Car Accident Attorney
As our San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer explains, there were nearly 190,000 injury crashes in California in 2019. This is a shocking reminder of how many people are hurt every day on our roadways. The moments after being involved in an auto accident can be confusing and overwhelming, and you may be unsure of your next steps.
It’s essential that you understand the basics of liability and how to file a personal injury claim. For help with this and to speak with an experienced car accident attorney, call our attorney at The Law Office of Bennett M. Cohen, P.C. We’re located in San Francisco, California but are able to represent clients throughout the state.
Liability for Car Accidents in California
California is an at-fault insurance state, which means that the driver who was responsible for causing the accident is also responsible for paying any damages that stemmed from it. It can extremely helpful to contact a personal injury attorney to help you through this difficult time and to skillfully fight for the compensation you deserve. Often, the insurance company will lowball you an offer, and an attorney can help you fight against this.
When you’re involved in a car accident in California, you’ll almost always begin by filing a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance. You are permitted to file against your own insurance for coverage under your personal injury protection (PIP), but this is not required. And, if your injuries are serious, PIP may not be enough to meet your expenses. Furthermore, PIP doesn’t cover any damages to personal property.
If you’ve filed a claim with the other driver and still have outstanding expenses (or the driver was underinsured or not insured at all), you can then file a personal injury lawsuit against them. It’s at this stage that you’ll always want to be working with a lawyer as the requirements for this can be complicated.
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California Insurance Requirements
California requires all drivers to carry a minimum “15/30/5” coverage, which states you need $15,000 in injury or death protection for one person, $30,000 if there was more than one person injured, and $5,000 for property damage.
However, it’s up to each individual to decide if they’ll carry more. These amounts won’t go far in the case of a serious accident that results in extensive and long-lasting injuries, which is why many Californians who find themselves in this situation decide they need to pursue a personal injury claim with the assistance of a San Francisco car accident lawyer.
State Laws Addressing Personal Injury Claims
Before you file a claim, there are two state laws you should be aware of:
- The statute of limitations is two years from the date of the incident. If you try to file after this date has passed, your case will likely be thrown out by a judge.
- Comparative fault dictates that liability can be shared between the two parties in cases like this. For example, if a judge decided that you held 20% of the blame for the accident occurring, your final payout would be reduced by this amount to account for your share of responsibility. So if the settlement was $50,000, you would only receive $40,000.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Under the tragic circumstances where someone loses their life as the result of a car accident, a family member has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf to seek compensation. This is typically done by the deceased’s surviving spouse, child, parent, or even grandchild. If no one from the family is able to file, the courts will allow anyone who can show they were financially dependent on the deceased to pursue a claim.
Common damages in a wrongful death claim include the following:
- Expenses related to the burial and funeral
- Loss of future income
- Loss of gifts or benefits that would have been provided
- Loss of love and compassion
Like with a personal injury, you only have two years to file for wrongful death.
Car Accident Attorney in San Francisco, California
If you’re in the San Francisco, California, area and would like to consult with a skilled San Francisco car accident lawyer about a car accident you or a loved one was recently in, reach out to us at The Law Office of Bennett M. Cohen, P.C. to schedule a consultation.(415) 230-1800