Car Accident Lawyers in San Luis Obispo
In the aftermath of a car accident, most people don’t realize just how much they’ve lost. Attorney Daniel J. O’Neill can help you understand your situation and will fight to quickly secure a maximum financial recovery.
In a car accident, your life changes in the blink of an eye. From the pile of medical bills to the persistent pain and the psychological effects of adjusting to life with a debilitating or disfiguring injury, those few seconds when something goes horribly wrong can have a lifetime of consequences. As the victim of a serious car accident, you have lost a lot, and recovering what you have lost is an important first step for moving on.
At the Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill, we are committed to helping accident victims and their loved ones fight for just compensation. We know what it is like to stand in your shoes, and we know just how important it is for you to stand up for your legal rights. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in any of the following types of accidents in San Luis Obispo, we encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation:
- Bicycle Crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Defective highway design and maintenance accidents
- Defective vehicle accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Semi-truck and tractor trailer accidents
- Road rage accidents and assaults
- Hit and Run Accidents
What To Do After a San Luis Obipso Accident
It is crucial that you seek medical help immediately after you have been in an accident, and equally important that you share the full extent of your injuries and symptoms with your doctor. Follow your doctor’s advice regarding your ongoing medical care and follow-up evaluations, and continue to let your doctor know about any symptoms that may develop, even if you are uncertain if they are related to the accident. Symptoms may not appear immediately.
If you are able, you should take photos of your injuries and your damaged property. Under California law, property damage can be resolved separately from a personal injury claim. Documentation of your injuries and other damages is of great importance. Start a file and keep receipts and bills, and obtain a copy of the police report, your medical records and repair estimates. It is important that you provide this information, including a copy of your declaration of insurance coverage, to your attorney at your first meeting.
Soon after you have been in an accident, the insurance carrier will call you to take a recorded statement. He or she must ask your permission, as it is illegal to record a conversation without permission. You are not required to give a recorded statement. It is also not generally in your best interest to talk to the representative before talking to a car accident attorney skilled and experienced at working with insurance companies. Whatever you do, do not try to resolve the case or negotiate with the insurance company on your own.
It is important that you speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, as personal injury claims are subject to a time limit in which they can be filed, which generally varies from six months to three years according to the kind of injury suffered, when it was discovered, when it was injured and who caused the injury.
What If I Was Partially at Fault?
A: Never assume that you were at fault in an accident. Fault is a complex legal principle, and establishing fault in a car accident requires a thorough investigation and careful legal analysis. It is easy to second-guess yourself, but do not let this stand in the way of protecting your legal rights.
That said, even if you were partially at fault, in California you can still seek financial compensation.
What If the Other Driver Was Uninsured?
Far too many drivers are out on the road in California without adequate insurance. Some don’t have it at all, and some don’t have nearly enough.
What happens when one of those drivers hits you and causes serious injuries?
If you have been injured in a car crash by a driver who does not have insurance, or whose insurance coverage is insufficient to compensate you fully, there are other potential sources of recovery we can pursue.
First, we will examine all relevant insurance policies that may apply. Even if the other driver does not have adequate insurance, it could be that another policy is available, such as that of the vehicle owner (if different from the driver). We may be able to “stack” insurance policies, which means getting part of your recovery from one policy and part of it from another.
There is also the possibility of recovering from your own insurance company under the uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage (UM/UIM) you purchased. Making this type of claim is best done with the assistance of an experienced lawyer because your insurance company is likely to offer many defenses as it attempts to get out of paying on the claim.
What is My Case Worth?
A: Each case is unique, and this is a question that we cannot answer (nor can any other law firm) without first learning all of the details of your case. However, the types of compensation you may be entitled to recover include:
- Outstanding medical bills
- Future medical expenses (including treatment, rehabilitation, therapy, and medications)
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium, support, and enjoyment of life
California Car Accident Statute of Limitations
It’s important to note the statute of limitations for minors is different in California than it is for adults in the state. Generally, minors have until age 20 to file suit. Also, there is a different statute of limitations on government claims. The state and federal deadline is one year and you must file the claim with the proper government agency before filing suit. For these reasons, you should consult with an attorney to determine the proper deadline for your unique situation.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, the statute of limitations is 2 years in California, except as indicated above. After that 2-year period passes, you will no longer be able to seek personal injury damages, no matter how bad your situation is. Therefore it’s important to seek treatment, collect the necessary paperwork, and file a claim within that window.
However, you should not take this to mean that it’s necessary to file immediately. Sometimes you don’t know exactly how a car accident will affect you, and it’s best to let your situation play out a little. Otherwise, you may win the personal injury damages you sought, but then discover that you have issues on top of the ones you knew about. When this happens, you may be left with a number of expenses you can’t afford to pay, or that will create a huge hardship on you and your family.
Statute of Limitations for Property Damage
The statute of limitations for property damage is 3 years, says the DMV for California. When you suffer property damage as a result of a car accident, usually in the form of your vehicle, it’s important to file a claim within this period, otherwise you will be forever barred from bringing your suit to court—no matter how much of a hardship it creates.
Unlike personal injury, it’s usually possible to determine pretty quickly the extent of the damage to your car or other belongings, and to craft a case. In both scenarios, though, avoid waiting until the last possible moment, because filing does take time and you may pass the deadline before you can get your claim filed.
Beware of Rear-End Accidents
Rear-end accidents are among the most common types of automobile collisions occurring on the roads today. These crashes can result in a wide range of injuries, including whiplash, concussion, and paralysis. Establishing liability in rear-end car wrecks is normally straightforward and without many complications. However, proving the extent of your injuries and costs associated with medical bills and lost wages tends to be a much more complex process.
Advocating For A Fair Settlement After Your Rear-End Collision
Our firm will dig deep into the medical evidence to support your legal claim. We will also help ensure that you receive proper medical care and accurate assessments of your injuries. In many cases, we will work with a qualified life care economist in order to prove your current and future financial needs. Being that each personal injury case is unique, our legal team will create a customized strategy for you based on your specific injuries and circumstances.
After sustaining injuries in a rear-end car collision, the insurance company and its agents are hard at work trying to minimize their payout to you. At the Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill, our job is to work toward securing the maximum compensation for your claim.
Schedule a Free Car Accident Consultation at the Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill
To learn more about your rights after a car accident in San Luis Obispo, schedule an initial consultation with attorney Daniel J. O’Neill. Your consultation is 100% complimentary, and if you choose to work with us you will not be asked to pay any legal fees unless we are successful in helping you secure financial compensation. Protect yourself and your family – call 1-805-542-0639 or tell us what happened online today.