Car accidents are the leading cause of accidental injuries and deaths across the country each year, and each state has different laws for handling these incidents. In California, the first steps after an automobile accident are crucial and have a substantial impact on your final recovery. It’s natural to have lots of pressing legal questions and financial concerns in this situation, and consulting the right car accident attorney in San Bernardino should be your first priority after addressing your medical needs.
Experienced Legal Representation for Car Accident Victims in San Bernardino
The right attorney is an invaluable asset after any unexpected injury in San Bernardino, and the team at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates can clarify your recovery options and help you maximize the compensation you obtain from the driver at fault. Our firm has helped many past clients navigate their car accident claims with confidence and peace of mind, and we are ready to put this professional experience to work for you.
Benefits of Legal Counsel for Your Car Accident Recovery in San Bernardino
There is no law that requires you to hire legal counsel after an automobile accident. However, doing so dramatically increases your chances of recovering as fully as possible from your accident. Your attorney can potentially identify avenues of recovery you hadn’t considered on your own. Additionally, they can handle all your legal affairs on your behalf so you can rest and recover from your injuries with peace of mind.
While you may have a grasp of the damages you can seek from the defendant, you might be surprised to learn that your claim is more valuable than you initially anticipated. Whether you believe you can resolve your accident with an insurance claim, a personal injury action against the driver at fault, or both, you have a much better chance of success with the right San Bernardino car accident attorney representing you.
If you attempted to handle all your recovery efforts on your own, you would risk overlooking claimable compensation or making unintentional mistakes in the preliminary stages of your recovery efforts. You could end up settling for less than you legally deserve, and you would be forced to handle complex legal affairs while also handling the medical effects of your injury. Instead of making an already challenging situation even more difficult by trying to handle everything yourself, hire the right car accident attorney in San Bernardino to provide the guidance and support you need in this situation.
The attorneys at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates have years of experience helping clients recover from damaging accidents. We know the tactics insurance companies tend to use to try to avoid paying out on legitimate claims, and we know the obstacles you are likely to face when you must file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your accident. Whatever your car accident recovery efforts entail, you can rely on our firm for personalized, compassionate legal counsel through every step of the process.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in San Bernardino
Before you can secure any compensation for car accident damages in San Bernardino, you must prove how your accident happened and who caused it. While most car accidents reported are the results of negligence behind the wheel, it is also possible to experience an accident due to another driver’s intentional and illegal misconduct. A few of the most commonly cited causes of car accidents in the area include:
Distracted driving, especially cell phone use behind the wheel. Throughout the United States, distracted driving is the leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents. A few seconds of inattentive driving can easily cause a serious crash, and proving the driver at fault’s liability can seem very difficult without an attorney’s assistance.
Speeding. Whenever a driver exceeds the speed limit, they increase their risk of causing an accident. Additionally, accidents at high speed have the greatest chance of resulting in catastrophic injuries or death.
Moving violations, such as running a red light or performing an illegal turn. When a driver disrupts the flow of traffic, they can startle other drivers nearby. When moving violations are performed intentionally, drivers may face reckless driving charges.
Driving under the influence (DUI). This is illegal, and the penalties for a DUI conviction can include heavy fines, jail time, and a long-term driver’s license suspension. If a defendant has injured or killed anyone due to driving under the influence, their penalties for conviction automatically increase.
Vehicle malfunctions. In the event a faulty vehicle or part caused your accident, you could have grounds to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
This is not an exhaustive list of the ways an automobile accident might happen in San Bernardino. No matter how your recent crash occurred, if it was not your fault, you should address your immediate medical needs and reach out to the right car accident attorney in San Bernardino as soon as possible to discuss your best options for legal recourse against the driver who hit you.
To succeed with your recovery efforts, you will need to prove that the driver at fault was negligent or committed an act of intentional misconduct that directly caused your claimed damages. Next, you must be ready to prove the full scope of those damages and provide evidence that you would not have incurred them but for the defendant’s actions.
Claimable Damages in Your San Bernardino Car Accident Case
Any car accident has the potential to be a life-changing event for those involved. California law allows the victim of an automobile accident to seek full recovery from their losses from the driver who caused the accident. Most victims of car accidents are able to claim compensation for:
Medical expenses. The defendant who injured you is responsible for the costs of all medical care you require to reach maximum medical improvement from your injuries. This includes both immediate and future medical treatment costs. Your San Bernardino car accident attorney can work with your doctor to ensure that the liable party is held fully accountable for all the medical expenses resulting from the accident they caused.
Lost income. Your accident could leave you unable to work; in that case, the defendant would be responsible for the income you cannot earn during this time. Similar to medical expenses, you are entitled to claim both immediate and future lost wages resulting from your accident. If you cannot return to work at all in the future, the defendant who injured you is responsible for the income you cannot earn because of their actions.
Property damage. Responsibility for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, along with any other property lost in the accident, falls to the defendant. You can claim some of these losses through an auto insurance claim, and any remainder can be sought as economic damages in your personal injury suit.
Aside from your economic damages, state law also permits you to seek pain and suffering compensation from the defendant. This may sound difficult to translate into a numerical value, but there are two main methods used by attorneys to determine appropriate pain and suffering compensation for their clients.
If you suffered injuries that are expected to heal completely in the relatively near future, your attorney might seek a per diem pain and suffering settlement on your behalf. This would award a set amount of compensation every day until you reach maximum medical recovery from your injuries. If you suffered any severe injury resulting in permanent harm, your attorney would be more likely to seek a large lump sum of compensation on your behalf. Your attorney would multiply your total economic damages by a factor that reflects the severity of your condition.
Ultimately, your car accident claim could be worth far more than you initially expected, and you have the best chance of maximizing your final recovery when you hire the right car accident attorney in San Bernardino to represent you. When you choose Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates as your counsel, we will help you uncover every available channel of compensation and gather the evidence needed to hold the defendant fully accountable for the damage they’ve inflicted on you and your family.
Filing Your Auto Insurance Claim in San Bernardino
The first step in your recovery from an automobile accident in San Bernardino is likely to be an auto insurance claim against the driver at fault. State law requires all drivers to have $15,000 or more in bodily injury liability coverage with a $30,000 per-accident minimum coverage amount for multiple injured persons in a single accident. An auto insurance policy must also include at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage.
Your San Bernardino car accident attorney can help file your insurance claim and handle any interactions with the driver at fault’s insurance company. Unfortunately, some insurance company representatives will handle claims in bad faith in their efforts to avoid paying out on settlements, but you are far less likely to encounter such treatment when you have legal representation assisting you with your claim. After reviewing your claim, the insurance company will deliver a settlement offer, and your attorney will verify that it is acceptable, given the scope of your damages and the terms of the policy in question.
An auto insurance claim may be enough to cover the damages resulting from a minor accident, but if you suffered any severe injuries, you would likely need to file a personal injury claim against the driver at fault as well. When you have Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates representing you in your recovery efforts, we will do everything we can to streamline the insurance claim process and reach the best possible result. If insurance alone cannot cover your losses, we will then assist you in building a strong personal injury case against the driver at fault.
What to Expect in Your Personal Injury Claim
Once you have exhausted your recovery options through insurance, the next phase of your recovery is likely to be a personal injury claim against the driver who hit you. Your San Bernardino car accident attorney will be invaluable in this situation. Before you obtain any compensation from the defendant, you must prove they are solely liable for your claimed damages, and you must prove the exact extent of those damages.
Most personal injury claims filed end in settlement. After filing your complaint with the court, the defendant has the opportunity to respond. If their fault is clear, a swift settlement negotiation process behooves both parties by reducing the time and money spent on litigation. As long as the parties involved can negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to the claim, it may not take long at all to complete the settlement process.
However, if the defendant refuses to accept liability or if they contest the scope of damages sought by the plaintiff for any reason, the parties might need to resolve their case in litigation. If your car accident claim proceeds to a trial, the judge overseeing the case has the final say regarding liability for your damages and the amount of compensation you will receive from the defendant.
If you have Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates representing you in your accident claim, we will do everything we can to settle your case as swiftly as possible for the maximum amount of compensation possible. However, if we must, we are fully prepared to represent you at trial. Our team has years of experience handling a wide breadth of car accident claims, and we are dedicated to providing client-focused legal counsel in every case we accept. No matter what your unique car accident case entails, you can expect personalized, responsive legal guidance through all stages of your recovery efforts.
Car Accident Lawyer FAQs
Q: How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth in San Bernardino?
A: State law lets you seek full recovery from all the economic losses you sustained in your accident, along with appropriate compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced. A San Bernardino car accident attorney can review the details of your claim and help you maximize the compensation you receive, potentially exceeding your initial expectations.
Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim for an automobile accident?
A: California’s statute of limitations or time limit for personal injury claims is two years. This means you must file your personal injury case within two years of your accident or risk losing your ability to recover compensation from the driver at fault. You have an even shorter window in which to file your auto insurance claim against the other driver, so it’s best to consult the right car accident attorney in San Bernardino as soon as you address your immediate medical needs after your accident.
Q: What Happens if I Share Fault for My Recent Car Accident in San Bernardino?
A: California upholds a pure comparative negligence law. This means that when a plaintiff shares liability for a personal injury with another party, they lose a portion of the compensation they secure from their personal injury claim. If, for example, a plaintiff is found 40% at fault and the defendant 60% at fault, the defendant would only be responsible for 60% of the plaintiff’s claimed damages, so the plaintiff loses 40% of their case award. Your San Bernardino car accident attorney can help minimize any comparative fault you are found to have for your accident.
Q: How Much Will a San Bernardino Car Accident Attorney Charge a Client?
A: When you have Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates represent your car accident case, we ensure our representation does not interfere with your recovery or your compensation with a contingency fee billing arrangement. With this billing policy, the plaintiff only pays a portion of their final case award as their legal fee, but only if we win their case. There are no upfront or ongoing legal expenses during your case and no fee at all if we are unable to secure compensation on your behalf.
Q: Is It Worth Filing a Personal Injury Claim for an Automobile Accident in San Bernardino?
A: If another driver is responsible for your recent car accident in San Bernardino, there is no reason for you to bear the cost of their actions on your own. The right car accident attorney in San Bernardino is the greatest asset to have on your side if you want to maximize your compensation, and they will assist you in exploring every available avenue of compensation. Do not assume that the cost of filing your suit would overtake your recovery, especially if you hire a San Bernardino car accident attorney under a contingency fee agreement.
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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