Stockton Car Accident Lawyer
Injured in a car accident in Stockton, CA? Here’s what you need to know:
- Do You Need a Stockton Car Accident Attorney?
- Grounds to File a Claim for a Car Accident in Stockton
- What Should You Do After Being Injured in an Accident?
- What Should You NOT Do After Being Injured in an Accident?
- Can You Handle Your Insurance Claim on Your Own?
- What are the Benefits of Hiring a Stockton Car Accident Lawyer?
- What Damages Can a Stockton Car Accident Lawyer Help You Recover?
- RECAP: What Do You Need to Know After a Car Accident in Stockton, CA?
- Stockton, CA Car Accident Data
- FAQs: How Stockton Car Accident Attorneys Help Their Clients
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, a Stockton car accident attorney can help you recover. Dealing with the pain, stress, and financial toll of a car accident is not easy, but an attorney can help make sure you have the resources you need to move on.
With its growing population, Stockton has seen a rise in car accidents in recent years. In the vast majority of cases, these accidents are the result of driver negligence. Distracted driving is now the leading cause of car accidents in California, and various other forms of driver negligence continue to play a role as well.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident in Stockton, CA?
Stockton car accident lawyers can help with all aspects of your recovery after a serious collision. This includes everything from reporting your accident (as required by California law) to calculating your losses and negotiating for a settlement on your behalf.
In Stockton (and in the rest of California), filing a claim for a car accident requires evidence of fault. In other words, you must be able to prove that someone else (i.e. the other driver) is to blame for causing the accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 19 out of 20 car accidents are the result of driver negligence. This means that if you were injured in a car accident in Stockton that wasn’t your fault, there is a good chance that the other driver is responsible. If this is the case, a Stockton car accident lawyer can help you file a claim under his or her auto insurance policy. Common grounds for filing car accident insurance claims include:
- Aggressive driving
- Careless and reckless driving (i.e. running stop signs or tailgating)
- Changing lanes or turning without looking
- Drunk driving
- Fatigued driving
- Ignoring road signs and traffic signals
- Texting, using social media, talking on the phone, and other forms of distracted driving
In some cases, non-driver-related factors can also cause car accidents. This includes vehicle-related factors such as tire defects, as well as road-related factors such as dangerous construction zones. Additionally, when a driver who causes a car accident in Stockton is working, the driver’s employer can be held liable under California law.
After being injured in an accident in Stockton, the first thing you should do is see a doctor. You need to know the full extent of your injuries, and you need to get treatment as soon as possible. Not only will this help ensure that you are able to recover as fully and quickly as possible, but it will also help you avoid issues with your auto insurance claim.
You should also speak with a car accident lawyer in California, and specifically in Stockton, promptly. Your lawyer will be able to explain everything you need to know in order to protect your rights, and your lawyer will be able to take some important steps immediately. For example, your lawyer can send an investigator to collect evidence at the scene of the accident, and your lawyer can communicate with the police and your insurance company on your behalf.
When you get injured in a car accident, one of the worst things you can do is ignore your situation. While you might not want to deal with the accident, you need to do so. You need to get treatment for your injuries (you can use your health insurance for now), and you need to hire experienced Stockton car accident lawyers to help you recover your losses.
After getting injured in a car accident, it is also important not to post about the accident on social media. If you do, the insurance companies may be able to use your posts against you. In fact, you should only discuss the accident with your lawyer until your case is over.
Many people are apprehensive about hiring an attorney. They assume that hiring an attorney will be expensive, and that it means they will eventually have to go to court.
But, the reality is that trying to handle your insurance claim on your own is a mistake. The financial and non-financial costs of a car accident can be substantial, and you will need a lawyer to help you recover just compensation.
When you hire a lawyer, you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Stockton car accident lawyers provide what is known as “contingency fee” representation. With contingency fees, you don’t pay any up-front fees or monthly costs, and your attorney only gets paid if you win.
Additionally, if an attorney takes your case, this means you have a very good chance of securing a favorable out-of-court settlement. The vast majority of car accident claims settle—and your attorney can make sure you don’t settle for too little. Only a very small percentage of car accident cases end up in court—and your attorney will only take your case to court if this is necessary to collect the compensation you deserve.
There are numerous benefits to hiring experienced Stockton car accident lawyers after being injured in a car accident. Some of the key benefits include:
- Contingency Fee Representation – You only pay if you win.
- All Available Claims – Your attorney can determine if you have claims outside of auto insurance (i.e. a claim against the other driver’s employer or a claim for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits).
- Calculating Your Losses – Your attorney can accurately calculate just compensation for your current and future financial and non-financial
- Fair Settlement – When you hire an attorney, you are far more likely to obtain a fair settlement.
- Maximizing Your Recovery – Even taking your attorney’s fees into account, you can still take home more with experienced legal representation.
- Burden Off Your Shoulders – Your attorney can take the burden of handling your case off of your shoulders so that you can focus on your health and your family.
Let’s say you hire a car accident lawyer in Stockton, and let’s say your lawyer determines the other driver (or a third party) was at fault in the accident. What damages can your lawyer help you recover?
Recoverable damages in a car accident case fall into three main categories: (i) economic, (ii) non-economic, and (iii) punitive.
Economic damages are those that have a direct impact on your bank account. They might have this impact immediately, or they might have this impact in the future. Crucially, California law allows for the recovery of both current and future losses, and it is essential for crash victims to hire experienced Stockton car accident lawyers who can help maximize their financial recoveries.
Examples of economic damages in car accident cases include:
Car accident victims in Stockton (including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists) can recover compensation for their current and future medical expenses. This includes expenses for the diagnosis and treatment of all types of accident-related injuries—including (but not limited to):
- Dislocated and broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations requiring stitches or sutures
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Back and spinal cord injuries (including lower back pain)
- Sprains, strains and tears
- Anxiety and depression
- Emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress
Loss of Income, Benefits, and Future Earnings
If you have missed work as a result of your car accident—whether due to pain, immobility, or the need to seek medical care, a Stockton car accident attorney can help you seek compensation for your loss of income and benefits. If you will miss work in the weeks, months, or years ahead, your lawyer can help you seek compensation for your loss of future earnings as well.
Other Out-of-Pocket Costs
In addition to medical bills and loss of income, economic damages after a car accident also include other out-of-pocket costs. Common examples of additional costs car accident victims will need to seek to recover include:
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Medical supplies and medical devices
- Transportation costs
- Cleaning and landscaping costs
- Childcare costs
- Home health care costs
Non-economic damages are those that impact your life in ways other than impacting your finances. As you work to move on from your car accident, you may begin to notice your accident impacting your life in a variety of different ways. While some of these impacts will lead to financial costs (i.e. if you need to seek treatment for pain or therapy for emotional suffering), these financial costs are not the only losses you can recover. California law allows for the recovery of compensation for the non-financial impacts as well.
Recoverable non-economic damages after a car accident in Stockton include:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Loss of services and support
- Loss of society
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In limited circumstances, punitive damages will be available. Recovering punitive damages requires proof of intentional wrongdoing, gross negligence, or substance abuse; so, in order to seek punitive damages, you will need an experienced Stockton car accident lawyer on your side.
While punitive damages aren’t always available, if they are available in your case, it is important that you seek them. Not only will this maximize your take-home financial recovery, but it will also help ensure that the person who caused your accident doesn’t make the same mistake again.
So, if you’ve been injured in a car crash in Stockton, what do you need to know? Here are five key facts about protecting your legal rights, seeking just compensation for your losses, and hiring a car accident lawyer in Stockton to help you:
1. You Will Need Help to Recover Just Compensation
For a variety of reasons, it simply isn’t realistic to expect that you will be able to recover just compensation on your own. From proving who was at fault in the accident to placing an appropriate value on your pain and suffering, there are just too many steps that require legal knowledge and experience. You cannot expect the insurance companies to help you; instead, you need to put a reputable Stockton law firm on your side.
2. You Can Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer in Stockton at No Out-of-Pocket Cost
Car accident lawyers in Stockton provide contingency-fee representation. This means you can put a Stockton law firm on your side at no out-of-pocket cost. With contingency-fee representation, your law firm will cover the costs of pursuing your claim, and you will not have to repay these costs or pay any legal fees unless you receive a settlement or verdict.
3. There are Several Costly Mistakes You Need to Avoid
When seeking financial compensation for a car accident in Stockton, CA, there are several costly mistakes you need to avoid. A legal practitioner will be able to explain what not to do during your free initial consultation. In addition to ignoring your situation and posting on social media (as discussed above), there are numerous other mistakes that can jeopardize your chances of securing a financial recovery.
4. You Have No Reason Not to contact a Stockton Law Firm
With free consultations and contingency-fee representation, you have no reason not to contact a Stockton law firm about your car accident. At the very least, you can learn more about your legal rights. But, if you have a claim, contacting a law firm promptly will help ensure that you avoid costly mistakes and take all of the steps that are necessary to recover the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will take many of the key steps for you—including dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf.
5. You Don’t Get a Second Chance If You Settle for Less Than You Deserve
If you try to handle your claim on your own and end up settling for less than you deserve (which will almost certainly be the case—if you are able to secure any coverage at all), you won’t get a second chance. You will have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life. Due to the substantial losses (both financial and non-financial) car crashes in Stockton can cause, you owe it to yourself to work with an attorney who can accurately calculate your losses help you decide when is the right time to settle your claim.
Stockton sees more than its fair share of car accidents. As a result, if you are in need of a Stockton car accident attorney, you are not alone. Here are some noteworthy data on car accidents in Stockton from the San Joaquin Council of Governments and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS):
- There are more than 2,000 car accidents involving injuries or fatalities in Stockton each year.
- Of these accidents, close to 10% involve drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.
- Speeding is a factor in nearly 25% of all car accidents in Stockton.
- Roughly one in six fatal car accidents in Stockton is a hit-and-run (if you were injured or a loved one was killed in a hit-and-run, you do have options, and you should consult with a lawyer promptly).
- Among California’s 15 largest cities (with a population of 250,000 or more), Stockton ranks 2nd in terms of the highest number of injury-involved and fatal car accidents.
- Within the San Joaquin region, Stockton sees the most injury-involved and fatal car accidents by far. In fact, each year it sees more of these accidents than Escalon, Lodi, Manteca, Ripon, and Tracy combined.
- Stockton also has a relatively high rate of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. According to the San Joaquin Council of Governments’ most-recent data, there are more than 260 fatal accidents involving pedestrians and bicycle riders in Stockton each year.
As another notable statistic, a study conducted in Stockton concluded that nearly half (43%) of the city’s roads are in “poor condition.” As reported by the San Joaquin Council of Governments, “This puts Stockton 9th in a ranking of the 20 worst mid-sized urban areas for road conditions.” This isn’t 9th in California, it is 9th in the country.
As the San Joaquin Council of Governments also notes, “When roads are in poor condition (potholes, rough surfaces, etc.) the cost to operate a vehicle increases.” The risk of accidents increases as well. Potholes, crumbling road shoulders, missing lane lines, large cracks, and other road-related hazards can not only cause accidents on their own, but they can increase the risk of vehicles colliding as well.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Stockton, CA?
Yes, if you have been injured in a car accident in Stockton, you should contact a lawyer promptly. You need legal advice, and you will need a lawyer to deal with the insurance companies and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Should I Contact a Stockton Car Accident Lawyer Before I Contact My Insurance Company?
Yes, if you have not already contacted your insurance company, you should contact a lawyer first. Your lawyer can tell you what to say (and what not to say), and your lawyer can get to work immediately building your claim for just compensation.
How Much Do Stockton Car Accident Attorneys Charge?
Stockton car accident attorneys provide contingency-fee representation, which means they do not charge any out-of-pocket costs. If your case is successful, your legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of your settlement or verdict (usually in the range of 25% to 40%).
Can I Settle My Car Accident Claim in Stockton Without a Lawyer?
While you can try to settle your car accident claim in Stockton without a lawyer, this isn’t a good idea. There are several reasons why. Most importantly, however, without a lawyer representing you, you won’t know for certain who is liable for your injuries, and you won’t know how much compensation you deserve. This means that you risk filing your claim with the wrong company, and it means you won’t have any way of knowing whether the settlement offer you accept is fair.
Can a Lawyer Help Me Get a Bigger Settlement for My Car Accident in Stockton?
Yes, without question, an experienced Stockton car accident lawyer who takes your case will be able to help you get a bigger settlement than you could get on your own. While a settlement is never guaranteed, what is virtually guaranteed is that the insurance companies won’t offer a fair settlement if you don’t have a lawyer on your side. Not only can your lawyer calculate just compensation for your economic and non-economic losses (and seek punitive damages if warranted), but your lawyer can also negotiate effectively while making clear that he or she will take the insurance companies to court if they don’t offer a fair settlement.
How Do I Choose the Best Stockton Car Accident Lawyer to Represent Me?
Choosing the best Stockton car accident lawyer to represent you isn’t easy. There are lots of factors to consider, and you have lots of options available. Among the most important factors to consider, however, are experience and trust. An experienced lawyer with a proven track record will often be a good choice. You also need to feel confident that you can trust your lawyer to use his or her full capabilities to recover the financial compensation you deserve. The best way to assess this is to sit down for free initial consultation.
Where Can I Find a Stockton Car Accident Lawyer to Represent Me?
You can find a local attorney who can handle your case through CarAccidentSource.com. Our site is completely free to use, and you can get in touch with an attorney near you 24/7.