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Santa Rosa Car Accidents

Santa Rosa Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents happen every day in the Santa Rosa, CA, area and throughout the United States. For years motor vehicle accidents have been a leading cause of accidental deaths, serious injuries, insurance claims, and personal injury claims all over the country. These incidents can occur for many reasons, and every state has its own laws for handling the legal aftermath of a car accident. For example, California upholds a fault-based system. This means that a driver injured in a car accident that another driver caused has the right to seek compensation for their losses from the at-fault driver.

Representing Victims of Car Accidents in Santa Rosa, CA

While a car accident claim may seem straightforward at first, any car accident can involve substantial damages and generate complex legal proceedings. Therefore, if you want the best chance of success with your Santa Rosa car accident claim, it’s essential to secure legal counsel you can trust.

Rush Injury Law has years of experience representing Santa Rosa, CA, area clients in a wide range of personal injury claims, including car accident cases with unique variables. We understand that no two accident claims are alike and believe in providing every client we represent with individualized representation. Therefore, we’ll take the time to get to know you and learn as much as possible about your situation to provide the best possible legal counsel for your car accident claim.

Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

It’s understandable that many car accident victims assume they can handle securing compensation for their damages on their own, especially when the other driver’s fault is readily apparent. While it may be possible to handle minor car accident claims without legal representation, this is generally only advisable if your only damages are cosmetic repairs to your vehicle. If you sustained any injuries, even apparently minor ones, it is always best to hire a Santa Rosa car accident lawyer to represent your claim. Even seemingly straightforward car accident claims can involve unpredictable details that are difficult to address without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Additionally, it’s likely for the claimant to make common errors in handling their claim that could be avoided with the help of a Santa Rosa car accident lawyer.

Consider your choice to hire a lawyer to represent you as an investment in your own recovery. Not only will having legal representation increase the likelihood of you maximizing your compensation from your car accident claim, but it will also likely yield more compensation than you could have secured on your own. The first step toward recovering from car accident damages in California is filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. Your attorney can handle the insurance claim process on your behalf, minimizing the chance of encountering unfair resistance from the insurance company and maximizing your compensation from the at-fault driver’s policy.

What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident in California?

Thousands of car accidents occur in California every year, and these incidents vary significantly in terms of severity and the damages experienced by those involved. It’s difficult to calculate an average settlement for a car accident because every car accident will involve different damages, varying questions of liability, and numerous other details. This is why Rush Injury Law believes in providing individualized, client-focused legal representation in every car accident claim we accept. No two clients are alike, and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for succeeding with car accident claims in California.

The right Santa Rosa car accident lawyer can help clients maximize their recovery to the fullest extent possible under California law. Unfortunately, this is often a complicated process that usually entails an insurance claim against an at-fault driver’s policy. Once their insurance coverage is exhausted, proceeding with a personal injury claim can recover the remainder of the victim’s damages and damages not covered by the auto insurance policy.

Filing an Insurance Claim After a Santa Rosa Car Accident

California state law requires all drivers to purchase auto insurance coverage that meets the state’s minimum requirements:

  • The policy must include at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person injured in an accident the insured driver caused.
  • The policy must also provide at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for all people injured in a single accident the insured driver caused.
  • The policy must include at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage.

Though not technically required, it is strongly recommended that California drivers purchase additional coverage for underinsured and uninsured motorist accidents. This coverage will cover the insured driver’s own damages if an underinsured or uninsured driver causes an accident with their vehicle.

Insurance companies are for-profit organizations, and paying out on claims diminishes an insurance company’s profit margin. While every insurer has a legal obligation to process claims in good faith and the right and responsibility to investigate damages, some insurance company representatives, unfortunately, engage in unethical actions to diminish claimants’ settlements. For example, they may misrepresent aspects of a policy, unreasonably delay claims to coerce claimants into accepting lowball settlements out of desperation, or even engage in more overt bad faith tactics to avoid paying out settlements.

Hiring an experienced Santa Rosa car accident lawyer is the best way to prevent these issues from arising with an insurance company. Your attorney can help you draft your initial demand letter for coverage and correspond with insurance company representatives on your behalf. Never speak to an insurance company after a car accident without consulting your attorney first.

Personal Injury Damages for Car Accidents in Santa Rosa, CA

Auto insurance may provide some coverage for your losses resulting from a car accident in Santa Rosa, but your damages will likely eclipse the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage limits. In this situation, the next step in recovering from your accident would be to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. A successful personal injury claim can potentially yield compensation for the plaintiff’s economic damages, including:

  • Medical expenses. If the at-fault driver only had a minimum coverage auto insurance policy, it may only provide up to $15,000 in bodily injury coverage after an accident. Even if you get this total amount, car accidents can easily cause devastating injuries that total much more in treatment costs. You have the right to seek compensation for all medical expenses resulting from a defendant’s negligence, including both immediate and future medical expenses if your injuries require ongoing care.
  • Lost income. Your car accident may leave you unable to work for an extended time, during which you cannot earn income and support yourself and your family. Your attorney can help you secure compensation for wages lost during your recovery period. Additionally, suppose your car accident caused any permanent disability that will prevent you from returning to work at all. In that case, you have the right to claim compensation for your lost future earning capacity, calculated based on the amount of time you would have been able to work until retirement age.
  • Property damage. If your vehicle repair costs exceed the at-fault driver’s property damage liability coverage, you can seek compensation for the remainder in your personal injury claim.

In addition to these economic damages, you also have the right to seek compensation for non-economic damages, including the pain and suffering you experienced from your car accident. Severe injuries are not only physically painful but also traumatizing. Therefore, a plaintiff in a personal injury claim can recover compensation for physical pain, emotional trauma, and the psychological impact of their experience. This may seem difficult to translate to a monetary figure, but experienced personal injury attorneys have various methods to calculate appropriate pain and suffering damages for their clients.

When a plaintiff sustains painful injuries but is likely to make a complete recovery with appropriate treatment, their attorney may seek per diem pain and suffering compensation. This would award a specified amount per day until the plaintiff reaches maximum medical improvement from their injury. However, if the plaintiff acquired a permanent disability from their injuries, their attorney would be more likely to seek a large lump sum that reflects the severity of the disability and the future impact it will likely have on the victim’s life. For example, suppose the plaintiff incurred $100,000 in medical expenses for an injury resulting in permanent disability and requiring lifelong medical care. In that case, their attorney could seek $300,000, $500,000, or even more in pain and suffering compensation to reflect the seriousness of the plaintiff’s experience.

Proving Fault in a Car Accident Lawsuit

The compensation potentially available in a car accident claim is only possible to secure by proving the defendant was responsible for causing the plaintiff’s claimed damages. Therefore, the plaintiff and their attorney must prove fault for causing the plaintiff’s damages and provide a complete and accurate accounting of those damages. Generally, there are four steps required for proving negligence in a Santa Rosa car accident claim:

  1. There must be proof that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care in the situation that led to the accident in question. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to avoid distracted driving and pay attention to the road.
  2. Proof must exist of the defendant breaching this duty of care in some way. For example, drinking and driving violates a driver’s duty of care to operate their vehicle responsibly and refrain from driving under the influence (DUI).
  3. The court must be given a complete list of the damages resulting from the incident in question.
  4. Finally, compelling evidence must exist that the plaintiff’s damages were the direct results of the defendant’s negligence. In other words, they must prove the plaintiff’s damages would not have occurred but for the defendant’s breach of duty of care.

Successfully proving these four elements of negligence will significantly increase the plaintiff’s chance of succeeding with their claim. First, however, all Santa Rosa car accident claim plaintiffs need to remember California’s pure comparative negligence statute. This law states that a plaintiff can potentially lose a portion of their case award if an investigation determines they were partially responsible for causing their damages. Comparative negligence claims are relatively common in car accident claims as they allow a defendant to deflect some of the blame for an accident away from themselves.

If you incur any fault percentage for comparative negligence in a car accident claim, you lose an equal percentage of your case award. For example, if your car accident claim includes $500,000 in damages but the court determines you bear 10% comparative negligence, you would lose 10% of the case award and receive $450,000 instead. On the other hand, suppose you are concerned about bearing partial fault for your claimed damages in a car accident lawsuit. In that case, your Santa Rosa car accident lawyer will help you gather the evidence you will need to prove the defendant’s liability and minimize their ability to claim comparative negligence.

What to Expect in Your Santa Rosa, CA, Car Accident Claim

Your car accident claim could be more straightforward than you initially expected, but it may also devolve into an incredibly difficult legal battle. Car accident claims can be unpredictable. While most of them are settled outside the courtroom, there is always a possibility of a car accident claim proceeding to litigation. No matter what your car accident claim entails, you will have the greatest chance of success with your claim when you have a reliable Santa Rosa car accident lawyer representing you.

Rush Injury Law can provide the comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel you need to confidently approach your car accident case. We’ll carefully review the full extent of all your claimable damages, guide you through all preliminary proceedings, and help you hold the defendant accountable for their negligence. If you or a loved one is struggling with car accident injuries someone else caused, and you are ready to discuss your legal options with an experienced Santa Rosa car accident lawyer, contact Rush Injury Law today to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with our team.

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