Salinas Car Accident Lawyer
Injured in a car accident in Salinas, CA? Here’s what you need to know about hiring a Salinas car accident lawyer (and what to expect when you hire one):
- Do You Need a Salinas Car Accident Attorney?
- What Should You Do (and Not Do) After a Car Accident in Salinas?
- How Much Can You Recover for a Car Accident in Salinas?
- What Does It Take to File a Successful Car Accident Claim in Salinas?
- Dealing with Car Accidents Involving Rideshare, Delivery and Commercial Vehicles
- 5 Insurance Tactics You Need to Avoid
- 5 Reasons to Hire a Salinas Car Accident Attorney
- 5 Key Facts about Recovering After a Car Accident in Salinas, CA
- Salinas, CA Car Accident Statistics
- FAQs: How Do Salinas Car Accident Lawyers Help Their Clients?
Located at the north end of the 101 and just a short drive from Monterey Bay, Salinas sees more than its fair share of car traffic—and car accidents. Fortunately, if you have been injured in a collision, local attorneys are available to help you protect your legal rights. After a crash, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible, and you can contact a Salinas car accident lawyer online 24/7 through CarAccidentSource.com.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident in Salinas, CA?
If you were injured in a car accident in Salinas, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Depending on who was at fault in the accident, you could have a claim under the other driver’s insurance policy, under your insurance policy, or both. You may have other options as well, and Salinas car accident lawyers can pursue all options for recovering the compensation you deserve.
After being injured in a car accident, it is important to take action as soon as possible. You need to see a doctor, and you need to speak with an attorney right away. Salinas car accident attorneys are available 24/7, and if you need help finding a medical provider your attorney can provide a referral.
When you need to seek financial compensation for a car accident, there are both steps you need to take and mistakes you need to avoid. Where’s what to do (and not do) after a car accident in Salinas:
DO: Seek Treatment for Your Injuries
Car accidents can cause concussions, broken bones, severe cuts and bruises, organ damages, and other types of internal and external injuries. Regardless of whether you are experiencing severe symptoms, you should see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
DON’T: Ignore Your Doctor’s Advice
After you see a doctor, you need to follow your doctor’s advice (or seek a second opinion, if necessary). Do not simply ignore your doctor’s treatment recommendations. If you do, not only will this delay your recovery (and potentially prevent you from making a full recovery), but it will also create problems for your car accident claim.
DO: Gather as Much Information as You Can
It is important to try to gather as much information as you can after a car accident in Salinas. Make sure you keep any information you collected at the scene (i.e. the other driver’s insurance information, the police report, and photos you took with your phone), and start a file where you keep all of your accident-related insurance and medical records.
DON’T: Share Information on Social Media
You do not want to share information about your car accident on social media. If you do, this could also make it more difficult for a Salinas car accident attorney to help you collect just compensation. If you post about the accident online, the insurance companies will try to find a way to use your posts against you, and this is a risk that it isn’t worth taking.
DO: Report Your Car Accident to the Police and the California DMV
Any time you are involved in a car accident, you should report the accident to the police. You may also have to report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Under California law, you are required to report an accident to the DMV if it results in injuries, death, or property damage in excess of $1,000.
DON’T: Admit Fault When Talking to the Police
When you report your accident to the police, you should be very careful not to admit fault. This isn’t about lying to the police—you shouldn’t lie. Rather, it is about making sure you protect your legal rights. Until you hire a Salinas car accident lawyer to investigate the collision, you won’t actually know if you were at fault or not. But, if you admit to being at fault, this will likely end up on the police report, and the insurance companies will use it against you.
DO: Report Your Car Accident to Your Auto Insurance Company
Even if the other driver was at fault in the accident, you still need to report the accident to your insurance company. You can do this over the phone or through your insurance company’s app (if it has one).
DON’T: Give a Recorded Statement
When reporting the accident to your insurance company, you should not give a recorded statement. You also should not provide photos or any other evidence at this time. Only provide the basic facts (where the accident happened, when it happened, and the other driver’s insurance information). Your Salinas car accident attorney will determine what additional information to provide and when.
DO: Get a Salinas Car Accident Lawyer
In order to protect yourself, you need to get a car accident attorney. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation, determine what company (or companies) are liable for your losses, and fight for just compensation on your behalf.
DON’T: Try to Handle Your Situation on Your Own
Trying to handle your situation on your own can be a very costly mistake. If you accept payment from the insurance companies too soon, you could end up with far less than you deserve. You need to accurately calculate your current and future losses (more on this below), and you need to avoid falling for the insurance companies’ tactics at all stages of your claim.
If you are like most people, the one question you really want answered is: “How much am I entitled to recover?”
The answer to this question depends on the facts of your case. From the extent of your injuries to your annual income, and from your long-term medical needs to your pain and suffering, there are numerous factors that will determine how much you are owed. Experienced car accident lawyers in California know how to accurately calculate just compensation for accident victims’ current and future losses, including:
- Medical bills and prescription costs
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of services, society, and support
Car accident victims’ losses can range from thousands to millions of dollars. In order to find out how much a Salinas car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover, get started with a free consultation online now.
Filing a successful car accident claim requires proof of two key “elements” under California law. These elements are: (i) breach of a duty of care, and (ii) losses resulting from the breach.
As discussed in greater detail below, a Salinas car accident lawyer can assist with assessing your legal rights. If you have a claim, your lawyer can also seek work quickly to gather the evidence needed to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
Breach of a Duty of Care
Under California law, all drivers owe a duty of care on the road. This means that they must drive safely, and they must exercise caution to avoid accidents whenever possible.
Companies and government entities owe duties to drivers as well. For example, car manufacturers owe a duty not to manufacture and sell defective vehicles, and government entities owe a duty not to construct dangerous roads.
Unfortunately, breaches of these duties are common—and they frequently lead to accidents. Common examples of breaches that provide grounds for pursuing car accident claims include:
- Aggressive or Reckless Driving – This includes things like tailgating, weaving through traffic, ignoring stop signs, merging without looking, and road rage.
- Distracted Driving – Handheld cellphone use (i.e. texting and using social media) is a leading cause of car accidents, but hands-free distractions are common factors as well.
- Drunk Driving – Drunk driving accidents are alarmingly common in Salinas and the surrounding areas. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one, a DUI victim accident lawyer in Salinas can help.
- Head-On Collisions – Head-on collisions can result from a variety of different breaches of drivers’ duty of care. If you need a head-on collision lawyer in Salinas, you can find one through CarAccidentSource.com.
- High Driving – In addition to drunk driving, high driving is also a major problem in Salinas. If you need to file a claim for an accident involving a driver who was under the influence of marijuana or another drug, a DUI victim accident lawyer can assist you in this scenario as well.
- Intersection Accidents – Running stop signs, running red lights, trying to “beat” yellow lights, and turning without the right of way are all common causes of intersection accidents in Salinas.
- Road Defects – All types of road defects can cause (or contribute to causing) car accidents. Common road hazards in the Salinas area include potholes, construction zones, and poorly marked lanes and intersections.
- Side-Swipe Accidents – If you got hit by a driver who changed lanes or merged into your vehicle, a local side-swipe accident lawyer in Salinas should be able to help you file a successful insurance claim.
- Speeding – Speeding remains a leading cause of car accidents in and around Salinas. If the driver who hit you (or your loved one) was speeding, you will need to hire a Salinas accident attorney to collect evidence and prove your claim for damages.
- Vehicle Defects – Defective tires, defective brakes, defective airbags, and defective self-driving vehicle technology are just a small sampling of numerous vehicle defects that can cause accidents and accident-related injuries.
Types of evidence a Salinas car accident lawyer can use to prove that a driver or company breached its duty include:
- Photos or videos you took with your phone
- Photos and videos taken by an investigator your lawyer sends to the scene of the crash
- Traffic camera or surveillance camera footage
- Police report
- Eyewitness testimony
- Accident reconstruction data
- Cell phone or vehicle computer data
- Engineering or inspection reports
Losses Resulting from the Breach of Duty
In addition to proving that a negligent driver (or a third party such as a vehicle manufacturer or government agency) is responsible for causing your accident, you also need to prove that you suffered losses as a result of the crash. Losses a car accident lawyer in Salinas may be able to help you recover include:
- Property Damage Repair or Replacement – The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle as well as any clothing, electronics, or other personal items damaged in the crash.
- Medical Bills – The costs of treating your accident-related injuries, both now and in the future, as well as the cost of prescriptions, medical supplies, and physical or occupational therapy.
- Lost Income and Benefits – Your current and future loss of wages, salary, commissions, tips, benefits, and any other forms of job-related income if you are unable to work due to your injuries (now or in the future).
- Other Out-of-Pocket Costs – Rental cars, other transportation expenses, cleaning and landscaping costs (if you are unable to do these yourself), childcare, and other expenses you incur as a result of the accident.
- Pain and Suffering – The physical pain and emotional suffering you endure (now and in the future) as a result of living with your accident-related injuries.
- Scarring and Disfigurement – You may be entitled to additional compensation if your injuries result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Loss of Consortium – This includes “loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support,” as well as, “loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations [or the ability to have children].”
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life – Salinas car accident lawyers can help their clients seek just compensation for their loss of enjoyment of life.
The types of evidence your lawyer will need in order to prove your losses include:
- Medical records and bills
- Employment records
- Medical and financial expert reports
- Testimony from family members and friends
- Your personal notes, diary, or “pain journal”
An increasing number of car accidents in Salinas are involving rideshare, delivery, and commercial vehicles. While these accidents present unique challenges, they also present unique opportunities for crash victims who hire experienced Salinas car accident attorneys to represent them.
California law requires rideshare and delivery drivers to carry additional insurance coverage, and companies like Uber and Lyft also carry insurance coverage for accident claims. When an accident involves a commercial vehicle, the company that owns the vehicle (and/or employs the driver) can often be held legally accountable.
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a rideshare, delivery, or commercial vehicle in Salinas, you will want to speak with a lawyer promptly about your legal rights. Your lawyer will be able to determine if you should file an auto insurance claim—or if you may have another type of claim available.
As we mentioned above, when you have an insurance claim, you need to avoid falling for the insurance companies’ tactics. If you fall for any of the following insurance tactics, you could end up without the financial compensation you deserve:
- Claiming the Evidence Doesn’t Prove Liability – In some cases, the insurance companies will say that you didn’t report the accident in time for them to conduct an investigation, or that their investigation was inconclusive. This is not an answer you have to (or should) accept.
- Blaming You for Your Injuries – Insurance companies routinely blame accident victims for their own injuries. Under no circumstances should you accept responsibility; and, even if you were partially at fault, car accident attorneys may still be able to help you collect partial compensation under California law.
- Trying to Get You to Use “Approved” Providers – Many insurance companies have networks of “approved” or “recommended” repair shops and doctors. Unless you are required to use these providers under you policy, you should choose a repair shop and healthcare provider of your own.
- Making Low-Ball Settlement Offers – When you have an insurance claim, you do not have to settle for less than you deserve. When the insurance companies make a lowball settlement offers, Salinas car accident attorneys fight to make sure their clients win just compensation.
- Relying on Your Misunderstanding of Your Rights – Your insurance adjuster does not have to explain your rights under your policy. In fact, he or she doesn’t even have to correct your misunderstanding of your rights. This is among the many reasons why all injured drivers and passengers should hire Salinas car accident attorneys to represent them.
There are many reasons to hire an attorney to help you after a car accident in Salinas, CA. Here are just five of the most-important reasons to get help from an experienced Salinas car accident attorney:
- Understanding Your Rights – As we just mentioned, if you don’t know your rights, your insurance adjuster won’t explain them to you. In order to protect yourself, you need to work with an experienced attorney who has your best interests in mind.
- Getting the Help You Need and Deserve – Salinas car accident attorneys can help you choose the right repair shops and the right doctors to help you. You do not want to go to a “preferred” or “approved” provider if you aren’t required to do so.
- Calculating Your Losses – Before you settle, you need to know how much you are entitled to recover. Your attorney can accurately calculate just compensation for all of your financial and non-financial losses.
- Negotiating with the Insurance Companies – Once you figure out how much you are entitled to recover, then you need to fight for the compensation you deserve. An experienced Salinas car accident lawyer will be able to negotiate effectively on your behalf.
- Filing a Claim Outside of Auto Insurance – In many cases, car accident victims have claims outside of auto insurance. If you are entitled to additional compensation from a vehicle manufacturer, repair shop, or government authority, a Salinas car accident attorney pursue this additional claim so that you aren’t limited to the auto insurance coverage that is available.
So, you’ve been injured in a Salinas car accident. What do you need to know? As it turns out, more than you might think. Here are five key facts about recovering after a car accident in Salinas, CA:
Key Fact #1: Your Financial Costs Can Add Up Quickly
If you’ve been injured in a Salinas car accident, your costs can add up very quickly. First, there are your repair bills. Then, there are your medical expenses. Then, there is your loss of income if you are unable to work. If the other driver (or a third party) was at fault, your costs should be covered by insurance, but you will need to hire an experienced car accident lawyer in Salinas to help you collect the compensation you deserve.
Key Fact #2: A Car Accident Can Take a Significant Non-Financial Toll on Your Life
In addition to financial costs, a car crash in Salinas can also take a significant non-financial toll on your life. For example, many car accident victims suffer from emotional trauma or post-traumatic stress, and many victims experience pain and suffering for months or years—if not the rest of their lives.
Under California law, accident victims are entitled to compensation for the financial and non-financial costs of their injuries. In fact, accident victims’ compensation for non-financial losses will often far exceed their compensation for their out-of-pocket expenses. But, in order to recover compensation for your non-financial losses, you will need a Salinas law firm on your side.
Key Fact #3: Salinas Attorneys Represent Car Accident Victims On Contingency
Salinas, California lawyers represent car accident victims on contingency. This means you don’t have to pay anything unless you win. Your legal fees will be calculated a as a percentage of your settlement or verdict.
Reputable car accident lawyers in Salinas will only take your case if they believe they can help maximize your take-home recovery. So, you don’t have to worry about collecting less because of your attorney’s fees. If you have been seriously injured, a lawyer can help you seek significantly more than you could collect on your own.
Key Fact #4: A Salinas Law Firm Can Help You File (or Obtain) an Accident Report
You need to report your accident to your insurance company, and you may also need to report it to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If the police didn’t respond to the accident, you may need to file a report with the police as well. A Salinas law firm can help you file the reports you need to file; and, if you don’t have a copy of your Salinas accident report, your law firm can help you obtain a copy for your insurance claim.
Key Fact #5: You Will Need a Lawyer to Help You Recover Just Compensation
While you can try to file an insurance claim on your own, the reality is that you will need a lawyer to help you recover just compensation. Car accident lawyers in Salinas are available to speak with you 24/7, and you can get a free consultation through CarAccidentSource.com.
Salinas Car Accidents: By the Numbers
With a population fast approaching 200,000, Salinas is among California’s many rapidly-growing cities. This growth means that car accidents in the city and the surrounding areas are becoming more common. Here are some notable statistics on car accidents in Salinas and the surrounding areas of Monterey County from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS):
- Each year, there are approximately 750 car accidents in Salinas resulting injuries or death. For Monterey County as a whole, this number jumps to more than 2,800.
- Salinas is roughly average in terms of the total number of injury-involved and fatal car accidents in the city when compared to California’s other cities with a population of 100,000 to 250,000. However, Monterey County ranks 17th worst out of California’s 58 cities and counties with a population above 250,000.
- According to the California OTS’s most-recent data, one in seven car accidents in Salinas resulting in injuries or death involves a driver who is under the influence of alcohol.
- Speed is also a factor in roughly one in seven injury-involved and fatal car accidents in Salinas. The figures for Monterey County are roughly comparable, although the percentage of accidents caused by speeding in the county is slightly higher.
- More than 10 percent of injury-involved and fatal car accidents in Salinas are hit-and-runs (80 out of 754 in the most recent year). The percentage of car accidents that are hit-and-runs is significantly lower for Monterey County (193 out of 2,828 in the most recent year).
Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Salinas
Like most cities, Salinas has some roads and intersectoins that are more dangerous than others. If you’ve been injured in an accident at any of the following roads or intersections, you are not alone.
Based on accident data, some of the most dangerous roads in Salinas include:
- Alisal Street
- Boronda Road
- Laurel Drive
- Main Street
- McKinnon Street
- Natividad Road
- Sanborn Road
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of Salinas’s most dangerous intersections are located along these roads. According to the Salinas police (and as reported by KSBW Action News), the 10 most dangerous intersections for car accidents in Salinas are:
- East Laurel Drive & Natividad Road
- Boronda Road & Natividad Road
- Boronda Road & McKinnon Street
- East Alisal Street & Sanborn Road
- West Alisal Street & Salinas Street
- Garner Avenue & Sanborn Road
- North Main Street & Boronda Road
- North Main Street & Laurel Drive
- Constitution Boulevard & Laurel Drive
- North Main Street & Iris Drive
What Should I Do if I’m Injured in an Auto Accident in Salinas?
If you were injured in an auto accident in Salinas, you should seek medical treatment immediately. You should also speak with a local auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. If you have an auto insurance claim (or if you have a claim outside of auto insurance), you will need an experienced lawyer to help you collect the financial compensation you deserve. When meeting with your lawyer for the first time, you should come prepared with any information (including photos, videos, your personal notes, and the police report) you have about your crash.
How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in California?
There are two main methods courts and insurance companies use to calculate financial compensation for pain and suffering, both of which are used in California. The first is the “per diem” method. With this method, a daily rate is calculated based on the severity of the victim’s injuries, and then this rate is multiplied by the number of days he or she is expected to experience pain and suffering. The second is the “multiplier” method. With this method, the victim’s financial losses (i.e. medical bills and lost income) are multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5—with higher numbers being used in cases involving more-severe injuries.
What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident in California?
You will see various “average settlement” figures for California car accidents if you search around online. Some sites say the average is around $20,000, while others say the average is around $40,000 (or more). But, the reality is that car accident settlement amounts vary so widely that any true “average” figure isn’t relevant to your individual case. To make sure you receive the full compensation you deserve, you will need to work with an experienced California car accident lawyer who can seek appropriate compensation for your personal accident-related losses.
How Long After a Car Accident Can You Sue in California?
Under California law, you have up to two years to sue after a car accident. If you miss this deadline by even a day, you will lose your right to recover just compensation. But, while you may have two years to sue, waiting any longer than necessary can make it harder (if not impossible) for a Salinas car accident attorney to collect the evidence needed to prove your legal rights. As a result, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, it is strongly in your best interests to hire a local lawyer right away.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim in California?
Section 2695.5 of California’s Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations gives auto insurance companies up to 15 days respond to a claim. Then, under Section 2695.7, insurance companies have up to 40 days to accept or deny liability after receiving proof of the claim. But, when it comes to settlement negotiations, there are no strict deadlines that apply. Instead, insurance companies must act in accordance with their general duty of good faith. Some car insurance claims settle in a matter of weeks, while others can take several months, if not a year or longer. While there are no guarantees, hiring an experienced car accident lawyer to handle your claim is the best way to make sure you receive a fair settlement as quickly as possible.
How Important is it to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Salinas, CA, it is extremely important to hire a lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer can help with all aspects of your insurance claim, determine if you have a claim outside of auto insurance, and fight to win the compensation you deserve.
How Much Do Salinas Car Accident Lawyers Charge?
Virtually all car accident lawyers in California represent their clients on a contingency-fee basis. As a result, it doesn’t cost anything out-of-pocket to get experienced legal representation. If you win, your legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of your award; and, even taking these fees into account, you will still most likely take home much more than you could have recovered on your own.
How Do I Find a Salinas Car Accident Lawyer I Can Trust?
You can (and should) talk to a lawyer before deciding whether to hire him or her to represent you. CarAccidentSource.com makes it easy to get a free, no-obligation consultation. You can get started for free online 24/7, and you can make an informed decision about your choice of legal representation.