San Jose Car Accident Lawyers
When you have been injured in a San Jose traffic accident, you need to know how to keep the insurance companies honest so that you can get the most compensation possible. Find out how to handle your claim by consulting with a San Jose car accident attorney.
Being involved in a car crash can be both terrifying and financially devastating. If the collision resulted in personal injuries or significant property damage, then you may find yourself dealing with piles of bills for medical treatments and car repairs.
Additionally, if your injuries keep you from returning to work, then your lost income will only make it more difficult to meet your financial obligations.
Although your accident-related expenses should be covered by the at-fault driver’s insurer, you may find that the insurance company is unwilling to provide you with the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Working with a San Jose car accident lawyer will not only relieve the stress of filing a claim but will also help ensure that you receive full and fair compensation.
The attorneys at Bohn & Fletcher, LLP can help you take on the insurance company and fight for your rights. We have over forty years of experience advocating for car accident victims throughout Santa Clara County and the surrounding areas.
If you sustained serious injuries or lost a loved one in a wreck, then contact our San Jose auto accident attorneys for a free consultation today.
Table of Contents
- How to Handle Insurance Companies after a San Jose Auto Accident?
- Common Causes of Car Crashes in San Jose?
- What Are Common Car Accident Injuries?
- San Jose Car Accident FAQ
- Can I Sue Someone for Damages After a Car Accident?
- How Much is My San Jose Car Accident Claim Worth?
- How Much Does a San Jose Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
After a San Jose automobile accident, you will likely have to contend with one or more insurance companies. First, you should always inform your own insurer of any accidents, even when you are not at fault. Then, you will need to submit a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, though they may try to avoid blame or minimize your damages.
Additionally, if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you can draw on your own insurance if the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured. To ensure your rights are protected, you should always contact an experienced San Jose car accident attorney before speaking with any insurance adjusters.
Below, our attorneys provide information and tips about how to deal with insurance companies after a crash.
Dealing with Your San Jose Insurance Provider
If the other driver is not insured (or their coverage does not fully compensate you for your losses), you may be able to file a claim with your own auto insurer for compensation. This is possible if your auto policy has uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
It might still surprise you to learn that dealing with your own insurance company after a crash is not exactly an easy feat. Although most insurance providers market themselves as advocates for their customers, this is usually far from the truth.
It is important to understand that your insurance company is still a business. So, while it may not be morally sound, the representatives that you deal with have a job to do, and that job is to do everything they can to minimize the amount your insurance company pays out on your claim.
This is true even though you are a customer who pays for protection in case of an accident. As such, you may find that your insurance provider tries to propose a lowball settlement offer.
More often than not, insurance companies will make it seem as though their offers are nonnegotiable and that the only option their customers have is to either accept the first offer or receive nothing. This is not true, and this is where your San Jose car wreck lawyer can help.
Having a qualified attorney means that you will not have to handle the negotiation process with your insurance company on your own. Our law firm will assess the true value of your claim, and we will fight to get your claim approved for the full amount you deserve. This allows you to focus on moving forward after your accident.
Dealing with the Other Driver’s Insurance Provider
Many drivers are understandably apprehensive when it comes to dealing with the insurance company of the other driver. Even when you are not at fault for the accident, it should come as no surprise when the other motorist’s provider tries to mitigate their financial liability by blaming you for the wreck.
You might find that the other insurance company tries to contact you shortly after the wreck to get a statement. They may present this as an unintimidating, routine conversation that will simply help them move forward with the claims process.
On the other hand, they may try to bully you into giving a statement. Insurance adjusters often claim that you are legally responsible for telling them what happened in order to get a statement.
However, it is incredibly important that you do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company without your lawyer. Anything you say to the insurance representative could be used against you later—even out of context.
If you are approached by the other driver’s insurance company, then let them know that you will not be speaking with them. Tell them that you have sought legal representation and that if they would like any information, they should get in touch with your attorney. We can handle all further communication with the adjusters on your behalf.
No two car accidents are the same. Many different factors may play a role in building your case. However, one of the most important and crucial aspects of the car accident claims process is determining what caused your collision in the first place. Pinpointing the cause of the crash helps prove how the other driver was at fault.
So how do you figure out what caused your crash? An investigation must be done that will help you figure out what caused the crash and who was to blame for it. If the police were called, they will do an initial investigation, but your lawyer is often the one who has to put together the pieces.
Sometimes the cause of a collision isn’t obvious at first. For instance, you might be 100 percent sure that the other driver caused the crash because they ran a red light and barreled into you. However, what if the reason they crashed into you was because their brakes went out?
There are many different reasons for a car accident, and investigation is the only way to figure out the true cause. You must know the “what” before you can file a claim against the “who.” Some of the most common causes of car crashes include the following:
- Texting and Driving – Technology plays a big role in our everyday lives, so it is no surprise that many motorists find themselves the victim of a texting and driving collision. If you believe the other driver was on their phone at the time of the crash, then let your car accident lawyer know. We can request a copy of the other driver’s phone records to help prove the negligence involved.
- Driving under the Influence – There is never any reason for driving while inebriated or under the influence of any kind of drugs. If a drunk driver caused your car crash, then you have the right to seek compensation.
- Speeding – Speed limits are set for a reason. These restrictions help to keep the roads safe, and they help prevent car accidents. If the other driver was speeding, they can be held liable.
- Faulty Auto Parts – Manufacturing companies create the vehicles we drive as well as the parts that make our vehicles work. There is a lot of trust from consumers that the vehicle and its parts are going to function the way they were intended to. However, sometimes vehicles or parts don’t work properly and you can be injured.
- Drowsy Driving – Just like drunk driving, drowsy driving can be extremely dangerous for everyone on the road. When a person is too tired to drive but does so anyway, they’re as good as asking to be in an accident. When a fatigued driver caused your crash, you can pursue them for damages by filing an injury claim.
- Poor Road Conditions – Sometimes you and the other involved driver aren’t to blame for the crash at all. Roadway issues cause many San Jose crashes. Some common road problems are potholes, faded or improper lane markings, confusing signs or no signs, inadequate guardrails, and too-steep shoulder embankments.
Your San Jose car accident attorney will obtain a copy of the police report after the wreck to help determine the accident cause. These police reports are a crucial part of proving how the other driver was at fault.
Other common examples of driver negligence that may cause a car accident include running a red light, failing to yield the right-of-way, and failing to follow traffic signs.
Sadly, it is all too common for San Jose car accidents to cause drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians serious, sometimes permanent injuries. How serious your injury is will determine how much compensation you ultimately stand to receive. That’s because serious injuries can change your life forever, financially and emotionally.
For example, if you are injured in a crash and receive an ankle sprain, this injury would not be very serious, speaking in relative terms. You might have some medical bills, a few days missed from work, and a little trauma caused by the accident; however, you should be back to work in no time. This injury is certainly compensable, but you likely won’t need a lot of compensation.
However, if you are in a crash and you receive a paralyzing spinal injury, for example, your injury will be treated differently. You should be compensated for all the ways this serious injury will change your life, including future losses. You will need full compensation so that you can provide financially for a future that now includes a spinal injury.
Some of the injuries that may result from a San Jose collision include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Disfiguring facial injuries
- Back injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
It is imperative that you see a doctor as soon as you can following your accident—even if you feel fine initially. The adrenaline and shock of a crash can mask even serious injuries, like brain trauma. Additionally, some injuries may take time to develop.
To help you get the most compensation possible, we will likely advise you to get a copy of any medical records pertaining to the accident. This may include medical bills, a medical analysis from your doctor, and proof of any medications that were prescribed as a result of the accident.
Auto Accident Statistics in San Jose, CA
Having questions and serious concerns after getting injured in a wreck is completely understandable. With that in mind, our San Jose auto accident attorneys have provided answers to a few common questions in the section below.
If you do not see your concern addressed, then please contact our office so that you can speak with us about your unique situation.
What can I seek compensation for after getting hurt in a car accident?
You should receive compensation for all of the financial expenses and non-economic damages caused by the wreck. This includes current and future medical bills, lost income, vehicle repair, and more. It also may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost enjoyment of life due to ongoing physical or emotional limitations.
Am I automatically responsible if my car was the only vehicle involved in the crash?
No, it is entirely possible that an external party was at least partially liable for your single-vehicle accident.
For example, the manufacturer may be liable for a defective tire or auto part. A road construction crew might be negligent for failing to put up detour signs or leaving debris in the road. It is even possible that the government entity responsible for road maintenance is to blame if a pothole or uneven lane played a role.
Will I have to go to court to win money for a car crash claim in San Jose?
It’s very unlikely you will have to go to court, but it’s possible. With most auto crash claims, your San Jose vehicle crash attorney will be able to negotiate fair compensation through settlement proceedings. If the insurance companies involved in your case won’t agree to a fair settlement, that’s when your attorney will recommend that you go to court.
If I was rear-ended, then is the driver who hit me at fault?
Rear-end collisions are often the fault of the rear driver, but not always. When the driver is responsible, distracted and drowsy driving are often involved. However, a brake malfunction might implicate the manufacturer. Alternatively, a third driver might have forced the rear driver into a position where hitting you was unavoidable. Therefore, you should always have a qualified car accident lawyer investigate your case.
You’re going to hear this answer a lot from us, and from any lawyer worth his or her salt: “It depends.”
Not everyone who gets hurt in a car accident has the right to take legal action for damages. But, many do. Here’s the basic idea: if the car accident was anything less than 100 percent your fault, then you probably have the right to seek damages from the other at-fault party or parties. The more at fault the other party, the more of your damages that party would owe you. So, just as an example, if you suffered $100,000 in injuries in a car accident for which you were 10 percent at fault and the other party was 90 percent at fault, the other party could owe you up to $90,000 in damages.
Also, keep in mind that if your accident was of the single-car variety, you still may have a claim. San Jose car accidents aren’t always caused by the other driver. Sometimes, someone who isn’t anywhere near the scene of the accident is to blame, such as when a car or car-part manufacturer puts an unsafe product on the road, a local government fails to keep the road safe for motorists, or even when a medical professional doesn’t warn you about the side effects of a medication that makes it dangerous to drive.
That’s also a difficult question to answer up front. No two car accidents are identical. The physical damage is different, the circumstances are different, the injuries are different…you get the point. For that reason, no two car accident claims are worth the same thing, necessarily. Two crashes that look similar from the outside might turn out to be worth vastly different amounts of money.
Plus, there’s sometimes a big difference between how badly damaged a person is by an accident and how much money is available to pay for it. A car accident client could suffer $1 million in damages, but if there’s no insurance or other source of payment, then it’s hard to say it’s a $1 million claim.
Here are just a few of the factors that go into figuring out the size of car accident claim and whether there are resources to pay it:
- The severity of the accident and its injuries;
- The age, pre-accident health, and income of the person injured;
- The probability of our client making a “full” recovery;
- The cost of achieving “full” recovery;
- The number of parties who have legal liability for our client’s injuries;
- Whether the parties with legal liability are people or corporations;
- The degree or recklessness involved in the accident; and
- The availability of insurance or assets to pay damages.
How Long Will It Take For Me to Get Paid After a San Jose Car Accident?
Once again, it depends. We’ve seen some cases settle in a matter of weeks. We’ve been involved in others that have lasted years. Some of the duration of a car accident claim is out of your control, and some of it is 100 percent within your control. Here’s what we mean.
As a general proposition, there are three interrelated factors that play a role in how long it takes for a car accident claim to reach payment. We call them the “Three C’s:”
- Complexity – the more legally and factually complicated a case is, the longer it takes, generally speaking. Complications arise in many ways, from the number of parties involved in an accident to how difficult it is to investigate.
- Controversy – the more the parties disagree with one another about the facts or the law, or the more stubborn they are about reaching agreement, the longer a case will usually take.
- Cost – the more money involved in a case, the more time it typically takes to resolve.
Our clients usually don’t have much control over how complex a case is. And they only have some control over how controversial it is—that is, they only have the ability to decide how hard they want to fight, but not how hard the other side wants to. Finally, our clients have some control over cost, in the sense that ultimately they’re the ones to decide how much money they are willing to accept to “settle.” But, of course, our clients usually don’t have any say in how badly damaged they were by the accident in the first place.
At Bohn & Fletcher, we aim to give our clients the best possible advice on all Three C’s. Every client has his or her own priorities and needs. Our job is to be as responsive as possible to, and to find a resolution that best serves, those needs.
An Insurance Company (Not Mine) Offered Me a Settlement. Should I Take It?
Here’s a question we can give a definitive answer to. No, you should not accept a settlement offer from someone else’s insurance company, at least, not without speaking with an experienced car accident attorney first. Here’s why.
When an insurance company has a policyholder with legal liability for damages resulting from a car accident, that company is going to do everything it can to minimize the amount of money it has to pay out. Now, sometimes the easiest thing for an insurance company to do in that situation is to sit tight and hope the car accident survivor never comes forward with a claim. But, when an insurance company knows it’s on the hook for potentially big dollars, it might instead reach out to the accident survivor with a quick settlement offer.
Why do this? Because the insurer knows that San Jose car accident patients often find themselves in dire financial straits and need quick money. The insurance company hopes the accident survivor will take the money and sign a release that gets the insurer and its policyholder off the hook, legally speaking, for bigger damages down the road.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that offers insurance companies make in those situations are pennies-on-the-dollar compared to what the claim is really “worth.” Which is why we tell people NOT to take those offers without talking to a lawyer first. Oftentimes (almost always, actually), getting a lawyer involved at that point will send a signal to the insurance company that they’re not going to get away with a lowball offer.
Of course, we understand if our clients want to take money quickly rather than wait for a bigger payday down the road. That’s their choice and we just do our best to give them sound advice. But, we always hope they come talk to us first, because once you sign a settlement agreement with an insurance company, there’s usually no taking it back.
Another easy answer: in most cases, zero. Like most lawyers who practice personal injury law, Bohn & Fletcher represents personal injury clients on a contingent fee basis. In a nutshell, that means we don’t get paid unless our client recovers money as a result of the work we do. Sometimes, when a case calls for an investment in expert witnesses and other services, we will even agree to invest our own financial resources. As personal injury lawyers, our aim is to make sure that people who have been injured get the legal services they need to recover the damages they deserve, no matter what their financial condition is when they come to us.
We’re always clear with our clients about how we deal with fees and costs, and we offer every potential new client a free consultation with a member of our team.
Hurt in a Car Wreck? Let a San Jose Auto Accident Lawyer Help You
If you are ready to get the monetary compensation you deserve for the injuries, damages, and losses caused by your wreck, then let Bohn & Fletcher, LLP help you. When you invest in the services of an experienced attorney, you put yourself in the best position possible to bring your claim to a successful resolution.
“I cannot thank Bohn & Fletcher enough. I came to Bohn & Fletcher with a very difficult case. It was an injury from years ago that had continued to get worse and as the medical bills came in my stress level increased. They went above and beyond time and time again. It was a roller coaster ride of emotions but they did what everyone else said was impossible. I am so relieved that this chapter in my life is coming to end. Thank you!”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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