San Diego Car Accident Lawyer

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San Diego Car Accident Attorney Serving Clients Throughout California

Were you injured in a car accident in San Diego? If you were, you have a lot of unanswered questions.

Car accidents are a scary and overwhelming experience for our clients. If you’ve been in one, you know how confusing it can be to get all the information you need to take the next steps. If you’re looking for answers to your questions about car accidents, our law firm has created this guide to give you those answers.

  • “How will I pay for my medical bills?”
  • “Should I talk to the insurance company?”
  • “Should I give a recorded statement?”
  • “How long will this take?”
  • “How much is my case worth?”

There are so many things worrying you, your head is getting dizzy. The laws governing motor vehicle accidents are numerous, and even experienced attorneys need help keeping track of all of it.

But as an injured victim, you don’t need to try and learn all of that. It’s important for you to know your rights and what you need to do to protect those rights.

With so many things to worry about, let our law firm fight the insurance company and get the compensation you deserve. Be sure to ask about our free consultation.

Your Rights To Compensation After Your San Diego Car Accident

You have a right to monetary compensation for any injuries caused by someone else in a San Diego car accident. If someone injures through their own careless acts or behavior, they owe you monetary compensation for those injuries. 

You have this right, even if you are a passenger injured in an accident in San Diego, CA. That means if someone rear-ends your car, and you are hurt because of that collision, they must pay you a sum equal to the number of injuries they inflicted upon you. The legal world calls this “damages” and is the main concept behind personal injury law. The amount that you are paid is determined by settlement or litigation.

Economic Damages

You can call it money. The responsible party must pay  you a reasonable amount for each injury they caused. This amount must be reasonable. This means, if you suffer whiplash, go to physical therapy for 3 weeks and fully recover, you probably shouldn’t be paid $1 million. That’s not a reasonable amount.

The reason you are paid money is that there is no other way to make you “whole” after you suffer injuries. If someone stole a TV from you, they can return it and you are “whole” again. If someone injures you, causing you to suffer and feel pain for 6 months, there is no way to undo that. There is no “reset” button on your body or your brain. The emotional roller coaster you experienced can’t be undone. Since you can’t undo the injuries inflicted upon you, the defendant must pay you a reasonable sum of money to compensate you.

This sum of money may even include any damages in the future as well, as long as the future damages are certain enough to be counted. In order to recover money, you must prove the person was at fault, and they acted intentionally or negligently. Negligence means:

  • You suffered injuries
  • Caused by someone not exercising ordinary care or skill
  • The accident and injuries were foreseeable

So if someone driving behind you was mad at you with road rage rams the back of your car, they owe you money for all of the injuries they caused. This is intentional because they meant to cause you harm. However, if that person behind you was just slow to react, was not paying attention, or was texting and driving, they still owe you money if they rear end your car and injure you.

Negligence

This is called negligence. Everyone is responsible for any injuries they intentionally cause, as well as injuries caused by their lack of ordinary care and or skill. California Civil Code 1714(a).

There are basic elements to prove negligence:

  1. The defendant owed you a duty of care not to cause you arm.
  2. The defendant violated this duty. They breach this duty by failing to exercise normal amounts of care.
  3. You were injured.
  4. The negligent act by the defendant actually caused your injuries.

An example of negligence when it comes to vehicle collisions would be a driver who is following you too closely. A traffic signal ahead turns yellow so you apply the brakes to slow down like a normal prudent person would. The driver behind you takes too long to react and proceeds to collide with your car’s rear bumper.

A normal, prudent person would not have followed you so closely so they would have more space and time to slow and stop their car.

Read more about proving fault after an accident in California.

Do You Need A Lawyer For Your Car Accident Case?

Not always. Cases where you are not injured or your injuries are very minor, can often be handled on their own. If the insurance company does not want to pay a fair amount for a settlement, these smaller cases can be handled through the Small Claims Court.

San Diego Car Insurance Companies Do Not Play Fair 

While you might not need a lawyer for your case, you should always contact one immediately after an accident for a free consultation. You don’t have to hire an auto accident lawyer right away, but it doesn’t hurt and in fact me be very helpful to talk to one as soon as possible. Some advice is needed right away. Maybe the insurance companies (yours and the other driver’s) and are pressuring you to give a recorded statement and settle quickly. Or perhaps the statute of limitations is approaching and you need to start litigation right away.

Or, perhaps the person who caused the accident did not carry a valid liability policy, and you need an uninsured motorist accident lawyer to pursue a case against your own insurance company.

A 30 minute conversation and case review with an attorney will lead you in the right direction, even if you aren’t planning to hire anyone real soon. I don’t charge for an initial conversation and case review. After a quick screening on the phone, a more in-depth conversation and review occurs in person or on the phone. This is all free of charge, if I agree to meet with you after the initial screening. To hire me, or most all other injury attorneys, you only have to sign a contract.

The contract itself can be revoked at anytime by you. But I work on a contingency basis. That’s just fancy lawyer talk for saying, I don’t get paid my fee until you win your case. If you do win, then my fee is a percentage of the total settlement/award. If you don’t win, or you decide not to pursue the case, you do not owe me any unpaid fees (although you may be responsible for costs which haven’t been reimbursed).

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Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have a case?

Our firm generally looks at 3 factors to see if there is a good case.

  • If someone was negligent
  • That negligence caused injuries to you
  • The person at fault has insurance or assets that can be used to pay for your injuries and losses.

This is a simplified version and applying these factors to real facts of a case is significantly more complicated. But it is a good general outline of how we assess cases.

Do I need a San Diego personal injury lawyer?

If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, and seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other related expenses, then you most likely need a personal injury lawyer.

Where you might not need an attorney is if your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering are not significant. Insurance companies will usually pay off a lot of your medical bills if you didn’t suffer significant injuries.

However, if you suffered significant injuries with a lot of medical bills, then a personal injury attorney can help you understand what kind of compensation you might be entitled to, and what you need to do to recover money from the person responsible for your injuries.

How much is my case worth?

This is probably the most frequently asked question. Unfortunately it is also the toughest one to answer. It really depends on a number of factors. But the biggest factor is, how the injuries affected your life.

The best San Diego personal injury attorneys cannot give you a guarantee, but their experience and knowledge will provide you with a realistic evaluation of your claim.

Do I have a case?

Our firm generally looks at 3 factors to see if there is a good case.

  • If someone was negligent
  • That negligence caused injuries to you
  • The person at fault has insurance or assets that can be used to pay for your injuries and losses.

This is a simplified version and applying these factors to real facts of a case is significantly more complicated. But it is a good general outline of how we assess cases.

Do I need a San Diego personal injury lawyer?

If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, and seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other related expenses, then you most likely need a personal injury lawyer.

Where you might not need an attorney is if your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering are not significant. Insurance companies will usually pay off a lot of your medical bills if you didn’t suffer significant injuries.

However, if you suffered significant injuries with a lot of medical bills, then a personal injury attorney can help you understand what kind of compensation you might be entitled to, and what you need to do to recover money from the person responsible for your injuries.

How much is my case worth?

This is probably the most frequently asked question. Unfortunately it is also the toughest one to answer. It really depends on a number of factors. But the biggest factor is, how the injuries affected your life.

The best San Diego personal injury attorneys cannot give you a guarantee, but their experience and knowledge will provide you with a realistic evaluation of your claim.