Sacramento Car Accident Trial Lawyer
Until engineers perfect the automated car, highway accidents in California will be an unfortunate fact of life. And with so many automobiles on Golden State highways, comes an abundance of accidents, many resulting in injuries and fatalities. In addition to drunk and reckless drivers, motorists distracted by cell phones and digital devices are creating more dangers for California’s commuters.
Those who’ve been injured in a Sacramento car accident know that the collision is just the beginning of what can be a long ordeal. After the dust settles, there will be doctor visits, calls from insurance adjusters, and bills.
An injured motorist should hire legal assistance with a proven trial verdict record, pay a contingency fee, and increase their chances of a fair monetary settlement or judgment. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, read this article and consider if you might benefit from the help of a Sacramento car accident lawyer. Then, call the office of Lawrance Bohm to find out what he can do for you.
Car Crash Statistics
According to recent statistics maintained by California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), highway fatalities are on the rise nationwide. An office report attributed this increase to “improvements in the economy and more people driving, as well as a decrease in law enforcement resources throughout the nation.”
In California, total traffic fatalities increased by 2.4 percent between 2014 and 2015 from 3,102 to 3,176 deaths. Part of this increase was attributable to accidents involving alcohol impairment. Statistics showed that alcohol impaired driving fatalities increased from 876 deaths in 2014 to 914 a year later. In 2015, 19 percent of the drivers killed in car crashes who were tested, tested positive for drugs.
Not surprisingly, with the proliferation of cellular phones and other digital devices, drivers are more distracted than ever. National statistics for 2014 indicate that 431,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted river. Continue reading to learn about how drivers injured on the highway can receive compensation from the negligence of other drivers.
What Should You Do if You’re Involved in a Car Accident?
- It goes without saying that if you’re involved in an automobile collision, you should immediately stop your vehicle (in as safe a manner as possible). California Vehicle Code §20001 states that a driver involved in an accident resulting in injury to anyone other than himself, must stop immediately at the scene of an accident.
- If there are no injuries and the only damage is to property, the vehicle code allows drivers to stop at the nearest location that does not impede traffic.
- If necessary, call 911 in order to ensure that any injured persons receive necessary medical attention.
- Take pictures of the accident as well as your injuries. If you can’t take pictures yourself, have a witness take pictures.
- Get the names and contact information of any potential witnesses.
- If anyone is injured in the accident, or dies, you are responsible for reporting the accident to the California Highway Patrol within 24 hours.
- Contact a doctor as soon as possible to document any injuries you might have.
- Contact an attorney.
What You Shouldn’t Do If You’re Involved in an Accident
- Don’t admit fault to anyone. And don’t sign anything without talking to an attorney first (the only exception is a ticket issued by police).
- Don’t speak to the other driver’s insurance company. This is key. No matter how friendly or accommodating the other company’s insurance adjuster may seem, they are NOT your friend. Their sole purpose is to minimize any compensation paid to you.
- Don’t make statements about your case or your accident on social media. Such statements could end up hurting your case.
Fault, Negligence, and Compensation
When is a motorist liable for injuries caused to another driver? This can often be a difficult question to answer given all of the variables involved in an auto accident (road conditions, traffic equipment, factory recalls, signage, visibility, etc.). However, California Civil Jury Instructions §700 give some basic guidelines, and establish what is known as a basic standard of care for drivers. The section reads:
“A person must use reasonable care in driving a vehicle. Drivers must keep a lookout for pedestrians, obstacles, and other vehicles. They must also control the speed and movement of their vehicles. The failure to use reasonable care in driving a vehicle is negligence.”
A driver who is at fault in an auto accident could be found negligent if he or she did any of the following:
- Drinking or drugging
- Talking on a cell phone
- Reading an iPad or digital device
- Driving an improperly maintained vehicle
- Ignoring factory recalls
- Aggressive driving (i.e. tailgating or unsafe lane changing)
If you were injured in a car crash due to another driver’s negligence you could be eligible for:
- Pain and Suffering Damages
- Lost Wages
- Punitive Damages
Why and When You Should Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
First of all, you should call an attorney if you’ve been injured in an accident. This is especially critical if you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury, such as a brain injury.
As mentioned earlier, there are many variables involved in a car accident. Often times, several different experts, each with different allegiances, will sift through the evidence of an accident. This group might include: law enforcement officers, insurance adjusters, city engineers, private investigators, as well as the other driver’s attorney. Out of all of the findings of these different experts will emerge a narrative of what happened. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you want to have a keen legal mind to advocate on your behalf, particularly if you’ve been injured as the result of a car crash. You want to make sure someone tells your side of the story fairly and firmly.
A good car accident lawyer will not only ask the right questions but have the expertise to find the answers. This could include finding out if the other driver was texting or talking on the phone. Your lawyer might also want to find out if the other driver had a history of driving aggressively, or perhaps road rage.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t wait to speak with an attorney. Discuss your case as soon as possible so you’ll know the best course of action for proceeding.
Your Attorney vs. the Insurance Adjustor
If you get a phone call from the at-fault driver’s insurance adjustor, it’s important to remember that he or she works for the company representing the other driver, not you. Often times adjustors will use tricks they have developed over the years to minimize payment to the injured party.
If you hire a car accident attorney on the other hand, you’re hiring a legal professional who will be your advocate and who’s job it is to maximize the compensation you receive from the insurance company. If settlement isn’t possible, a good lawyer will be vital to unpacking the facts of your case in front of a jury.
Have Questions? Call a Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, or have questions about anything discussed on this page, don’t hesitate to contact our office. In fact, the sooner you discuss your accident with an attorney, the better. Contact our office to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your case and chart the best course of action for you.