A catastrophic injury in a car accident can dramatically change your life in an instant. Even collisions involving minor or moderate injuries can create significant financial pressures that throw your life off track.
If you have been a victim of a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for any loss or injury you suffered because of the accident. For more information about your rights and entitlements after a motor vehicle collision, you should speak with an experienced San Bernardino car accident lawyer. The lawyers at Hanson & Mouri can help you.
If you are looking for a San Bernardino car accident attorney, call Hanson & Mouri at (951) 419-3199 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
For many people, a car is an essential part of their lives. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles reports approximately 26 million registered automobiles in 2019. According to Statista’s report on the number of automobiles registered in the United States, California tops the list, with almost double the number of vehicles registered in the number two state, Texas. While cars are a necessary part of modern society, they can also be a hazardous part of our lives. From a minor fender bender to a serious collision, car accidents can result in property damage, pedestrian injuries, personal injury (such as brain damage or spinal cord injuries), or even wrongful death.
Every vehicle owner in California has a financial responsibility to other car owners and road users. They can meet their financial responsibility in four different ways:
Failure to meet these requirements is a criminal offence in California.
The most important thing to do after an accident is to secure your safety and the safety of other persons around you. Seek medical attention immediately if you have been injured in an accident. If your injuries do not require that you are rushed to the hospital immediately after the accident, you should try to gather as much evidence about the accident as possible. Take photographs of the accident scene, whether you collided with a truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian. Get contact information of the other party involved in the accident, and any witnesses who may be able to provide information about the accident.
Do not under any circumstances apologize or admit fault even if you think that your actions might have caused the accident. Any admission of fault may be used against you if you pursue a claim.
The insurance adjuster for the other parties involved in the accident may contact you about the accident. While they may seem friendly and sympathetic to you, remember that they are not on your side. Do not discuss any details about the accident with them. The best way to handle an insurance adjuster from another party is to ask them to speak with your personal injury attorney.
Some states have no-fault car insurance laws. No-fault car insurance laws aim to reduce the length of time it takes to resolve claims arising from car accidents based on establishing which driver was at fault. In no-fault car insurance states, it doesn’t matter who caused the accident. All that a victim of an accident needs to do is file their claim with their own insurance company to get compensation for their losses. Most no-fault car insurance laws also limit the value of the claims that can be recovered.
California, however, is not a no-fault car insurance state. California has at-fault car insurance laws, which means that a car accident victim must establish the fault of the at-fault driver to get compensation for their injury and other losses sustained from the accident.
To avoid liability, the at-fault driver and their insurance company will try as much as possible to limit their liability and shift the blame for the accident to the victim. That’s why you need an expert car accident attorney by your side to advocate for you and protect your interests.
In most accidents caused by a company vehicle driver, their employer’s liability coverage would kick in. However, the employee must have been considered working when the accident happened. If the accident occurred when they were not working (e.g., driving to or from work or running a personal errand), then the employer’s coverage would not apply. The driver’s personal auto insurer would be responsible for damages in these cases. However, there can be additional complications depending on the type of company the vehicle belongs to.
In an attempt to limit liability for accidents, many commercial carriers such as UPS and FedEx do not hire employees to deliver packages. Instead, they hire “independent contractors” as a way to limit their liability if they are ever involved in an accident. When a delivery truck driver is an independent contractor rather than an employee, the company will claim that the driver is financially responsible for the collision since companies are only liable for employees’ actions. Sorting out who is liable and pursuing a claim against UPS or FedEx can be challenging. An attorney experienced in handling these cases can help you determine who can be held responsible.
Both Uber and Lyft require drivers to have their own personal auto insurance policy, and the company will only provide coverage under certain conditions:
Uber provides coverage for their drivers, as follows:
Lyft has very similar insurance policies to Uber, and they apply in the following scenarios:
Several parties may be responsible for damages after a company truck accident, including:
Other potentially liable parties in a company truck collision may be the manufacturer of the truck or its parts for dangerous defects, a mechanic who negligently repaired the vehicle, or a local government agency for failing to maintain the road, resulting in hazardous road conditions.
The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits can play a substantial role in your settlement. If your medical bills exceed the driver’s policy limits, their insurer does not have to pay the difference. Insurance policies have maximum amounts that the insurance company is required to pay out per person injured and per accident. Any amount over policy limits will be lost, or you must pursue an alternative option for recovering further compensation, for instance, suing the at-fault driver personally or a third party who may have contributed to the collision. However, a significant issue with suing the at-fault driver is that they may not have the funds or assets to cover your bills. Therefore, even if you win the case, you may not be able to collect the total amount of compensation awarded.
Having a skilled car accident lawyer in your corner will show the insurance company that you are serious about your claim. A car accident lawyer has the resources to retain accident reconstruction experts who can investigate the accident and place the fault where it belongs. They also have access to professionals who can give expert testimony to support your claims.
When people think of hiring an attorney, cost is one determining factor that is usually at the top of their list. But there is no need to allow the fear of legal costs to deter you from hiring a car accident lawyer to represent you. Like most car accident lawyers, Hanson & Mouri handles car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay any fees unless we get compensation for your case. You may be hesitant to approach a lawyer because you are unsure about your claim. At Hanson & Mouri your initial consultation is free. We will evaluate your case and let you know the merits of your case at no cost to you.
After a car accident in San Bernardino, victims are entitled to recover damages. Damages is a legal term that describes the different types of compensation in a settlement or award used to reimburse a party for the losses they suffered from the collision. There are two types of damages: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages compensate a victim for their current and future losses. They are intended to make the victim “whole” or as close as possible to the state they were in before the accident. There are two subcategories of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic damages.
The second type of damages available in some car accident claims is punitive damages. However, this type of compensation is rarely awarded and is reserved for cases involving an at-fault party who acted with a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter others from similar harmful acts in the future.
To be successful in your claim, you will need to present evidence to prove that the other driver caused the accident. This evidence may include police reports, copies of medical records documenting your injuries, photos of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles, eyewitness statements, and more. All of which your attorney will collect on your behalf. If necessary, your attorney will also hire experts, such as those that specialize in accident reconstruction, medical professionals, etc. to establish what caused your accident and who is liable, as well as the severity of your injuries and the impact they have on your life. An attorney has the resources to complete the investigation and can do it quickly before critical evidence disappears. Your lawyer can also issue subpoenas to gain access to other vital pieces of evidence, such as surveillance footage or cell phone records. These pieces of evidence are often challenging or impossible to obtain without a court order.
Each state has its own law governing how long car accident victims have to file a claim. In California, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is two years from the date of the collision. If a case is not pursued before this deadline, a judge will likely dismiss the complaint, and the negligent party will not have to reimburse you for your losses.
Although two years may seem like a long time, it is almost always better to get the claims process started as soon as possible. As soon as you hire a lawyer, they will begin investigating your accident to collect critical evidence of fault and build a solid case. As a result, your chances of getting justice and the compensation you deserve will drastically improve.
Do not get shortchanged by the insurance companies. If you have been in a car accident, we will work diligently to get you the fair compensation that you are entitled to. To get more information call Hanson & Mouri today at (951) 419-3199 or visit our website to schedule your free consultation.