San Jose is one of California’s largest cities. It is best known for being the capital of Silicon Valley, the world’s hub for tech and innovation.
Being in the center of a bustling tech district, San Jose will have its share of traffic accidents. Employees, citizens, and tourists all use the same roads to and from their destinations. Such large volumes of traffic could increase the risk of car accidents.
As of November 2022, there have been 58 fatal traffic accidents in San Jose. In the first three months of 2022, 944 people died from car crashes in California. Over the years, car accidents have become a concerning situation caused primarily by human error.
The month prior, a 16-year-old girl died after being struck by five vehicles, including a tractor. The accident occurred at I-680 southbound south of Jackson Avenue around 12:37 a.m.
Anyone could fall victim to a road accident. Following traffic rules is vital for avoiding accidents, but drivers routinely disregard the rules of the road.
Still, you may get into accidents even if you’re careful, as you cannot control other people’s actions. When the negligence of another party causes a car accident in San Jose, you may be entitled to compensation.
A personal injury attorney can provide valuable legal assistance and help you navigate the processes of filing a claim.
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Most Common Injuries Due to Car Accidents
Passenger cars are the leading vehicle type involved in traffic crashes in the United States. No matter how careful you might be, some car crash factors could be out of your control.
Car accident injuries vary between persons and from one car crash to another. The most common are broken bones, brain injuries, and soft tissue injuries. Falling objects and blunt force trauma are often the cause of these injuries.
Aside from proper medical care, working with a San Jose personal injury attorney is highly advised. They can help you get compensation from the at-fault party in the auto accident. This amount can help pay your medical bills for various injuries.
The severity of car crash injuries will depend on factors such as age or underlying health conditions. It could also depend on how quickly you access medical care after the car crash. Below we will identify the types of accident injuries and what to do if you sustain one.
Head and back injuries
The National Library of Medicine defines a head injury as “any trauma to the scalp, skull, or brain.” Head injuries can be either closed or open.
A closed head injury results from a hard blow on the head. In a closed head injury, the object makes contact with the head but does not break the skull.
An open or penetrating head injury happens when an object breaks the skull and enters the brain. Penetrating head injuries are more likely to occur if one moves or drives at high speed.
The head is a delicate part of the body, especially when damaged. Identifying a head injury by yourself can be difficult because symptoms may not appear immediately.
It’s best to consult a doctor if you’re concerned about whether or not your head injury needs medical attention. Head injuries could take the following forms:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). A forceful jolt or blow to the head can result in a TBI. Nerve fiber ripping, bleeding, and brain bruising could result from the brain hitting the skull’s interior. A gunshot or skull fracture can also cause TBI.
- Concussion. Direct or indirect blows to the head can result in a concussion. Loss of consciousness, dizziness, and nausea are some of its common symptoms. The time required to recover from a concussion varies based on the level of impact and individual quirks.
- Spinal cord injuries. Any harm to the spinal cord is considered a spinal cord injury. The spine vertebrae form a canal that contains and guards the spinal cord, a bundle of neurons, and other tissue. You could lose sensation and movement below the injured area in the event of a spine injury.
- Facial injuries. Cuts and wounds to the face, a broken nose, and eye injuries are all examples of facial injuries. If keft untreated, a facial injury may result in permanent loss of function and disfigurement.
- Back injuries. A back injury refers to any insult to bones, muscles, and tissues from the neck to the pelvis is considered. Back injuries can range from mild pain that goes away after some rest to more serious cases. If the harm is severe, it may require surgery before it can heal completely.
Chest and neck injuries
The chest protects critical organs for breathing, digestion, blood circulation, and other bodily activities. It is an open area and more vulnerable to traumatic injury than different sections of the body. If you are in a car accident, it will likely harm the chest region.
The neck also contains many vital body parts, including nerves and arteries. Neck injuries could limit mobility and cause breathing problems.
A neck injury happens when one or more neck muscles or tendon fibers overextend or tear. The pain from a neck strain can range from mild and achy to acute and incapacitating. However, it usually goes away without treatment within a few days or weeks.
Other injuries related to the chest and neck include the following:
- Broken or bruised ribs. Common causes of broken or bruised ribs include falls, chest blows, and violent coughing. These injuries typically heal on their own, usually within six weeks. Restricting strenuous activities can help hasten recovery.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury brought on by sudden and violent neck movement. Rear-end car accidents frequently result in whiplash. Many whiplash sufferers recover within a few weeks with painkillers and exercise. However, if the pain persists, it’s best to consult a doctor.
- Heart attack. Heart attacks occur when there is a block to the blood supply to the heart. During a car accident, blood clots from other injuries or stress could trigger a heart attack. Call emergency services immediately if you notice symptoms like nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.
Soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries are prevalent in car accidents. They include strains and sprains characterized by harm to the body’s soft tissues, like muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. These injuries can range from mild to severe.
Soft tissue injuries can be sprains, strains, or bruising. Whatever the case, you can differentiate them by taking note of the following:
- Sprains. Sprains happen when ligaments tear or stretch excessively. You can treat minor sprains at home through rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) of the affected area. Surgery may be necessary to mend torn ligaments in cases of severe sprains.
- Strains. A strain is a lesion on a muscle or the band of tissue connecting a muscle to a bone. People frequently interchange sprains and strains, but they are different.
- Bruising. A bruise is a skin injury that causes skin discoloration. Blood from damaged blood cells gathers close to the skin’s surface, causing dark marks.
Leg and arm injuries
A leg or arm injury is any physical insult to the tissues or bones of the leg or arm. They are rarely life-threatening but can cause pain and discomfort. However, severe arm and leg injuries could have lifelong implications.
- Broken bones. A broken bone, also called a fracture, is a break on at least one part of the bone. Although bones are stiff, they could bend from an outside force, causing a full or partial fracture. Bones break under enough force. Indicators of a fracture include swelling or tenderness around the injury, bruising, or even deformity.
- Dislocated joints. Dislocations occur when two bones detach at a joint. The joint may be partially deformed and immobilized, causing intense pain. Dislocations frequently occur in the shoulders and fingers, although they can also happen in the elbows and knees.
- Loss of limbs. Some car accident injuries might become too severe and cause limb loss. Artery damage, inadequate circulation, severe burns, and infections from a car accident could result in amputation.
Common Causes of San Jose Car Accidents
Car accidents often happen unexpectedly—no one goes out to drive looking to get involved in a crash. Following traffic rules is an excellent way to ensure safety and avoid accidents.
Below are some common causes of car accidents in San Jose. Avoiding them can help you ensure your safety and prevent serious injuries. Though these accidents are sometimes unavoidable, being aware of them can make you more mindful when driving.
Driving at high speeds is one of the top causes of accidents in San Jose. Speeding increases the risk of drivers losing control of their cars and possibly getting into a collision.
San Jose has recently updated their speed limit laws, allowing local governments to lower speed limits in busy areas.
It’s essential to be aware of the area’s speed limits. Not only will this help you avoid legal trouble, but it also keeps you and everyone else on the road safe.
Responsible driving entails maintaining focus on the road. Anything that takes your eyes and attention away from the road is a distraction.
Typical driving distractions include smartphone use. Texting, calling, or scrolling through social media while driving can be dangerous.
Aside from using the phone, other distractions include eating, talking to other passengers, or reaching for objects within the vehicle.
DUI, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can impair a person’s faculties, reducing reaction times. Intoxicating substances can hinder your ability to control the vehicle and act appropriately in specific situations. Aside from endangering your safety, DUI also puts other drivers at risk or causes pedestrian accidents.
Even if you don’t cause an accident, DUI is a misdemeanor or felony in California. If a cop catches you driving while intoxicated or impaired, you could end up in jail. You may also be liable for fines and lose your driving privileges.
Disregarding traffic laws and reckless driving can endanger the driver, their passengers, and other people on the road. Examples of reckless driving include speeding and incautious lane changes.
If your reckless driving behavior ends up causing an accident, it might open you up to a personal injury lawsuit. Exhibiting recklessness can make proving that you were at fault in the accident easier.
It’s essential to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles while driving. This space provides wiggle room for stops or lane changes.
Tailgating is when you stay too close to other vehicles. This practice risks a collision, especially if the other car stops abruptly.
Sometimes, certain weather conditions can make driving safely more difficult. Heavy rain or snow could make roads more slippery. Fog and darkness could make it more difficult to see.
While no one can control the weather, you can manage your driving practices. In these situations, it’s best to exercise extra caution to stay safe. You can drive more slowly or use headlights to address some of these difficulties.
Car defects or malfunctions
Some car models might have broken or malfunctioning parts. Cars could also be more at risk of accidents if they lack proper maintenance and repairs.
Faulty brakes, airbags, and other vehicle parts could cause accidents and increase the risk of serious injuries. You could sue the car manufacturer if an accident occurs due to a manufacturing defect.
How To Sue a Negligent Car Driver in San Jose
The road to recovery from car accident injuries could be long and difficult. Aside from physical and mental harm, you must also deal with medical bills and complicated legal processes.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent driver is a complex undertaking. First, you need to prove that the driver was negligent. Negligence is the action or inaction of someone that causes harm to others because of a lack of care or attention.
For your case to be eligible, there must have been an unreasonable risk taken by the person who caused harm. A clear instance is when someone drives under the influence of addictive substances, thus causing an accident.
Whatever the case, you can find ways to seek compensation. Below are the requisites to qualify for damages.
Driver’s legal responsibility to follow road rules
The legal responsibility of every driver to follow the road rules is a contentious issue. Just because a driver has been negligent doesn’t mean they are automatically liable in court.
Although the law makes it clear that drivers should follow the rules of the road, there are some considerations. Drivers must exercise reasonable care to ensure they do not injure others. Neglecting this rule means the driver is at fault.
Section 3281 of the California Civil Code requires the at-fault driver to pay compensation if proven guilty. They are liable for your hospital and medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering if proven at fault. An experienced San Jose car accident attorney can help you deal with insurance adjusters and get a fair settlement.
Failure to observe the driver’s duty of care
Every driver must exercise reasonable caution. At the very least, you need to follow California’s traffic regulations to avoid hurting others.
Although it can seem obvious, many drivers still fall short of the acceptable standard of care. This duty of care requires drivers to exercise reasonable skill and caution while driving. If a driver fails to do so, they are liable to victims for any losses caused by their negligence.
An experienced San Jose car accident lawyer can help you receive fair compensation for physical injuries, pain, or mental trauma.
The victim suffered measurable harm
To win a car accident case, you must prove that the accident caused genuine physical injury. If you didn’t suffer any physical injuries, you could seek compensation for property damage and other losses.
To pursue a personal injury claim, you must prove the following:
- You were involved in an accident.
- The other party’s negligence caused the accident.
- You suffered injuries from this collision due to the other party’s negligence.
The victim’s degree of fault is less than 100%
In California, if a negligent driver injures you, you might be able to sue that driver in civil court. California subscribes to the principle of pure comparative negligence when assigning fault in a personal injury case.
If you are a victim, you must prove that the other driver was at least 1% at-fault for the accident. If you are partially at fault, the court will reduce any awards you receive based on your contribution to the accident.
How a San Jose Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Case
Working with an experienced lawyer can significantly impact how your case turns out. Your lawyer can speak with the insurance provider for the negligent motorist and negotiate a reasonable settlement offer. They can also help you file a lawsuit and defend your legal rights in court.
A San Jose car accident attorney can also help you in other ways.
The attorney conducts investigations, which typically include the following:
- Reviewing medical and police records
- Gathering eyewitness statements
- Documenting evidence
These steps help strengthen your case and ensure that you can prove the negligent driver’s liability. Aside from evidence of liability, your attorney must also ensure you have proof of damages.
A good lawyer will be as thorough as possible to ensure you have enough information and evidence for your claim.
Building your case
The court will rely on the facts presented in any legal claim, so they are a critical component. It is the responsibility of the attorney to build the case based on the relevant facts.
The attorney demonstrates the circumstances surrounding the accident, including the events leading to it. The goal is to make the connections to try and build a strong case.
Lawyers can help you identify the at-fault parties in the case, as several defendants may share responsibility for the accident. An experienced car accident lawyer knows the right questions to ask to determine liability and build a case.
Communicating with insurers and other relevant parties
The car accident attorney communicates with various parties to advocate for your rights and needs. These parties include other lawyers, insurance companies, etc. They can also take the lead in negotiating with insurance providers to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Representing you in court
If there is no out-of-court settlement, your car accident attorney will represent you in court. They will argue your personal injury case and defend your interests.
Court proceedings can be pretty stressful. Your attorney can help you prepare and minimize the stress you may experience.
Get the Help You Need From The Personal Injury Center
San Jose boasts great cultural diversity and technological innovation, being the heart of Silicon Valley. However, this bustling city also comes with higher traffic volumes and chances of car collisions.
Car accident victims could sustain various injuries, from minor strains to traumatic brain injuries. You could sue the at-fault parties for a car accident due to negligence.
A car accident attorney can help you handle insurance adjusters and represent you in court, among other services they provide. However, finding the proper attorney for your case can be challenging and time-consuming.
The Personal Injury Center can help you. We offer educational resources to understand personal injury law and what you can do in particular cases. We can connect you with experienced San Jose personal injury lawyers and law firms by clicking the link below.
FAQs on Car Accident Lawyers in San Jose
Victims typically have two years from the date of a motor vehicle accident or discovery to file a civil lawsuit for personal injuries. Once the time runs out, the claim is no longer valid.
The San Jose Police Department provides various ways to report a car crash. If the auto accident is an emergency, you should dial 911 or (408) 277-8911. If it's a non-injury car crash, then you can use the online incident report form. After processing, you will receive a police report that you can use for insurance claims.
In California, auto accident insurance claims are on an "at fault" basis. Before a driver's insurance company pays out, claimants must show the driver was at fault in the crash.