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Hiring a Car Accident Attorney in San Francisco

You may have many questions when you are involved in a car wreck, we are here to help! We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions by car accident victims in the city of San Francisco.

What Is The Average Settlement Amount For Car Accidents In California?

Car accident settlements vary greatly based on a number of factors. Claims can result in settlements as small as a few thousand dollars or as large as several million dollars.

The biggest factors are your own percentage of fault and the severity of your injuries. Wrongful death claims and those involving severe injuries usually get the highest settlements.

What Should I Look For When Finding A San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyer?

When searching for an attorney in the practice area of personal injury law, look for attorneys with great track records who regularly win their clients the maximum compensation.

Other things to look for are accolades and accreditations, including nominations to Super Lawyers and other lists.

LegalFinders will only connect you with the best lawyers who have histories of favorable verdicts and settlements.

Do You Have To Hire A California Lawyer To File A Personal Injury Claim?

While there is no law in California that requires you to have an attorney to start a personal injury claim, people who hire attorneys win higher settlements, on average, than people who do not.

Your attorney can offer you sound legal advice during an initial case evaluation, so you can make an informed decision about whether to start a claim with their help.

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so they have no incentive to recommend that you start a claim unless their expertise leads them to believe that you have a good chance of winning a settlement.

Car accidents can leave you with injuries that cause pain and disrupt your life. If you have been in a collision in the San Francisco Bay Area, a personal injury claim might be a way to get compensation so you can recover.

LegalFinders can connect you with the top San Francisco car accident lawyers who can help you start a personal injury claim.

Close up image of a damaged car after a car accident.

If you need to make up for medical bills, lost wages, or need time to recover after the trauma of a car crash, your best option is to file a personal injury claim against the accident’s liable party.

With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can hold the liable party accountable and get a settlement that covers all of your costs and suffering related to the accident.

Working with a well-established and experienced law firm gives you the best chance of winning a favorable settlement. LegalFinders can put you in touch with San Francisco’s top personal injury law offices.


How Do You Know Who Is At Fault In A San Francisco Car Accident?

In most motor vehicle accidents, one or more motorists is found to be at fault for the crash, meaning they contributed to whatever caused the crash to occur.

In California, you can receive compensation in a personal injury claim even if you were partially at fault for your accident.

Determining fault is not always straightforward, but experienced auto accident lawyers can review the information and help to clear up who caused your accident.

Fault is important when it comes to personal injury claims, because the at-fault party is also ultimately responsible for paying damages to the claimant.


Is The At-Fault Party Always Liable In San Francisco Car Accidents?

Liability is different from fault in that the liable party is not necessarily the one who causes the accident, but is legally responsible for paying damages.

Usually, in car accident cases, a negligent driver is at fault in a crash, but their insurance company is liable for damages.

Drivers in California are legally required to carry liability insurance so that if they hit someone and injure them or cause property damage, there is a party that is responsible for paying for it.

In cases where a driver causes an accident and they do not have insurance or their coverage limits are exceeded by the damages claimed, the at-fault driver may also be liable for all or part of a settlement.


What Are Your Legal Options After A Car Crash In California?

If you have sustained property damage and/or injuries in a car accident, you have the right to seek legal representation in the state of California.

The best attorneys offer free consultations, when they can advise you on whether to start a personal injury claim.

If you do start a claim with the help of an attorney, you are likely to receive a settlement that helps to pay for losses you have suffered related to the accident.

Most of the time, an insurance company will be held responsible for your settlement.


Steps To Take After A San Francisco Car Crash

Car accident victims in San Francisco should, whenever possible, follow the steps below following their crash.

1. Collect Information

In the days and weeks following your accident, it is advisable to collect all relevant information that could serve as evidence in your case.

Documentation to collect after your crash includes:

  • Photos and/or videos of the crash scene, including all vehicles involved
  • Photos of any injuries you sustained in the crash
  • Photos and/or videos of the area of roadway where the crash occurred, including any signage or obstacles
  • Contact information, driver’s license information, and insurance information for any drivers involved in the accident
  • Eyewitness statements of what happened
  • Your own account of what happened
  • Police report, if applicable

You should also be sure to save documents related to your injuries and property damage, such as vehicle repair receipts, medical bills and records, etc.

2. Reach Out To A Personal Injury Attorney

If you are in the midst of dealing with property damage and injuries after your accident, finding a San Francisco car accident attorney is probably not at the top of your to-do list.

You might be surprised to know that an experienced car accident attorney can make life much easier after your accident.

They will handle communication with insurance companies and other involved parties, and make all the paperwork and legal factors related to the accident much easier.

Hiring an attorney after a car accident can relieve a lot of the stress related to the crash.

3. File Your Car Accident Claim

After compiling all the necessary documents and information, your attorney can file your claim against the liable party. This will notify the liable party that you are pursuing a settlement for your damages.

4. Negotiate A Fair Settlement

Once your claim is filed, your lawyer will communicate with all parties involved and begin to negotiate a settlement with the liable party.

Your settlement will be calculated based on the severity of your injuries and property damage, your emotional distress, and other impacts on your life.

The best car accident lawyers know how to hold insurance companies accountable to get you a fair settlement.

In the rare case that you and the liable party cannot agree on a settlement, you can file a personal injury lawsuit so a court can make the final judgment on your settlement amount.

Damages To List In A Car Accident Claim In San Francisco

When you file a car accident claim with the help of an attorney, you are asking the liable party to compensate you for the effects the accident has had on your life.

Some of these effects will be direct financial impacts like medical bills and lost wages. Others will be more indirect, like pain and suffering. Any impacts to your life that are related to the accident can be included on a personal injury claim.

Common damages that people cite on their car accident claims include:

  • Medical expenses: Both incurred and future expected costs for care that are related to your accident injuries can be included.
  • Lost wages: Lost wages can include both salary and benefits that you have lost and/or expect to lose due to your injuries.
  • Pain and suffering: Emotional distress, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and other mental health effects related to the accident can be included.
  • Wrongful death: If you lost a loved one in a car accident, a personal injury case can help you recover compensation for loss of financial support and emotional anguish.


Common Injuries That Lead To San Francisco Car Accident Claims

Car accidents, as well as motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and truck accidents, cause an array of injuries ranging from minor to severe.

While serious injuries generally lead to higher settlement amounts, any injury can lead to a successful claim. It’s important that you seek medical treatment for any injuries you sustain, whether minor or severe.

Common injuries listed on Northern California car accident claims include:

  • Lacerations
  • Burns
  • Whiplash
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries
  • Chest and neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries, such as paralysis
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Catastrophic injuries/wrongful death (fatalities)


Common Causes Of Car Accidents In California

In San Francisco, Oakland, and other areas of California, most car accidents are caused by negligent drivers.

Behaviors like speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, and simple driver errors are some of the most common causes of accidents.

Dangerous roadway conditions or faulty vehicle parts might also lead to a crash.

The cause of an accident can give information about who was at fault. For example, if a driver rear-ends another vehicle, the driver in the back is almost always found to be at fault.


Are There California Laws That Affect Personal Injury Claims?

California, like most states, has some laws that pertain to personal injury cases in the state. Personal injury law firms with years of experience practicing in California will know these laws well and can help you navigate them for a successful claim.

At-Fault Insurance Laws

California is an at-fault state for car insurance, meaning if you are injured in an accident, you can seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

In no-fault states, motorists seek compensation from their own insurance company first.

California Statute of Limitations

In California, you have up to two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. If you fail to file within this time frame, you will not be able to get compensation for the accident.

California’s Consideration Of Negligence

California employs a principle called comparative negligence. This law states that even people who are partially at fault in an accident can file a claim and receive compensation for their losses.

If you were partially at fault, your final settlement amount will be reduced according to your percentage of fault.


San Francisco, California Car Accident Rates

California, like most states, sees a lot of traffic accidents every year, with thousands of people dying and tens of thousands more injured in crashes each year.

Here are traffic collision facts about the state of California:

People died in car accidents


in 2019 in California

Fatalities involving drivers impaired by alcohol


People injured in accidents


in California in 2019

People who died were not wearing seatbelts


in California in 2019


Connect With The Best San Francisco Car Accident Attorneys

LegalFinders can connect you with award-winning personal injury lawyers. The attorneys in our network are experts at negotiating settlements for their clients and are strong trial lawyers, should your case be moved to court.

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident in the San Francisco area, reach out to LegalFinders today to be connected with the best personal injury lawyers in California.


Our staff are standing by to help you find the perfect attorney for your case.

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Published: 29 December 2022


California Courts — Statute of Limitations

California Office of Traffic Safety — California Traffic Safety Quick Stats

Legal Information Institute — Comparative Negligence

Legal Information Institute — Liability

Legal Information Institute — Negligence