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Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer

Sacramento Traffic Accidents

If you have been injured after a car accident in the Sacramento area, it is never easy dealing with tow truck service costs, auto body shop repair expenses, medical bills, and insurance companies on your own. Missing time at work to recover from accident injuries may cause you to face financial stress and emotional issues, especially if you are the sole income provider of your family. You may have questions on what you need to do after an auto crash that was not your fault if your injuries seriously affect your quality of life.

Since 1982, our team of Sacramento car accident lawyers has secured compensation on behalf of clients throughout California. To learn how our law firm can help you with your personal injury claim, call (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to receive free, friendly legal advice from one of our attorneys.

Our legal team can protect you from difficult insurance companies who may take advantage of you and your vulnerable situation. Our auto accident attorneys can also collect compelling evidence to build a strong personal injury case and handle insurance negotiations on your behalf. This way, you can focus on what matters most after being hurt in a motor vehicle collision: your recovery and your family.

Total of Reported Motor Vehicle Accidents in Sacramento

Although many newer model cars on the market are equipped with collision avoidance technology, motor vehicle crashes can still occur due to high traffic volumes in California.

Our auto accident attorneys have conducted a recent survey on the number of motor vehicle crashes in Sacramento, CA, over a 10 year period from 2007 through the end of 2017 (latest available figures). There were 76, 298 collisions during this time period. 5,630 collisions involved bicycles and 4,396 accidents involved motorcycles. Altogether, 108,184 people were injured and there were 1,359 fatalities. Friday afternoons between noon and 6 pm is the most likely time to have an accident.

Top 10 Intersections for Auto Accidents in Sacramento, CA

Below are the most dangerous intersections in California’s capital city and the number of crashes occurring there. Our Sacramento car accident attorneys recommend staying safe when crossing these intersections. When a road in poor condition leads to an accident and causes serious injury or fatality, the City of Sacramento or other government entity may be held financially responsible for poor road design and maintenance.

  • CR J8 and Mack Road
  • Fruitridge Road and Stockton Boulevard
  • Jessie Avenue and Norwood Avenue
  • La Mancha Way and Mack Road
  • 12th Avenue and 30th Street
  • 24th Street and Florin Road
  • 29th Street and L Street Capitol Avenue Alley
  • 30th Street and L Street Capitol Avenue Alley
  • 30th Street and D Street
10 Things You Should Do After a Car Accident

When you are involved in a traffic collision, there are specific steps you must take to follow California law, ensure everyone is safe, and get the personal injury claims process started. Our car accident lawyers in Sacramento have created an ultimate guide on what to do after getting into a crash. The following steps may help you make important decisions if you have been involved in an accident:

  1. Call the Police: If you get into a bad car accident in Sacramento or elsewhere in California, contact law enforcement and request a traffic accident report to be taken at the scene. Having a police report is essential for a car accident injury claim. These reports include contact and insurance information for all parties involved, witness statements, details regarding who was at fault for the crash, and traffic violations applicable to the negligent driver.
  2. Move Your Vehicle After a Car Crash: After a car crash in Sacramento, stop immediately and move onto the side of the road if it is safe to do so. Your car should be close to the accident scene, where it will not cause a hazard to oncoming traffic. If your vehicle is not drivable, request roadside assistance for a tow truck. If the towing company transported your vehicle to a tow yard, our Sacramento, CA car accident law firm recommends picking up your vehicle and paying storage fees immediately. The other driver’s insurance company is generally responsible for reimbursement of storage fees, and claims adjusters may dispute payment of these fees if the vehicle was left in storage beyond a few days.
  3. Check for Injuries: If anyone was injured in the car crash, call an ambulance to the scene of the Sacramento auto accident. Do not decline treatment, even if you do not believe your injuries are serious. An auto accident can cause injuries that do not show up immediately. A traumatic brain injury is a common type of delayed onset injury after an automotive crash.
  4. Exchange Information with the Other Driver: While awaiting the arrival of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or local law enforcement, collect contact information from other drivers involved in the automobile accident, if possible. You should take down their contact information, vehicle year, make and model, license plate number, and insurance company and policy number. To save time, use your phone or camera to gather this vital information.
  5. Collect Evidence at the Accident Scene: After a traffic crash, it is essential to immediately collect the evidence you need to support your personal injury case. This should consist of photos of the accident scene, damage to vehicles involved, and physical injuries. Evidence is what provides leverage in negotiating a fair settlement with insurance companies. Without it, it may be challenging to prove fault on the part of the other driver and resulting losses.
  6. Find Eyewitnesses After a Motor Vehicle Collision: Track down anyone who may have witnessed the car wreck and take down their contact information, if possible. A witness statement is invaluable in a car accident case. Statements by witnesses provide unbiased accounts of the accident. This can help confirm what one driver claims happened and disprove what the other said.
  7. File a Car Crash Report with the California DMV: In the state of California, drivers are required to report a traffic accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days if there were injuries, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. You can notify the DMV by filing a traffic accident report, or SR-1 form.
  8. Communicate With Your Insurance Company After an Accident: Some insurance companies require you to report a collision within a specific time limit, which is usually 24 hours, depending on the language of the policy contract. If you do not notify your insurance company immediately after a Sacramento car accident, your insurer may deny the coverage that is available to you through your car insurance policy.
  9. Get a Copy of the Police Report: A traffic collision report may be released by police to authorized parties such as the injured individual, the injured person’s legal representative, or others listed under California Vehicle Code Section 20012. These reports usually take one to two weeks to be processed, or up to 21 days if the investigation is being handled by the Sacramento Police Department (Sac PD).
  10. Decline the First Settlement Offer: Insurance claims adjusters may take advantage of your emotional, physical, and financial hardship after a car crash. They may convince you to accept a lowball settlement offer for your personal injury claim. If the insurance company asks you for a recorded statement or to sign documents, politely decline, and direct any communication regarding your personal injury case to your Sacramento, CA auto accident attorney.
Types of Personal Injury Compensation in an Accident Case

Compensatory damages in a personal injury case are intended to make an injured person whole. Car accident injury compensation comes in two types, economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages, or special damages, are expenses that are paid out of pocket. Special damages can be calculated based on receipts, bills, and other documentation. General damages, or noneconomic damages, take into account the intangible harms an injured person has suffered. Your Sacramento auto accident lawyer will make a fair settlement offer to an insurance carrier for consideration of all current and future projected losses for crash-related damages, such as:

  • Lost wages can be recovered if an employee misses work to seek medical treatment after a car accident
  • Loss of consortium for the inability to conceive children and the loss of affection, assistance, companionship, and love between an injured spouse and an uninjured spouse
  • Loss of earning capacity for an injured person's reduced ability to make a living in the future due to permanent injury or disability suffered in a Sacramento car accident
  • Out of pocket expenses related to a traffic collision, including structural changes to a home or vehicle modifications, to accommodate a permanent disability or injury suffered in a car wreck
  • Pain and suffering for the emotional and psychological harms caused by an accident-related injury
  • Past and future medical treatment and expenses that are deemed medically reasonable and necessary. A life care planner may be needed to calculate and prove future medical expenses for primary care visits, therapy, diagnostic testing, surgeries, medical supplies, prescription medications, mobility equipment, and attendant care
  • Property damage for the repair or replacement of personal belongings damaged in an auto accident
  • Social isolation, humiliation, or embarrassment associated with a personal injury resulting in disfigurement or scarring
  • When a Sacramento car crash fatality results in the loss of a loved one, surviving family members may seek wrongful death damages, such as funeral expenses, loss of support, medical expenses to treat the final injury related to the fatal auto accident, and other losses.
Can You Recover Punitive Damages After a Car Crash in California?

Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are awarded in personal injury lawsuits under specific circumstances. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate those injured in a car crash. Instead, they are designed to punish the at-fault motorist for their wrongdoing and to discourage similar behavior from them and others in the future. To recover exemplary damages for a motor vehicle accident under California Civil Code 3294, your Sacramento auto accident attorney must provide clear and convincing evidence that the negligent driver acted egregiously, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or excessive speeding.

What Does Comparative Fault Mean?

California follows a system of pure comparative negligence. This means courts within the state may allow injured victims to collect personal injury damages even if they are found partially at fault for a motor vehicle accident. The amount of compensation awarded in an auto accident claim would be reduced by the percentage of negligence assigned to the injured person. When liability is being disputed among insurance companies in a car accident case, it is critical to hire an auto injury lawyer in Sacramento, CA, to prevent insurers from apportioning fault unfairly.  Your attorney will conduct an independent investigation of the crash, collect evidence, hire accident reconstruction experts, and work diligently to prove that the other driver was at fault for the collision.

Sacramento Car Accident FAQ

What Happens if the Other Driver Has No Insurance?

After being injured in a car crash, you may be wondering if the other driver has bodily injury liability insurance to cover your personal injury damages. An SR-19C form for a financial responsibility information request will need to be filed with the DMV to determine whether the driver responsible for the collision has a valid car insurance policy or not. If this DMV form concludes that the other driver has no insurance, your California auto accident lawyer can file a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage to pay for personal injury damages, up to the limits of your auto insurance plan.

What Happens if You Get into a Car Accident Without Insurance in California?

Proposition 213, or the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996, was passed by California voters to limit the right of uninsured motorists to claim compensation for noneconomic damages. This means that Prop 213 prohibits drivers who have no insurance from recovering car accident damages for pain and suffering. Should you find yourself injured in an accident with no insurance, talk to a skilled car accident lawyer in Sacramento County, CA, about this situation. 

How Do I Find the Best Car Accident Lawyer Near Me?

You can find a reputable and trustworthy auto accident law firm near you by looking for years of experience handling your type of car collision injury claim, Google client reviews and ratings, and comfort with taking cases to trial. You can also connect with the best local auto injury attorney by asking friends and family for recommendations and referrals. Understanding their personal experiences with their auto accident attorney in Sacramento, CA, and how successful they were in handling their case can be helpful.

How Long Do You Have to File for Personal Injury?

Under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, an injured person has two years from the date of a motor vehicle accident to file a personal injury claim. The same two-year statute of limitations also applies to wrongful death car accident claims under CCP 335.1. When an accident was caused by a roadway in bad condition, like potholes or lack of road signs, a claim may be filed against the government entity responsible for the maintenance of that roadway. A notice of claim must be filed with the appropriate government agency within 180 days or six months from the time of the incident. This is by California Government Code 911.2. Depending on whether the accident happened on a local street or state highway, a claim may need to be filed with a local agency such as Sacramento County or with the state like Caltrans. If you are unsure how much time you have to file a car accident claim for injuries and damages in California, reach out to one of our experienced car accident attorneys in Sacramento for free legal advice.

What to Do if You Can’t Afford a Sacramento Car Accident Injury Lawyer?

A contingent fee arrangement is another way of paying lawyer’s fees in a personal injury case. Instead of paying a California accident lawyer an upfront retainer or hourly rates, the attorney will take a percentage of the personal injury settlement only if they win the case. If a lawyer loses a personal injury case, the client does not have to pay attorney’s fees.

Is There Legal Assistance for Veterans?

The founder of our Sacramento car accident 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 cases that are settled without personal injury litigation. If you would like to discuss your car accident injury case, contact us for free legal advice now.

What are the five most common types of car collisions?

The most common types of car accidents in order are:

  • Rear-ended collisions
  • Broadside accidents
  • Accidents where an object is struck
  • Sideswipe accidents
  • Car-pedestrian accidents
  • Head-on accidents
  • Overturned collisions

How many traffic accidents are there in Sacramento County every year?

The number varies, but from 2008 thru 2017, the low was 2,068 and the high was 3,330.

What months of the year have the most vehicular accidents?

October usually has the most monthly accidents, followed closely by May.

What months have the fewest vehicular crashes?

Usually December, January, and February.

For suggestions on what to look for in the best car accident lawyer in Sacramento, watch the video below.

Car Accident Lawyers in Sacramento

The accident injury attorneys of are dedicated to providing each client and family they represent with the compassionate and experienced legal representation they need. At our car accident law firm in Sacramento, our goal is to help those hurt in motor vehicle collisions obtain the financial compensation they need and deserve.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 1.26.20]

Image Source: DepositPhotos

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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.