Car accidents consistently rank among the top-reported causes of accidental injuries and deaths throughout the United States each year. These incidents can happen in many ways for many different reasons, and each state has different laws for resolving car accident cases. In Carlsbad, California, the fault rule applies, so whichever driver caused an accident is liable for the other driver’s resulting damages. While this may seem straightforward enough, the reality is that any car accident has the potential to be a life-changing incident, and many people experience unexpected difficulties when it comes to recovering compensation for damages inflicted by others.
Helping Car Accident Victims Recover in Carlsbad, CA
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has a team of seasoned attorneys with years of professional experience handling all types of personal injury cases in Carlsbad, including those arising from motor vehicle accidents. Our team focuses on each client’s individual needs, providing compassionate and detail-oriented legal counsel in every case we accept. We know how damaging an auto crash can be and the many legal challenges you could encounter as you seek accountability for the at-fault driver and compensation for your losses. Whatever your situation entails, rest assured that our firm has the skills and professional resources necessary to guide you to a positive outcome.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney for a Car Crash Claim in Carlsbad
While it is possible to manage your recovery efforts on your own without hiring an attorney, the reality is that this would be very difficult and risky for the average person. If you try to handle your recovery efforts without hiring legal counsel, you would be compelled to file your auto insurance claim, meet strict court requirements for a personal injury case, and manage your medical needs all on your own. This would be very challenging while struggling with painful injuries and household strain from the inability to work. Additionally, you could make unintentional errors that jeopardize your ability to secure compensation for your damages.
When you have an experienced Carlsbad car accident attorney representing you, you are not only more likely to maximize the results of your recovery efforts but can also rest and focus on your recovery with peace of mind. Your legal affairs will be in capable hands, and you will have a responsive legal advocate readily available to address your concerns and answer your questions as they arise as you seek compensation for your losses. Ultimately, hiring legal counsel you can trust is invaluable after any car accident if you want to secure as much compensation as state law allows.
Filing Your Auto Insurance Claim in Carlsbad
California law requires all drivers to have auto insurance that includes both property damage liability coverage and bodily injury liability coverage. At a minimum, an auto policy for an individual driver must include at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage, at least $15,000 for bodily injury to one person in a single accident, and at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for multiple persons injured in a single accident.
These coverage amounts might seem generous, and it is possible to resolve a minor car accident through insurance alone. However, the damages resulting from a serious accident can easily eclipse the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, and it is possible to encounter unexpected difficulties with the insurance claim filing process. Your Carlsbad car accident attorney can help file your insurance claim and resolve any issues that arise between you and the insurance company. Once you have secured maximum compensation for your claim, you can proceed with filing a personal injury claim to recover your outstanding damages.
Common Causes of Automobile Accidents in California
Before you can file a personal injury claim against another driver, you must be ready to prove they are directly responsible for causing your accident. Some commonly reported reasons for car accidents are:
Distracted driving, which is the most common reason for all types of motor vehicle accidents across the United States annually. Momentary distraction while driving is enough to result in a devastating crash. Your Carlsbad car accident attorney can help gather any evidence needed to prove the at-fault driver was inattentive behind the wheel, such as their cell phone records or footage from nearby traffic cameras that captured the moments leading up to the collision.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. State law upholds strict penalties for DUI convictions, including driver’s license suspension, jail time, fines, and mandatory substance abuse rehabilitation for some defendants. These penalties automatically increase when a DUI driver has caused bodily injury or death to another person from their intoxicated driving. If your accident happened because of DUI, your attorney could advise you as to how the illegal nature of the defendant’s actions could influence your case award.
Speeding. Any time a driver exceeds the speed limit, they put themselves and others at risk. Accidents are not only more likely to occur when a driver speeds but also more likely to result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. Vehicle computer data can help prove how fast a driver was going when the accident happened. Excessive speeding can also potentially lead to reckless driving charges for the at-fault driver.
Moving violations, which include any negligent or intentional disruptions of traffic flow and/or failure to abide by posted traffic signs. Failure to yield the right of way, running through a stop light, or performing an illegal turn are examples of moving violations that can cause accidents. When drivers perform illegal maneuvers intentionally, they can face reckless driving charges, similar to speeding.
Vehicle malfunctions. Car accidents can happen because of a defective vehicle or a part inside the vehicle. If this occurs, the manufacturer of the defective product may absorb all the responsibility for a victim’s injuries and other damages under the product liability laws of the state.
Ultimately, car accidents happen regularly due to acts of negligence or intentional misconduct. Your Carlsbad car accident attorney will be an invaluable asset for proving the exact cause of your accident, from gathering physical evidence from the scene of the crash to securing statements from witnesses who saw the accident happen. In the event your car accident case entails any complex technical details, your attorney may consult with various expert witnesses to help substantiate your case. For example, an accident reconstruction expert could explain exactly how your accident happened, proving liability for the incident and responsibility for all of the damages you suffered.
After filing your insurance claim and securing as much compensation as possible from the driver at fault’s auto insurance, you may have outstanding damages that have yet to be repaid. Once you have proven the cause of your accident and handled the insurance claim process, the next step in your recovery efforts would be filing a personal injury case against the responsible driver.
How to Build Your Personal Injury Claim in Carlsbad
Success with any personal injury claim requires accurate identification of all parties responsible for causing the plaintiff’s claimed damages. Your Carlsbad car accident attorney will assist you in compiling your complaint and filing the personal injury claim in court. Once the court receives your complaint, they will issue the appropriate paperwork to the defendant named in the complaint, giving them the opportunity to submit a response. At this point, the case may proceed to a trial if the defendant refuses to accept liability for the accident, but the vast majority of personal injury claims will proceed to settlement negotiations.
During settlement negotiations, the parties involved in the case will discuss mutually agreeable terms to resolve the claim. As long as both parties are willing to compromise, it is possible to resolve a personal injury claim relatively quickly. Under California law, the plaintiff in a personal injury claim can seek compensation for:
Property damage. The defendant who caused your car accident is liable for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Their auto insurance may cover some of these costs, but any outstanding property losses can be included as economic damages in your personal injury claim.
Medical expenses. If you have suffered physical injuries from the defendant’s negligence or misconduct, they are liable for the cost of any and all of the medical treatment you require to achieve maximum medical improvement from your injuries. This would include immediate medical expenses and long-term treatment costs if you had severe injuries. You can rely on your Carlsbad car accident attorney to work with your medical care team to assess the full scope of treatments you are likely to require after your accident.
Lost income. If you were injured badly enough that you cannot work during your recovery, the defendant is liable for the income you can’t earn.
Lost future earning capacity. Unfortunately, some car accident victims are left disabled, and they cannot go back to work in the future due to the severity of their injuries. If this applies to your case, the defendant is responsible for any future income that you can no longer earn because of their actions.
Pain and suffering. California law enables the plaintiff of a personal injury case to seek compensation for the physical pain and psychological trauma they endured due to the defendant. There are no limits on the amount of pain and suffering compensation a plaintiff can claim in an auto accident case, so if they suffered any severe or catastrophic injuries, it could amount to more substantial compensation than the total amount of their economic losses.
Working with an experienced Carlsbad car accident attorney is an ideal way to maximize your final case award. Additionally, they can help you respond to any allegations of comparative fault from the defendant. It is common for defendants accused of causing car accidents to allege comparative fault against the plaintiffs who file claims against them to deflect liability for the damages they caused.
The state upholds the pure comparative negligence rule, so each party found liable for a personal injury will be assigned a fault percentage to reflect their degree of liability. This can apply to a plaintiff as well as a defendant if the plaintiff is proven to have contributed to causing the accident. Under state law, the plaintiff’s fault percentage is deducted from their final case award. If, for example, you are found 10% at fault for your car accident, you would lose 10% of the total compensation won from the defendant.
What You Can Expect From Your Attorney
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates offers the combined professional experience of both an attorney and a medical doctor. Our firm excels at helping clients who have suffered life-changing injuries secure the compensation they need to adjust to their new circumstances more easily. Whatever your unique car accident case entails, rest assured that our team will provide the ongoing support and reassurance you need to reach optimal results as swiftly as possible.
When our firm handles your car accident case, we will immediately get to work helping you substantiate the claim with evidence and witness testimony. Once we have helped you prove fault, we will guide you through the insurance claim filing process and ensure the insurance carrier handles your claim in good faith. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance or their insurance cannot fully compensate your losses, we will then assist you in building a strong personal injury claim and guide you through the subsequent legal proceedings until you reach positive results.
Carlsbad Car Accident Lawyer FAQs
Q: How Much Money Will I Win for a Car Crash Case in Carlsbad?
A: You have the right to hold the defendant who hit you accountable for all the financial losses they inflicted with their actions. These economic damages will likely include the cost of repairing your vehicle, the cost of any and all medical care you require to heal from your injuries, and any income you are unable to earn while you recover. You can also seek pain and suffering compensation, and if they caused your accident through any illegal misconduct, they could face additional financial penalties for this as well.
Q: Why Do I Need a Carlsbad Car Accident Attorney?
A: You are free to attempt your recovery efforts without hiring legal counsel, as there is no law requiring you to hire an attorney for this sort of case. However, your recovery is likely to require both an auto insurance claim against the driver who was responsible for the accident and a personal injury claim. Both of these legal matters will be difficult to navigate on your own while recovering from your injuries, and you could make procedural mistakes that interfere with your ability to recover your losses. Hiring an attorney makes handling your claim much easier, and you will be more likely to maximize the results of your recovery efforts with their assistance.
Q: What Happens If a Crash Is Fatal?
A: If you recently lost a family member in a fatal car accident caused by another driver, state law dictates that you are able to file a wrongful death claim against the driver who was at fault. This kind of civil suit is similar to a personal injury claim in some respects, with a few key differences. A wrongful death attorney is an essential resource to consult if you intend to pursue legal recourse for the untimely death of your loved one caused by the negligence or illegal misconduct of another party in Carlsbad.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Carlsbad Car Accident Attorney?
A: The attorneys at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates accept personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis. You will not pay anything upfront for our legal counsel, nor will we charge ongoing fees for the duration of your proceedings. Instead, we take a portion of the total compensation we recover on your behalf. We only collect our contingency fee if we are successful in your case, so if our firm is unable to obtain a case award for your car accident, you don’t pay anything.
Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Carlsbad?
A: California’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. You must file your civil suit within two years of the injury in question, or you lose your right to claim compensation from the defendant. However, you will likely need to file an auto insurance claim after your accident before pursuing a personal injury claim, and this entails a much shorter time limit. After you receive medical care for your injuries, you should reach out to a Carlsbad car accident attorney you can trust as soon as possible.
If you are ready to begin taking steps toward your recovery from an auto accident or from the wrongful death of a loved one, seek the help of a qualified car accident lawyer today. Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates will tenaciously fight to earn a fair and just outcome in your personal injury or wrongful death case. Though victims of car accidents can have so much taken away from them, our experienced and caring attorneys can help you take the actions necessary to begin recovering to the fullest extent. Contact our team today.
KEN SIGELMAN J.D., M.D.
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