Car Accident Lawyer in San Diego
Car accidents can be very frightening, but the ordeal isn’t over once you seek medical treatment. Even a car accident with seemingly clear-cut liability can have legal complications and insurance companies are notorious for lowball offers and limiting payouts for accident victims. An experienced car accident attorney on your side can make a big difference when it comes to protecting your legal rights while fighting for the compensation you deserve.At The Law Office of Stephen Mitchell, we understand you have gone through a very traumatic and painful experience and you are still in the process of recovering. You should be concerned with getting better, not fighting with an insurance company to ensure your medical bills are paid and your lost wages are replaced. We serve car accident victims in San Diego in pursuit of maximum compensation. Schedule your free consultation with an accident lawyer with no obligation; you will never pay legal fees unless we win your case.
Liability for San Diego Car Accidents
Like many states, California is an at fault state which means injured parties must seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, not their own. To recover compensation, you will need to show that the other party was responsible for the accident through negligence.
Legally, negligence is a failure to show the amount of care a reasonable person would have exercised in a similar situation. Most car accidents are caused by negligence or carelessness, not intentional actions. Insurance companies and the court systems use several factors to determine whether or not someone was negligent, including:
- Failing to check before entering an adjacent lane or failing to signal
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Driving while distracted, such as using a cell phone
- Driving with a faulty system, such as poorly maintained brakes
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
A driver can also be liable for a car accident due to recklessness, which is driving with disregard for the safety of others. Reckless driving includes:
- Tailgating, or following too closely
- Driving while intoxicated
California uses what is known as a pure contributory negligence system. This means someone who is 99% at fault for a crash can still recover damages, although their recovery will be reduced based on their percentage at fault. In this example in which the driver is 99% at fault, the driver can only recover 1% of their actual damages.
Who Can Be Sued in a Car Accident Case?
An experienced car accident injury lawyer will help you build a legal strategy to seek fair compensation for your injuries. This will include determining who may share some liability for the accident. Depending on the details of your case, several parties may be a source of compensation:
- The other driver
- Any owners of the vehicle other than the driver if the vehicle was borrowed
- Employers if the other driver was on the job
- The manufacturer of the vehicle if a defective component or design contributed to your accident
- Government agencies if road defects or signs contributed to the crash
- A mechanic if faulty workmanship is to blame
- Your own insurance company if you were hit by an uninsured/underinsured motorist and you have UM/UIM coverage
Damages in a San Diego Car Crash
There are two main types of damages you can claim in a car accident case: special and general damages.
Special damages are the most common type of damages and usually account for most of your recovery. These damages are the financial expenses you suffered, including current and future medical bills, your lost wages, and your reduced earning capacity if you were disabled.
General damages are much harder to quantify but they include psychological and emotional harm like mental anguish, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. Insurance companies often use a formula to determine a starting point in negotiations for general damages that multiplies your special damages by a factor of 1.5 to 5 based on factors like how painful your injuries were, whether you had hard or soft tissue injuries, the type of injuries you suffered, whether you were left with visible scars, and the length of your recovery.
In rare cases in which an at-fault driver showed extreme recklessness or a shocking amount of disregard for human life, a jury may choose to award punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer for egregious actions.
Aggressive Representation During Negotiations
In almost every case, the initial offer you receive from the insurance company — usually within weeks of your accident — will be for the lowest amount of money they hope you will accept to close your case. While it may be tempting to accept this offer when you have bills to pay and can’t return to work, The Law Office of Stephen Mitchell will fight on your behalf to recover the full compensation you deserve for your damages, not a lowball offer that may not even cover your immediate expenses, let alone your future medical bills and pain and suffering.
At The Law Office of Stephen Mitchell, we have years of experience negotiating with insurance companies and we always arrive armed at negotiations with evidence that supports your claim to seek the compensation you are owed. You can count on our legal team for aggressive representation at negotiations or in court if necessary.
Contact a San Diego Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have suffered serious injuries in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your harm. At The Law Office of Stephen Mitchell, we offer tireless legal representation to seek maximum compensation for your damages while holding the responsible party accountable. Contact us today at 619-802-0190 for a free consultation with a car crash injury lawyer in San Diego to review your case.