San Bernardino Car Accident Attorney

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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.

  • Since 1999, we have devoted our professional career to helping our clients receive all the benefits they are entitled to under the law.
  • Our Principal, Dani Mouri, is a former insurance defense attorney. We know how insurance companies evaluate claims and use this to our clients’ advantage.
  • Our compassionate San Bernardino injury attorneys understand the physical, emotional, and economic strain a car accident can put on a victim and their family. This is why we work aggressively to get them the full and fair compensation that is due to them.
  • We respect our clients and are transparent with them throughout the legal process.
  • Whether we are negotiating a settlement or preparing for trial, our experienced litigators can take on the most aggressive opponents and win.

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.

San Bernardino Car Accident Resources & FAQs

Financial Responsibility of San Bernardino Vehicle Owners

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:

  • Motor vehicle liability insurance. Vehicle owners are required to carry motor vehicle liability insurance policies in the following amounts:
    • $15,000 to cover injury or death to one person
    • $30,000 to cover injury or death to more than one person
    • $5,000 to cover property damage
  • Making a cash deposit of $35,000 with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Holding a DMV-issued self-insurance certificate
  • Holding a surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California

Failure to meet these requirements is a criminal offence in California.

San bernardino car accident attorney

What Should I Do After a Car Accident in San Bernardino?

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.

What If the Car Accident Was My Fault?

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.

What If The Vehicle That Caused My Car Accident Was a Company Vehicle?

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. 

UPS/FedEx Collision

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. 

Uber/Lyft Collision

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: 

  • Uber App is Off: Only the driver’s private insurance will apply to the accident.
  • App is On, and the Driver is “Available”: Uber’s contingent liability coverage applies, but only to the losses sustained by others who were injured or had their property damaged. This includes up to $100,000 for injuries ($50,000 per person) and $25,000 for property damage. The Uber or Lyft driver must access their personal policy for their own injuries or vehicle damage.
  • Driver Has Accepted a Ride or Until Passenger is Dropped Off: Uber’s commercial insurance coverage applies, which includes up to $1 million per accident for property damage and bodily injury and another $1 million if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.

Lyft has very similar insurance policies to Uber, and they apply in the following scenarios:

  • Lyft App is Off: Only the driver’s private insurance will apply to the accident.
  • Lyft Driver is Waiting for a Match: Only the driver’s private insurance will apply to the accident unless their insurance company refuses to cover it. In that situation, Lyft’s policy will apply, which provides $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. 
  • Driver Has Accepted a Trip or Until Passenger is Dropped Off: Lyft’s $1 million policy will apply to the collision.

Company Truck Collision

Several parties may be responsible for damages after a company truck accident, including: 

  • The Truck Driver: If the truck driver’s negligence led to your accident, they might be personally responsible for your losses. Examples of trucker negligence are driving while distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless or aggressive driving, etc. 
  • The Trucking Company: A trucking company can be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its truck drivers. The company can also face liability if they engaged in negligent acts, such as hiring an inexperienced driver or one with multiple infractions on their driving record, failing to train drivers, or failing to inspect and maintain vehicles regularly. 
  • Loading Companies: Cargo loading companies can sometimes be held responsible for an accident if the truck’s load was to blame. For instance, they may have failed to ensure the truck was loaded correctly, evenly, or adequately secured. 

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. 

What If the Driver’s Insurance Policy Can’t Cover the Extent of My Medical Bills?

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.

How Can a San Bernardino Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?

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.

Contact our San Bernardino car accident attorneys

How Much Will it Cost to Hire a San Bernardino Car Accident Lawyer?

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.

What Kinds of Damages Am I Entitled To After a San Bernardino Car Accident?

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 

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. 

  • Economic (Actual) Damages: This type of compensation reimburses financial losses where you must provide documentation of how much money you’ve lost. Some examples include:
    • Medical bills: emergency visits, hospital stays, physical therapy, outpatient procedures, prescription medications, etc.
    • In-home medical care
    • Nursing home or rehabilitation costs
    • Medical treatment
    • Property repair
    • Property replacement
    • Lost wages from missed work
    • Diminished earning capacity (if you are no longer able to work at the same level as before the accident)
  • Non-Economic (General) Damages: These damages do not reflect a specific financial loss, but compensate for subjective losses. As a result, they are much more challenging to prove. For instance:
    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional distress
    • Loss of enjoyment of life 
    • Loss of opportunity
    • Loss of consortium
    • Physical impairment (e.g., disability, loss of a limb)
    • Disfigurement 
    • Unjust hardship

Punitive 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. 

How Does a Car Accident Lawyer Collect Evidence For My Case?

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.

How Long Do I Have to File a San Bernardino Car Accident Claim?

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.

Contact a San Bernardino Car Accident Lawyer

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.

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