Suffered an Injury After a Vehicle Accident?
Our Chico Vehicle Accident Lawyers Can Help
While automakers have improved car safety in recent decades, the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that over forty-thousand automotive fatalities took place in 2017. This is up six percent from 2015, and many are calling this a public health crisis that cannot be ignored. Motorcycle and truck accident fatalities are also on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), truckers make up six percent of the fatalities in multi-vehicle crashes. Motorcycle fatalities accounted for thirteen percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016. After a vehicle accident, it is important that you work with an attorney who understands your personal injury case. An experienced attorney should be familiar with insurance settlement negotiations and recognize the importance of accident investigations. If you were involved in a car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident, then our attorneys are here to help you throughout the legal process.
At Peters, Habib, McKenna, Juhl-Rhodes & Cardoza, LLP, we have experience handling a wide variety of accident litigation cases. Our attorneys believe that working with a lawyer should reduce your stress levels, not add to them. We accomplish this by avoiding litigation and quickly resolving cases whenever possible. However, if a trial is inevitable, then our firm will advocate for your rights and strive for a positive legal outcome. With over eighty years of litigation experience, our attorneys understand the nuances of wrongful death and personal injury law. Although you may be tempted to forgo legal representation, having an attorney will give you a better chance of receiving a fair settlement offer. Our Chico vehicle accident lawyers can also improve your chances for receiving a favorable jury verdict. If you were involved in a vehicle accident, then our firm is here to help you hold the responsible parties accountable.
What Are the California Vehicle Accident Compensation Laws?
Like many other states, California has a tort system for insurance claims. When making a personal injury claim, you must prove that the other driver shared some fault for the vehicle accident. If your case heads to trial, then it is important to know that California vehicle law operates under pure comparative negligence. The judge or jury will determine the level of fault for both drivers and reduce each driverΓÇÖs liability accordingly. For example, let us say that you were involved in an accident and suffered twenty-thousand dollars in damages. The judge or jury determined that you were twenty percent at fault for the accident. Your recovery would be limited to eighty percent of the damages, and you would receive sixteen-thousand dollars. Our attorneys will conduct accident investigations and look to minimize your fault for the accident.
Along with determining fault, California has specific rules about recovering damages in personal injury or car accident cases. Unlike many other states, there is no cap on damages for a car accident case in California. However, there are limitations placed on compensation for particular cases involving vehicle accidents. In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 213. This states that a driver without insurance cannot recover non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages include items like pain and suffering or emotional distress. Economic damages, such as lost wages or medical expenses, are still recoverable if fault can be shown. Also, there is a chance that your personal injury will lead to an extended hospital visit. If your injury worsens because of medical error, then a cap on medical malpractice damages will affect your injury claim. In this instance, your non-economic damages would be limited to $250,000.
What NOT to Do After a Vehicle Accident
Immediately after a vehicle accident, people are quick to give you instructions on how to behave. For example, if you have a camera, then you should take photographs of the damage and the accident scene. You should also get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the other drivers and any witnesses. However, there are actions to avoid after a vehicle accident. They include:
- Arguing with other drivers and passengers. While it may feel good to argue with the other parties involved, you should avoid this whenever possible. Saving your story for the police and your insurance company is the smartest move. Antagonizing the other parties involved in the accident will only make things more difficult for you when negotiating a settlement.
- Failing to notify the proper entities. If you are injured or the vehicle damage exceeds $750, then you are required to report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You must report the accident within ten days. Failing to inform the DMV could result in your driverΓÇÖs license being suspended.
- Signing something releasing a driver from further responsibility. After an accident, the negligent party may offer to pay your deductible. However, it is important to not sign anything releasing him or her from further responsibility. If you sign a document, then you could endanger your insurance companyΓÇÖs subrogation right. They may refuse to pay for the damage to your car.
Questions After Your Vehicle Accident? Call Our Chico Vehicle Accident Lawyers
Although vehicle accidents happen every day, you should take the situation seriously and hire an experienced attorney. By not doing so, you could end up with a reduced settlement or have to pay damages to another driver. Our Chico vehicle accident lawyers will make sure that you are treated fairly and receive a fair amount of compensation for your injuries.
If you are involved in a vehicle accident, then you must contact Peters, Habib, McKenna, Juhl-Rhodes & Cardoza, LLP at (530) 342-3593 and schedule a consultation. You can also contact us online and send us a brief description of your case. We promise to examine your information and answer all of your questions about accident litigation.