After a California Car Accident: Justice and the Compensation You Deserve
California traffic is infamous. Although according to federal data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California drivers generally engage in safe driving behaviors far more often than the national average, the sheer volume of traffic on California freeways, highways, and surface streets makes driving in The Golden State a particularly dangerous affair. Even when all motorists are on their best behavior, human errors, auto defects, poorly maintained roads, low visibility, challenging weather conditions, and a host of other negative influences conspire to ensure that accidents … happen.
At Eldessouky Law, our auto accident attorneys understand how quickly your life can change when you traffic collision occurs. Our clients who are injured in a car crash are left with mounting medical bills, loss of income, and a damaged or totaled vehicle because someone else decided to negligently operate their vehicle.
How Common Are Auto Accidents in California?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year in the United States approximately two million people are injured in traffic crashes, and 32,000 killed, equaling nearly 90 fatalities per day. The CDC reports that in 2017 alone, medical bills and lost productivity stemming from motor vehicle crashes cost Americans more than $75 billion. It is worth repeating that these costs arose as a result of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. over the course of a single year
The California Office of Traffic Safety lists that in our state alone last year:
Traffic fatalities increased 7% from 3,387 to 3,623
Of those tested, 15% of all drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs
Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased from 911 to 1,059
While not all traffic accidents are fatal, injuries are increasingly common, as the California Highway Patrol reported last year in California there were:
178,669 injury collisions
254,561 persons injured
Being injured in an auto accident in California can change your life and your ability to provide for your family. Injuries sustained in car crashes can range from broken bones to severe head trauma, and without an accomplished California auto accident attorney by your side to seek financial restitution from the person who caused your injuries, you could be left paying the expenses out of pocket. Do not agree to a settlement with an insurance company without speaking with our experienced car accident attorney first.
If I’ve Been Injured in a Crash, What Steps Should I Take Now?
If you haven’t yet received medical attention for your injuries, do so now. Too often, accident victims hesitate to seek medical attention following a crash because they are concerned about the costs of medical care or they are under the impression that their injuries are “not that bad.” Nothing matters more than your health. Chances are high that your medical costs will be covered by insurance settlements and/or personal injury compensation – but even if they’re not – you need to get checked out right away. Your legal options won’t mean much if your health is suffering and has been unattended to.
If you’re scanning this page quickly while you’re at the crash site, take pictures and/or video if you can. Also, get the insurance information of anyone else involved in the crash and the contact information of both fellow crash victims and any witnesses to the collision. If you haven’t already called law enforcement to file an accident report, do so now.
If you’re apprehensive about interacting with the police or the highway patrol, that’s okay. Give our firm a call before you call to file the accident report and we’ll find a way to get you the support you need, ideally before law enforcement arrives on the scene.
Once you’ve navigated the challenges at the scene and received proper medical attention, reach out to our firm if you haven’t already done so. Avoid speaking with insurance claims adjusters and other insurance company representatives before you’ve spoken with our California car accident attorney team as your communications could unintentionally compromise the strength of your case. We’ll be happy to handle the insurance negotiations on your behalf.
Finally, as soon as you can, record any memories you have of the moments leading up to the crash, the collision itself, and its immediate aftermath. This will serve as a powerful reference tool in the event that your memory understandably starts to fade over time. Our team benefits from access to as many details as possible when we’re building a strong personal injury case on behalf of a client.
Who Is at Fault When a Car Accident Occurs?
Before legal professionals can accurately assess whether an injury victim has a cause of action, they must objectively identify two primary crash-related influences: causation and fault. The causes of a car accident may or may not be legally actionable.
For example, if you are driving at a safe speed along a well-maintained road and a wild animal darts into the road, you may need to swerve to avoid hitting the animal. If you crash as a result of this interaction, there will be no one to sue if you get hurt, as the accident wasn’t the result of human or corporate negligence, recklessness, or intentionally dangerous conduct. Accidents caused by another’s intentionally dangerous, reckless, or negligent conduct may be legally actionable, provided that the conduct in question served as a substantial factor in the causation of your injuries.
That is the primary difference between causation and fault. Every accident occurs due to at least one cause. However, the only crashes that are legally actionable are those that occur due to another’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous fault. Note that the fault for an accident may be placed on businesses and government agencies as well as on to individuals. If a legal entity of any kind engaged in conduct that served as a substantial factor in the causation of your injuries, you may be able to hold them accountable in civil court.
Sometimes, the causes and fault assignments tied to a specific accident aren’t immediately obvious. As a result, it is important to refrain from assuming that you don’t have grounds to file a strong case until our team has been granted the opportunity to investigate the matter at hand.
What If Your Actions Contributed to the Causes of the Crash?
Oftentimes, car accident victims assume that if they were partially (or even mostly) to blame for the cause(s) of their collisions that they have no reason to explore their legal options. Thankfully, California is classified as a so-called “pure comparative negligence” state.
This means that even if an injury victim is primarily at fault for the harm they’ve suffered, they remain entitled to seek damages from others that may be held legally liable for their negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous contributions to the cause of the crash in question. The California approach differs from most other states.
The majority of states either prohibit injury victims from seeking damages if they are partially at fault for their circumstances or they only allow victims to seek compensation if the victim’s share of the blame is less than 50 percent.
As a result of California’s model, you can seek damages from others according to the percentage of fault you’ve each been assigned. Say that you were involved in a two-car collision and you were assigned 30 percent of the blame, while the other motorist was assigned 70 percent of the blame. If your harm was valued at $100,000, you’d be entitled to seek $70,000 from the other driver. As this example illustrates, it is worth your time to explore your legal options, even if your conduct contributed to the cause(s) of your crash.
Speaking with Insurance Agents and Considering Settlements
It is important to work with an attorney in the wake of an injurious car accident even if you initially are uninterested in filing a lawsuit. Because you’ve been injured as a result of your crash, you’ll need to communicate with at least one insurance company representative.
Anything that you say to an insurance representative, however seemingly innocuous, may be used as a reason to devalue your claim, delay your payment, or reject your claim outright. Our experienced legal team understands how to communicate effectively with insurance representatives and how to spot all of the tricks of the trade they use to pay accident victims as little as possible under the circumstances.
What Exactly Is a Personal Injury Case?
Every personal injury case is unique. Know that when you work with our firm, neither you nor your case will be treated “like a number.” We pride ourselves on treating everyone who walks through our doors with the kind of respect and consideration we’d want our families to receive if they were injured in an accident. With that said, there are some general rules that apply to every personal injury case. These standards will be applied to your accident scenario, just as they are to every other accident scenario that is scrutinized under California law. To file a successful personal injury action, our team will need to prove that the following standards apply to your situation:
The party that caused your harm owed you a so-called legal “duty of care”
That party breached their legal duty of care to you by behaving negligently, recklessly, or in an intentionally dangerous way as defined by law
The breach directly resulted in harm to you
Put another way, to succeed in a personal injury action, your case will need to illustrate that whomever we believe caused your harm was duty-bound under the law to behave in a specific way. Because they failed to behave in that specific way by acting negligently, recklessly, or in an intentionally dangerous manner, you were caused harm directly as a result of that failure.
If Your Collision Occurred While You Were Working
Any time employees eligible for workers’ compensation benefits are involved in traffic accidents while they are engaged in job-related activities, they are entitled to benefits. The only exceptions to this rule involve workers who are drunk or otherwise impaired by substances at the time of their crash, workers who instigate road rage incidents, and workers who crash on purpose with the aim of committing workers’ compensation fraud.
Note that if you’re eligible to file for workers’ comp benefits as a result of your crash, you’ll need to act fast. If you don’t formally report your injuries to your employer within 30 days and begin exploring your legal options within that timeframe, you may be barred from receiving a benefits award. Note also that if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you can still sue others whose conduct contributed to the cause of your crash via a personal injury lawsuit.
The only party that you cannot sue in this manner is your employer. Workers eligible for workers’ comp benefits can’t sue their employers directly when they suffer work-related injuries and/or occupational illnesses.
How Can Eldessouky Law Help Me Recover from an Auto Accident in California?
Car crash victims in California are immediately met with is confusion when an accident occurs. How did this happen? Am I okay? Is my car totaled? What should I do next? These questions are common and completely justifiable after an accident, and leave an even larger question looming: Who is going to pay for all of this?
At Eldessouky Law, our auto accident attorneys have the answers, and they begin with a complete investigation of your crash and the negligent driver who caused your injuries.
Hiring an attorney to build our case against the negligent driver who hit you might include the following:
Research the driving record and condition of the driver who caused your injuries
Interview witnesses and law enforcement officials who were at the scene
Review all traffic camera footage, where available
Assume all contact with the insurance companies involved, so you are never intimidated by their manipulative practices
Ensure you get the proper medical care you need to account for all injuries
Consult with your medical team to document an accurate accounting of your current and future medical care needs
Compile a strategically sound case to pursue a financial settlement or jury verdict on your behalf
No accident is too small or too large to for the legal team at Eldessouky Law. We will fight for your complete financial needs, leaving no detail to chance when making our demands.
Contact Our Auto Accident Attorney at Eldessouky Law Today
Have you been injured in a car accident in Riverside, California? Are you caring for a loved one who was injured in a traffic collision? Contact our experienced car accident attorneys today at Eldessouky Law by calling (714) 409-8991 to learn more about the financial compensation you deserve because of your or their injuries. We are available for free, no-obligation consultations now.