California Car Accident Law and Lawyers
Aside from being the most populated state in the nation (approximately 38.3 million people, according to 2013 census data), California is home to some of the nation’s most iconic cities. Los Angeles and Hollywood enchant individuals in America and abroad, and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and famous Victorian homes are popular tourist destinations. Millions of individuals are registered to drive in California, and every year thousands upon thousands of drivers from all over the world visit California and use its roadways.
California also has some of the highest numbers of traffic-related injuries and fatalities in the nation. With so many drivers using California’s roadways at one time (think of famous images of rush hour traffic jams in major California cities), it is reasonable to expect traffic collisions will occur. When you are involved in such a crash and suffer a head injury, spinal cord injury, or other serious injury, it may be comforting to consider that compensation may be available to help you put the pieces of your life back together and move forward with your life.
California Crash Statistics Car Crash Data and Trends
California’s Office of Traffic Safety maintains the state’s statistics on car crashes and other events that happen on the state’s roadways in a given year. The data made available to the public by the Office reveals that:
- In 2014, traffic-related fatalities decreased from 3,107 to 3,074;
- Alcohol-related fatalities also decreased from 883 in 2013 to 882 in 2014;
- Thirty-two percent of drivers who died in car crashes in 2013 had illegal and/or legal drugs in their body systems at the time of the crash.
Drivers in California can take comfort knowing that driving carefully and reasonably under the circumstances can go a long way in reducing the likelihood that one will be involved in a traffic crash. A person’s own safety is truly in his or her own hands. Drivers who choose to text while driving, drink and drive, or violate traffic laws will be more likely to be involved (or even cause) a car crash as opposed to those drivers who are more cautious behind the wheel.
California is a “Fault-Based” Insurance State
California follows the lead of the majority of states in requiring drivers to purchase fault-based insurance policies before being able to legally drive. There is a very good reason for this: Fault-based insurance provides compensation to other motorists or passengers in the event that you carelessly or recklessly cause injury to them while driving. In theory, fault-based insurance works thusly:
- After you allegedly cause a crash that results in an injury or loss to another person, the injured party completes and submits a claim to your insurance company seeking compensation;
- Your insurance company may choose to conduct an investigation to determine if you were truly at fault in causing the victim’s injuries;
- If the insurance carrier determines that the claim is valid and you were responsible for causing the victim’s injuries, the claim will be paid up to the policy’s limits.
If the injury victim is somehow dissatisfied with the insurance company’s handling of his or her claim, he or she may be able to file a lawsuit and seek compensation through the court system. California courts are liberal in allowing victims who contribute to their own injuries to recover some type of compensation. For example, even a victim who is determined to be primarily at fault in causing the accident and his or her own injuries can still recover some monetary damages so long as this other person is at least one percent responsible for the crash.
When to File a California Car Crash Lawsuit
California gives car crash victims two years within which to file a claim for damages after a car crash. The two-year time clock (called a “statute of limitation”) begins to run on the day of your injury accident. If the victim’s case has not been filed and initiated within that two-year period, then the victim will be foreclosed from ever obtaining compensation for his or her injuries arising from the car crash. It is, therefore, extremely important that car accident injury victims obtain legal counsel who can help them file their claims and/or lawsuits in a timely manner.
Seek Professional Assistance from a Car Accident Lawyer in California Today
The last thing you want to be doing after a car crash is worrying about whether your legal rights are being looked after or whether you are no longer able to obtain compensation for your injuries. These worries can be set aside after you retain the services of Stern Law, PLLC. We take pride in handling our injury clients’ legal affairs with skill and professionalism, which leaves our clients free to focus on themselves and their families. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for professional counsel regarding your car crash.