Americans spend more than one million days per year in the hospital due to car accidents. There were 3,074 fatal car accidents in California in 2014, and many thousands more injured. A serious vehicle accident can leave you with major personal injuries. Some injuries can require months or years of medical care and rehabilitation. Medical professionals do their best, but you may never be the same. This type of care can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. How will you pay?
If your vehicle accident was caused by another driver, you may benefit from filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Neale & Fhima personal injury attorneys in Southern California have represented many vehicle accident victims with serious injuries. These accident injuries can affect your ability to work, study, and enjoy life with your family. Our personal injury attorneys may be able to help you obtain compensation.
Common Injuries in Vehicle Accidents
Most people do not understand the forces involved in a serious car accident. A 35 mph crash has the same amount of force as an elephant falling off a three-story building. That force is doubled if another vehicle hits you head-on at the same speed. This impact can cause massive trauma. Impact injuries in a car accident can cause these types of serious injuries:
- Brain trauma: Car accidents are the major cause of brain trauma; in fact, the CDC states that 3% of all traumatic brain injuries in America are from vehicle accidents. A blow to your head on the steering wheel, window or dashboard can cause serious brain injuries. Even a mild concussion can cause problems with memory and daily functioning. More serious brain injuries can permanently damage your ability to talk, see, concentrate, or move.
- Head injuries: Broken glass can lead to partial or total blindness; ear injuries can render you deaf. An impact with the steering wheel can break teeth.
- Neck injuries: Whiplash happens when the neck and head are forced back and forth quickly in an accident. Whiplash can be truly debilitating and difficult to treat.
- Spinal cord injuries: Partial and total paralysis are common in major car accidents, as shards of bone, disc fragments or ligaments rip the spinal cord.
- Pelvis injuries: Hip fractures are common personal injuries in major car accidents. Recovery is long, hard and expensive, especially for older car accident victims. Imagine being in bed for a year while letting your hip heal.
- Burns: Rear-end collisions sometimes lead to fuel tank fires and serious burns for passengers. These injuries are very painful, and skin grafts often are required.
- Chest injuries: The massive forces of a car accident can shatter your ribs or sternum and cause damage to your lungs, heart, kidneys, etc.
These types of terrible injuries also come with serious mental and emotional trauma that can affect your ability to live a normal life.
Car Accident Compensation for Injuries in California
California features an ‘at fault’ or ‘tort’ system for auto insurance claims. This means that you must show that the other driver was at fault if you want to collect compensation for your accident injuries.
California is a ‘pure comparative negligence’ state. This means that if the case goes to court, the jury will determine the percentage of fault of each driver in the accident. For instance, if you suffer a $10,000 injury in an accident but are found to be 10% at fault, your compensation in California is limited to $9,000.
Typical damages that you may collect in a car accident with serious injuries in California are:
- Pain and suffering
- Related medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship or affection.
Limits on Personal Injury Damages in California
This state, fortunately, does not have a statutory cap on personal injury and car accident cases. Nonetheless, there are some ‘landmines’ in the law that you should be aware of.
First, note that California has a two-year statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim. Worse, if the driver who injured you was employed by the government at the time of the accident and driving in the course of his duties, the statute of limitations is only six months.
Second, Proposition 213 in this state maintains that, regardless of fault, if a driver has no insurance, they may not recover noneconomic damages in a car accident. This means pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
Last, for a serious accident that results in hospitalization, there is a cap on medical malpractice damages of $250,000 for noneconomic damages. This limit can come into play if you have an accident requiring surgery and the medical professionals make an error that rises to the level of malpractice.
Neale & Fhima Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Southern California
Car accidents with serious injuries are a matter you should never handle alone. Neale & Fhima is a personal injury law firm serving Southern California, with offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco. We have collected more than $50 million on behalf of injured car accident victims. Our personal injury lawyers can represent you if you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident. If you need legal advice about a car accident with injuries, please call 949-661-1007. Or, you can complete the contact form below.