Mountain House Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer
While the population of Mountain House is under 15,000, the odds of a crash remain high for those driving in the city. When a collision is caused by the fault of another, the injured person may be able to recover subsequent losses by filing a personal injury claim.
In this article:
- Recoverable Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
- Economic Damages
- Noneconomic Damages
- Punitive Damages
- What to Do After a Car Crash
- How to Select an Attorney
- Proving Fault in a Car Accident
- Comparative Fault
- How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?
- Can I Afford a Lawyer?
- How an Attorney Can Help
When a person is injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another, California law allows the injured party the opportunity to collect compensation through a personal injury claim. Through this type of case, the purpose of compensation is to make the injured individual whole again. In other words, it would help restore them to the position they were in before the incident. Two types of damages are needed to accomplish this, economic and noneconomic.Economic Damages
Economic damages consider existing financial losses as well as those incurred in the future that may be suffered by an injured party. These include:
- Medical Bills: The costs for past and future expenses of necessary and reasonable medical treatment are recoverable. These include hospital stays, ambulance fees, diagnostic testing, physical therapy, chiropractic care, prescriptions, medical appliances, and more. The cost of travel to and from medical appointments may also be recovered.
- Lost Wages: This includes the earnings you lost when you were unable to work due to your injury and recovery. If an injury or disability reduces your ability to earn wages, you may be able to recover for loss of earning capacity. An injury attorney can help calculate this with the assistance of economists.
- Property Damage: This includes the cost to replace or repair damaged property. If you were injured in an accident as a pedestrian or cyclist, you might be able to be reimbursed for the repair or replacement of your personal property such as watches, clothing, or glasses.
Noneconomic damages are designed to compensate injured people for the intangible losses related to how the trauma has affected their lives. These include:
- Disfigurement: Injuries from a motor vehicle accident can be severe and even permanent, including disfigurement and scarring. At a minimum, scarring in a visible location can cause immense trauma and embarrassment. For some, disfigurement can affect their ability to get a job and their enjoyment of life. In these cases, an injured party may be able to be reimbursed for the costs of cosmetic surgery to revise the scarring as well as the emotional and psychological distress associated with the trauma.
- Loss of Consortium: A spouse of an injured party who has suffered a debilitating injury or has passed away may be able to submit a claim for loss of consortium. This attempts to acknowledge and compensate the spouse for the impact on the marital relationship through financial damages. These take into account the loss of love, companionship, and affection as well as sexual dysfunction or impairment. The inability to conceive children may also be considered.
- Pain and Suffering: No amount of money can lessen the emotional suffering and mental anguish an injured party and their family endure after an accident. In California, those who have been injured in a crash may be able to collect compensation for the unfortunate experiences they have suffered.
Punitive damages are not designed to compensate the injured person. Instead, they are intended to punish the negligent party. In California, these only apply when it is shown that the responsible party acted with fraud, oppression, or malice. In the case of a car accident, an injured party may seek damages from a negligent party who is convicted of drunk driving.What to Do After a Car Crash
After an auto accident, you want to make sure your legal rights and health are protected. Remember to keep the following in mind:
- Stay at the Scene: Leaving the scene of an accident can constitute as a hit and run. If property damage is only involved, it can be a misdemeanor. If injuries were sustained, it could be a felony.
- Check on All Drivers and Passengers: Make sure everyone involved in the car wreck is okay before looking into property damage. Request medical personnel at the scene for anyone who needs immediate treatment. If a person has back or neck injuries or is unconscious, do not move them until medical responders arrive.
- Photographs: Take pictures of the injuries that have been sustained, damages to the cars involved, and any other evidence including traffic signals and road conditions. Be sure to include marks on the road such as skid marks. This may help determine fault.
- Contact the Police: If there are physical injuries and significant property damage, you will need to contact authorities to the scene. Obtain the names and badge numbers of the responding officers and ask for a traffic collision report.
- Exchange Information: Write down the names, addresses, contact numbers, license plate numbers, and drivers’ license numbers from all motorists involved. This information is necessary for filing a claim with an insurance company.
- Witness Statements: Talk to credible witnesses and gather their contact information. This can later provide relevant testimony for your claim.
- Seek Medical Attention: Some injuries suffered in a car wreck, such as a cervical sprain or traumatic brain injury, can take some time to show symptoms. If the trauma was not diagnosed promptly after the collision, insurance companies might claim they did not result from the crash. This may be possibly left out of your claim and settlement offer. For this reason, it is critical to follow-up with your medical provider regularly.
- Call Your Insurance Company: You will need a claim to be established with the insurance provider of the at-fault driver and your own. Do not apologize to the insurance adjuster or other parties involved in the crash. This can be misinterpreted as an admission of guilt.
- Document the Details of the Accident: It is critical to write down in detail what happened in the collision. As traumatic as the crash can be, these details can be forgotten over time. You want to make sure you have several copies of these notes to provide to insurance companies and your personal injury attorney.
Choosing a Mountain House personal injury attorney among a sea of qualified injury lawyers can be challenging. Review the following tips to feel confident in your choice:
- Work with an Attorney Who Practices Personal Injury Exclusively. The lawyer you choose should be experienced in handling personal injury cases like yours. Without that experience, you may not receive a favorable outcome in your case.
- Pick a Lawyer with Experience. Your attorney should be able to negotiate with insurance companies for the maximum amount of compensation you need to cover your damages. If an agreement cannot be made, your lawyer should have no problem taking your case to trial where a jury or judge can decide the compensation you receive.
- Read Client Reviews of a Law Firm. Reading comments and reviews by past clients is an essential way to search for a reputable law firm. While some may be biased or inaccurate, many of them can provide you with an idea of what it is like working with that particular law office. Former clients often write comments about their experience, especially if it was unsatisfactory.
- Look for Promptness and Communication in a Lawyer. Ask your attorney what is the best way to contact him or her and how long you can expect to receive a response from them. Since excessive delays from an attorney can cause unnecessary aggravation, it is essential to choose one who is dedicated to touching base with you frequently.
Learn more about how to find a reputable Mountain House car accident lawyer by watching this video.Proving Fault in a Car Accident
After being involved in a car accident, it can be complicated to determine liability on your own. Not only do you need to preserve evidence proving the fault of the other driver, but you also have to present that evidence to the at-fault motorist’s insurance carrier. Since insurers often search for discrepancies in a car wreck, they are prepared to point out any flaw in the claim. This is an attempt to offer you less than what you deserve in financial compensation. Having an experienced Mountain House car accident lawyer at your side can ensure you have a higher chance of obtaining the full amount you need to cover the injuries and damages you have suffered.Comparative Fault
California operates under a system of comparative fault. This means the amount of compensation awarded to an injured party would be equivalent to the percentage of negligence apportioned to them. For instance, an injured person who is only 30 percent negligent for contributing to an accident would just be able to recover 70 percent of the compensation awarded. Insurance companies often attempt to falsely pinpoint fault on an injured person to reduce the value of their settlement offer or deny their claim altogether. Hiring an attorney in these cases can be helpful in properly determining liability to ensure you receive a fair recovery.How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?
In California, the time limit to bring a claim for personal injury after an auto accident is two years. This is known as the statute of limitations. When bringing a case against a government entity for negligence, it must be filed within 6 months or 180 days from the date of loss. If this deadline is not met, the courts will likely dismiss the case. This is why contacting an experienced Mountain House auto accident attorney is crucial. An attorney can protect the statute to ensure you receive the compensation you need and deserve.Can I Afford a Lawyer?
Most personal injury lawyers handle cases on contingency fee agreements. This allows injured parties to obtain legal representation after an accident without having to come up with the money to pay an attorney. This allows injured individuals to focus solely on recovering rather than worrying about how upfront legal fees will be paid while the attorney begins preparing the case.How an Attorney Can Help
After an accident, contacting a Mountain House personal injury lawyer can provide you peace of mind in difficult times. A lawyer understands how stressful it can be after being injured in a car wreck and is prepared to help you in your time of need. This way, you can focus on your recovery while your attorney obtains the damages that are owed to you. Even if you feel like you do not need a lawyer, it may be a good idea to receive advice on how to handle negotiations with an insurance carrier.Mountain House Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Mountain House car accident lawyer. An accident can dramatically change the lives of those involved, including their financial, emotional, and physical well-being. When the accident occurs due to the negligence of another, the negligent party may be held financially responsible for subsequent losses. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please call me at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive my free, friendly case advice.
Image Source: By "Aron Visuals" via Unsplash
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.28.20]