Car Accident Attorney in San Diego for Injury Claims
Call Our San Diego Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
For more information about car accidents:
- Steps to Take After a Car Crash
- At the Accident Scene, You Should:
- What to Do Within Days of the Accident
- What to Do Before Signing Anything
- Warning: Do Not Give Away
Your Legal Rights
- What if the Other Driver
- How Can I Get Damages
from an Uninsured Motorist?
- Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer
- Our Car Accident Claims Experience
Car accident attorney Frederick M. Dudek has represented many individuals and families injured by others in automobile accidents. Frequently, when his clients reach out to him, they are overwhelmed by their medical, financial and other problems. They may also need advice after a well-trained insurance adjuster contacts them.
These insurance adjusters (who work for the person who hurt you) may attempt to record your conversations and gain unlimited access to your private medical and employment records. Then, they might proceed to settle your claim for a fraction of its real value – before you ever get legal advice.
As an experienced personal injury lawyer, Fred Dudek assisted many individuals and families with car accident claims and cases. He can explain your best options before or after the insurance adjusters call – because they will call. Fred gives each client his focused, personal attention to ensure who he helps has the best chance at a successful verdict or settlement.
5 Steps to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones After an Accident
Every year, thousands of people are involved in accidents, ranging from minor “fender benders” to tragic fatal collisions. Distracted drivers and drunk drivers account for some of these crashes, but less obvious negligence may also be to blame. Even minor accidents can be disruptive and create financial, insurance and legal problems. If you or a loved one are involved in a motor vehicle accident as a driver, cyclist or pedestrian, then there are things you can to do help, such as:
At the Scene, You Should:
- Help the injured. Call 911 if the accident is serious. Bike and pedestrian accidents are more likely to result in life-threatening injuries, but any crash can be catastrophic. Therefore, make sure you check with everyone involved to see if there are serious injuries. Move the vehicles to a safer area, if possible. Get everyone away from traffic. Do not attempt to move anyone who is unconscious or seriously hurt, unless they are in immediate danger.
- Exchange information. Write down names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information for all the drivers. Ask to see the vehicle registration, driver’s license and evidence of insurance. Provide your information to others. If the police or California Highway Patrol (CHP) is involved, write down the responding agency, officer’s name, badge number and report number. If you are unable to obtain this information at the scene, it may be critical to obtain this information as soon as possible from the appropriate law enforcement agency.
To receive a free glove box brochure that contains two “Information Forms” (one for you and one for the other driver) call (858) 530-4800 or fill out our case review form and ask for the brochure “What to Do in Case of an Accident”.
What to Do Within Days
Sooner for Serious Injuries
- Arrange medical care. Often, medical care is more effective if it starts soon after the injury occurs. Delaying initial or follow-up treatment may prolong your discomfort and recovery. Serious injuries may require coordination and approvals of multiple insurance and medical groups.
- Report the accident. California law requires written notice to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days if anyone is killed, injured or if property damage exceeds $750.00. Many insurance companies require prompt notice of claims as part of their policy. Ask your insurance company if they will then file the proper DMV form on your behalf. To obtain this form (called an SR 1 Form) directly from the DMV, click here.
What to Do Before Signing Anything
Immediately for Serious Injuries
- Talk to a lawyer. Understand your rights and responsibilities before you agree to or sign anything. The other driver’s insurance company (which is not required to treat you fairly) may pressure you into making important decisions before you get legal advice. Some insurance companies routinely ask injured people to give them unlimited access to private medical and employment records!
You Must Work to Uphold Your Legal Rights Immediately After a Wreck
- Release your private records, which are protected by federal and state law
- Release your vehicle, which may be critical evidence
- Sign anything
- Give a statement
- Make any important decisions before speaking to a licensed attorney
Getting advice from someone “on your side” who has experience with accident claims is very important after an accident. Be aware that your own insurance company may not be “on your side” if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. Hiring your own experienced attorney, soon after an accident, gives you a much better chance to compete with the big corporations and insurance companies whose financial interests are the opposite of yours.
What Happens if the Other Driver Has Little or No Insurance?
According to California law, every driver must have auto insurance that, at minimum, covers the following in the event of a car accident:
- $15,000 for injury or death of one person
- $30,000 for injury or death of two or more people
- $5,000 for property damage
Unfortunately, not all drivers comply with this law, and an accident with an uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) can have serious consequences for everyone involved. In addition to dealing with a driver who broke the law, you have to work with insurance companies devoted to paying you as little money as possible.
If you have coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists, then you should be able to file a claim with your insurance provider and receive damages to cover some or all of your property damage and medical costs. However, keep in mind that insurance providers want to save money – some even offer incentives to agents who save the company the most money.
You need to be very careful when speaking with any insurance agent. The agent may record your call, and certain statements you make could have legal consequences if you pursue a trial. Thus, we highly recommend speaking with a car accident attorney before you file a claim with your insurance company to learn what you should and should not say.
Lawsuits Against Uninsured Motorists
You may be asking, “Can I sue a driver without insurance?” The answer is, yes. Therefore, drivers who cause serious injury are liable for injuries, medical bills, lost wages and wrongful death damages if you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident.
Many factors can either hurt or help your side in a potential lawsuit. To find out if you have a case, call us to schedule a free case review. Our law firm handles personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means we only take a reasonable percentage of any compensation you receive and we do not take attorney fees if we are not successful in gaining a recovery.
Do I Need a Lawyer after a Car Accident?
The Dudek Law Firm can help you in the following ways:
- Properly report your accident to the appropriate government agencies
- Interact with the other driver’s insurance carrier
- Coordinate your medical treatment and insurance billing
- Gather the important evidence necessary to document your claim
- Prepare a “Demand Package” to obtain maximum compensation for you
- Negotiate with the insurance carrier regarding “demands” and “offers”
- File suit when necessary (this may be the only way to obtain proper compensation, depending on numerous factors beyond your control)
- Litigate your case, including discovery, motions and pre-trial matters
- Try your case before a judge or jury
- File, prepare and argue your appeal (or defend the appeal if you win at trial)
Each of the above ten areas can be difficult for anyone who is unfamiliar with the laws, customs and procedures that apply. Frequently, auto accident victims find themselves dealing with insurance adjusters and/or defense attorneys who do this for a living and are trained to obtain signatures, recorded statements and concessions quickly and before injured people get legal advice. Since they have a legal team, shouldn’t you?
Personal Injury Law Firm with Car Accident Experience
Clients and personal injury cases we obtained successful results for include:
- Passenger in car v. commercial truck case – fatal injuries (jury trial)
- Multi-car collision – car accident brain injury
- Driver of stopped car v. driver talking on a cellphone – back injuries (jury trial)
- Bicycle rider v. car – fractured clavicle (resolved at Mediation)
- Motorcycle rider v. car – knee injury
- Motorcycle rider v. motorcycle – serious leg fractures in South Dakota
- Pedestrian v. car – head injury
- Pedestrian v. car – serious ankle injury
- Spectator v. Baja 500 racer – serious head injury in Mexico (settled the day of trial)
- Single truck crash in irrigation ditch – roadway design issues
- Passenger ejected from truck – alcohol served to minors – serious head injury and coma
- Passenger v. driver – SUV crash – underage alcohol consumption
- Helicopter crash in the South Pacific – multimillion-dollar jury verdict
- Numerous two vehicle collisions – head, neck and back injuries
For serious or fatal accidents, ask a trusted relative or friend to contact a car accident attorney right away. While medical or funeral arrangements are overwhelming you, insurance companies representing others will respond quickly to protect their interests. They may attempt to control critical evidence that is vital to your claim.
It is often essential to obtain photographs, measurements, identify witnesses and secure other important evidence as soon as possible and before things change due to time, weather conditions or the actions of others. Having someone working on your behalf who has your best interests in mind can help make the legal process as easy as possible.
Find an Auto Accident Attorney in San Diego
To learn more about how an attorney can help after an accident, call the Dudek Law Firm APC at (858) 530-4800. Fred accepts a limited number of cases. This is because he only chooses clients to whom he can devote his full attention and ones he truly believes have a strong chance of success. Clients often contact him based on referrals from friends, relatives or former clients. Call today for a free, no risk or obligation consultation with Fred to discuss your potential case.