Traffic accidents are unfortunately some of the most common reasons for personal injury lawsuits. Not only can they cause major property damage, they can also result in devastating injuries or fatalities.
Traffic accidents include car accidents, semi-truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. They may be caused by hazardous road conditions, reckless driving, distracted driving, defective cars or tires, or defective roadways.
What are the police reporting requirements for traffic accidents?
According to the Sacramento Police Department's website, a traffic collision report will be taken by the police department at the scene of the accident when any of the following reporting conditions occurs:
- A person involved in the traffic collision has been injured (complaining of pain is considered injury) or dies.
- One of the drivers is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- One of the drivers has fled the location without stopping to exchange information or check on the welfare of the other parties involved (hit and run).
- City property is involved (City vehicle, light post, signal light, etc).
Under many circumstances, you must report vehicle accidents to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. These are the appropriate Accident Involvement Forms from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Examples of Compensation from a Traffic Accident Lawsuit
If you were injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for damages including:
- Payments for past and future medical expenses
- Hospital bills
- Car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle repairs
- Loss of past and future income and earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Other expenses related to the accident
If a member of your family has been killed in an traffic accident, you have the right to sue for the wrongful death of your loved one.
Common Causes of Traffic Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,651 California drivers were involved in a traffic fatality in 2010. In Sacramento alone, there were 123 auto accident deaths in 2010.
Many traffic accidents are caused by the carelessness of another driver. But sometimes the car manufacturer is to blame. The car you were driving may have had a safety defect or defective design (such as seatbelt or airbag failure) that you didn't know about. Or the road you were driving on may have been poorly maintained.
In cases where the road may have been to blame, government entities may be potential defendants. Special rules apply to claims against governmental agencies, however, and proper legal advice is critical to preserving your legal rights and winning such claims.
In cases where an automobile manufacturer or supplier may be responsible for injuries caused by such a defect, you may be able to sue the manufacturer under the law of product liability.
Semi-truck accidents may be caused by negligent truck drivers or improper truck maintenance. Often the employer or company who owns the sem-truck may be held legally responsible.
Protecting your legal rights after a traffic accident
If you have been injured in a traffic accident, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to protect your legal rights. Every state has different time limits that dictate when you can file a personal injury lawsuit, so action should not be delayed.
Sacramento personal injury lawyer Eric Ratinoff has extensive experience representing individuals injured in all kinds of traffic accidents, in both jury trials and settlement negotiations. His expertise includes handling cases ranging from simple collisions to automotive product liability to improper road design.
To contact a car accident lawyer for a free and confidential auto accident case evaluation, please fill out and submit our online case evaluation or call us toll-free at 866-527-4278.