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.

What Are Common Spinal Cord Injuries Resulting from a Serious Car Crash?entry-title

Photo of a Chiropractor adjusting neck muscles on female patient

Car accidents can result in a variety of different injuries, depending on the circumstances of the crash. For example, a rear-end collision from a car accident will result in injuries that are different from a roll over car accident. One of the most common catastrophic injuries that drivers can sustain from a serious car accident is a spinal cord injury. Airbags and seat belts are designed to keep your body from absorbing a full impact, but sometimes this force will shift to your spine and cause spinal cord injuries.

What Are the Different Spinal Cord Injuries That I Could Sustain From a Car Accident?

  • Whiplash. This is a very common injury that results from rear-end collisions, which send the driver’s head snapping backwards. Whiplash usually affects the upper section of your spine near the neck, and symptoms can include stiffness, headaches, dizziness, soreness and blurred vision. Physical therapy and rest are two ways to manage whiplash symptoms.
  • Spinal fracture. This injury can occur during a car accident because the seat belt doesn’t always properly keep your body in one place. Your chest and head can move a lot more than the lower half of your body. This extreme force can leave a compression fracture on the spine, which can result in pain, numbness and muscle weakness. Some fractures might have to be treated with surgery, and others with physical therapy and rest over time.
  • Disc herniation. Your spinal discs between your spine vertebrae absorb a lot of force during a car accident. One or more of these discs can shift, and when this shift happens it can compress surrounding nerves, which causes extreme pain or numbness. Surgery can fix a herniated disc or any nearby damaged structures.
  • Vertebrae shifts. Also known as “spondylolisthesis,” this happens when a vertebra shifts due to a stress fracture in the backbone. This injury is similar to a herniated disc, and the displaced bone can also compress surrounding nerves or the spinal canal. This may cause weakness, numbness and radiating pain.

If you have suffered a spinal injury in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you could possibly receive compensation for your injuries. Contact our spinal injury attorney, Steve Gnau, today for a free case evaluation.

Who Is Liable for Injuries From an Autonomous Vehicle Accident?entry-title

Photo of wreck involving sedans

If you have read any recent technology news in our country, then you are probably familiar with the term “autonomous vehicle,” or AV. An autonomous vehicle is also known as a self-driving vehicle. Ridesharing companies such as Uber want to start incorporating this new technology into their services in certain states. However, in the past few years since AVs have been introduced, there have been a few deadly accidents involving these special cars. Experts are now asking who is liable if there are injuries or fatalities in an autonomous vehicle accident.

How Can Liability Be Determined in an Autonomous Vehicle Accident?

When a human is not behind the wheel of a car involved in an accident, it is difficult to determine who is at fault if that car caused an injury or fatality. Since this technology is still being developed, and since there are only a few accidents to base facts and evidence off of, the answer is still not clear.

In March, a pedestrian was fatally hit by an autonomous vehicle in Arizona. After seeing a video of the crash, the city’s law enforcement claimed that it would have been difficult to avoid the collision based on the specific circumstances of the event. Volvo, who has manufactured and supplied many of these self-driving vehicles, could be potentially liable for the accident if litigation occurred. Volvo admitted that its vehicle was involved in this crash, but that the software controlling the vehicle was not its own. In 2015, Volvo stated that they would accept full liability when one of its AVs, equipped with the company’s own self-driving system, crashed while in autonomous mode.

Car accident litigation for autonomous vehicles could involve design or manufacturing defects. A plaintiff would have to prove that a defect directly caused the injury or fatality. Besides this claim, however, any other litigation involving AVs so far have been handled behind closed doors. Accidents like the Arizona tragedy are still being investigated. Litigation will depend on the certain circumstances of the event.

If you have been involved in an accident with an autonomous vehicle, then you will want an attorney to help you answer questions you might have about recovering compensation. Contact Steve Gnau today for a free consultation.

How Can I Stay Safe During the 100 Deadliest Days of Driving?entry-title

Talking On Phone And Crashing

The 100 deadliest days for teenage drivers are the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. In 2016, more than 1,050 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving a teen driver during this period. This is an average of 10 deaths per day and a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety warns drivers of the dangers during this 100-day period since school is out for the summer and more inexperienced drivers are now on the streets. There are certain safety tips that parents and teens can utilize to avoid deadly accidents this summer.

Safety Tips For the 100 Deadliest Days of Driving For Teenage Drivers?

  • Avoid nighttime driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36 percent of all teenage motor vehicle fatalities in 2016 occurred between 9 pm and 5 am. NHTSA data also shows a 22 percent increase in the average number of nighttime accidents per day involving teen drivers during the 100 deadliest days compared to the rest of the year. Nighttime driving can involve more dangerous factors that result in increased accidents, such as intoxication, sleep deprivation, distractions and poor visibility.
  • Don’t speed. One in ten of all speed-related car accident fatalities involve teen drivers. Speeding is another huge risk that teenagers take. Parents can install devices in their teen’s car to monitor and track their speeds throughout the day.
  • Provide education. As summer takes full swing, it is crucial that parents discuss the dangers of risky driving situations with their teenagers. Education can include teaching by example, creating a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for driving and generally enforcing stricter limits on when your teen can drive and how long he or she can be out at night.

If your teen does become involved in a car accident this summer, then you might want to seek compensation for injuries or damage sustained from the crash. Contact Steve Gnau to schedule a free consultation.