SacramentoCAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Sacramento roads are the scene of many accidents. It’s not surprising given that the state has some of the worst traffic in the nation. While every driver should take the responsibility of driving seriously and behave safely behind the wheel, there are too many who ignore laws and drive carelessly, which leads to serious crashes.
Whether they choose to text behind the wheel, drink and drive, speed, or ignore road laws, these drivers put everyone, including you, at risk. When you become a victim of a careless or reckless driver in Sacramento you have every right to seek compensation under the law.
You can seek damages for car repairs, medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with the car accident. Insurance companies will try to take advantage of you by offering low settlements. Don’t fall victim to this. Fight for your rights by calling Christopher Kreeger, at Kreeger Law.
After an auto accident in Sacramento, you need to focus on healing, which is why you should have an experienced attorney by your side to handle the legal aspects of your case. You have a right to pursue a claim against the responsible party, but it can be difficult without the right legal help. Christopher Kreeger is an experienced lawyer who is dedicated to helping you get the compensation you deserve. Let us handle the insurance companies and stand up for your best interests.
ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE
An auto accident can happen to anyone at any time in Sacramento. However, certain driver behaviors can increase the chances they may cause an accident:
Distracted driving occurs anytime that a driver takes his or her focus off the task of driving. It commonly happens when a driver uses a cell phone, but it can also be due to eating, changing the radio volume, or even talking to passengers.
When people drive without their full focus, they are unable to properly control their vehicle. This may result in erratic driving. A common issue is crossing the centerline, which can lead to a head-on collision.
Fatigued driving is a serious issue. Unfortunately, many people underestimate its danger. Being too tired to drive is almost as bad as being too drunk to drive. It slows the body’s reflexes and prevents the mind from thinking clearly. People often fail to recognize they are too tired to get behind the wheel, leading them to doze off when driving or to drive in a way that endangers others and leads to a crash.
Drunk driving is a consistent issue on roadways in Sacramento. Despite campaigns and many laws, the number of drunk driving accidents remains alarming. The state’s legal blood alcohol content level remains a low 0.08%. Drivers who exceed this limit put themselves and others at a huge risk of a serious car accident.
These types of accidents often result in the most serious injuries and severe property damage. Not only are such drivers not able to properly keep their vehicle on the road, but they usually react too late or, worse, not at all, to an impending crash. Slow reaction time means the impact happens at full speed. In a lot of cases, impaired drivers are also speeding, which only compounds the issues.
Many drivers underestimate the risks of speeding, but speed is a factor in a large percentage of auto accidents. Driving over the posted speed limit increases the chances a driver will be unable to stop quickly if the need arises, reduces the ability of a driver to control the vehicle, and leads to distance misjudgments by other drivers when pulling out into traffic or merging.
Speeding is not a minor traffic violation when it leads to an auto accident. It increases the chances and severity of injuries in a crash, along with leading to higher overall accident costs.
Reckless actions cover almost any situation where a driver is breaking the law or blatantly disregarding the safety of others on the road. It can include running a red light or stop sign, driving too fast for road conditions, not observing yield signs, or crossing the centerline.
All the other issues described here, driving drunk, being too tired, speeding, and distracted driving, are examples of reckless driving activities. However, this may also include intentional acts such as drag racing or playing games like chicken.
In 2018, California had over 3,500 deaths as a result of auto accidents. A little over 1,060 of those fatalities were due to drunk drivers, and about 1,000 were a result of speeding.
Looking at these figures, the danger of negligence on the road is clear. A car accident is often a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Through no fault of your own, you suffer a serious loss that impacts you emotionally, psychologically, physically, and financially.
You do not deserve to suffer due to someone else’s bad decisions. At Kreeger Law, we can help you hold that person responsible under California law.
POSSIBLE DAMAGES AND COMPENSATION IN YOUR AUTO ACCIDENT CLAIM
Damages are a monetary award to the injured party. Since the court has no ability to mend broken bones or soothe emotional scars, the courts try to quantify those damages with a monetary award. The amount of damages awarded is specific to the injury of the victim and the conduct of the party at fault. That means that damages always vary according to the specific details of a given case. Below are some damages that may be available to victims as a result of a car accident:
Here are some of the reasons that might result in one or both sides receiving blame for an accident:
- Present and future medical expenses related to the car accident. Even if you have not yet incurred medical expenses, if you have potential future medical bills, you can recover those damages as well.t
- Wage Loss. You can recover both past and future wages if your accident caused you to miss work or reduce your hours.
- Pain and suffering. This category of damages refers to numerous non-financial damages. It can include both physical and emotional pain.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages are rare, but justifiable, when the liable party’s actions that led to the accident were especially horrendous.
Obtaining a Sacramento car accident attorney after your motor vehicle can help you get the money you deserve by calculating damages.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN I RECOVER WITH THE HELP OF A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER?
Contacting an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can help you ensure you don’t waive your right to pursue a claim. In California, a person injured by a car accident has two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. The two-year time frame is referred to as the statute of limitations. However, the statute of limitations is shorter if you were injured by the reckless or negligent conduct of a government entity. In those cases, where there is damage by a government entity, then you only have six months from the date of the motor vehicle accident. Once the statute of limitations passes, then the injured person is no longer entitled to collect compensation for injuries. That means the injured person now has to pay their own damages even though they were caused by another.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO SEEK DAMAGES IN CALIFORNIA?
As one of the nation’s most populated states, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of motor vehicles on California’s roads. It is every driver’s responsibility to reasonably prevent accidents by driving safely and according to California’s traffic laws. Unfortunately, car accidents continue to occur because some drivers drink, text, speed, and break other roadway rules. Statistics show that car accident rates in California have increased in the past few years.
Car accidents range in damage. Some car accidents lead to small property damage. Meanwhile, other car accidents involve injury to a driver or passenger that can leave a person seriously injured, disfigured, or permanently disabled.
Often, damage suffered may be hard to measure. Insurance companies quickly try to pay out victims of motor vehicle accidents because they want to minimize harm and dismiss pain and suffering claims, which can be a major component of your general damages. Having an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can help you manage those damages that are not easily quantifiable. These may include a person’s inability to work, complicated insurance issues, and loss of quality of life.
YOU DESERVE PROPER COMPENSATION
The average cost of a car accident is difficult to determine because of the variety of factors that can affect it. There are two general categories of expenses – medical and property damage.
Medical costs depend largely on the extent of the injuries. In addition, the decisions of emergency personnel may also impact these costs. For example, if emergency responders took you from the accident scene in a helicopter, it will cost much more than if they took you by ambulance.
The extent of the injuries may also lead to surgeries, which can be expensive. If incredibly severe, injuries will add to other expenses for long-term care and costs for adjusting your life to live with them. If someone dies because of the injuries they suffer in the crash, then this has a substantial impact on the overall cost.
Property damage depends on the general conditions of the accident. The size of the other vehicle compared to your vehicle impacts these expenses. The age of your vehicle and the type of repairs needed will also factor in. If your insurer considers your vehicle a total loss, this will increase the overall costs.
Other costs may factor in as well that relate to the medical and property costs. For example, you may have to take time off work to recover, which will result in lost wages. The emotional and psychological impact of the accident — some of which can be long-term, such as post-traumatic stress disorder — can also lead to expenses for which the other party should pay.
It isn’t hard to see why auto accidents cause millions of dollars in costs each year. The only way the law can try to right the wrong actions of a responsible party is through assessing monetary penalties on that individual, which means you need to claim the money that is rightfully yours.
It isn’t easy to determine how much someone owes you. There are a range of things to consider, and you may not have the skills or knowledge to determine what to ask for. You’ll need a competent attorney by your side to do this.
Christopher Kreeger has experience working on many auto accident cases and understands how to assess damages. We can ensure your claim is enough to take care of you and help you recover financially from this devastating incident.
THIRD-PARTY CLAIMS ARE OFTEN NECESSARY
In many cases, you will first try to make a claim to the insurance company of the responsible party before you go to court. This process is known as making a third-party claim. The insurer is the first party. The insured person is the second party, and you are the third party.
You may make a claim to your own insurance company, depending on your own insurance coverage, and your company will then deal with the other party’s insurer. This is known as subrogation. If this occurs, your insurance company may pay your claims upfront. You will have to pay your deductible, though.
It is usually faster to go through your own insurance, but you will probably lose any deductible money you pay. Your insurer will go after the other party for repayment for the money it pays out, but not for the money you paid.
Sometimes, you will not be able to go through your insurance company. In that case, you make a third-party claim. This is a similar process to making a claim with your own insurer. You will need the following information:
- Information about the other driver
- Copy of accident report
- Information on all the people injured
- Repair shops contact information
Keep in mind that in any situation, insurance companies are looking out for themselves. They want to minimize the amount of money they payout. You may have to go back and forth through negotiations to get a fair settlement.
Another important reason to call a Sacramento lawyer as soon as possible is to avoid getting scammed out of your personal injury claim. Some insurance companies stall, but others might low-ball you. If you don’t know the real value of your case, you could get much less than you deserve.
Some insurance companies or other organizations might even successfully convince you to waive your legal right to seek damages without realizing you’ve done this. The more complicated the paperwork you receive is, the more likely this is to occur, as they might deliberately use legal jargon you do not understand. An experienced car accident attorney can decode that to ensure the language reflects terms that are beneficial to you before you sign — if we advise you to sign at all.
The negotiation process is not easy. Insurance companies deal with claims all the time, while you likely have minimal or no experience filing one. That is why you should hire Kreeger Law. Christopher Kreeger is a knowledgeable lawyer who knows how to negotiate and deal with California insurance companies to cut through the red tape and get you the proper compensation.
UNINSURED DRIVERS AND UNDERINSURED DRIVERS LEAD TO COMPLICATIONS
It may seem easy enough to file an insurance claim on your own, but do you know what to do if the responsible party does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for all your expenses? What if the person doesn’t have a valid policy? Dealing with uninsured and underinsured drivers requires the knowledge of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Since car accident costs can be incredibly high, it is important to understand what happens when the responsible party does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for your complete claim. This is a real possibility with any accident because the required minimum insurance coverage in California is quite low.
California requires drivers to carry 15/30/5 auto insurance coverage. Breaking this down, the first number means you must have $15,000 to cover injuries to one person in an accident. The second number is the total amount of coverage you have for injuries to all people in an accident, which is $30,000. The final number stands for the $5,000 in property damage coverage the state requires.
Those numbers are incredibly low when compared to potential accident costs. An ambulance ride alone could cost $3,000 or more. Time spent in the hospital can equal $4,000 a day or more. If you or a passenger needs surgery, the costs will skyrocket. It is easy to see how the minimal coverage of $15,000 per person for bodily injuries could easily be far less than what the expenses end up being.
As for property damage, though the average claim is about $4,000, that does not account for situations where damage is extensive. Bodywork is notoriously pricey, as is work on higher-tech or foreign vehicles. Replacing a basic part on some vehicles could eat up the whole $5,000 in coverage.
A totaled vehicle, which means the insurance determined the costs to repair it would be higher than the vehicle’s value, can lead to large property damage bills. Considering the average cost of a new vehicle in California is about $39,000, it is no surprise that the minimal property damage coverage is not going to be enough in many cases.
Understanding these details is important because insurance companies will not pay out more than the policy limit, regardless of the actual costs. If the other party only has the minimum coverage, then you can expect to have expenses the insurer will not pay.
Anything over the policy limits is the responsibility of the policy owner. So, you will have to collect that money from the other party directly. In most cases, that means going to court to recover the money due to you.
In court, you will have to make your case. You must prove the other party was responsible and provide an accurate estimate of the costs you have incurred as a result of the accident.
The Sacramento court have many rules and requirements in such cases, which is why you need a lawyer to help you prepare and present your case. A car accident attorney knows how to fight for you in the courtroom and get a fair judgment in your case.
The other situation that will land you in court in Sacramento is if the other party does not have insurance at all. In this case, they become personally responsible for all the damages owed to you.
Many times, when a person does not have insurance, it means they cannot afford it. To get any money, you will not only need to get a judgment in your favor for damages from the auto accident, but also need to take action to collect the money. The court will not handle collections for you.
You may be able to request a license suspension for the person if they fail to pay you. Other possibilities you have are wage garnishment, bank levy, and vehicle levy. These options allow you to take assets from the person to satisfy your judgment. However, you need to get a court order to do these things, which will require the assistance of an attorney with experience in such matters.
COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE MATTERS IN CALIFORNIA
When you go to court to make your case, you should be aware of the California comparative negligence law. The court will assign fault in the accident. It may not be 100% on the other party; the court can assign some percentage of fault to you.
What this means is that if the court assigns 80% fault to the other party and 20% fault to you, then you can only recover 80% of the damages. This is important to keep in mind and makes proving your claim in a Sacramento court more complicated.
You want the other party to have a high percentage of the fault so that you can recover the most damages. If the judge or jury in Sacramento decides you share fault, you may not be able to recover very much.
In deciding fault, the Sacramento court looks at your contributions to the accident. It wants to determine if you had any role in causing the accident or failing to prevent it.
For example, imagine you were on your cell phone texting someone, and at the same time, another car runs a stop sign. Your vehicles crash into each other. The court could decide that you had some fault in the accident because you were paying insufficient attention to the road. If you had not been texting, you may have seen the vehicle run the stop sign and could have stopped in time to prevent the crash.
Be aware that the other party’s lawyer will definitely work on proving your fault in the accident. It is in the other person’s best interests to show you had at least some responsibility in the auto accident because it reduces what they will have to pay.
Therefore, you must have a lawyer on your side who understands California’s car accident laws and how they work. Your attorney needs to have experience arguing against a defense who tries to prove fault in a car accident case. You need a strong lawyer who can properly argue your case while battling the accusations of the other side – which is aiming to assign responsibility to you to lower their own liability. Christopher Kreeger has the experience, the determination, and the skills to do all of this for you.
SPECIAL SITUATIONS REQUIRE COMPETENT REPRESENTATION
Not every car accident in Sacramento involves two vehicles. In these special situations, you need to make sure you choose a car accident attorney who knows how to handle these types of cases and the unique aspects they each have.
Pedestrian accidents are just as common and often more serious than auto accidents. In 2018, in California, there were almost 900 deaths of pedestrians due to accidents with vehicles.
If you have been a victim of a pedestrian accident, you must stand up for yourself with proper legal representation. The other party will try to show you were negligent and at fault in the accident. If they are successful, you may end up back in court, defending yourself and fighting claims that you should pay damages.
In proving your case, it is essential that your lawyer shows you were following California pedestrian laws, such as using crosswalks and obeying traffic signals. Your attorney will also need to combat claims that you did something to lead to the crash, such as walking out in front of a vehicle.
Because injuries from a pedestrian accident are often severe, you need an attorney who is willing to assist you as you heal. The right attorney should be able to carefully assess your long-term expenses due to the accident to get you a proper judgment. At Kreeger Law, we have the compassion and drive to work with you every step of the way.
Rideshare accidents are another special situation that requires the experience of an attorney who has handled such cases in the past. Rideshare services have become quite popular, especially in highly populated areas such as Sacramento.
When you use such a service, you hire someone to drive you through an application on your mobile phone. The company you choose handles hiring the driver. The two biggest services are Uber and Lyft. Both companies do background checks to ensure they hire drivers with good driving habits and who do not have a criminal background to help ensure your safety.
Despite the companies’ attempts to hire only good drivers, though, there are still many rideshare accidents occurring on Sacramento roads. Due to the concern over such accidents, California legislatures created a law making the minimum auto insurance requirements for rideshare drivers higher than for other drivers. Rideshare companies also must carry insurance that extends coverage to riders.
In the event of an accident, you may have three different insurance companies to contend with, including your driver’s and the company’s. If another person was at fault, then you will have to deal with his or her insurer as well.
Sometimes, figuring out which insurer is liable is not easy. You may need to dissect the accident and the coverage limits along with the rideshare contracts involved. It takes experience with such situations to ensure you hold all the right parties responsible.
It is also confusing to know exactly what you should do and what reports you should make after a rideshare accident. Your attorney can assist you in making the proper reports and gathering all of the information you will need as you navigate the claims process.
Even when you know who to go after, dealing with insurance companies is never easy. Let Christopher Kreeger deal with insurers on your behalf to allow you to focus on recuperating after the auto accident. You shouldn’t have to spend time arguing with insurance company representatives who are trying to cheat you out of money to which you are rightfully due.
WRONGFUL DEATH SITUATIONS
When your car accident results in the death of someone in your vehicle, it raises the stakes of your claim. Not only do you have to make a claim for the injuries and property damage, but you may also have a right to a wrongful death claim.
It is important to consult with an attorney who understands car accident law and wrongful death law. The California wrongful death statute may allow you to collect damages if you are a close relative of the person who died, such as a spouse, child, or parent.
Wrongful death is a claim that someone else’s negligence, such as that in an auto accident, led to the death of another person. You could claim damages for the monetary costs associated with the death, along with other damages for the loss of companionship, pain, suffering, and other losses you experience due to the death.
An attorney who has experience with wrongful death cases can ensure that you file your case properly. We can help determine that damages are adequate and that you have a solid case to present to the court.
FILE NOW TO AVOID THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
While you may want to file your auto accident claim right away in a Sacramento court, you may find that it takes time. For example, you may need time to heal from your injuries, especially if they were serious. This could delay your case by months or even years. You may also have trouble getting your case together to present in court and need time to figure things out.
Some factors can shorten the statute of limitations. For this reason, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can begin to work on your case right away to avoid any time limit issues.
While you heal, your lawyer can gather evidence and put together your legal paperwork. Expect your attorney to file the case and even represent you in a Sacramento court if you cannot be there physically. Your attorney will make sure that you get your claim in on time to avoid the court throwing it out due to the statute of limitations.
If you do miss the statute of limitations, it means you cannot take the other party to court. You cannot make someone pay even if you can prove they are responsible for the accident. You lose all ability to hold him or her liable for the auto accident and must pay for your expenses yourself.
Prevent this from happening by calling Kreeger Law. We have extensive experience working with car accident victims like you. We know how to handle cases where there may be severe injuries or extreme damage, and understand the best way to represent you in your case. It is our commitment to you to hold the other party responsible through the careful application of the law.
SACRAMENTO AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYERS
When most people think of delivering justice, they envision a criminal getting the proper jail or prison sentence. However, the civil court system in Sacramento also often delivers justice. This takes the form of damages paid by reckless road users, negligent manufacturers, and dishonest insurance companies. If you or your loved one has been injured in a Sacramento car accident, you might be entitled to payments for the injuries and damages you suffered.
California has a very complex system when it comes to determining who is at fault. Instead of assigning fault to just one entity, both drivers might be at fault. This is true for not just the accident itself but also for the resulting injuries. That means if you are awarded $1 million and the court determines you should take 20% of the blame, you might only receive $800,000 of that money.
This is why presenting a solid and convincing case is so important. It’s important not to rely on insurance companies and police officers to conduct the entire investigation on your behalf. At Kreeger Law, we do some of the investigative work ourselves to get a better idea of what happened, how and why. Why an accident happened is often more important than how because “why” determines fault.
Here are some of the reasons that might result in one or both sides receiving blame for an accident:
- Speeding in a school zone
- Running a red light
- Texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to yield the right of way
It’s important to note that insurance companies will always complete their own investigations. Police officers might also include their opinions in reports if called to the scene. Because of this, remember never to admit fault even if you are partially responsible. If the other driver refuses to share in that responsibility, insurance companies might successfully pin the entire accident on you.
Estimating Compensation Value
Before pursuing a personal injury claim, it’s only natural that you should want to know whether the fight is worth it. Your chance of winning the case plays an important role in the decision-making process and so does the potential compensation value of the case. Unfortunately, determining the number outside of court is often easier said than done. This is because the final number depends on the court’s decision after hearing both sides of the story, and you only control the telling of one.
The three types of damages you can recover include economic, non-economic and punitive damages. Economic damages refer to the direct financial costs you incurred because of the incident, such as medical bills or missed income. Non-economic damages are synonymous with pain and suffering and account for the inconvenience or even lifelong changes the accident resulted in, such as brain damage or physical disabilities. The court awards punitive damages if it believes the accident resulted from reckless or negligent behavior.
Because of the variability of non-economic and punitive damages, and the fact that they depend purely on the court’s opinions, there is no easy calculation. Sometimes, the courts might seem to pull a number out of nowhere. Other times, the court might multiply the economic damages by a specific number to arrive at the dollar value. Because economic damages cover the direct financial costs, it is easier to estimate and predict. The more documents you have supporting these claims, the greater the likelihood of collecting on every penny.
CONTACT US TODAY
Whether your accident happened in Sacramento, the Kreeger Law firm is ready to assist you. We can help with all types of auto accident situations, including those due to drunk driving, speeding, or distracted driving. We understand how to assess claims for bodily injuries and property damage to ensure you get the best compensation possible.
Our extensive experience in personal injury law enables our firm to give your case the attention it needs. We will work hard for you no matter what the situation to ensure a fair outcome in your case. With the many different factors contributing to a car accident, it is difficult to properly represent yourself and get a court judgment that adequately handles everything that you have incurred due to the accident.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your car accident to start putting together a rock-solid argument for the court. Your financial stability after an accident often depends on the representation you have in a Sacramento court. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation where we can discuss your case and the potential outcomes. Visit our website or call (916) 891-1472 to schedule your appointment.