Clearlake Car Accident Lawyers
Fighting for All Northern California Residents
While most Americans get into a car every day, many of us don’t fully understand the risks involved in doing so. In 2013 alone, car crashes resulted in over 2.4 million hospital visits. This included over 33,800 vehicle accident fatalities — the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
After a car accident, your life can change for the worse in a heartbeat. Even minor injuries can leave you facing expensive medical bills and unexpected insurance disputes. The repair bills for your car might very well be just as expensive as the medical bills. Worse, you might be injured so severely that you’re unable to work while you recover.
If this is your situation, you need an aggressive and committed law firm on your side to help you overcome the legal challenges ahead and face down insurance companies who will try to minimize your settlement. Turn to a Clearlake car accident lawyer from the Law Offices of J.Chrisp in your time of need.
Is California a Fault or No-Fault State?
Many people wonder if California is a no-fault state for car accidents. The answer is no; California is a fault state. This means that if you are injured in a car accident, you may sue both the at-fault driver and their auto insurance company for compensation to cover damages.
So what happens if you are at fault in a car accident? You are responsible for the damages of anyone who was injured in the accident. The other driver has the right to file a claim to receive compensation, just as you do if you are injured in an accident is not your fault. In most cases, your auto insurance will cover the expenses that you are responsible for as the at-fault driver, depending on your plan.
The Risks of the Road
You can’t control what other drivers are doing. This means that even the safest drivers are at risk of being in a car accident.
From speeding to texting while driving, negligent drivers put us all in danger. Your Clearlake car accident lawyer will investigate the details of your wreck and help you pinpoint precisely where the fault lies. Doing so will allow you to pursue compensation from all responsible parties.
Car accidents happen so often that it is statistically likely that you will be involved in one at some point in your lifetime. It's best to be prepared. Not sure what to do after a car accident? Read our blog about the 5 steps to take immediately after a car accident. No matter what type of accident you are in, if you are the driver or the passenger, at fault or not at fault, these steps are important to follow for both your safety and car accident injury claim.
Detailed below are just a few of the more common causes of car crashes:
Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers
Over 1 million drivers are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) every year. These reckless drivers cause more than 300,000 injuries and about 10,000 accident fatalities annually. By one estimate, almost one out of every three Americans will be in an accident caused by a drunk driver during the course of his or her life.
DUI is an act of gross negligence which leaves the drunk driver responsible for your injuries and damages. You may also be able to hold the business who served the driver accountable. A knowledgeable lawyer from our firm can advise you as to whether pursuing this is appropriate.
Handheld cell phone use while driving is banned in California, and all cell phone use behind the wheel is forbidden to drivers under the age of 18. Texting while driving is banned for all drivers. By some accounts, 80 percent of accidents are caused by distracted driving, and cell phone use is the number 1 cause of distracted driving today.
Finding evidence of the distraction that caused your crash can be challenging, but your lawyer will know where to look. Whether through cell phone records or witness testimony, we can find it and present it in your case.
Speeding is another form of driver negligence, and it causes some of the most destructive crashes. Getting injured because someone was in a hurry or looking for an adrenaline rush can be an overwhelmingly frustrating experience — one that could leave you disabled and in debt.
By working with a lawyer from our office, we’ll make sure the speeding driver who hit you accounts for his or her actions.
Call us today at (707) 549-8166 to schedule your free consultation.
Know Your Rights after a Car Crash
The goal of any insurance adjuster will be to minimize your financial settlement. Obviously, this goes against your best interests, and things can get even more difficult if opposing attorneys get involved.
After an accident, you should always immediately speak with a lawyer from our office.
To protect your claim, always bear the following in mind:
- Never offer to settle immediately, for any amount. We can review any offer you receive and advise you on whether it is fair.
- Never accept medical advice from the insurance company. Always see your own doctor for a true evaluation of your injuries.
- Never give a recorded statement to the insurance company. Let us handle these communications on your behalf.
- Never give the auto insurer access to your private medical history.
Can I Sue If I Wasn’t Injured in a Car Accident?
If you were not injured in the car accident, you cannot file a personal injury claim; in order to have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that the other person’s negligence or wrongful conduct led you to suffer measurable injuries and/or damages. However, a car accident that doesn’t lead to physical injuries can still result in significant damage to your vehicle. This can cause you to face considerable financial hardship and practical challenges when it comes to commuting to work, traveling, and getting around.
If you were not injured in the crash, but your car or vehicle was damaged, you can file a claim through your own insurance provider (if you have the appropriate coverage) or against the at-faulty party’s auto insurance company. Property damage claims are different—and often less complex—than personal injury claims. Frequently, people are able to file and resolve these claims on their own, without the help of an attorney.
To file a property damage claim, you should do the following:
- If the accident resulted in more than $750 of damage, you must file an SR-1 form with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days of the accident. Provide all of your complete insurance information on the form to avoid having your license suspended due to lack of insurance.
- Contact the insurance company—yours or the other party’s—and schedule a time for the adjuster to view the damage to your vehicle. Depending on the damage and whether your car is operational, you may need to bring it to an auto repair shop for an evaluation. The insurance company may choose the auto repair shop.
- Get several estimates on the damage from different reputable auto repair shops. Make sure to get these estimates in writing. Having several estimates can allow you to obtain a clear picture of the damage and what it will cost, which will better equip you for negotiating with the insurance adjuster.
If your vehicle was totaled in the accident, the insurance company is responsible for reimbursing you for its “fair market value.” Note that this does not mean that the insurance company has to pay you the same amount you paid for the vehicle, nor does it have to pay you for the amount you still owe (if your car is not paid off). Rather, the insurance company must pay you an amount based on the average selling price of your vehicle, as calculated by averaging two comparable vehicles listed or sold within 90 days of the accident.
Why Choose the Law Offices of J.Chrisp?
Why should you retain a lawyer from the Law Offices of J.Chrisp to represent you? Our Clearlake car accident lawyers have:
- Experience. Our office has successfully concluded thousands of cases and obtained millions of dollars for our clients. We take pride in our ability to prepare cases for trial. Insurers will usually settle most of our cases out of court because they know we’re able to obtain justice in front of a jury.
- Dedication. Personal injury makes up 100 percent of our firm’s cases. You can rest easy knowing that your lawyer will aggressively pursue the best financial settlement possible for your case.
- Knowledge. We understand car crash injuries and insurance companies. As your representative, we’ll make certain you have a full understanding of the true scope of your injuries before it comes time to settle. Whether your case can settle or needs to go to court, we’ll sit down with you to explain the entire process so you can decide what to do.
- Confidence. The aftermath of a car crash is a stressful time. You need the confidence from knowing that your lawyer will fight for you. We know insurance company tactics and understand how to present your case to a jury. We can arm you with this knowledge, giving you power over the entire process. You’ll never doubt your choice of attorney. Your case is our case, and that’s how we’ll treat it until we reach a successful conclusion.
- Care. Our clients are more than clients. Each case is pursued with care and compassion. To us, each case exists only because of the individual behind it, and every individual motivates us to achieve justice.
Serving Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino & Lake Counties
If you have been injured in any type of car accident, call a car accident lawyer you can depend on. At the Law Offices of J.Chrisp, our team is ready to fight for your rights. We also serve clients across Clearlake, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa. Our firm provides you with decades of combined experience settling car accident claims in and out California courts.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Importance of Hiring a Local Attorney for Your Sonoma County Injury
- 3 Questions You Should Ask Before You Hire a Car Accident Attorney
- 5 Steps to Take Immediately Following an Accident
- San Francisco Hits Brakes on Self-Driving Ubers
- I Got Into a Wreck in a Construction Zone. Is It My Fault?
Dangerous Pool Causes Brain Injured Child $5 Million
August 2019 - Hertz Rental Car Driver vs. Motorcycle rider resulting in a broken leg $4,450,000 Jury Trial
Wrongful Death $4 Million
Hertz Rental Car Accident $3.375 Million
Jury Verdict: Major Head on Crash with Sheriff Leads to Wrist and Ankle Fractures $2.4 Million
Car Crash Resulting in Fractured Scapula, Broken Ribs & Concussion $1.25 Million Settlement
Drunk Driver Causes Crash Leads to Concussion $1.3 Million
Motorcycle Crash Causes Multiple Fractures $1 Million
Dangerous Construction Zone Leaves Edge in Roadway Causes Motorcycle Rider to Crash Leading to Spine Fusion $900 Thousand
Head-On Cross-Over Crash Causes Severe Femur Fracture $500 Thousand
Car Crash Results in Frozen Shoulder $420 Thousand
Car Crash Leads to Internal Organ Damage $300 Thousand
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Thousands of Cases Handled in North Bay & Wine Country
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