Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
Auto accidents are capable of significantly disrupting a person’s life, often presenting many emotional, financial, and physical obstacles. Those who are injured in auto collisions and those families who have lost loved ones in crashes due to another’s negligence deserve compensation for medical care; lost income, including potential income; and pain and suffering. An experienced Sacramento car accident lawyer can stand up to the insurance companies for you to make sure you get every dollar you rightfully deserve.
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At Crowell Law Offices, our Sacramento car accident lawyers have earned the respect of insurance company adjusters and insurance company attorneys from the thousands of auto accident cases we have handled over the years. Our ethical professionals will present your case in the best possible light in order to recover the compensation you deserve. If you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident caused by the negligence of another driver, call us at (916) 303-2800. We offer a free consultation to explain your rights under the law.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Sacramento
Car accidents are unfortunately a common phenomenon across America. California sees hundreds of thousands of car accidents every year, and deadly crashes happen all the time. But what causes these Sacramento car accidents?
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents. Talking on the phone, eating, texting, adjusting settings in the car such as music or air conditioning, or talking to or handing things to passengers are all forms of distracted driving. Even a moment of lost focus can result in an accident.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all 50 states, and is a frequent cause of accident-related fatalities. Those driving under the influence have a decreased sense of judgment when behind the wheel and may cause devastating accidents.
The government, both local and state, are in charge of maintaining infrastructure, including roads and highways. When the government fails to handle problems like potholes, broken or missing guard rails, or outdated signage, drivers can suffer the consequences. The government agencies responsible may be held liable.
Proving Fault in a Sacramento Car Accident Claim
It is vital that an independent investigation will be conducted by an experienced car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will investigate the circumstances of the accident. Witnesses will be interviewed. A written statement will be obtained from them. Photographs will be taken of the accident scene including damage to both vehicles. Your attorney may even bring in an expert at auto accident reconstruction in order to help prove the cause of the accident and who was at fault.
Reasonable Care After a Car Accident
Your car crash likely occurred because of the carelessness or negligence of another driver. When a driver is deemed negligent, that means he or she has behaved behind the wheel in a careless, unsafe manner. The other driver may have attempted to run through a red light. He or she may have been exceeding posted speed limits. The driver may have been distracted while driving, etc. Drivers must at all times exercise “reasonable care” while behind the wheel.
Most Common Car Accident Injuries in California
Some of the most common causes of car accidents in Sacramento and beyond include distracted driving and negligence in high-risk areas. Unfortunately, even low-speed crashes can cause serious and debilitating injuries.
Some of the most common injuries Californians suffer during auto accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Soft tissue injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial injuries
- Internal organ damage
Hospitals and emergency rooms are filled with people who have suffered a wide range of injuries due to car accidents, and this isn’t a complete list. The devastating effects of a car crash are unpredictable; there are so many variables involved.
Medical Treatment is Almost Always Necessary
It’s important that you seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident. Some injuries are not readily apparent, including brain injuries, and some don’t show up for days or weeks after the crash. If you wait to seek medical treatment, your injuries could become worse. Your medical records will also prove very important if you choose to pursue a lawsuit against the negligent or careless party who caused your accident. They may be essential in determining the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.
Treatment for Auto Accident Injuries
Your doctor may order X-rays, MRIs and other screenings to help determine the extent of your injuries. Unfortunately, these diagnostic tools are very expensive to use; in many cases, you’ll end up paying out-of-pocket. It’s no wonder medical bills pile up so quickly. Outside your medical bills, you’ll still have to figure out how to pay for rehabilitation, treatments and your prescriptions. If you have health insurance, you need to know that it may not cover everything you need to recover. Sometimes long-term care is necessary, too, which can destroy your savings and cause you undue financial hardship. Make sure that you obtain copies of all of your medical records, including detailed descriptions of treatments that you have received as a result of your injuries.
Bringing a Negligence Action in Sacramento
If you have been injured due to another’s negligence like cell phone use, texting, speeding, etc., you will most likely bring a negligence action. In order to prove a claim of negligence, four elements have to be proven by the plaintiff. They include the following:
- You must prove that the driver had a duty to operate the motor vehicle with reasonable care.
- You must prove that by their action (or lack of action) the driver breached that duty to exercise “reasonable care.”
- You must prove that the cause of the crash was the other driver’s breach of their duty to exercise “reasonable care.”
- You must prove that as the result of the collision, damages were sustained.
Proving Fault After a Car Crash
In order to successfully argue a lawsuit against a careless or negligent driver, the law requires you to prove that the driver was at fault and that the accident would not have occurred if the other driver was exercising reasonable care. Your lawyer will rely heavily upon your version of events. It’s important that you remember as many details as you can about the accident; this will help your attorney reconstruct what happened.
What You Need to Prove
Under California law, your attorney will need to prove four things:
- The driver had a duty to operate the motor vehicle with reasonable care
- The driver’s action (or lack of action) was a breach of his or her duty to exercise “reasonable care”
- The cause of the crash was the other driver’s breach of their duty to exercise “reasonable care”
- As the result of the collision, damages were sustained.
Documentation Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Need
Your lawyer will probably ask you to provide as much supporting documentation as possible. This includes:
- Medical treatment records
- Medical bills
- Proof of your lost wages
- Medical treatment plans for future care
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Witness testimony
- Your own testimony
- Police reports
Your lawyer may even bring in experts who can reconstruct the accident to help determine fault.
Will You Have to Go to Court?
The vast majority of car accident cases in California settle out of court. That means the injured party and the insurance company are able to reach an agreement for a fair settlement. However, no two cases are the same. Your attorney will be able to provide you with case-specific guidance based on what happens during negotiations with the insurance company. Your attorney may suggest that you bring the case in front of a judge and jury so that they can help determine how much compensation you deserve for your injuries. Once a judge makes a decision, the insurance company must abide by his or her ruling.
A Word on Insurance Adjusters
To the insurance adjusters, you are just a number. An insurance adjuster’s primary job is to preserve the company’s bottom line. The more they pay you, the lower their company’s bottom line sinks. If you intend to seek financial compensation for your injuries, you need to know that insurance adjusters will do their best to deny your claim. Insurance adjusters do not have your best interests at heart. They are trained to appear sympathetic and understanding; they may ask you to sign a release so that they can view your medical records, and most trusting people don’t have a reason to second-guess an insurance adjuster’s motives.
This can be a huge mistake. When you sign over authorization for an insurance adjuster to view your medical records, the insurance company can use what they find against you. Please do not make the mistake of discussing your case with an insurance adjuster – not even one from your own insurance company. Let your lawyer handle correspondence between you and the insurance companies involved.
Why Should You Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento?
Dealing with auto insurance companies after a crash can be difficult. Many hope that you do not understand your rights under the law and that you will settle for far less compensation than you deserve. A knowledgeable Sacramento car accident lawyer will know what to expect from insurance companies and the tactics they employ.
What Can a Sacramento Auto Accident Lawyer Do for You?
When you work with an auto accident attorney, he or she will be able to negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf. Your lawyer will tackle tough issues and represent you in court if the insurance company is not willing to do their part.
Your lawyer will also do what it takes to prove that the other party was at fault for your injuries. In order to do so, he or she will comb through all the evidence in your case. That may include police reports, witness statements and your own testimony.
Obtaining the Compensation You Deserve for Your Car Accident Claim
The Northern California vehicle accident attorneys at Crowell Law Offices can deal with insurance companies and help you recover the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured in an auto accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, call (916) 303-2800 for a free case evaluation.
A note from our firm owner, Hendrick S. Crowell, II
Featured Speaker, Law Review CLE “How to Handle an Auto Accident Case from Start to Finish”
(California State Bar Approved Course for Attorney Continuing Legal Education)
A majority of our plaintiff personal injury practice focuses on auto accident representation. As we approach our 20th year of practice we are pleased to highlight some of the excellent results we have been able to obtain for our injured clients. These results are not listed to boast; rather, they show that we have the resources, experience, and trust that is necessary to stick with a case and develop it to obtain the maximum compensation available. And while many cases do not exceed $1 million, it is notable that our firm has obtained several awards in excess of this amount. But whether the case is a catastrophic injury requiring extensive litigation or a moderate injury that will eventually heal without surgery—our goal is to obtain the highest dollar award available, and we believe a testament to that is our online reputation, including the many positive client reviews on places like Yelp, Customer Lobby, Avvo, and Google. Please call to speak with our firm’s owner, Hendrick S. Crowell, II, at 916-303-2800 to discuss your injury case and to see if we might be of assistance to you.
Questions to Ask Your Prospective Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
1) How much experience do you have with auto accident cases/litigation? Our firm owner has represented auto accident victims since the inception of the firm in 2001 (22 years), and prior to that worked in a law firm as a legal assistant while attending college. From day one (after taking the bar exam and passing on the first attempt) we have zealously advocated for the maximum recovery for each and every client.
2) What is your success rate? We have a 99% success rate with personal injury cases.
3) How much do you charge, and do you bill your clients for costs in advance? We take all cases on a contingency basis, meaning we do not collect any money up front, and in 22 years of practice have never billed a client in advance of a settlement, and we do not plan to start billing clients in advance now. We also will never collect more fees than the client receives.
4) Is your attorney accessible when needed? We will always make an attorney available for you when needed, and our firm owner gives his cell phone number to clients and makes himself available when it is needed most.
5) Do you take all cases? No. Some cases are better handled by the injured party directly, and others we refer to attorneys who may have a particular area of expertise. We always offer a free consultation so please call to discuss your case. We will give you prompt advice, and if we cannot help you, we will point you in the right direction for assistance. 916-303-2800 or Hendrick@crowelllawoffices.com.
Sacramento Car Accident FAQ
Car accidents are confusing, painful, and difficult to navigate without guidance. Fortunately, you don’t have to handle your case alone. Seek out a Sacramento car accident attorney for personalized answers. In the meantime, check out some of our most commonly-asked questions below.
What do I do if my insurance company contacts me?
You must report your accident to your insurance company to get the claims process rolling. You will need to provide details about your accident. Be sure not to admit or even imply fault. Your lawyer can talk you through this process to ensure that you don’t dig yourself into a hole. Avoid talking to them as much as possible. Do not sign anything or offer to give a recorded statement.
Shouldn’t my insurance offer me a fair settlement?
Unfortunately, despite the fact that they are only able to operate because of your money, insurance companies operate under a for-profit model. That means that giving you the total compensation you deserve is not in their best interest. Allowing an attorney to handle communications is the best way to ensure that your insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you.
What if I’m partly at fault for my accident?
If you’re found partially responsible for a car accident, your compensation may be reduced by that fault. While you may still be able to recover some of the funds, your lawyer can help you maximize your compensation. Reach out for help getting compensated fairly.
What can I do immediately following my car accident?
Before anything else, make sure to get yourself checked out by a doctor. Your health is top priority. Additionally, even if you feel uninjured, the shock and stress of your accident may be hiding the true extent of your injuries. It’s also good for your case to have your medical condition documented by a professional directly after the accident. If you are feeling able, write down your version of events as soon as you can. The more time passes, the hazier things will become. It will be valuable to you, your attorney, and your case to have this information written down.