San Diego Accident Lawyer
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San Diego Accident Lawyer
If you've been in an accident in the San Diego area, we understand you're facing a tough situation and may need help navigating the complex claims process. Morgan and Morgan want you to know that you don't have to deal with this by yourself. We can put you in touch with one of our expert San Diego accident lawyers to increase your chances of recovering meaningful compensation and substantially lower your stress level.
While San Diego is a very desirable place to reside, living in an attractive location often brings other issues into the picture, especially for drivers. As with any sought-after location, when the population grows, so do the chances of getting into a car accident. The aftermath of an accident is a confusing and anxious time, complicated by the need to address issues such as negotiating with insurance providers, getting medical expenses covered, and perhaps even proving who is responsible for the accident.
That's a lot to have on your plate, especially if you suffered serious injuries. We want to provide you with the legal counsel you need to face these challenges and come out on top. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation to help you understand your rights and learn if you might be eligible to receive compensation if a negligent party was responsible for your accident.
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How Can a San Diego Accident Lawyer Help if I Was Hurt in an Accident?
Getting the proper legal counsel could provide you with an array of advantages to ensure you have the best chance of a successful settlement. Here are a few examples of how your Morgan and Morgan attorney can make a difference:
Investigation - Depending on your unique situation, your lawyer may utilize various means of investigation, including the following:
- Acquiring and analyzing accident reports compiled by police to aid in determining the cause of the accident and the party responsible.
- Contacting and interviewing witnesses to understand and document what they saw and heard.
- Collecting physical evidence such as pictures, video, medical records, and available public records concerning the other party.
- Reviewing medical records to understand the extent of your injuries and how they may impact your life in order to calculate your damages accurately.
- Consulting relevant experts such as accident reconstructionists and medical professionals to understand better how the accident occurred and how your injuries will affect you long-term.
- Reviewing insurance policies to gain insight into available coverage and who may be the responsible party to pursue compensation.
Ensure Evidence is Preserved - Unfortunately, when an at-fault party faces the consequences of their actions, they may be tempted to "lose" or hide vital evidence that could prove valuable to your claim, such as deleting dash cam footage. Another piece of evidence that could be crucial is a cell phone. For example, if the other driver was texting or browsing the internet when they hit you, they might realize that data will show timestamped proof and decide to destroy the phone. In legal terms, this is called spoilation. Your attorney will alert all involved parties of their obligation to preserve and hand over evidence.
Facilitate Medical Treatment - If you're unsure of your injuries, you may have yet to see a doctor to establish any damage, which is a critical component of any personal injury claim. Your lawyer may be able to help you find appropriate medical treatment. For example, we may put you in touch with a provider open to receiving payment once compensation is recovered. We understand that medical bills can be a scary proposition, so that's why you may have put it off. If we accept your case, we believe it has merit and will work hard to ensure you're fairly compensated by helping to establish your physical injuries.
Negotiate a Settlement - A lawyer's essential role is to protect their client's rights and ensure their client recoups their losses. This is generally achieved through strategic negotiations. The first step towards this is to build a strong case with evidence. Using the same, your lawyer will calculate the value of your claim and send a demand letter requesting a specific amount to fairly cover your losses.
Likely, the insurance company will respond with a counteroffer. From there, your lawyer will hash out a settlement that adequately addresses your financial and emotional harm. If a settlement cannot be reached through traditional methods, your lawyer may consider alternative means, such as arbitration or mediation, if the other party is agreeable. If negotiation and alternative methods fail, the final route is to file a lawsuit.
Represent You in Court - When other options have been exhausted, and the other party refuses to play fair, a court trial may be necessary, although this is rarely the case. Even so, it's important to work with a San Diego accident lawyer who has the commitment and knowledge to see a case through to the end, even if it requires the extraordinary step of filing a complaint with the courts.
Provide Ongoing Legal Advice - You may need advice at every juncture, especially when you've been seriously injured. You may not realize the need to consider future medical bills and lost earning capacity. Likewise, you may need clarification on whether an offer encompasses your actual losses or you're unwittingly being taken advantage of by an insurance adjuster. At Morgan and Morgan, we take pride in the knowledge and experience our lawyers offer to accident victims. Your needs take priority, and you'll be comfortable knowing your interests are protected by a legal advisor who values your trust and will provide the ongoing legal advice you need to make the best decisions regarding your future.
What Laws Impact San Diego Car Accident Lawsuits?
California has several laws that can impact your case, including the following:
Statute of Limitations - California has a two-year statute of limitations restriction for personal injury cases, including car accidents. This means you have two years to file a lawsuit from the day of the accident. Should you fail to initiate a lawsuit within this timeframe, you'll likely lose your right to pursue compensation, with a few exceptions. For example, some people don't realize they've been injured until the pain starts, like a herniated disc, for instance. In that case, the statute of limitations could be extended, since you did not discover your injury until a doctor diagnosed it.
An extension is known as the tolling of the statute of limitations. Other exceptions are for minors. Suppose you were injured by another driver when you were 12. In this event, the statute of limitations starts to run once you turn 18. However, any lawsuit that involves tolling will likely be complex and should be handled through a San Diego accident lawyer.
Comparative Fault - California follows the doctrine of pure comparative fault. This means that if you bear any fault in the accident, your compensation can be reduced based on the percentage of responsibility you had in the accident. The fault for many accidents is cut and dried. Take a rear-end accident, for example. With few exceptions, it's usually the fault of the driver who hits the other car from behind.
Other accidents are not so simple. Suppose you were exceeding the speed limit. However, the other driver pulled into traffic without looking. In this scenario, you may be partially to blame; thus, any award you receive will be reduced. That's why it's crucial to work with an attorney that has the skill to present your case, minimizing your involvement and highlighting the other driver's failure to drive with care.
Negligence Law - California follows fault-based insurance law, meaning at-fault drivers are responsible for paying damages to any parties they hurt. Because of this, your lawyer will need to prove the other driver was negligent in order to recoup insurance money on your behalf.
How Can a San Diego Accident Lawyer Prove Negligence?
Proving negligence is key to a successful bid to recover compensation in a personal injury claim. The first step is to demonstrate the other party owes you a duty of care. That's a legal obligation for all drivers to act with reasonable care to ensure others don't come to harm. For example, all drivers are duty-bound to obey street signs and signals and observe other traffic laws.
Next, your lawyer will need to show the other party breached this duty by acting unsafely, which led to the accident. This can be done through evidence, witness testimony, or a police report. Specifically, accident reports usually include the responding officer's opinion as to the cause of the accident, which may bear more weight than the opinion of those involved in the accident.
To win a negligence claim, you must also show that the other party's actions were the cause of your injuries and those injuries resulted in losses. This can be demonstrated by proximity, timing, medical evidence, and witness testimony. Any losses suffered can be indicated through medical bills, shortages in wage statements, and medical expert testimony, among others.
Why Is San Diego Dangerous for Drivers?
San Diego's popularity makes driving challenging for residents and visitors alike. For example, the population density results in a lot of traffic, especially during rush hours, and as such increases the chances of accidents. Additionally, dense traffic can cause tempers to flair and drivers to take unnecessary risks.
San Diego drivers are known for aggressive driving, such as speeding, cutting off other drivers, and tailgating, which can lead to unfortunate yet preventable accidents. With its high population, San Diego streets and highways are frequently under construction, increasing the danger. Detours, confusing signage, uneven pavement, and unexpected closures can exacerbate short tempers and cause hazardous driving conditions.
Tourists unfamiliar with the area may not know where they're going, adding to the chaos. San Diego features many one-of-a-kind attractions that beckon travelers around the world. When you're in an accident involving a tourist, it adds another level of complexity because your claim may include a car rental company and the other driver, who may not even be from the United States.
Finally, weather conditions and the topography of San Diego can introduce dangerous driving conditions. While the sun is usually shining, when torrential rains hit the area, drivers often don't alter their driving behaviors to take it into account. Drivers are supposed to slow down to accommodate weather conditions. When they fail to be careful, they can be held accountable for an accident they cause. The San Diego area also has many hills and curvy roadways, which cause blind spots and can be problematic if a motorist doesn't maintain their vehicle as they should.
What Are the Traffic Accident Statistics in San Diego?
While San Diego has its fair share of accidents, it's surprisingly one of the safer large California cities to drive. Here are some statistics available from 2020 data pertaining to San Diego motor vehicle accidents:
- 4,094 crashes involved fatalities and injuries
- 621 accidents involved alcohol
- 353 motorcyclists were killed or injured in 2020
- 452 accidents involved pedestrians
- 334 bicyclists were killed or injured
- 530 accidents involved speeding
- 470 accidents occurred at night
- 461 crashes resulting in injury or death involved a hit-and-run driver
It's important to note that these statistics only represent reported accidents.
Working With Morgan and Morgan
When you're confronted with a crisis like your ability to pay for medical bills and losses you incurred through someone else's negligence, working with the right lawyer is crucial. Morgan and Morgan have dealt with thousands of cases similar to your own, which provides us with unique insight into how to handle them effectively. Our track record of success speaks volumes, with more than $15 billion recovered for our clients.
You deserve to be confident in your legal representation, especially when your future rides on an insurance settlement amount. It's only fair that you get what you're entitled to, and our lawyers have the skill and tenacity to ensure that happens. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.