Sacramento Car Accident Attorney
A car 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 accident victims the best we can. We relentlessly fight for our clients, securing the compensation their catastrophic injuries deserve. It is our goal to take the weight, stress, and pressure off the shoulders of auto accident victims, and help them focus on what matters most – healing.
Negligence: The Foundation of All Car Accident Cases
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 car accident cases and other torts, or civil wrongs, such as slips and falls and defective products. 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 right lawyer is critical in this step, as it is your lawyer 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 accident.For example, if Driver A fell asleep behind the wheel just as a defective stoplight 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, lost capacity to work, lost quality of life, and/or property damage.
A skilled attorney 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 with top technologies to paint an accurate and compelling portrayal of your accident and injuries. We know what it takes to prove a car accident case, to gather and protect important evidence, conduct eyewitness interviews, hire experts, and more on your behalf.
Sacramento Car Accident 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
While Sacramento is the largest city, the county encompasses several other cities and many large unincorporated areas. These areas include:
- Unincorporated Sacramento County: 58,727 Collisions – 30,748 Injuries – 452 Fatalities
- Sacramento: 37,504 Collisions – 28,091 Injuries – 297 Fatalities
- Elk Grove: 6,752 Collisions – 4,847 Injuries – 52 Fatalities
- Rancho Cordova: 5,702 Collisions – 2,612 Injuries – 26 Fatalities
- Citrus Height: 4,648 Collisions – 3,029 Injuries – 22 Fatalities
- Folsom: 4,303 Collisions – 2,509 Injuries – 29 Fatalities
- Galt: 926 Collisions – 440 Injuries – 5 Fatalities
- Iselton: 14 Collisions – 6 Injuries – 0 Fatalities
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 streets were 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.
Common Types of Collisions
There are many different ways that motor vehicle collisions occur. In Sacramento, rear end collisions are the most common mechanism of collision and injury, while pedestrian collisions are the most common source of fatal injury.
Manner of Collision: Sacramento Car Accidents from 2010 – 2016
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Common Causes of Auto Accidents in Sacramento
With a population of nearly 480,000, it is not surprising that Sacramento, CA is the location of thousands of car accidents 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 27 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 stoplights, obscured traffic signs, debris, downed power lines, and other such hazardous conditions are common causes of non-driver related car 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 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.
Car Accident Laws in California
The laws and statutes relevant to your 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 a car accident claim. Working with an experienced local attorney in Sacramento 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:
- Time limit for bringing a claim. In the Golden State, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit 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. If a government vehicle or on-duty government employee caused your accident, the rules are different than a typical car 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 a car accident involving government liability.
- Comparative fault laws. 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 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.
Car Accident Injuries and Wrongful Death
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. 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, accident 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 accidents 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.
Car Accident Fatalities in California
Car accidents are some of the most damaging personal injury events in the world. Regardless of the type or extent of your injuries, consult with the lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp to find out if your case has merit. We offer completely free initial consultations, and will travel anywhere in California to meet with you to discuss your case. Schedule your free consultation now.
What to Do After an Automobile Accident
In the aftermath of a car 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 personal injury attorney. An 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 any 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.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. 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 an attorney.
- Contact Eric Ratinoff Law to speak to our attorneys directly following any car 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.
Call our Experienced Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer
The auto 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. Our seasoned and dedicated Sacramento injury attorneys 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 office at (916) 970-9100.