The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 2,368 car accidents in California. This data accounted for 45 percent of all fatal crashes in 2020.
Fresno, California, is the fifth biggest city in the state. According to the latest data, the city is home to 544,510 people. The city’s population is almost three times that of nearby Clovis. Another notable thing about Fresno is that it’s highly car-reliant. In 2019, there were 552,415 registered vehicles in the county. While the roads of Fresno aren’t as congested as other cities, it still had a 20 percent congestion rate in 2021. Many accidents usually happen during periods of traffic congestion. It’s not surprising that Fresno routinely reports many auto accidents resulting in severe injuries. The Collision Overview Fact Sheet showed Fresno accounted for 15 percent of statewide pedestrian fatalities from 2008 to 2017.
If you sustained serious injuries in a car accident, you might need the help of a law firm. Lawyers can offer car accident victims legal advice on getting a settlement from the involved motorist. It’s critical to arm yourself with the correct legal information.
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Common Injuries From a Fresno Car Accident
Car accidents are traumatic, and involvement in one will probably change your life dramatically. However, it’s also common for car accident victims not to realize the full extent of their injuries immediately after the collision. Some will refuse medical care, thinking their injuries don’t warrant medical attention.
Latent injury is common. It’s when pain and inflammation develop much later. Seeking immediate care is necessary after a vehicular accident since many injuries may require thorough examination. Soft tissue injuries, for example, can take days to weeks before symptoms become apparent.
Car accidents can lead to many different injury types, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Some of the common injuries car accident victims shouldn’t ignore as follows:
Broken bones are common car accident injuries. They will likely require the patient to stay several days in the hospital to recover.
Casts and splints can keep bones in place while healing takes place. Simple fractures may take weeks or months to heal but usually recover well with little pain or swelling. Pain relievers, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can decrease inflammation.
Car accidents can cause broken bones in the fingers, toes, arms, and legs, depending on the collision mechanism. Car accident victims should seek medical care immediately. This allows the doctor to look at their injury and take X-rays or other tests. This procedure ensures they can identify the fracture and its extent and provide necessary treatment.
An untreated bone fracture can lead to a delayed union or nonunion. In a nonunion, the bone won’t undergo healing and remain broken. This will result in pain, tenderness, and swelling that worsen over time. If you have a broken bone, keeping your weight off the injured area while it heals is essential.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be life-threatening and cause long-term disability. They can also cause permanent brain damage, personality changes, and memory loss.
Traumatic brain injury is when the head suffers a blow or jolt that causes bleeding inside your skull. The bleeding causes swelling outside your skull, which forces fluid into other parts of your head. This fluid pushes against healthy tissue in different areas of the brain, causing harm and possibly death if left untreated.
Treatment for traumatic brain injuries depends on their severity. Some people may require surgery, while others recover without any medical intervention.
If you or a family member suffered a traumatic brain injury, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately. The sooner treatment begins, the better chance of recovery.
Internal injuries are among the most serious a victim can get after an auto accident. They can be life-threatening and cause long-term health problems.
Blunt force trauma can cause Internal injuries, such as being hit by a car or truck. It can also be due to sudden stops, like being rear-ended while changing lanes. While seatbelts protect you from accidents, improperly wearing them can lead to injuries to internal organs.
- Collapsed lung or pneumothorax: An injury to the rib can cause a broken bone to pierce the lungs during a car accident. This causes the air to escape and fill the lung cavity. Doctors often miss subtle pneumothorax in 30 to 50 percent of initial clinical exams or radiographs.
- Organ damage: High-impact car crashes can lead to internal injuries, bleeding, or organ failure. The most commonly affected organs in car accidents are the liver and kidneys.
- Ruptured spleen: An impact to the lower chest or upper abdomen of a car crash can result in a ruptured spleen. Spleen rupture can happen immediately after the accident, but it can also take days or weeks.
- Abdominal aorta dissection: Abdominal compression is common in car accidents, resulting in abdominal aorta rupture, which is often fatal. The worst thing about this injury is that the symptoms aren’t apparent immediately.
Internal injuries can be fatal if left untreated. The body can go into shock without apparent reason. That’s why it’s critical to visit the emergency department after a car accident, especially if the impact caused blunt force trauma.
Injuries from car accidents can be devastating and can last a lifetime. Personal injury attorneys know how to handle cases like yours. They will fight aggressively to get the maximum compensation. This includes coverage for medical bills, lost wages, and loss of consortium that another driver’s negligence has caused
Get a fair settlement after an auto accident in California.
Damages You Can Recover After an Auto Accident
A car accident injury can be physically, emotionally, and financially debilitating. Unfortunately, accidents happen without warning, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recover damages. Besides the upfront costs of medical treatments for their injuries, car accident victims may face other losses.
Auto insurance companies will do their utmost to protect their interests. Still, there are several damages that you may be able to recover. It would be best to hire a personal injury attorney to determine what damages you can recover for property damage and wrongful death.
For example, after an auto accident, you may be able to recover:
Economic damages refer to the direct financial consequences of an accident. This type of damage is the most common and easily recoverable because they’re easier to identify. Economic damage value remains constant, no matter who is evaluating the claim.
Some of the economic damages car accident victims can file in personal injury claims include the following:
- Medical bills: This includes past and future medical expenses that resulted from the accidents. The court will base the amount to award on the medical report. More often than not, they will award what they think is reasonable.
Future medical expenses cover the potential costs the victim will incur due to their injuries. Traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries often require long-term care and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages: Car accident victims need time to recover and may miss some working days. They can file for lost wages claim to compensate for this.
- Household services: This expense includes hiring someone to help with the household tasks while the victim is recovering. The victim must prove they wouldn’t have incurred the fees if they had not been injured. The court wouldn’t grant it if housekeeping costs were part of the victim’s monthly expenses before the accident.
- Property damages: This includes the cost of the car wreck. In general, property damage would primarily focus on the costs of repairing or placing a vehicle. Awards may include collateral like broken phone GPS systems, cameras, etc.
- Lost earning capacity: The victim may be entitled to this award if they lose their ability to make a living due to the accident. For the court to approve, victims may need to present an expert witness to justify their claim.
These damages are subjective and are difficult to quantify. They are compensation for non-financial losses such as the following:
- Pain and suffering: This can be due to emotional and physical stress secondary to an injury. For example, patients may experience depression because of the associated medical costs of the car accident injury. They can also suffer from pain and suffering because of scarring or disfigurement.
- Loss of consortium: The spouse may claim loss of consortium if their loved one can no longer provide love and support because of the accident.
- Permanent disability: Victims with a permanent disability can claim non-economic damages since the injury will change their life. For example, physically active people may no longer enjoy life because of a spinal cord injury.
Note that California doesn’t have standard values to determine non-economic damages.
There’s another damage the court may uphold against the driver at fault. It’s called punitive or exemplary damages that typically apply to intentional tort cases. The court usually awards these damages to set precedence and deter the defendant from doing the same thing again.
You cannot file a claim for punitive damages in a California personal injury lawsuit. However, the judge may consider it appropriate in some situations. For example, the driver at fault was intentionally negligent and caused the death of another person. Failure of the defendant to express remorse for wrongful death may also prompt the awarding of punitive damages.
In California, there’s no cap on punitive damages. Determining punitive damages may depend on the ability of the defendant to pay. In most cases, they must have a “reasonable relationship” to compensatory damages.
Get legal help from Fresno car accident lawyers to get a fair settlement for your injuries.
Helpful Tips To Get Maximum Compensation
It’s not uncommon for people to try and handle everything on their own. They won’t seek help from an attorney or insurance adjuster until they have not worked for a while due to the accident.
Many people think contacting their insurance company will be enough after getting involved in a car accident. They will simply have their car repaired and start the recovery process from their injuries.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. The insurance company will try to get accident victims to settle for as little as possible to minimize their payout. Their initial offer may only cover some of their direct and indirect costs.
Suppose you sustained injuries in a negligent car accident in Fresno. In that case, the following tips can help you determine the appropriate value of your claim.
Get proper medical treatment
If you sustain injuries in an accident, it’s best to see a doctor. You should call 911 to put what happened on the record for a minor injury that doesn’t require medical attention.
If your injuries are more severe but no threat to life or limb, visiting the emergency department is a must. Medical records have evidentiary value in court.
Your check-up will serve as another record that the accident did happen and you suffered injuries because of it. Remember, no apparent injury doesn’t mean the absence of it. Some injuries are latent but can be fatal.
Obtain medical records and other evidence
If you have been in an accident, it is vital to collect your insurance policies, police reports, and accident scene photos. You must keep a record of all documents from the hospital or doctor’s office where you received treatment. The more information available about what happened to cause the car accident, the better chance you have of receiving compensation.
Medical records are critical for your case. You can use it to prove the injuries you sustained were a direct consequence of the other driver’s negligence.
Insurance companies, in their interest, will try to lower the settlement amount as much as possible. They may claim your injury is pre-existing or isn’t as severe as claimed. The medical records you have will prove them otherwise.
Ideally, you or your personal injury lawyer should request medical records as soon as possible.
Avoid these personal injury claim mistakes
Figuring in an accident can be overwhelming. There are tons of things you have to prepare. Your insurance company may ask a lot of questions and document requirements.
Most victims would make the mistake of signing everything without reading the contents. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may give an initial offer that’s not commensurate with the settlement you deserve.
Before signing anything, make sure to read everything carefully. Ask the help of a legal expert to scrutinize the terms and conditions. They will ensure that you understand what you’re getting and that it’s enough to cover the damages.
Another critical mistake to avoid is not filing the claim immediately. Most car accident victims delay filing a claim for different reasons. Some say they’re still recovering from an injury. Others may believe their injuries are minor and only realize they are serious until later.
It may already be too late when they realize they need to seek compensation. Victims only have two years from when the accident happened to file a personal injury lawsuit in California.
Work with experienced Fresno car accident lawyers
When hiring a lawyer, you want to work with someone committed to getting you the compensation you deserve. You have to ensure the one you’re getting has years of experience and a license to practice law in California. It’s also important that personal injury is among their practice areas. This way, you’ll have the assurance they can provide the best representation possible.
The free consultation with a car accident lawyer will offer you many benefits. Aside from being free, it will help you understand the potential damages you can claim.
It’s also important to note that not all police reports will provide an accurate account of the accident. Your chosen law firm and its legal team can scrutinize the information and find loopholes.
Additionally, a lawyer will guide you through the claims process and see if the settlement offer is worth accepting. When you have a lawyer on your side, you can focus your energy on your recovery.
Getting involved in a car accident may be a bad enough situation. However, it can get worse.
Personal injury claims can be complicated and require the expertise of experienced Fresno car accident attorneys. Your lawyer can help you navigate the claims process.
Got injured in an accident? It’s time to seek legal advice from an attorney who knows how the system works and the best way to advocate for you.
Get the Best Legal Help for Your Auto Accident Case
Navigating a car accident case is always a challenge. You will have injuries that will dramatically change the trajectory of your and your family’s life. Severe injuries may keep you from enjoying the same quality of life.
Lighten your burden by getting a just and fair settlement with the help of a legal expert. Know that legal assistance is within your reach. Explore our resources to help you understand your legal rights and ensure you get the justice you deserve.
Visit The Personal Injury Center to match you with the right car accident lawyer in Fresno, Ca. It is your best shot at getting fair compensation after an automobile accident.
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FAQs on Car Accident Lawyers in Fresno
The statute of limitations or the deadline to file a lawsuit in California is two years from the time of the accident or discovery. Missing this deadline means giving up your right to recover compensation. That’s why it’s best to consult a lawyer immediately after the accident.
Every car accident is different. Circumstances such as the number of people involved, the injury’s severity, and the accident’s mechanism can impact settlement. For economic damages, the court will determine the appropriateness of the claim against the actual damages.
It’s also possible for the court to charge the defendant punitive damages if they think they deserve much more punishment than what’s prescribed by the law. Remember that California is a pure comparative fault state. This doctrine states that victims can still receive damages even if they’re partially responsible for the accident.
Leaving the scene of the accident constitutes a hit-and-run, which is a crime according to Sections 20001 and 20002 of the California Vehicle Code. When resulting in property damage only, it is a misdemeanor, resulting in a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
For accidents involving minor injuries, you may receive a misdemeanor charge, up to one-year imprisonment, and a fine of up to $10,000.
If your negligence resulted in severe injuries or death, a hit-and-run becomes a felony charge. Once convicted, you may have to pay a $10,000 fine and serve two to four years in prison. This may also be seen as a blatant disregard for the welfare of the people involved. The court may order you to pay punitive damages if you don't show remorse for what you have done.