Car Accident Lawyer in San Francisco, CA
A San Francisco, California car accident lawyer understands that when a person is involved in a crash, it is only human nature for their fight-or-flight impulse to kick in. This is why many drivers flee the scene of a car accident, especially if they are not aware of anyone involved suffering serious injury or there being any major property damage. However, leaving the scene of an accident in California could result in being arrested on hit and run charges. A conviction could result in serious penalties, including jail time.
If you have been charged with a hit-and-run, you need a seasoned car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA defending you and protecting your rights. Contact The Morales Law Firm for legal assistance. Our legal team has successfully defended many clients on hit-and-run charges and will work aggressively to fight these charges for you.
The following are some of the more common defenses used in hit-and-run cases:
- Mistaken Identity: Witnesses to the crash, as well as the victim, may have written the license plate number of the fleeing vehicle down incorrectly. If the number is correct, it could be that someone other than the owner was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. If this can be proven, then the owner of the vehicle would not be guilty of the hit-and-run crash.
- Driver Knowingly Left the Scene: In order for a driver to be convicted of hit-and-run offenses, the prosecutor must prove that the driver knowingly left the scene of the accident. When a crash is a serious or severe one, it can be difficult for a San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer to prove that the driver was unaware they were involved in an accident. But if the crash was a minor one, then it is a reasonable defense that the driver was not aware an accident had occurred and just continued on their way. For example, one common scenario of this type of defense is a driver backing out of a space in a parking lot and is unaware they hit another vehicle.
- Emergency Situation: A San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer knows that in emergency situations, the courts may be more forgiving towards a driver who flees the scene of an accident. For example, a driver who is rushing their child to the emergency room hits another vehicle but does not stop as is required under the law is technically breaking that law. In this situation, the prosecutor and/or the court may agree to reduce the charges against the driver. In some situations, the charges may be dropped completely.
No matter what reason a driver is charged with hit-and-run, it is the prosecutor who has the burden of proof in proving that the driver is guilty. A seasoned car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA can evaluate your case and determine what is the best way to defend you against these charges.
4 Common Injuries After a Car Accident
Dealing with the aftermath of a wrecked car can be worrying, but having to deal with injuries can make you feel even worse. Many car accidents cause several health concerns, including emotional and physical problems.
1. Neck Injuries
A sudden stop in a moving vehicle can lead to a serious neck injury, particularly if there is whiplash. This extreme kind of stretching of your muscles and ligaments leaves your neck and back at risk for swelling and other internal injuries.
This pain can affect your daily life, including how effectively you can drive your own car or turn your head to look at other people. Contacting a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA could be the next step you take in this circumstance.
2. Chest Problems
Bruises all over your chest and cracked ribs can leave you struggling to breathe properly. Not only do these injuries leave you in pain, but they can also make it hard to move, walk up a set of stairs, or exercise. Everyday tasks may seem almost impossible, such as lifting boxes or carrying your children.
These injuries often happen because your body slammed into the steering wheel during the accident. Talking to a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA like The Morales Law Firm can help you figure out what to do next if you have lasting health problems from this crash.
3. Scrapes and Cuts
You may not think much of cuts along your arms or legs, but if they get infected, they could cause you many health complications. The time immediately after an accident is important, since the adrenaline you feel could mask some injuries you may not notice at first. You may dismiss these cuts as not important enough to seek medical attention.
Bits of glass that scraped your skin or broken parts of a car can cause these injuries. A car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA, such as The Morales Law Firm, can help you with the legal aspects of this crash.
4. Head Trauma
If you begin to notice odd mood swings or issues with your balance, you may be experiencing lingering head injuries. A wide variety of symptoms, like nausea and increased confusion, can happen in the days or weeks following a car crash.
Hitting your head against the dashboard of the car or another seat is a serious incident. If this happened to you, talking to a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA could help.
What If I Was Arrested for a DUI but Wasn’t At-Fault for a Related Car Accident?
If you were involved in an accident and were found to be under the influence at the time, the officer may arrest you for a DUI regardless of whether or not the accident was your fault. Unfortunately, because you were accused of being drunk behind the wheel, law enforcement may quickly become biased and assume you were responsible for the accident. That is why it is so important that you remain quiet, calm, and request to speak with a lawyer at The Morales Law Firm as soon as your booking process is complete. Remember that anything you saw during your arrest can be used against you at a later time in criminal court and could affect your civil legal options as well. It’s important to speak with a San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer who handles DUI cases so that you can protect your rights and preserve your legal options moving forward. A failure to seek guidance now could lead not only to a criminal conviction for the DUI but civil liability for the car accident as well.
An Arrest Doesn’t Automatically Mean At-Fault
Just because you were charged with a DUI after the accident, doesn’t mean that by law you are automatically deemed responsible for the collision. For instance, if your vehicle was rear-ended by another driver or you were hit while going through an intersection during your green light, the fault for the wreck shouldn’t be pinned on you just because of the DUI arrest. An experienced San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer can explain your legal options, given that you were cited for drunk driving but the accident you were involved in wasn’t caused by drunk driving behavior.
Never Flee the Scene of an Accident
Drivers who are drunk may attempt to flee the accident scene out of fear of being blamed for the accident. However, running away only makes the entire situation much worse, compared to staying put and risking a DUI arrest. If your car was hit as you were driving under the influence, stay at the scene and remember that you have the right to an attorney and don’t have to answer any interrogatory questions asked by law enforcement. While you are waiting at the police station to be booked, contacting an experienced San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer must be your number one priority.
Accident Injuries or Fatalities
If you were driving drunk and were arrested for a DUI, things can become more complicated if the other driver sustained serious injuries or had died in the wreck. Even though the accident wasn’t your fault, it just becomes even more important that you don’t say anything that could be twisted into incriminating yourself. Never admit fault, even if you suspect that perhaps you were at least partially responsible.
There may be felony charges and consequences to face for a DUI arrest and being deemed at-fault for the accident happening. The court may require that the drunk driver pays restitution to the other driver or surviving family members. The accused may endure a lengthy prison sentence, expensive fines, suspension of driver’s license, having to go through a rehabilitation program, and much more.
These extreme sentences cannot be enforced on a DUI driver who was determined not at-fault for the accident. This is another reason why hiring an experienced San Francisco, California car accident lawyer during this time who has experience in criminal defense cases is so vital. While you may feel everyone is against you, there is a chance that can be proven not at fault. Your attorney can work with you to build a defense that shows while you were legally drunk, you were not the person who caused the collision to occur.
Seeking Damages for Harm Resulting from the Car Accident
Our San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer understands that when you have been harmed by another person’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may feel copious amounts of confusion. Because of this, you will likely be trying to figure out how to cover your financial losses. Being unexpectedly injured can bring forth a situation rife with emotions. When you are trying to heal and recover, the mental distress can certainly hinder your ability to do so. Perhaps you’re being told to contact a car accident lawyer, while others may be telling you to let it go and move forward. Realistically, the best thing you can do for yourself is to talk with a San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer about what happened. Whether or not you have a case will largely depend on the circumstances of what happened. That said, if another party caused you harm, and your harm led to a significant amount of financial loss, you may be able to pursue compensation. To learn more, please call The Morales Law Firm to speak with our experienced car accident lawyer representing San Francisco, CA.
4 Tips for Handling the Aftermath of a Car Accident
As a California motorist driving in the most populous state of the country, you may be at increased risk of experiencing an accident resulting in personal injuries and property damage. While speaking with a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA, can help you understand your options for pursuing a court case, keeping a few tips in mind can help you handle the aftermath of the accident.
1. Remain Silent About Details
People who know you were in an accident may want you to tell them the details, such as what caused the wreck and who is involved, but speaking about the case, especially on social media, may do you more harm than good. Written statements can be particularly damaging, even if you offer them in a casual way. Staying off social media and requesting that friends and family not question you about the accident can protect your rights and support a court case.
2. Track Documents Carefully
A car wreck typically generates a great deal of paperwork, from insurance documents to medical reports. Tracking all of these carefully can help your car accident lawyer in San Fransisco, CA, to place a more accurate value on your case and include all costs related to the wreck. Make copies for your attorney and keep the originals all in one place so you can access any information you may require as you prepare for litigation.
3. Allow Your Attorney To Speak for You
When a car accident happens and there is a question of blame, forwarding all queries and requests for contact from the defendant’s insurance company to your attorney can protect your case. This includes settlement offers, which may seem fair on the surface. Allowing your attorney to represent you in these matters can help you avoid errors that may negatively affect your case.
4. Keep Communication Open
Once you find a car accident lawyer in San Fransisco, CA, who you feel is a good match for your needs, it is important to keep the lines of communication open and not assume the case is moving forward without your input. Remain in contact with your attorney and do not be afraid to ask questions about aspects of the case that seem confusing. Take notes during meetings and keep a list of case-specific topics you want to discuss before the court date.
The aftermath of a car accident can seem overwhelming, but you do not have to face the future alone. Contact an attorney today for support and advice.
A Car Accident Lawyer Who Cares
There are a number of car accident lawyers in San Francisco, CA to choose from. However, none have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to representing clients like Christopher Morales of The Morales Law Firm. This is especially true when it comes to handling particularly complex cases.
Before choosing just any law firm, you should take the time to review the firm in question and even schedule a consultation where you can ask questions. The San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer you choose should possess many different qualities:
- They should be tenacious, educated, and experienced
- Your lawyer should be knowledgeable regarding federal and California state laws
- Your lawyer should be familiar with the tactics used by defense teams and should be prepared to turn the tables on them
- Finally, your lawyer should be confident in their ability to secure you compensation
If this is the kind of San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer you would like to have fighting for your case, look no further than The Morales Law Firm.
We Fight for Maximum Damages
We know that insurance companies prefer to settle for the least amount possible. The problem with this is that you may be offered an amount that is less than what you need, let alone deserve. As a San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer who fights for victims and their loved ones, we will consider your short and long term losses. Whether you are saddled with an exorbitant amount of medical bills or are no longer working in the same position or profession, we may be able to help you. Please don’t feel alone, scared, or unsure in your quest for compensation. Let our San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer at The Morales Law Firm review your case.
For years, we have successfully defended a broad range of car accident cases, including those that have been relatively straightforward to those that have extensive special challenges. At The Morales Law Firm, we put our clients first and do not treat them as another case number. You matter to us, and rest assured, our San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer will work hard to secure the compensation you are entitled to.
What To Do Following an Accident
After a car accident, the last thing you want to do is battle it out with an insurance company. Your priority should be on your health and safety. If you suffered injuries following an accident or had extensive damage to your vehicle, you deserve to be compensated for it. The following three steps, including contacting a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA, can help you keep a clear head and start your journey towards the settlement you deserve.
Collect Evidence and Information
After an accident, collect as much information as possible. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene and your injuries. If you cannot take pictures of the scene yourself, you may want to ask a friend or family member to do so. In addition to photographic evidence, try to keep in contact with the witnesses from the scene. They could provide picture evidence, but they have valuable testimony about what happened that day. In addition, you need a copy of the police report, information about the location of the accident and information about the other vehicle involved with the accident.
Do Not Speak About Responsibility
Even if you know the other driver was at fault, do not start an argument following the accident. Do your best not to speak of fault. The priority is to ensure everyone’s medical needs are taken care of. Additionally, any talk about fault could look poorly on you during the case. In addition, be careful not to take responsibility. Many people feel confused after an accident and it may be a habit to apologize. If you apologize, the insurance company or other person involved with the accident could use it to admit guilt.
Contact a Lawyer
Most people don’t think about lawyers right away following an accident. In some instances, you may want to talk to a lawyer before speaking with the insurance company. Your car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA, will be able to guide you through how to handle talks with the insurance company. Remember that insurance agencies may try to offer you less money than you deserve.
Do not hesitate to start your claim and contact a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA. The longer you wait, the more likely you will run out of time. There is a limit to how long you have to file a car accident claim—likewise, the more time you take, the more opportunities to lose critical evidence. A car accident may be stressful and overwhelming, but there are ways to prepare.
5 Reasons You Need a San Francisco, CA Car Accident Lawyer by Your Side
While you may feel confident in your ability to argue your car accident claim yourself, especially against an insurer outside of a courtroom, you may be underestimating the defense. Insurers are not in the business of handing out money, and they certainly do not want to settle a claim and admit liability or fault. Therefore, when it comes to making a personal injury claim, there are at least five reasons you should hire The Morales Law Firm, a San Francisco, CA-based car accident lawyer you can trust:
First, an experienced lawyer can offer a unique perspective that you, as the victim, are likely incapable of. They can look at your injuries and the basis of your claim analytically, and explain realistic expectations for settlement. Logic and reasoning should be the guiding principles during negotiations, not emotions.
Insurance companies have teams of lawyers dedicated to negotiations. These professionals are trained and skilled. Hiring your own San Francisco, California car accident lawyer is one way of leveling the playing field. Most lawyers have gone through significant training in negotiation and mediation before passing the bar. Therefore, while it is your right to fight your claim alone, why would you?
Another excellent reason to hire a lawyer for the legal counsel they will provide you with. They understand the processes and procedures governing courtrooms and litigation practices more than you likely ever will. Therefore, they are capable of seeing if your case has merit. If your car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA believes in your claim, then you can believe in it as well, especially since most car accident lawyers work on contingency, meaning they don’t get paid unless you settle or win.
There is always the possibility that your claim will not settle through mediation. If both parties cannot come to an agreement, then your lawsuit may move forward to trial. In court, your claim will need to be presented to a judge and jury. There are rules for delivering such information, and if you are unaware of these rules, then you risk costly mistakes. Hire a San Francisco, CA car accident lawyer to avoid any missteps.
Last, you should hire an attorney because they improve the likelihood of success. Plaintiffs with lawyers receive larger settlements and often larger verdicts. It is true that you do not have to hire a car accident lawyer representing San Francisco, CA for civil cases, but if you choose not to, then you may end up with less than you could have.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Get from Being in a Car Accident?
If you or someone you care about was involved in a car accident, you need to know what kind of compensation you should file for. A good car accident lawyer in California from The Morales Law Firm will be able to direct you, but here are a few of the most common damages people file for in a car accident case:
- Compensation for property damage. This includes any damage that was done to your vehicle or anything that was damaged or broken inside of your vehicle. You should not have to walk away with damaged property that you are responsible for replacing due to someone else’s negligence. If it had not been for the other driver you would not be replacing these items in the first place, so it is important to file for all of your property that was damaged in the car accident.
- Compensation for medical bills. This includes the first trip you took to the hospital and everything else that followed. Some of the most common things that people file for are costs for prescription and over the counter medications, costs for physical therapy or chiropractic care, and the cost for doctor appointments and any copays you have had to spend out of pocket.
- Compensation for lost wages due to missed work. This may be because you needed to attend physical therapy appointments or go to the doctor during work hours, or it could also be because your job is of a physical nature and you have been unable to work since the car accident.
- Sometimes, you can file to get compensated for pain and suffering you went through. This is usually for more severe and life changing accidents. It is more complicated to calculate these damages as they are not associated with any certain monetary value, but a good attorney will know how to estimate exactly how to do this. It can be important to get these damages as well to deter the offending party from being negligent another time in the future, and because you may need to pay for therapy or other things in the future to make your life as close to normal as possible.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our law firm to hear more about how we can help you with your car accident case. We will go over the details surrounding your case to figure out what kind of compensation you may be eligible for in your case. We will do our best to get you what you deserve and have done so many car accident cases in California before yours that we know what has a proven track record of success. You deserve to have your life be as close to normal as possible after your car accident. It is our job to do our best to get you compensation that can give you that.
Contact The Morales Law Firm Today
If you are planning on filing a car accident claim, do yourself a favor and hire a local lawyer. The licensed and experienced car accident lawyers San Francisco, clients recommend at Morales Law Firm bring experience, knowledge, and skills to the table that you are likely lacking.
Car Accident Lawyer San Francisco
Being involved in a car accident is a stressful time and it can lead to the need of finding a car accident lawyer in San Francisco. The aftermath of a car wreck can be stressful and you may find yourself dealing with injuries, property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and no idea what to do next.
Many car accidents are avoidable, and while that isn’t the case for all of them it still stands to be true. Some forms of accidents are more common than others. Knowing the causes of accidents can help you prevent them in the future or know what to look out for while you are on the road.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
Most people don’t get behind the wheel and expect to be in a car accident. Here are the most common reasons accidents happen:
By far the most common reason for a car accident is distracted driving. A distracted driver doesn’t have their full attention to the road. They could be paying more attention to their phone, other passengers, or even just eating while driving. When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle the only job you have is to get where you are going safely.
We’ve all had drivers blow past us on the highway and most likely we’ve been guilty of speeding ourselves. It isn’t unusual for people to drive 10 to 20 miles over the posted speed limit. The posted speed limit isn’t there just for show though. The faster you are going the slower your reaction time is. If you need to prevent an accident while driving well over the speed limit then the chances are that the accident is going to happen anyway.
Anyone who gets behind the wheel after they have been drinking is not only putting themselves in danger but everyone else on the road. When you drink your senses and cognitive functions are dulled. This means that your reaction time to change is slowed and your decision-making skills are compromised.
Weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, or cutting other drivers off are all examples of reckless driving. These can cause serious accidents that often lead to serious injures and accidents. Running stop lights and running through stop signs are also reckless and can be the difference between being safe and ending up with serious injuries.
Rain is very dangerous. The first rain after a long period without it can cause roads to become slicker than just a normal rain. The oil and grime from the road during a first rainstorm is going to make the road worse than normal. If you are driving while it is raining or even snowing you have to remember your tires aren’t sticking to the road as they normally would. Don’t drive faster than normal and be careful or you could slip and slide.
How Should I Protect My Rights After a Car Accident?
Accidents on the road occur all too often, and when they do you may not be prepared, as a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA knows. Unexpected accidents can cause serious or catastrophic injuries to innocent victims. If a driver was negligent and caused the crash, filing a claim against them might be the most sensible option if you hope to obtain compensation. However, you need to take precautions so that you can boost the strength of your claim, as a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA like one from Morales Law Firm can tell you. Do the following steps so that you can protect your legal rights.
Do I need to get immediate medical attention?
Getting medical attention is something that not all accident victims do. If they have been involved in a crash, they might not think to go to the doctor because they feel fine. However, this is a big mistake because it can affect how insurance companies perceive the validity of your claim. If you do not get seen by a doctor, they might use that as an excuse to lower your compensation or reject your accident claim.
How do I document the accident site correctly?
Take many photos of the accident scene, making sure to capture damage on the vehicles, property and debris on the road. Photography all angles and the interior of your vehicle, focusing on details such as any deployed airbags. If your injuries prevent you from being able to take photos yourself, have someone else take them for you. However, if you are physically able to take photos, it is best to document the scene yourself.
When can I obtain the police report?
The local police department will have a copy of your accident report that they can provide for you. After several days you will be able to obtain the report, which contains information about the at-fault driver, parties involved, and how the accident occurred. You can provide this report to your lawyer so that they can use the information from it to build your case.
How do I obtain eyewitness statements?
Witnesses play a crucial role in an accident case. They might have seen the accident from different angles and can provide details that could help your case. After getting medical attention following your accident, reach out to anyone who may have been present at the scene. Obtain their contact information and write down their statement.
What should I not say?
Never give an apology or admit fault after you have been in an accident. It is one of the quickest ways for your claim to get dropped, losing your chance at getting the compensation that you deserve. If the driver tries to pin the blame on you, don’t fall for it. When you are sharing your account of the accident to the police, keep it straightforward.
Saying and doing the right things after an accident can increase your chances of getting the outcome that you deserve so that you can get peace of mind. The aftermath of an accident is stressful, so if you need legal assistance contact a car accident lawyer in San Francisco, CA like one at Morales Law Firm who is ready to help.
Do I Have to See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
Yes. Even if you don’t have visible injuries or feel minimal discomfort, it’s important to seek medication attention following a car accident. A doctor will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis and then recommend the appropriate treatment plan. If you put off medical treatment too long, your injury could worsen and require more extensive treatment. Delaying medical care could also put your claim in jeopardy. The negligent driver’s insurance company might assume that you are not truly injured if you waited so long to see a doctor.
What Kind of Recorded Statement Should I Provide the Defendant’s Insurance Company?
You should not give the other driver’s insurance company a recorded statement at all. Even if they seem like they are trying to be helpful, the insurance company only cares about their bottom line. They will try to use the information you tell them against you.
Can I Reject a Settlement Offer?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s in your best interest to not accept the initial settlement offer from the other driver’s insurance company. It likely won’t cover all of your damages that resulted from the accident.
If you have more questions about what a car accident lawyer from San Francisco can do for you then reach out to The Morales Law Firm today.
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