Best Car Accident Lawyers Bakersfield, CA Of 2024 – Forbes

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California has many different car accident laws that drivers need to be aware of in order to reduce their chances of being involved in an accident, or being held at fault. While this guide is not exhaustive, it does contain many of the most important regulations to be aware of.

California Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the time period a person has to file certain legal actions, such as a personal injury lawsuit. If this time period is missed, then the lawsuit will likely be dismissed. One reason the statute of limitations exists is to ensure that any evidence brought forward is still usable, such as in the case of witness testimony. Remembering any event after a number of years becomes difficult for almost anyone.

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is two years for bodily injury, and three years for property damage. However, it is important to note that there are instances where this time period can be extended, or “tolled,” such as when the plaintiff cannot find the defendant.

Any lawsuits involving a government body also have an adjusted statute of limitations. In cases where the responsible party is a government body, the injured individual has only six months to file their case, with additional administrative requirements.

In cases where the statute of limitations for car accidents lawsuits may be adjusted, it is vital you consult with an expert attorney.

California Laws for Car Drivers

  • Minimum insurance requirements. In order to operate a car in California, drivers need to meet minimum insurance standards as follows:
    • $15,000 per person bodily injury liability coverage
    • $30,000 total bodily injury liability coverage
    • $5,000 property damage liability coverage
  • Distracted driving. Drivers are not allowed to use cellphones for reading/writing text messages or calling while driving—unless they are using a hands-free system. If the driver is under 18, however, the usage of cellphones (even those equipped with a hands-free system) is strictly prohibited.
  • Child safety seats. Unlike other states, California has somewhat stricter child safety laws. For one, all children under the age of eight and under four feet nine inches in height, must be placed in a federally approved child safety seat. Any children over between 8 and 16 years of age or the height restriction must wear a seatbelt.

Identifying Fault for a Car Crash

In contrast to many other states, California is an “at fault” state. This means that any party injured by a negligent driver can sue them, or place a claim with the insurance company of the driver. The latter is more common.

When it comes to determining fault, an agreement is reached between the insurance companies of the responsible driver and the victim involved. To decide fault for the accident, various factors and pieces of evidence will be examined, such as:

  • The scene of the accident
  • The police report
  • If either car was speeding
  • If either driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol

California is also a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that a crash victim can always claim damages regardless of how much fault they shared. However, the amount they can recover is dependent on their percentage of fault contributed. For example, if a victim was 45% responsible for a car crash resulting in $100,000 worth of damages to their vehicle, they would only be able to sue the other driver for $55,000 or 55% of their damages.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

Recovering from a car crash is a time when you may be extremely vulnerable due to emotional and physical injuries. You will not want to (nor have the time) to file paperwork, prove fault or correspond with the many parties that are involved in a car accident case. That’s why an attorney is a major asset.

In addition to taking on all correspondence and mountains of paperwork, a car accident attorney will work tirelessly to ensure you are fairly represented in a mediation, arbitration or court trial. It is their duty to act in your best interest.

Excellent attorneys—like the ones on this list–have a pool of experts to consult with in order to accurately determine fault and ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries. Sure, you can sue for car accident injuries without a lawyer, but your chances of success increase dramatically when you hire an experienced car accident attorney. Not sure where to start? Review the lawyers on our list.

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