Redwood City Car Accident Lawyer
Helping Car Accident Victims in Redwood City, CA
Car accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in the United States. If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Our Redwood City car accident attorneys can help you understand your rights and options, and we can fight for the maximum compensation you are owed.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we have extensive experience handling all types of car accident claims. Our team has a proven track record of success, having recovered millions of dollars for our clients, and we are prepared to fight for you.
Common Types of Car Accidents
A car accident is a collision or incident involving one or more vehicles. It can result in damage to the vehicles, injuries to the occupants, and sometimes even fatalities. Car accidents can occur for various reasons, including human error, environmental factors, mechanical failures, or a combination of these.
Common types of car accidents include:
- Rear-end Collision: This occurs when one vehicle crashes into the back of another. It often happens in situations where the following driver is unable to stop in time, such as during sudden braking.
- Head-on Collision: This is when the front ends of two vehicles collide. Head-on collisions often result in severe injuries or fatalities due to the force of impact.
- Side-impact or T-Bone Collision: This happens when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another, forming a "T" shape. Intersections are common locations for side-impact collisions.
- Single-Vehicle Accident: In this case, only one vehicle is involved. It may result from factors like skidding, rollovers, or collisions with fixed objects such as trees or utility poles.
- Multi-Vehicle Pileup: This type involves multiple vehicles and often occurs on highways or freeways, especially in adverse weather conditions. A chain reaction of collisions can take place.
- Side-swipe Collision: This occurs when the sides of two parallel vehicles come into contact. It may happen when one vehicle attempts to change lanes without proper awareness of surrounding traffic.
- Hit and Run: In a hit-and-run accident, a driver involved in a collision leaves the scene without stopping to identify themselves or provide assistance, which is illegal.
- Collisions with Pedestrians or Cyclists: Accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists can result in serious injuries or fatalities. These accidents often occur at intersections or in areas with heavy foot or bike traffic.
- Distracted Driving Accidents: Accidents caused by drivers being distracted, such as texting, talking on the phone, or engaging in other activities that divert attention from the road.
- Drunk Driving Accidents: Accidents involving drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs, which can significantly impair their ability to operate a vehicle safely.
California Car Accident Laws
California follows a fault-based system when it comes to car accidents. This means that the party at fault for the accident is typically responsible for covering the damages. The at-fault driver and their insurance company may be liable for property damage, medical expenses, and other losses.
Here are the general elements you must prove in a car accident claim:
- Duty of Care: The plaintiff must establish that the defendant (the at-fault party) owed them a duty of care. In the context of a car accident, all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws.
- Breach of Duty: The plaintiff needs to show that the defendant breached their duty of care. This could involve proving that the defendant was negligent, reckless, or otherwise failed to meet the standard of care expected of a reasonable person under similar circumstances.
- Causation: The plaintiff must demonstrate a direct link between the defendant's breach of duty and the injuries or damages suffered. In other words, they need to show that the defendant's actions (or inaction) directly caused the accident and resulting harm.
- Damages: The plaintiff must prove that they suffered actual damages as a result of the accident. Damages can include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other economic or non-economic losses.
California has a "pure comparative negligence" rule. This means that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover damages. However, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you are found 20% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by that amount.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in California?
In California, the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is generally two years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this two-year window, you will likely lose your right to recover compensation. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the accident resulted in a fatality, the family of the deceased has two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Additionally, if the accident was caused by a government entity, you will need to file a claim with the appropriate government agency within six months of the accident. If the claim is denied, you will have six months from the date of the denial to file a lawsuit. Because the statute of limitations is different in every case, it is important to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines.
What to Do After a Car Accident
After a car accident, it is important that you take the right steps to protect yourself and your right to recover compensation. Here are some tips on what to do after a car accident:
- Check for injuries: First and foremost, check yourself and others for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 and request an ambulance. If you are able, move to a safe location and out of the way of traffic.
- Call the police: Even if the accident was minor, it is important to call the police and report the accident. When the police arrive, ask for a copy of the police report.
- Exchange information: Get the other driver’s name, contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance information. You should also get the names and contact information of any passengers and witnesses.
- Document the scene: Take pictures of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicles, skid marks, traffic signs, and the surrounding area. You should also write down the names of the police officers and any other relevant information.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you do not think you were seriously injured, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and whiplash, may not be immediately apparent. Seeing a doctor will ensure that your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated, and it will also create a record of your injuries.
- Report the accident to your insurance company: You should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. However, you should avoid giving a recorded statement or accepting a settlement offer until you have spoken to an attorney.
- Call a car accident lawyer: An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and they can handle all communication with the insurance company on your behalf. They can also help you gather evidence, calculate your damages, and fight for the maximum compensation you are owed.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we understand that insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests and will do whatever it takes to ensure you accept a low settlement offer. We are committed to protecting your rights and interests throughout the process and maximizing your entitled compensation.