A car accident may impact your quality of life in many ways. Your physical injuries and medical bills may make it hard for you to earn a living, take care of your family or do the things you enjoy. Our car accident attorneys in Sacramento will take the time to understand how the accident has affected your quality of life and ensure that you receive a level of compensation that reflects your unique circumstances.
After a car accident, it is important to conduct an investigation while the evidence is fresh and intact. We will immediately start collecting evidence, photographs and witness testimonials that will be used to build a strong case for you.
From our office in Sacramento, our attorneys Robert Allen Piering, John Beals, and Sukhtej Atwal represent car accident victims throughout Sacramento County. With more than 50 years of combined experience in personal injury law, we are committed to protecting your rights and helping you get the compensation you need.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, on the weekend or in your home, if needed, call (916) 476-2399 or get in touch with us online. Because we handle car accidents on a contingent fee basis, you only pay us when we win your case.
We Are Here to Answer Your Questions
If you have been injured or a loved one was killed in a car accident that was caused by another person's carelessness or recklessness, you may be wondering, "Who is going to pay for my medical bills?" or "What damages am I entitled to receive?" At Piering Law Firm, we are here to answer all of your questions and provide you with compassionate and skilled legal guidance. Whether your auto accident was caused by another driver's negligence, by a drunk driver, dangerous roads or a defective auto part, you can count on us to be there when you need us most.
Though the majority of personal injury cases are settled outside of the courtroom, from the beginning, we will build your case as if it were going to trial. This approach enables us to negotiate from a position of strength, which results in larger settlements for our clients. However, if your rights and interests are best protected at trial, you can count on us for aggressive advocacy in the courtroom.
What Damages Can a Car Accident Victim Recover?
“Damages” refers to the amount of money the victim receives to pay compensation for expenses directly relating to the accident. Following a car accident, victims who sustain injuries may be eligible to receive compensation for the following damages:
- Economic: This relates to any finances the victim has or will have lost in the future due to the car accident.
- Non-economic: This relates to physical and emotional pain.
In certain cases, there is another form of financial compensation which is known as punitive damages. These are rarely awarded, as they are used as a form of punishment for the at-fault party, for excessive recklessness. For example, if you were injured in an auto accident and the other party was going 30+ MPH over the speed limit, you may be eligible to receive punitive damages due to the other party involved acting with utmost negligence.
As earlier stated, these types of damages relate directly to the expenses related to the accident. These damages include:
- Medical bills
- Medical rehabilitation/therapy
- Medical equipment
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
Because injuries often render the victim unable to work, it’s not uncommon for medical bill expenses to pile up. In a world where medical bills remain one of the most common reasons for bankruptcy, it’s important for you to work with a steadfast personal injury attorney to help you seek the full compensation you deserve.
These types of damages are those that spring up after an accident. These are damages that directly affect the victim’s quality of life. These are damages that may be more than physical. Some examples include:
- Permanent disfigurement (common with burn victims and amputees)
- Permanent disability
These types of damages take into account how the victim’s life will/has change(d) following the accident, and compensate accordingly. Think of it as an attempt to recompense the victim for their diminished quality of life.
There are more than 6,000,000 car accidents per year in America. Thousands of people are seriously hurt every day. When attorneys talk about getting compensation for their client’s injuries, they’re usually referring to serious, potentially life-changing injuries. The following are a few common car accident injuries attorneys see almost every day.
Head and Neck Injuries
Most people image whiplash when they picture an auto injury. That’s because neck injuries can happen in almost any accident, regardless of speed. Any collision that causes a driver’s neck to jerk back and forth puts them at risk of whiplash.
Similarly, someone who hits their head on the airbag or their seat’s headrest may suffer a concussion. These vary in severity but can have long-lasting consequences and increase the risk of a future head injury becoming a traumatic brain injury.
Fractures and broken bones are extremely common after a serious car crash. These can range from simple hairline fractures to the very serious compound fracture.
Every year, hundreds of people suffer skull fractures from impact with an airbag. Broken arms are common for drivers who keep their hands at “10 and 2,” rather than “9 and 3.”
Legs, especially knees, are also susceptible to damage from an accident. Bent knees tend to slam into the dashboard during a crash, causing shinbone and ligament damage.
Some injuries are invisible to the naked eye. The blunt force of a car crash can cause unseen internal organ damage. Someone who seems fine at the scene of the accident may be overcome with abdominal pain in the following days or weeks.
Because internal injuries are easy to miss, anyone involved in a car accident should go to the doctor as soon as possible. Victims who fail to go to the doctor within three days of the accident may find their insurance company arguing that the injuries are not as severe as they claim, even if the symptoms did not appear for several weeks.
Your actions in the immediate aftermath of a collision can have a substantial impact on your health, safety, and your ability to recover compensation through a subsequent insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Whether your accident causes minor damages or severe injuries, it’s important to know that there are proper steps to take to ensure your rights and damages are protected.
1. Remain at the Scene of the Accident
The first step for anyone involved in an accident should always be to remain at the accident scene. Even if the accident is a minor one, it is important to remain at the scene until all details are sorted. While at the scene it is important to check yourself and others involved for injuries.
2. Contact Local Emergency Services and Police
Be sure to contact your local emergency services in the event that there is a severe injury, and any time you are in an accident always contact local police immediately. Calling local authorities provides many benefits, including:
- An official written police report which will be valuable evidence for your personal injury claim
- Assistance in the event that your vehicle is in an inoperable state
- They will also gather contact information from the other party which will ensure you receive the proper information
Be sure to tell the officer(s) exactly what happened. Include all the information you can remember and avoid making any speculative statements. Most importantly, do not admit fault.
3. Exchange Information
If the police arrive at the scene they will get this information in their reporting. However, in the event that the police are unable to respond, it is important that you receive the other involved parties’ contact information. Be sure to include:
- Insurance information
- Phone number
- License plate number
- Driver’s License number
Not only should you receive the information about the other party involved, but you should also be sure to speak with any witnesses you can. Get a written report of the accident from their point of view in addition to their contact information.
4. Take Pictures
Taking photos will provide you with evidence for your case and serve as a safeguard in the event that your claim is disputed or denied. Be sure to photograph any physical damage vehicles involved may have received. Additionally, be sure to take pictures of the accident scene, including any skid marks and property damages.
5. Notify Your Insurer
It is important to notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Be sure to cooperate with them and to explain all the details of the accident. Explain the facts clearly and truthfully. If the insurance company finds out that you fabricated the story in your favor, they may deny your claim.
Make sure to never accept a settlement amount before speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney, to ensure you are receiving the amount you deserve.
6. Seek Medical Help and Document Your Treatment
If you were lucky enough to “walk away” from the accident scene and were not rushed to the hospital, seek medical treatment as soon as you are cleared to leave the accident scene. Keep detailed documentation of any treatment you receive in relation to your accident. This may include:
- Doctor visits
- Physical therapy sessions
- Medication costs
Unless and until you are completely healed after an accident, make sure your medical care and treatments continue consistently. Extended gaps of time between appointments can provide the defense an argument that the later medical care was not the result of the accident. Keeping track of the expenses related to your accident will give you the best chance at seeking the maximum compensation for your claim. Make sure you are thorough and detailed in your descriptions to medical professionals of both the physical and mental harm the accident or injury has caused you.
7. Take Caution Discussing Your Accident
Abstain from speaking about your accident to anyone other than your attorney, insurance company, and law enforcement to ensure your rights are protected. Avoid providing written or recorded statements to insurance companies or adjusters, in person or on the telephone. Direct insurance companies to speak with your attorney. Avoid signing anything without your lawyer's approval.
A: In many cases, yes. While there is no law requiring you to hire an attorney after a car accident, several studies have shown that your chances of securing fair compensation are much higher if you retain legal representation. Smaller claims that involve little more than cosmetic damage or minor scrapes and bruises typically don't require a lawyer to be resolved. On the other hand, if your injuries have caused you to miss work, incur substantial medical expenses, or if there is a dispute over who is at fault for the collision, it is in your best interests to get a lawyer involved in your case.
A: The statute of limitations that governs car accident lawsuits in California is the same as the larger one that applies to all other personal injury cases filed in the state's court system. Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, you typically have two years from the date of your collision to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. If you do not file a claim within this window, you will essentially lose your right to sue and will be unable to recover compensation for your injuries. If you are unsure how the statute of limitations applies to your case, it is important you contact our attorneys to discuss your options.
A: Possibly. Many car accident claims end up being resolved in the form of an out-of-court settlement negotiated between the involved parties without a personal injury lawsuit having to be filed. It is only if the settlement process fails that your case may escalate to a lawsuit and end up going to trial, which will require you to appear in court. This may happen if the other driver's insurance carrier denies your claim, if there is a dispute over who was at fault for the collision, or if the insurance company offers you a settlement that is far lower than what you deserve.
A: There is no definitive way to predict how long it will take to resolve your car accident case. Uncontested claims can sometimes take about 6 months for a claimant to receive compensation, while cases involving litigation can take anywhere from 12 to 36 months to come to an end. Generally speaking, the biggest factors that will dictate the length of your case are the nature and severity of your injuries, the cooperation of the involved insurance companies, and whether or not your case goes to trial.
A: Most likely, yes. California follows a "pure comparative fault" rule which allows car accident victims to recover damages even if they are found to share some of the blame for the collision, though their eligible compensation will be reduced according to their level of fault. For example, say you were injured in a crash and suffered $10,000 worth of damages. At trial, the jury finds you to be 20% at fault for the crash because you were speeding at the time. In this scenario, under pure comparative fault rules, you would be eligible to recover a maximum of $8,000 (or $10,000 less 20%).
A: In most serious car accident cases, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will send out an appraiser, otherwise known as an insurance adjuster, to determine the value of all damages. While they may be friendly and appear to have good intentions, it is critical that you remember their job is to obtain information from crash victims when they are most vulnerable in order to minimize the insurance company's financial liability. If an insurance adjuster calls, it is recommended you do not speak with them and instead direct them to speak to your attorney. Our lawyers understand the insurance company's tactics and can handle all communication on your behalf.
A: It does not cost you anything upfront to hire a Sacramento car accident attorney from our firm. Piering Law Firm handles auto accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we will only be paid if we are successful in handling your case. Instead of paying us a traditional retainer, our attorneys will receive a portion of your final settlement amount or jury award as payment. If we are not successful in handling your case, you will not owe us a dime. This ensures our interests are aligned with yours, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery without undue stress.
A: Every case is different, therefore it is impossible to predict the value of your case. With that being said, auto accident claims that deal with catastrophic or life-changing injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or broken bones tend to yield higher verdicts and settlements than those involving comparatively minor injuries like whiplash. Ultimately, the value of your case will be dependent on factors such as the level of medical treatment you require, the long-term impact of your injuries, the amount of available insurance coverage, the strength of evidence proving the other party's liability, and the negotiation skills of your attorney.
A: No. California has no statutory maximum damage cap for personal injury lawsuits related to car accidents, meaning there is no limit to amount of economic and non-economic damages you can recover.
Do you believe you have an injury claim? At Piering Law Firm, our team of Sacramento car accident attorneys has many years of experience helping our clients build strong cases to help them receive the compensation they deserve. Don’t get stuck living with the mistakes of another person’s negligence; we would love to show you how we can help.
Call (916) 476-2399 today to schedule your free case evaluation.
A wrongful death judgment secured for a child who lost his mother as a result of domestic violence.
Complex wrongful death motorcycle accident involving product liability claims against both helmet and motorcycle luggage manufacturers.
Motorcycle vs. automobile collision resulting in below knee amputation. Client was riding motorcycle and defendant pulled out in front of him, resulting in a severe injury to client's leg, which ultimately led to the amputation of his leg, just below the knee.
Case involving serious injuries to a motorcycle rider who was involved in an accident with a shuttle bus on the freeway in San Francisco.
A settlement in a wrongful death action as a result of a crash that took the life of a motorcyclist.
Against Bar/Security Company
34-year-old software sales associate out with friends drinking at a bar in San Francisco. After a few hours, he leaves the bar to go home and gets in an argument outside of the club with a security guard.
Recovery for the victim of a rear-end traffic collision with a big rig that resulted in a neck injury.
Verdict received after trial for the victim of a rear-end traffic collision involving a commercial trucking company.
A policy limit settlement involving a head-on collision on a notoriously dangerous stretch of highway between State Highway 99 in Sacramento and Marysville, commonly known as "blood alley".
Pedestrian Wrongful Death
The defendant's primary limits of $250,000 were tendered in response to a conditional limit demand that required disclosure of all other coverages. The defendant had an excess policy of $1,000,000.00 which was tendered along with the primary limits.
John listened to me, gave great advice, put together a plan then followed through.”