What is a Personal Injury?

From its legal definition, a personal injury is when a negligent action causes physical harm to someone else. Personal injury is an umbrella term that is used to describe a wide array of different injuries, all of which are the direct result of someone’s reckless and negligent behavior. One of the most common types of personal injury claims is motor vehicle accidents.

These types of claims vary in severity, however, despite this, all require the skill and assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our law firm offers a free initial consultation to discuss your legal options and the value of your claim.

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

After sustaining a personal injury from a motor vehicle accident in Rancho Cucamonga, chances are you’re going to be out of work, hurt, and unable to do as much as you used to before the accident. As such, you may not have the time to necessarily dedicate to calling the insurance company and handling everything yourself.

By hiring an injury lawyer, you’re allowing someone else to take the burden off your shoulders so you can focus on what matters most: your recovery. When it comes to motor vehicle accidents and the subsequent claims they give rise to, most insurance companies will settle with you (the plaintiff) before the personal injury case ever reaches trial. Not only can your lawyer advocate on your behalf so you don’t receive a low settlement offer, but they can be your best weapon in court should the case proceed before a judge and jury.

When in court, your lawyer will argue your case on behalf and present the evidence to the judge and jury so they can award sufficient financial compensation. If you want any chance of standing out in trial, you need an experienced personal injury attorney by your side who knows how to fiercely advocate for your specific personal injury case and explain why compensation is necessary for your injuries.

How Sierra Accident Lawyers Can Help

When it comes to personal injury cases arising from automobile accidents, you want a lawyer who is just as knowledgeable about rollover car accidents as they are truckers who neglected state and federal law. At Sierra Accident Lawyers, our team of Rancho Cucamonga personal injury attorneys has represented clients for a variety of motor vehicle-related injuries.

When you need someone that can demonstrate their knowledge and skill in certain areas of practice such as personal injury law, you need to turn to the best. Our personal injury lawyers are aware of how long you have to file a claim and will advise you on what to expect in the process. In California, individuals seeking to file a personal injury claim have two years from the date of the accident to do so. This window goes by fast and once it does, there goes your ability to collect compensation. Don’t let this happen to you. Call the personal injury attorneys at Sierra Accident Lawyers for a consultation today: 909-942-7632.

Most Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

Distracted driving and inattention

Did you know that it takes approximately 5 seconds to read a text message? In that short time, it’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field. Distracted driving consists of talking on the phone, reading a text message, opening a social media app, talking with other passengers, using the GPS, turning on music, or eating and drinking.

Fatigue

Individuals who suffer from insomnia, work overnights, or do not get the recommended amount of sleep per night are at risk of causing a motor vehicle accident. Furthermore, certain prescription medicines can cause drowsiness, which can impair a driver’s cognitive skills once they’re behind the wheel.

Intoxication

It’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content level, or BAC, in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, and elsewhere across the United States that is 0.08% or higher. However, that is just for adult drivers over the age of 21. It’s illegal for minors to have a BAC of 0.01% since they’re not old enough to drink, and commercial truck drivers must have a BAC level below 0.04%. When a driver gets behind the wheel, they must adhere to these legal limits, however, that doesn’t mean they can’t still cause accidents. Buzzed driving is still drunk driving.

Failure to maintain your vehicle

If you knew that your car, for example, had bald tires and you knowingly drove on them and experienced a blowout that caused an auto accident, you could be held liable for negligence.

Road rage

Drivers who sit in traffic, are running late, are exhausted, or deal with strong emotions when they get behind the wheel are more prone to exhibiting road rage. Road range includes any reckless behavior that puts other drivers in harm’s way such as excessive speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, running a red light, and cutting someone off.

When it comes to personal injury accidents, other factors may be at play such as a negligent road design constructed and built by a city or state contractor, improper placement of safety signs by the city, broken stoplights, or dangerous construction zones that weren’t properly marked off. Automobile accidents and catastrophic injuries may also be caused by defective auto parts, such as tires, brakes, and airbags. Your injury lawyer will investigate the cause of the accident to make sure the liable party is held responsible for their negligence.

Determining Liability in Personal Injury Cases

Determining liability in an accident comes down to how the accident occurred and what each party was doing at the time of the accident. California is technically considered an at-fault state, which means you can turn to the other driver’s insurance for compensation. However, California is also a comparative negligence state, which means that your compensation award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re at a red light. The light turns green and just as you’re pulling out into the intersection, a driver on your right blows the red light and crashes into you. In this scenario, liability is pretty cut and dry. You had a green light and started driving when it was safe and legal to do so, whereas the other driver made a reckless, negligent decision that severely injured you and damaged your vehicle.

However, let’s say that you’re at the red light but instead you’re scrolling on Instagram. When the light turns green, you start to pull out into the intersection but you’re still looking down at your phone to exit the app or get one last glance when BOOM – the car that blew the stop sign hit you. While the driver who T-boned you is still largely at fault for the accident since they ran the light, you will still likely hold some liability for what happened because had you not been looking at your phone, maybe you would have been able to avoid the accident. This is just one of the many reasons why determining liability in a Rancho Cucamonga car accident/personal injury case can be so complex.

However, in all personal injury cases, it comes down to whether or not the other driver owed you a duty of care and if their actions breached that duty. Drivers owe a reasonable amount of safety to everyone else on the road. When they breach that duty by acting recklessly by speeding or running a red light and subsequently cause an accident, it’s up to your lawyer to prove that those injuries are not only a direct result of the negligent actions, but they’re also able to be compensated.

How Much Your Rancho Cucamonga Personal Injury Claim is Worth?

How much a personal injury claim is worth varies on the details of the case. Every accident is going to be different. While they’re all serious in their own way and should be treated as such, the value of your injury claim is going to depend on several factors such as the severity of your injuries, how they affected you if your car was totaled if you’re unable to return to work and perform the same tasks, the seriousness of the breach of duty of care owed to you, and the pain and suffering you have had to endure.

For example, someone who was significantly burned in a car accident caused by a negligent driver may be awarded more compensation for their treatment and the physical and mental anguish they suffered than someone who walked away with a broken leg. In many personal injury cases, the more severe the accident and injuries are, the higher the value of your claim might be.

Your personal injury attorney in Rancho Cucamonga has access to the best medical and economic experts to help determine the value of your claim. For example, an economic expert will calculate the cost of your lost wages and future potential earnings if you’re unable to return to work or continue in the same career. To determine the extent of the damages you suffered, an accident reconstruction expert, economic expert, and a medical professional will work together to assign a numerical amount to your pain and suffering.

What You Should Do After Suffering a Personal Injury

Regardless of the type of personal injury you suffer, you should take care to adhere to the following steps that will make it easier to recover the compensation you need:

  1. Write down everything you can see and remember as soon as possible after the accident: The more information you jot down, the better. Think of it this way: the more evidence you have to support your claims, the less the negligent party can wiggle out of responsibility for their actions. Even if you think it’s a minor detail, such as the color shirt the other driver was wearing, write it down. Even though California law requires drivers to pull over in the event of an accident, this doesn’t always mean they will. So, if a driver hits you and drives off, having descriptive information such as their hair color and the color shirt they’re wearing, the make and model of their vehicle, and numbers from the license plate will go a long way in helping law enforcement locate the driver.

  2. Seek medical attention, even if you’re feeling fine: When you call 911 after an auto accident, the paramedics will arrive on the scene. However, if you’re not severely injured on-site, they may not push you to seek medical attention and instead suggest keeping an eye on your pain over the next 24 hours. After a personal injury, it’s not uncommon for adrenaline to mask the severity of an injury. By not seeking immediate medical attention after an accident, the insurance company may use this as a reason to deny or underpay your claim. By going to the doctor’s or emergency room, you’re not only creating a paper trail to support your injury claim, but you’re protecting your health since you don’t really know the extent of your injuries after an accident.

  3. Avoid name-calling or getting angry at the accident scene: Tensions can, understandably, run high after an accident but it’s best to avoid any sort of confrontation at the accident scene. Keep the conversation with the other driver civil; exchange information and contact information. Unchecked emotions could lead to assault and land you in hot water and criminal charges. When you hire an injury lawyer, you’ll have an opportunity to express your feelings, but for now, keep them in check and stick to the basics.

  4. Don’t admit fault: Even if you think the accident was your fault, that’s not up for you to decide, as there could be other factors at play that you aren’t even aware of. An investigation into what happens will determine where liability falls. An omission of guilt, even innocently, can be used against you by both the defendant and the insurance company. Stick to the facts and let the professionals assign liability.

Common Injuries Resulting From Personal Injuries in Rancho Cucamonga

The injuries sustained after a motor vehicle-related personal injury can range in severity, from mild to life-altering. The most common injuries resulting from personal injuries include:

Traumatic brain injuries

Often caused by blunt force trauma in an accident, these could result in memory loss, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and concussions that can put you out of work for months.

Broken bones

Whether caused by the impact of the other vehicle or being thrown from the vehicle, broken bones are common in auto accidents. The most common limbs that are broken in accidents are hands, feet, knees, legs, and arms. In some cases, people may put their feet up on the dashboard; if an accident occurs and the airbags deploy, this can easily shatter bones. This is one big reason why you should never put your feet up while riding in the passenger seat.

Burn injuries

If a vehicle starts leaking gas after a collision and catches on fire, this could not only hurt the driver but any present passengers, as well. Burn injuries can require surgery and result in severe disfigurement and scarring.

Spinal cord injuries

Like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries can be caused by being ejected from an accident and can cause a loss of motor function and bowel and bladder control. More serious personal injury accidents may lead to lifelong paralysis.

Whiplash

As one of the most common car crash injuries, whiplash can be mild or severe. It’s often caused by the neck rapidly and forcefully jolting back and forth.

Seatbelt/airbag injuries

While meant to protect you, airbags and seatbelts can cause broken bones, crushed organs, and significant bruising that may take weeks to heal.

The term “personal injury” is used loosely here, as it doesn’t just refer to physical injuries, but also the effects of these injuries that result in loss of motor function, bodily movement, disfigurement, and even the loss of a loved one.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Did you suffer a personal injury? Suffering a personal injury after a motor vehicle accident can be terrifying and overwhelming. Not only can you suffer physical injuries, but you may become scared of getting behind the wheel moving forward.

Personal injury lawyers in Rancho Cucamonga have the skills you need to be accurately represented in court. When you need money from being unable to work or perform the tasks you once enjoyed, you can’t just go with anyone. You need to go with a highly reputable law firm that is well versed in personal injury law and has legal accolades to prove it.

Call Sierra Accident Lawyers at 909-942-7632 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Contact us to learn more about our personal injury law services.

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