Los Banos Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer
The city of Los Banos, located in Merced County of California's San Joaquin Valley, is a family-oriented community of more than 39,000 people. Residents often work locally in this fast-growing city and commute to some of the farms, wineries, and food processing plants surrounding it. All this driving has the potential to put people's lives at risk of severe accidents caused by distracted, drunk, or careless drivers.
At the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith, we understand the anxiety, frustration, and struggles that come with a serious personal injury, and we are here anytime to help you get your life back on track.What Qualifies as a Personal Injury Case?
When an injury is caused by the negligence of another party or entity, the injured person may file a claim for monetary damages. Personal injury law generally encompasses the following types of cases:
- Bicycle Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Construction Site Accidents
- Dog Bite Injuries
- Farming Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Products Liability
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Truck Accidents
After a car wreck, it is essential to know what steps must be taken to protect yourself and your loved ones from legal and health issues. If you ever find yourself involved in a car accident, follow these steps:
- Call 911 if anyone has suffered serious injuries.
- Call the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or other local law enforcement agencies to have a police report taken at the scene.
- Use your cell phone or camera to take pictures of the crash site, including any road signage or skid marks, visible injuries, and cars involved in the incident. Photos can help establish the validity of your personal injury claim later.
- Search for witnesses at the scene and ask for their contact information.
- Do not apologize or claim responsibility as insurance companies may interpret this as an admission of fault.
- Exchange driver's license numbers and insurance policy information with the other parties involved.
- Record the year, make, model, and license plate number of the cars involved.
- Seek medical treatment even if you believe your injuries are minor. Symptoms of specific injuries may not present themselves immediately after a crash, such as a traumatic brain injury.
- Maintain consistent visits with your medical providers and do not allow gaps in treatment. Insurance companies may dispute the severity of your injuries and the value of your personal injury claim if you do not keep up with your doctor visits.
- Retain a Los Banos personal injury attorney to negotiate with insurers on your behalf. This can allow you to focus on recovering from your injuries without the stress of handling a personal injury claim on your own.
To learn more about the factors that may affect the value of a personal injury case for an auto accident, watch the video below.Types of Car Insurance Coverage Explained
After an auto accident, our personal injury law firm will look at all potential areas of recovery for your injuries and losses. You may be compensated through:
- At-Fault Driver’s Liability Insurance: Under the California Insurance Code §11580.1b, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance to operate a motor vehicle. The minimum liability insurance required in California is $15,000 for bodily injury of one party, $30,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people, and $5,000 for property damage.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: The state of California imposes strict financial liability laws on drivers. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), approximately 15.2 percent of California drivers are uninsured despite these laws. When a person has suffered injuries in a crash caused by a motorist with no liability insurance, that person may be covered by the uninsured motorist coverage of their insurance policy.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If a negligent driver carries the minimum liability coverage required by California law, $15,000 may not be enough to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. When that happens, you may be able to file a claim under your own underinsured motorist coverage to supplement any personal injury damages that are not covered by the other driver.
- Other Coverage: An experienced Los Banos auto accident attorney will review your car insurance policy to determine whether different types of benefits are available to you, such as medical payments coverage (MedPay), collision, and comprehensive.
A Los Banos car accident lawyer with years of legal experience will work with medical providers and other experts to determine the full extent of your damages. Economic and non-economic damages to which you may recover include, but are not limited to:
- Past and future medical bills, including ambulance transportation, emergency room treatment, hospital stays, doctor visits, surgeries, imaging, and more.
- Lost wages, which will need to be verified through paycheck stubs and doctor letters.
- Loss of future earning capacity as a result of permanent disability suffered in a car accident.
- Pain and suffering, which entails the discomfort and agony caused by a serious personal injury.
- Emotional and mental trauma, which encompasses the embarrassment, grief, and anxiety associated with a catastrophic car wreck.
- Loss of consortium for damage to a marital relationship as a result of a severe injury accident.
- Permanent scarring, which includes the costs of cosmetic surgery to revise the disfigurement.
- Punitive damages may be claimed in cases involving egregious acts like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) and excessive speeding.
Car accident cases such as a hit and run can present unique challenges for those injured, especially if the at-fault party cannot be located. If a driver or passenger has uninsured/underinsured motorist protection (UM/UIM) on their car insurance policy, their insurer will cover their injuries and damages only if the negligent driver is not found or has minimal policy limits. UM/UIM coverage may also extend to pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists injured in a crash.How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?
California law restricts the amount of time in which a person has to file a lawsuit. Injured people generally have two years from the date of an auto accident to file a bodily injury claim against a negligent driver. This is by the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. If a claim is not filed by this deadline, the court may dismiss the case, and the injured person may lose the right to recover compensation.Does Hiring an Experienced Attorney Help?
Insurance companies, including your own, are not on your side when it comes to a personal injury claim. Most insurance claims adjusters will find any detail to dispute your claim and reduce the amount of compensation you receive in your case. An experienced Los Banos personal injury lawyer understands the defense tactics used by insurers and knows how to overcome them. By doing so, an injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurance carrier on your behalf to obtain the fair compensation that is rightfully owed to you.Los Banos FAQ
Which intersections in Los Banos, CA, have a higher than usual rate of traffic collisions?
Below is a list of the intersections in Los Banos that have experienced a higher than average rate of car accidents:
- F Street and 7th Street
- G Street and San Juan Street
- Overland Avenue and Stonewood Drive
- Pachecho Boulevard and Ward Road
- Santa Barbara Street and SR-165
- State Route 152 and Ward Road
- State Route 165 and Willmott Road
- Texas Avenue and West I Street
- Willmott Road and Stonewood Drive
- West I Street and SR-152
I’m Ed Smith, a Los Banos car accident lawyer. The aftermath of a car accident can be stressful. You may have questions about how your property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages will be covered. If your accident resulted from another driver's negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the Los Banos area, please call us at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive our free, friendly advice.
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Since 1982, our law office has advocated for injured people and families of deceased loved ones. To see a selection of our past case results, go to our Verdicts and Settlements page.
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.9.21]
Picture Source: By "Vikor Garcia029," "Free-Photos," and "Ryan McGuire" via Pixabay
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