Almost 10,000 people died in car crashes in the US in Q1 of 2022. One out of every ten of those fatalities occurred in California. Sacramento is the sixth-largest city in California and one of the state’s most high-risk places to drive.
Thousands of drivers commute through the city daily, so traffic accidents are likely to happen. Local drivers know the traffic hazards of Sacramento streets and highways. Still, careless drivers can turn a trip to a store, school, or work into a traumatic event.
If someone hits or injures you while on the road, you can hold them responsible and pay for your losses. However, crash victims will most likely need the help of a Sacramento car accident lawyer to get compensation.
The aftermath of a car crash is usually overwhelming. A personal injury attorney can handle your claim so you can focus on your recovery instead of your finances..
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“According to the Medical Malpractice Center, in the United States, there are between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice suits against doctors every year. “
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Car Accidents in Sacramento, California
Traffic is a primary problem in the city, causing drivers to spend considerable time and money every year. Sacramento ranks 18th among cities with the worst traffic in the US, so drivers there have it worse than most.
Moreover, research indicates that traffic increases accident risk, so motor vehicle accidents are a significant concern in Sacramento County.
California’s Transportation Injury Mapping System indicates a rising trend of crash numbers and fatalities in Sacramento. In 2021, the city recorded 64 deaths, compared to 40 in 2020.
Besides traffic congestion, some roads in Sacramento are likely to cause harm and injury. Exercising more caution while driving on such roadways can help prevent accidents.
While bypassing those dangerous intersections is only sometimes possible, knowing which ones put you at a higher crash risk is crucial. So consider watching out for the following accident-prone roads when traveling in the Sacramento area.
- El Camino
- South Stockton
However, Sacramento is a popular tourist destination in California. Many out-of-town drivers on the streets are unfamiliar with the area’s danger spots.
Even the most attentive driver cannot always control what happens on the road. Thus, equipping yourself with how to report an auto accident in Sacramento is a good idea.
Ensuring that no one is injured is the first thing you should consider. Getting proper medical treatment immediately after the crash is vital to protecting your health and legal rights.
The next is to ensure all parties exchange contact information. It’s also essential to take note of the accident scene and the time the car wreck happened.
If the motor vehicle accident involves any injuries or property damage, you must notify the Sacramento Police Department. Immediately filing a police report helps ensure your memory of the accident is fresh. It can also add merit to your case if you want to pursue a successful personal injury claim.
A Sacramento car accident attorney can further help explore your legal options and get the fair compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Sacramento
Dangerous roadways and traffic congestion are not the only causes of car accidents in Sacramento. Numerous factors play a role in motor vehicle crashes.
While some auto accidents are unavoidable, most are preventable if all drivers and road users follow the rules of the road. Unfortunately, many drive recklessly and don’t follow traffic laws.
In Sacramento County, common causes of a crash involve careless errors that drivers make, such as the following:
Following too close
Following too closely behind another motorist is risky to other drivers. Since there’s not enough space between vehicles, drivers have reduced time to react to road hazards and changing conditions.
The likelihood of the tailgating driver crashing into the back of the other driver’s vehicle increases, particularly when traffic slows. This can cause a chain reaction of accidents on the road.
A driver who follows too closely can be liable in an auto accident. But crash victims must prove that the tailgating driver caused the accident and their injuries. At this point, hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer becomes most valuable.
Failing to stop at red lights
Traffic signals are there to regulate the flow of traffic among motor vehicles and other road users. Although most motorists stop at red lights, too many disregard them, resulting in injuries and fatalities.
Motorists and pedestrians converge at intersections at different speeds and directions. Crashes can easily occur when a driver doesn’t pay attention or speed up and fail to stop at red lights. Regardless of the reason, the negligent driver is responsible for injuries and property damage resulting from the accident.
Suppose you or a family member sustains injuries due to a driver’s reckless behavior. In that case, a personal injury attorney can help you make a car accident claim.
Drunk driving (DUI) is a significant contributing factor to many accidents. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) indicates that DUI is one of the most serious threats to public safety. Drivers who get behind the wheel while drunk make mistakes they would not otherwise.
Alcohol reduces the function of specific brain areas involved in thinking, reasoning, memory, balance, and coordination. Since these are vital for operating a vehicle safely, impaired drivers are likely to cause crashes and injuries.
A Sacramento drunk driving accident attorney could help you file a personal injury claim if a drunk driver injured you.
Despite the threat of a speeding ticket, many drivers don’t abide by the posted speed limit. But the real danger is an increased risk of losing control of your vehicle when driving at unsafe speeds. Speeding drivers only have a little time to stop or steer safely around obstacles.
Reduced reaction times of drivers can result in auto accidents and serious injuries. If you stop suddenly in traffic and other motorists are speeding, they’ll likely crash into you.
Adverse conditions like fog and rain often require driving at lower speeds than the posted limit. Without enough time to safely stop when speeding, there’s a greater chance of crashing into another motor vehicle.
People driving too fast for the condition may be held accountable for injuries resulting from an accident. With a Sacramento car accident attorney handling personal injury cases, you can successfully file a claim against the at-fault driver.
Making left-hand turns
Making left-hand turns is one of the riskiest maneuvers drivers make all the time. Since they’re cutting across traffic heading in a different direction, there are multiple hazards they must anticipate. The problem is that drivers making left turns often underestimate the speed of oncoming vehicles.
Negligent drivers may press the gas pedal too quickly, even when unsafe. Other factors of turning left that may cause a crash include distracted driving, misjudgment of the gap, and obstructed view.
Injured victims of left-hand turn accidents can receive compensation for their damages. But investigating this situation can be complex. If a reckless driver turning left injures you, consult a lawyer to build a solid case.
Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
Car accidents can leave victims with extensive injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the collision, the injuries may resolve within a matter of days.
But others may suffer from catastrophic injuries, which can last a long time or even a lifetime. In more severe cases, they may result in wrongful death. No matter the type of injuries, getting medical attention right after the accident is critical.
Several factors may affect the severity of crash victims’ injuries. These may include the type of crash, speed limit, and position in the vehicle. Although injuries can vary among individuals, the following are the common ones caused by auto accidents.
Car accident victims commonly experience various kinds of lacerations. Some resolve without extensive medical treatment. But other cases result in complications, and prolonged hospital stays. These may involve more significant pain and suffering and medical expenses.
Broken bones frequently occur in car accidents. They happen when the collision subjects the body to a significant impact. Any bone in your body can fracture from a crash.
Some crash victims sustain broken legs, wrists, shoulders, ribs, or arms, which are bad enough. But in severe car accident cases, others can experience facial fractures, cracked pelvises, or broken hips.
In a high-speed crash, a victim’s head can hit the side window, windshield, or steering wheel. This may cause a variety of injuries to the head. While some only suffer minor damages like cuts and bruises, severe impacts can lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
There are many ways crash victims can sustain chest injuries during a collision. Hitting on the car’s components, like the steering wheel or dashboard, can cause painful fractures to the chest.
Seat belts significantly decrease the chances of suffering a fatal injury. But they instantly tighten to restrain occupants to their seats in a crash, causing injuries to the chest.
The most noticeable injuries are the ones victims tend to worry about after a car accident. But some may not exhibit obvious physical signs of trauma and are only detectable in a professional medical exam.
Damage to internal organs like the liver, spleen, and kidneys may also occur. These injuries can quickly develop into more severe conditions. That’s why seeking medical attention is vital, even if you think you’re uninjured.
Spinal cord injuries
The spinal column is at constant risk of injury during a car crash. The impact may force crash victims to twist or bend unnaturally, even at a low-speed collision. Such dangerous force can damage the spinal column and result in severe spine injuries.
How a Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento Can Help You
Ensuring your health is the most critical step you should take after getting involved in a car crash. But it would be best if you got support and guidance from a personal injury lawyer when able.
On top of the physical and emotional burdens from a car wreck, you will need to deal with economic losses. Auto accident injuries often mean significant medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement costs, lost wages, and more.
You can hold the at-fault party liable and pursue financial compensation for your losses. But without an experienced lawyer advocating for your rights, you may agree to settlements that will not cover all your expenses.
Working with an attorney specializing in car accidents and personal injury cases is crucial. You should consult a car accident lawyer before communicating with insurance adjusters.
However, if you don’t take that step shortly after the accident, do so as soon as possible. You may still wonder how a Sacramento car accident lawyer can help you. While it depends on the specifics and complexity of your case, auto accident attorneys can offer the following services.
Provide legal guidance
Being in an auto accident is already traumatic enough. You are probably grappling with many questions and concerns. What happens next, who you should contact, and who will be responsible for paying your medical bills are a few of them.
Additionally, there’s the legal paperwork you’ll need to read through and comprehend when filing your car accident claim. It’s worth noting that the at-fault party’s insurance company may ask you to sign documents after the accident. Signing them without a lawyer could compromise your claim for fair compensation.
A Sacramento car accident attorney is the proper person to handle insurance adjusters and their questions. They can advise you on the best path forward to get just compensation.
Lawyers can also help you understand the process of establishing your claim. That includes filing it and drafting the required documents within the statute of limitations. California has a two-year limit from the time of the event or discovery for auto accident claims.
A personal injury attorney will provide the necessary legal guidance, ensuring you meet all the deadlines for your claim.
Collect evidence to support your claim
California is an at-fault state, meaning the person who caused the accident must pay medical bills and other financial costs. Sometimes, one of the involved drivers will immediately assume fault for the car wreck.
But in most cases, the at-fault motorist may refuse to take responsibility. You must prove who is legally at fault if you’re the victim. To do that, you’ll need proof to support your claim.
Auto accident attorneys are experts at collecting evidence to prove liability. They will help you gather eyewitness accounts, police reports, and other significant details that contributed to the crash. If you suffer serious injuries, a car accident lawyer will also help obtain the necessary documentation.
Getting accurate medical records from healthcare providers can take time and effort. Some doctors may not mention the proximate cause and extent of the injury or disability in their medical records.
With the aid of a personal injury lawyer, you can get and preserve the evidence to establish a strong case.
Determining the probable extent of your medical needs can be complex. Sometimes, minor injuries can become serious over time, requiring ongoing and future medical treatment.
Unfortunately, many crash victims underestimate the potential expenses following an auto accident. They fail to anticipate future costs they must cover to recover fully from their injuries. This often results in insufficient and unfair settlements with an insurance company.
A free consultation with Sacramento car accident lawyers is the first step to ensuring you get the compensation to make you whole again. Insurance companies tend to downplay future medical expenses and only refer to current medical bills when offering a settlement.
But an auto accident attorney knows what may affect the calculation of your medical expenses. They can help you secure the full extent of damages you sustained from a car crash by considering essential factors.
Besides initial medical bills and repair costs, a lawyer will factor in the following losses due to car accident injuries.
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of potential earnings
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Estimated future medical expenses
Offer legal representation
Many motor vehicle accident claims can be settled out of court. But sometimes, the insurance companies may deny your car accident claim. In such cases, a personal injury lawsuit is the only way to get compensation.
The last thing you’d want is to represent yourself in court, which will put you in a vulnerable position. Without professional legal representation, the defendant and their lawyer can take advantage of your lack of experience and knowledge.
You may have a strong case. However, failing to represent yourself adequately will cause you to lose on technical or procedural grounds. Hiring an auto accident attorney is invaluable if you pursue legal action against the at-fault driver.
A Sacramento car accident lawyer will not only offer you legal representation. But they will also help you understand the best legal options for your car accident case.
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Recoverable Damages for Car Accident Victims in Sacramento
The financial compensation available for your car accident injuries and losses may come from more than one source. Additionally, the amount may depend on the extent of damages and other specifics of your case.
But if the other driver caused the crash, you may be eligible for the following types of compensation.
Also referred to as special damages, this type of compensation covers the actual monetary losses of car accident victims.
They may include past and future medical expenses for hospital stays, prescription medicines, ongoing and follow-up treatment, and rehabilitation. Adequate medical bills, records, and physician’s testimony can help prove these in court.
Other economic losses may also include property damage, lost wages, loss of earnings, and all out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the injury.
Non-economic or general damages refer to the non-pecuniary losses of the victims, primarily pain and suffering. They may also include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, and loss of consortium.
Because these losses are subjective and depend on the impact the injury had on their daily life, they are harder to quantify. Unlike economic damages, this compensation doesn’t have a direct monetary loss or physical evidence of bills or receipts.
Crash victims may also include punitive or exemplary damages in their car accident claims. This type of compensation punishes the defendant for malicious and reckless behavior. It also aims to deter an at-fault driver from acting similarly in the future.
However, California law requires a different burden of proof to recover punitive damages. You must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the other party is guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice.
How to Find the Best Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
Personal injury attorneys are everywhere, so finding one in Sacramento to best handle your case can be daunting. The Personal Injury Center can help you get started. Below are factors you should consider to narrow down your options and find the best lawyer to handle your case.
Years of experience
Personal injury lawyers specialize in a particular type of case. While some focus on handling workers’ compensation cases, others work more on product liability claims against manufacturers. You want to look for a lawyer with experience in car accident cases.
Check a law firm’s record of settlements. It’s good if they settle most of their personal injury cases without going to court. But also consider hiring an attorney who has successfully taken cases to trial. This is crucial if the at-fault parties are unwilling to settle and you need legal representation in court.
Consulting with a lawyer comes with a cost. It’s essential to consider the type and arrangement of fees. You may prefer to work with a personal injury lawyer that charges their services on a contingency fee basis.
Working on contingency means they will take on your case without an acceptance fee. They will only take payment for legal services if you win your claim, typically a set percentage.
However, you may still be responsible for out-of-pocket expenses such as court and filing fees, win or lose. The conditions of your payments will depend on your agreement. Read the lawyer’s fee agreement to know what expenses you need to pay.
But don’t make the decision based on fees alone. Remember that a lawyer’s fee depends on several factors. These may include the complexity of your case, the amount they spent on it, and their experience and qualifications. They may be worth the extra cost if they’re most skilled at handling your case.
Hiring an auto accident attorney who practices locally may be extremely useful. They may have a deeper understanding of local and state laws applicable to your car accident or personal injury case. Local lawyers also tend to have worked with the judges, court officers, lawyers, and insurance adjusters in the circuit before. An intimate knowledge of the people involved in personal injury cases gives a local practitioner an advantage.
Get Fair Compensation Through The Personal Injury Center
Handling an auto accident injury case on your own is possible. But the aftermath of a car crash is already stressful and frustrating. You’ll only achieve the best possible outcome if you know how the claim process works.
Find an experienced car accident lawyer to fight for your rights. Since they have the skills and experience to negotiate with insurance adjusters, they will surely get the fair compensation you deserve. But where do you find the best Sacramento car accident attorney?
This may feel like another thing about which to worry. Fortunately, The Personal Injury Center is here to help make your search easier. Contact us today and get a free case evaluation from one of the most experienced attorneys in your area.
FAQs on Car Accident Lawyer Sacramento
Filing a lawsuit is a significant decision and can be expensive. Before deciding to sue, find the answers to the following questions:
- Who exactly are you suing, and are you qualified to file a lawsuit against that person or entity?
- Where should you file a case, and what court has jurisdiction over the person and legal issue you want to sue?
- Are there any legal options besides resolving your dispute in court?
The calculation of a car accident settlement depends on the specific circumstances of the collision. The extent of the injuries and losses the car accident victims sustained will significantly affect the final figure.
However, the Insurance Information Institute 2020 report indicates that the average auto accident claim for bodily injury is $20,235. The average settlement cost for property damage was $4,711.
A qualified adjuster typically inspects the vehicle damage and writes an estimate based on it. They may consider additional costs if the shop finds more damage during repair and the insurer approves.
If the damage is minor, the insurance firm may require you to submit competitive repair estimates instead. Once you're satisfied with the final calculation and facility, it's up to you to sign and authorize the shop to repair your vehicle.