Auto Accident Attorney in California
The San Francisco car accident attorneys with The Geller Firm are ready and able to assist accident victims who have had their lives turned upside down and need help navigating the injury claim process. The Geller Firm understands that this is a difficult time for you, which is why you should not “go it alone” and place additional pressure and stress in your shoulders by attempting to negotiate with an insurance company on your own. Let The Geller Firm take on that fight for you so you can focus on healing.
Car Accidents are a Common Occurrence in California
California is a remarkable state resplendent with great weather, a vibrant economy, incredible locations, and much more. However, California is not perfect. For example, it is considered to be one of the more dangerous areas to travel by automobile. In fact, according to a report issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, California is ranked as the state with the highest number of car accidents and fatalities caused by automobile collisions.
Overview of Negligence and Liability in a California Automobile Accident
When you file a personal injury claim, it is important to understand that the case will not focus on guilty or innocence. Rather, the focus will be on which motorist is liable for causing the collision. Liability is determined by which motorist was negligent and whether that negligence was the proximate cause of the accident victim's harms and losses.
Generally, when a motorist fails to use reasonable care and that failure causes an accident or injury, the negligent driver is liable for damages. According to California negligence laws, when a negligent motorist causes an injury or damage to another motorist, then the negligent motorist is liable for those damages.
The Legal Standard for Recovering Financial Restitution in a California Personal Injury Case
For an injury victim to obtain financial restitution in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff (i.e. the injured victim) must show the defendant (i.e. the other motorist) was negligent in causing the collision. The legal standard for negligence in a California vehicle collision lawsuit are:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The defendant breached that duty of care through negligence; and
- The defendant's negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff's injuries
Pursuing Financial Restitution in the Aftermath of a Serious Automobile Accident
The amount of financial restitution you can pursue in the wake of a car accident depends primarily on the extent of your bodily injuries and the harms and losses you suffered. The damages that are pursued in an automobile accident lawsuit include both economic and non-economic compensatory damages. Economic damages are generally those that have a set dollar value. For example, medical bills and lost wages are considered to be economic damages. Non-economic damages are more ephemeral and difficult to calculate but warrant restitution.
Examples of damages pursued in a California car accident claim include:
- Medical expenses (both immediate and long-term)
- Vehicle repairs or replacement costs
- Lost income from not being able to work
- Lost future earning capacity
- Physical therapy or occupational therapy
- Medication and medical supplies
- Pain and suffering
Pursing Financial Restitution When the Other Driver Lacks Auto Insurance Coverage
If you were involved in a collision and injured by an uninsured driver, the process for recovering damages is more complex, but not impossible. First, pursuant to California law, insurance companies are required to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to all motorists. However, this UM/UIM coverage is optional and not mandatory. If you have UM/UIM coverage in your auto insurance policy, that is one of the best options when filing a claim for financial restitution.
Similarly, if you were hit and injured by a motorist with insurance, but their insurance policy only covered a finite amount of the damages, you may be able to utilize the underinsured motorist provision of your own insurance policy to obtain additional compensation.
Understanding the Role of a California Car Accident Lawyer
When you hire an automobile accident lawyer, they should be an advocate for you. This means negotiating on your behalf with the auto insurance company, collecting necessary records, filing documents on your behalf with a California court, etc.
Some people do not think they really need a lawyer in the wake of a serious car accident or they mistakenly believe that a lawyer is going to take a massive percentage of any financial recovery. This type of thinking is what causes some accident victims to “go it alone” and get far less financial restitution than they are actually owed, or they have their claims denied entirely by the insurance company.
Do not let this happen. It is important to understand what is at stake before you accept any settlement offer made by an insurance company or sign away your rights in a settlement agreement.
Best Way to Select a California Car Accident Lawyer
There are a plethora of lawyers working in California, but not all lawyers are the same. In fact, most lawyers specialize in different areas of the law so the key is to find a lawyer who is well versed in California car accident law and has a strong reputation as a quality litigator. You should also try to find a California auto accident attorney who will take the time to explain the injury claim process and keep you in the loop about your case. In fact, your San Francisco auto accident lawyer should be someone who is available to answer your questions and take the time to ensure you are fully informed about what is happening during the claims process.
Ready to Take Action? Contact The Geller Firm
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an automobile accident caused by the careless or reckless actions of someone else, your mind is probably inundated with questions and concerns – How will the medical bills get paid? How will the rent get paid if you cannot work for an extended period to recover from your injuries? What steps need to be taken if you are permanently harmed from the accident? These are important questions that warrant clear, direct answers. Those answers can be provided by an experienced automobile accident lawyer in California with The Geller Firm. Contact our firm today to schedule a free, confidential case review.