Bakersfield Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
In our day to day lives, we usually do our best to avoid injuring other people. In fact, we are actually required by law to exercise reasonable care in certain areas of our lives. For instance, all motorists in California must comply with traffic laws and behave reasonably at all times while on the road. While many people are careful to abide by these rules and take precautionary measures when driving, accidents still can and do occur. Some of these accidents can leave victims suffering from serious, and even deadly injuries that can take a significant physical, financial, and emotional toll on not only victims but also their family members. Fortunately, accident victims who were injured as a result of someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct can recover damages from the at-fault party by filing a personal injury suit against them in court, so if you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you should consider speaking with an experienced legal team of Bakersfield personal injury lawyers here at Chain | Cohn | Stiles. We can help you seek compensation for your losses.
Car Accidents in Bakersfield CA
Car accidents are one of the primary causes of serious injury in the U.S. In fact, the California Highway Patrol reported that around 254,561 people were injured in collisions, 3,435 of whom tragically lost their lives, in 2015 alone. There are a variety of different types of car accidents, a few of which are notorious for causing serious injuries, including:
- Head-on collisions, in which two vehicles collide head-on while traveling in opposite directions;
- Side-impact, or t-bone crashes, which often occur in intersections and involve one car colliding with the side of another vehicle;
- Rollover and roof crush accidents, which are especially common amongst top-heavy SUVs, and can result in an injured party being trapped in a vehicle while awaiting help;
- Rear-end collisions, which can cause serious neck and back injuries, even when they occur at low speeds;
- Sideswipes, which occur when the side of one vehicle scrapes along the side of another car; and
- Underride crashes, which occur when a smaller vehicle rear ends a much larger commercial truck, or big rig, and slides beneath it, shearing off the roof of the car.
Regardless of the type of accident, these kinds of collisions can almost always be linked to at least one person’s negligence, such as:
- Driving while intoxicated;
- Failing to obey traffic laws;
- Manufacturing a defective vehicle;
- Making negligent vehicle repairs;
- Driving while distracted;
- Failing to properly maintain a vehicle;
- Driving aggressively; and
- Falling asleep at the wheel.
Demonstrating Negligence in Bakersfield
Individuals and companies who engage in this type of conduct can be held liable under the state’s negligence laws if the injured party can prove that:
- The defendant had a duty to use reasonable care;
- The defendant breached that duty; and
- The breach caused the plaintiff’s injury.
Plaintiffs who are able to demonstrate these elements can recover damages for their accident-related losses that will enable them to begin the long road to recovery. In some cases, however, it is not even necessary to prove negligence in order to recover damages. For instance, under California Civil Code 3342, residents who are bitten by another person’s dog while they were lawfully on a public or private property can automatically recover damages. This is because California’s dog bite law is a strict liability statute, which means that the animal’s owner can be held liable regardless of fault. These types of claims have become increasingly common in California, which was recently labeled “the dog bite capital of the U.S.” for its high rate of animal attacks. This is alarming because dog bite injuries are both painful and expensive to treat, as victims are not only usually required to obtain stitches, but may have to undergo surgery, work with a physical therapist, and take measures to protect against infection. Furthermore, most dog bite victims are children and adolescents who may struggle with a fear of animals for the rest of their lives, requiring psychological aid and therapy for years to come.
The Importance of Recovering Damages in Bakersfield CA
Aside from being eligible to collect compensation for current medical expenses, accident victims may also be able to recover damages to cover the cost of:
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future income;
- Property damage;
- Disfigurement and disability;
- Emotional distress;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Funeral and burial costs.
Fortunately, these damages are not only available to accident victims who were involved in a collision with another vehicle but can also be collected by cyclists and pedestrians who are injured in car accidents. Contacting an experienced Bakersfield personal injury attorney is especially crucial in these types of cases, as bicycle and pedestrian accident victims tend to sustain particularly severe injuries, many of which are life-threatening.
Serious Injuries in Bakersfield
Collecting compensation for an injury is critical in any type of accident in which someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct was the cause of the accident. However, recovering damages is especially important in cases that involve a truck, bus, or motorcycle accident because the injuries in these kinds of collisions are usually severe, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to major head trauma and burn injuries.
Although it depends largely on the type of accident a person is involved in, resulting injuries could also include:
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Broken or crushed bones;
- Soft tissue injuries;
- Nerve damage; and
- Emotional distress.
Accident victims who sustain these types of injuries are usually required to foot the bill for expensive diagnostic tests, such as x-rays and CAT scans, as well as surgeries, hospital visits, prescription drugs, follow-up appointments, and physical therapy, among other costs. These expenses can quickly drive a family into debt, especially if an injured party is unable to work while rehabilitating. In these cases, speaking with an attorney about filing a personal injury lawsuit in Kern County can make all the difference in an injured party’s chances of recovery.
Bakersfield Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Tragically, many of these kinds of severe injuries prove fatal for victims. In these cases, California law allows a victim’s surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim on that person’s behalf. These types of cases tend to be difficult, as they can only be filed by certain family members and within a certain time frame. For instance, California’s Code of Civil Procedure, section 377.60 states that a victim’s family members only have two years from the date of their loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. Those who fail to file before this deadline risk having their claim barred by the court, meaning that they will not be eligible to collect compensation for expenses related to the deceased’s medical bills or funeral, or be able to recover damages for loss of financial support or loss of companionship.
Contact an Experienced Bakersfield Injury Lawyer
Being injured in an accident can leave a victim feeling powerless and unsure of how to move on with his or her life. Having a thorough grasp of one’s legal options can help ease a substantial portion of this burden, so if you were recently injured in an accident that was not your fault, you should consider contacting Chain | Cohn | Stiles for an experienced Kern County injury lawyer who can assist you.