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Car accidents bring plenty of damage, both physically and mentally as well as financially.
Getting the compensation you need after a collision can be stressful, and you may benefit from working with a personal injury lawyer on your case. LegalFinders can help you connect with top lawyers in the San Diego area.
If you’ve been in a car or truck accident in San Diego, California, filing an insurance claim for personal injury and property damage is the best way to foot medical bills, vehicle damage costs, and other losses.
The problem is insurance companies won’t always offer you a fair settlement to cover all the injuries and other damages.
A San Diego car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve. Working with a well-established law firm grants you access to experienced attorneys with experience in this practice area who will help you fight for a fair settlement.
Keep reading to find out what to do after an accident and get connected to the best car accident lawyers in San Diego.
Determining who is to blame for a car accident is a key question you’ll need to answer in an auto accident case.
Fault in car accident law refers to who is legally responsible for the crash, either by causing it or creating conditions that led to the accident.
There are numerous levels of fault in an accident, including:
These varying degrees of the intention behind an accident are important markers in determining who is at fault and the amount of compensation.
You can still present a personal injury claim in San Diego even if you’re partly at fault. This is because fault for an accident doesn’t necessarily mean liability.
Liability in personal injury law involves the different persons or parties legally responsible for paying for the damages in an accident.
Typically, the at-fault driver is held liable for the accident. However, other parties can also be liable in a crash.
For example, negligent pedestrians or cyclists involved can be held liable. Car manufacturers can also find themselves in the mix if there’s a problem with the car, such as faulty brakes due to a design error.
Government bodies can also be liable for accidents. For instance, a poorly designed road or roadway maintenance roadblocks that cause an accident could transfer some liability.
Multiple parties are often liable in varying degrees for an accident. If all this is confusing, a top-rated trial lawyer can help you identify who is liable in your case.
Just because you’re part of a car or truck collision doesn’t mean you’re helpless. There are legal options, the most common being filing a personal injury claim.
A personal injury claim lets you seek financial or other forms of compensation after the accident. It enables you to negotiate a settlement based on property damage, medical bills, and other losses brought about by the crash.
In most cases, personal injury cases are settled out of court, especially if you’ve got a competent lawyer working with you.
If you aren’t satisfied with the settlement from the claim, you can take additional legal action against the liable parties, such as filing a car accident injury lawsuit.
LegalFinders can connect you with top car accident lawyers to get the legal advice and guidance you need to obtain the compensation you deserve successfully.
If you file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit, follow these steps to build a strong case and make the process as smooth as possible.
Collect as much information related to the crash as possible when the facts of the accident are still fresh. Some basic information to have includes:
A lawyer can help you identify other documents that may be important to your case.
No matter the size of your accident, it is advisable to get legal help from a lawyer, though it is not a requirement.
You’ll get the peace of mind you need, in addition to other benefits such as:
To have the best chances at recovering fair compensation, it is essential to contact a lawyer immediately before filing an insurance claim.
This is because a lawyer can handle all communications and help you not say anything that may harm your case, such as an admission of fault.
Either you or the personal injury law firm can file the claim in the correct California court and within the statute of limitations.
The car accident claim has to be filed before the time allotted in the statute of limitations lapses, after which you cannot pursue it further.
After you file the accident claim, the liable parties or the insurance company are notified and the negotiations begin. The law office usually handles this part of the process if you’ve got one.
At this time, your legal representation goes back and forth to get a favorable settlement for both parties. With a good lawyer, this is where your case will most likely end — you get reasonable compensation, and the matter doesn’t go to court.
Sometimes, both parties cannot agree on a settlement. In this case, you can file a lawsuit against the liable party for the claim to be determined by a judge or jury.
Having legal counsel at this stage is critical, as they know how to present evidence before the court and build a strong case for you.
A personal injury claim seeks to provide compensation for losses following the accident. The claim covers direct damages, such as medical bills, and indirect damages, such as the emotional impacts of the accident.
You can seek compensation to cover:
Any injury resulting from an accident may be cited in a car accident claim. Despite many safety features fitted in modern cars, serious injuries may still occur.
Common car accident injuries that lead to claims include:
Every motorist has the duty to operate their vehicle safely on the road. Motor vehicle crashes are usually a result of breaching this duty and thus engaging in some form of negligence.
Driver errors such as speeding, driving under the influence (DUI), and aggressive driving (weaving in and out of traffic, frequent lane changes, etc.) are arguably the most common sources of accidents.
Accidents may also occur due to other factors like bad road conditions or poor weather. Vehicle malfunctions, such as brake failures and blown tires, can also cause car crashes.
Besides federal law, California also has laws and statutes that may influence your claim, the most significant of which are listed below.
States can either adopt no-fault or at-fault laws when dealing with car accidents. In a no-fault state, you typically have a personal insurance policy that covers the damages of an accident, regardless of the liable party.
On the other hand, California is an at-fault state, meaning whoever is liable for the accident pays for the damages.
The statute of limitations is a deadline by which you have to file a personal injury claim. According to the Judicial Council of California, the personal injury claim deadline is two years from the date of the accident.
Negligence is a critical component in every personal injury claim. In every case, all parties are assigned a ‘percentage’ of negligence based on their fault for the accident.
For example, if someone hits you from behind, they are at fault for the accident. However, if you weren’t wearing your seat belt, you’re also partly to blame and get a percentage of the liability.
California operates on the principle of pure comparative negligence. This means a person’s compensation depends on their level of negligence.
Pure comparative negligence implies that anyone can file a claim, but their payout reduces by the percentage. For instance, if a victim is 30% at fault, they will receive their payout less 30%.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, San Diego county had 15,043 total accident victims from car crashes in 2020.
Other facts regarding motor vehicle crash rates in San Diego:
Cases involved the influence of alcohol
Died or were injured as a result of speeding
If you still have questions regarding filing car accident injury claims in San Diego, here are a few FAQs that can help.
The settlement verdicts significantly differ depending on the individual facts of the case. Some of these include the extent of the injuries, the impact of the accident on daily life, and the time to and whether you’ll recover fully.
Typically, the more severe the injury, the higher the settlement.
You need a trial attorney who specializes in car accidents and has a track record of settling claims. These lawyers are well-versed in the laws and statutes that govern personal injury claims and will offer you the help you need.
Yes, you can sue someone for an accident in case your injury claim isn’t settled out of court. Most cases usually settle out of court, though, and lawsuits are rare exceptions.
Most accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This is a system whereby the lawyer only gets paid when the claim is settled, reducing the financial risk of the case.
Although car accidents can be devastating, having the right lawyer is your best chance of getting what you need and deserve to get your life back on track.
LegalFinders helps people who have experienced accidents link up with the best attorneys in the area, whether you’re in San Diego or surrounding cities like Chula Vista, Escondido, Oceanside, El Cajon, or Carlsbad.
Schedule a free consultation today, and connect with the top lawyers near you.