After suffering injuries in a car accident caused by another driver's negligence, California law indicates that you are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering all attributable to the negligence of another. However, there are specific legal requirements you must meet to win a legal battle and our experienced Fontana car accident lawyer can provide you with the right insight that could help you win.
Below, our car crash attorney discusses what you need to do in order to have a successful claim and get the compensation you and your family deserve.
5 Things to Do After a Car Accident in Fontana
- The first thing is to try and secure the right medical care for as full a recovery as possible. Immediate medical care is important if injuries were sustained in the crash.
- The second thing is to try and get the car repaired or replaced from the damage caused in the traffic collision. This item also involves securing temporary transportation with a rental car while the car is being repaired or replaced.
- The third issue is dealing with the financial strain due to the inability to work during the recovery from the injuries suffered. As noted above by our Fontana car accident lawyer, whether these injuries are temporary or more severe, there will generally be some time lost from work which will cause hardship, either great or small.
- The fourth concern is whether there is enough insurance coverage to fully compensate all injured parties and their vehicles. California’s insurance requirements only mandate a minimum liability policy with insurance limits of $15,000 maximum for any one person hurt in an accident and $30,000 maximum to cover all people involved in the accident, regardless of the number of people hurt. $10,000 for all property damage caused in an accident. That is not enough insurance for the accident in Adelanto mentioned above. If the injury victims have properly insured themselves with appropriate uninsured motorist coverage, then they can be less worried if the at-fault driver was insufficiently insured.
- The fifth thing to do is determine whether a qualified car accident lawyer is needed to help with this claim and where to go to find good legal help. If the accident was minor or did not result in injuries, then in most instances, an attorney is not needed. However, if the injuries require medical care, such as more than a brief examination, then an experienced Fontana car accident lawyer should be immediately hired so the interests of the injury victim can be protected.
What Is Negligence?
How to Prove Driver Negligence After a Car Accident in Fontana
According to our Fontana car accident attorney, there are four elements that must be proven to have a successful personal injury claim in California:
- Duty of care: The driver had a duty to operate his or her vehicle in a way that minimized the risk of harm to others. This assumption is a given whenever someone is traveling on a public roadway, since the law requires drivers to take reasonable precautions to avoid injuring other drivers, passengers, cyclists, or pedestrians.
- Breach of duty: The driver violated the duty of care by engaging in actions that are known to be unsafe. This might include texting while driving, driving under the influence, speeding, running a red light, following too closely or making an improper and unsafe turn.
- Damages: You suffered injuries requiring medical care, time off work and physical injuries.
- Causation: Your injuries are linked directly or substantially related to the accident caused by the driver's action. Causation is easier to prove when you have suffered immediate onset broken bones or other immediately visible trauma. However, soft tissue injuries, back pain, and other conditions that could be linked to another cause can present challenges. To protect yourself, our Fontana car accident attorney says that you should always seek immediate medical treatment after an accident and report every symptom you are experiencing—even if the issue seems only minor at the time.
In some types of car accidents, more than one driver is at fault. If you are determined to be partially at fault for the accident, you are still eligible to file a personal injury claim in Califronia. However, your settlement will be proportionally reduced by your percentage of fault to reflect your liability for your injuries.
Proving Car Accident Damages
Your specific injuries can be proven with copies of your medical records and testimony from your healthcare providers. Photographs showing visible injuries can also be helpful, since it can be hard for the court to visualize the full extent of your injuries from a simple verbal description.
When it comes to proving car accident damages, medical expenses can be proven by providing copies of bills and invoices received. You may also need to provide statements from any health insurance provider who has already paid a portion of your expenses since the insurance company will expect to be reimbursed from the settlement.
Lost wages can be proven by providing pay stubs or documentation from your employer. If you are self-employed, you will need to produce tax returns, 1099 forms, business invoices, or correspondence from your clients to support your claim for lost wages.
According to our Fontana car crash attorney, if your accident has resulted in a disabling injury that will require ongoing medical care or affect your ability to return to work, you will need expert testimony to support your claim for car accident damages. Medical experts, life care planning experts, and vocational experts may be called to testify about your anticipated future needs.
Pain and suffering is considered a type of non-economic damages since physical pain and emotional trauma cannot be objectively measured. There is no specific calculation for these car accident damages. They are determined on case-by-case basis and depend on the nature, extent and permanency of the injuries suffered.
Some states place limits on pain and suffering compensation, but California does not limit awards in car accident claims. However, if you are uninsured at the time of the accident, California law does not allow you to recover any pain and suffering damages unless the other driver is convicted of a DUI related to the incident.
What Does a Fontana Car Accident Lawyer Do
Finding the right attorney who can help relieve stress and anxiety from the accident so physical and financial recovery can take place. A Fontana car accident lawyer can assist in finding the right doctor(s) to treat the injuries. We can also discover all the available insurance coverages to be used to compensate for the losses incurred, help you preserve crucial evidence (see below) and can help with resolving both the property damage loss and the recovery of loss of earnings.
Not only that, but a car accident attorney in Fontana, CA, will be able to take over the dealings with the trained insurance adjusters and insurance lawyers. The key to finding the right attorney is finding one who can do all the things necessary for the case while reducing the stress and anxiety of the injury victim during the claim process.
Types of Evidence Your Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Preserve
The burden of proof in a car accident personal injury claim lies with the person seeking damages. Your lawyer will investigate all types of evidence that can be used to support your claim. This includes:
- Video. Some accidents are caught on surveillance video from traffic cameras or nearby businesses. If video is available, it can help corroborate your version of the events. However, video is routinely recorded over after a short period of time unless it is requested and copied for use as evidence before it is lost.
- Witness testimony. Witnesses can help support your own testimony regarding the events that led up to your car accident or fill in the blanks if you are unaware of important details. Unfortunately, as time passes, memories start to fade so preserving those memories while fresh is critical. If witnesses are not located quickly, they may be unable to recall important details. In some cases, witnesses move away so they are not available to assist with your case.
- Accident photos. Photos of an accident scene can be useful in establishing lighting, road conditions, vehicle location, skid marks, signage, and other contributing factors. Photos taken from multiple angles tend to be the most effective.
- Black box data. A vehicle's black box can provide important information about factors not otherwise visible in an accident. Black boxes record information regarding variables such as speed, acceleration, braking, airbag deployment, and seat belt use. Since the recorders in the devices do not have unlimited storage space, the data is typically erased if it has not been downloaded using special retrieval tools.
- Medical records. Your medical records will be important evidence since they provide documentation of the extent of your injuries from your car accident. Your lawyer will want to collect every record regarding your emergency visits and follow-up care, including copies of x-rays and lab test results. Depending upon the extent of your injuries, your lawyer may also recommend locating specialists with experience in treating your condition to provide expert testimony regarding your future medical needs and the effect your injuries will have on your earning potential. Additionally, medical records before the injury may be necessary to prove that your injuries are related to the collision and not a pre-existing injury.
- Police reports. Police reports are not admissible in court, but can still prove very useful in personal injury settlement negotiations. Some well-prepared police reports provide witness statements, accident causation analysis, and contact information, as well as possible violations of traffic laws.
How to Find the Best Car Accident Lawyer in Fontana
Finding the right car accident lawyer for your case can make all the difference between a solid and fair recovery and getting way less than you deserve. While there isn’t one surefire way to ensure you find the best attorney in Fontana, CA, there are certain things you can do to help.
- Ask Around: You trust your family and friends, so why not start there. See if someone you trust has experience with a local attorney and whether they recommend them.
- Read Reviews: Seeing how an attorney has interacted with past clients can give you great insight into whether or not the person you hire will treat you with respect and get you the best results. Sites like Google and Avvo can help you find a great lawyer. You can also check out reviews on the attorney’s own website.
- Schedule a Free Consult AND Ask Questions: Almost all personal injury attorneys will work on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless you win or settle. Not only that, but they will also offer a free consultation to see if you have a viable case or not. While in your consult, make sure to ask lots of questions that can help give you insight into their experience, but also their personality.
Schedule Your Free Consult With Our Fontana Car Accident Attorney
At Inland Empire Law Group, our Fontana car accident lawyer is the best legal source to go to for help with financial recoveries from personal injuries from car, truck or motorcycle accidents. Contact our office online or give us a call at 909.481.0100 to schedule your free car crash consultation today.