Fight for The Compensation You Deserve with A Passionate Car Accident Lawyer
After a car accident, you may be faced with life-altering injuries and mounting medical bills. At McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau, LLP, our car accident attorneys can help you hold the negligent driver responsible and secure compensation.
Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents can happen in a wide variety of ways. In California, the most common causes include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Speeding: Driving over the speed limit increases the likelihood of losing control of a vehicle and experiencing an accident. This is also true when drivers disregard road conditions, and going too fast for weather or in a construction zone can also lead to an accident.
- Driving into oncoming traffic: Going the wrong way down a one-way street or drifting across the center lane sets a driver up to cause a head-on collision. Most head-on collisions cause traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, and can even be the cause of wrongful death.
- Improper turns: The most recent statistics released by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) put the number of injuries from an improper turn at close to 22,000 a year and the number of fatal accidents at just over 500. Turning into oncoming traffic leaves vehicles with nowhere to go and little chance to make an evasive maneuver. When an accident is caused by a driver who makes an improper turn, the injuries are devastating. Paralysis, internal bleeding, and loss of limbs can result from being hit suddenly after an improper turn is made.
- Violating traffic laws and signals: Stop lights and other traffic signals are in place to ensure safety on the roads. Drivers who run red lights or fail to yield not only break the law but also cause a significant number of accidents. The same CHP report found nearly 12,500 accidents resulted in a year from drivers disregarding traffic laws and close to 140 involved a fatality.
The circumstances that led to your accident will play an important role in:
- Establishing liability
- How we present your case in court
- Determining the amount of damages that should be awarded
Simply put, all of the details pertaining to your case can directly impact the outcome.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Wrongful Death
Different types of car accidents typically produce different injuries. For instance, high-speed collisions can result in catastrophic injuries, such as:
- Blunt head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Injury to internal organs
- Burn injury
- Loss of limb
- Hearing or vision loss
Victims of this type of accident typically require extensive surgeries and prolonged therapy. On the other hand, a low-speed minor collision usually does not cause severe personal injuries, but the damage to vehicles can be costly to repair.
It is important to recognize the type of accident, so a proper calculation of damages can be made. Victims of catastrophic car accidents, such as head-on collisions, are entitled to receive compensation for all medical expenses as well as property damage. In the case of a fatality, the family left behind can file a wrongful death suit to demand loss of income as well as costs of final arrangements. When personal injuries are less severe, like in the case of a slow speed hit from behind, the damages sought are primarily property damages.
The state of California has a two-year deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, which includes injuries sustained in a car accident. This also applies to accidents that have resulted in the death of a loved one. As such, it is essential that you contact an attorney as soon as you are able to.
It is important to keep in mind that California is a comparative negligence state so your role in the accident will also be considered. However, as long as your portion of the liability is not more than 50 percent, you are entitled to damages. Additionally, the amount of compensation you are awarded will be directly reduced by your percentage of fault. When determining fault, evidence from the accident and witnesses is crucial.
File an Insurance Claim
If the other driver is at fault for the accident, their insurance will be responsible for the settlement. It is recommended to have a lawyer involved in this process to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If an agreeable settlement cannot be reached, you should file a lawsuit.
Pursue a Lawsuit
A trial can be initiated that will help you hold the insurance company and the defendant accountable. While this would be nearly impossible to do on your own, your attorney will fight to help you maximize damages so that you are able to address all the expenses associated with your injury.
These damages are awarded to help accommodate for the losses you have incurred due to your accident such as medical expenses, lost wages, and even emotional suffering. Compensatory damages should help restore the type of lifestyle you had before your accident and injuries.
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant is deemed to have acted in gross negligence, such as DUI cases. These damages are meant to punish the defendant for their actions. They are not awarded in every case and do have limitations, but can reach millions of dollars.
Types of Car Accidents
- Rear-end collision: A rear-end collision happens when a car hits the back end of the car in front of it, and is typically the fault of the driver in the second car. Many rear-end collisions are caused by inattention, speed, driver fatigue, DUI (driving under the influence), or traffic conditions.
- Side-impact collision: A side-impact collision is also referred to as a T-bone, and refers to instances when one car strikes another on the side. Injuries in side-impact collisions are more frequent because many cars lack safety features in this area, such as airbags, leaving drivers and passengers at greater risk of becoming hurt.
- Head-on collisions: A head-on collision is where one vehicle hits another directly head-on. When two vehicles collide in this manner, it is typically at a high rate of speed and can cause ejection of a driver or passenger through the front windshield. This type of accident usually results in significant head trauma or brain injury, if not death. More fatalities are reported from head-on collisions than other types of accidents.
- Multiple vehicle accidents: When two or more cars are involved, it is referred to as a multi-vehicle collision. These accidents present unique circumstances and the possibility of injury is increased due to the number of cars involved and an inability to safely move off of the roadway. This also makes it difficult for emergency workers to reach an injured person, and the time delay can contribute to the damages suffered.
- Rollover accidents: Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and trucks are prone to rollover due to their taller height. The crushing nature of this accident type can lead to spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and fatalities.
A demand for full compensation will include medical bills and expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, the repair or replacement of personal property, and other costs associated with the accident. Our job is to hold the responsible driver accountable and seek full and fair compensation for every injury suffered.
Motor vehicle accidents caused by reckless driving behaviors are an all-too-frequent cause of serious injuries and fatalities on California roadways. Texting while driving, drunk or drugged driving, and a large number of commuters and visitors on the roads all contribute to crashes. Our attorneys have represented many clients against negligent drivers for personal injury and wrongful death cases and can provide the knowledgeable, passionate support you need.
Numerous local car accident lawyers advertise their services heavily on billboards, radio, and television. In contrast, we are called upon primarily upon referrals from other lawyers familiar with our skills and clients we have helped in the past. At our firm, you do not have to be concerned that your personal injury claim will be one of hundreds; if we take on your case, that means we will pursue it actively and represent you with rigor.