When most people think of delivering justice, they envision a criminal getting the proper sentence he or she deserves. However, the civil court system in California also often delivers justice. This takes the form of damages paid by reckless road users, negligent manufacturers and shady 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.
Considering the Time Limit
If you or your loved one suffers an injury, your priority is recovering from that injury. Unfortunately, the courts only give so much consideration to the time this takes. Because of this, many families emerge from recovery to realize they can no longer file for a personal injury claim because the time limit already passed.
In most cases, a person injured in a California auto accident has until about two years from the date of the incident to file a claim. This might seem like plenty of time to do so, but you’d be surprised how quickly time flies while family members try to focus on being a pillar of support to injured parties.
Unfortunately, the statute of limitations on California car crashes is even shorter when the responsible or accused party is an agent of a government entity, such as a police officer. Not surprisingly, many people in Sacramento might also feel fearful about going against officers of the law and other government workers who might try to retaliate at a later date. Speaking to an attorney as soon as possible can help prepare you for whatever might lie ahead.
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 personal injury 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.
Choosing the Right Firm
As a California personal injury attorney law firm, we only handle personal injury cases. This sets us apart from many other firms in Sacramento. Instead of trying to spread a wide net to capture as many clients in as many fields as possible, we specialize in personal injury cases. This allows us to provide you with top-tier levels of experience honed by working on the same types of cases over and over again.
Would you like to work with our personal injury attorney? It all starts with a free consultation so we can review your case and tell you what your options are. We then advise you on how to get started. Give Kreeger Law Firm a call at 916-891-1472.