Traffic accidents can be devastating, especially for car accident victims. Although many car crashes are relatively minor, major ones could leave anyone with serious injuries and even death.
Most of your days may come and go without witnessing a car crash. But motor vehicle accidents are common despite improved safety features in cars and trucks. It’s always a good idea to be cautious, particularly when driving around Bakersfield, California.
Based on a national study from Smart Growth America, Bakersfield ranked as the seventh most deadly metropolitan area for pedestrians and drivers. Over the past decade, three city intersections have also been sites of more than a hundred accidents.
Suppose you or a loved one get seriously injured on a Bakersfield road. In that case, you may have the right to seek damages for your injuries and accident-related losses.
No one can fully prepare for the emotional and physical consequences of being involved in a car wreck. Your primary focus should be on your health and recovery. Speaking to a trusted car accident attorney as soon as possible helps ease the impact of car accidents. Lawyers can help you assert your legal rights and get the maximum compensation you deserve.
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Common Car Accident Injuries
The impact of car accidents can cause trauma even at relatively low speeds. Auto accident injuries can be as mild as a bump, bruise, shallow cut, or scrape. More severe injuries can result in permanent health issues or even wrongful death.
The use of a seatbelt and the presence of functioning airbags can help mitigate injuries in the event of a collision. But even modern vehicles cannot wholly protect drivers and passengers against these injuries.
Another driver could blindside you no matter how responsibly you drive. Suppose you or a loved one suffer serious injuries that lead to high medical bills. In that case, you could seek proper compensation and file a personal injury claim with the help of a lawyer.
While injuries are as varied as the specific circumstances of every car wreck, some are more frequent than others. Below are some common injuries you could get in a car accident in Bakersfield.
Scrapes and cuts
Your body will likely sustain cuts and bruises in many accidents, including car crashes. Various items in your vehicle, like glasses, cellphones, and dashcams, may fly around in the car during a collision. They can easily cut your skin and cause other injuries if they come in contact with your body.
Minor cuts and scrapes often don’t require medical intervention and may be treatable at home. But car accidents will yield different outcomes for accident victims. This means it’s possible to become more badly cut in some car wrecks than others.
Sharp objects from broken windows or windshields may penetrate past the outer layer of your skin, causing deep cuts and significant bleeding. If left without treatment, deeper or more extensive lacerations may pose a risk for infections and other complications.
Your cuts may need stitches, physical rehabilitation, and ongoing medical treatment, depending on the severity. This may prevent you from performing your regular duties, resulting in missed work and lost wages.
Soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries are also common in car accidents. The force of impact in a collision can violently fling accident victims across the vehicle. This sudden motion can cause partial or complete tears in tissue fibers.
Damaged connective tissue, which includes ligaments, muscles, and tendons, can cause significant pain and discomfort. These soft tissue injuries could get worse if they go undiagnosed and untreated. Unfortunately, people often overlook soft tissue injuries since they are not as apparent as open cuts or broken bones.
Soft injuries may limit your mobility. The possible chronic pain or loss of function accompanying these injuries can impair accident victims’ ability to perform regular activities. Even minor ones can result in significant problems for your health and extensive medical bills.
The high-velocity impact of a car collision can cause an extremely forceful blow to the head. When this happens, the brain may collide with the inside of the skull. This violent motion may bruise your brain, causing damage to the internal tissue and blood vessels.
Head injuries can be as minor as bruises or as severe as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Depending on the severity of damage to the brain, symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe. They may lead to extended periods of unconsciousness, coma, or even death.
A TBI is one of the most challenging head injuries an accident victim can sustain. Its devastating potential impairments can seriously affect your independence, finances, and relationships.
Car accidents could cause broken bones on various parts of the body. Breaks and fractures usually happen when more pressure is exerted on your bones than they can withstand. During a motor vehicle collision, your body will likely receive a tremendous impact.
Simple fractures will heal relatively quickly with proper medical attention, but more complex ones can have dangerous complications. In extreme cases, accident victims could face long-term pain and permanent impairment.
Unfortunately, some fractures may go undetected due to other pressing injuries. Swelling, bruising, or discolored skin are some symptoms you may suffer from a fractured bone. It is essential to seek medical attention after a car accident whether or not you experience any symptoms.
Motor vehicles like cars crashing can put significant force on the human body, whether moving fast or slow. Sudden pressure can cause a part of the body to collide with something else or for an object to pierce the skin. The blunt and penetrating trauma from car accidents can cause severe damage to internal organs.
Internal injuries don’t often manifest, but they can have serious consequences for the injured victims. Accident victims may not realize they have sustained injuries until they become life-threatening and result in long-term complications.
Doctors must examine bones, tissues, and blood vessels to determine if there are internal injuries. But being alert to the following symptoms after a car accident may help you recognize the signs quickly:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Breathing problems
- Blood in stool or urine
- Loss of consciousness
- Fever or chills
- Signs of bruising
Accident victims can experience different types of burns, depending on the specific circumstances of a car crash. Although burns are not frequent in most car accidents, they’re often life-altering when they do happen.
Types of burns common in car accidents include chemical, electrical, and thermal burns. Gasoline leaks, in combination with downed electrical wires, often cause fires and burns in motor vehicle collisions. You may risk suffering first, second, or third-degree burns.
Some burns may heal quickly with home care or basic medical attention. But others require intensive ongoing medical treatment for months or even years. A severe burn from a car wreck may ultimately affect the injured victim’s life, resulting in loss of mobility, income, and much more.
Causes of Car Accidents
Several factors play a role in motor vehicle collisions. While some accidents are unexpected and inevitable, most can be avoided if all road users observe safe driving practices. Unfortunately, many drivers are reckless on the road and violate traffic rules.
There’s no way to control everything on Bakersfield’s roads. The risks of getting into an accident are always there, no matter how careful you are on the road. But being aware of the following common causes of crashes can help you minimize the likelihood of getting involved in one.
Driving at high speeds is one of the leading causes of all traffic collisions across California, including Bakersfield. Speeding could put every road user in danger. In 2020, speeding contributed to 29% of all traffic deaths, resulting in the loss of 11.258 lives.
There are speed limits to protect all roadway users against fatal accidents and injuries. But many drivers don’t follow them, willing to risk losing control of the vehicle or getting a ticket.
Speeding motorists tend to get into accidents because they have less time to stop or steer safely around obstacles. People driving at extremely high speeds may be held liable for injuries resulting from an auto accident.
Suppose you’ve been injured in a car crash involving a speeding driver. In that case, you may seek compensation with a Bakersfield car accident attorney.
Responsible driving requires concentration. Unfortunately, numerous distractions could take the driver’s attention away from the road, preventing them from operating the car safely. Using cell phones and other electronic devices is the most common form of driver distraction.
But eating, drinking, and talking to passengers while driving can also lead to serious and catastrophic accidents. Anything that divides the driver’s attention can increase the risk of getting involved in a motor vehicle crash.
Have you been seriously harmed in a car accident where a distracted driver is at fault? You may pursue damages for any injuries and losses you sustained.
Driving under the influence
Operating a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol is extremely dangerous. Alcohol consumption can severely impair the function of brain areas, especially those involved in thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. All these abilities are vital for driving a vehicle safely.
As a result, drunk drivers are likely to make mistakes and cause crashes and injuries. However, despite various safety campaigns targeting driving under the influence (DUI), it remains a significant problem in Bakersfield and throughout California.
Suppose you get injured in a car crash due to a drunk driver. In that case, a Bakersfield car accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Drivers should keep a safe distance between their vehicles and the cars, trucks, or motorcycles in front of them. This will give motorists sufficient time and space to stop without crashing into another vehicle.
Unfortunately, tailgating or following too closely is a common cause of many car accidents. With little space between motor vehicles, tailgating drivers have decreased time to react to road hazards and changing conditions.
Many drivers don’t know their car’s exact stopping distance but assume the gap to other vehicles is sufficient. In many tailgating accidents, that assumption was wrong. Unfortunately, a driver who follows too closely poses risks to other motorists.
If you get involved in an accident caused by a tailgating driver, you may be able to seek compensation. Consult a competent car accident attorney in Bakersfield for your options.
Right-of-way traffic rules keep all road users safe, particularly in merging traffic and pedestrian crossings. But many people are unfamiliar with such regulations or disregard them entirely, causing severe accidents on the road.
Such crashes may occur in various scenarios. However, a driver turning at intersections or aggressively merging onto the highway are common examples.
When mandated by law, failing to yield the right of way can result in liability for accidents. A personal injury attorney can help you if you fall victim to an accident because another driver violated right-of-way rules.
Poor road conditions
Not all accidents are due to human error or reckless behavior. Poor road conditions can also create significant hazards to drivers and cause accidents in various ways. A driver may attempt to avoid a pothole or pooling water. This may cause them to lose control of their vehicle and eventually crash.
The state and local governments are responsible for ensuring public roads’ proper design and maintenance. Did you get injured in an accident due to poor road conditions? You may be able to claim compensation from the entities in charge of road maintenance.
What to Do After Getting in a Car Accident
It’s normal to feel confused and overwhelmed after a car crash. But it’s important to act quickly yet remain mindful of one’s actions when involved in a car accident. While some aspects of your accident case and investigation are out of your hands, preparation will help you protect your legal rights.
Do the following steps to help ease the stress after a car accident and your personal injury claim.
1. Don’t leave the area
Leaving immediately after a car crash could mean hit-and-run charges. It can also make it challenging or impossible to prove you’re not the at-fault driver. The police will likely assume that the accident happened because of your negligence.
Wait to leave until you have fulfilled all legal requirements, even if the injury is minor or no one is injured. You can ensure your safety and legal rights to recoverable damages by remaining at the crash scene.
2. Check for injuries
Safety should be your top priority after a car crash. Take the time to identify areas of your body that hurt before moving. No matter how minor the accident is, assess your condition. If it’s safe to do so, check if any of your passengers are injured.
Never try to move someone injured in a car wreck unless their position puts them in immediate danger. Get everyone to a safe area off the road if there’s a threat of an explosion.
3. Call emergency services
Call 911 if you discover any injuries after a car crash. This is the quickest way to get emergency medical attention and report the accident to authorities. Provide them with essential information, such as the location of the car crash and the extent of injuries.
Recognizing some signs of a more severe injury is only possible if you’re a physician. By calling emergency services, paramedics can give you professional medical treatment.
Note that it’s also possible to request a police officer on the scene through 911. A law enforcement officer will speak to everyone involved in the car wreck. They will also prepare a police report that will explain what happened. If possible, get the name and badge number of the responding officer.
4. Collect information
It’s crucial to exchange insurance information with any drivers involved. Most states, like California, require drivers to carry proof of insurance to drive legally. Failure to do this could lead to fines and imprisonment.
If the other party refuses to give their insurance information, they may be uninsured. Additional information that you need to obtain after the car accident includes the following:
- Complete name and contact details of drivers
- Driver’s license and plate numbers
- Vehicle registration, type, coloring, and model
- Witness contact information
5. Document the crash scene
Besides exchanging information with other drivers, it’s essential to document the crash scene and injuries. The more information you gather, the stronger your car accident case. When providing details, nothing is too small or insignificant.
If you have a phone or camera and it’s safe to do so, take pictures or videos of the scene from multiple angles. Document all damage to vehicles, property, and area conditions. If there are witnesses, ask for their statements, names, and phone numbers.
6. Notify your insurance company
Once you have documented all the details of the car wreck, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. This is important regardless of who is at fault for the crash. Failure to provide prompt notice could put your coverage and claim at risk.
Answer the questions of the insurance provider honestly. But you don’t have to explain the details of the car crash, your injuries, or other potential damages at this time. Remember that insurance adjusters don’t operate in your best interests.
Let a Bakersfield car accident attorney speak to the insurance company and negotiate on your behalf.
7. Talk to a lawyer
Understanding your rights is particularly important after getting involved in a motor vehicle accident. Besides handling communication between you and the insurance company, an experienced personal injury lawyer can better explain and assert your rights.
Each state has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. You can ensure that you take the necessary legal action within the specified timeframe by getting legal advice from a lawyer. A Bakersfield car accident attorney can help you gather evidence and obtain just compensation while focusing on recovery.
Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer
With numerous law firms in Bakersfield, finding a personal injury attorney you can trust can be challenging. You can ask for recommendations from people you know and get information about their experience with a law firm.
But you still need to assess the lawyer before finding someone who can represent your best interests. We highlighted the following factors to narrow your options and choose the best Bakersfield car accident lawyer to handle your case.
Personal injury attorneys focus on different practice areas. You’ll want to work with someone with years of experience handling car accident cases. Ensure to ask the lawyer how many cases they handled like yours. Take the time to find reviews before deciding on anything.
Most auto accident cases never get to court. However, some do. When choosing a car accident attorney, look for someone with a winning track record of handling claims in court and getting appropriate settlements.
Attorney fees vary among states and from one law office to another. The amount lawyers charge depends on their education, experience, and reputation. But choose a lawyer on something other than the fee. If money is an issue when hiring an attorney, you can find someone who works on a contingent fee basis. You only need to pay them once you get your settlement.
Lines of communication
Communication is vital to building a lawyer-client relationship. You want to work with a lawyer who promptly responds to your questions. Someone who takes days to answer your emails may be too busy to handle your case.
Ensure to ask about their availability and lines of communication. Choosing a car accident lawyer who can speak to you in a way you understand is also crucial.
Reputation is a vital factor when finding a car accident attorney. A reputable car accident attorney will be honest about your case and upfront about their fees. When learning about a lawyer’s reputation, you can read previous clients’ reviews to gauge their influence in the community.
It will also help to get lawyer references and contact the state bar. Past clients can find out if the attorney lives up to expectations. The state bar will reveal if a lawyer has been subject to disciplinary actions.
Find the Best Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyer for Your Case
It’s possible to handle a personal injury case on your own. But getting injured in a car crash is already traumatic and frustrating. Hiring a skilled car accident attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome without extraordinary effort.
We at The Personal Injury Center understand the difficulty of finding a reliable law firm and personal injury attorney. But we have resources that can help make your search easier.
Contact us today to get a free assessment of your case. Based on the specific circumstances of your car accident, we connect you with the appropriate Bakersfield car accident lawyers.
FAQs on Car Accident Lawyer Bakersfield
Is it necessary to hire a car accident lawyer?
Hiring a car accident lawyer to handle a personal injury claim is not mandatory, but it is advisable. Seeking compensation for your injuries and other losses resulting from a motor vehicle accident can interfere with your recovery. Additionally, you may not have the skills and knowledge to make a proper claim. An experienced car accident lawyer will take care of everything with competence and professionalism.
What is comparative negligence in personal injury?
Many states, like California, use a comparative negligence system to recognize shared liability among parties until proven otherwise. Comparative negligence is the attribution of the liability to each party for causing the accident or injury.
Under this rule, the at-fault party for the accident may still be able to collect damages in an accident. However, the court will reduce the award by the percentage of their liability. For instance, suppose the court finds that the claimant is 30% at fault and the damages are $100,000. In that case, the claimant would recover up to $70,000.
How do you determine fault in a car accident?
There are numerous factors to consider when determining fault in a car accident. But the following evidence will help identify and prove who is legally responsible for the crash:
- Police reports
- Statements by witnesses
- Photographs of the crash scene
- Location of vehicle damage
- A ticket for any traffic violation