Motor vehicle accidents in California are the primary cause for personal injury lawsuits each year as there are hundreds of thousands of people injured due to negligence of other drivers.
Car collisions on the crowded California freeways cost victims a tremendous amount of money in medical expenses, car repairs, and lost wages from work.
Fortunately for the car accident victims, the at-fault driver who caused the accident are liable under law to the other drivers and passengers for their damages and injuries.
In the context of a California car accident, the term “fault” simply means which driver was negligent in causing the collision.
Insurance companies are notorious for attempting to get a car accident victim to settle their case far below what it's actually worth.
Victims of a freeway vehicle crash need to retain a car accident lawyer to have the best chance of maximum financial compensation.
Knowing what to do after a car accident is a crucial first step in recovering damages you are entitled to receive.
Further, there are cases where your lawyer will have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to force the liable party pay for damages that include medical expenses, lost income, and loss of earning capacity.
It should be noted that even in a situation where both drivers share fault in causing the vehicle accident, the injury victim could still claim some damages from the other driver.
It should also be noted that not all car wrecks on a California freeway are caused by a negligent driver. Some car collisions are caused by:
In these type of freeway car accidents, the state government agencies or vehicle parts manufacturer could be held liable for the car crash.
For more detailed information, our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are discussing more important issues below.
Who is at Fault in a California Freeway Car Accident?
Determining fault in a vehicle crash on a California freeway can get complicated. Typically, a driver is at fault for the car crash based on negligence.
Put simply, when a car driver is negligent and causes an injury, they are normally liable any damages. This is where you need skilled legal representation that can build a solid case that the other party was negligent.
“Negligence” is a broad term that includes reckless or careless driving, or simply not paying sufficient attention to other drivers on the freeway, and it also includes a driver violating California traffic laws.
Determining fault in a freeway accident requires a showing of negligence by the other driver.
An at-fault could be liable for any property damage to your car and any medical bills you might incur due to the accident. To prove another driver was negligent, you must show the:
- other driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely and not in a way that might cause an accident;
- other driver breached the duty of care by driving in a reckless manner;
- other driver's recklessness caused your accident where you suffered injuries.
Under the negligence laws in the state of California, when a negligent car driver causes injury or damage to someone else, the negligent car driver is legally liable for those damages.
However, in order for an injured victim to obtain financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff (victim) must be able to prove the defendant was negligent in causing the freeway car wreck.
Car driver's basis duty of care
All California car drivers owe other drivers on the road a duty to use reasonable care when they ate operating their vehicle.
This means they must exercise reasonable care while driving, watching out for pedestrians, obstacles, and other cars, while controlling the speed and movement of their own car.
What If Both Drivers are Partially at Fault?
In some car collision cases, both drivers are partially at fault for causing an accident if both were negligent.
The California “comparative fault” law says that even if both drivers share some fault, the injured driver can obtain damages.
However, the specific amount of damages can be reduced based on the driver's share of the fault.
Clearly, “negligence” and “fault” can quickly get confusing and complicated as both drivers frequently blame each other for causing the car wreck.
It's not uncommon for a car driver to not have any actual proof the other driver was to blame. Further, insurance companies often don't try that hard to find out what really caused the accident unless it's in their best interest.
You need to closely review your motor vehicle freeway injury with your personal injury lawyer who can advise you on the strength of your case and any available damages to recover.
Common Causes of Negligent Driving
There are many common examples of driver behavior that might be considered negligent, including the following:
- driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- texting while driving,
- distracted driving,
- driving too fast for the road or weather conditions,
- running a red light,
- failure to yield right of way,
- aggressive driving.
When a driver acts in any of these ways, and they cause a crash with your vehicle, they may be liable for damages.
Let's say that you're out running errands on a Saturday morning and you're heading up the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, minding your business, obeying the speed limit.
All of a sudden, your car jerks to one side because another vehicle slammed into the side of your car.
It turns out that driver was rushing to work, driving way over the speed limit, and swerving between lanes.
If you can prove the other driver was negligent, you may be able to collect compensation from them for the repairs needed on your car and any medical bills you have to cover.
What are the Potential Damages in a Freeway Car Accident Lawsuit?
Compensatory damages in a car collision depend on the injuries and losses suffered by the victim. When you file a personal injury claim, victims (plaintiffs) will seek maximum compensation for their losses to be paid by the party who was negligent.
When you file a personal injury claim in California, you're trying to collect two different types of damages from the negligent driver: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are typically those with a set dollar amount, such as medical expenses and vehicle repair. Non-economic damages can often more difficult to determine a value, such as the pain and suffering resulting from the car crash.
Each of these types of damages can provide you with financial relief in different ways.
Economic Damages for a Road Accident in California
As noted, economic damages are damages with a knowable monetary value. These include:
- Vehicle repair costs,
- Medical bills,
- Emergency medical treatment,
- Ambulance and emergency medical service costs,
- Physical therapy,
- Prescription medication,
- Medical supplies,
- Future medical treatment,
- Lost income,
- Lost earning potential.
Car accident victims may suffer serious injuries that reduce or eliminate their ability to go back to work.
Beyond astronomical medical expenses, not being able to earn a living can put a crash victim in financial hardship.
40% of Americans are only one missed paycheck away from financial catastrophe.
Not being able to work can place a serious strain on your financial health and your physical health.
When your focus is on the medical bills on top of your regular everyday bills, it takes your attention away from healing and getting better.
Trying to collect economic damages from the at-fault driver is vital to your ability to make a full recovery from your injuries.
You injury attorney needs to first closely review all the details on the car accident in order to determine all the damages you may be eligible to receive.
Non-economic damages are those items that may not have an immediate dollar value. These may include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of consortium,
- Loss of life enjoyment.
These are issues you're dealing with after your car accident, but just because there's no clear dollar value doesn't mean you should not try to get compensation for them.
If your injuries are so severe that you can no longer work, that can have a serious mental impact, causing you extreme distress and frustration.
Attempting to collect maximum compensation for these types of injuries can help ease the stress weighing you down and give you the chance to focus on your wellbeing.
While no amount of money will undo the accident or your suffering, it will help you adjust to your new way of life and avoid financial hardship.
Keep a Journal
To help you in your goal of collecting both economic and non-economic damages, keep a journal. Write in your journal every day. Keep detailed notes on:
- Your level of pain,
- Your mental state,
- What you were able to do and not do each day,
- How you have improved, or not.
This information can prove vital to showing what you have to endure due to another driver's negligence.
Your lawyer may be able to use your journal to help paint a picture, in your own words, about how the accident and your injuries have altered your life, giving you a chance at recovering maximum compensation.
Can A Family File a Lawsuit If a Family Member Was Killed in a Car Wreck?
Thousands of people are killed every year in car crashes in California. Under the wrongful death laws, a family can hold the responsible party liable for their negligence when a family member has been killed.
In wrongful death car accident cases, there are certain family members who can file a claim for damages, including the following:
- Domestic partner and others.
The damages that are available in a wrongful death car wreck lawsuit include funeral and burial expenses, lost financial earnings the victim would have earned, and compensation for lost companionship and support.
Our car accident attorneys can deal with all the issues of the wrongful death claim lawyer in order for your family to start the healing process.
Freeway Car Accident Injury Lawyer in California
Car accidents are frustrating enough. You don't need to worry about the law, too.
Your personal injury attorney can also investigate the accident, protect you rights, gather evidence, subpoena records to find out what really happened, and negotiate with the insurance adjuster to get you the most money available.
We can issue a demand letter, negotiate with the insurance company, and of course file a personal injury lawsuit.
There are some victims who don't think they need a lawyer after a car injury wreck.
Before accepting the offer from an insurance company, you need to ensure you understand what is at stake before losing your rights in a settlement.
Put simply, the insurance company does not have your best interest in mind because they are a business.
Contact our experienced California car crash injury lawyers for a free case evaluation. We can review the details so you can get an idea of what your claim might be worth.
We operate on a contingency fee basis meaning we don't receive any money unless you your case.