurately calculate your losses, and help make sure you receive a fair settlement.
How Long Do Auto Insurance Companies Have to Process Car Accident Claims?
When you file an auto insurance claim for a car accident in Sacramento, the insurance company must initially respond and open an investigation within 15 days. The insurance company must also accept or deny liability within 40 days of receiving proof of the claim. If an insurance company improperly delays processing or payment of an accident victim’s claim, the victim may be entitled to additional compensation for insurance bad faith. Of course, insurance companies won’t acknowledge engaging in bad faith voluntarily—and this is yet another reason why it is important to hire an experienced car accident lawyer in Sacramento if you have a claim.
Will My Claim Take Longer if I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento?
It depends. If you hire a lawyer to represent you, it might take your lawyer longer to negotiate a settlement than it would have taken for you to simply receive a check from the insurance companies. But, it is critical to keep in mind that speed isn’t the only (or the most important) consideration. There are several steps involved in proving liability, calculating financial and non-financial damages, and negotiating for a fair settlement. So, while it might take longer to resolve your claim with a lawyer, this will typically be because your lawyer is fighting to make sure you truly receive just compensation.