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Modesto Car Accident Lawyer

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A motor vehicle collision can be stressful and overwhelming for all parties involved. When you are experiencing pain and dealing with the aftermath of an accident-related injury, taking legal action against the individual responsible for the incident may seem like a daunting task. However, you can depend on an experienced attorney to guide you through the personal injury claims process from start to finish.

If you were hurt in a car accident in the Modesto area, our attorneys can help you seek compensation for your injuries and damages incurred. To learn more, contact us today at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400. Our lawyers are available anytime to review your case and provide free, friendly advice.

Our auto accident attorneys have handled cases like yours since 1982. We have the experience, skills, and resources necessary to investigate motor vehicle crashes, collect evidence, and locate eyewitnesses. We know how to overcome the defense tactics used by insurance companies to offer low personal injury settlements or deny bodily injury claims. Insurers are only concerned about their bottom line, and our legal team will not allow them to take advantage of you. To learn more about how our law firm can help, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers.

An Auto Accident Attorney Who Cares About You

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 auto, motorcycle, and big rig accidents.

We are aggressive advocates for those injured in serious auto accidents in Northern California. Our car accident lawyers have the experience and resources to seek the compensation our clients in Modesto deserve. We have helped many residents in Stanislaus County in all types of motor vehicle collisions.

Our legal team provides quality services and a compassionate ear to all. Additionally, we have the strength and financial capability to take on big insurers and trucking companies. We notice other personal injury lawyers claim they can deliver the goods. Still, a thorough review of their sites shows that few know how to obtain adequate verdicts for severely injured people.

We don’t play hide the ball. A list of our office's verdicts and settlements can be accessed here.

If you have suffered an injury in a crash, the team of Modesto car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith can discuss your case with you and determine your best options for recovering financial compensation. Our personal injury law firm offers legal representation to Californians and Modestans injured in motor vehicle collisions. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation. Our legal team can discuss your options going forward and give you an idea of how much your personal injury case may be worth.

What are the Most Common Causes of Auto Accidents?

For the most part, motor vehicle crashes are caused by driver error. Some of the most common reasons for auto collisions are:

  • Speeding: Auto accidents are often caused by drivers that exceed the speed limit. This is due to a motorist’s inability to stop in time to avoid an accident or take evasive maneuvers.
  • Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol: Drunk driving killed 10,511 people in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). DUI is a leading cause of serious injury and death in motor vehicle crashes, along with driving above the posted speed limit and distracted driving.
  • Falling asleep at the wheel: Driving when tired, either from shift work or other reasons, causes many auto accidents due to inattention, decreased cognitive function, or falling asleep.
  • Ignoring Traffic Signs and Signals: Some drivers run stop signs or traffic signals, particularly at intersections, causing a serious traffic collision.
  • 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 recklessly on public roads in California like Highway 99: Reckless driving can result from 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.
What are the Steps of the Personal Injury Claims Process?

California is an at-fault state concerning motor vehicle accidents. This means that liability is assigned to the drivers and is used to calculate car accident damages. 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 under comparative negligence laws in California.

The jury decides what percentage of fault is assigned to either driver. This, in turn, affects the amount of personal injury compensation 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 personal injury damages awarded.

Top Types of Motor Vehicle Crashes

The most common types of auto crashes are:

  • Rollover accidents: Specific vehicles are susceptible to rollover accidents because of their higher centers of gravity. This includes sport utility vehicles (SUVs), vans, and light pickup trucks. Rollovers are often violent and result in catastrophic injury or fatality.
  • 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: Accidents involving one vehicle are common. Single vehicle traffic collisions are often caused by run-off road crashes 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 accidents: Also called a T-bone collision, this type of car crash often occurs at intersections. While the result depends on the location of impact and vehicle damage, 25 percent of all traffic fatalities are due to broadside collisions.
Most Dangerous Intersections in the Modesto Area

Our law firm has researched the number of intersection accidents in Modesto over a recent 10-year period. Using this number, we found that these intersections were hazardous:

  • Bodem Street and Scenic Drive
  • Burchell Court and McHenry Avenue
  • Carver Road and Briggsmore Avenue
  • Coffee Road and Briggsmore Avenue
  • Evergreen Avenue and Briggsmore Avenue
  • McHenry Avenue and Briggsmore Avenue
  • Norwegian Avenue and McHenry Avenue
  • Oakdale Road and Briggsmore Avenue
  • Orangeburg Avenue and McHenry Avenue
  • Standiford Avenue and Sylvan Avenue
What Kind of Injuries are Common in Auto Accidents?

As Modesto car accident lawyers, we have seen a large variety of injuries. Some of the most common injuries in traffic collisions 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: A TBI occurs when the brain moves against the bony surface of the skull. A car accident TBI can be life-threatening, depending on the severity of trauma to the head.
  • 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.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident

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 on what you should do after an auto accident:

  • 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 auto 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 the 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.

When you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you need a lawyer to handle your personal injury case against difficult insurance companies and large corporations. For tips on what to look for in the best car accident lawyer in Modesto, watch the video below:

Modesto Car Accident FAQ

What is considered negligence in a traffic collision?

A top-rated auto accident lawyer in Modesto must first prove that negligence was involved in being 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 local and state authorities' failure to maintain roads in a safe condition.

Additionally, there may be a liability if the traffic control devices at these intersections are faulty. This page discusses the system utilized to control traffic at intersections.

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 their responsibility to drive prudently and lawfully
  • This failure caused an accident
  • The motor vehicle collision was the reason why you were injured
  • This incident resulted in damages

How do you prove fault in an auto accident?

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 and final placement. In some personal injury auto accident claims, a Modesto car accident attorney may retain a reconstruction expert who can develop a digital picture of how the incident occurred. This is an invaluable tool in the courtroom.

How long does a claimant have to file a personal injury lawsuit for a motor vehicle collision?

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 a city, state, or federal agency's irresponsibility, 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 notice of 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 suit.

Contact a Modesto Car Accident Attorney Today

If you were seriously hurt in a crash caused by another driver, our experienced Modesto car accident lawyers could provide free, friendly advice on how to bring a personal injury claim for compensation in your situation. Call us today at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 to schedule a free consultation at our Modesto office:

1015 12th Street, STE 7
Modesto, CA 95354

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our case history of verdicts and settlements and our client reviews on Google, Yelp, and Avvo.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 5.19.21]

Photo Attribution: depositphotos.com

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Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
★★★★★
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
★★★★★
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
★★★★★
"Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime." Jeremy M.
★★★★★
"I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone." Shannon D.
★★★★★
"Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury." David M.