Sacramento Car Accident Attorney
The Sacramento car accident lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law take the time to get to know you and your family members, and thoroughly understand all aspects of your injury case. Our team is passionate about defending the rights of those who have been injured due to the negligence of someone else, as well as the surviving family members.
- 1 Why Contact an Attorney After a Car Accident?
- 2 How Do You Handle a Car Accident Lawsuit?
- 3 What Are The Car Accident Laws in California?
- 4 What is Auto Negligence?
- 5 Proving a Negligent Action in California
- 6 What Should I Do After an Automobile Accident?
- 7 The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Sacramento Accident Attorney
- 8 Types of Auto Accident Injuries
- 9 How Will a Car Accident Impact My Auto Insurance?
- 10 Other Potential Causes of Auto Insurance Increases
- 11 Sacramento Roads with the Most Car Accidents
- 12 Sacramento Car Crash Statistics
- 13 Common Causes of Car Accidents in Sacramento
- 14 Most Common Types of Collisions: Sacramento Car Accidents from 2010-2016
- 15 Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Sacramento, CA
- 16 Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers in Sacramento, CA Today!
Why Contact an Attorney After a Car Accident?
An automotive accident can be the most traumatic incident to happen to you in your lifetime. However, with the right team of injury attorneys, an accident doesn’t have to destroy the rest of your life. The Sacramento car accident lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law work from the beginning to the end of your injury case to improve the lives of car crash victims the best we can.
How Do You Handle a Car Accident Lawsuit?
We relentlessly fight for our clients, securing the compensation for their catastrophic injuries deserve. It is the goal of our car accident attorneys to take the weight, stress, and pressure off the shoulders of auto accident victims, and help them focus on what matters most – healing. Our seasoned and dedicated car accident lawyers will fight your accident case in court if we believe it’s necessary to secure the compensation for your injuries. For questions or to schedule a free case consultation, call our Sacramento law office at (916) 970-9100.
What Are The Car Accident Laws in California?
The laws and statutes relevant to your Sacramento car accident case will change depending on the state where the accident occurred. In California, there are specific time limits, restrictions, and rules for filing an accident claim. Working with an experienced local Sacramento car accident lawyer is the best way to ensure your representation fully understands the federal, state, and local rules that may apply to your case. Here is a brief overview of some of the pertinent state laws in California:
- What is the Time limit for an accident claim? In the Golden State, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit (§30508) of any kind against a defendant. In a car accident case, this may be two years from the date of the accident or two years from the date you discovered your injuries. Some injuries, such as slipped discs or concussions, may not be immediately apparent. If you’re filing a claim for property damage only, you have three years.
- Claims against the government. (CA Gov’t Code § 905) If a government vehicle or on-duty government employee caused your accident, the rules are different than a typical accident claim. You must get paperwork in within six months of the date of your injury. Speak to the attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp for more details about an accident involving government liability.
- What is Comparative fault? (§405) California is a comparative fault state, meaning you can collect recovery regardless of the degree of your own fault. However, the courts will reduce any compensation you recover by your percentage of fault. Count on the attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp to explain how these rules apply in your case.
With more than 50 years of combined personal injury experience in California, our team has the firsthand knowledge you need to navigate complex car accident laws. We use current industry best practices and all tools available to us to help our clients pursue car accident cases. Browse our past case results for an idea of our high success rates.
What is Auto Negligence?
Automobile accidents are one of the greatest causes of death and serious injury in Sacramento and throughout California. Almost all auto accidents stem from someone’s negligence. Negligence is the legal theory that if someone fails to act with reasonable care, resulting in the injury of another person, he or she is liable for the injuries. Proving negligence is at the heart of most Sacramento accident cases and other torts, or civil wrongs, such as slips and falls and defective products.
Proving a Negligent Action in California
To prove negligence, a plaintiff (the injured party bringing the claim) must establish four main elements:
- The defendant (the accused party) owed the plaintiff a duty of care. All drivers assume a duty of care to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others on the roadway when they get behind the wheel. If an auto accident stems from a defective product, such as bad brakes, the manufacturer owed a duty of care to its consumers. An accident due to a roadway defect, such as a broken stoplight, comes under the duty of care of the party in charge of roadway maintenance.
- The defendant breached his or her duty of care. The defendant’s breach of care is the crux of personal injury law. It is the plaintiff’s burden of proof to convince the judge or jury of the defendant’s breach of duty, such as texting and driving or driving under the influence. The help of our car accident attorneys is critical, as it is your legal professional who can gather evidence and eyewitness testimonies, and use a variety of means to recreate your accident and prove its cause(s). If a car accident takes the form of a defective product case, the plaintiff does not bear the burden of proving this element.
- The defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident. It is not enough to show that the defendant was negligent, careless, or reckless in some way – his or her act of negligence must have been the main cause of the car crash. For example, if Driver A fell asleep behind the wheel just as a defective stop light made Driver B run a red light and collide with Driver A, the defective light would be the main cause of the accident, not the drowsy driver. Despite Driver A’s negligence, he or she would most likely not be liable for Driver B’s injuries.
- The accident caused compensable damages. If a plaintiff did not suffer any damages, there is no reason to file a personal injury claim. Damages may include physical injury, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, medical bills, lost wages, the lost capacity to work, lost quality of life, and/or property damage.
What Should I Do After an Automobile Accident?
In the aftermath of an auto accident, you may feel overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do. Car accidents can be chaotic and confusing, with other parties and insurance companies contacting you for statements and settlement offers. Before you make any decisions, contact a Sacramento car crash attorney. An experienced car accident attorney will help you protect your rights and find the best way forward after a car crash. Here’s what to do after an accident:
- Call the police. Stay on the scene after a crash and call the police, even if the accident appears minor. Police officers can file an official report of the accident and document its details, including the other driver’s name and license plate information.
- Seek medical attention. It is wise to see your health care practitioner after an accident. Tell your doctor about the crash and have him/her check you for injuries that have not yet shown symptoms. Seek medical care as soon as possible after an accident to avoid hurting your case.
- Reporting accidents to insurance companies. Most car insurance policies require immediate reporting of accidents. As soon as you are able, call your company and report the accident. If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, do not feel pressured to make a statement or accept a settlement before you speak to our accident lawyers.
The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Sacramento Accident Attorney
A skilled car accident lawyer in Sacramento, CA will strive to maximize recovery with powerful storytelling to show the judge or jury the extent of the plaintiff’s damages. At Eric Ratinoff Law Corp, we use multiple forms of advanced storytelling aided by top technologies to paint an accurate and compelling portrayal of your accident and injuries. Our car accident attorneys know what it takes to prove a case, gather and protect important evidence, conduct eyewitness interviews, hire experts, and more on your behalf.
Types of Auto Accident Injuries
Automobile accidents are so damaging because there is virtually no end to the types of injuries that can occur. The immense impact of a vehicle collision can cause a wide range of injuries to the driver, vehicle occupants, and bystanders. Gravitational forces, blunt force trauma, car fires, crush injuries, penetrations, and a number of other causes can lead to major injuries and wrongful death in Sacramento. Here are a few common auto accident injuries our firm has seen:
- Head and brain injuries. The brain and its surrounding tissues are delicate and easily injured in impacts to the head. When an object strikes the skull in a car accident, it can rattle the brain in the skull, leading to bleeding in the brain (brain hemorrhage) or swelling. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can cause temporary or permanent disabilities, coma, and death.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs). There are many different types of SCIs depending on the type and location of the injury. An SCI can lead to chronic back pain or partial/full paralysis depending on the damages. There is currently no treatment to reverse spinal cord injuries.
- Internal injuries. Extreme gravitational forces can make the organs collide with one another in a car accident, leading to an array of internal damages. Internal injuries and bleeding can cause organs to fail or stop functioning altogether.
- Broken bones and muscle strains. Fractured bones and ligament/muscle injuries can be extremely painful and require weeks or months to heal. During this time, crash victims may be unable to return to work. Some victims never fully regain their strength, and often lose the capacity to work at their old jobs.
- Burn injuries. Car collisions may result in devastating burn injuries if the vehicle’s occupants become trapped in a burning vehicle. Burns can destroy the outer layer of skin and affect the underlying tissues, tendons, and muscles. Burn injuries often result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, or even amputation.
- Wrongful death. In the worst accidents, victims never recover from their injuries. If someone else’s negligence caused the death of your loved one in a car accident, please come to our firm for help. We truly care about our clients and will represent your case aggressively.
How Will a Car Accident Impact My Auto Insurance?
When you have experienced a traumatic car accident, your first thought may be: how will this affect my auto insurance? In 2019, over 2,000 collisions were rear-end accidents, and over 3,000 were head-on. These types of accidents occur due to negligent driving, speeding, or both. Over 9,000 drivers also collided with fixed objects like poles, guardrails, and embankments as well. This goes to show that accidents happen, but not all accidents are the same in the eyes of insurance companies, which means not all car accidents make insurance rates go up.
Chargeable Car Accidents Increase Insurance Rates
When you are involved in a chargeable car accident, you may face an insurance rate increase. With this type of accident, you were found to be more than 50% at-fault and also caused at least one of the following:
- Property damage
- Injury to another person
- Caused wrongful death of another person
Car insurance rates may not be affected if you were less than 50% at fault.
If you were injured in an accident due to driver negligence, speak to an experienced California car accident lawyer for a comprehensive assessment of your claim. A good personal injury attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of your accident and obtain persuasive evidence in order to determine liability.
Non-Chargeable Accidents May Not Affect Insurance Rates
Non-chargeable accidents do not affect your insurance rates and are typically accidents where you are not at fault and damage was done to you or your property through unpredictable circumstances. The following are examples of non-chargeable accidents:
- Being struck in a hit-and-run accident
- You were rear-ended by another vehicle
- Your legally parked car was damaged
- You sustained damage to your vehicle by a collision with an animal
- The damage you sustained was due to flying or falling debris
In these instances, it is required to prove that you were not at fault and experienced a non-chargeable accident. Evidence may include providing a police report, a statement from the other party admitting fault, or a legal document proving you were reimbursed for damages.
Other Potential Causes of Auto Insurance Increases
Rate increases are subject to the insurance company that provides you coverage and by various state laws. Other potential causes of insurance increases include:
- How severe the accident was and the cost of the claim
- Your personal driving history
- Your policy, which may include accident forgiveness
Insurance companies tend to raise rates after an accident in order to reflect your new data of getting into an accident. By keeping track of your accident history this way, they may perceive you to be a risky driver who has a higher chance of filing claims in the future. If you are considered to be a risky driver by insurance companies, they pass along that risk in the form of higher premiums in an attempt to incentivize you to become a safer driver. Most rate increases are temporary and will go down after a few years of avoiding an accident.
Sacramento Roads with the Most Car Accidents
Within the city of Sacramento, where do most car accidents occur? Between 2010 and the end of 2016, at least one car accident occurred on over 3,343 different roads, highways, ramps and routes in Sacramento. Which city were streets home to the most car accidents? Her are the top 20:
- 24th Street: 209 collisions
- 16th Street: 195 collisions
- 21st Street: 162 collisions
- 15th Street: 149 collisions
- 29th Street: 144 collisions
- Alhambra Blvd: 140 collisions
- Florin Road: 135 collisions
- 30th Street: 130 collisions
- 12th Street: 116 collisions
- 19th Street: 109 collisions
- Arden Way: 107 collisions
- El Camino Avenue: 102 collisions
- 5th Street: 94 collisions
- 28th Street: 91 collisions
- Del Paso Street: 90 collisions
- 14th Avenue: 86 collisions
- Auburn Blvd: 84 collisions
- Franklin Blvd: 82 collisions
- Broadway: 79 collisions
- Bruceville Road: 79 collisions
Only 11 Sacramento roads listed as the primary road had more than one fatality, with Center Parkway and Elder Creek Road leading the way with four and Auburn Blvd (three) and Carlson Drive (three) the only others with more than two fatalities.
Sacramento Car Crash Statistics
From 2010 – 2016, there were 118,576 motor vehicle collisions in Sacramento County. In these crashes, 883 people were killed and another 72,282 suffered injuries.
Source: California Highway Patrol Data
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Sacramento
With a population of nearly 480,000, it is not surprising that Sacramento, CA is the location of thousands of car crashes every year. Many people never walk away from these accidents. Others spend the rest of their lives in chronic pain or with permanent disabilities. Driver error is to blame for the vast majority of these accidents – texting, talking, emailing, using apps, eating, drinking, or otherwise failing to pay attention while driving.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. It is the duty of all drivers to keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and minds on the driving task. Failure to do so, resulting in an accident, is negligence. Eric Ratinoff Law Corp has the ability to collect cell phone records, video footage of the collision or the moments leading up to the crash, and statements from people who saw the defendant that day to help prove distracted driving. We know what steps to take to prove driver distraction as well as other causes of car accidents, including:
- Improper vehicle maintenance. If a driver, trucking company, or another party fails to ensure the safety of a vehicle, the person or company responsible for maintenance may be liable for subsequent accidents.
- Drunk driving. In Sacramento, there were 3,626 alcohol related crashes from 2010 – 2016, resulting in 2,881 injuries and 118 fatalities. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), an average of 29 people die in drunk driving crashes every day. Even if a driver’s blood alcohol concentration level was below the legal maximum of 0.08%, one can prove intoxication or drug-impaired driving at the time of a crash with a proper investigation.
- Drowsy driving. Driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving drunk – perhaps more so, since most drivers don’t realize they are falling asleep until it’s too late. Driving drowsy slows reflexes and increases the odds of a collision. It is a driver’s duty to pull over and rest if he or she is too tired to drive safely.
- Roadway hazards. Potholes, loose gravel, broken stop lights, obscured traffic signs, debris, downed power lines, and other such hazardous conditions are common causes of non-driver related vehicle accidents. In these cases, roadway maintenance crews, the county, or the district may be liable.
- Construction Zones. 899 collisions occurred in construction or repair zones within the city of Sacramento, leading to 565 injuries and 8 fatalities.
- Defective vehicle parts. If vehicle defects such as malfunctioning brakes cause a car accident, it may be the manufacturing company or distributor’s legal responsibility. This is also the case if a defective seatbelt or airbag causes injury in an accident.
There may be more than one party responsible for your accident. If this is the case, it is possible to bring auto accident claims against two or more parties. The courts will assign fault and split liability between parties as necessary. Even if you were partially responsible for your car accident, you may still be eligible to receive compensation. Consult with us at our law offices and we can help you understand you legal options about your case.
Most Common Types of Collisions: Sacramento Car Accidents from 2010-2016
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Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Sacramento, CA
What Type of Damages Can I Receive Compensation for in a Car Accident Claim?
Compensation for your injuries depends on several factors, including the nature and extent of your injuries, physical and emotional pain and suffering, the change in your quality of life, economic hardship or financial loss, decreased earning potential and physical impairment. This is why we invest a great amount of effort to get to know your story and how your injury has affected the fabric of your life. Depending on the type and extent of your personal injury, you may be eligible for compensatory damages, which may include the following:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages, including overtime
- Out of pocket expenses (transportation charges, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disability
- Permanent scars
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of love and affection
- Mental disability
What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
If you were in a collision with an uninsured at-fault driver, you have options. If you have uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage in your insurance policy, you can file a claim with your insurance company. You should follow the same steps as you would if the at-fault driver was insured: obtain a police report, gather any evidence you can of the scene, and seek medical treatment. If your insurance company devalues your claim, you should speak with a car accident lawyer for help. You can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, but it may prove challenging to collect damages without an insurance policy. A car accident attorney can help you properly assess the situation and determine the best course of action for your case.
Who Pays My Medical Expenses While My Car Accident Case is Pending?
Ultimately, the party responsible for causing your injury will have to reimburse you for all medical bills incurred from your accident. However, this only happens when you resolve your case. Through the process of your case, one of the most important things you can do – both for your personal recovery and the outcome of your case – is to get the right medical treatment and to see the proper medical experts. One of the things we do for our clients, when appropriate, is to provide access to the best care possible to help you recover from your injuries. We can help arrange medical treatment for you with expert medical doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, spine surgeons, neurologists, etc. During the course of your treatment, several options exist to pay for your medical bills, including:
- If you were in an auto accident, your auto insurance policy can cover some or all of your expenses. This is commonly known as “Med Pay.” This is optional coverage that can pay your medical expenses up to the limit of the policy, which is usually up to $5,000. Your auto insurance rates will not increase if you use this coverage.
- If you have health insurance, you can use this to pay for your medical services.
- If you have no insurance or other way to pay for medical treatment, some health care providers will allow you to receive treatment subject to a medical lien against your case.
Your medical treatment is critically important to the ultimate outcome of your physical recovery and your case. We will help you navigate through this difficult process, discuss all the options with you, and help you determine what is in your best interest given the facts and circumstances of your situation.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers in Sacramento, CA Today!
To speak to our car crash attorneys directly following any automotive accident that results in personal injuries or extensive property damage. Our team can take care of everything on your behalf, including taking over communications with insurance adjusters and filing a claim against the accused party. We serve car crash victims all across California, including Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Modesto, and more. Our Sacramento car accident lawyers charge on a contingency fee basis. No upfront fees unless you win.