Thousand Oaks, CA Car Accident Lawyer
Though it’s not as densely populated as its municipal neighbors to the east, Thousand Oaks, CA sees its share of car accidents. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 554 people killed or injured in auto accidents in 2017. Whether you’re traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway 101 or local streets downtown, the threat of accidents is all around. If you are hurt in a crash, the implications go beyond physical pain. You suffer financial and emotional losses that affect your entire household, potentially lingering for years.
Fortunately, you do have rights in a motor vehicle collision that was caused by someone else’s negligence, including legal options to recover compensation for your devastating losses. Our team at Fisher & Talwar can assist with your claim to ensure you get the monetary damages you deserve under California law. Please contact our office to set up a free case evaluation with a Thousand Oaks, CA car accident lawyer, and read on for some general information regarding these cases.
Liability in California Auto Crashes:
When traffic-related collisions happen, it’s usually because a driver was careless or reckless in operating the vehicle. In legal terms, the underlying cause of action is one based upon negligence, which means you must prove four essential elements to succeed in an injury claim:
- You need to show the existence of a legal duty to drive safely, which applies to all motorists in California;
- You must present facts showing that the responsible driver breached the duty of care by engaging in unsafe actions;
- You have to establish a causal link between the breach of duty and the accident in which you were injured, such that you would not have been hurt but for the careless acts; and,
- You need to prove that you suffered losses because of being injured.
To illustrate how these factors work in a case involving negligence, some examples may be useful. A driver may be at fault, and therefore responsible for causing the accident, by:
- Drunk or drugged driving;
- Not complying with traffic signals or signs;
- Failure to yield; or,
- Driving while distracted by a cell phone.
Options for Seeking Monetary Damages:
Your first step in getting compensation for your losses is usually filing an injury claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. California law requires motorists to carry certain minimum auto insurance coverage to protect victims in these situations.
However, even when you believe you have all the relevant facts to prove the four elements described above, you might face some pushback from the insurer. These companies are in business to turn profits, and your claim for damages is a threat to their interests. After completing the forms and submitting all paperwork, the response might be:
- A denial of your claim, because you didn’t provide sufficient information regarding the fault on behalf of the responsible driver;
- A lowball offer to resolve your claim, on the grounds that your injuries weren’t severe enough to justify payment; or,
- A rejection based upon allegations that you were at fault, even if only partially.
If your claim is rejected or you receive an unfair offer for insufficient damages, the next step is filing a lawsuit in court. Litigation is extremely complicated, which is why retaining an experienced lawyer is critical.
Compensation is Available for Injured Victims:
Whether you’re pursuing the responsible driver’s insurance company through an injury claim or in court, you may be able to recover many of the same damages. Depending on your unique circumstances, you could seek compensation for:
- Your medical costs, including surgery, emergency treatment, physical therapy, pain medications, and related care;
- Lost wages, if your auto crash injuries prevent you from earning an income;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional anguish;
- Diminished quality of life; and,
- Losses based upon how your injuries affect your relationships with your spouse, children, and other loved ones.
In addition, California also provides for a cause of action termed wrongful death, which may benefit you if you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle crash. The foundation of such a claim is the losses you sustain because your family member is no longer alive because of someone else’s negligence. As such, it’s possible to recover a range of damages in a wrongful death case, such as:
- Funeral and burial costs;
- Losses for what the decedent would have earned as income had he or she survived; and,
- Compensation for the loss of the deceased’s companionship, guidance, education, emotional support, and related damages.
Limitations on Your Monetary Damages:
There are two key legal concepts in auto accident cases that you should note since they could have serious implications for your claim:
- California has a statute of limitations in all personal injury cases, including those for vehicle crashes. You must file a lawsuit in court within two years, and the clock starts to run on the date of the incident. If you allow the statute of limitations to expire, you’re forever barred from recovering compensation.
- Like many other US states, California follows the rule of comparative negligence, which puts the focus on your own actions in a car collision. If you were also at fault, your compensation will be reduced in proportion to how much you contributed to the accident. For example, you might lose some of your monetary damages if you engaged in any of the negligent acts described above.
Speak to an Attorney After a Car Accident in Thousand Oaks
While this overview of California auto crash claims may be helpful, there are many additional details and legal requirements for recovering compensation for your losses. You put your rights at risk by attempting to represent yourself, so allow our team at Fisher & Talwar to assist. We’re prepared to deal with an insurance company, but we’re also ready to take the matter to court as necessary to protect your rights. To learn more about your legal remedies, please call 213.805.7706 or visit our website to schedule your no-cost consultation today.