Frequently Asked Questions About Vehicle Accidents
Our Pleasanton Personal Injury Lawyers Answer Common Questions
Each year, vehicle accidents injure and kill millions of people. Injuries from a vehicle accident can lead to millions of dollars in unexpected expenses. Our Pleasanton personal injury lawyers know that financial and psychological turmoil are also common after losing a loved one to an accident.
It can be difficult to know what to do after an accident, and even minor mistakes can prevent you from being able to recover compensation for your damages. Below, our personal injury attorneys answer common questions about vehicle accidents.
- What should I do after a vehicle accident?
- Do I need a vehicle accident attorney?
- What are common damages in vehicle accident cases?
- What if I am partially at fault for the accident?
- Why do I need vehicle accident compensation?
- What if the other driver has no insurance?
What Should I Do After a Vehicle Accident?
You should always seek medical attention as soon as possible after a vehicle accident. There are many types of injuries that may not materialize right away. Delayed accident injuries, such as internal bleeding, can be fatal if left untreated.
Also, it is important that a medical professional document your pain and suffering soon after the accident so the insurance company is not able to claim that the injury was caused by something other than the accident. You are establishing a record of your injuries by seeking medical attention after a crash. Medical records are useful when negotiating a settlement or seeking a jury verdict.
Evidence can quickly disappear after an accident, even within hours or days. For example, there might be an important eyewitness that could provide evidence that the other driver was at fault. There could also be important video surveillance footage of the accident. You should contact an attorney right away, as he or she can help preserve evidence that may be crucial to your claim.
One thing you should not do after a crash is talk to the other party’s insurance adjuster. Save this task for an attorney who has experience handling claims with insurance companies.
Do I Need a Vehicle Accident Attorney?
Although an attorney can help protect and uncover evidence, he or she can help in a number of other ways. Dealing with an insurance company, especially after a devastating crash, is a nightmare that few people are equipped to handle.
Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to ensure that you are fairly compensated. If you are seeking a claim against the other party’s provider, then it helps to have an experienced vehicle accident attorney negotiate a settlement.
There are also cases where it is necessary to file a lawsuit against the other party. If you cannot settle your case, then other measures may be necessary. An attorney is immensely helpful if these circumstances arise during the claims process.
Your attorney may be able to recover a verdict that helps cover your damages. Certain injuries can lead to millions of dollars in damages, so you should give yourself the best possible chance to recover compensation.
What Are Common Damages During Vehicle Accident Cases?
Vehicle accident lawsuits generally involve noneconomic and economic damages. Punitive damages, also called punishment damages, may factor into cases that go before a jury trial.
- Economic damages. Many people suffer tangible damages following a vehicle accident. Examples of economic damages can include medical bills, property damage and lost income. For instance, hospital bills incurred right after your accident could be an example of economic damages that factor into your case.
- Noneconomic damages. You may have also suffered damages that are intangible and more difficult to quantify. Noneconomic damages deal with pain and suffering caused by the accident.
- Punitive damages. Although punitive damages are not compensatory, they could factor into your case if the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious. Punitive damages are possible if your case goes before a jury trial.
What If I Am Partially At Fault for the Accident?
California follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule that could affect your ability to recover compensation from a lawsuit.
If you are partially at fault for your damages, then you could still collect compensation. The amount you can collect depends upon your percentage of fault. For instance, if you receive a $1 million jury verdict, but are found to be 20-percent at fault for the accident, then you can only collect $800,000.
If you have questions about how California’s comparative negligence law could apply to your claim, reach out to our lawyers.
Why Do I Need Vehicle Accident Compensation?
Accident compensation covers economic and noneconomic damages. Compensation may cover:
- Past, present and future medical expenses
- Loss of earnings or future earning capacity
- Home modifications
- Travel expenses, such as to a rehabilitative therapist’s office
- Funeral expenses for cases involving wrongful death
- Pain and suffering
Serious accidents may incur millions of dollars in lost income and medical expenses. Spinal cord injuries are a great example. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, a person who suffers a complete C-1 spinal cord injury at 25 years old could suffer $4 million in lifetime costs. This figure does not cover additional expenses, such as lost wages or benefits.
It is important to remember that sometimes injuries are more serious that what you initially imagined. You may not realize the serious impact an accident will have on your life until later, for example if you have an injury that you thought would heal on its own but later requires surgery. It is important to involve a lawyer in the process early because it is impossible to know what the future may hold.
What If the Other Driver Has No Insurance?
Sometimes, at fault drivers have no insurance to cover your injuries. If this happens, one of our experienced accident lawyers can review your insurance policy to determine if you have uninsured or underinsured vehicle insurance. There may be other financial benefits in your insurance policy that can help pay for your medical bills even if there is another person responsible for the accident. During a legal consultation, a lawyer can review your insurance policy to see what rights you have to recover money even if the other driver is uninsured.
About Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Pleasanton, CA
The Pleasanton personal injury lawyers at Bonjour, Thorman, Burns & Dahm, PC may be able to help if you or a loved one suffered harm during a vehicle accident. We have experience helping accident survivors with serious injuries.
We handle cases throughout Alameda County,Contra Costa County, San Francisco County and Santa Clara County. If you have additional questions that our site does not cover, then schedule a free consultation with us by dialing (925) 460-8484 or by using the contact form on our site.