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 alike. This community 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 a serious injury or even death. When this happens, an attorney may be able to help by recovering damages to help pay for expenses incurred.Types of Cases Handled by a Personal Injury Attorney
We handle a wide array of personal injury cases including, but 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 are those that 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 as a result of an accident, they differ in the ways which 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 made necessary by 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 be compensated for their loss. For instance, an injured cyclist or pedestrian may be reimbursed for the cost to repair or replace damaged watches, glasses, or clothing.
Noneconomic damages are intangible losses that are complicated to quantify monetarily. They involve the injured person’s responses, experiences, and emotions to lifestyle changes. 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 for 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 be able to show the duration and severity of these symptoms and how they significantly interfere with your life to recover this type of damage.
- Pain and Suffering: This includes both psychological and physical pain symptoms resulting from a 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 to deter them from committing such actions in the future. Before you can receive these damages, you must be able to prove that the other party was guilty of oppression, fraud or malice.Comparative Fault
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. Rather, 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 would still be able to obtain 80 percent in compensation.How is Negligence Proven in a Personal Injury Case?
Negligence must be proven with evidence in a case for personal injury. You may use pictures and videos from the scene of the accident, traffic collision reports, and eyewitness testimony to show someone else was to blame for the incident. In serious 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 contingent fee basis. This means it costs nothing to get your case started and there are no upfront fees. A fee is only to be paid if we obtain a favorable outcome on your behalf.How Will My Medical Bills Be Paid?
Medical bills from an accident are usually covered by the insurance carrier of the responsible party. However, they may not be reimbursed until the case is settled. Since this can take months or even years, having your medical bills covered through your own 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, including any co-pays and deductibles, to your insurance company. They usually will 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, an attorney 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 may be able to seek payment from your own 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 to navigate, it is best to have an attorney review your insurance policy 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 date of the incident 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. If this deadline is not met, it is likely that the case will be dismissed by the court.Why Do I Need a Garden Acres Car Accident Lawyer?
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 for receiving the compensation you need to pay 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. The outcome of your case will be dependent on the attorney you select to represent you. Following are a few suggestions on what to look for in an 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 injury as seriously as you do. Commitment to the case and clients is essential in the overall success of the claim. Your lawyer should have high 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 attorney who truly cares about your needs, your future and the success of your case can often obtain a better settlement.
For more details on what to look for in an injury attorney, watch the below video.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 of the other driver such as contact information, drivers license numbers, and registration.
- Take Photographs: After an auto accident, it is essential to take photos of your vehicle and other cars involved in the crash. Be sure to take pictures that show marks on the road, damage to the vehicles involved, and street signs or landmarks to get a precise location. Skid marks on the roadway are an indication 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 will be more predominant and could show that the driver was speeding.
- Contact Authorities: Call the local police department if you are in the city to report the accident. In a rural area or on the highway, it is best to call the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Having the numbers for both on your smartphone or in your glove compartment is a good idea if you ever find yourself involved in a crash.
- Call Your Insurance Carrier: You are responsible for making a quick report of your accident to your insurer. Relay the details of the crash and do not sign any paperwork until you retain a lawyer.
- Contact Your Attorney: The sooner you hire an attorney to start investigating the collision, the more likely that crucial evidence will be preserved for your case.
I’m Ed Smith, a Garden Acres personal injury lawyer. Suffering an injury in an accident often requires the assistance of an experienced attorney. Call me anytime at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive my free, friendly case advice.
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Two groups I am honored to be a member of are the Million Dollar Advocates and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. The first forum permits membership to trial attorneys who have obtained over $1 million for a client. Membership of the second group is by invitation only, and it promotes fewer than 1 percent of lawyers for their legal excellence.
To learn about prior cases handled by our law firm, go to our Verdicts and Settlements page.
Photo Credit: By "Free-Photos" and "ClaimAccident" via Pixabay and "RawPixel" via Pexels
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.28.19]