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San Diego Car Accident Lawyers

Thousands of people are killed in motor vehicle collisions each year in California. Hundreds of thousands are injured. In 2015, that number equated to nearly 30 car accident injuries every hour across the state.

No one is ever expecting a catastrophic vehicle crash to happen to them. But in the aftermath, victims and their families are left with the burden of devastating injuries and mounting bills. There’s also the expense of repairing or replacing their vehicles and dealing with the pressure of the insurance company. It’s hard for anyone to endure.

If a careless driver caused the crash that injured you, CaseyGerry can hold that person responsible for your losses. If applicable, the skilled accident lawyers at the law firm can investigate defective car parts or roadway defects that led to an accident. With two full-time investigators on staff, ​​​​​​​CaseyGerry’s car collision legal team can get started on your free consultation as soon as you call. The San Diego personal injury attorneys at CaseyGerry are the best when it comes to all personal injury claims.

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Why Choose A San Diego Car Accident Lawyer From CaseyGerry?

CaseyGerry has the experience to help injured victims. As the oldest plaintiffs’ law firm in San Diego, our team has a decades-long groundwork of knowledge to go the distance against negligent parties. We put our client’s interests at the forefront and help them obtain the compensation they deserve.

It has been our job for more than 70 years of practice to protect victims and advocate for them during tough times. We know the California automobile accident law and the complex rules of the road that govern drivers, and even the technicalities behind advanced driver assistance systems.

If you were injured or a family member was killed in a car crash in California, please contact the San Diego auto accident lawyers at CaseyGerry. Call (619) 238-1811 or fill out the form below to get started. We can discuss your case evaluation, what happened to you, the next steps, and what you can expect.

San Diego, California Auto Accident Law

Like many states, California is an at-fault car accident state, which means that injury victims turn to the person who caused the accident for compensation. In no-fault states, injured parties file claims with their own auto insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. 

At-fault laws hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence, but they can also make cases more contentious. When accident fault is disputed, injured parties have to prove that the defendant caused the accident in order to recover compensation for their injuries and damages. 

Proving Your Car Accident Claim in San Diego

Proving Your Car Accident Claim in San Diego

In general, to prove fault in a car accident claim, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s negligent conduct caused the car accident. To prove negligence, the following four elements must be satisfied:

  • Duty – The defendant had a duty of care. Establishing that the plaintiff has a duty of care is usually not difficult in car accident cases because all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and to comply with California driving laws.
  • Breach – The defendant breached his or her duty of care. Plaintiffs offer evidence showing that the defendant breached that duty of care. Evidence may include the plaintiff’s testimony, witness statements, photographs, video, police reports, and anything else that demonstrates the defendant’s breach of duty.
  • Injury – The plaintiff was injured. Plaintiffs provide evidence to prove that they suffered injuries and damages in the accident. Injury evidence typically includes medical bills, photographs, medical reports, and other documentation.
  • Causation – The defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries. It is not enough to show that the defendant was negligent and the plaintiff was injured. To prove your case evaluation against the defendant, you have to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. In other words, but for the defendant’s negligent conduct, you would not have been injured. 

California Comparative Negligence Law

Fortunately for those injured in California car accidents, state laws are favorable for injury victims, even for those who were partially at fault for their accidents. In many other comparative fault states, a plaintiff’s right to collect compensation is limited to a maximum percentage of fault. 

For example, some states permit plaintiffs to collect compensation so long as they are less than 50% at fault. If they are found to be 51% at fault for the accident, they lose the right to collect any compensation from the defendant. 

In California, however, the comparative fault law is very liberal. Injured plaintiffs are permitted to recover compensation if they show that the defendant was even marginally at fault for the accident. The percentage of fault is allocated to each party at trial by the judge or jury.

After fault is determined and the plaintiff’s injuries and damages have been calculated, the plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by his or her portion of fault. Suppose a jury decides that you were 50% at fault for the accident, the defendant was 50% at fault, and your total injuries and damages were $100,000. You would be awarded $50,000 (50%).

Types of California Car Collision Cases

Caraccident attorney in San Diego

DUI Accidents

Intoxicated drivers are responsible for a large portion of serious and fatal car accidents in California. DUI convictions serve to punish those who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but injury victims must pursue personal injury claims against the driver to recover compensation for their losses. Evidence of driving under the influence can be used to support the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant.

Rideshare Accident

While rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft tout their million-dollar insurance policies, the rideshare company denies responsibility in most motor vehicle accident cases. If you do not know California’s rideshare accident laws, determining liability can be complicated, and there may be multiple defendants and auto insurance companies involved in your claim. 

Truck, Bus, and Large Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Collisions with large trucks and buses are different than regular automobile accidents. Truck and bus accident defendants are often government entities or large trucking companies with many legal and financial resources. Injury victims should be represented by a San Diego car accident attorney with experience in mass transit and commercial motor vehicle accident litigation.  

Pedestrian Or Bicyclist Accident

When pedestrians and bicyclists are involved in automobile collisions, the injuries are often catastrophic. Costs associated with injuries and damages can be significant due to excessive medical bills, missed work, disability, and pain and suffering. When injuries are fatal, surviving family members often experience substantial losses as a result of losing their loved ones.

Single-Vehicle Accident 

Single motor vehicle accidents are not always the automobile driver’s fault. Common causes of single-vehicle accidents include road obstructions, poor road maintenance, lack of signage and warnings of potential dangers, and automobile defects. Those injured in a single-vehicle accident may seek compensation when someone else was responsible for the accident. 

Distracted Driving Accidents

Drivers should never try to multitask when they are operating a vehicle. It only takes seconds for a distracted driver to cause an accident. When drivers text, eat, talk on the phone, send emails, or do anything that takes their attention away from driving, it puts everyone else on the road at risk.

Teenage Driver Accidents

Teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents than other driver demographics, especially teens who are in the first six months of driving. Teenagers are inexperienced, frequently distracted, and tend to make mistakes that more mature drivers would not normally make. Many teens also fail to appreciate the impact that accidents can have on injury victims and their families.  

Injuries Associated With Car Accidents In San Diego

The most common types of injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents in San Diego include the following:

Whiplash

A leading injury reported from car accidents is whiplash, which is a form of soft tissue damage caused by a person’s neck being forcefully ‘whipped’ back and forth. Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries affecting the neck can be excruciating and take a considerable amount of time to heal.

Severe Bone Fractures

Broken and fractured bones are incredibly painful and may require surgery, months with a cast, and physical therapy. Severe fractures can be even more dangerous if a piece of bone breaks off and moves through the bloodstream, then perforates vital organs, such as the lungs or heart.

Head Injuries (TBIs)

TBIs, such as concussions, occur when the head takes a violent blow or jolt. Brain injuries can be catastrophic depending on their severity. Victims often suffer long-term ramifications, including permanent cognitive or physical impairments.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Even a small amount of damage to the spinal cord can have catastrophic consequences. A spinal cord injury (SCI) can result in loss of range of movement, partial or total paralysis, permanent cognitive impairment, and loss of control over basic bodily functions.

Back Injuries

Many types of back injuries can happen because of a car accident—such as herniated discs, vertebrae fractures, sprains and strains, and others. A severe back injury can take extensive time to heal, but even then, a full recovery is not guaranteed and some victims suffer a lifetime of chronic pain.

Disfigurement

Road rash or severe lacerations from a collision can cause permanent scarring or disfigurement. Not only are these injuries painful, but they also impact a victim’s quality of life and confidence. 

Burn Injuries

When a vehicle explodes or catches fire, victims can suffer varying degrees of burn injuries which can be devastating and create lifelong consequences for the victim.

Internal Injuries

When internal organs are damaged, symptoms can go undetected but can be life-threatening in some cases unless a victim seeks medical attention right after a car accident. 

Emotional Distress

Not all car accident injuries are physical. In addition to an injury or without one, victims can suffer emotional distress—for instance, depression, anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc. As a result, they may require professional treatment for their mental or emotional trauma.

Immediately seek medical treatment after leaving the scene of an accident. Even if you feel “fine,” it is best not to assume you are uninjured since adrenaline could be covering up the pain. 

What To Do After A Car Accident In San Diego

Car accident lawyer in San Diego

The aftermath of a car accident can be stressful and overwhelming. Therefore, it is vital to know the right steps to take after—for example:

  • Try not to panic and stay calm. Remain at the scene and move your vehicle if you must do so for safety reasons. If you are unable to, stay in your car until the police arrive. 
  • Call 911. Emergency responders will attend to anyone who is injured, and law enforcement will fill out an accident report. This report can be critical to proving liability as the officer will include details on how they believe the accident occurred and who was at fault. 
  • Gather information. Ask for the name, phone number, car registration details, insurance information, and driver’s license number of any other parties involved. If there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information and if they can make a brief recorded statement that you can record on your phone. Impartial statements on how the accident occurred can significantly impact your claim’s outcome.
  • Refrain from discussing fault. Be careful with what you say when speaking to other parties involved in the accident. Saying something as simple as “sorry” can imply you believe you were at fault which can be used against you when pursuing a claim for compensation. 
  • Take pictures and/or videos. Documentation through photos or videos is critical. Take photos/video of the scene as a whole, the final resting positions of the vehicles, the location of their damage, the surrounding area and any other property damage, and your injuries. 
  • Call your insurance provider. Report the accident to your insurer and check your coverage options. However, it is in your best interests to not give a recorded statement if they ask for one until you speak to a car accident attorney.
  • Speak to a lawyer. Hire a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer as soon as possible. They will immediately begin investigating and collecting evidence to support your claim. They can also handle all communication with the insurance company and every other aspect of your claim. 

Types of Compensation Available in a San Diego Car Accident Claim

After a preventable auto accident caused by another party’s negligence, injury victims have the right to recover compensation for their losses. The common types available include:

Medical Expenses

Current and anticipated future medical treatment related to your accident injuries. That includes emergency care, hospitalizations, surgeries, prescriptions, rehabilitation, and costs of living with a disability, such as in-home care, adaptive medical equipment, etc.

Loss of Income

The injuries suffered in a car accident may force you to take time off work and/or significantly impact your ability to work in the future. You can pursue compensation for your current and future lost income in these cases. Additionally, you can recover diminished earning capacity for the difference in the income you can make now. 

Property Damage

Compensation for repairing or replacing your vehicle and any personal items that were damaged (e.g., cell phone, clothing, purse, car seat, etc.). 

Pain & Suffering

Compensation for the undue physical pain you must endure due to your injuries. 

Emotional Distress

If the accident caused any psychological conditions (e.g., depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, etc.), you can recover compensation. 

Loss of Consortium

A victim’s spouse can recover this type of compensation if a serious car accident leaves them unable to maintain a relationship, either physically and emotionally, or both. 

Punitive Damages

Depending on the defendant’s (at-fault party’s) degree of negligence, the court may also award punitive damages as punishment. 

Who is Liable in a San Diego Car Accident?

San Diego car accident attorney

One or more parties may be responsible for your accident, and part of collecting compensation for your injuries is making sure that the right parties are held accountable. Your car accident attorney will investigate your accident to help determine liability. Potentially responsible parties include the following: 

  • A driver involved in the accident – The most common car accident scenario involves one driver being responsible for the accident. If another driver caused your accident, you will make a claim with the driver’s insurance company.
  • Third-party – Sometimes, a third party who is not directly involved in the accident is responsible. For example, if a driver ran a red light and another driver swerved, hitting your vehicle instead, the driver who ran the red light may be liable. Other third parties frequently include entities responsible for road maintenance and manufacturers of defective vehicles.
  • Government entities – A government entity may be responsible when you are involved in an accident with a city bus, police car, or any other government-owned and operated vehicle. Claims against the government are different than other personal injury claims because of strict notice and filing deadlines. 
  • Your insurance company – In some cases, you may have a claim against your own insurance company. If you were injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, or if the driver’s insurance limits don’t cover the extent of your injuries and damages, you might file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company.

Insurance Company Negotiations

Most car accident cases involve negotiating with one or more insurance companies, and those negotiations can be challenging. Even if you pursue an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company, insurance adjusters can make collecting compensation for the full value of your claim difficult. 

If you have legal representation, your attorney will take care of all communication with insurance companies. They will examine all of your injuries and damages to calculate the value of your case. This will help to ensure that you only accept an offer that fairly compensates you for your losses.       

Length Of Time To Resolve Your Car Accident Case in San Diego

Injury clients often ask how long it will take to resolve their case. Many factors influence car accident claim timelines, such as whether or not liability is contested, how reasonable the insurance company is during settlement negotiations, and whether your case settles or goes to trial. 

Our attorneys limit the number of personal injury cases that they take on because they want to be able to give personalized attention to every case. They fight for maximum compensation for every client, which means that they are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to help you secure the compensation that you deserve. 

The majority of personal injury cases settle before going to trial, but to secure a fair settlement, negotiations may not always be quick. Sometimes one or both parties will walk away from negotiations to prepare for trial, only to reach an agreement right before the trial starts. Other times cases will settle within a few weeks or even days.  

How Much is My San Diego Auto Injury Case Worth?

Every lawsuit is different. How much a case is worth depends on a variety of factors, such as:

  • The nature, pain, and severity of your injuries,
  • How active you were before your injuries,
  • The costs of medical treatment needed for your injuries and whether you require ongoing treatment,
  • Whether your injuries caused you to lose income,
  • Whether your injuries caused any long-term or permanent impairments, disfigurement, or disabilities,
  • Physical and/or emotional suffering you experienced because of your injuries, and
  • Your past and future medical bills, lost earnings, opportunities, etc.

These and other factors will help determine the value of your case. An experienced auto accident attorney can review the circumstances of your individual case to determine what your claim may be worth. CaseyGerry can be reached by calling 619-238-1811.

Contact A San Diego Accident Attorney Today

Each case also gets the power of two full-time investigators, who uncover the details needed to show how the crash happened and who is at fault. When necessary, we enlist the help of accident lawyers to provide a full picture of the situation.

It has been our job for more than 70 years of practice to protect victims and advocate for them during tough times. We know other California automobile accident lawyers and the complex rules of the road that govern drivers.

California law limits the time you have to file a car collision lawsuit. Evidence disappears with time. The sooner you take action, the better you can protect your legal rights. Contact our accident lawyers today for a free consultation of our case.

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