Nobody gets in their car with the expectation they will be involved in a car accident that day, let alone suffer potentially catastrophic injuries, death, and far-reaching effects for you and your loved ones. Car accidents can be caused by honest mistakes, but distracted driving, drunk driving, failure to obey traffic laws, and other improper driver behavior result in injury-causing accidents far too often. If you are hurt in a car accident as a result of someone else’s actions, you may be entitled to recover for your injuries in a personal injury claim and should consult a Murrieta personal injury attorney experienced with car accidents to learn about your options.
Murrieta Car Accident Statistics
Murrieta is a growing city with over 113,000 citizens and has experienced a 133% population explosion in the last decade. A commuter town, most residents travel to San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles, Temecula, and Camp Pendleton. Despite being a relatively safe city, there were still at least 15 people involved in fatal car accidents in 2017 with the I-215 Freeway being the most dangerous stretch of roadway. The high number of fatalities, in conjunction with all non-fatal injury accidents and Murrieta’s reputation as a commuter town, make car accidents and personal injury claims arising from them a serious concern for its residents.
How Do I Recover for a Car Accident Injury in Murrieta?
In a personal injury suit, victims most commonly assert negligence on the part of other parties to the accident. To recover for negligence, you must prove the following elements:
- Duty – The other party had a legal duty of care to the victim to act the same way an ordinarily prudent person would if placed in their situation.
- Breach – Through an act or omission, the party failed to uphold their legal duty to the victim.
- Causation – The party’s breach of duty was the cause of the victim’s injuries.
- Harm – The victim suffered actual harm.
Once a victim established those four essentials occurred, the other party will be presumed to have acted negligently and be liable for the victim’s injuries unless they can raise a valid defense. Establishing these elements can be tricky, so it is advisable to consult a seasoned attorney in Murrieta with experience handling personal injuries sustained in car accidents to navigate the often-complex legal landscape.
What Is My Car Accident Injury Worth?
It is normal to wonder how much your case is worth if you have been injured. Once a victim has established that they were injured by another’s negligence, there are two different types of damages they may be awarded by a judge or jury – compensatory and punitive.
A negligent party is liable for damages they cause that a victim can prove. Compensatory damages are designed to make a victim whole for the injuries they suffered and can be awarded for different types of harms. The value of some harms, such as physical injuries and lost wages, can be established through medical bills, receipts, and paystubs. Other harms, such as loss of consortium, disfigurement, and pain and suffering, are harder to quantify and are left up to a judge or jury to award.
If a car accident victim can show their injuries were the result of someone’s reckless, reprehensible, or intentional conduct, they may be awarded additional damages to punish the offender and discourage them and others from repeating such behavior in the future. If the victim is entitled to compensatory damages and can also show a party acted with malice, fraud, or oppression and caused their injuries, they can be awarded punitive damages. There is no limit or guideline for punitive damage awards – they are considered on a case by case basis by the judge or jury and often are very large in order to have their desired effect.
What Should I Do if I am Injured in a Car Accident?
If you are injured in a Murrieta car accident, there are several important steps you should take afterwards. These actions are vital to care for your health and well-being, preserve your legal rights, and help gather facts that may aid you if you pursue a claim for personal injury.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
As soon as possible, avail yourself of medical attention. It is important for your injuries to be evaluated and you to be screened for injuries that may not be obvious at the time. For your health and the health of any claim you may file, it is imperative you follow medical instructions and doctor recommendations, take medication as prescribed, and attend all follow-up appointments set by your treatment providers.
Document Evidence and Keep Records
Records and other documentary evidence you gather can be very helpful in substantiating your claims and damages in court. If possible, photograph or document your injuries as well as the accident scene. Get a copy of any police or official records created regarding the accident. Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Retain records of all medical treatments, medical bills, and incurred expenses such as lost wages or property damage.
Do Not Delay
Taking immediate action is important, because California has a 2-year statute of limitations from the date of the accident for most personal injury lawsuits – including those arising from car accidents. If you do not act within the time frame, you will be barred from recovering any damages and will permanently lose the right to pursue your legal claim.
Contact a Murrieta Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, contact the experienced Murrieta attorneys at Walton Law today. Our knowledgeable attorneys have been handling car accident injury claims for years and securing favorable outcomes for clients through personalized, aggressive advocacy. We have secured millions in recovery for our clients through tailored, focused representation. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866) 338-7079 or Contact Us online to schedule a no obligation, risk-free case review – the initial consultation is free and you do not pay until we win your case. Let us evaluate your case and give you guidance to obtain the optimal outcome from a bad situation.