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A bustling city of over 66,000 and growing, Lake Elsinore has a booming tourism industry and is an affordable town for commuters who travel to and from work outside Riverside County in major metro areas like Los Angeles. The town is served by the busy 15 freeway and attracts many nonresident motorcyclists, hikers, and cyclists to its roads and trails. But, where there are many people, there are often many cars and trucks nearby. Numerous vehicles, in combination with the prevalence of careless or risky behavior like speeding, driving while intoxicated, and distracted driving, results in collisions, injuries, and even fatalities far too often in the area.

In 2016 alone, the California Office of Traffic Safety reported that Lake Elsinore recorded 312 victims of either injuries or fatalities from traffic collisions. Earlier this year, a 4-vehicle crash on the 15 freeway in Lake Elsinore injured seven people – an accident that injured seven people and resulted from distracted drivers in heavy traffic looking at the poppy “super bloom” phenomenon taking place in the area. These sorts of negligent behaviors continue to result in avoidable accidents and injuries, and the responsible parties should be held to account. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car accident, you should speak to a Lake Elsinore General Car Accident Injury Attorney to see if you might be entitled to compensation.

How Can I Win My Case? Most victims injured in car accidents seek compensation by filing a civil lawsuit alleging they were hurt by someone else’s negligent behavior. To prove negligence, you must usually prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused your harm as a result of the breach. However, victims may also be able to establish a presumption of negligence by demonstrating the wrongdoer was violating a rule or regulation at the time of injury. This theory of negligence per se includes breaking traffic laws designed to protect people such as speed limits, which can often be proven through eyewitness accounts, police reports, traffic cameras, and on-site evidence like skid marks. A defendant found negligent is liable for their victim’s injuries unless they have a valid defense. Because tying the defendant’s breach to harm can be difficult, it’s advisable to work with a skilled Lake Elsinore Car Accident attorney to ensure your case puts its best foot forward.

What Can I Recover for My Injuries? The severity of many car accidents leaves many victims astronomical medical expenses for injuries including fractures, whiplash, injuries to the neck, back, and head, traumatic brain injuries, and organ damage. Conditions like paralysis or brain damage can leave victims with lifelong expenses and potentially unable to return to work or earn a living on a permanent basis. Compensatory damages are intended to make victims whole for these types of damages as well as intangible damages like emotional distress or pain and suffering.

Sometimes victims may be entitled to an additional award of damages to punish defendants for particularly vile, reprehensible behavior and discourage repetition of similar conduct in the future. These discretionary damages may be large, but they require satisfying a high burden of proof and so are only awarded sparingly.

What Do I Do After a Car Accident? Though it may be the last thing you want to do after your car accident, it’s important to take a few simple steps to look after your health, protect your rights, and gather information that may greatly benefit your claim.

Get Medical Attention Get medical help as soon as you can after any accident. You should have a thorough medical evaluation be treated for any injuries as soon as possible even if you believe you weren’t hurt – some injuries don’t present symptoms for several days after your accident. Follow treatment plans and medical recommendations exactly, and make sure to schedule and attend all follow-up appointments.

Don’t Admit Fault Though your first instinct after an accident may be to apologize or say it was your fault, the best thing you can do is keep quiet to prevent your words from being used against you. Also, don’t say you “feel fine” if anyone asks about your physical condition. Check to see if anyone in your vehicle, as well as the occupants of any other vehicles involved, need medical attention and notify law enforcement, but say no more than needed.

Gather Evidence Gathering documents, records, and other evidence can greatly help prove your claim and establish your damages to a court when seeking compensation. If possible, take photos of the scene, collect eyewitness contact information, notify law enforcement and get a copy of the completed accident report, and keep records of all your medical treatment as well as receipts or paystubs reflecting any expenses you incur as a result of your injuries.

Don’t Delay It’s important not to procrastinate too much in filing your case for compensation. California’s 2-year statute of limitations, which starts running the day you were injured, is all the time you have to file your claim for recovery. If that period passes, you permanently lose the ability to file a suit and seek damages for your injuries; if you file after 2 years has run, your case will be dismissed.

Contact an Attorney If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident, you know firsthand how serious the physical, emotional, and financial consequences can be. The skilled Lake Elsinore Car Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC can help put the pieces back together – we’ve spent years providing dedicated, aggressive representation and fighting for clients like you to receive millions in compensation for their injuries. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866) 338-7079 or via our online Contact Page to schedule a risk free, confidential case review. The initial consultation is free, and you don’t pay until we win your case. Let us evaluate the facts of your case and work to secure the maximum possible recovery on your behalf.