Proving Damages in a California Car Accident Lawsuitentry-title

Photo of a car accident

Our Murrieta Car Accident Lawyers Explain How Damages Work

Car accidents injure more than 2 million U.S. drivers each year and kill an additional 35,000. Some car accident injuries are relatively minor, meaning the individuals involved will not suffer extensive damages.

Roughly 200,000 auto accident victims require extensive treatment in a hospital after a crash. Some of these individuals suffered major injuries, some of which are catastrophic and last the rest of their lives.

Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit

There are three types of damages in a California car accident lawsuit. Economic damages encompass your medical bills, lost income, transportation costs and other direct expenses that are quantifiable. Noneconomic damages cover the pain and suffering caused by your injury. Finally, there are punitive damages, also called punishment damages. These are damages that can only be awarded by a jury.

We can look at this concept further by using a specific type of injury to illustrate how damages could work during a car accident case. Let’s say for example that your average 25-year-old healthy male suffers a complete C1 spinal cord injury during a car crash. This type of catastrophic injury would likely incur extensive economic and noneconomic damages. A complete C1 spinal cord injury could result in tetraplegia, or a loss of function below the neck. 

The person would need around-the-clock care, therapeutic care, home medical equipment, coverage for a loss of current and future income, and money for transportation costs. These are examples of economic damages that a person with a complete C1 spinal cord injury might suffer.

A person with this type of injury would also suffer noneconomic damages, such as a loss of enjoyment in life, mental anguish, or loss of companionship. While noneconomic damages are more difficult to quantify, an experienced attorney can help maximize your compensation.

Insurance companies are much more likely to put up an extensive fight if claims involve noneconomic damages. For this reason, it is important to pick an experienced attorney who has experience with jury trials involving car accident and catastrophic injury cases.

Damages for Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Some car accident victims lose their lives. Family members suffer damages as a result of a loss or losses. This is especially true in cases where the decedent (the deceased person) was the sole source of income for the family.

Damages in a wrongful death case are similar to damages in a case involving injuries. You may be able to obtain compensation for funeral expenses from a wrongful death lawsuit.

Our attorneys can personally answer any questions you have about seeking compensation for the death of a loved one.

Proving Damages in a Car Accident Lawsuit

There are a couple of ways to prove economic damages in a car accident case. For instance, it would be necessary to analyze and estimate the cost of your current and future medical bills. It would also be important to take a look at how much money you were making or could have made if you had not suffered an injury.

With noneconomic damages, the process is more difficult because you are attempting to quantify the impact your injury has on your quality of life. The amount you can recover depends on the extent and severity of your injury, and possibly other factors. An attorney will need to successfully argue for compensation for these damages.

Punitive damages are only possible if your case proceeds to a trial, as a jury can only award punitive damages in California.

About Our Murrieta Car Accident Lawyers

The Murrieta car accident lawyers at Gnau & Tamez Law Group, LLP can help you determine if you have options to file a lawsuit against another driver. We have experience with car accident injury and wrongful death cases in California.

You can learn more about how damages could apply to your case by calling us for a free consultation. To reach our firm, dial (951)370-1111 or use the online case review form on our website.

Posting About An Accident On Social Mediaentry-title

Photo Of Auto Collision

If you have been hit by a drunk driver or someone who was recklessly operating their vehicle, you may be going through a wide variety of problems. Whether you have physical pain, financial difficulties, or mental trauma, you may feel as if nobody understands the situation you are in or have no idea how to address these challenges. For some victims, social networking platforms are a good way to reach out to others and find some support from family members, friends, and even strangers. However, the sharing of certain types of sensitive information online can lead to problems down the road, so it is important to be mindful when it comes to online posts.

Whether you record yourself and upload a video to the internet or write about certain aspects of the accident in a brief message, this information could potentially be used against you if you are heading to court or decide to file an accident claim with your insurance. As a result, it is pivotal to avoid posting anything that could hurt your case, which could make your life and path to recovery even more difficult. Unfortunately, some people have shared information by accident or without giving too much thought to the content of their message only to have the post create problems when they attempt to pursue benefits they need.

If a negligent driver has turned your life into turmoil, you should do all you can to obtain benefits you need. Visit the auto accidents page on our site for extra motor vehicle crash material.

How to Avoid Drunk Driving Accidents on the Fourth of Julyentry-title

Photo of a Fourth of July Celebration

Drunk driving is one of the top causes of auto accidents in our country, leading to around a third of all traffic collisions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 29 people in the U.S. die every day due to impaired driving. These numbers tend to go up on holidays, especially July Fourth. Independence Day is one of the deadliest holidays when it comes to drunk driving accidents, and our Murrieta drunk driving accident lawyers want to help your family prepare.

How to Defend Yourself from July Fourth Drunk Driving Accidents

Independence Day is here, which means parties, celebrations and fireworks. However, some of these celebrations include alcohol and can lead to tragedy on the road. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from this danger.

  1. Avoid Driving Late at Night – In order to get the best view of July Fourth fireworks, many parties will last into the night. When these fireworks are over, many drivers will be hitting the road, and some may have been drinking. Choose a fireworks show that is either in the early evening or near your home to avoid these late-night drunk drivers.
  2. Buckle Up – One of the best defenses you have in the event of any traffic accident is your seatbelt. It reduces the probability of injuries and fatalities in almost every crash situation.
  3. Be Careful at Intersections – Drunk driving accidents often happen at intersections due to the slow reaction times and blurred or double vision experienced by intoxicated drivers. Be extra cautious, look both ways, yield to oncoming traffic and never assume someone will stop for a light or sign. Make sure your path is clear before you proceed.
  4. Maintain a Safe Following Distance – Putting several car lengths between you and other drivers will help you spot erratic driving and give you time to respond to it. If a drunk driver is swerving, speeding up then slowing down, or just acting strange, it’s better to have distance between you and them while also keeping an eye on them. Don’t try to pass a vehicle you suspect is being operated by an impaired driver. Instead, try to find a safe place to pull over and contact the authorities.

Our Murrieta Drunk Driving Lawyers Are Also Here to Help

These tips should help you stay safe for your July Fourth holiday, but even the best preparations can’t prevent every tragedy. If a drunk driver injures you or a family member, our attorneys are here to help. At SD Injury Attorneys, Steven Gnau works hard to help families put their lives back together. He not only has the experience to help, his clients enjoy the quality legal representation and care he provides. Call our Murrieta law firm at (951)370-1111 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.

Ten Defensive Driving Tips You Should Always Practiceentry-title

Photos of Cars Stuck in Traffic

Did you know that traumatic injury is the number one cause of death in people under the age of 45? A report from CNN revealed not only that unintentional injury was the top cause of death for younger people, but that cars were responsible for most of those injuries. That means getting into the car and driving to the grocery store may be the most dangerous thing you do all day. So, how do we protect ourselves when driving our cars? Our Murrieta auto accident attorneys know some defensive driving techniques that could help.

1. Focus on Driving

The first step in learning how to become a defensive driver is learning to stay focused when you are driving. Many people don’t realize that driving is a very thought-intensive activity. You have to think about road conditions, traffic signals, traffic laws, checking mirrors and many other tasks. Talking on the phone, sending a text, eating or paying too much attention to a passenger can result in a crash.

2. Watch Out for Other Drivers

We all make mistakes, and this applies on the road as well. Don’t assume that another driver saw you signal and will let you merge into a lane. Don’t assume that another driver saw the light turn red and will stop. Be cautious, and don’t take another driver’s actions for granted.

3. Maintain a Buffer

Rear-end collisions are a common type of car accident. To help prevent this type of crash, always travel with a buffer of three seconds between you and the car ahead of you. This will allow you to react fast enough to stop your car if someone suddenly slams on their brakes.

4. Be Predictable

When you are driving, you want other drivers to be able to tell what you are going to do. That means moving at a steady pace, avoiding sudden increases and decreases in speed, no unexpected lane changes and using your turn signals.

5. Practice Situational Awareness

Are you using your mirrors and checking your blind spots? How far are you looking ahead of where you are driving? Using your mirrors and looking ahead will help you recognize potential dangers before they get to you.

6. Plan an Escape Route

Always plan two paths to get out of harm’s way while you are driving. If you need to pass a commercial truck, do you have enough room to get out of the way if the truck comes into your lane? If a car suddenly stops in front of you, could you steer into the courtesy lane instead of stopping? Have a backup route planned in your head in case traffic conditions become dangerous.

7. Be Willing to Yield

One of the best ways to ensure your driving safety is to be willing to give up your right of way. If you have the right of way through an intersection, but the cross traffic is not yielding, don’t keep going. It may slow you down a bit, but it will help you avoid crashing. Also, if you are confused about who has the right of way, err on the side of caution and let the other vehicle go.

8. Mind the Speed Limit

A good defensive driver should always pay attention to the speed limit and avoid exceeding it. The faster you drive, the harder it is to maintain full control of your vehicle. Your car will also sustain more damage the faster it is going when a collision occurs. So, slow down and get home safely.

9. Do Not Drive Under the Influence

Law enforcement strives to remind drivers to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, did you realize that even over-the-counter or prescription drugs can affect your driving? Before you get behind the wheel, honestly assess your ability to drive. If you have any doubts, do not drive.

10. Use Your Seatbelt

Utilizing the safety features of your car is a great way to drive defensively. Automatic braking and collision detectors are awesome devices to help you avoid collisions, and they come on many modern vehicles. However, there is one simple, effective device that comes equipped in every car—a seatbelt. This simple belt saves thousands of lives every year. So, please buckle up.

There are even more ways to help ensure your safety while driving on the roadways of California. To learn more, keep following our Murrieta auto accident attorneys on Twitter and Facebook. You can also catch more tips on our Murrieta personal injury blog.

Could a Kia Auto Defect Lead to Catastrophic Injuries?entry-title

Photo of Firefighters fighting a blaze

The Center for Auto Safety collected around 250 reports of Hyundai and Kia vehicles spontaneously catching on fire. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reportedly received over 350 complaints about fires involving these vehicles. In these cases, there was no collision and the source of the fires is suspected to be a defect in certain engines shared by these auto brands. So why hasn’t Kia or Hyundai recalled the affected vehicles?

Why Won’t Hyundai/Kia Recall Defective Engines?

As more reports pile up, executives at Kia and Hyundai (which owns 33 percent of Kia) continue to drag their feet. Hyundai claims to welcome comprehensive reviews of the non-collision fires while Kia is promising to hire investigators to look into these “thermal incidents”. Executives from the companies have even refused an invitation from the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee to testify on the subject. This raises concerns that the companies are trying to avoid liability for these fires and the costs that fixing such defects could incur. Considering that an estimated 2.9 million vehicles could be affected, a Kia and Hyundai fire recall of this magnitude could be quite costly, and it could open the company up to be held responsible for the catastrophic injuries that have already occurred.

Burn Injuries and Recovery

In car fires such as these, burn injuries often occur. Depending on the severity of these injuries, it could take months or even years to recover. Some patients may never fully recover and could be forced to deal with physical and psychological pain for the rest of their lives. Multiple surgeries as well as complications such as infections, blood clotting and scarring could result.

At least six people have been reportedly injured due to these Hyundai/Kia non-collision fires. In the case of a teenager grocery shopping in a Kia Soul for his parents, the spontaneous fire proved fatal. Drivers are even reporting being flagged down by good Samaritans, so they can escape vehicles they didn’t even know were burning. That means everyone needs to be on alert when it comes to these car fires, and this is especially true here in California.

What Other Damages Could a Car Fire Cause?

In the past few years, our state has been plagued by wildfires. Though public utilities have gotten the blame for many of these blazes, not all of them were the result of negligently maintained powerlines. The Carr Fire was reportedly sparked by a car with a flat tire, and Fiat Chrysler was blamed for a 2013 fire that happened only a few counties away from Murrieta and Temecula. If one of these Hyundai or Kia vehicles ignite in our area, could thousands of people be affected?

How Can an Attorney Help After a Non-Collision Fire?

In the event of a spontaneous Hyundai or Kia fire, calling an attorney experienced in handling catastrophic injury cases is critical. Our attorney, Steven Gnau, is a trusted attorney who has helped injury victims throughout Temecula, Murrieta and beyond. Call (951) 370-1111 to schedule a free consultation about your injury today. For updates on the progress of a Kia or Hyundai fire recall, keep following our blog and Facebook.