Car accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury in Sacramento and throughout the United States. Each year, thousands of people in our area are injured in automobile accidents. We often discuss the long-term consequences of a car accident and how to protect your rights. However, it is also important to discuss how to keep yourself safe immediately following a car crash.
Be Careful if You Must Get Out of Your Vehicle
Some people are injured because they exit their vehicles in heavy traffic. If you are in an accident on a busy road, you may want to avoid getting out of your vehicle unless it is unsafe to remain in your car. Passing vehicles can pose a significant threat, especially when traffic is moving at high rates of speed. A driver may not stop in time to avoid a collision with vehicles that are already stopped for the accident.
Move to a Save Location When Possible
In most cases, it is advised to pull to a safe location on the side of the road if possible. However, you must use your own judgment to do what is best to keep yourself and others safe depending on the conditions at the time of the crash. If you are on the side of the road, stay in your vehicle if it is safe to do so. Otherwise, move as far away from traffic as safely possible.
Trust Yourself About Your Pain and Limits
If you feel something is wrong, it may be best to stay where you are until help arrives. Moving after an accident could cause injuries to become worse. Pay close attention to your pain and do not attempt to push yourself beyond your limits. Call for help and wait for help to arrive.
See a Doctor After an Accident
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, it is usually best to have a physical after an accident. If you continue to experience pain or stiffness a few days after an accident, you need to discuss your symptoms with a doctor to determine if you have sustained an injury in the car crash.
Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Car Crash
After you take care of your physical needs, it is time to take care of the legal aspects of a car crash. If another driver caused the crash, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. An insurance adjuster may approach you to discuss the claim and may even offer to settle the claim.
To protect your legal rights, you can discuss your case with a Sacramento car accident attorney during a free consultation. The attorney can review the facts in your case and advise you of your legal rights and the steps you should take to increase your chance of receiving a full and fair settlement for your claim.
Call a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney for a Free Case Review
The immediate aftermath of a traffic accident can be overwhelming. Many accident victims are in shock and unaware of the extent of their injuries. They are also unaware of the impact that the trauma of the crash will have on their lives in the coming weeks and months. It is never easy to suffer an injury in a car accident, but it is also not easy to get through the trauma caused by the incident.
Triggers Can Lead to Flashbacks
Various triggers can lead to flashbacks of the accident. A sound, sight, or smell may suddenly bring back flashbacks of the traffic accident. In some cases, the flashbacks can be debilitating. Some accident victims may suffer nightmares in addition to flashbacks that disrupt their sleep.
Accident victims and their families should watch for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder after a car crash. An accident victim may have PTSD without being aware of the condition.
Impact on Relationships and Daily Life
A victim can experience changes in their relationships with others, even though they may not have PTSD. The trauma of the car crash can make it difficult to get back into a vehicle to visit friends and family. A person may miss important family functions because they are dealing with the consequences of the trauma from the accident. Some family and friends may not understand the full extent of the trauma, thereby adding to the pressure felt by the accident victim and placing an additional strain on their relationship.
Impact of Trauma on Employment
The trauma of the accident can also have a negative impact on employment. Trauma can cause anxiety attacks, making it difficult or impossible to concentrate on work duties. The lack of sleep because of nightmares can cause problems at work. The anxiety and trauma can be far worse if the employee is required to drive as part of his or her job duties.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Crash
When you file a personal injury claim after a car crash, a part of the compensation claimed is for damages related to mental anguish and emotional suffering. PTSD can be included as an injury sustained because of a car crash.
However, claiming PTSD and other emotional disorders after a car crash can be complicated. Many insurance companies are not willing to compensate accident victims for trauma without an accompanying physical injury. You should consult with a Sacramento car accident attorney to discuss the facts in your case and your legal options for recovering compensation for your damages.
In most cases, it is best to discuss your case with an attorney before giving the insurance company a written or recorded statement. You could say something that is misleading, or that may be misinterpreted. If the insurance company is trying to find evidence to disprove your claim of PTSD after an accident, a statement is one way it may try to get information to use against you.
Call a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney Now
Alcohol-impaired driving accidents caused hundreds of thousands of injuries and deaths each year in the United States. In 2017, DUI accidents resulted in 10,874 fatalities, which totaled 29 percent of all traffic deaths that year. California had the second highest number of fatalities related to DUI accidents in 2017 (1,120 deaths).
If you or a family member has been injured in a DUI accident, there are some very important things that you should know about DUI accident claims.
DUI Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries
In many cases, the occupants of the other vehicle or the passengers of the drunk driver sustained traumatic and life-threatening injuries in a DUI accident. Some of the injuries sustained in a drunk driving crash can result in long-term consequences for the accident victims, including ongoing medical care and substantial lost wages.
Common injuries sustained by accident victims in a DUI accident include:
- Brain and head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries, including complete and partial paralysis
- Amputation of one or more limbs
- Severe burns, scarring, and disfigurement
- Broken bones and fractures
- Damages to internal organs
- Neck and back injuries
- PTSD and other emotional disorders
Drunk Driving is a Crime
Driving under the influence of alcohol in California is a crime. Drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher are assumed to be too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle safely. A driver can be charged with DUI even though his or her BAC is below .08 if the police officer determines that the driver was impaired by alcohol.
However, a DUI charge and a civil claim for a car accident are two separate matters. A driver does not need to be convicted of a DUI to be held liable for damages caused by a DUI accident. Likewise, a driver can be guilty of DUI but not held liable for damages caused by the accident.
Investigating DUI Accidents
You must prove that the driver caused the accident to recover damages for your injuries and losses. The fact that the driver was drunk may be an element of the case, but you must still show that the driver did something to cause the crash. For example, the driver crossed the center line causing a head-on collision, or the driver turned left in front of your vehicle when you had the right of way.
A Sacramento DUI accident attorney can investigate the crash to determine the cause of the crash and gather evidence to prove that the drunk driver was responsible for causing the accident. Your attorney can also help you document your injuries and damages, so that you can maximize the chance you receive full compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Sacramento DUI Accidents Attorney for Help
You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, pain, suffering, and other damages. Our Sacramento DUI accident attorneys are here to help you as you struggle to recover from injuries caused by a drunk driver.
If you are involved in a traffic accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages if the other driver was at fault. Under California’s personal injury laws, a person who causes an accident can be held liable for damages caused by the accident. However, you must file a claim to recover compensation for your damages.
Filing an Insurance Claim for an Accident
In most cases, accident victims file a claim with the driver’s insurance provider. Liability insurance covers the damages sustained by victims in an accident caused by the insured. However, insurance companies are not required by law to automatically pay all claims filed against an insured. The victim must prove that the driver caused the crash to recover compensation.
An insurance company may deny an accident claim for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons may be legally valid; however, an insurance company may deny a claim because it does not want to pay a large settlement. In other cases, the insurance company may undervalue a claim to avoid paying a higher amount to the accident victim.
You have the right to consult with a Sacramento personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement from the insurance company. It is usually in your best interest to talk with an attorney to ensure that you receive a fair and just amount for your claim.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a California Traffic Accident
In some cases, the insurance company may not negotiate a fair and just amount for your accident claim. You may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuit is filed against the driver, even though his insurance company will likely hire an attorney to defend the lawsuit.
Pursuant to California’s Statute of Limitations, you have just two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you do not file your lawsuit within two years, you may lose your right to recover compensation for your claim. A statute of limitation is a deadline for filing lawsuits for specific causes of action. The deadlines vary based on the causes of action. Traffic accidents fall within the two-year deadline for filing lawsuits.
There are situations in which the statute of limitations may change. In some cases, the deadline may be extended, as in the case of a minor who is injured in an accident. However, there are cases in which the deadline to file a claim is very short, as in a case involving a government entity.
Because the factors in your case may affect the calculation of the deadline to file a lawsuit, it is best to contact a Sacramento personal injury attorney as soon after an accident as possible. Even though you may have two years to file a lawsuit, an attorney can help you throughout the case by handling the insurance company and helping you avoid mistakes that could hurt your chance of recovering full compensation for your claim.
Call a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney Now
Do not wait to talk to a Sacramento personal injury attorney about your case. You can talk to one of our lawyers free of charge about your claim. Call The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers in Sacramento.
The severity of the injuries sustained in an accident typically determines whether a person misses time from work. Some accident victims may miss a few days or no time from work after an accident. However, other accident victims may be out of work for weeks or months after a crash, especially if they require surgery to treat their injuries.
If an accident victim does not cause the collision, he or she is entitled to compensation for their injuries, losses, and damages. Lost wages is common damage included in accident claims. However, accident victims do not receive immediate reimbursement for financial losses, including loss of income.
When Does the Insurance Company Reimburse Me for Lost Wages?
Unfortunately, you will not receive compensation for your lost wages until your claim is settled. An accident claim should not be settled until you complete medical treatment for your injuries. Settling the claim before your doctor releases you could result in a much lower settlement amount.
It is impossible to know the exact total of your out-of-pocket losses until you are released to go back to work or your doctor tells you that you have a permanent disability that prevents you from working. If you are unable to return to work because of an impairment, your damages will be much higher. When you settle your claim without this information, you could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation.
Therefore, even though you may need the money, it is not in your best interest to settle your accident claim too soon. However, you also need to be aware of the deadline to file lawsuits in California. If you have not settled your claim before the deadline expires and you do not file a lawsuit, you can lose your right to recover compensation for your claim.
Calculating Loss of Income After an Accident
Calculating the loss of income sustained because of an accident and injury can be complex. An accident victim could have several types of lost income to include in the claim. Examples of damages in this category include:
Past Lost Wages
Past lost wages equals the total of all lost income from the date of the accident through the date of settlement. When calculating past lost wages, you can include bonuses, overtime, commissions, and other forms of income that you would have earned had it not been for the accident.
Future Lost Wages
If you are unable to work because of a permanent disability caused by the accident, you can also receive compensation for future lost wages. Future lost wages are more difficult to calculate. In many cases, we consult a financial expert to calculate future lost wages based on several factors such as your age, occupation, anticipated age of retirement, and life expectancy.
Loss of Earning Capacity
A loss of earning capacity may result when you suffer a disability that impairs your ability to earn the same income as you did before the accident. We also may consult a financial expert to calculate the loss of earning capacity.
Contact a Sacramento Accident Attorney for More Information
In some cases, loss of income may equal a substantial portion of an accident claim. You need to ensure that you calculate the value of your lost income correctly to maximize the amount of compensation you receive for your accident claim.