If you’ve incurred injuries and additional damages in a San Mateo car accident, you may be able to collect compensation for the harm you suffered under California law. Successfully navigating a car accident claim requires the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. The lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger commit to protecting your best interests and securing fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us for a free review of your legal options today.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident
You may be able to collect both monetary and nonmonetary damages from an at-fault driver in the wake of an accident, assuming the following conditions apply:
- The driver owed you a duty of care. Under California law, all drivers owe an equal duty of care to one another on the road (commercial drivers may owe a higher duty of care).
- The driver breached his or her duty of care. This represents an act of “committing negligence.” Negligence in a car accident typically arises from failing to follow applicable traffic laws.
- The driver’s breach led to your injuries.
- You suffered monetary and/or non-monetary harms as a result.
Assuming these elements apply to your case, the full extent of your damages may be compensable in accordance with California law. One of the main aspects of determining fault, however, is identifying the negligent behavior that led to the car accident.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
One of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents is human error. While drivers all have a responsibility to be reasonably careful on the roadways, not everyone follows this duty. Some common examples of human error leading to car accidents include:
- Failure to yield
- Cell phone use and texting
- Distracted driving
- Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to keep a safe following distance
- Fatigue or sleepiness
Even overconfidence can play a role in car crashes, as vehicle operators tend to believe they are better drivers than they are.
Not all car accidents arise from driver error, however. Sometimes, negligence on the part of the government or other municipal bodies may play a role in the accident. This applies to car accidents resulting from improper road maintenance, construction zones with improper labeling, and more. Even roadway design can affect a crash.
Lastly, car accidents can arise from manufacturer or vehicle maker negligence. Inherent flaws in a car’s design, such as an SUV that’s prone to roll over, can play a role in deadly or injury-causing crashes. In other cases, the manufacturer of a car’s components can play a role in a driver’s injuries. One recent example is the Takata airbag company; its airbags shot debris into a driver’s face upon impact, causing injuries and death.
Help With Car Accident Claims
There could be many parties at play in a car accident. While another driver may be responsible for your injuries, you may also have a claim against a vehicle manufacturer or even the government. Car accident claims can become very complex and require the guidance of an experienced attorney.
Car accident claims also have a unique statute of limitations or a time limit for filing. If a government entity is responsible for your injuries, your statute of limitations could be a short as six months. Therefore, it is essential to seek help from a car accident attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can help identify the parties responsible for your injuries and seek fair compensation for them.
Any number of negligent behaviors may be responsible for your car accident. A Sacramento car accident attorney can help you navigate these claims and secure the compensation you deserve.