Oakland Car Accident Lawyer
For almost six decades, Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger has helped car accident victims in and around Oakland, California. As Oakland car accident attorneys, our firm has won dozens of multi-million-dollar awards for car accident clients through assertive litigation and ceaseless hard work. We know exactly what each client needs to achieve maximum compensation, from cell phone records to expert witness testimony. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, our Oakland injury attorneys might be able to help. Contact us to find out if you’re eligible for financial recovery.
A day rarely goes by in Oakland without at least one car accident. Some accidents that take place in this city of approximately 420,000 residents leave little more than a scratch, a bruised ego, and a traffic citation. Others forever change the lives of those involved. The Oakland car accident lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger represent injured individuals in car accident claims throughout the Bay Area.
Why Call Our Car Accident Attorneys in Oakland?
Question about your case or a problem with an insurance claim? Talk to an Oakland car accident attorney. Catastrophic injuries that will disable you or a loved one for life? Talk to an attorney. Curious about how you can get the most for your claim? Talk to an attorney! An attorney works for you, not for an insurance company. It is a legal professional in your corner, answering your questions and helping you every step of the way. With our team taking cases on a contingency-fee-basis, you don’t even have to pay our attorney’s fees unless you win.
An experienced Oakland car accident lawyer can take legal matters off your plate. Instead of you having to file paperwork, meet deadlines, gather evidence, and build your case, let a lawyer do these tasks on your behalf. Our law firm has an entire team of attorneys and paralegals available to take care of your case. While we work on getting you a fair insurance settlement or personal injury verdict, you can focus on other things – like getting better so you can return to work. You can have total peace of mind about your claim with a lawyer doing the legwork.
The best way to get Oakland’s car accident laws working in your favor is to retain an attorney. We understand state and local laws in and out, and know how to make them work for our clients instead of against them. If you take on your case alone, an insurance company might take advantage of you and offer less than you deserve. Trusting an attorney means fighting for the financial recovery you need to cover your medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. With a team like Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger in Oakland, there’s no reason to take on your car accident claim alone.
Crash Statistics in Oakland and Throughout California
Oakland is the largest city in Alameda County, as well as the largest city in the East Bay area of San Francisco Bay. It’s the 45th largest city in the country, with a population of 419,267 people at the last census. Several major highways go through and around Oakland, contributing to traffic congestion in the city. In such a bustling area, vehicle collisions are only a matter of time. Here’s a look at some of the most recent car accident data for Oakland, Alameda County, and the state:
- In 2015, 3,178 people in Oakland died or suffered injuries in vehicle accidents, according to a report by the OTS. These victims include 235 motorcyclists, 210 bicyclists, and 340 pedestrians.
- At least 244 fatal or injury accidents in Oakland involved alcohol in 2015. Four involved drivers who had been drinking under the age of 21.
- In Oakland, 624 fatal and injury collisions involved speeding, 464 were hit-and-runs, and 371 happened at night in 2015.
- In Alameda County in 2015, 9,867 victims suffered injuries or died in traffic collisions. At least 890 of these injuries/deaths involved alcohol. There were 2,523 speed-related injury and death collisions in the count the same year.
- There were 3,623 traffic fatalities in the state of California in 2016. This was almost one thousand more deaths than in 2010 (2,720). Of these fatalities, 1,059 involved alcohol-impaired drivers and 1,056 involved speeding.
If these statistics scare you, you’re not alone. We’ve seen the consequences of car accidents first-hand and wish drivers did more to prevent accidents. Distracted, negligent, and reckless drivers cause thousands of deaths and injuries each year. The most we can do is to represent survivors and the loved ones of those who pass away in collisions in Oakland. We give voices to those who might otherwise never have the chance to speak.
California Car Accident Laws to Know
Learning the law is our job, but it doesn’t hurt to know your rights as a driver in Oakland. Knowing who is likely at fault, how car accident insurance claims work, and how to begin the process of financial recovery can help you take swift action when you need it the most. There are hundreds of federal, state, and local laws that could apply to your case, but here are a few of the most important:
- At-fault car insurance rules. California is an “at-fault” state when it comes to insurance claims. This means that the driver at fault for causing the accident will be liable for damages. Others involved will bring their claims to the at-fault driver’s insurance company before seeking reimbursement from their own insurers.
- Comparative negligence laws. California courts obey the rules of “pure comparative negligence” jurisdiction. This means that both parties in an accident could share fault. A claimant can be partially responsible for causing a crash yet still eligible for compensation. The courts will reduce the claimant’s compensation award by an amount equivalent to his or her percentage of liability, up to 99% fault.
- Types of damages available. If you have grounds to bring a personal injury claim against the other driver and/or a third party, the state of California allows you to recover compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, the cost of a rental car, pain and suffering, and disability.
Thanks to California’s fault laws, injured parties do not have to suffer minimum amounts of damage to qualify to sue the other driver. The Oakland small claims court will hear cases with less than $10,000 in damages. In most cases, a personal injury claim will result in greater compensation than an insurance settlement. Talk with our attorneys about what your best option might be after a crash.
Experiencing a Car Accident in Oakland
Several things happen after a car accident. Officers file reports, witnesses gather, insurers initiate the claims process, and family members receive calls. Unfortunately, many of the clients we represent don’t see the immediate aftermath of an accident. Emergency responders often take accident victims to the hospital, where they may stay for days or weeks at a time. When they leave the Alameda County Medical Center, the Eden Medical Center, or another facility in the area, nothing is the same as it was before the accident.
On top of dealing with a severe and debilitating injury, our clients often experience financial hardship. Relationships suddenly feel strained, and work may be out of the question. Catastrophic injury victims may spend months relearning basic living skills. Our attorneys step in to help when all of these aftereffects happen because of a negligent driver’s actions.
What Causes Car Accidents in Oakland?
Every car accident might be unique, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have things in common. In our 50-plus years in car accident law, we’ve come to learn that there are a few common reasons the majority of car accidents happen. Understanding the most frequent factors involved in car accidents can help you become a safer driver, and to recognize and avoid the negligence of others on the roadway. Here are the most common reasons wrecks happen:
- Distracted driving
- Texting and driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Breaking roadway rules
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Inexperienced/teenage drivers
- Poor vehicle maintenance and breakdowns
- Defective vehicle parts
- Roadway hazards such as potholes
Negligence is more often than not at the heart of car crashes. Driver error, lack of vehicle maintenance, and dangerous roadways are all examples of preventable problems that would not exist with due care and attention. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, it’s our job to get to the bottom of who or what caused your car accident and to take action to secure compensation from the liable party/parties.
5 Things Not to Do After a Car Accident in Oakland
After a car accident in Oakland, your top priorities should be seeking medical attention for injuries and protecting your rights. To accomplish the latter, there are certain things you should and should not do directly after a collision. Many victims make mistakes that harm their chances of securing compensation in the future. Don’t be one of these people. Avoid these five common mistakes to maximize your odds of a money award:
- Admitting fault for the accident. Never admit fault to the other driver or to an insurance agent. Do not step out of your vehicle with an apology ready for the other driver. Don’t assume or admit that the crash was your fault. Instead, politely ask if the other driver is okay, and call the police to report the accident.
- Waiting to get medical attention for injuries. Go to the hospital as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you don’t feel injured. You could have an injury with hidden or delayed symptoms, such as a concussion. Seek immediate medical care for your health, as well as to show insurance companies that your injuries are serious.
- Saying yes to a quick settlement agreement. During your conversations with the other driver’s insurance company, the claims adjuster might try to convince you to accept a fast settlement over the phone. Resist the urge to do so. You can almost always get more for your claim with a personal injury lawsuit, and with help from an attorney.
- Representing yourself in a car accident claim. It is possible to represent yourself during a claim in California, but this isn’t generally a good idea unless you have legal experience. A lawyer understands the laws, isn’t afraid to negotiate a higher settlement with an insurance company, and can take your case to trial if necessary.
- Waiting too long to file a lawsuit. You only have two years from the date of your crash to file a personal injury claim in California, and three years from the date for property damage claims. If you’re filing against a government agency, such as an on-duty federal government driver, you only have six months to bring your claim. Missing your deadline typically bars you from seeking recovery.
When in doubt, call our law office and speak with an Oakland accident attorney about your car crash. We’re happy to answer your questions and give you guidance regarding the first hours, days, and weeks after a harmful collision. We can make sure you do everything in your power to help your claim succeed right from the start. First consultations with one of our lawyers are always free, confidential, and with no obligation to retain our firm. Call (415) 889-2919 or give us your information online to request your evaluation today.
Why You Need an Oakland Car Accident Lawyer
Our attorneys do more than litigate matters in court. As a firm with a reputation for securing multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, we bring an immense amount of negotiating power to each car accident claim we handle. With our team on your side, you can focus on recovery while we take care of the rest. In the past, we’ve secured an $8.8 million verdict in a car accident case that caused a brain injury, a $7 million settlement in a big rig rollover accident case, and $3 million in a highway defect accident case.
With an attorney on your side, you stand a significantly better chance of securing the compensation you deserve to cover your past, present, and future losses. We have been around since 1959, giving us decades of experience and legal community connections.
Insurance companies almost always factor into car accident claims. California requires all drivers to carry minimum liability insurance. Even if a driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance, the other driver may file a claim under his or her own uninsured/underinsured motorist or personal injury protection plan. Our attorneys will represent you in dealings with insurers from day one. You can even call us before you report the accident to your insurer.
Don’t leave your settlement offer in the hands of a self-serving insurance firm. We will use all of our resources to protect your right to full compensation. Reach out to our office to schedule a case evaluation, and learn more about our car accident practice in Oakland.