Santa Paula, CA Car Accident Lawyer
California Car Accident Attorneys Representing Injured Plaintiffs in Santa Paula
Whether you commute into Los Angeles for work from Santa Paula on a regular basis or simply use your vehicle to get to retail stores and restaurants in the Santa Paula area, you could be at risk of involvement in a car crash. While most of us are not regularly thinking about the dangers of a motor vehicle collision when we get behind the wheel of a car or drive through a green light, traffic wrecks happen much more often than you might expect. Most collisions happen because of someone’s negligence. Indeed, human error is the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes in California and across the country. If you or someone you love got hurt because of another driver’s carelessness, it is important to learn more about your options for seeking financial compensation.
An aggressive Santa Paula, CA car accident lawyer can assess your case today and discuss the options you may have for obtaining compensation for your losses.
Getting the Facts About Car Accidents in Santa Paula, California
How common are car accidents in Santa Paula, CA? The following are some significant facts and figures about California motor vehicle crashes from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS):
- The overall rate of traffic deaths in California decreased by 8.3 percent between 2017 and 2018, yet a total of 3,563 people were still killed in motor vehicle collisions in 2018;
- Alcohol-impaired auto deaths have declined in California in recent years, yet more than 1,000 people still died in preventable accidents in 2018 caused by drunk drivers;
- Drug-impaired driving has become a more serious problem in California, and about 42 percent of all drivers who sustained fatal injuries in collisions in 2018 tested positive for either illegal or legal drugs;
- 598 people who were killed in car crashes in 2018 were not wearing a seatbelt;
- Nearly 500 motorcyclists were killed in collisions in 2018, yet this number represents a decrease by nearly 16 percent from the previous year;
- Teen driving accident deaths have risen sharply in California in recent years, and there was a 21.4 percent increase in teenage car accident fatalities between 2017 and 2018;
- More pedestrians were killed in 2018 than in the previous year, with a total of 195 fatalities in 2018;
- Bicycle accident fatalities continue to rise in California, with a recent annual count of 155 fatalities in 2018.
In addition to motor vehicle crash fatalities, thousands of people are injured in motor vehicle collisions in Southern California every year.
Filing a Santa Paula, CA Auto Collision Claim
Most car accident cases begin with an auto insurance claim. Under California auto insurance law, an injured person can file either a first-party claim through their own insurer or a third-party claim through the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. If you cannot obtain the financial compensation you deserve, then you can move onto filing a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver with help from your Santa Paula auto accident lawyer.
Liability in a Santa Paula Car Crash
When you need to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver to obtain compensation for your injuries, you will need to be able to prove that the driver was negligent. In general, anytime a motorist gets behind the wheel of a car in Santa Paula, that motorist has a duty to other drivers on the road, as well as to pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. To be sure, drivers must exercise a reasonable amount of care when they are driving. In other words, a driver must behave as a reasonable person would expect a motorist to act behind the wheel. A reasonable person would not believe a driver should be texting while driving, speeding, or violating other traffic laws. If a driver fails to exercise reasonable care behind the wheel, the injury victim may be able to hold that driver accountable in a civil lawsuit.
In general, a plaintiff in a Santa Paula car accident case must be able to prove the following elements:
- Defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care (usually established when the defendant gets behind the wheel of his or her car);
- Defendant breached the duty of care by behaving in a negligent manner;
- Plaintiff suffered harm; and
- Defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s harm.
Negligence can take many forms, including but not limited to:
- Aggressive driving;
- Intoxicated driving;
- Distracted driving; and
- Drowsy driving.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Santa Paula, California?
For most car accident lawsuits in Santa Paula, the California personal injury statute of limitations gives the plaintiff 2 years from the date of the accident to file a claim. However, in some circumstances, a potential plaintiff may need to file a claim within either 6 months or 1 year of the accident. It is important to work with an auto accident lawyer in Santa Paula from the beginning to ensure that you file your claim on time.
Should I Still File a Santa Paula Car Accident Lawsuit If I Am Partially At Fault?
Even if a plaintiff is partially at fault for a car accident, California’s comparative fault law still allows the plaintiff to obtain damages in a civil lawsuit. The plaintiff should know, however, that his or her ultimate recovery will be reduced proportionally by his or her share of the fault. For example, a plaintiff who is 20 percent at fault will see her recovery reduced by 20 percent.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Santa Paula, CA
When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in or around Santa Paula, CA, you should not have to worry about the financial losses caused by another motorist’s reckless driving. You may be able to get compensation through an insurance claim or a car accident lawsuit, and an advocate at our firm can help. One of the experienced Santa Paula car accident attorneys at our firm can begin working with you on the claims process today. Contact Fisher & Talwar to learn more about the services we provide to Californians injured in auto accidents.