Have you or a loved one been involved in a car accident?
Before you speak with the insurance adjuster, give a recorded statement or sign any papers you owe it to yourself to call and speak with our lawyers for a free legal consultation. Don’t guess about your legal rights or the value of your claim.
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Driving a car is the most dangerous thing we do. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of such injury and death in the United States.According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, approximately 3 million Americans per year are injured in motor vehicle accidents, and nearly 41,000 are killed. Of those 41,000 fatalities, nearly half involve someone driving under the influence of alcohol, and in just over 60% the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. Every year, 2,600 children under the age of 15, and 7,500 people between the age of 16 and 20 die in car accidents. Additionally, almost 5,000 pedestrians and 3,000 motorcyclists are killed every year.
Auto accidents can cause spinal cord injuries, severe brain injuries, concussions, or a host of other serious bodily injuries.
The Law on Auto Accidents
There are several different theories or doctrines under which a driver can be found to be liable for causing an accident and injuries to someone.
A person who fails to act as a reasonable person would act under similar circumstances is deemed to have acted negligently. That person is liable for all injuries proximately caused by the negligence. In a given scenario, there are several people who may be liable for the injuries.
Liability of the Driver
In the context of driving a vehicle, negligence law demands that a driver exercises ordinary care and skill when operating a motor vehicle. The driver must act as a reasonable person would act under like circumstances.
For example, if a driver’s tire blows, causing an accident, one question to be addressed is whether that driver acted reasonably in not checking or replacing the worn tire. If the driver did not exercise ordinary care in the maintenance of the tire, then that driver acted negligently, and is liable for injuries caused by that negligence. Also, if a driver loses consciousness while driving and causes an accident, it is necessary to ask whether that driver acted reasonably in getting behind the wheel in the first place. If he or she had a history of blacking out, then the act of driving, itself, was likely negligent.
When it comes to pedestrians, the driver of an automobile must use greater care, because of the enormity of the harm a car can cause to someone on foot.
Liability of the Owner
There are circumstances in which the owner of a vehicle can be liable for injuries, even if he or she was not driving the car at the time of the accident. This theory of liability, called negligent entrustment, arises when a vehicle owner entrusts his or her vehicle to an unfit, incompetent, or reckless driver. For example, if the owner lends his car to someone who has been drinking alcohol or to someone who the owner knows is otherwise unfit, the owner has acted negligently and may be liable to persons injured in an accident.
Liability of the Employer
Under the theory of vicarious liability, an employer is liable for the negligent conduct of its employees, as long as the employee was acting within the scope of the employment. For example, if a delivery driver causes an accident while delivering a product on the job, then the delivery driver’s employer is legally responsible for the injuries. Even if the employee works in an office, if that employee causes an accident while running an errand for the office, then the employer is said to be vicariously liable for the negligence of the employee.
Liability of the Parent
Adults may be liable for the negligent driving of a minor.
Negligence Per Se
A person’s conduct is presumed to be negligent when that person violates a law or ordinance, and as a result someone is injured. For this doctrine to apply, the injury must be the sort that the statute sought to avoid.
For example, if a person runs a red light and causes an accident, that person is deemed to have acted negligently, since the law forbidding running a red light is designed to prevent precisely that sort of accident. A driver who causes an accident while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is presumed have acted negligently.
What to do:
If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident:
1. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries: go to an emergency room or an urgent care as soon as you experience any pain or discomfort following an accident. Even if you don’t see any external injuries, it is extremely important to be evaluated to see if you have any fractures, a closed head injury, or internal bleeding. If you do not you’re your injuries require emergency medical care, see your family doctor as soon as possible. If you delay in seeking medical care, you could be making a costly mistake. At the Law Office of Slaughter & Slaughter, we work with medical doctors, chiropractors, and therapists who specialize in treating people who have been injured in an accident. Medical referrals are available and you can receive medical treatment even if you don’t have health insurance coverage.
2. Limit your communication with the other driver’s insurance company. It is generally okay to tell the insurance adjuster where your vehicle is so they can do an estimate on your property damage. However, do not talk to the adjuster about your injuries. The adjuster’s job is to obtain information to use against you when it is time to pay your claim. The goal is to pay you as little money as is possible to settle your claim. So, with regard to your injuries, simply tell the adjuster you were hurt in the accident and that you are seeking medical treatment. Politely decline to go into any further detail.
3. Contact an experienced attorney. Let the attorney deal with the insurance adjuster. If you try to handle your own injury claim, you may be at a severe disadvantage. You could be losing thousands of dollars by settling your claim without having proper legal representation. As tempting as it may be, don’t be lured into signing a release in exchange for a quick settlement. Once you sign that release, you cannot ask for more money, which will be tragic if you find out that your injuries have not fully resolved and you need additional medical care.
The Law Offices of
Slaughter & Slaughter
402 West Broadway,
San Diego CA 92101
visit us at Google Maps San Diego Car Accident Lawyers
There is no reason to suffer alone from the effects of an auto accident. We can help you bring a claim and strive to get the compensation you and your family will need for a lifetime of coping with this catastrophic injury. Our compassionate personal injury lawyers want to see you achieve the best resolution possible.
We serve clients throughout Southern California, including Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and the communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, Encinitas, Escondido, Pacific Beach, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chula Vista, and surrounding areas.
Don’t delay, call today for more information and a free evaluation of your claim
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