Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyer
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Highway 99, which runs through Kern County and serves to connect the Bakersfield area with the rest of California, is one of the most dangerous highways in the country. For example, in November of 2017, a drunk driver killed a five-year-old boy and his mother as they were changing a flat tire. Most recently, in May of 2018, a paroled and armed sex offender led LAPD and CHP on an almost four-hour chase through several miles of Highway 99.
Whether you suffered injuries on Highway 99 or in downtown Bakersfield, it’s important to consult with an experienced Bakersfield car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Car accident injuries have the potential to be catastrophic and life-changing. You should acquire legal representation to recover compensation for damages caused by a car accident.
If you suffered injuries after a car accident that was caused by someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for your losses. Please don’t hesitate to contact our Bakersfield car accident attorneys by calling (661) 347-3610 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a free consultation at our Bakersfield personal injury law firm.
Negligence and Liability
The most important thing a Bakersfield car accident attorney will want to determine in any type of car accident claim is the issue of liability. Determining liability after a car accident is a complex process, especially when multiple parties are involved. Liability will be the primary factor behind whether or not you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Liability is generally based on negligence. In other words, the driver, group, or other entity who caused your injuries will typically be held liable for any losses you sustained, as well as the resulting damages. As it relates to car accidents, negligence is some form of careless or reckless behavior. Common examples of driver negligence include driving while under the influence, texting, speeding, not obeying traffic laws, or simply being distracted. Negligent behavior while behind the wheel is unacceptable and is against the law. Everyone has a duty of care to drive safely. This means being careful, following road rules, obeying traffic signals, and watching out for pedestrians and bicyclists.
If you were injured by another driver, you must show that their negligence directly caused your injuries. The legal standard for negligence in the state of California will consider the following:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached his or her duty of care through negligence, and
- The defendant’s negligence was the primary cause of the injuries you sustained.
Let’s consider an example: Say that you were driving home on Highway 99. You are driving safely, eyes on the road, and you are not exceeding the speed limit. It is getting dark, so you turn your lights on.
Directly behind you is another driver who is engaged in a heated phone argument with a loved one. This individual does not have their lights on and is not fully focused on the important task of safe driving. This particular section of the highway does not see a heavy flow of traffic. However, there is a tractor-trailer that has turned over and is blocking all traffic lanes. Because you are paying attention to the road, you notice the tractor-trailer and slow down in time to avoid hitting it. However, the driver behind you is not watching the road and does not have their lights on. The driver behind you slams on the brakes, but still hits the back of your vehicle. This driver would almost certainly be found completely responsible for the accident. They were not driving safely and they were not using the appropriate lighting. Therefore, they would be held liable for the accident and any resulting damages caused by their negligence.
Negligence is the cause of most car accidents. However, it is entirely possible for more than one driver to share liability for causing an accident, including an injured driver. Please continue reading below if you suffered injuries in an accident that you were also partially responsible for. You may still be entitled to compensation.
What About Comparative Negligence?
California is a comparative negligence state. This means that you can still collect some damages even if you are found partially responsible for causing an accident. Being partially responsible will negatively affect the amount of damages you may be awarded in a personal injury claim, and available damages will be reduced according to how responsible you were for causing the accident.
For example, you would have a difficult time recovering damages if you were heavily intoxicated, even if you were hit by someone and suffered injuries. In other words, if you suffered injuries as a result of a car accident that was partially caused by your intoxication, you will at least recover a partial claim. However, you will not recover nearly as much compensation as you would have if you were not intoxicated when the accident took place.
There are also car accidents that are not caused by anyone’s negligence, but by defective car parts or faulty road conditions. If you have suffered injuries that were caused by vehicular malfunction, faulty traffic lights, or dangerous road conditions, you may also be entitled to file a personal injury claim for your losses. Please consult with an experienced Bakersfield car accident attorney to determine whether you can file a claim for the recovery of damages.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Always Here to Help
If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by someone’s negligence, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. A Bakersfield car accident attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for your losses, including medical bills, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and more.