Car accidents can be incredibly traumatic experiences. Even if you only suffer minor physical injuries, the experience can still result in serious mental and emotional damage. On average, you are likely to be involved in three to four car accidents in your lifetime.
While these could all be minor fender benders, the odds of your being involved in a severe accident at some point are still high. Following a car accident, recovering compensation from the liable party will likely be crucial for covering the costs associated with your crash. At Triumph Law, our team of personal injury lawyers in Rancho Cordova is here to help.
The Four Elements of Negligence
To pursue compensation after a car accident, you must first prove that the intentional actions or negligence of another party caused your damages. Unfortunately, proving fault can often be quite complicated. When attempting to demonstrate that a negligent party owes you compensation, there are four elements you must be able to show:
- That the defendant owed you a duty of care
- That the defendant breached their duty of care
- That you suffered damages
- That the breach of the defendant’s duty of care caused your damages
Duty of Care
On the road, all drivers owe a duty of care to everyone else sharing the roadway. So, if the defendant was driving a car in your vicinity at the time of your accident, then proving they owed you a duty of care is straightforward. However, things can get a little more complicated if you file a lawsuit against a vehicle manufacturer or third party.
Still, anyone involved in putting the vehicle or driver with whom you were involved in a crash on the road owes you a duty of care.
Breached Duty of Care
Next, you must show that the defendant breached their duty of care. With the driver of another vehicle on the road, this breach of the duty of care could be a form of distracted driving, like talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, or adjusting the radio. Any action taken that creates unnecessary risk for others on the road is a breach of their duty of care.
Showing that you sustained damages due to your accident is usually the easiest part of proving negligence. However, it will always help your case if you seek medical treatment and bring your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible after an accident.
Acting quickly will decrease the defendant’s ability to cast doubt about whether or not your damages were caused by the accident or were the result of something else entirely.
Your Damages Were Caused by the Breached Duty of Care
Finally, you need to tie everything together. You must show that the defendant breaching their duty of care directly resulted in you suffering damages. An experienced car accident attorney in Rancho Cordova can help you demonstrate this as they argue your case in court.
The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in California
When pursuing compensation for damages suffered in a car accident, it is critical that you pay attention to the statute of limitations for your state. In California, car accident victims typically have two years to file a lawsuit against the liable party. You will likely lose your right to collect compensation if you don’t file the necessary paperwork before this deadline.
However, you need to realize that many exceptions to the statute of limitations exist. The details of your case may allow you to file long after the two-year deadline has passed or may prohibit you from filing a lawsuit after only a matter of months. Hiring an experienced Rancho Cordova car accident attorney early is the best way to ensure you meet all deadlines.
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Damages You Can Collect After a Car Accident
After a car accident in Rancho Cordova, you will be able to pursue various damages from the at-fault party. All the compensatory damages you can collect are divided between economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the monetary damages caused by a car accident. The most commonly available economic damages include:
- Lost wages
- Lost ability to earn income
- Property damage
- Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate an injury
- Medical expenses
- Future medical bills
Non-economic damages are all of the damages you incur that are not financial in nature. The most commonly available non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability
- Scars and disfigurement
- Decreased ability to enjoy life
A small percentage of car accident cases also qualify for punitive damages. Punitive damages differ from compensatory damages significantly. While compensatory damages focus on the losses suffered by the accident victim, punitive damages are all about the actions taken by the liable party.
A judge will award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party if they purposefully caused harm or acted with criminal negligence.
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Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer in Rancho Cordova Today
If you are pursuing compensation after a car accident, you need to choose the right attorney. When looking for legal representation, it is critical to find an attorney with experience handling cases similar to yours and a history of recovering significant compensation for their clients, both in and out of the courtroom.
At Triumph Law, our team of car accident lawyers serving Rancho Cordova has a long history of recovering favorable out-of-court settlements and winning big payouts for our clients at trial. Give us a call today or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.
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