Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?

A negligent motorist can injure almost anyone who is on the road. In fact, thousands will be injured by negligent California drivers this year alone. If you’re one of the injured accident victims, you’ll need the advice and representation that a Fresno car accident attorney provides.

If a negligent driver injures you, you’ll also need answers to the following questions:

  1. How do you recover compensation for your medical costs, lost income, and other losses?
  2. What will a Fresno personal injury lawyer do on your behalf?
  3. What is the deadline for bringing a personal injury claim?
  4. What will it cost you to seek justice, and which attorney should represent you?

How is the Value of a Personal Injury Claim Determined?

After a car crash, contact a traffic accident lawyer at once after you’ve been examined and treated for your injuries. With your lawyer’s help, you’ll add up your monetary losses – like lost wages and medical costs – and then decide on an amount for your personal pain and suffering.

When you decide on a specific figure, you’ll have to prove that the amount of compensation you are seeking is fair, just, and reasonable. You’ll need receipts and documentation for your medical bills, lost wages, and auto repairs, for example.

However, if you suffer a severe injury, or if you are temporarily or permanently disabled, you’ll probably need to recover the maximum available amount of compensation. In the worst-case scenario, a lifetime of medical treatment and care may cost several million dollars.

What Can the Injured Victims of Negligent Drivers Seek and Recover?

In personal injury cases based on car accidents in California, the compensatory damages that the injury victims may seek and recover include:

  1. Compensation for medical expenses: Settlements and verdicts in these cases almost always compensate the victim for pending medical expenses and projected future medical costs.
  2. Compensation for lost wages: Settlements and verdicts usually reimburse injury victims for wages or salaries lost because of injury and for projected future lost earnings.
  3. Compensation for damaged or destroyed property: When your vehicle or anything else of value is damaged or destroyed by another driver’s negligence, the property owner is entitled under California law to compensation for the property’s repair or replacement.
  4. Compensation for emotional and physical suffering, distress, and pain: The injured victims of negligent drivers are entitled to recover compensation for physical and emotional suffering and pain caused by the traffic accident.
  5. Compensation for other losses: If an injury prevents you from enjoying outdoor pursuits, hobbies, and other activities, you may recover damages for “loss of the enjoyment of life.” You may also win damages for loss of consortium if spousal intimacy is impaired.

Can You Receive Punitive Damages?

“Punitive” damages don’t compensate injury victims for specific losses. Instead, punitive damages are intended to deter the at-fault parties in personal injury cases from acting negligently in the future.

To recover punitive damages after a car crash in California, the law requires you and your lawyer to prove with clear and convincing evidence that the negligent driver engaged in malice, fraud, or intentional cruelty. Punitive damages are seldom awarded in California personal injury cases.

However, if the motorist who injured you was impaired by alcohol or drugs, and that driver is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), you may be able to recover punitive damages. If your case qualifies, your Fresno car accident attorney will explain more about punitive damages.

What Steps Should You Take Immediately After an Accident?

When a traffic accident happens, no lawyer will be at the scene to advise you. To put yourself in the best possible position to recover compensation with a personal injury claim, here’s what you need to do – unless you are incapacitated – after a car accident happens:

  1. Summon medical help immediately if anyone seems to have been injured.
  2. Summon the local police. When the officers arrive, ask them how and when you can obtain a printout of their written accident report. Your lawyer will need that report.
  3. Exchange personal contact and car insurance information with the other driver or drivers. Obtain as many details as possible.
  4. Take photos of the vehicle damages and the crash site. If witnesses saw the crash, ask for their names and contact details. If you proceed with an injury claim, your Fresno personal injury lawyer may need statements or testimony from these witnesses.

If a careless driver injures you, you’ll have two paramount priorities. The first step you must take is seeking medical attention. The second priority is seeking a good lawyer’s advice.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

Personal injury claims are usually settled out-of-court before a trial can begin, but if the other party fails to offer a reasonable settlement or denies liability, your attorney will take the case to trial. When injury lawsuits prevail at trial, negligent parties are ordered to pay compensation.

In most cases based on traffic accident injuries, California’s statute of limitations for taking legal action is two years. There are several narrow exceptions, but if you miss the two-year deadline, you probably will not be allowed to recover compensation.

The smartest move is contacting a personal injury lawyer immediately after you’ve been treated for your injury or injuries. Your lawyer needs to see the evidence before it can be lost, altered, or contaminated, and your lawyer should speak with any witnesses before their recollections fade.

Tomassian, Pimentel & Shapazian Will Fight for Your Compensation

After you’re injured in a traffic collision, you’ll need to learn where you stand legally and how the law applies to your case. Your first consultation with an attorney at Tomassian, Pimentel & Shapazian is provided without any cost or obligation.

In fact, you’ll pay no lawyer’s fee upfront to Tomassian, Pimentel & Shapazian, and you’ll owe no lawyer’s fee unless and until we obtain compensation on your behalf. Since 1992, we have been fighting – and prevailing – for injured victims of negligence throughout central California.

If you have sustained physical or emotional injuries or pain caused by a negligent driver in or near the Fresno area, or if that occurs in the future, promptly contact Tomassian, Pimentel & Shapazian – at 559-545-0383 – and put our legal team to work for you.