Auto Accident Injury in California
Have you suffered an injury due to a car accident in California? If so, your life may never be the same again. Injuries from a car accident can interfere with your ability both to work and to enjoy everyday activities. They can also be incredibly painful. As such, you need an auto accident attorney who understands the laws in CA that will fight for your legal rights and help you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
Auto Accident Injury Statistics in California
According to the National Safety Council, in 2019 about 4.4 million people suffered serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents and an estimated 38,000 were killed. According to both Caltrans and the Office of Traffic Safety, California had 3,450 traffic fatalities in 2019 alone. Roughly 250,000 individuals also sustained some type of injury on Golden State roadways that year. While occupants of motor vehicles accounted for most of the accident-related fatalities and injuries in California, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists also died or sustained injuries in traffic-related accidents. To decrease all traffic fatalities and injuries, state leaders have a comprehensive plan aimed at both driver education and drunk driving enforcement. Eliminating distracted driving is also a priority.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
It’s important to be prepared in the event you are a victim of a car accident. Below are the steps to remember immediately after your crash.
Receive Immediate Medical Attention
What is the most important step that you need to take after an auto accident? You need to receive immediate and proper medical treatment. You may believe that the injuries sustained after an auto accident are minor. Proper medical treatment helps ensure that you have not sustained any internal injuries that you may not be aware of.
File a Police Report
Even if no one sustained injuries, you still need to call 911 and request law enforcement assistance. When officers arrive, jot down each one’s name and badge number. Answer their questions honestly, but don’t volunteer any unasked for information, especially your thoughts on exactly what happened or who caused the car accident. Be sure to ask the officers for the number of their police report. Also ask when and where you can get a copy of it, including how much it will cost you.
Under certain circumstances, Section 20008 of the California Vehicle Code requires any driver who has a car accident to make a written report to the state highway patrol or the municipality where the crash happened. These circumstances include the following:
- Someone sustains an injury, even if it is minor
- Someone dies
- Property has damage of more than $1,000
Even though state law requires you to report accidents that fall into these categories, you may not have to prepare the report yourself. If a law enforcement officer responds to the crash and files a written report, you typically do not have to file your own.
Gather the Appropriate Documentation
While waiting for officers to arrive after a car accident, collect information from all other drivers involved in the accident, including the following:
- Full name, address, phone number and email address
- Driver’s license state and number
- Auto insurance company name, policy number and phone number
Use your cell phone to take pictures of each driver’s license, auto insurance card, your vehicle and each additional vehicle involved in the car accident. Don’t rely on verbal communication. Having as much information as possible will only help you and your case later on. Try to keep this exchange as civil and friendly as possible. However, do not apologize for causing the accident or indicate in any way that you think you may have caused it.
Recovering Damages After an Auto Accident Injury
After surviving a car accident, the emotional and economic toll it takes can be staggering. You are not only dealing with the mental anguish that comes with being involved in a crash, but you may also be experiencing severe physical harm as well.
Common injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents include:
- Burn injuries
- Back and neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Brain and head injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the economic toll from car accident injuries and fatalities to have been approximately $5.83 billion in 2018. That year, accident-related medical expenses were $49 million. Lost work productivity accounted for the remaining $5.79 billion.
Hiring a car accident lawyer ensures you have the financial ability to cover any losses that have occurred as a result of a crash. An auto accident attorney will also help you handle the paperwork that you will have to complete from insurance companies. This boosts your odds of receiving the insurance compensation you deserve.
Auto Accident Laws in California
Liability Laws for CA
When car accidents happen, it is essential to determine who bears responsibility for the resulting damage and medical bills. Determining fault impacts everything from your insurance claim and level of liability to the amount of confusion you may endure during the claims process.
Because California is an at-fault state for purposes of car accidents, it is important to assign blame for the crash. Typically, the responsible driver or their insurer pays damages. The Golden State’s pure comparative negligence statute also may allow you to pursue financial compensation, even if you were up to 99% to blame for the crash.
Statute of Limitations in CA
Each state has its own tort laws that determine the statute of limitations on a claim. In some states, this gives you just one year to file a claim in court, while some others may give you up to six years. California sets the statute of limitations at two years for most car accident claims.
This is why it is important to consult with an attorney immediately after your car crash. Don’t wait and risk losing out on any compensation they can recover.
Work With an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer In California
After a car accident, you have enough to worry about. We can help you find an auto accident attorney for your unique case. Get the financial restitution that you deserve if you’re the victim of someone else’s conduct.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in CA!