Modesto Car Accident Lawyer
As a Modesto car accident lawyer, I work hard to help clients who have been injured in an auto accident. As more drivers take to the road, the possibility of being involved in an accident increases. This is as true in Modesto and surrounding areas as it is for the rest of the country. Add to that the number of motorists who drive in a way that is reckless or with a lack of concern for rules of the road, and you begin to see why more accidents happen every day.
While high-impact collisions often result in serious and sometimes catastrophic injuries or death, even small rear-end crashes can cause long-term pain. In California, a car is more than a luxury, it is a necessity to get to and from work or fulfill family obligations. But, what happens when you are hurt in a car crash? For some, it is a minor inconvenience, but for others, it is a life-altering event. In either case, it is important to talk to a car accident lawyer about obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.A Modesto Car Accident Lawyer Who Cares About You
I am an aggressive advocate for those injured in serious auto accidents in Northern California and a Modesto car accident lawyer who has the experience and resources to pursue the compensation my clients deserve. I’ve helped many residents of Modesto and the surrounding area in all types of car accidents. With State Route 99 and Interstate 5 providing motorists with access to and through Modesto, the area is considered heavily trafficked. Major construction efforts such as the State Route 99 - Pelandale Avenue Reconstruction Project are common. Unfortunately, the area sees its fair share of automobile, motorcycle, and big rig accidents.
My staff and I provide quality services and a compassionate ear to all. If you have been in a serious accident and need a seasoned Modesto car accident lawyer, reach out to me at (209) 227-1931 to set up a free case evaluation. I will review your case to give you an idea of your options going forward and let you know what your case may be worth. Remember, you pay nothing until you win. My focus is on your well-being and the best possible case outcome.What Causes Car Accidents?
The reasons auto accidents happen are as varied as the types of drivers on the road. For the most part, car accidents are caused by driver error. Some of the most common are:
- Speeding: Speeding is one of the major causes of auto accidents since it severely limits a driver’s ability to stop in time or take evasive maneuvers.
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol: Drunk driving kills approximately 10,500 people annually. It is one of the major causes of injury and death in car accidents along with speeding and distracted driving.
- Operating a motor vehicle while fatigued: Driving when tired, either from shift work or other reasons, causes many auto accidents due to inattention, decreased cognitive function or falling asleep.
- Not paying attention to traffic signs and signals: Some drivers ignore stop signs or signals, particularly at intersections, causing a serious car accident. It is essential to be aware of vehicles approaching an intersection at an inappropriate rate of speed.
- Driving in a way that is not safe in inclement weather or on roads in poor condition: It is crucial to modify speed or other aspects of driving based on the road conditions. Failure to do this, especially on busy highways, can cause catastrophic injuries.
- Driving inappropriately on crowded highways such as Highway 99: Reckless driving can be the result of anger or lack of care for other motorists. Heavy fines are levied in California against reckless drivers.
- Not yielding right of way: Some drivers believe they always have the right-of-way while others may become confused. It is important to know the rules of the road such as who goes first at a four-way stop.
- Distracted driving: Multitasking while driving is dangerous. Unfortunately, many people text on the phone, eat and look at GPS devices while driving. Some laws have been written to limit this activity. However, this behavior continues almost unabated.
A Modesto car accident lawyer must first prove that negligence was involved for there to be grounds for a personal injury case. This negligence is not limited to other drivers but can be due to various other reasons. A few of the most common involve auto defects and the failure of local and state authorities to maintain roads in a safe condition. However, when an auto accident occurs due to a negligent driver, some conditions must be met before the claim/lawsuit is allowed to proceed. These are:
- The other driver failed to abide by his or her responsibility to drive prudently and lawfully.
- This failure caused an accident.
- The accident was the reason why you were injured.
Many factors are involved when a Modesto car accident lawyer determines who was at fault in a crash. The attorney will begin by listening to his or her client’s description of what happened and reviewing police reports. Witness accounts provide descriptions of the accident from different vantage points, consolidating the overall picture. If photos were taken at the scene, they are also a great resource, showing damage to the vehicles as well as final placement. On occasion, a Modesto car accident lawyer may involve a reconstruction expert who is able to develop a digital picture of how the collision occurred. This is an invaluable tool in the courtroom.How Long Does a Modesto Car Accident Lawyer Have to File a Claim?
For the vast majority of auto accidents in California, you have two years from the time the accident happened, or you became aware of the injury before it is too late to file. However, this is not always the case. If the crash was due to the irresponsibility of a city, state or federal agency, you have six months to file an administrative claim. This must be done within the first six months following the accident. Afterward, the government agency has 45 days to answer. If the claim is denied, you have six months to file a claim in civil court. The start of these six months is from the time you received the reply in the mail or when it was handed to you personally. If a letter denying the claim is not received within the first 45 days, you have two years to file a personal injury claim.Auto Accident Claims in California
California is an at-fault state, meaning that fault is assigned to the drivers, and it is used to calculate damage. In some cases, the fault can rest entirely with one driver, while in others, the degree of fault is divided between drivers. The latter situation is called a comparative fault. Say for instance that one driver was traveling toward an intersection and entered it without stopping at a stop sign. The other driver, who had the right of way, sped up to enter and cross the intersection before the oncoming vehicle. Both drivers were wrong in this case. The jury decides what percentage of fault is assigned to either driver. This, in turn, affects the number of damages the injured party receives. For example, the driver who was 60 percent responsible for the accident will receive 40 percent of the financial damages he incurred. If the amount were $100,000, he or she would receive $40,000. The other driver would collect 60 percent of the damages.Types of Car Accidents
There are several main types of auto accidents consisting of:
- Rollover accidents: This particular type of car accident is common in vehicles with a high center of gravity and can be violent.
- Rear end collisions: This is generally caused when one vehicle is following another too closely. It can happen when the lead vehicle has faulty brake lights.
- Single vehicle accidents: Single vehicle collisions are common and usually are linked to run-off-road accidents or drunk driving.
- Head on collisions: This usually occurs when one driver erroneously drives in the wrong lane. Head-on collisions are often fatal since the impact combines the velocity of both vehicles.
- Side impact collisions: Also called a T-bone collision, this sort of accident often happens in intersections. While the end result varies according to the location of the impact, 25 percent of all fatalities are due to side impact accidents.
Intersection accidents are the second largest cause of crashes behind rear-end collisions. Overall, there are approximately 2.5 million intersection accidents each year. Some of the most dangerous intersections in Modesto are:
- Standiford Avenue and Tully Road
- Briggsmore Avenue and Oakdale Road
- Carpenter Road and Woodland Avenue
- El Vista Avenue and Mitchell Road and Yosemite Blvd
- California Avenue and Carpenter Road
- Bodem Street and Scenic Drive
- Carver Road and Orangeburg Avenue
- Briggsmore Avenue and Carver Road
- Rumble Road and Tully Road
As a Modesto car accident lawyer, I have seen a large variety of injuries. Some of the most common are:
- Lacerations: These are common and are usually caused by sharp objects within the vehicle.
- Bruising: Impact on the dash, steering wheel or pressure from safety restraints is responsible for most bruising in a car accident.
- Broken bones, including fractures of the femur and the pelvis: Fractures of the lower extremities, scapula, and ribs are often seen.
- Cervical strain and sprain (whiplash): Usually connected to rear-end accidents, this injury is caused by the rapid back and forth movement of the head and neck.
- Traumatic brain injury, including concussion and hemorrhage: Traumatic brain injury occurs when the brain moves against the bony surface of the skull and can be life-threatening.
- Spinal cord injury at all levels: This injury can result in partial or total paralysis of the extremities. The severity depends on the level of the spinal column where an injury occurs.
- Burns: This can result in lengthy rehabilitation, depending on the severity of the burn.
- Vertebral disk herniation: Herniation of the vertebral disks can cause pain and may require surgical intervention.
It’s a good idea to think about the things you should do before having a car accident. Since most individuals will experience three accidents over their driving lifetime, being prepared is an excellent approach. Here are a few tips:
- Immediately after the crash, call the police or the California Highway Patrol (CHP) if the accident happens on a highway.
- Stay at the scene of the accident.
- Check to see the state of other occupants of your vehicle.
- Try to move the vehicle to the side of the road.
- If you have them, position flares around the vehicle.
- If it is safe to do so, check on drivers and occupants of other vehicles.
- Call your Modesto car accident lawyer if you have one.
- Get contact and car-related information such as license, registration and insurance policy number from other drivers involved in the accident.
- Obtain contact information from witnesses to the accident.
- When police arrive, ask the name of the investigating officer.
- Write down a basic description of what happened and the precise location of the accident.
- Tell medical personnel if you hit your head, particularly if the area is not visually injured.
- Make sure to see a doctor even if you are not transported to the emergency room.
Take a look at the following video to learn what personal injury lawyers look for in their initial interview with an individual who had suffered an injury in a car accident:Modesto Auto Accident Attorneys
I’m Ed Smith, a car accident lawyer in Modesto. When serious accidents happen, your life can be turned upside down with high medical bills coupled with lost wages and property damage. In such times, your focus should be on recovery, not financial loss. That is where an experienced car accident lawyer can help. Reach out to me at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.
If I can help you, I take the time to get to know you, your background, hopes and dreams. I receive great satisfaction in helping you, and your loved ones find the positives in what could have otherwise been a medical, financial and emotional disaster. If it is more convenient for you, you can contact me online by using our contact us page. If you need to travel to Sacramento for the meeting, I will gladly put you up at a nearby motel overnight, so you don’t have an exhausting ride to Sacramento and back.
Before you retain an attorney, it is always a good idea to learn more about their practice. You can read reviews from my peers and former clients on the following pages:
Interested in how I resolved previous cases for clients? Visit our Settlements and Verdicts page.
I’ve practiced personal injury law since 1982, and many Modesto residents with serious injuries have retained me to help them with car and truck accidents, traumatic brain injuries and wrongful death claims.
I believe in the holistic approach to life and the practice of law, having endured life-altering near-death experiences myself.
I've authored thousands of interesting articles on car accidents that can be viewed on my blog page.
I’ve published books relating to personal injury law which can be found as a free download on Amazon.com. The books include The Ultimate California Auto Injury Handbook and The California Motorcycle Accident Handbook.
You can see testimonials from former clients on my website AutoAccident.com.
Photo Attribution: pixabay, pexels
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Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 1.3.19]