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Car Accidents in Temecula
Temecula Car accidents are traumatic, all too common occurrences on the increasingly busy roadways these days. Not only can they be costly in terms of repairing the vehicles involved – if someone is injured there can be medical bills, lost wages, and emotional repercussions as well. California law has set out ways to recover damages when a person is injured or killed in a car accident, so here’s a look at the basics of this type of personal injury claims.How Do I Prove I Was Injured in a Car Accident in Temecula and Recover Damages?
In order to recover for personal injuries sustained in a car accident, victims usually put forward the argument that the other party involved was negligent and such negligence resulted in their injuries. Under California law, people are charged with operating under a duty to exercise the same care that an ordinarily prudent person would exercise when placed in their situation. When someone breaches that duty of care through either an affirmative act or an omission when they should instead have acted, they are considered negligent. Once a victim demonstrates that a party had a duty and breached it, if they can also prove they suffered actual harm and such harm was caused by the breach then they can successfully show negligence and are entitled to recover damages.What If I Am Partially at Fault for the Car Accident?
Though many car accidents are caused though the fault of one party, not all car accidents are entirely the result of a single person. In these cases, there may be questions as to how much a partially responsible person who has suffered injury is entitled to recover.
California has adopted a policy of comparative negligence to handle these scenarios. In car accident cases, pure comparative negligence works by assigning a percentage of fault to the parties involved in the accident. The amount of fault for each party corresponds to the amount of damages they must pay. If a victim suffered $10,000 in damages and is found to be 40% at fault for their accident while another party is found 60% at fault, the other party would only be responsible for $6,000 worth of the victim’s damages. This is great news for those of you that did play a role in your Temecula car accident—you can still get money and in some cases where your injuries are substantial, your payout can still be very large.How Much is My Temecula Car Accident Case Worth?
If a car accident injures you, you have a right to recover damages from whomever is at fault due to their negligence or recklessness. California has laws allowing car accident victims to seek compensatory damages from the offending party in order to make them whole for their injuries. Compensatory damages may be economic or noneconomic. Economic damages are harms that are financially quantifiable and include such things as:
- Medical expenses (past and future);
- Lost future earnings and earning potential;
- Property damage;
- Costs associated with a funeral; and
- Lost wages.
Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are damages intended to compensate for nonquantifiable harms. It is not possible to put a concrete value on emotional or psychological damage done to victims and their loved ones, but courts may award compensation for harms such as:
- Loss of consortium (companionship);
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- Disfigurement; and
- Permanent disability.
In addition to compensatory damages, victims may also be entitled to an award of punitive damages in some cases – exemplary damages intended specifically to punish a wrongdoer’s egregious, particularly reprehensible, reckless, or intentional conduct and motivate them and others to avoid engaging in the same behavior in the future.
For an award of punitive damages, the victim must show a party acted with oppression, malice, or fraud. The standard for establishing each of these is different, but once a showing has been made by the victim a judge or jury has the ability, at their discretion, to determine both whether punitive damages should be awarded and in what amount. The award may be based on a variety of factors, but there is no fixed standard and so judges and juries must consider punitive damages on a case by case basis.Why Is It So Important for Me to Act Now?
If you have been injured in a car accident in California, it is important to take immediate steps to ensure you can recover the maximum amount of damages you have suffered. Time is not on your side. California has statutory limitations on the amount of time you may wait before filing a cause of action for personal injury – once that has passed, your claim is time barred and lost forever. Currently in California car accident victims have a 2 year statute of limitations in which to file your claim that begins running the day of the accident. Filing after that date will subject your case to dismissal by a court of law. That makes it crucial for you to act quickly to collect records and seek the advice of an attorney experienced in car accidents in the Temecula area to determine whether you have a case and how best to proceed going forward.What Else Should I Do Following A Car Accident?
Just because you have the right to sue for personal injuries or wrongful death as soon as the car accident occurs does not mean it is always the best idea to do so immediately. Serious injuries may require extensive recovery times and multiple types of treatment. You and all medical professionals treating you should establish a firm treatment plan prior to settling any claims in order to ascertain the quantity of care you require and the cost of such care in the future in order to quantify your damages properly.
A treatment plan is an important part of establishing damages you may be entitled to recover. Additionally, you should keep records of all:
- Medical expenses;
- Medical treatments;
- Lost wages;
- Repairs to your property; and
- Other financial damages you suffer as a result of the accident and your injuries.
You should also immediately consult with a personal injury attorney experienced with car accident cases in Temecula to understand your options, have a professional evaluation of your case, and determine the best way to proceed. Contact the experienced attorneys at Walton Law today to schedule a no-risk, confidential case review. There is no obligation and you will pay no fees unless we win your case. We are available 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or you may use our online Contact Page to set up your initial consultation today. Our skilled attorneys will evaluate your unique circumstances and help you or your loved one attain the best outcome possible.