Fresno Car Accident Lawyer
In this article:
- Road Traffic Accidents and Fatal Car Crashes in Fresno
- Where Car Accidents Occur in Fresno, CA
- Common Types of Motor Vehicle Collisions
- California Car Accident Statistics
- Alcohol a Factor in Many Deadly Car Accidents
- National Statistics on Traffic Collisions
- Most Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Collisions
- Severity of Injuries and Seat Belt Use
- Comparative Negligence - California
- Common Types of Injuries Suffered in Auto Accidents
- What You Should Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident
- What To Do When a Claims Adjuster Calls You
- Personal Injury Compensation for a Car Accident
- Importance of Working with an Auto Accident Attorney
- Fresno Car Accident FAQ
The streets of Fresno, California, are quite unique. They are structured in a grid-like format leading to a compass formation. The streets are categorized by quadrants. From east to west, there is State Highway 180 Sequoia Kings Canyon Freeway. From north to south, there is the 41 Yosemite Freeway. The accident statistics in Fresno are concerning. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), in 2019, there was a total of 4,382 fatal and injury crashes in Fresno County. These accidents resulted in:
- 168 wrecks involving motorcycle riders
- 131 traffic collisions involving pedestrians
- 67 motor vehicle crashes involving bicyclists
As indicated above, the majority of automobile accidents occur in areas surrounding:
- Highway 99
- Shaw Avenue
- State Route 41
- Van Ness Boulevard
- West Herndon Avenue
State data indicates that rear-end auto accidents were the most common type of collision, with a total of 3,658 crashes. A close second was a vehicle being broadsided with 2,783 accidents. There were 638 head-on collisions. Another 875 collisions involved a car being sideswiped. Another 847 accidents involved a car colliding with a pedestrian.California Car Accident Statistics
A deadly crash can happen at any time, especially when people drive drunk, drive distracted, speed, or break traffic rules on the road. Auto accidents are a serious safety issue across the state. In 2017, California drivers traveled 353,868,000,000 miles. There were 3,304 deadly motor vehicle collisions that year.
During the first six months of 2018, fatal traffic accidents increased by 3%. That's 48 lives per 100,000 people in California. Car crashes are the top cause of injury deaths in the Golden State and leave thousands of people with serious injuries and permanent complications. It is every driver's responsibility to drive safely behind the wheel.Alcohol a Factor in Many Deadly Car Accidents
Some Fresno car accidents are just a product of fate. But many other serious collisions are the product of poor decisions and reckless behavior by another driver. A prime example is drunk driving accidents. Nationally, approximately 72 percent of drivers killed in an auto accident in 2013 were legally intoxicated. That is a shockingly high percentage. In California, roughly 78 percent of drivers who died in an auto accident had a blood alcohol content that exceeded the legal limit.
Of course, these statistics should be viewed with caution since blood tests are typically administered when police suspect that a driver had been drinking at the time of the collision. When police have no reason to believe alcohol may have played a factor, they usually do not conduct a blood test. In addition, some states have protocols in place to test the blood of deceased drivers, while other states do not. For example, a driver's blood alcohol content is rarely tested in West Virginia unless there is some evidence to indicate that the driver may have been intoxicated.National Statistics on Traffic Collisions
The Department of Transportation harmonized the data from different states and determined that approximately 33 percent of all drivers who died in a car accident nationwide were legally intoxicated. In California, the percentage is even higher (35 percent to be exact). The state with the highest percentage of over-the-limit driver deaths using that Department of Transportation analysis was South Carolina. West Virginia and Minnesota were ranked lowest.Most Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Collisions
Some of the most common factors contributing to deadly accidents in Fresno include the following:
- Distracted Driving
- Driving over the speed limit
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Failing to obey traffic signals and signs
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Making an improper turn
One of the easiest ways to dramatically reduce the risk of suffering a life-altering injury or death in a Fresno car wreck is to wear your seatbelt. In California, approximately 97 percent of drivers comply with seatbelt laws. However, roughly one-third of the car occupants who died in a 2013 collision did not wear their seatbelts.Comparative Negligence Laws in California
If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident and you were not wearing your seatbelt, you may still have a viable bodily injury claim against the other driver. This is because California adheres to a pure comparative negligence standard. You may be asking yourself, "what is comparative negligence?” Comparative negligence is a doctrine utilized to assess the liability of a defendant or defendant and damages that may be awarded to an accident victim. In a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction like California, each defendant is liable only for their percentage of fault. An injured party is still able to recover damages in a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction. Still, the award of damages is reduced by their own percentage of fault, as determined by a judge or jury.Most Common Types of Injuries from Motor Vehicle Collisions
Depending on the severity and type of collision, the injuries suffered by occupants of a vehicle can be debilitating and potentially permanent. Our car accident lawyers from Fresno have compiled a list of the most common injuries suffered in automobile collisions below:
- Bone fractures
- Facial lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of limbs (Amputation Injuries)
- Neck injury
- Nerve damage
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
Getting involved in a severe auto accident in Fresno can be a traumatic experience. You may be consumed by the safety and well-being of your passengers (if other people were in the car with you) or your own injuries. If you are physically able, the first thing you should do is contact the police. When they arrive at the scene, you should ask the police officer to write and file a police report. You should also try to get the name and badge number of the police officer, or officers, who arrived at the accident scene.
- Exchange Information - Next, you should exchange information with the other driver (again, if you are physically able). Try to get the other driver’s primary telephone number, home address, driver’s license number, license plate number, and auto insurance information. If you cannot obtain this information at the scene, you should speak with a Fresno car accident attorney. The police report typically contains the contact information of the drivers involved, so that info could be used to track down the other driver’s auto insurance information.
- Get Witness Information - In addition to obtaining info from the other driver, try to get information from any eyewitnesses. Eyewitness accounts are critical and can strengthen your Fresno personal injury case. This is because juries often place a high weight on eyewitness accounts since they are considered unbiased. You should try to get the full name and telephone number of each eyewitness at the scene of the collision.
- Take Photos of the Accident Scene - You should also, if physically able, take photos of the accident scene. With the proliferation of smartphones, many people can easily take a picture wherever they are, including at an accident scene. If you have your smartphone available at the accident scene, take a few pictures of your vehicle and your injuries.
- Seek Medical Care - Finally, seek immediate medical attention for your bodily injuries. Even if the accident was minor and you think you are fine, our Fresno auto accident attorneys recommend getting checked out by a doctor. This is because some “invisible” injuries that people can suffer from auto accidents like a concussion and other head trauma.
You may want to consider talking to a Fresno car accident lawyer to see if you can seek compensation for your damages.
The following video explains what you need to do if you're injured in a car accident.What to Do When an Insurance Claims Adjuster Calls You
Do not be surprised if a representative from the other driver’s insurance company contacts you by phone. It is quite common for auto insurance carriers to try and make contact shortly after a traffic collision to try and offer a lowball settlement to get your claim resolved as quickly as possible. The best strategy is to avoid speaking with the representative and only make contact after talking to an experienced Fresno car accident attorney. Why? Because innocuous comments can be manipulated and distorted to make it look like the collision was your fault or that your injuries were not really that serious. And, as mentioned, they may try to pressure you into agreeing to a below-average settlement.
Once you hire an attorney, the hassle of dealing with a claims adjuster will largely disappear. This is because your Fresno auto accident attorney will be your representative and handle all negotiations with the insurance claims adjuster. This allows you to focus on healing and getting your life in order after the wreck.Personal Injury Compensation for a Car Accident
As mentioned earlier, the harms associated with a severe motor vehicle accident can be severe and life-altering. Some car accident victims have to endure weeks or months of medical rehabilitation and time missed from work (which places a tremendous financial strain on them and their families). This is why you should file a personal injury claim to pursue compensation for your harms and losses.
- Medical expenses, which include doctor’s visits, prescription medications, deductible costs, and so forth.
- Lost wages as a result of missing time from work (including vacation days and sick days)
In addition to the economic damages described above, there are also non-economic damages that may be recoverable. Those damages include the following:
- Diminution in the quality of your life
- Pain and suffering
You should focus on your recovery, not haggling with an insurance adjuster. The ability to bring in a seasoned attorney to advocate on your behalf is a major benefit to hiring a Fresno car accident attorney. They also have the experience and knowledge to ensure your case is thoroughly investigated, all statutory deadlines are met, and that you will have a compelling case ready to present to a judge or jury, if necessary.
Should I still see a doctor after my car accident if I don’t feel injured?
Yes, you should still see a doctor even if you don’t feel any injuries. The doctor may see injuries that may not be apparent to you. Some injuries may not appear until a few days or weeks after the accident. Our Fresno car accident attorneys do not recommend settling your bodily injury claim until the doctor has advised you on the extent of your injuries.
What if the auto accident was partially my fault?
Even if you believe you were partly at fault for the accident, don’t accept blame or apologize to the other driver. You may not know how the accident really happened. Many factors can contribute to an accident, such as a defective part in your car, a malfunctioned traffic light, or the other driver’s intoxication. Let a judge or jury decide who was at fault.
How long should I wait to report my traffic collision to my auto insurance company?
If you suffered a serious injury in a traffic collision, our experienced Fresno car accident lawyers could help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (559) 377-7676 or (800) 404-5400 to learn more and receive free, friendly advice.
Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 8.12.22]
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