Santa Clarita Car Accident Lawyer
Caring Representation in SCV from a Skilled Legal Team
Car accidents are among the leading causes of death and injury in the United States of America. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s important that you know what to do. Getting a Santa Clarita car accident attorney involved in your case as soon as possible helps tremendously with the recovery process.
The Law Office of Robert J. Kaiser can be instrumental in ensuring that your rights are upheld and that you obtain the maximum compensation for your case. With more than 20 years of experience, our skilled attorney and team of legal professionals can aggressively advocate on your behalf. Focus on recovery while we take care of the legal details!
Some statistics about car accidents in Santa Clarita:
- Seven of California's most dangerous intersections are located in SCV
- 44 fatal car accidents were recorded in Santa Clarita from 2013 - 2017
- 34% of fatal car accidents in Santa Clarita from 2013 - 2017 involved a drunk driver
- 15 pedestrians were involved in fatal accidents in Santa Clarita from 2013 - 2017
Car Accident Lawsuit Statute of Limitations in California
California law places different deadlines on the amount of time a car accident victim has to file a civil claim for damages. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims related to car accidents in California is two years, while property damage claims must be filed within three years.
This "clock" begins on the date of your collision. For cases involving wrongful death, this clock begins on the date of the person's death, if it is different from the date of the accident. If the statute of limitations expires, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries. Since memories can fade and evidence can be lost as time passes, it is important to act quickly after a crash to adhere to all applicable deadlines and maximize your chances of recovery.
Who Is Responsible for Your Accident?
California operates under a traditional tort system for car accidents, meaning that party or parties who are at fault for a collision are also financially responsible for the resulting damages. Determining liability may not always be so straightforward, however, as multiple parties may share some level of fault for a collision. To find out exactly how your accident occurred and who is responsible, your attorney will need to collect and analyze a variety of evidence related to your crash including eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, police reports, and vehicle "black box" data.
Depending on the circumstances, you may have grounds to file a claim against:
- The other driver or drivers: Driver error is perhaps the most common cause of accidents. Speeding, changing lanes without checking blind spots, or driving while intoxicated are just some of the many negligent acts which can cause drivers to be liable for a crash.
- Auto manufacturers: Some crashes are caused by a defect in a vehicle or its parts, such as faulty brakes or defective tire blowouts. In these cases, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer in pursuit of compensation.
- Local governments: Some roadways are inherently dangerous due to poor design or maintenance and have a high risk of collisions. While it may be difficult to prove, you may be able to hold a government agency liable for any collisions which result from negligent planning or road maintenance.
Comparative Negligence Laws in California
While some states require an injured party to be completely free of blame for an accident in order to recover damages, California does not follow this rule. Injured parties in California may still collect damages even if they are found to be 99% at fault for the crash. With that being said, their eligible compensation will be reduced according to their proportion of fault. This is known as "pure comparative negligence." For example, if you suffered $10,000 worth of damages in a crash but are found to be 40% at fault, you will only be able to recover $6,000 (or $10,000 less 40%).
Insurance companies are intimately familiar with these rules and will use this knowledge to minimize the amount of money they will have to pay after a crash. An attorney that understands how comparative negligence laws works can ensure you are not unfairly blamed for the crash and help you seek every penny of your entitled compensation.
What If the Other Driver Was Uninsured?
If you were hit by a driver who did not have insurance or whose insurance was insufficient to cover the full value of your damages, you may still be able to secure compensation from your own insurance company under your own policy if you elected to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Unlike liability coverage which pays others in the event of a crash, UM/UIM coverage pays you and your injured passengers for your medical bills and other losses in the event that you are hit by a driver without insurance or are the victim of a hit and run accident.
Insurers in California are required by law to offer drivers UM/UIM coverage, though it is not mandatory and drivers can waive this coverage. Since California has the largest number of uninsured drivers in the state, purchasing UM/UIM coverage is usually a good idea. If you do not have UM/UIM coverage, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver in pursuit of compensation. Unfortunately, uninsured motorists tend to have fewer assets and lower income than insured drivers, making it difficult to actually collect on any judgments you may receive. It is best to discuss your situation with a skilled Santa Clarita car accident attorney to determine the most appropriate course of action.
Hear From People We've Helped!
"I was involved in a car accident in which I was inaccurately put at fault. With a witness statement as well as my own, I was still put at fault in the accident report. I felt that the odds were greatly stacked against me. That is when I sought legal advice from Robert Kaiser. I was very skeptical during my first visit. After reviewing all of the necessary information, Robert seemed confident. He carefully explained all of the highlights, terms and conditions of my case, and we came to an agreement. Robert referred me to one of his Physicians for my injuries. After recovering, I returned to all of my normal routines. Both Robert and his assistant Claudette did an outstanding job in keeping me informed during my case. Overall, my expectations were exceeded, as the settlement was far more than I had anticipated. I strongly recommend his advice to anyone put in a similar situation."
Causes of Auto Accidents
The causes of car accidents are as unique as the people that are involved. Whether you were hit by a drunk driver or experienced an accident due to poor roadway design, our firm can capably represent your rights.
Automobile accidents are commonly caused by:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Defective vehicle manufacturing
- Poor road conditions
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Driver fatigue
- And more
Car accidents can result in serious, even catastrophic injuries. It takes a skilled legal team to recover compensation that will cover your bills and expenses, setting you on the road to recovery and a secure financial future.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Your actions after a car accident can have an impact on your ability to recover compensation. It is important to stay calm and have a plan in place to ensure your interests are protected.
If you have been involved in a car accident, be sure to do the following:
- Stop and render aid to any injured parties - never flee the scene!
- Call for an ambulance if anyone is seriously injured.
- Call the police and report the crash.
- Take detailed photographs of all vehicle damage, injuries, and road conditions.
- Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, insurance policy information, and license plate numbers with all involved drivers.
- Tell the police your version of the events and do not admit fault.
- See a doctor as soon as possible after the crash, even if you feel fine.
- Inform your insurance company of the crash promptly after the collision.
- Contact a Santa Clarita car accident attorney and explore your legal options.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Car Accident?
When you've been involved in a car accident, the physical, emotional, and financial toll can be overwhelming. Fortunately, if the accident was caused by another party's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you've suffered. To help you understand what damages you can recover, here are some of the various types of compensation you could recover:
Economic damages, also known as special damages, are the tangible losses that can be calculated with relative precision. These damages include:
- Costs related to ambulance services, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation.
- Expenses for future medical treatment, if your injuries are expected to require ongoing care.
- Repairs or replacement costs for your damaged vehicle.
- Compensation for personal property damaged during the accident, such as electronics or luggage.
- Reimbursement for income you have lost due to the accident, including time off work for medical treatment or recovery.
- Lost future earning capacity if your injuries result in a reduced ability to work or a disability.
Non-economic damages, often referred to as general damages, are less quantifiable but equally important. These may include:
Pain and Suffering:
- Compensation for physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident and subsequent injuries.
- This can also cover psychological trauma, anxiety, and depression resulting from the accident.
Loss of Consortium:
- Damages awarded to a spouse or family member for the loss of companionship, care, or support due to your injuries.
Decreased Quality of Life:
- Compensation for the reduction in the quality of your life, such as the inability to pursue hobbies or activities you once enjoyed.
Punitive damages are less common and are not intended to compensate the victim but to punish the at-fault party. These damages are awarded in cases where the defendant's actions were particularly egregious, reckless, or intentional.
Wrongful Death Damages:
In the tragic event that a car accident results in a fatality, surviving family members may be entitled to wrongful death damages. These can include:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of financial support provided by the deceased.
- Loss of companionship and emotional suffering experienced by surviving family members.
Can I File A Car Accident Claim After Insurance Pays?
Once you accept a settlement from an insurance company it is usually difficult to recover more compensation, since most settlements state specifically that the amount agreed upon will be the only money paid. If you have already signed an agreement, however, you may still have options. Call a lawyer at our firm today to learn about what next steps you can take.
No Fees Unless We Win
Nobody should be prevented from seeking justice after an injury due to their inability to afford an attorney. At the Law Office of Robert J. Kaiser, we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we will not charge you a dime unless we are successful. This ensures that our interests are always aligned with our clients and provides them with much-needed peace of mind.
After an accident, you need representation from someone who will take your needs and circumstances seriously. The team at the Law Office of Robert J. Kaiser can do just that. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all cases or in distant representation. We provide you with the individualized support you need to get the results you deserve.