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If you’ve been involved in a car crash in San Jose, California, you may benefit from working with an experienced car accident attorney. LegalFinders can help connect you with some of the top personal injury lawyers with experience in car accident cases in your area.
An auto accident can be a traumatic experience and result in personal injury, vehicle damages, or even the loss of loved ones.
Filing an auto accident claim can help ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve for your pain and suffering.
A car accident lawyer is a form of personal injury lawyer who can help ease the burden of filing a claim, ensure your claim is filed successfully, and work to get you the maximum settlement possible.
If you need a trusted car accident lawyer after an auto accident in San Jose, LegalFinders is here to help.
The first step in filing a personal injury claim is establishing who was at fault for the car crash. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a cut-and-dry answer.
For example, in some situations, there may be more than one driver at fault. In others, such as in an unavoidable auto accident, it’s possible that no one is considered at fault.
Additionally, it’s possible for a driver to have caused the accident, or be at fault, but not be liable. This means that even though they were responsible for the accident, they aren’t liable for damages.
A California car accident lawyer can identify who was at fault for the car crash and help you understand if you or another party may be held liable.
The at-fault driver is the motorist who caused the accident. However, it’s important to note that the at-fault driver is not always considered liable for auto crashes in San Jose.
A primary factor in whether the at-fault driver is liable is whether negligent behavior was involved. For example, if a driver was texting while driving and this resulted in a crash, they would likely be considered liable.
However, if a driver caused an accident as a result of an unavoidable situation, they may not be found at fault. For example, a driver may cause a crash as a result of malfunctioning brakes due to a manufacturing error in the vehicle.
In this instance, the vehicle manufacturer would likely be held liable for the auto accident. This means that parties would file a claim against the company rather than the at-fault driver.
Following a car crash, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. This claim enables you to seek compensation for damages incurred in the accident. Examples of damages you can file a claim for include property damage, medical bills, and loss of wages.
Not all claims will end in an agreeable settlement. If this occurs, you can file a personal injury lawsuit, also called a car accident lawsuit, to further pursue compensation.
While you can file a claim by yourself, working with an experienced car accident attorney can help ensure you receive the highest settlement possible. An experienced car accident lawyer can also go to court on your behalf in the event of a lawsuit.
There are several steps you can take following an auto accident to help ensure the most success in receiving a fair settlement, including:
Gathering as much evidence as possible after a car accident can help support your case when it’s time to file a claim. A personal injury attorney can help you determine which evidence is most important.
Types of evidence to gather following a car collision include:
If you’re unable to gather this information due to injuries, ask a witness or loved one to do so for you.
It’s important to contact an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. Your lawyer can help ensure you don’t say anything to jeopardize your case, such as an admission of fault.
An attorney can also assist you in putting together a strong claim that includes all damages. Some damages may not be obvious, such as lost wages. A personal injury lawyer will make sure all relevant losses are included so you can receive maximum compensation.
Reaching out to an attorney immediately can ensure you’re supported every step of the way regardless of the legal outcome.
The process for filing a car accident claim involves contacting the insurance company or lawyer of the liable driver and turning in the necessary evidence. This claim should be filed within the statute of limitations, which is typically two years from the accident date.
An experienced San Jose personal injury attorney can help you through every step of this process, including the submission of the claim. This ensures you can focus on what matters most: recovering from your injuries and getting back on your feet.
The negotiations process can be lengthy and time-consuming. The purpose of this process is to come to an agreement on a fair settlement amount. If an agreement is not met, you may need to file a lawsuit against the liable party.
When you work with an attorney, they will participate in this back-and-forth on your behalf.
They will also ensure that you receive a settlement that fully compensates you for your losses. If a lawsuit is necessary, your lawyer will represent you in a court of law.
While not common, it is possible to not reach an agreement on a fair settlement amount. If an agreement isn’t reached, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek the compensation you need and deserve.
Working with an experienced San Jose accident attorney is the best way to ensure you are justly represented in your lawsuit and that you receive an appropriate settlement. LegalFinders can help you find the best attorney for your case.
There are several damage types you can claim in your personal injury case following an auto accident in San Jose.
Some of the most commonly claimed auto accident damages include:
The types of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident can vary in severity. Regardless of how minor or severe, you should include all of your injuries in your auto accident claim.
Examples of injuries seen in San Jose personal injury cases include:
There are several causes of accidents, with the most common falling under the categories of either unavoidable situations or driver negligence.
An unavoidable accident cause is one in which no one was at fault. An accident caused by driver negligence is the result of the at-fault driver acting negligently on the road.
Examples of these types of accident causes include:
The following are various factors that may impact your personal injury claim in a motor vehicle accident case:
California is an at-fault state. This means that drivers are not required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance as part of their car insurance plan. As a result, accident victims file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance to seek compensation for car crash damages.
In no-fault states, drivers must purchase PIP and will first file an accident claim with their own insurance before pursuing compensation from the at-fault driver.
A personal injury statute of limitations refers to how long after the accident a person has to file a claim and seek compensation. In the state of California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years.
This means that you have two years from the date of the car crash to submit a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
California follows the pure comparative negligence principle. This means that each accident party is assigned a percentage of fault based on their involvement, or negligence, in the crash.
For example, if another motorist swerved and caused an accident, but you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, you may be assigned a small percentage of negligence. This means that the court views you at least partly liable for any injuries you sustained.
The pure comparative negligence principle means accident victims can only recover the percentage of their damages in which they were not liable. For example, if you are assigned 20% liability, you can recover only up to 80% of damages.
Motor vehicle accident rates are not readily available for the city of San Jose, but there is data through the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System for the state as a whole.
The following are auto accident statistics for California from the 2019 annual report:
Fatal car crashes
Injury car collisions
People killed in an auto accident
People injured in an auto accident
The following are frequently asked questions related to filing a car accident claim in San Jose, CA:
Every car accident claim filed in California is unique, and therefore every settlement amount will be, as well. The settlement amount is based on various factors, such as the type of extent of your injuries, total damage costs, and whether you or your loved one makes a full recovery.
Hiring a personal injury attorney who specializes in auto accidents can greatly increase your chances of successfully filing and winning your case. These attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the laws and statutes surrounding the legalities of vehicle accidents.
If your attorney and the liable party’s attorney do not reach a fair settlement outside of court, you can file a lawsuit. However, it’s important to note that most cases settle and a lawsuit is unnecessary.
The majority of auto accident attorneys are hired on a contingency fee basis. This means that they only receive compensation from you unless your claim settles.
This can be a relief for many, as it means there is no upfront financial burden and no risk in the event your claim doesn’t settle.
Working with an experienced San Jose car accident attorney can help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve following a car crash.
LegalFinders would be happy to help you connect with the best attorney for your unique case. Contact LegalFinders today for a free consultation and case evaluation to get started.
Forbes Advisor. “California Car Accident Laws 2023 Guide.” Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/auto-accident/california-car-accident-laws/#fault_in_california_car_accident_cases_section.
California Courts: The Judicial Branch of California. “Statute of Limitations.” Retrieved from: https://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm.
California Highway Patrol. Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) 2019 Report. Retrieved from: https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services/services-information/switrs-internet-statewide-integrated-traffic-records-system/switrs-2019-report.