San Jose Car Accident Lawyer
If you drive a car long enough, you are bound to be involved in an accident eventually. According to insurance industry data, the average driver files a car accident insurance claim every 17.9 years. Statistically, if you start driving at 16 years of age, you are likely to be in 3 or 4 car accidents by the time you are 70 years old. Those are accidents you are likely to survive. If you consider the odds of dying in a car accident, the numbers look grim.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average American stands a 1 in 101 chance of being killed in a car accident during their lifetime. In any given year, the chances of being killed in a car crash are 1 in 7,782. In 2020 alone, there were 42,339 fatalities from car crashes in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST)shows the location and pertinent information of all accidents reported in each state’s annual State Traffic Information Safety Report.
According to the National Safety Council, of all the traffic fatalities that occurred in the United States in 2022, 3,847 of those deaths occurred in California. And of those, 65 deaths occurred in San Jose. The City of San Jose provides an open data portal that also provides information and locations for all car accident fatalities that occur in the city. One particular location—Monterey Road, infamously known as “Blood Alley”—claimed 42 lives between 2019 and March 2022.What Should I Do When I Am in a Car Accident in San Jose?
Car accidents are traumatic. It doesn’t matter if you are in a multi-car pile-up or a parking lot fender-bender. Even if you are in a single car accident, you likely will be disoriented and scared. Your adrenaline will surge, and you likely won’t be thinking clearly. You may even be injured without even realizing it.
Here are a few things you should do (and not do) when you are in a car accident to protect yourself physically and financially:
- Determine if you are injured. If you are seriously injured in the accident, don’t try to move. Police and rescue workers will arrive shortly to help you. If you are not seriously injured and are able to get out of the car safely, try to help anyone else who may be injured.
- Move to a safe location. After an accident, your car likely remains in the middle of the road or an intersection. Only if it is safe to do so, try to move your car to a safe location. There may be oncoming traffic passing the accident scene and broken glass or debris that could fly up and cause further injury. If it is not safe to move your car, leave it. Try to find a safe location away from the road and stay there.
- Call the police. Many people immediately want to converse with the other driver and assess the damage to each other’s cars before calling the police. Don’t. As soon as you are safe, call the police immediately. Not only will the police take control of the scene to make sure it is safe, they will make sure they obtain each driver’s pertinent information: name, address, contact, and insurance information. They also will take statements from those involvedin the accident, as well as any witnesses who may have seen the accident. An officer will draft a police report; be sure to obtain it at the scene or immediately after it is prepared.
- Do not admit fault. Many people want to apologize to the other driver, even if the accident was the other driver’s fault. Do not make any statements about the accident or how it happened, except to the police. While you are waiting for the police to arrive, you can avoid conversation with the other driver by taking pictures of the damage to the cars and the environment at the accident scene.
- Do not refuse medical attention. If you are offered medical attention, take it. Even though you may think you are not injured, some car accident injuries do not manifest until hours, or even days, after the accident. Let a medical professional evaluate your condition and check for any internal or unindicated injuries. If you do not receive medical attention immediately after the accident, visit a physician as soon as you can, especially if you think you are experiencing delayed injuries, like headache, neck pain, nausea, or any other discomfort. You want to be evaluated as soon as possible so the other party does not claim that you sustained your injuries after the accident.
- Call a San Jose car accident lawyer. Once you are safe and medically evaluated, it may seem that the worst part is over. But post-accident issues can be painful, interruptive, and expensive. If you want to be compensated for your injuries and expenses, you will need an experienced San Jose car accident attorney. The sooner you call an attorney, the better.
To file a personal injury or car accident claim and be compensated for your injuries, you will need to prove several things:
- The other driver was at fault. To recover damages, you must show that the other driver was at fault. A court will not often just take your word for it, especially if the other driver is claiming that you caused the accident. To prove fault, you will need evidence, such as:
- Witness accounts of what happened;
- Police reports;
- Pictures of the vehicles;
- Pictures of the accident scene; and
- Evidence of any road signs, traffic lights, or weather conditions that may reveal factors that contributed to the accident.
- The other driver was negligent. This will require showing:
- Duty. All drivers owe every other driver on the road and pedestrians a duty of care to drive reasonably and safely.
- Breach. To prove the other driver was negligent, you must show that they breached their duty by driving unreasonably or failing to follow the traffic laws. This might include things like:
- Driving while intoxicated;
- Allowing themselves to be distracted;
- Ignoring traffic signs or signals; or
- Using electronic devices while driving.
- Causation. The other driver may deny that they did anything to cause the accident. They also may admit that they made a mistake, but that you also were at fault and, therefore, they are not responsible for causing your injuries. Causation can be a tricky fact to prove, even for a trained lawyer. You will want a lawyer with experience proving these facts in car accident cases.
- Damages. Before you can be compensated, you must prove that you suffered compensable damages. This can include financial damages, like medical expenses, doctor bills, medicines, rehabilitation, lost wages, etc. You also can recover for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, or inconvenience. However, these can be difficult to value. You will want an experienced car accident lawyer who knows how to value damages and how much you can expect to recover.
Your attorney will know what evidence is needed to prove these facts.
Much of this evidence will be found at the accident scene. It is prudent to call a lawyer immediately so he or she can help you gather evidence that will be needed to show fault.
Consider that all of this must be done while you are trying to recover from your injuries.
Perhaps the most difficult post-accident process is dealing with the insurance companies. They will stop at nothing to avoid paying your claim. Perhaps they will avoid you at first. Then they might try to minimize your damages. Suddenly they may urge you to settle your claim quickly, at a fraction of what you are entitled to recover. A quick settlement may seem inviting when you need to pay your medical bills and may be unable to return to work. But never accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without first discussing your case with a San Jose car accident lawyer.How Can a San Jose Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
If you have been injured in a car accident in San Jose, one of the best things you can do to help your case is to speak with an experienced San Jose car accident attorney. Car accidents are traumatic, and recovering from injuries can be long and difficult. Having a car accident lawyer assist you not only helps you to be able to focus on your recovery, it ensures that you have an expert focused on your case from the beginning, when collecting evidence and proving fault is so important.
Your lawyer also will do the heavy lifting when it comes to dealing with the insurance companies. The lawyers at Moseley Collins Law have years of experience standing up to insurance companies and making sure their clients reach a fair settlement that actually covers their financial expenses and compensates them fairly for their injuries. Call Moseley Collins Law at 415-888-8888. We can help, while you recover.