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As we all know, car accidents continue to become increasingly more common. Recent statistics from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System's annual report indicate that there were a total of 197,146 fatal and injury traffic crashes in California in 2017. Knowing what to do after a serious accident can be difficult, especially if you're dealing with a significant injury. Thankfully, personal injury laws exist to ensure that victims of negligent auto accidents receive the compensation they need to recover from their injuries and get their life back.

If you or someone you know has been hurt in a car accident, it is critical that you contact an experienced California personal injury attorney who can protect your rights and advocate for your needs. Here at my firm, Fitzgerald Law, I am dedicated to providing experienced legal services and compassionate representation to car accident victims and their loved ones. As your legal counsel, I can fight vigorously to protect your rights and help you pursue fair financial compensation for your injuries, damages, and any additional pain and suffering.

I am proud to represent clients throughout Glendale, California, and the surrounding areas of Burbank, Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, and the San Gabriel Valley - so reach out today to learn more about how I can help you with your case.

Liability for Car Accidents in California

California is considered an at-fault state. This means that the driver responsible for the crash (at-fault party) will be financially responsible for any injuries, property damages, and other losses suffered by the accident victims using their insurance policy. Under California at-fault negligence laws, in order to pursue damages, the plaintiff (accident victim) must show that:

  • The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care.

  • The at-fault driver breached this duty of care due to their negligence.

  • The driver's negligence or carelessness caused your injuries.

  • You suffered bodily injuries, actual harm, or someone lost their life as a result of the accident.


To recover damages, the injured victim or their representative can proceed by:

  • Filing a claim with your own insurance company

  • Filing a third-party claim against the at-fault driver's insurance carrier

  • File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court


California Insurance Requirements

Under California laws, drivers are required to have a minimum liability insurance coverage of:

  • $15,000 for bodily injuries to one person in a single accident

  • $30,000 for total bodily injuries to two or more people in a single accident

  • $5,000 for property damage in a single accident

State Laws Addressing Personal Injury Claims

There are a number of California laws that are designed to legislate personal injury claims. Some of the most notable include the following:

Statute of Limitations
Under California law, an injury claim arising from any type of car accident must be filed within two years from the date the injury or accident occurred (California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1).


Comparative Fault State
California operates under the "pure comparative negligence" rule. This means that accident victims are allowed to pursue compensation even if they were partially or mostly at fault for the accident. However, the total damages that may be recovered will be reduced to account for the level of fault they are assigned for the accident.


For example, if you are in an accident and are awarded $100,000 in damages, but the judge finds you to be 25% responsible for the car accident, your damages will be reduced by 25%. This means that you will only be eligible to receive $75,000 from the initial $100,000 that you were awarded in the settlement. It is important to note that, unlike many other states, California does allow for you to pursue damages if you are found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident.


Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Wrongful death can be defined as any death that was caused by the wrongful or negligent actions of another person. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, "an action for the death of an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another shall be commenced within two years from the date of the person's death."


Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
According to California's wrongful death statute, any of the following individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil courts against the at-fault party (California Code of Civil Procedure section 337.60):


  • The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased person

  • The surviving children of the deceased person

  • The grandchildren of any deceased child of the decedent


How Your Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Auto accidents that result in severe injuries oftentimes have long-lasting consequences on the victim's lives and their loved ones. A severe traffic crash can affect you financially, mentally, and physically. Luckily, you don't have to face these challenges on your own. If you've been involved in a car crash, it is imperative that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney so that you can have someone in your corner to protect your rights and help you pursue your rightful compensation.

At Fitzgerald Law, I've devoted my entire career to handling personal injury cases and advocating for car accident victims and their families. As your legal counsel, I can help:

  • Hold any liable negligent parties accountable

  • Review all the details of your case and conduct a comprehensive, private investigation

  • Gather every necessary piece of evidence and all required documentation

  • Seek to prove fault and establish liability

  • Determine the full extent of your injuries and losses and estimate case-value

  • Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company

  • If necessary, file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit


I will fight vigorously to protect your rights and represent your best interests. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can rest easy knowing your case is in good hands. Call or reach out to my firm today to get the help you need.

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