Ventura, CA Car Accident Lawyer
Ventura, CA may not see as much traffic as other California cities along the Pacific Coast, but fatal and injury-causing car accidents are still a concern for motorists. Data compiled by the California Office of Traffic Safety indicates that there were 690 victims who were killed or injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available. These numbers may indicate the frequency of these tragic crashes, but they don’t tell the story of the devastating losses for victims and their families.
If you were hurt in an auto collision, it’s important to understand that you have legal rights and remedies under California law. Our attorneys at Fisher & Talwar can explain in more detail about your options to recover compensation from the responsible driver, which may include pursuing an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit in court. Please contact our office to set up a free consultation with a Ventura, CA car accident lawyer. You might also benefit from reviewing some important information about the relevant legal concepts.
How Liability Laws Apply to California Auto Collisions:
No one ever really intends to cause a car accident, so the truth is that many of these incidents are the result of careless actions. In legal terms, this misconduct is termed negligence – the theory of liability behind many personal injury cases. To succeed in a claim for compensation, you must present evidence to prove four essential elements:
- You need to establish a duty on behalf of the responsible driver, who’s supposed to exercise reasonable care behind the wheel;
- You’ll have to show that the other motorist failed in this duty by engaging in careless conduct;
- You must prove that there’s a direct link between the breach of duty and the auto crash that led to your injuries; and,
- You need to show that you suffered losses because you were hurt.
To illustrate how these elements work in a real-life car accident claim, some examples may be useful. It may be a situation of negligence if the other motorist:
- Speeds or takes corners too quickly;
- Fails to yield to other drivers who have right-of-way;
- Changes lanes erratically or illegally;
- Doesn’t comply with traffic signs or signals; or,
- Engages in distracted driving, through texting, talking on the phone, posting to social media, taking pictures, or other unlawful cell phone use.
Pursuing Your Legal Options:
Motorists in California are required by law to carry auto insurance to cover the losses of accident victims, so the legal process begins by filing a claim with the responsible driver’s insurer. Though you may think your rights are clear based upon the above elements, an insurance adjuster will conduct a separate investigation into the facts. If there are any issues that may be in dispute, you can expect the insurance company to respond with a counteroffer as a means of resolving your claim – or even reject it entirely. The insurer might allege that:
- You weren’t hurt severely, so your injuries don’t justify compensation in the amount you requested;
- The company’s policyholder was not at fault;
- You were actually responsible for causing the accident; or,
- Any combination of the above.
When the insurance company won’t negotiate to resolve your claim for a fair, reasonable amount, you may need to resort to litigation. You would have to file a lawsuit in civil court, a process that involves drafting essential documents, working on discovery, dealing with emotions, and – of course – the trial. For these reasons, it’s essential to have an attorney to advocate on your behalf.
Compensation for Car Accident Victims:
When you’re pursuing an insurance company or going to court for monetary damages, the basis of your claim is the same: You’re seeking compensation for all consequences that result from your injuries, physically, financially, and emotionally. The point of damages is to put you in the same position as if the auto crash never happened, at least as much as possible. Therefore, you may be able to recover for:
- The costs of medical treatment, including hospitalization, emergency care, surgery, physical therapy, doctor’s visits, pain medications, and any related expenses;
- Lost income and future earning capacity, where your injuries affect your ability to do your job;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional and psychological distress;
- Losses that affect your quality of life and personal relationships; and,
- Many other damages, depending on your unique circumstances.
Note that you may also have rights to recover compensation if you lost a loved one in an auto accident caused by someone’s negligence. California has a law on wrongful death, which provides options for surviving family members after a fatal crash.
Potential Limitations in California Auto Collision Cases:
There are two important legal concepts that apply in car accident claims, both of which could have serious implications for your rights. Your attorney can describe in more detail, but they include:
- Time Restrictions: Like other US states, California has a statute of limitations that imposes a deadline on filing a lawsuit for a motor vehicle crash. If you don’t initiate litigation within two years from the date of the accident, you’re forever barred from seeking compensation for your losses. There are very limited exceptions to the law, so it’s important to take action right away.
- Comparative Negligence: In California, it’s not just the alleged at-fault driver’s conduct that will be at issue. Under the rule of comparative negligence, your own actions will be reviewed to determine if you were also responsible for causing the crash. If you were negligent in operating your vehicle, your compensation will be reduced by the amount of fault attributable to you.
Schedule a No-Cost Case Assessment with a Ventura, CA Car Accident Attorney
Auto crash cases can be complicated, especially when you’re up against an insurance company that’s only looking out for its own bottom line. Our team at Fisher & Talwar will prioritize your needs to ensure you get the highest compensation available under California law. If you’d like more information about your options as a victim, please contact our office to set up an appointment today. You can reach one of our skilled lawyers by calling 213.805.7706 or checking us out online.