Sacramento Car Accident Lawyers
Car accidents have become almost commonplace on Sacramento roads. Even though accidents are a daily occurrence, people still rarely believe that they will be the next victim of a serious collision. No matter what safety precautions you take, a negligent driver can take away your sense of security in an instant.
Not only that, a negligent driver can leave you struggling to recover from life-altering injuries and regain your financial security. Time missed from work combined with the high cost of health care can mean you’ll find yourself at the bottom of a financial pit you can’t readily dig your way out of. A car accident can negatively impact your physical, mental, and financial well-being, all in the blink of an eye. Is it right that your entire life is turned upside down because of someone else’s reckless actions? We don’t think so.
At Tiemann Law Firm, we see the consequences of a serious car accident almost every day. We understand the devastation this type of accident can cause. That’s why our legal team is dedicated to helping families like you recover following a serious car accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Sacramento or the surrounding areas, including Folsom, Citrus Heights, or Rocklin, contact Tiemann Law Firm today to discuss your legal rights. Call (916) 999-9000, and we will schedule a free case evaluation to review your claim.
Why Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been the victim of a serious accident, we understand what you are going through. Whether you are trying to deal with a negligent driver or their insurance company, it can feel like you are spinning your wheels. That’s because no one is looking out for you or your best interests after a serious accident, especially if the accident wasn’t your fault. A negligent driver only wants to attempt to shift blame away from themselves, and insurance companies want to keep their hefty profits. That means paying out as little as reasonably possible.
That’s why you need to contact an experienced car accident attorney. If you are looking for an insurance settlement, we can help negotiate on your behalf to make sure your rights are protected, and you are getting the maximum compensation you deserve. If taking a negligent driver to court is the best option for your circumstances, an attorney will be able to put the time, effort, and resources into making sure your claim is as strong as possible, so you get the compensation you need.
At Tiemann Law Firm, we offer a free initial case evaluation to review the circumstances of your accident. If we take your case, we will not charge you any attorneys’ fees until you, yourself, receive compensation. We understand that the last thing you need to worry about as you are trying to recover and figure out how to make ends meet is how to pay an attorney.
Steps to Take Following an Accident
Being involved in a serious car accident is frightening. There is a rush of adrenaline that takes over, and it can be hard to think clearly and rationally about the situation you now find yourself in. In any type of car accident, there are important steps you must take. Some are required by California law, and some are important to take because they can help strengthen your case later if you pursue an insurance or legal claim against another driver. If you’ve been involved in a serious car collision, here are the steps you should take next:
- Call 911: If you or anyone else at the scene is seriously injured, you need to get medical help immediately. Call 911 and make sure medical services and law enforcement are on their way to help. Even if the accident is minor and you don’t immediately go to the hospital, make sure you get checked out by a physician promptly. Some injuries, including some serious head injuries, can take time for symptoms to manifest.
- Report the accident: California law states that the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident with injuries or death must, within 24 hours, make a written report of the crash to the California Highway Patrol or the local police department. Also, calling law enforcement when you’ve been involved in an accident is important because the investigation and subsequent police report can be very important when trying to establish fault and liability for the accident.
Collect information: If you are able, make sure that you collect information from everyone at the scene of the accident, including the other driver and any witnesses. You will want to make sure you have the driver’s name, address, insurance information, phone number, driver’s license number, and license plate number.
- Document everything: Again, if you are physically able, make sure that you take photos of the accident, the damage to both cars, debris, tire marks on the road, and any other pertinent information about the scene. Try to make notes of what happened immediately before the accident while the details are still fresh in your mind.
- Contact your insurance provider: Contact your insurance provider to let them know you’ve been involved in an accident. Give them the facts only.
- Contact the California DMV: California law stipulates that drivers involved in an accident that results in injuries, a death, or property damage of more than $1,000 must report the accident to the California DMV. Drivers have ten days from the date of the accident to complete the Traffic Accident Report and turn it into the DMV. Failing to report can result in serious penalties.
- Do not go on social media: It can be tempting to get people on your side but resist the urge to take to social media after an accident. Your best bet is to stay quiet; that way, an attorney or insurance adjuster can’t use your own statements against you or twist them to make you seem like the one at fault.
- Contact an attorney: Contacting an attorney right away means that you have someone on your side who can help with the investigation, gather evidence, talk to your insurance company, and support you through the difficult process of getting compensated fairly for your injuries. Let an attorney shoulder some of this burden so you can focus on what matters, you and your family.
What Does an Accident Investigation Look Like?
A car accident investigation can take many different forms depending on the circumstances of the accident itself. After a serious accident, three main bodies may be involved in investigating how the accident happened. The first body is law enforcement. Law enforcement is typically the first at the scene to take statements and begin the initial investigation into how and why the accident occurred. They will be able to gather evidence, make a note of the surroundings and conditions at the time of the accident, and can test drivers for drugs or alcohol if they suspect those could be a factor in the accident.
Police reports can be a very important source of facts, but a police report on its own may not be enough to hold a negligent driver accountable for their actions. A good defense attorney may be able to argue that a police report offers “opinions” on fault for the accident. Opinions are not proof positive and may not stand up in court without further substantiating evidence.
The second body that may be involved in an accident investigation is an insurance adjuster. This is an agent working on behalf of an insurance company who will be investigating who is responsible for the accident and what damages may be owed. Keep in mind that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. It is better for business to keep insurance payouts as low as possible to keep profit margins high.
Hiring an experienced car accident attorney means you may also be working with an independent investigator or accident reconstruction specialist. Car accident attorneys have the resources available to find experts that can gather more evidence and recreate the circumstances of the accident to better establish fault and liability. An attorney will also be able to use the power of the court system to secure valuable information, such as surveillance videos from nearby businesses, in-cab footage if a truck was involved, and other crucial documentation that could help strengthen your case.
What Are the Damages Available for Injuries?
If a negligent driver is to blame for your injuries, California law allows victims to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are tied to certain calculable losses such as:
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses related to the accident
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
California also allows victims to recover what are known as non-economic damages. These damages are harder to calculate and are often tied to the pain, suffering, and mental trauma of going through a serious accident. Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
California is unique in that it is one of the few remaining states that has not imposed a cap on non-economic damages in serious car accident cases. That means there is no fixed limit to the amount of money that may be awarded for damages. However, California does not allow an individual to recover non-economic damages if they do not have car insurance at the time of the accident. This rule is at play no matter who is to blame for causing the accident. If you do not have car insurance, you do not get to claim non-economic damages, the most you can claim is money for property damage, lost wages, and medical expenses.
Most Common Cause of Car Accidents
It is no secret that one of the most common causes of car accidents on the roads today is distracted driving. From texting to eating to using a navigation system, there are more distractions and devices vying for our attention today than ever before. Unfortunately, that translates into less time paying attention to the road, and the consequences can be dire.
Go Safe California found that, in 2019, almost 60 percent of California drivers surveyed said they have been hit or almost hit by a driver who was talking or texting on a cell phone. Any type of visual-manual task that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, increasing the risk of getting into a collision by three times. While distracted driving is one of the main causes of accidents, it isn’t the only one. Here are the most common causes of car accidents:
- Distracted driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Reckless driving
- Switching lanes without looking
- Failing to yield
- Aggressive driving
- Fatigued driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Poor road maintenance
- Construction zones
- Vehicle defects
Most Common Types of Car Accidents
Car accidents happen in a variety of different ways under a variety of different conditions. That means numerous types of accidents can occur, each with their own set of unique characteristics and injuries. Some of the most common types of car accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Side impact collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Single-vehicle crashes
- Multi-vehicle crashes
- Head-on collisions
- Sideswipe collisions
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Wrong-way collisions
Common Injuries Suffered from Car Accidents
Safety features on vehicles have come a long way. From seatbelts to airbags, there are several precautions that drivers take to keep themselves safe out on the road. While these tools help keep the severity of injuries down tremendously, when 3,000 pounds of steel collides with 3,000 pounds of steel, the results can be catastrophic. Car accidents can lead to serious, even life-threatening injuries. Some victims may never be able to regain the function they had before the collision and can face an uphill battle when it comes to recovery.
These are some of the more common injuries that may happen as a result of a car accident:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head, neck, and spine injuries
- Fractured bones
- Soft tissue damage
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Knee damage
- Chest and rib injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Road rash
- Wrongful death
What Is the Cost of a Car Accident Attorney?
At Tiemann Law Firm, we understand that following an accident, you are probably struggling with serious financial concerns about how you’ll pay your medical bills, pay for car repairs, and make ends meet while you may be out of work because of your injuries.
We provide you with a free initial case evaluation to review the circumstances of your accident. We also work on a contingency-fee basis. This means that, if we take your case, we will not charge you attorneys’ fees unless and until you receive compensation. We understand you are in a financial bind; that’s why we try to make it easy to start the legal process without any upfront fees.
Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Claims in Sacramento
California has a two-year statute of limitations, or deadline, to file an accident injury case. This two-year deadline begins on the date of the accident. Only under very rare circumstances will a court hear an accident injury case after this two-year time limit. In most cases, if you fail to file a claim in time, the case will be dismissed, and you will lose the ability to recover compensation through the court system.
Car Accident Lawsuits in Sacramento
When you first take legal action, you will want to review all of your legal options with a skilled attorney. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, and depending on the settlement the insurance company eventually offers, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver to recover compensation. If that is the case, these are some of the steps you may expect to see.
- Elements of the lawsuit: An attorney will review all the evidence and information to determine if all of the elements of a lawsuit are present:
- Does the negligent driver owe the victim a duty of care?
- Did the negligent driver breach that duty of care through legally defined negligence?
- Is this negligence a factor in causing injuries and damage?
- Investigation and evidence collection by a legal team
- Calculation of damages owed: Your attorneys will calculate your damages owed based on your expenses and the extent of your injuries and losses.
- Issuing of a demand letter: A demand letter from an attorney is meant to notify the at-fault party that the victim intends to recover damages. This letter can contain information on liability, the extent of your injuries, and a request for compensation.
- Filing a claim for damages in court
- Negotiating a settlement: Many individuals do not want to enter a courtroom and will try to settle outside of court.
- Trial: If a settlement is not reached or the terms of a settlement cannot be agreed upon, then the case will move to court.
Accident Claims Process
If you first choose to go through the insurance company to receive compensation following a car accident, an attorney can help you negotiate the terms and protect your rights. Insurance companies want to settle with as little hassle as possible for the least amount of money. There are several steps involved in the process, including:
- Filing a claim with the insurance company
- Answering insurance adjusters’ questions
- Adjusters investigation
- Reviewing the settlement options
- Receiving final compensation
An attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement and make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of by an adjuster. An attorney will also be able to tackle issues that may arise if your claim is rejected.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
You didn’t ask for this accident to happen – you were the victim of a negligent driver. Now you are stuck with the repercussions of their actions, huge medical bills, serious injuries, missing time from work, and missing time spent with your family. At Tiemann Law Firm, we don’t think you should have to spend the rest of your life paying for someone else’s mistake. Don’t put your future and your livelihood in the hands of an insurance adjuster or a negligent driver. Trust the legal team at Tiemann Law Firm.
At Tiemann Law Firm, we’ll provide you with a free case evaluation, and we won’t get paid until you get paid. Call us today at (916) 999-9000 to schedule your consultation and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents
At Tiemann Law Firm, we frequently receive questions from clients about what they should expect when they file an injury claim. We’ve answered a few of those questions below:
To begin, state law requires all California drivers to have insurance. Not carrying insurance is against the law and can result in penalties. If a driver has no insurance, you may be able to file a claim through your insurance company, or you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. An experienced attorney will be able to help you evaluate the best options for your particular situation.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. It is in their best interest to keep payout low or to a minimum. Their insurance adjuster also may not have taken all the information into consideration when making a final decision. Having a lawyer on your side means that an insurance company won’t easily get away with making a lowball offer, while not considering all the facts. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to get the best settlement for your injuries.