CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer


A motor vehicle crash is often traumatic and unexpected. Following a collision, you may be overwhelmed by emotional, physical, and financial hardship. Fortunately, you do not have to struggle with the consequences of a car crash on your own. If the other driver was responsible for the incident, an experienced attorney can help you file a personal injury claim and demand compensation for losses incurred.

If you have been injured in a traffic collision, speak with a Sacramento car accident lawyer at our law firm to learn how we can help you recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Since 1982, our personal injury law firm has stood up to difficult auto insurance companies and defense counsel on behalf of people like you. We know how critical a personal injury settlement or verdict can be in the time that follows a serious motor vehicle collision. Our legal team would be honored to put our decades of experience to work for you and your personal injury case. If you would like to learn more about how we can help, contact us today to arrange a free consultation.

Sacramento Car Accident Statistics

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), there were 3,217 injury and fatal road accidents in Sacramento. Of these auto collisions, there were:

  • 536 speed-related crashes
  • 295 hit and run collisions
  • 249 car vs. pedestrian accidents
  • 223 crashes involving cyclists
  • 122 collisions involving motorcyclists
  • 343 wrecks involving alcohol
Most Dangerous Intersections in Sacramento

Intersection collisions in California are common and cause many accident injuries and deaths each year. Some of the most dangerous intersections in the Sacramento area where wrecks often occur include:

  • Arden Way and Interstate 80
  • Fair Oaks Boulevard and Howe Avenue
  • Franklin Boulevard and Broadway
  • Fruitridge Road and Franklin Boulevard
  • Highway 99 and US-50 Interchange
  • Power Inn Road and Folsom Boulevard
  • State Route 99 and 12th Avenue
  • SR-160 and Richards Boulevard
  • Sutterville Road and Franklin Boulevard
  • West El Camino Avenue and Northgate Boulevard
Top Causes of Motor Vehicle Collisions

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that human error is responsible for 94 percent of crashes every year. Some of the common reasons for auto accidents due to driver error include:

  • Drunk Driving
  • Falling Asleep Behind the Wheel
  • Running Red Lights or Stop Signs
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating or Following Too Closely
  • Texting and Driving
  • Weaving In and Out of Traffic
What Should I Do After a Traffic Collision?

You may be involved in a road accident no matter how safe a driver you are. When this unfortunate time comes, the steps you take could affect your ability to obtain personal injury compensation for your damages. To protect yourself and your loved ones, follow these steps:

  • Stay at the scene of the car wreck
  • Check yourself and others for injuries
  • Request medical attention at the scene if needed
  • Report the road crash to local law enforcement
  • Ask responding officers for a traffic accident report
  • Exchange contact information with the other driver
  • Look for witnesses and request their contact information
  • Take pictures of visible injuries and the automobile accident scene
  • Contact your auto insurance company to report the auto collision immediately
  • Be consistent with medical treatment, including following orders from your physician
  • Get in touch with a top-rated car accident lawyer in Sacramento for legal representation
  • Do not post about the accident on social media until your bodily injury claim has resolved

Watch the video below to learn about the types of factors that may affect the value of a personal injury claim for an automobile accident.

Common Types of Car Crash Cases

Our law office often handles the following kinds of motor vehicle collision cases:

  • Distracted Driving: A driver who diverts their attention off the road may increase their chances of striking other cars. Common forms of distracted driving include texting or talking on a cell phone, eating, applying makeup, and more.
  • Drunk Drivers: Intoxicated motorists cause many traffic crashes, including catastrophic ones resulting in serious injury or fatality. When this happens, an auto accident lawyer in California may seek punitive damages from the at-fault party, which are generally awarded at the court’s discretion.
  • Hit and Run Accidents: When a motorist crashes into another party and flees the scene of the incident, an injury lawyer can help the injured individual track down the at-fault party by retaining a private investigator for the case.
  • Rear-End Collisions: These are among the most common kinds of motor vehicle crashes. Rear-end collisions have the potential to result in severe trauma such as cervical sprain and spinal cord injuries.
  • Road Defects: Uneven pavement, potholes, and other dangerous roadway conditions may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle and crash through no fault of their own. If that is the case, an auto accident lawyer in Sacramento can bring a government entity claim against the public agency in charge of designing and maintaining the road.
  • Speeding: A common factor involved in vehicular accidents causing serious injury and wrongful death is speeding. This involves a motorist driving above the posted speed limit or too fast for road conditions.
  • Vehicle Defects: Faults in motor vehicles' parts and equipment may potentially cause them to stop working correctly. This may increase the risk of a traffic accident. A Sacramento car accident lawyer may file an auto products liability claim against the manufacturer or automaker for resulting personal injury damages.
What is the Minimum Auto Insurance Required by Law in California?

If personal injury damages exceed the minimum liability insurance coverage required by California law, this may be an issue. Minimum auto liability limits required in California include:

  • $15,000 per person for serious injury or wrongful death
  • $30,000 for all parties involved in the traffic accident
  • $5,000 property damage

Our Sacramento auto accident attorneys can help you seek full and fair compensation for your injuries and damages incurred. To learn more about how we can help you, contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers regarding your potential accident claim.

Who is Responsible for My Injuries After a Motor Vehicle Accident?

The insurance company representing the at-fault driver is generally responsible for compensating parties harmed by their insured’s negligence. Some crashes resulting in injuries or death may be caused by a driver with insufficient liability coverage for bodily injury or none at all.

An experienced Sacramento car accident attorney can help an injured party seek fair compensation through an uninsured/underinsured motorist protection (UM/UIM) claim filed against their auto insurance policy. Furthermore, uninsured motorist claims may also be filed on behalf of a party seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident.

What is the Personal Injury Claims Process in California?

Personal injury cases are subject to strict criteria and filing deadlines. Below is an overview of the personal injury legal process in California:

  • Bodily Injury Claim: To collect insurance benefits, it is essential to notify the insurer immediately after a serious accident. A bodily injury claim must be filed with the car insurance company within a reasonable amount of time. This may vary from carrier to carrier.
  • Personal Injury Lawsuit: A claimant has two years from the date of a car wreck to file a lawsuit. This is by the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. If the claimant does not file an injury-related lawsuit in civil court or accept an insurance settlement offer within the two-year statute of limitations, they may lose the right to recover financial compensation.
  • Government Entity Claim: If a car accident injury case involves government agency negligence, there is less time to file a claim. Under these circumstances, a claimant has six months or 180 days to file a notice of claim. Refer to California Government Code Section 911.2 for more details.

If you are unsure how much time you have for filing an insurance claim for personal injury damages in California, contact one of our experienced car accident attorneys in Sacramento for free, friendly advice today.

Types of Personal Injury Compensation in a Car Crash Case

A Sacramento car accident injury attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company. The personal injury demand letter will consider current and future projected economic and non-economic damages, such as:

  • Cost of past medical bills
  • Expenses for future medical treatment needed
  • Lost wages and loss of future earning potential
  • Accommodations for temporary or permanent disability
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Scarring and Disfigurement
Does California Allow Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are awarded in cases under specific circumstances. Punitive damages are designed to punish negligent parties for their wrongdoing. Exemplary damages also serve to discourage similar behavior from them and others in the future.

To recover exemplary damages for a personal injury case under California Civil Code 3294, a car accident injury attorney must provide clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault party acted egregiously. This may include evidence of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) or excessive speeding.

How Comparative Fault Laws in California Affect Bodily Injury Claims

In California, fault or negligence determines who is responsible for paying personal injury damages after an accident. Conversely, California's comparative fault laws decide how negligence is apportioned in a personal injury or wrongful death case. A jury decides what percentage of the plaintiff’s own fault contributed to resulting damages in a personal injury lawsuit.

Is There Legal Assistance for Veterans?

The founder of our personal injury law firm, attorney Ed Smith, served in the United States Air Force in the airborne division in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. It would be our honor to provide legal representation to fellow veterans injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by negligent drivers.

Our legal team offers veterans a 25% attorney’s fee for settled cases without personal injury litigation. If you would like to discuss your potential case, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Contact our Sacramento Auto Accident Attorneys Today

If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in a motor vehicle accident, we encourage you to reach out to our law office to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced California car accident lawyers. We are available anytime to review your case and explain your potential legal options for financial recovery.

Our personal injury attorneys serve residents in Sacramento County and throughout Northern California. We handle car accident injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not owe us anything unless we win your case.

Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 4.12.21]

Image Source: By "Erdenebayar" via Pixabay

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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.