Garden Acres Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer
San Joaquin County is the home of Garden Acres, a census-designated place popular with residents and travelers. This suburb of Stockton has a population of about 10,700 and has continued to develop over the years. Although few accidents occur in Garden Acres, State Route 99 and Highway 4 run through the area.
Many commuters take these routes to the Bay Area and Southern California. Traffic in this area, especially during rush hour, can increase the risk of an accident, leading to severe injury or even death. When this happens, an attorney may help by recovering damages to help pay for expenses incurred.Types of Cases Handled by a Personal Injury Attorney
At our law firm, we handle a wide array of injury cases. These may include but are not limited to the following:
- Auto Accidents
- Bicycle Collisions
- Boating Accidents
- Dog Bite Injuries
- Motorcycle Crashes
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Products Liability
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Trucking Accidents
- Wrongful Death
Compensatory damages compensate an injured individual for their losses and attempt to make the person feel whole again. These damages come in two types, economic and noneconomic. While both are caused by an accident, they differ in how they are defined.
Economic damages are past and projected future out-of-pocket expenses. These include:
- Medical Expenses: The cost of medical care, including past and future, such as rehabilitation, physician's appointments, prescriptions, and hospitalizations, may be recovered. The cost of transportation to and from medical appointments is also recoverable. Lifestyle accommodations necessary for an injury, such as a walker, brace, and wheelchair, may also be claimed.
- Lost Wages: The time a worker is off work to recover from an injury can be reimbursed. This includes any wages, bonuses, or other financial incentives that would have been earned had the accident not occurred. This also includes salaries in the future if the injured party cannot return to the same job due to a permanent disability.
- Loss of Household Services: This includes the services an injured person used to perform in his or her household before the accident. The cost of hiring someone to render those same services can be recovered.
- Property Damage: If personal property was damaged in an accident, the injured party has the right to compensation for their loss. For instance, an injured cyclist or pedestrian may be reimbursed for repairing or replacing damaged watches, glasses, or clothing.
Noneconomic damages are intangible losses that are complicated to quantify monetarily. They involve the injured person's responses to lifestyle changes, experiences, and emotions. These damages include:
- Disfigurement: People are sometimes disfigured or scarred by a collision. This can interfere with self-image and may make them less likely to socialize with others. An injured individual may seek compensation for the humiliation and emotional suffering caused by the unsightly mark. Moreover, the cost of cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of the disfigurement may also be reimbursed.
- Loss of Consortium: This is a way for a spouse to recover from the loss of care, companionship, comfort, and sexual intimacy that an injured party would have been able to provide to him or her otherwise. The inability to conceive children may also be claimed through this type of damage.
- Mental Anguish: These are designed to compensate an injured person for the psychological distress caused by their injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. You must show the duration and severity of these symptoms and how they significantly interfere with your life to recover from this type of damage.
- Pain and Suffering: This includes psychological and physical pain symptoms of severe injury. This includes what pain has been endured to date and the potential effects of the trauma in the future.
Punitive damages may be available under certain circumstances. They are intended to punish the negligent party and deter them from committing such actions. Before receiving these damages, you must prove that the other party was guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice. This is by the California Civil Code Section 3294.How Does Comparative Fault Apply to a Personal Injury Claim in California?
California is a comparative fault state, meaning that more than one party or entity can be found negligent for an accident. However, being deemed partially negligent does not exclude you from claiming damages. Instead, the amount you would be awarded in a settlement would be reduced by the percentage of negligence assigned to you. For instance, if you were to be found 20 percent at fault for an accident, you could still obtain 80 percent in compensation.How is Negligence Proven in a Personal Injury Case?
Negligence must be proven with evidence in a case of personal injury. You may use pictures and videos from the accident scene, traffic collision reports, and eyewitness testimony to show someone else was to blame for the incident. In severe accident cases, your attorney may enlist crash reconstruction experts and expert witness testimonies to properly determine fault.Contingent Fee Basis
We handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means it costs nothing to start your case, and there are no upfront fees. A fee will only be paid if we obtain a favorable outcome on your behalf.How are Medical Bills Paid in a Bodily Injury Claim?
The responsible party's insurance carrier usually covers medical bills from an accident. However, they may not be reimbursed until the case is settled. Since this can take months or even years, covering your medical bills through your health insurance may be the best route during your recovery.
If you have Med-Pay coverage on your automobile insurance policy, you can submit your medical expenses to your insurance company, including any co-pays and deductibles. They usually reimburse the bills until the policy limits exceed the time limit and/or are exhausted.Is There Enough Insurance?
Consulting with an experienced Garden Acres auto accident attorney is crucial, especially when you have suffered traumatic injuries or lost someone you love in a car wreck. From communicating effectively with insurance companies to settling personal injury claims, a lawyer can offer valuable support and insight for your case.
If the crash was caused by a driver who has insufficient coverage or does not have insurance to cover your damages, the attorney could look into whether you can seek payment from your insurance carrier. You may be able to be reimbursed for losses related to the collision so long as you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This usually pays for damages incurred by you and your passengers in your car. Depending upon the specific language of the insurance contract, you may be able to be compensated for your injuries in a bicycle or pedestrian accident. Since contractual language is often challenging, having an attorney review your insurance policy is best to ensure you receive a favorable recovery.How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Case?
In California, a person has two years from the incident date to file a claim for damages. If government negligence is involved, the injured party has six months or 180 days to file for personal injury. The court will likely dismiss the case if this deadline is not met.Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident Claim?
When it comes to a personal injury case, having an experienced Garden Acres personal injury attorney at your side is crucial. This can make the difference in receiving the compensation you need for mounting medical bills and other expenses.What to Look for in a Lawyer
Personal injury cases are often complex to mitigate and resolve. They deserve expertise from lawyers who have proven results. Your case outcome will depend on the attorney you select to represent you. Following are a few suggestions on what to look for in a Garden Acres personal injury lawyer:
- Select a lawyer who practices personal injury law exclusively. Your attorney should have significant experience in the courtroom and a history of winning or settling personal injury cases.
- Pick a lawyer who is committed. You deserve a lawyer who will take your traumatic injury as seriously as you do. Commitment to the case and clients is essential for the overall success of the claim. Your lawyer should have great attention to detail, be able to file timely claims, and provide you with updates regarding the status of your case.
- Select a compassionate attorney. An accident attorney who cares about your needs, future, and case success, may often obtain a better settlement.
Watch the video below for more details on what to look for in a personal injury lawyer in Garden Acres.What to Do After an Accident
Understanding what steps to take after an accident is essential for effectively addressing and handling the situation. This can help to protect your health and legal rights. These steps include:
- Stay at the Scene: It is never a good idea to leave the scene of an accident. If property damage is involved, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. If someone was hurt, you can even face a charge of a felony hit and run. Under California law, you must remain at the scene of a traffic collision and exchange information with the other motorist involved.
- Check if Anyone Was Injured: This should be done if you can do so safely. If the occupants of your car or others involved in the collision are injured, contact 911 and tell them what happened.
- Exchange Information: Obtain and exchange information about the other driver, such as contact information, driver's license numbers, and registration.
- Take Photographs: After an auto accident, taking photos of your vehicle and other cars involved in the crash is essential. Take pictures showing marks on the road, damage to the vehicles involved, and street signs or landmarks to get a precise location. Skid marks on the roadway indicate that the other vehicle attempted to stop before colliding with your car. The absence of these marks may mean the other driver may not have braked, which can be a possible sign of driving under the influence or distracted driving. If the motorist applied the brakes too hard, the mark would be more predominant and could show that the driver was speeding.
- Contact Authorities: Call the local police department to report the accident if you are in the city. Calling the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in a rural area or on the highway is best. Having the numbers on your smartphone or glove compartment is a good idea if you are involved in a crash.
- Call Your Insurance Carrier: You are responsible for quickly reporting your accident to your insurer. Relay the crash details and provide them with the traffic incident report if you have one. Do not sign any paperwork until you retain legal counsel.
- Contact Your Attorney: Hiring an attorney to investigate the collision sooner increases the likelihood of preserving crucial evidence for your case.
Suffering an injury in an accident often requires the assistance of an experienced attorney. Call our injury lawyers anytime at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive our free, friendly case advice.
Editor's Note: updated 11.8.23 Photo by "Free-Photos" via Pixabay ds [cs 1891]