Santa Barbara Car Accident Attorneys
Being in a car accident can put your entire life on hold, as you might require ongoing medical care and be unable to work while you recover - or you might never be able to return to work that pays as well as before. The stakes are often high in car accident claims due to extensive losses. You will be going up against insurance companies in an effort at covering to get your losses covered, which can be challenging, but reaching out to an attorney can help to even the playing field.
Our Santa Barbara car accident attorneys understand the common causes of car accidents, what damages you might be able to recover following an injury, and how car accident insurance companies work. Reach out to one of our experienced car accident attorneys from Bamieh and DeSmeth for a free case evaluation today.
Car Accidents in California
The Golden State is known for the entertainment industry, its beaches, and its high level of traffic congestion. Whenever you are in the Santa Barbara or Ventura areas, you are likely to encourage a great deal of traffic. That traffic is filled with recently licensed drivers, college students, tourists, people in a hurry, and individuals leaving the endless bars and establishments in the state. This combination means that crashes are bound to occur.
In a recent year, more than 3,600 lives were lost in vehicle accidents in California, and hundreds of thousands more injuries occurred. Accidents can and do happen, and when they do, you might sustain costly injuries. You also might have important legal rights, and you should let an attorney evaluate your situation.
Common Crash-Related Injuries
Car accidents can cause a broad range of injuries, from simple scratches that need no medical attention to catastrophic injuries that alter the rest of your life. If an injury needs any type of medical care - even if it seems minor - you have losses and should learn whether you can recover financially from the liable party.
Common injuries from car accidents in Santa Barbara include:
- Neck and back injury
- Soft tissue damage
- Nerve damage
- Loss of limb or partial paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussions
- Internal organ damage and hemorrhaging
All of these injuries need immediate medical attention, and depending on the severity, you might require hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitative therapy, and other follow-up care. Many injuries can prevent you from working, as well, and the lost income only adds to the financial stress in the aftermath of a crash.
Causes of Car Accidents
In order to know your rights following a car accident, your lawyer must identify the cause of the crash. In some cases, the cause will be quite obvious, while it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause in other situations. It might require investigation, and your attorney should have the resources to get to the bottom of what happened and who was to blame.
One of the most common causes of car accidents in the modern world is that of distracted driving. Distracted driving is driving while engaging in any activity that takes your attention away from the road. This can include using a smartphone while driving, talking or texting while driving, or even talking to a passenger. When a driver is on the road engaging in distracted driving using a smartphone in California, they are also violating the law, which makes them automatically negligent and at fault.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is an additional threat on the roads that leads to many preventable accidents and deaths each year. Nearly one-third (1,066) of traffic fatalities in California were attributed to drunk driving in a single year. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their ability to safely operate their motor vehicle is drastically impacted. With so many other options for rideshares and other forms of sober transportation, there is no excuse for drunk driving, and these drivers should be held fully accountable for the harm they cause.
Other causes of crashes that might lead to injury claims include:
- Aggressive driving
- Drowsy driving
- Failing to yield
- Running red lights
- Violating other traffic laws
- Defective vehicles
If someone else was to blame for your crash and injuries, they should also be responsible for your losses.
Who Could be Liable for Your Car Crash Injuries?
The parties that could be at fault in your car crash begin with other drivers. When a driver is negligent, such as by distracted driving or violating a traffic law, they are liable for the damages that they cause. The insurance company of the negligent driver should cover your losses, and in some cases, more than one driver might be at fault.
You might also hold the other driver’s employer liable. When an employee is doing their job and causes an accident while they are in the course of their employment, generally, their employer will also be vicariously liable. This might happen when you are hit by a commercial truck driver or a delivery driver, for example.
Companies can also be negligent in their own right. Sometimes, employers require that employees work too much, making them fatigued and unable to drive safely. In other situations, employees may be incentivized to complete deliveries as quickly as possible, and they could cause accidents as a result of their rushing and speeding.
Trucking companies and companies like Uber have insurance that can cover the cost of accidents, and you may be entitled to compensation from these corporate insurers that have much higher policy limits. Your car accident attorney can advise you of which parties they will pursue to achieve full compensation and coverage for your accident.
How a Santa Barbara Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
When you have been in a car accident, reaching out to a lawyer as soon as possible will support the best outcome of your case. Your attorney ensures that your damages are accurately calculated and that your settlement offer is sufficient. They will step into your shoes and handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance companies and opposing parties, so that you can focus on your recovery while your attorney focuses on making the most of your compensation.
If you need assistance with a car accident claim in the Santa Barbara area, you want the law firm of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, on your side. Please contact us for a free case evaluation so we can learn more about your situation and advise you of your legal rights.
Santa Barbara Car Accident FAQs
What should you do after a car accident?
After your car accident, the first thing you should do is seek out emergency medical attention. Receiving emergency medical care will ensure that you have no immediately threatening injuries from the accident. After you have received immediate medical attention, you should reach out to a car accident lawyer.
Connecting with a lawyer as soon as possible after your initial medical care will help you to start the process of collecting the compensation you need and are entitled to. Your car accident attorney will have the resources to begin gathering evidence right away to identify and prove liability for your crash. Evidence tends to fade or disappear the longer you wait, so the sooner you get an attorney on board, the better.
Should you accept a car accident insurance settlement?
Accepting an insurance settlement without first going over it with a car accident attorney can be a huge mistake. This can result in you receiving much less than you are entitled to and leave you with losses you will need to cover yourself.
The purpose of a quick and low settlement offer from the insurance company is to support their bottom-line and profit margins. The insurance companies do not work for you, they work for profit, and profit is made by paying as little as possible on claims. If you accept this settlement offer without legal guidance, you will likely leave significant funds on the table that you cannot later recover.
Your car accident attorney has worked on many similar cases before and can determine what your claim is worth. We will advise you when a settlement offer is fair or when further negotiations are necessary.
How much does a car accident attorney cost?
You might think that you cannot afford a car accident attorney, as many lawyers charge costly hourly fees. However, personal injury lawyers are different, and often, you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket to hire a lawyer at all for your car accident claim.
Furthermore, your attorney is only paid if they win your case, and that payment comes out of a portion of your settlement or award. This is called a contingency fee arrangement, and it helps make sure that anyone injured in a car crash can afford the proper legal representation.
Call a Santa Barbara car accident attorney from Bamieh and De Smeth to discuss options on how we can seek damages for your losses in a way that you are both comfortable with and can afford.