California Auto Accident Lawsuit Attorney Information
California Accident Lawsuit Overview
California, with about 3,000 auto accident fatalities every year, is the most unsecure state for motorists and pedestrians in the United States. The state accounts for almost one in every 12 traffic fatalities in the country largely due to traffic violation, DUI, speeding, and distracted driving. On 31 May 2012, eight students were seriously injured after a speeding pickup truck drove into a crowded crosswalk in Hemet after overstepping the red light. A day before, a mid-night head-on collision at Interstate Highway 20 resulted in the death of three children and a 27-year-old man. Actor Levar Burton’s car was hit from behind by a police official at Van Nuys while wife of NFL star Joe Senser was found guilty in a hit-and-run case that led to death of a man. A few months back, Burton had luckily escaped an accident at Beverly Boulevard. On May 22, 2012, a woman and her three children landed in the hospital with serious injuries after a car hit them at Thousand Oaks crosswalk. Two days later, police arrested well-known adult movie star Jenna Jameson on DUI charges after her car ran into a roadside pole.
In April 2012, singer and actress Amanda Bynes was accused of causing a hit-and-run accident on a California freeway. In 2010, Disney star Demi Lovato was found to be involved in an accident in Los Angles while MTV host Rikki Mongeon went into coma due to head injuries received at an accident in Bakersfield. In 2009, Los Angeles lost promising pitcher Nick Adenhart in an accident that also resulted in two more deaths.
California Auto Accident Statistics
- The state average mileage death rate is 0.84. In rural areas, it is significantly higher at 2.0 compared to just 0.59 in urban areas.
- The total number of California auto accident fatalities in 2010 was 2,715, with almost seven persons dying on roadways every day.
- Passenger car occupants accounted for almost 59 percent of the total traffic accidents in California.
- Drivers under the age of 21 years accounted for almost 20 percent of all fatalities.
- Speed is the most important cause of auto accidents in California.
- One collision in 1 minute and one injury in every 2 minutes.
- More than 70 percent car crashes result in injuries.
California Auto Accident: County and Causes
Speeding accounted for most of the auto accidents in California in 2010. About 40 percent of total fatalities were linked to the unusual speed of vehicles or violation of set speed limits. DUI claimed the second highest number of causalities with close to 25 percent of all traffic crashes. Almost half of all reported accidents were results of head-on and rear-end collision involving two or more cars while a quarter of all accidents led to injury to pedestrians or damage to road-side property. The high number of single-car accidents is attributed to drunk-driving and driver distraction.
One in every five fatal accidents in 2010 was reported from Los Angeles County. San Bernardino, Riverside County, San Diego County, and Sacramento counties are among the top five to register the highest number of auto accident fatalities.
Common California Accident Injuries
- Accident death
- Permanent disability, including loss of limb
- Accident injuries leading to severe medical conditions, including coma and prolonged treatment
- Injuries to brain, back, neck, and spinal cord
- Defacement, deformity, fractures, scars due to accident injuries.
- Psychological and emotional suffering
California Accident Claim for Damages, Compensation
California law allows accident victims to file for the following types of claims.
- Compensatory damages to help victims regain physical, financial, and emotional condition disturbed due to accidents
- Punitive damages as a punishment for those responsible for accidents
- Monetary damages, including medical expenses, loss of wages, disability costs, property damage, and compensation for any other financial loss due to the accident
- Non-monetary damages for pain, suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress
California Auto Accident Lawyer: How To Claim
One can file an accident claim with his insurer directly seeking compensation covered under the policy he has purchased. The second option is to seek compensation from the insurance provider of the driver at fault. You have the option to sue the other party and seek higher compensation for more serious injuries, death, or permanent disability. In all these cases, you must consult a qualified California accident lawyer.
California Personal Injury Lawsuit The Litigation
- Contact a qualified California accident lawyer as soon as possible. He collects all information and makes compensation estimates and seeks damages on your behalf.
- Your California accident lawyer can seek compensation through mediation, arbitration, or negotiation.
- Your California accident lawyer moves court if the other party fails to compensate for your damages. A demand notice is issued to the respondent stating your claim details.
- The next step is fact-finding and discovery. California accident lawyers representing the plaintiff and the respondent collect witness testimony, medical reports, and technical experts to find out various aspects related to the accident.
- If mediation fails, your California accident lawyer can move the court seeking a summary judgment or judicial intervention. If the judge orders for trial, he represents you in the court.
- Almost 90 percent of cases are settled out of court. A case can be settled anytime. Those going for trial are decided by the jury on the basis of various provisions mentioned in the state law.
California Accident Lawsuit Statutory Regulations
With effect from 2012, all claims less than $10,000 can be filed in small courts subject to a maximum limit of two claims of $2,500 each per year by the plaintiff. The California state law sets the following statutory limitations for filing of auto accident lawsuits
- You have a two-year limitation for a personal injury lawsuit.
- You have three years for a property damage lawsuit.
- You have 180 days to file any claim against any government agency or employee.
California Comparative Fault Law
California courts follow comparative fault principle while deciding an accident injury lawsuit. The changes adopted in 1975 allow one to get compensation irrespective of his fault. A certain percentage corresponding to your fault is deducted from the total damage awarded. Unlike many states, California follows the pure comparative negligence laws, which allow one to recover compensation despite being assigned the majority of the blamed for an accident.
California Accident Insurance
- California is a “fault” insurance state.
- Any motor vehicle in the state must have liability insurance of the following amount or above to compensate in case of accident-related death or injury.
- $15,000 insurance coverage for one person killed or injured
- $30,000 insurance coverage for more than one person killed or injured
- $5,000 of insurance to cover damage to property
- Any claim above the policy amount must be borne by the policy holder himself.
- California financial responsibility laws require vehicle owners without insurance to have one of the following:
- Deposit $35,000 with the state DMV
- Carry a self-insurance certificate issued by the state DMV
- Have a $35,000 surety bond guaranteed by someone licensed to engage in business activities in California
California Seat Belt Law
- All passengers above 16 years must use seat belts both in the front and back seats.
- Children above 8 and less than 16 years can sit anywhere fastened with seat belts.
- Children less than 8 years must be tied in a child restraint or child belt on the rear seat.
- There must be booster seat for kids traveling with lap and seat belts.
- The new seat belt law effective from 2012 imposes stiff penalties for noncompliance of seat belt provisions.
California Auto Accident Lawsuits
On May 29, 2012, a California accident lawsuit involving a sheriff's deputy resulted in $525,000 in compensation in favor of a 72-year-old man. The victim had suffered from brain injury and serious fractures in 2008 after the deputy’s car hit him while overstepping a red light at Sunflower Avenue. In July 2011, a California court ordered Barron Hilton, brother of socialite and hotel heiress Paris Hilton, to pay $4.9 million to a man permanently disabled after being hit by his car. Hilton was found guilty of DUI and reckless driving. In September 2009, a former college student won $49 million in accident injury lawsuit damages. The victim suffered from brain damages after a collision between two trucks impacted his car. In January 2012, a San Diego sailor received $7.5 million in compensation for injury to his penis in a car crash. He had to undergo a reconstructive surgery following the accident.