What You Need To Know About California Auto Accident Law
Although motor vehicle accidents happen every day, many people are not sure what to do when it happens to them. Experienced legal counsel is crucial in pursuing compensation for your injuries.
Sumner Law in Walnut Creek provides the sophisticated advocacy to hold negligent drivers and their insurers accountable. We handle auto accidents in Contra Costa County and the Bay Area. We can answer your specific questions in a free initial consultation.
What types of compensation can I recover if I’m injured in a California auto accident?
Car accident victims can be compensated for tangible financial losses, or economic damages. This includes medical bills and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, damage to your vehicle and personal property, and associated expenses, such as renting a car.
You can also recover noneconomic damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, loss of companionship or consortium (marital relations), and any disfigurement or disability. (California law prohibits uninsured drivers from recovering noneconomic damages, even if the other driver was fully at fault.)
Can I still recover compensation if my car accident was partly my fault?
Yes. California is a comparative negligence state. If you were speeding but the other driver ran a red light, their insurance company would likely settle even though you contributed to the accident.
If your case goes to trial, each driver is assigned a percentage of fault. If you were 10% at fault, you could recover 90% of the damages awarded by the judge or jury. At 40% fault, you could still collect 60% of damages. California uses the pure comparative negligence standard; you could recover partial compensation even if you were 80 or 90% to blame. The quality of your legal counsel becomes very important in litigating the degree of fault.
My insurance company offered me a settlement. Should I accept it?
No. Insurance companies commonly “lowball” the first offer. What seems like a lot of money may not cover your losses or reflect what your case is really worth. You should never accept a settlement or sign any waivers before talking to an attorney, especially when there are significant injuries.
My car accident injuries don’t seem that serious. Should I still see a doctor?
Yes, you should see a doctor for two reasons. First, you may be more seriously injured than you realize. Symptoms of fractures, concussions or spinal injuries may not be felt until days or weeks after the crash. Second, a long time lag between the accident and medical treatment can hurt your legal case. The defense will argue that your injuries were exaggerated or not related to your car accident.
Get Answers To All Your Questions And Concerns
Scott Sumner is an experienced trial lawyer with 25 years of experience in personal injury law. He has a long record of verdicts and settlements, owing to his dedication to clients and his thorough and strategic approach.