Car accidents happen unexpectedly for various reasons, sometimes resulting in life-changing injuries and expensive financial losses for those involved. When any car accident happens in Elk Grove, an injured driver can face many legal challenges as they seek compensation for their damages. Under California’s fault rule, the driver who causes an accident takes responsibility for the resulting damages. This means that if another driver recently caused an accident that harmed you or a loved one, the first step in your recovery will be proving they are directly responsible for causing your accident.
Experienced Legal Representation for Victims of Car Accidents in Elk Grove
The Ward Firm can provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need in this difficult situation. Proving liability for a car accident is not always straightforward, and it is possible for many issues to arise that complicate your path to recovery. Having the right Elk Grove car accident attorney on your side will make this recovery process easier to navigate and more likely to generate the results you hope to see.
Our team focuses on the client in every case we accept. We have years of experience resolving car accident claims and other personal injury claims in Elk Grove, so we know the legal challenges the average person is likely to encounter as they seek accountability and compensation for damages inflicted by another party. The sooner you connect with our firm, the sooner we can start guiding you toward the recovery you deserve.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Elk Grove
Before you can recover any compensation for your losses from a recent accident, you must prove exactly how the accident happened and identify the driver or drivers responsible for causing it. Proving fault typically requires a combination of different forms of evidence. The evidence available in your case will usually depend on the location of your accident and whether anyone saw it happen firsthand. Your Elk Grove car accident attorney can help gather digital records from vehicle computers, driver cell phone records, footage from nearby traffic cameras, and statements from any eyewitnesses who saw the accident happen in real time. In some car accident cases, expert witness testimony can be crucial to a plaintiff’s case, explaining the complex technical side of their claim.
It’s possible for a car accident to occur from negligence or willful misconduct. Some commonly cited causes of car accidents that generate civil claims for damages in the area are:
Distracted and inattentive driving. Throughout the United States, distracted driving is the top cause of all motor vehicle accidents. Texting while you are driving is considered the most dangerous type of distracted driving because it requires the driver to take their hands away from their vehicle controls, their eyes off of the road, and their attention away from the task of driving safely.
When drivers exceed the speed limit, they not only increase the risk of being the cause of an accident, but they also risk causing more severe damage. Accidents that happen at high speeds are more likely to cause fatal or catastrophic injuries, and they will also generate more expensive economic damages.
Moving violations. Whenever a driver disrupts the flow of traffic or ignores a traffic signal, this creates an unexpected hazard for everyone around them. Running red lights or stop signs, failing to signal before turns and lane changes, and failing to yield the right-of-way are a few common moving violations that cause accidents.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol. It is illegal for anyone to drive while intoxicated, and the penalties for this offense include fines, driver’s license suspension, jail, and additional penalties assigned at the discretion of the judge handling sentencing. DUI conviction penalties also automatically increase whenever the defendant injures or kills someone with their actions.
Immediately following an accident in Elk Grove, an injured driver’s primary concern should be their personal health and safety and that of their passengers. Check yourself for injuries and check on the others in your vehicle. If you are hurt, do not move and risk making your injuries worse. Wait for paramedics to arrive. If you feel well enough to move around, do so safely and check on the occupants of the other vehicle. State law requires drivers to report all accidents resulting in property damage, injury, or death to 911, so report the accident if no one else already has and wait for first responders to arrive.
While you wait for help, it’s a good idea to take photos of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. You can also take photos of the positions of the vehicle on the road and any nearby landmarks or other physical evidence, such as skid marks on the road surface. These photos could be incredibly valuable to your recovery efforts because you will need to prove liability for the accident before you can recover any compensation for your losses.
Once first responders arrive, be sure to avoid saying anything they might construe as an admission of guilt, even if you think you are partially responsible for the accident. If you are severely hurt, they will take you to the hospital; otherwise, you should seek medical care on your own after they allow you to leave the scene of the crash. Once you have resolved the immediate issues following your accident, you should reach out to legal counsel you can trust before exploring any recovery options.
Filing Your Auto Insurance Claim in Elk Grove
Your first option for recovering your damages from a car accident in Elk Grove is to file an auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver. California law requires every driver to have auto insurance that meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements:
$15,000 or more in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person.
$30,000 or more in total accident liability coverage for bodily injuries to multiple persons in a single accident.
$5,000 or more in property damage.
These amounts may seem like substantial coverage, but the reality is that a minimum-coverage policy is unlikely to fully compensate the victim of a serious accident. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the driver responsible for causing your accident will have insurance at all. One of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the US is found in California. If you have purchased underinsured motorist coverage with your own auto insurance policy, this will allow you to make a claim against your own insurance if an at-fault driver does not have auto insurance, but you will have to prove fault, so you are not penalized with higher premiums for the claim. Although not required by law, drivers are strongly encouraged to add uninsured driver coverage to their auto insurance policies.
An Elk Grove car accident attorney can make your insurance claim process much easier. When an insurance company representative notices that a claimant has legal counsel, they will be more inclined to process the claim efficiently and in good faith. Your legal representative can assist you in drafting your demand letter for coverage, resolve any issues that arise between you and the insurance company, and verify that your claim settlement is acceptable under the terms of the at-fault driver’s policy.
Filing Your Personal Injury Claim for a Car Accident in Elk Grove
Some drivers cause accidents resulting in damages that exceed the amount of insurance coverage they carry. When this applies to your case, you must file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your accident. A personal injury claim seeks financial compensation for the damages another party inflicted through negligence or intentional misconduct. Once you have proven how your car accident happened and secured as much compensation as possible through an auto insurance claim, the next phase of your recovery will be filing a personal injury suit against the driver who caused the accident.
Under the state’s personal injury laws, the plaintiff in a car accident claim has the right to seek compensation for:
Medical treatments. Some car accidents result in catastrophic injuries that demand extensive ongoing rehabilitation. If you were injured in your recent accident and cannot recover the full amount of your medical treatment through auto insurance alone, you can seek compensation for any outstanding medical expenses through your personal injury claim. The defendant who caused your injuries is responsible for all the medical care you require, both immediately following the accident and any ongoing rehabilitative care you need to reach maximum medical recovery.
Lost wages. Many people injured in car accidents cannot work for extended periods. The defendant is responsible for the money you cannot earn while you recover. You can also hold them accountable for the value of any paid time off you were forced to use after the accident.
Lost earning capacity. Unfortunately, some car accident victims are injured so severely that they cannot return to their previous jobs and must accept lower-paying work. Some are so severely disabled that they cannot work anymore after their accidents. Your Elk Grove car accident attorney can help calculate lost earning capacity and the compensation needed to replace the future income you will no longer be able to earn.
Property damage. An auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver may yield some compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, but any remainder must be sought through a personal injury suit.
When you have an experienced Elk Grove car accident attorney working on your case, you might be surprised to learn that you can claim far more economic damages than you initially expected. However, you can also seek compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced.
It might seem difficult to translate intangible damages like pain and suffering to monetary amounts, but there are different methods a good attorney can use to calculate appropriate pain and suffering compensation for a client. When a personal injury plaintiff has suffered severe injuries that result in permanent disabilities, their attorney can likely seek a large lump sum of pain and suffering compensation. They will calculate this by multiplying the client’s total economic losses by a factor between one and five to reflect the nature of the client’s condition after the accident. Alternatively, when a plaintiff is expected to make a full recovery, their attorney may instead aim for a per diem settlement that awards compensation for each day the plaintiff spends recovering.
How Much Should I Expect From a Car Accident Settlement?
After calculating all your claimable economic damages and determining a fair amount of pain and suffering to include in your civil suit, your case could be worth much more than you initially expected. However, it is important to know the other variables that may come into play and alter the final value of your case.
If the defendant who caused your accident did so through any willful and illegal misconduct, you not only might need to participate as a witness in a criminal trial against them, but their conduct can also lead to additional compensation. The judge presiding over your civil case may award you punitive damages to reflect the severity of their actions, or the judge handling their criminal sentencing could add restitution to the victim as part of their penalty.
One issue that might arise and diminish your recovery in a civil suit is comparative fault. California upholds the pure comparative negligence rule for civil claims, meaning a plaintiff who shares liability for causing their claimed damages will lose a percentage of their case award to reflect their shared fault. For example, if a plaintiff is found 10% at fault in a personal injury case, they will lose 10% of their final case award to reflect their liability. If you have any concerns about bearing partial responsibility for your recent accident, it is crucial to consult an Elk Grove car accident attorney you can trust as soon as possible.
What Does it Cost to Hire Elk Grove Car Accident Lawyers?
When you are struggling in the aftermath of a damaging car accident and facing medical expenses, car repair bills, and other economic strains, it is natural to worry about the potential cost of legal counsel when you need an attorney to help you recover. The Ward Firm accepts car accident claims and other personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that when you choose our firm as your legal representation, you are not required to pay any upfront attorneys’ fees, nor do we charge ongoing fees throughout your case. We only take a fee once we win compensation for your damages, and our fee is a percentage of the total amount we recover on your behalf.
What to Expect From Your Elk Grove Car Accident Lawyer
Choosing the right attorney to represent you can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of any civil claim for damages in Elk Grove. When you hire The Ward Firm as your legal representative in a car accident case, we can immediately start helping you gather the evidence needed to prove liability for the incident. We can secure traffic camera video recordings, cell phone records, and obtain statements from eyewitnesses to help meet the burden of proving fault for your damages.
Once we have helped you establish liability for your damages, we can then assist you in proving the full scope of your claimable damages. Our team is often able to exceed client expectations in terms of recovery, revealing avenues of compensation they did not know were available to them. Our goal in every personal injury case we accept is to streamline our client’s recovery process however we can and secure the maximum amount of compensation possible for their damages.
We can guide you through the insurance claim process and resolve any discrepancies that might arise with this insurance company’s handling of your claim. If the insurance company does not handle your claim in good faith or offers a lowball settlement, we can help address these matters effectively. Once we have helped you recover as fully as possible through insurance, the next phase of your case will be filing a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your damages.
Experienced Legal Help From The Ward Firm
The Ward Firm has a strong professional record of successful personal injury cases in Elk Grove and surrounding communities. We take time to get to know each client, listening to their stories and reviewing the full effects an injury has had on their life. We know that you likely have many pressing legal questions in the aftermath of your recent car accident, and we want to help you have some peace of mind as you approach the recovery process.
Time is a crucial concern for any car accident victim in Elk Grove. You have a very limited window in which to file an auto insurance claim, and the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, starting on the date an injury occurs. If you are ready to explore all your options for legal recourse following a car accident in the Elk Grove area, we are ready to assist you. Contact The Ward Firm today and schedule your free consultation with an Elk Grove car accident attorney to learn more about the legal services we offer.
Schedule a Free Consultation
At your free initial consultation, you will meet directly with Justin, and he will explain how he can best help you with your case. If you decide to work with us, we will immediately get started on creating a strategy that protects your interests.
To get more information, call our office at 916-443-2474 or send us an email using our contact form. We are available by phone 24 hours a day. Se habla español.
The Ward Firm is open and actively assisting clients with personal injury, criminal, and employment related matters, and we do not anticipate any interruption in representation. However, please understand that all appointments will be telephonic as we observe the CDC's recommended social distancing.