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San Bernardino Car Accident Lawyer

San Bernardino lies at the heart of the Inland Empire, a region stretching from Temecula in the south to Victorville and Hesperia in the north. As such the city is the commercial, industrial, and transportation hub of a region encompassing over 4 million residents.  Major highways in the city and surrounding metropolitan areas are used as transportation routes for millions more individuals and tons of cargo. As such our roads are plagued with massive levels of congestion resulting in some of the highest per capita incidences of auto, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents. In an ideal world, there would be no injuries and everyone would leave the scene of an accident unharmed. Unfortunately, such is not the case. When people get injured in an auto accident, their lives could be changed forever. Whenever someone does get injured in an accident, it is important to hire a competent lawyer to make sure that the person is fully compensated for their injuries. Our law firm is dedicated to providing our clients with the highest level of legal representation. Our goal is to do whatever we can to make sure you receive the highest level of compensation and the highest level of medical attention possible. Below you will find important information regarding auto accidents claims and lawsuits and what we can do to guide you through the process. If you have any further questions after reading this article feel free to contact our offices. All legal consultations and case reviews are provided by our San Bernardino car accident attorneys free of charge.

Steps to Follow After an Auto Accident

Below are 7 key steps you need to follow in order to preserve your right to pursue a claim for damages against any at fault party.

(1)  Contact your local police department or the CHP. Make sure a traffic accident report is filed. These days in order to cut administrative costs many law enforcement divisions will refrain from filing a TCR (traffic accident report). Make sure you inform the police officer at the location of the accident of any pain or injuries you are experiencing. There is a significantly higher chance that a police report will be taken if there is a reported injury.

(2) If injured ask to be transported to the nearest emergency room via ambulance. Documentation of your injuries as soon as possible can play a significant role in increasing the chances of a just recovery. At the emergency room make sure you provide a detailed list of all the injuries that you feel you have suffered due to the accident.

(3) Gather information of the at fault party: Ask for the drivers insurance information, DMV drivers license, registration of the owner, plus make and model of the vehicle.

(4) Take pictures of the accident. Including the damage sustained to the vehicles involved, roadway conditions, any defects on the road which may have played a part in the accident, traffic lights, and the intersection where the accident took place. You may have heard the expression a picture is worth a thousand words. When you have pictures, it is easier for the jury to envision what happened on the day of the accident.

(5) If there are any witnesses ask for their personal contact information including name numbers or email address. Having witnesses that can corroborate your story can be powerful, depending on the circumstances.

(6) DO NOT speak with any insurance adjuster regarding your claim or your injuries. Any comment or recorded statements you make to them can and will be used against you by insurance companies to eliminate your right to recovery under the law.

(7) Seek legal assistance and consultation regarding you case from a experienced San Bernardino car accident lawyer.

Injuries Common in Auto Collisions

There are various injuries which can occur as a result of auto accidents. It is vital to document any injuries that take place in order to maximize the potential value of your case.  Below you will find a list of the most common injuries resulting from a car accident and the typical medical attention necessary for their treatment.

  • Damage to the spinal cord resulting in back and neck pain.
  • Nerve damage: Victims with nerve damage may suffer from numerous symptoms including tingling sensations of the fingers and toes, sharp numbing pain running down their leg, incontinence due to nerve damage that affects the urinary tract, and complete loss of sensation. Victims who are suffering nerve damage should be evaluated by a neuro-surgeon or a neurologist and undergo nerve conduction studies in order to determine the severity of their nerve injury and the specific type of nerve damage they have suffered.
  • Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury: Common signs of brain injury can include sensitivity to light, extreme headaches and loss of consciousness right after the collision, nausea and vomiting, alteration in mood, and cognitive deficiency. Victims who have suffered any trauma to the head following an auto accident should be transported to the ER and receive a full evaluation from a neurologist.
  • Facial Injuries: Common facial injuries include broken nose, damage to the orbital socket, broken and fractured tooth, and damage to the jaw including TMJ injuries. Victims who have suffered any dental or jaw injuries should receive an evaluation from a oral-surgeon otherwise known as a maxillofacial specialist. Victims of scarring, broken noses and fractured facial bone should be evaluated by a cosmetic surgeon.
  • Broken and Fractured Bones: Many individuals suffer from bone fractures including cracked rib cage, fractured femur and fibula. Victims should be evaluated and receive treatment from orthopedists.
  • Other orthopedics injuries including knee damage, ankle and foot injuries.
  • Shoulder Injuries: Common shoulder injuries from auto accidents include shoulder separation, ligament tears and rotor cuff tears.  A torn rotator cuff may require surgery from an orthopedics surgeon.
  • Hand and Wrist Injuries: Usually caused by the victim holding on the wheel at the time of the accident.  Due to their delicate nature these injuries require special attention from an orthopedist doctor with a specialty in treating hand and wrist damage.
  • Psychological Damage: One of the most overlooked injuries and the least diagnosed is the psychological damage incurred by victims of auto accidents. Many will suffer from undiagnosed bouts of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. In some cases victims will self medicate and suffer from prolonged bouts of drug and alcohol abuse.

Victims Right to Filing and Lawsuit in the Court of Law

If the at fault party or their insurance company at the time of the accident fails to provide us with the just compensation you are entitled to our attorney will file a civil lawsuit for financial recovery in the court of law. However the state of California places certain timing restrictions on a victim’s ability to files a lawsuit. Typically, with respect to most auto accidents, victims will have just two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Individuals under the age of 18 can wait two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit in the court of law. If a lawsuit is not filed within the allocated time period you will lose all right to recovery via legal means. Some auto accidents may involve at fault parties which are agents of state and local governments. Claims against government entities must undergo an administrative review and must be filed within 6 months from the date of the accident. Most administrative entity claims will be rejected by the administrative court; once rejected claimants will have 6 months from the date of the rejection to file a lawsuit in the court of law. In some cases courts have allowed for a tolling of the statute of limitations. Tolling means that courts will accept a lawsuit even if the statute of limitations has passed. Instances where courts have accepted a tolling of a statute include cases where the victims is mentally or physically incapacitated, incarcerated, in the military, or the United States is in a state of war. For more information on the time period you have to file a claim feel free to contact our law offices to speak with one of our attorneys.

Recovery for a Car Accident – Value of a Car Accident Case

One of the most often asked questions by our clients concerns the amount of compensation they will receive when there is a successful resolution of their case. Our attorneys are able to assess your case and determine the approximate compensation likely in your case. However every single case is different and contains its own unique set of factors which can play a significant role in determining its overall settlement value. A list of the most important factors in a car accident case which can determine its overall value has been compiled by our attorneys and is presented below. If you would like to learn more about the value of your case feel free to contact our law offices to speak with an attorney who can determine the value of your case.

Factors in Determining the Potential Value of Your Car Accident Case

(1) The diagnosis of the injuries that you suffered. More severe injuries will likely result in a higher settlement evaluation. For example a sprained neck or soft tissue injury will have a lower damages valuation in comparison to bulging disc or spinal cord damage. Thus it is vital that victims of auto accidents receive expert medical attention from medical practitioners who can correctly evaluate the damages you suffered and document your injuries.

(2) The current and future medical expenses associated with your injuries. Higher medical bills will result in an overall higher damages calculation, which leads to a higher settlement value.

(3) The property damage of the vehicle that was involved on the accident. More severe property damage generally means that the accident was more severe, which means the injuries were more catastrophic.

(4) The level of economic damages you have suffered including lost wages and future reduction of your earning potential.

(5) The level of mental anguish including pain and suffering associated with the injuries that you suffered. In the state of California pain and suffering is calculated on a per-diem basis meaning that a jury will estimate the level of pain and suffering on a daily basis and multiply that amount by the amount to days you have and will likely suffer.

(6) Whether Punitive Damages can be Awarded: In the state of California punitive damages are generally awarded in cases where the at fault party acted with the intent to cause harm or in cases where the at fault party acted with a high level of recklessness in his conduct. Intentionally crashing into another vehicle is rather rare and difficult to prove. Thus the majority of cases where punitive damages are awarded in auto accident lawsuits is accidents which are caused by drunk drivers, or driving while under the influence of an intoxicant. In some cases victims of hit and run accidents have been awarded punitive damages. Over the past decade the California Supreme Court and the United Stated Supreme Court have established a limit to the amount of punitive damages a victim is able to receive to 10 times a victims general damages. In most cases however courts limit the amount of recovery for punitive damages to no more than 3 to 4 times general damages.

(7) The available insurance coverage limits: Coverage limits is the amount of money available in an insurance plan for individuals who are seeking recovery for damages suffered. The state of California requires every driver to maintain an insurance coverage limit of at least 15 thousand dollars per injured victim and 30 thousand dollars overall. There are insurance policy limits however which can far exceed that amount including commercial vehicle and trucking insurance policies which can have limits of one million dollars or more.

Top 5 Deceptive Tactics Used By Adjusters to Reduce or Eliminate Your Right to Recovery After An Auto Accident

Insurance companies ARE NOT on your side. As privately owned companies the ultimate goal is to earn a profit for their shareholders, not to provide you with the compensation you are entitled to. There are certain tactics which are used frequently by insurance companies in order to achieve this goal. Below is a list of the most common deceptive tactics played by insurance adjusted to deny you of your right to just recovery for the injuries and damages you have suffered.

(1)  Telling you that your claim has not been set up yet: You are hurt and call the insurance adjuster in order to receive approval to see a doctor or seek physical therapy for your injuries. The adjuster will tell you that the claim has not been processed yet and that you must wait a few days more. Then you call back after a few days and the adjuster again makes up an excuse that she is not able to get a hold of the other driver thus your claim is still not processed. The adjuster’s goal here is to dissuade you from seeking medical attention because more medical attention you receive will result in a higher settlement of you case. As long as there is a valid policy in play you have the right to seek medical attention, and they have a duty to pay for your medical care.

(2) Low balling your property damage estimate: An insurance adjuster will call you and ask you to take your vehicle to one of their “approved” body repair shops.  The vast majority of these repair shops are little more than chop-shop operations with the intended goal of greatly reducing your property damage estimate. With low property damage estimates insurance companies can argue that there is no mechanism for the injuries suffered. They will argue that the force of the impact to the vehicle was not enough to have caused the injuries that were suffered.

(3) Lying to you about your rights: Many adjusters, regardless of whether it’s your insurance company or the other party’s, will lie to you about the categories of damages you have a right to recover. There have been instances where insurance companies have informed victims that they do not have a right to pain and suffering compensation, or that they are able to see a physical therapist for 4 weeks only. This is not true; under the law of the State of California you are entitled to recovery for ALL damages suffered no matter what they are.

Attorney Consultation Available

Do not let insurance companies dictate the rights that you have as a victim of an auto accident. Our attorneys will fight for your right to full and just recovery and make sure that a maximum level of compensation is received. Our staff is available for a full and detailed consultation 24 hours per day 7 days a week including weekends and holidays. All consultations are 100% free of charge.

STEPS IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE

STEP 1

Free consultation

  • Our lawyers will conduct a full and free evaluation of your case.
  • We will determine whether you have a viable case and the best legal course of action tailor made for your specific circumstance

STEP 2

We Represent You

  • We will diligently investigate and pursue your claim.
  • File all necessary claims and lawsuits.
  • We will provide you with the medical attention you need with zero out of pocket fees or cost

STEP 3

We Settle Your case

  • We settle your case or obtain a successful jury verdict.
  • We reduce your medical bills and provide you with compensation in your pocket for pain and suffering, future medical care and loss of income.

Client Testimonials

Client Testimonials

Working with Sal on my auto accident, I am satisfied with his willing to please his clients. Thank you for all you did.

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Four Reasons Victims of Personal Injury Choose Us

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