Car Accident Attorneys in Lakeport and Woodland Hills, California
California is the most populous state in the country, and more people are driving around on the roads every day. More drivers mean more accidents and unfortunately, some of these accidents can result in serious injuries. According to a report by the California Highway Patrol, there were nearly 270,000 people who were injured on California roadways in 2019 alone.
If you or someone you love has recently been in a car accident and you’d like to know more about your options for filing a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit, reach out to our team at G. Aldrich Law. We’re located in Lakeport and Woodland Hills, California, and assist clients throughout the area, including Lake County, Los Angeles County, Colusa County, Riverside County, and surrounding Northern and Southern California counties.
Liability for California Car Accidents
If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries, but this isn’t always a straightforward task. Because of this, it can be helpful to speak with a personal injury attorney who can educate you about state law and your options for seeking compensation.
California is an At-Fault State
California is an “at-fault” state which means that the at-fault party in an accident is responsible for paying any damages that occurred due to their negligence. You still have the option to file a claim with your insurance, but if you’d like, you can first file a claim against the at-fault driver. In many cases, the payout from the insurance claims will be enough to cover your expenses, but in instances of severe or lasting injuries, this may not be enough. In these cases, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to ensure you’re adequately compensated.
California Insurance Requirements
When filing an insurance claim with your provider or the at-fault driver, it’s also important to know about state insurance requirements because this will affect how much you’ll potentially be awarded. It’s illegal to drive without insurance, and if you’re injured by someone who doesn't have current coverage, you’ll need to file a claim with your provider and then speak with a car accident attorney about your options for a lawsuit. California does not require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, so you may or may not be able to be compensated by your own plan.
In general, all drivers are required to carry a minimum of $15,000 for the injury or death of one person, $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one person, and $5,000 in property coverage. However, in serious crashes, this minimum amount won’t cover all your expenses, and you’ll need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
State Laws Addressing Personal Injury Claims
In most personal injury cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the at-fault driver. It’s worth pointing out that when you do file a claim, there’s a chance you could hold some of the blame. When a judge tries to determine who is liable in a car accident, they may decide that both parties are responsible. Under California’s comparative fault law, liability can be shared and the victim’s final compensation will be reduced by their portion of the blame. For example, if the victim is 30% at fault and the final settlement is $10,000, they will only receive $7,000.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
In the most devastating cases, if the driver's negligence resulted in the death of another person, you have the standing to file a wrongful death claim. If you are the spouse, domestic partner, child, or grandchild of the deceased, or if you can prove you’re financially dependent on the deceased, you’re legally able to file a suit on your loved one’s behalf. You have two years from the date of death to bring forward a suit, and you may be able to collect damages like funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or loss of current and future financial support.
If you decide to bring forth a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who lost their life, it’s advised that you only do this along with an experienced attorney who can walk you through this challenging process and ensure you have a solid case. In many car accidents that result in death, the at-fault party may have both a criminal trial against them where prosecutors try to prove the driver is guilty of homicide and a civil trial trying to prove they were responsible for the death of your loved one. In general, civil trials require less evidence, but you still need expert legal counsel working in your corner.
Car Accident Attorneys Serving Lakeport & Woodland Hills, California
If you’re in the Lakeport and Woodland Hills, California, area and would like to know more about your options for filing a lawsuit after a car accident, contact our team today at G. Aldrich Law. We have the resources necessary to assist you during challenging times and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation today.