California Auto Accident Attorney
For over 12 years, our personal injury team at Beahm Law has effectively won cases and achieved outstanding auto accident recoveries for our clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and across California. Our California accident attorney has a proven track record in cases involving car and truck accidents; motorcycle and scooter accidents (including LimeBike, Spin, and Bird); bicyclists hit by cars; pedestrians hit by cars; and Uber, Lyft, and Taxi crashes.
At Beahm Law, our skilled team can help:
- Make sure the driver’s insurance company acts fairly
- Take appropriate legal action, if necessary, against the driver and their insurance company
- Increase your likelihood of getting a fair settlement—covering medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering—from the driver’s insurer
What to Do After an Auto Accident
After a car accident, you might be wondering whether you have a claim for compensation. To be eligible for collecting damages, your accident must:
- Be at least partially caused by another party’s negligence; and
- Cause you or a family member to suffer serious physical injuries.
Regardless of what compensation you may be entitled to following an accident, it is important that you take proper notes of the incident to file a claim with your insurance company. After an auto accident, be sure to:
- Obtain names, addresses, telephone numbers, and driver's license numbers from all drivers.
- Obtain license plate(s) and vehicle identification numbers. Ask to see driver's license(s) and vehicle registration(s) to verify the information is accurate.
- Obtain names, addresses, and telephone numbers of other passengers and any witnesses.
- Take photographs of the damage and the accident scene (traffic controls, visual obstacles) if possible.
- Leave a note with the names and addresses of the driver and owners of the involved cars if the owner of a damaged car or damaged property cannot be located.
- Notify your insurance company immediately.
Insurance Claims and Compensation
Like many other states, California has an "at fault" system (also called a “tort” system) for insurance claims, which means the person seeking compensation must show fault on the part of the other driver if they want a successful claim.
Further, if your case goes beyond an insurance claim to a full legal proceeding, be aware that California is a "pure comparative negligence" jurisdiction. In other words, if your case goes to trial, the judge or jury will calculate percentages of fault for each driver and reduce each driver's liability accordingly. For example, if a driver suffers $10,000 in damages but is found to be 10% at fault, their recovery will be limited to 90% of their damages, so $9,000.
Auto accident damages are generally categorized as economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- repair or replacement of the damaged cars,
- past and future medical expenses,
- lost income, and
- other out-of-pocket expenses.
Non-economic damages cover things related to:
- emotional distress,
- and disability or disfigurement.
Note that if a driver does not have insurance, they cannot recover non-economic damages. However, economic damages, such as lost wages or damage to their car, are still available if fault can be shown.
Statute of Limitations
In general, California does not have a cap on damages in personal injury or car accident cases. However, be aware of the time limit (statute of limitations) for filing a legal case. In California, you have two years for personal (bodily) injury claims and three years for property claims. That filing time is drastically shortened to six months, however, if a government party (for example, a police cruiser) is involved.
If you’ve been injured as a passenger in an auto accident, it’s important to get assistance from legal professionals who know the ins and outs of California auto accidents. Our firm has helped numerous victims of auto accidents get recoveries for their injuries. Speak to one of our experienced accident attorneys today before settling your case.
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