Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
Most Common Car Accident injuries
If you are involved in a car accident, you may be left with severe and life-changing injuries. In fact, even minor injuries can still result in thousands of dollars’ worth of damages. Some of the most common types of injuries that occur in a car accident include:
Soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries, in which the soft tissues of the body (tendons, muscles, and ligaments) are stretched or pulled, or even severed entirely, are unfortunately common. Knee injuries, whiplash, and other car accident neck and back injuries are frequently reported, although soft tissues in any part of the body are possible.
Traumatic brain injury. The brain is one of the most precious and most fragile organs. While it is protected by the skull, if the brain is disturbed, the result can be long-term harm. In a car accident, a car accident head injury is most likely if the head is hit with a blunt object, but it can also happen if the skull/brain is punctured by a sharp object or if the brain is subjected to strong rotational forces. Brain injuries can impact cognition, thinking, learning, emotion, memory, sensation, language, and more for life.
Spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord, like the brain, is essential. The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting messages between the brain and the rest of the body; when its ability to do this is disturbed due to an injury, the result may be paralysis from the injury site downwards. Tragically, there are no known remedies for a spinal cord injury--these injury types are permanent.
Internal injuries. If the internal organs are hit with force or punctured with an object, an internal injury is possible. Internal injuries can lead to bleeding and other complications, including organ failure.
Bone injuries. Bone injuries, such as bone fractures, happen when bones are compressed (crushed between objects), moved into awkward positions suddenly and unnaturally, or hit with force. Most bone fracture injuries will heal completely with time, although some could cause some level of partial disability long-term.
Psychological injuries. The above list does not completely capture the possible physical injuries that are possible in a car accident, nor does it touch on the psychological injuries that car accident victims often incur. Types of psychological injuries include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and more.
If you have suffered any of these injury types or others, you deserve to be compensated. Our Sacramento car accident lawyer can help. Call our car accident law firm in Sacramento to learn more.
Who’s at Fault in a Car Accident?
When a car accident in Sacramento happens and those involved are injured, one of the most important considerations is that of determining who is at fault. Fault determines liability, or legal responsibility. In other words, the party who is found to be at fault for the accident will be responsible for paying for the damages that result, typically through their liability insurance provider (liability insurance is required in California).
Fault in a Sacramento crash is based on negligence, which is the failure to exercise a reasonable degree of care. Common causes of car accidents--and displays of fault--include:
Distracted driving--most commonly, using a cellphone;
Driving while impaired;
Speeding or driving too fast for conditions;
Running red lights/traffic signs or failing to yield; and
Performing illegal maneuvers.
In order to determine fault in a car accident, it’s important that a thorough investigation into an accident is conducted. An investigation might include talking to eyewitnesses, reviewing police accident reports, hiring accident reconstruction experts, reviewing photographs and physical data, and more.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you have been in a car accident, you may be overwhelmed and wondering what to do. At the law office of Cutter Law, P.C., one of our Sacramento car accident lawyer or attorneys can sit down with you and help you to understand steps that you need to take, as well as the car accident claims process. Some of the most important immediate steps to take in the aftermath of a crash include:
Report the accident to the police. Regardless of how severe your car accident is, you should report it to the police. Not only is reporting an accident legally required in most cases, but reporting the accident means that you’ll be able to request a copy of the police accident report, something that will likely be essential when you file your car accident claim.
Get medical care. Immediately upon leaving the scene of the accident, you should seek medical care. This is true even if your injuries do not seem life-threatening or serious; getting medical care creates an indisputable link between the car accident and any injuries with which you are diagnosed.
Gather evidence at the scene (and afterward). If you are able to, you should gather evidence at the scene of the accident while you wait for the police to arrive. Types of evidence that might be important for you to collect include the other driver’s information, the other driver’s vehicle information, the names of any eyewitnesses to the accident, pictures of the accident scene, and any details you can remember about how the accident happened. Later, your duty to collect evidence won’t end--keep track of your medical records and document your injuries and recovery process.
Call your insurance company. As soon as you can after a crash, and always within one to two days of its occurrence, you should call your insurance company to report the accident. You do not need to provide a detailed or recorded statement at this point--and should not do so without talking to your attorney--but you should give the insurance company notice of the crash so that it can open its own investigation.
Hire an attorney. Before you get too far into the claims process, you should consider the benefits of hiring a Sacramento car accident lawyer, especially if your injuries are serious. You can schedule a free consultation with a Sacramento car accident lawyer to learn more about the role of an attorney and your rights.
Types of Damages Recoverable in a Car Accident Settlement
When you work with the Sacramento car accident lawyer or attorneys at the office of Cutter Law, P.C., we will aggressively advocate for your right to recover your full settlement amount. When you are injured, you can seek damages for the full value of your losses, including compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages; punitive damages are sometimes available, too. In order to recover your full settlement amount, you’ll need to be able to prove the fault of the responsible party and prove that their negligence was the proximate cause of your harm.
Economic damages. Economic damages are damages for actual economic losses, such as the value of your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, ongoing medical costs, and property damage costs.
Noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages are more challenging to calculate, as these refer to damage for losses such as pain, suffering, emotional distress, a diminished quality of life, etc. There are multiple methods for calculating noneconomic damages, including the multiplier method and the per diem method. Our lawyers can guide you through these.
Punitive damages. In some rare cases, punitive damages are awarded. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim, but are instead intended to punish the defendant for their egregious actions.
The Car Accident Injury Settlement Process
As you begin the car accident settlement process, it’s important that you know what to expect along the way. Here’s a brief overview of how the process works--
Gather evidence to prove fault. Before you file a claim, you’ll need to determine against whom your claim should be filed. This will require gathering evidence in order to identify the at-fault party.
Gather evidence to support damages. In addition to proving fault, you’ll also need to prove the extent of damages that you’ve suffered. Before you can do this, you’ll need to reach Maximum Medical Improvement, or MMI. This is the maximum extent to which doctors expect you to heal.
File a demand letter. Once you have determined fault and calculated your damages, you’ll file a demand letter against the at-fault party’s insurance representative. This letter outlines how much you believe you should be compensated and why.
Review a settlement. After you’ve submitted your demand letter, the insurance company will counter with a settlement offer. You will need to carefully review a settlement to see whether it fairly compensated you. If not, you can enter into the negotiations phase of the process.
Negotiate your claim. The negotiations phase is a back-and-forth process where you (or your representative) will work with the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim in order to reach a settlement that all parties can agree on. Most claims end in out-of-court negotiations.
File a lawsuit. In some cases, reaching an out-of-court settlement proves to be challenging or impossible. If you cannot reach a settlement, you may consider filing a lawsuit. If this happens, your case will likely continue for many more months, although reaching a settlement at any point during the process is possible. One of the downsides of filing a lawsuit is that it’s impossible to predict the value of a car accident injury lawsuit settlement vs. court decision; you may not get what you want from a court.
Of course, not all claims follow the exact same trajectory. It’s important to discuss your case with a Sacramento car accident lawyer or attorney so you know what to expect.
How a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve been in a crash and have questions about what to do after a car accident, car accident payouts, how long after a car accident you can claim injury, how to receive compensation for lost wages from car accidents, the car accident injury lawsuit settlement process, and more, an attorney is your best resource. A Sacramento car accident lawyer will handle the following:
Investigating your case. One of the key jobs of an attorney is to investigate a case to make a determination about fault. This involves traveling to the accident scene and carefully reviewing any evidence, and also bringing in outside experts in many cases.
Proving fault and damages. If an insurance company pushes back against your claims of fault and damages, your attorney will be by your side to present evidence and argument on your behalf. Your attorney will build a solid case that is difficult to undermine.
Representing you in negotiations and litigation. When you are negotiating a settlement, talking to an insurance adjuster, filing a lawsuit, or anything else in between, your attorney will be your representative. This allows you to focus on your recovery and your future; your attorney will focus on getting you the settlement you deserve.
Everything in between. For everything else during the claims process, including managing documents, talking to witnesses, answering the insurance company’s questions, ensuring deadlines are met, and more, you can count on an attorney. At Cutter Law, P.C., our lawyers handle 100 percent of your claim so you can focus on what’s most important in your life.
Call Our Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation Today
At the office of Cutter Law, P.C., our Sacramento car accident lawyer offer free consultations and always work on a contingency fee basis. We have years of experience and a track record of success. When you are facing injuries and damages after a crash in Sacramento that you didn’t cause, you deserve to be compensated. Call our law firm for help from advocates you can count on.