Walnut Creek Car Accident Lawyers

car-accidentEach year, hundreds of thousands of Californians are hurt in car accidents. In fact, in 2017 alone, 277,160 people were hurt and an additional 3,904 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents. No matter how careful you are as a driver, a crash can still happen – leading to serious or even catastrophic injuries.

If you were injured in a car accident in Walnut Creek or the surrounding areas, then you may be entitled to compensation if another driver caused the wreck. A personal injury lawsuit may allow you to recover for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and disfigurement or scarring. An experienced Walnut Creek Car Accident Attorney can help you with the process, starting with a free consultation.

The Appel Law Firm LLP is dedicated to helping individuals in the San Francisco/East Bay area who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents and other types of accidents. If you choose to work with our law firm, we will aggressively advocate for your rights, fight insurance companies, and help you achieve the best possible outcome. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation with a California personal injury lawyer.

What To Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Car accident victims have much to consider, including the severity of their injuries, how the crash might impact them financially, how they’ll get their vehicle repaired, and more. Learning more about what steps you should take after an accident before you’re ever involved in a crash can help you protect your rights as a victim and limit the long-term personal inconvenience and expense.

If you’ve been in a car accident:

  • Seek medical treatment if you are obviously or even possibly injured. Let the care team know that you were injured in an automobile accident.
  • Notify the police of the accident and provide any documentation they request, including registration, proof of insurance, and your driver’s license. Share only the facts.
  • Ask the other driver for the insurance information and contact information. Even if the police have this information, ensure you have a copy as well.
  • Gather evidence by taking pictures, getting contact information from witnesses, and taking videos.
  • Notify your insurance company.
  • Visit with a personal injury attorney as early as possible to make sure the at-fault driver’s insurance company compensates you appropriately for your losses, including vehicle damage, medical bills, personal suffering, time away from work, and more.

Understanding Car Accidents

Car accidents, occur when a motorized vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, or object. They can result in severe injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. Understanding the causes and factors contributing to these accidents is crucial in preventing them.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Distracted Driving: The use of mobile phones, eating, or other distractions while driving can lead to accidents.

Speeding: Driving above the speed limit reduces the driver’s reaction time, increasing the risk of collisions.

Reckless Driving: Engaging in aggressive behaviors such as tailgating and weaving in and out of traffic can lead to accidents.

Impaired Driving: Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs driving abilities.

Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog can make roads slippery and hazardous.

Choosing a Walnut Creek Accident Lawyer

When researching law firms, you may have a difficult time choosing the best car accident lawyer for your case. At Appel Law Firm LLP, we offer:

Personalized Service: We only accept as many clients as our firm can personally represent. You will never become a forgotten file buried 200 deep on someone’s desk.

Reputation: Some law firms shy away from jury trials. We don’t. Although the majority of our car accident claims settle, our reputation for aggressive litigation provides our clients with an important bargaining chip to get full compensation through an insurance settlement.

Experience: We have decades of experience and the financial resources needed to ensure your legal rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you’re entitled to for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our client testimonials speak for themselves.

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, we encourage you to reach out to our firm today for top-notch service and a history of excellent results for our clients.

Types of Car Accident Cases Our Lawyers Handle

Our law firm represents Californians who have been injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents, including:

How Our Attorneys Help Clients After an Accident

Each of our personal injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits starts with a free case evaluation, where we meet with prospective clients and their families to explain their legal rights and options for pursuing a claim to receive maximum compensation. If a car accident victim decides to hire us, then we begin the investigation process.

Our legal team begins an investigation into the facts of an auto accident immediately. We take photographs of the vehicles and the scene, track down and get statements from witnesses, and obtain police reports. If necessary, we will hire an accident reconstruction expert to establish how the crash happened and your right to fair compensation.

After determining what happened, our next step is to analyze the case against California’s personal injury and wrongful death law to build a strong claim. We use our experience and knowledge to develop a demand for financial compensation, working with experts to put a value on items such as reduced earning capacity or loss of enjoyment of life. Throughout the process, our legal team communicates with our clients to ensure that they know what is happening and advise them of their options for resolving the case.

Accident victims are often approached by an adjuster for the insurance company after a crash. They may offer you a settlement, request a written or oral statement, or ask you to sign something. They may even tell you that they accept full responsibility for the accident.

It can be tempting to just take whatever settlement that the insurance company offers. After all, when you have been hurt in a wreck, the last thing that you want to do is deal with paperwork, bureaucracy, and the legal process. You may also be experiencing financial strain, which can make that settlement look very attractive.

In almost every case, accepting a settlement from the insurer – or even talking to the adjuster without a lawyer – is a mistake. Insurance companies are in business to make money. Their goal in resolving a case isn’t to make sure that you get top dollar – it is to make it go away for as little money as possible.

By contrast, your Walnut Creek car accident attorney is required to represent your best interests. They know that any initial settlement offer from an insurance company will be for a fraction of the true value of your accident claim. Your lawyer will use their knowledge of California personal injury law and similar cases to fight for your right to maximum compensation.

Studies show that people who have legal representation recover an average of 40% more in car accident claims, compared to people who represent themselves. The reason why is simple: insurance companies will always try to resolve a case on the cheap unless they are forced to pay an injury victim what they deserve. They know that when you hire a car accident attorney, you mean business – and you won’t accept a lowball settlement.

The best way to get full compensation for your losses after a motor vehicle accident is by working with a skilled lawyer with a track record of success. In Walnut Creek and throughout Northern California, you can trust the Appel Law Firm to fight for your rights.

Determining Fault in a Walnut Creek Car Accident Case

Personal injury cases are based on a theory of negligence, which is the failure to exercise reasonable care. It can also be viewed as a form of carelessness. In some cases, the at-fault driver may have acted recklessly or even intentionally, such as in DUI crashes.

To obtain a favorable car accident verdict, you will need to prove that the other driver was negligent. If you can do that, then you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the losses that you suffered.

There are four basic elements of negligence

  • Duty: the at-fault driver (defendant) owed the victim (plaintiff) a duty of care;
  • Breach: the defendant breached or violated that duty of care;
  • Causation: The defendant’s breach was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injuries; and
  • Damages: the plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of the accident.

All drivers in California owe others on the road a duty to use reasonable care when they operate a vehicle. This duty encompasses basic tasks, like looking out for other vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles, as well as following California’s Motor Vehicle Code.

In some cases, fault is clear, such as if a driver slams into another vehicle while texting and driving, which is against the law in California. In fact, if the other driver violated a law and that violation caused an accident, they may be presumed negligent (negligence per se). However, in other cases, it may be difficult to determine who was negligent. This may happen in multi-vehicle car crashes or where the other driver argues that the victim was responsible for the accident, too.

If more than one driver was to blame for an accident, both may be able to recover for their damages. Under California’s comparative fault rule, if both drivers share some of the fault, an injured driver can still get damages. In this situation, the amount of damages that they recover may be reduced by the percentage that they were at fault.

For example, one driver was speeding before rear-ending another vehicle, but the other driver had braked suddenly because they were distracted by their kids fighting in the back seat. The first driver is deemed to be 60% at fault for the accident, while the second driver is assigned 40% of the blame. If the second driver has $100,000 in losses, then their total recovery will be reduced by 40% ($40,000) to $60,000.

Comparative fault is just one way that California auto accident cases can be complicated. Insurance companies use all types of strategies to avoid liability in car accident cases – such as trying to get you to admit fault or arguing that your injuries were pre-existing. If you have been injured in any type of car crash, working with a Walnut Creek car accident attorney can help ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. We will take on the insurance company and their lawyers for you.

How Can I Afford to Pay a Lawyer for My Car Accident Case?

Personal injury law firms typically handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront, and only pay a fee if your lawyer gets money for you. The fee will be a percentage of your settlement or verdict at trial.

With a contingency fee agreement, you can hire a lawyer even if you don’t have the money to pay out of pocket. These arrangements also align your interests with your lawyers: you both want to resolve the case for as much money as possible, as quickly as possible. To learn more, call the Appel Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with a Walnut Creek car accident attorney. 

Do I Really Need an Attorney for My California Car Accident Claim?

For minor car accidents that don’t involve any injuries, it may be possible to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company on your own. However, if you have suffered any injuries, then you should consult with a lawyer before talking to the insurance company or making any decisions about how to proceed.

Insurance companies are interested in their own bottom line – not in making sure that you get maximum compensation. Agreeing to a settlement without getting a full understanding of your rights can leave you in a position of not having enough money to cover your losses. If you have been in an automobile accident, call the Appel Law Firm for a free consultation with a member of our legal team.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

In California, most personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the accident, a time limit known as the statute of limitations. There are exceptions, such as for claims against the state or a city, or when a person was under 18 at the time of the accident. However, if you fail to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you will not be able to pursue your claim.

It is essential to contact a Walnut Creek car accident lawyer soon after an accident, as memories and evidence can be lost over time.

The Path To Compensation Starts Here

After a car accident, you may be stressed and overwhelmed by medical expenses, lost wages, insurance companies, and your own pain and trauma. Our legal team will help to ease some of these burdens so that you can focus on your recovery. We will provide a realistic road map for your case so that you know what to expect, and work hard to get you the best possible outcome.

At Appel Law Firm LLP, we are experienced car accident attorneys and we have the legal knowledge, negotiation know-how, and trial skills to get our clients and their loved ones top-dollar verdicts and settlements for their losses. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us at 925-938-2000 or email us at any time.