San Diego Car Accident Lawyer
In San Diego, car accidents are very common due to the high concentration of people, access to automobiles, gridlock and long commutes. A car accident is almost inevitable in our lifetime, especially living in these high traffic areas. In fact, in 2010 there were almost 18,000 injuries in San Diego county as a direct result of motor vehicle accidents. Many accident victims will suffer debilitating injuries that restrict their daily lives, and others will lose their lives. Auto accidents often cause people to require long term care or ongoing therapy. Serious injuries can cause a loss of income and add stress to the victim.
Victims of auto accidents are entitled to compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and for permanent injury or disfigurement. When dealing with an insurance company and an adjuster it is important to know that they may try to just settle for the best deal and often can take advantage of you. In order to protect your best interest and be fully compensated it is best to seek the help of a San Diego car accident attorney at the Liljegren Law Group. The attorneys at the Liiljegren Law Group are familiar with the many tactics insurance companies use to get you to settle quickly and for less compensation that you deserve. Contact us today at 760-294-1515 for a free consultation. We are centrally located in San Diego County and practice statewide throughout California. Our lawyers will investigate each accident individually and provide the strongest possible presentation.
Likely Causes of a San Diego Car Accident
Most often auto accidents occur because a driver has been negligent, meaning that he or she has operated a vehicle in a careless or unsafe manner. Auto accidents can be caused by negligence as well as a number of reasons including:
- Driver impairment
- Driver recklessness
- Defective automobiles or parts
- Dangerous road conditions
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident for any of the reasons listed above or for any other reason contact our office today. The auto accident lawyers at the Liljegren Law Group are committed to helping you achieve fair compensation for your claim. Our San Diego auto accident lawyers have been helping auto accident victims in Escondido, Oceanside, Temecula, La Mesa, Palm Desert, Huntington Beach, and all over California obtain justice from negligent and careless people as well as from their insurance companies. Due to the deadlines for filing injury claims, it is important that you meet with an accident attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case. Please call the Liljegren Law Group today at 760-294-1515 to speak with an experienced San Diego accident attorney and to ensure that your legal rights are protected.
Car Accident Statistics
When looking for valuable information or proof, the numbers very rarely lie. This is true with car accidents across the globe, nationwide, and in San Diego in particular. While cars have become safer over time, that doesn’t necessarily mean the risk factors for injuries and fatalities have decreased to a comfortable number. In fact, you may be shocked to learn the actual facts and figures.
According to the World Health Organization, each year, there are approximately 1.3 million road crash fatalities in the world. That comes out to 3,287 deaths per day. While deaths do occur frequently, the number of injury victims is even more shocking. Data shows somewhere between 20 and 50 million people are injured or disabled at the hands of road crash accidents. Here are some more interesting global statistics:
- Out of the roughly 1.3 million annual deaths, more than half occur among those in the 15-44 age group.
- Road crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 15-29, and second leading cause for those in the 5-14 age group.
- Road crashes account for 2.2% of all deaths in the world.
- Unless proper prevention measures are in place, road injuries are predicted to grow at an exponential rate.
United States Statistics
In the U.S., more than 37,000 people die in road crashes each year. Another 2 million-plus people are injured – costing the country around $230 billion per year. That comes out to an average of $820 per person. According to data, fatal crashes are most likely to happen on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, while least likely to occur on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.
Each year, California accounts for 3,000-5,000 fatalities and thousands of injury victims. San Diego, in particular, usually accounts for 100-300 annual deaths and 15,000-20,000 injuries. The most dangerous time to drive in San Diego is between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and men between the ages of 20 and 24 cause the majority of fatal accidents.
San Diego County Traffic Deaths, 2000 – 2014
Common Causes of Car Accidents
In San Diego, there are dozens of causes of car accidents. While each situation is unique and dependent on individual circumstances, there are a few common causes that stand above the rest.
- Distracted Driving. By far, distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents in San Diego. Because driving requires so much attention and awareness, any minor or major distraction can lead to an accident in only a fraction of a second. Examples of distracted driving include texting, talking on the phone, looking in the backseat, eating, drinking, using a navigation system, or any other action that takes focus away from the road.
- Speeding. Speeding often accompanies distracted driving or may be present on its own. Regardless, speeding is dangerous and considered one of the major causes of car accidents in San Diego. From a national perspective, data suggests speeding causes 31% of serious auto accidents.
- Failure to Obey Rules. Whether on purpose or unintentionally, the failure to obey or observe road rules is a major cause of car accidents. This includes things like running stop signs or red lights, failure to yield, not changing lanes properly, following cars too closely, or ignoring other signs.
- Bad Weather. Inclement weather often causes car accidents. This could include rain, snow, sleet, storms, wind, or other extreme conditions. These conditions usually lead to slick roadways or diminished visibility, which are both dangerous when traveling at high speeds.
- Drunk Driving. Drunk driving is another major cause of car accidents. These often end in fatal or debilitating injuries that leave victims needing considerable medical attention. According to data, drunk driving accounts for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities and is a leading cause of injuries.
- Fatigue. Lastly, fatigue accounts for a high number of accidents on roads and highways. These typically involve road-trippers and truck drivers and can be particularly dangerous.
What to do After a Car Accident
Regardless of the cause, car accidents can be serious and life-threatening. If you are ever involved in a car accident, it’s important to understand what the process involves, where to start, who to contact, and what to avoid.
Immediately After The Accident
Immediately after an accident occurs, it’s important to make sure everyone is okay. Start with yourself and those in your vehicle and work outward from there. Rather than relying on your perception of pain to see if anything is wrong, conduct a brief visual examination for bleeding, breaks, or other visible injuries. Often, the fright or adrenaline from the accident will leave you numb to particular pain signals.
Once you are certain everyone in your vehicle is unharmed, you should check on the passengers in other vehicles. If everyone is okay, assess the damage of your vehicle and call the police.
For the sake of liability – either yours or the other driver’s – you should document notes immediately after the accident occurs. This will ensure all details are fresh on your mind and you don’t forget any pertinent details later. If need be, take pictures or draw diagrams of the accident.
When the police arrive, they will write up a report and usually point fault at one party. You should only sign documents produced by the on-site police officer and never for the other party.
If you were in an accident and did not suffer a serious injury, here are a few steps to take according to CNN’s guide for what to do after a car accident. If you witnessed a car accident, click here to find out what to do.
Make Sure Everyone is OK
Call 911 if anyone needs assistance. You will probably also have to call the police to file a police report. Although it is a good idea to file a police report in all accident circumstances, most insurance policies state that the police must be contacted within a given time frame if a hit-and-run occurs. Try to find a safe place away from traffic to wait for emergency services to arrive and remain calm.
Get the Information from the Other Driver
The proper steps to take in the event of a car accident are usually detailed on the back of your insurance documents, which should reside in your glove box. This usually includes the name, address and phone number for all individuals involved in the accident as well as the insurance card and information for all involved vehicles.
Record the Scene and Take Pictures
Keeping a disposable camera in your glove box to record the scene of car accidents used to be the standard, however, that is not necessary in the age of smart phones with high quality cameras (although not a bad idea in case your phone is damaged). A camera can prove more effective than attempting to draw the scene of the car accident on a piece of paper. Make sure you are standing in a safe place and take pictures of the situation, damage to and the road position of the vehicle or vehicles.
Take notes of any circumstance you think are unusual or particularly relevant to the accident while at the scene as it can be easy to forget important details later.
Take down the vehicle’s VIN number, which is located on the engine or door jam. It may also help to record the names, addresses and license plate numbers of any witnesses. Also note any weather conditions such as rain that could have contributed to the accident.
Contact Appropriate Parties
After an accident, it’s important to notify your insurance agent as soon as possible. They will assist you through the process and protect your rights. If you sustained injures and believe you may have grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit, contact a lawyer and discuss your options.
Things to Avoid Following a Car Accident
In addition to what you should do immediately following an accident, also avoid the following things:
- Never admit fault to any party.
- State only the facts and limit discussion to the police and your insurance agent.
- Only sign documentation for the police or your insurance agent.
- Seek out prompt medical attention for injuries.
How the Claim Process Works
If your car has been damaged or you have been hurt as the result of a car accident, you will probably be advised to file a claim with the insurance company. It may look different for each situation and insurance company, but the claims process usually follows a pretty consistent structure.
- Get the Facts Straight. A successful claim is usually dependent on the accuracy and availability of the facts. If you managed the accident scene properly, you should have good documentation of what happened, what damage occurred, and the extent of related injuries.
- Notifying Relevant Parties. As soon as you can, it’s important to contact all parties who may be responsible for the accident and your injuries. The earlier you are able to do this, the less likely you will be accused of a false claim or questioned about your injuries.
- Determine the Worth of Your Claim. Your insurance company will probably provide a pretty quick assessment of what they believe your claim is worth. While waiting for this figure, it’s important to make a calculated assessment yourself. This should be accompanied by specific, factual arguments that support your claim.
- Negotiations. Whether it’s with your insurance company or another party’s, there may be discrepancies involving the details of the claim. If this is the case, you should be prepared to negotiate.
When going through the claim process, it is not uncommon for the insurance adjuster to request a copy of the police report, contact other drivers, talk to witnesses, visit the scene of the accident, inspect vehicles for damages, take photos, or ask for information regarding medical expenses.
Often, car accident victims find it difficult to properly negotiate with stubborn insurance adjusters and claims. If so, you may need to contact a personal injury lawyer to assist you through the process.
Types of Damages that can be Recovered
If you are involved in a San Diego car accident, you can recover a number of different types of damages. Typical auto accident case damages include any or all of the following.
- Car Repairs. If your car has been damaged in any form or fashion, you are allowed to file for property damages. These damages pay for dents, scratches, broken glass, mechanical issues, and anything else that affects the value or functionality of your car. Consumer Reports has a great auto repair calculator.
- Car Replacement. If the insurance company decides your car is “totaled,” you will be able to recover enough damages to replace the value of your existing vehicle. A car is usually considered totaled when 51-90% of the vehicle is in need of repair.
- Past Medical Expenses. If you were hurt in the accident, you can recover damages for your medical bills and expenses related to the crash. These can be minimal to extensive in nature.
- Future Medical Expenses. Serious injuries often leave the victim with the need for future or ongoing medical attention. In this case, you can recover damages for future medical expenses. These figures are typically estimated using standard costs.
- Pain and Suffering. In addition to the actual physical injuries, damages can be recovered for the amount of physical pain endured or mental anguish suffered. These figures are sometimes difficult to reach, but can include everything from the need for pain medication to not being able to play with your children.
- Loss of Past Wages. If your injuries caused you to miss work or lose a percentage of your income, you should be able to recover damages to compensate for these wages.
- Loss of Earning Capacity. If your injury prohibits you from continuing your career in the future, you can recover damages for the loss of earning capacity over the amount of time you will be incapable of working.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Just as there are a number of common car accident causes in San Diego, there are typical injuries associated with victims in these accidents.
- Back and Neck Injuries. Because of the amount of force and violence most high-speed collisions cause, back and neck injuries are commonly reported among drivers and passengers. These are usually spine-related and include disc displacement, fractures, or nerve damage. Back and neck injuries typically have long-lasting symptoms and require ongoing medical attention.
- Brain Injuries. In serious cases, brain injuries can result. Referred to as traumatic brain injury, symptoms can be as mild as headaches or as severe as permanent brain damage.
- Facial Injuries. Drivers and passengers often suffer mild to severe facial injuries when involved in impact collisions. These injuries are usually a result of coming into contact with the steering wheel, dashboard, seatback, or airbag. Facial injuries include cuts, fractures, bleeding, and dislocations.
- Broken Bones. Broken bones are very common in car accidents and often include arms, legs, wrists, collarbone, neck, or back. In addition to actual breaks, minor fractures, dislocations, and deep bone bruising often occur.
- Internal Injuries. While many injuries are visible from the outside, some of the more serious occur internally. These could include ruptured organs, internal bleeding, tears, or other structural damage.
- Psychological Injuries. Injuries aren’t always physical in nature. While they may start physically, they can often turn into emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and other related issues.
Regardless of whether you have experienced one of the injuries listed here or some other negative side effect, don’t delay in seeking immediate medical attention. Not only does your health depend on it, but so does your ability to recover damages for injuries you sustained in the accident. The sooner you seek help, the quicker the recovery process will go and the more success you will experience.
In closing, it’s important to understand that car accidents are a serious issue in San Diego. While there are plenty of minor accidents in which those involved walk away without so much as a scratch, there are also a large number of serious and fatal incidents that occur each year.
You cannot avoid accidents related to the carelessness of other drivers, but you can commit to being a safe, defensive driver yourself. To avoid car accidents, be sure to limit distracted driving, avoid speeding, obey the rules of the roads, stay off the roads during inclement weather, avoid driving while under the influence, and only operate your vehicle when fully rested.
Car Accidents in San Diego
When involved in a car accident in San Diego, remember to follow the correct safety and legal procedures. First and foremost, you should assess your injuries and receive prompt medical attention. Second, you need to document and record all facts and details regarding the accident. If you have sustained injuries, contact our San Diego car accident attorneys will make sure you and your family are taken care of in this trying time.
Liljegren Law Group – San Diego Car Accident Attorneys
At Liljegren Law Group, we strictly focus on personal injury cases. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, we would be happy to guide you through the process and will work to make sure you receive compensation for all damages incurred. Whether it’s past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, or anything in between, we can help.
With years of experience, eight distinct locations, and a commitment to our clients, we are considered one of the best personal injury law firms in the San Diego area. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our compassionate attorneys today. We promise to give personalized attention and undistracted dedication to all new and existing clients.