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How Is Fault Determined in a California Car Accident?

A man holding his head in front of a car crash

California is considered an at-fault state, which means that it still operates under the tort system.

This means that all parties involved in a car accident have rights to sue for bodily injury and damages resulting from a car accident.

Drivers must filing an injury claim and prove negligence in a car accident in order to be compensated for their losses. Insurance companies will examine various factors when deciding who was ultimately responsible for the accident. Fault doesn't have to be placed upon just one individual, it can be based on percentages such as 60/40. The amount of financial compensation will be weighted heavily on this, along with what the police report reads.

Why Choose Our Sacramento Auto Accident Lawyer

Many personal injury law firms boast about their no-fee guarantee: "You pay nothing until we win for you." That's the only way personal injury lawyers can charge, by law.

If you have been in an auto accident, there are more important issues, such as the size of the eventual settlement, and the willingness of the auto accident attorney in Sacramento to keep fighting even after a low-ball settlement is offered.

While some law firms will take advantage of your accident and end up with a bigger payment than you gain from your settlement, at Eliot Reiner APLC we will never get paid more than you. Our relentless, committed advocacy has won millions of dollars for our clients. Contact us today! 

When To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

As a general guideline, it’s best to contact a lawyer after a car accident as soon as possible. Injury victims have a limited time of when they can file a personal injury claim. The law which sets this limit is called the statute of limitations. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1 the state of California has a two-year time limit. This means you have two years to file your claim and if you try to file a claim outside of this two-year period, you will almost certainly lose your right to do so.

It's important to note that there are some exceptions to this law where the filing time may change, including:

  • If the injury victim is a minor at the time of the accident
  • The negligent party left the state before a claim could be filed
  • If the injured party did not discover they were injured right away

The statute of limitations determines whether or not you will be able to file your car accident claim. Contact an experienced Sacramento car accident lawyer today to discuss the details of your case and learn your rights and options. Our firm offers free, no-obligation consultations so you have nothing to lose by contacting our firm today.

Types of Car Accidents We Handle

  • Pedestrian Accidents - According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal pedestrian accidents are one of the few categories of highway deaths that are actually increasing. In 2017, the number of pedestrian fatalities totaled 5,977. Crosswalk accidents tend to be more serious than other types of collisions as they pit fragile human beings against two-ton machines made of steel traveling at high speeds. Paralysis, multiple broken bones, severe lacerations, and head and brain trauma are just some of the negative outcomes.

Dangerous Road Conditions - Poorly designed roads are the underlying cause of more than 23 percent of annual fatal accidents in the Unites States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Poorly maintained roads and dangerous intersections can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles or impede their ability to see oncoming traffic, causing drivers to suffer serious injuries. These risks are especially prevalent when combined with heavy traffic or poor weather. Dangerous roadside conditions include potholes, fissures, uneven road surfaces, blind turnouts, missing or inadequate signs, and more.

Multiple Vehicle Accidents - According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly one third of all car accidents in America involve more than two vehicles. While a collision can be caused by a myriad of different factors, crashes involving multiple vehicles are often sparked by an act of driver negligence. Even a mild tap of another car’s bumper at high speeds can cause a vehicle to lose control and snowball into a large-scale crash. Since determining liability for these collisions can be so difficult, insurance companies often try to pay injured parties as little as possible for their injures. If you have been injured in a multiple-vehicle crash, our firm can use our vast legal knowledge to protect your rights and fight for a settlement that fully compensates for your losses.

Road Construction - Some of the most dangerous workplaces in Sacramento County are road construction areas along our highways. Signs are posted, signal machines warn of upcoming situations and physical barricades are erected separating workers from passing traffic. States have doubled and tripled fines and sentences for endangering roadway workers and law enforcement officials. Even so, workers are struck nearly every day by car and truck drivers, often with fatal consequences.

Child Injuries - When an adult is injured in an accident, there is usually a two-year window of opportunity to sue for compensation. A different statute of limitations exist for children who are injured — usually until their 18th birthday. In fact, the child has an additional year after that to file a suit.

Other types include:

There are specific steps to takeif you are in an accident. Don't hesitate to contact us to learn more from our auto accident lawyer in Sacramento.

Commonly Types of Car Accident Injuries

The impact of a collision can cause a person to suffer injuries on nearly all parts of the body. Broken glass, projectiles, and fire can result in severe cuts and burns, while the intense whipping motion caused by the impact can cause a person’s head and limbs to strike hard surfaces within the wreckage, resulting in a varying amount of damage.

While accidents at high speeds generally cause more serious injuries than others, even a minor fender bender can cause a person to suffer chronic pain for the rest of their life.

A car accident can cause the following types of injuries:

  • Whiplash
  • Broken bones
  • Paralysis
  • Dental damage
  • Concussions
  • Fractured ribs
  • Lacerations
  • Herniated disks

In addition to the physical effects, an auto accident can cause severe psychological damage in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Since many of these injuries may not have obvious symptoms and can worsen over time, it is crucial you seek medical attention promptly after a collision. Failing to see a doctor after a crash can potentially lead to an insurance claim denial for reasons of negligence.

5 Tips to Prevent Car Accidents in Sacramento

Whenever you get behind the wheel, it is important to ensure that you are driving safely and obey all traffic laws to avoid being involved in a car accident. However, sometimes crashes are unavoidable. Fortunately, most accidents are easily preventable. To help become a safer driver, here are several tips to help avoid the possibility of a collision.

Each time you get into a vehicle, remember the following tips to prevent a car accident in Sacramento:

  • 1. Make sure your vehicle is in good, driving condition – Maintenance is important. There are many accidents where a malfunction of an auto part is the cause. Ensure that the brakes and tires are in great condition, and all fluids are at their proper levels.
  • 2. Look 12 seconds ahead – This enables you to react to potential road hazards instead of suddenly slamming on your brakes and swerving out of the way. Focus on the area where you will be driving in 10-12 seconds.
  • 3. Avoid distractions – Whether it is a cellphone or a GPS, we are more distracted than ever due to the technological advances in our society. Distractions can take your hands away from the steering wheel, your eyes away from the road, and your mind away from properly driving your vehicle.
  • 4. Avoid tailgating – Being too close to the vehicle in front of you leaves little room to avoid crashing into it. Leave a three- to four-second cushion between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • 5. Be nice – Being mindful of everyone on the road goes a long way when it comes to avoiding accidents. If an aggressive driver is close, make sure you avoid him or her at all costs.

Don't Wait to Get Help Today

If you are injured or disabled following a car accident caused by another party, you have the right to seek compensation. Our office serves clients throughout Placer County and surrounding areas. For more information contact our Sacramento auto accident lawyer to find out your options.

Call (916) 778-3228 to schedule a free consultationwith a Sacramento auto accident attorney.

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