A lot of people ask, “Do I even need a lawyer for my accident case?” Very often, the answer is no. However, if you were seriously injured in an accident, you should always work with an experienced San Jose personal injury attorney.Read More
If you’re hurt in a car accident, you need to talk to a California auto accident attorney.
The period following an auto accident can be extremely stressful. After a car crash injury with the added stress of medical bills & expenses, lost wages, physical & emotional pain and suffering, and damage to your vehicle, there’s so much going on it’s often overwhelming.
The California car accident lawyers of GJEL are here to help navigate you through this difficult time.
Have your case reviewed by our law firm for FREE
There is no cost or obligation
Our experience in auto accident litigation is extensive. The attorneys of GJEL will:
- Help you get proper medical treatment
- Assess your accident
- Examine medical evidence evaluating injuries
- Calculate losses
- Help maximize the compensation you recover
Our accident attorneys are here to explain your legal options, counsel you on the best way to proceed, and do everything in our power to minimize the stress you’re feeling following your accident.
We Are An Award-Winning Car Accident Injury Law Firm
GJEL Accident Attorneys was just rated a top Amputation Injury law firm by Best Lawyers for 2021 and 2022. We have also recovered over $950 million with a 99% success rate for victims who were injured in motor vehicle accidents.
Should you contact an injury lawyer after your car accident?
Motor Vehicle accidents account for a significant portion of California’s injury and wrongful death claims. While many accidents share similar characteristics, each one has unique details and deserves to be investigated thoroughly to ensure a complete financial recovery.
For minor accidents, it’s quite possible you don’t need an attorney. However, even if it turns out you don’t need to hire a lawyer, consultations are always free. If you’re in doubt, use our contact form or give us a call and ask.
The more severe the accident, the more likely you are to benefit from the counsel of an experienced auto accident attorney. Adjusters and insurers may try to take advantage of victims who are not represented by an attorney experienced in California accident law. Insurance companies aren’t in business to look out for your best interests and the victim of a serious accident will rarely “come out ahead” in an injury settlement without consulting a lawyer.
We’re here to answer your questions. If we think you need a lawyer, we’ll tell you why. If we don’t think you need a lawyer, we’ll tell you that too. Either way, you’ll have all the information you need to make your own decision.
If you do end up hiring us to represent you, there will be no upfront fees or advance payments required. If you recover nothing, you owe us nothing. We’re here to get you the best result possible and we work on a contingency fee basis.
GJEL Has Unparalleled expertise in handling car accident cases
We’ve won thousands of automotive injury cases and boast a success rate of over 99 percent.
We’re known throughout the state of California for our expertise, and other firms routinely refer their large and complex cases to us.
Here are two recent cases we’ve successfully litigated for our clients:
$1,750,000 Recovery From A Car Accident
A couple was rear-ended by a large pickup truck while driving on I-80. The woman, 52-years-old, was killed in the accident. The defendant argued that the woman’s husband, who was driving at the time of the accident, was largely responsible for the accident because he had been in the process of changing lanes when the rear-end collision took place.
Jim Larsen and the auto accident attorneys at GJEL deposed all available witnesses, including the California Highway Patrol officers responsible for investigating the accident. Thanks to a detailed investigation, GJEL was able to confirm that the husband was not involved in a lane change at the time of the collision and that the fault was solely that of the other driver. Using the testimony of the husband and three adult children, GJEL was also able to show the loving relationship that each had with the accident victim.
With the help of expert testimony and physical evidence, GJEL established that it was the severity of the impact by the defendant’s truck that generated the force resulting in the fatal accident.
GJEL successfully recovered $1,750,000 after a road accident.
$6,500,000 Jury Verdict
A 16-year-old was permanently injured in a rollover accident resulting from a collision with a mound of dirt that had been inadvertently left in the middle of the roadway by a Hayward construction company.
The accident occurred on North Mines Road in Livermore when Todd Andrews struck a dirt mound and careened into a divider. His car rolled three times before coming to a stop.
GJEL’s Luke Ellis represented Andrews’ stepparents in the ensuing lawsuit, attempting to recover medical fees and damages for their stepson’s life-changing injuries.
At trial, a jury awarded the couple $6.5 million, with attorney Ellis successfully proving several violations on the part of the construction company, the city, and the general contractor and engineering company involved in the project.
See What Our Previous Clients Have To Say:
In addition to recovering over $950 + million for injured clients and their families, here’s what some of our clients had to say about their experience:
List of The Most Common Types of Serious Auto Accidents
Several common types of accidents often result in serious injuries for the parties involved.
These are some of the cases we deal with most frequently.
A rear-end accident occurs when a driver collides with the vehicle in front of them. These types of accidents can range from minor to extremely severe, depending on the speed at which the vehicles were moving and the exact circumstances under which the accident occurs.
In most instances, the driver of the vehicle that rear-ends the other car is at fault, with these types of collisions often occurring because a driver was following too closely or was not paying attention. However, if the driver of the vehicle that gets rear-ended was reversing at the time of the collision, it’s possible that the driver could be found responsible for the accident.
Also known as side-impact collisions, a “T-bone” occurs when the side of a car is hit by the front or rear of another vehicle. These broadside collisions can often result in severe injuries for both parties.
A sideswipe accident is when the side of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle, typically while both cars are traveling in the same direction. Common causes of sideswipe accidents are drivers failing to check their blind spot before changing lanes and drivers in parked vehicles re-entering moving traffic without first ensuring the lane is clear.
At low speeds, sideswipe collisions may only result in cosmetic damage, but at high speeds, the injuries can often be significant and severe.
Head-on accidents occur when two vehicles collide directly with each other while going in opposite directions. Even at modest speeds, head-on collisions can result in severe injuries or death.
Single Vehicle Crashes
Single vehicle accidents involve only one vehicle and can be the result of a collision with a stationary object or of veering off the motorway. These accidents can occur due to driver error resulting from factors such as intoxication or fatigue or can happen as the result of external factors like unsafe road conditions or inclement weather.
A rollover accident occurs when one of the vehicles is overturned as a result of either a collision or departure from the roadway. Rollover accidents are typically severe, resulting in substantial injuries and possibly death.
Hit and Run Accidents
Hit and run accidents can be any type of accident in which one of the drivers involved in the collision decides to flee the scene. Hit and runs are defined by the driver leaving the scene of the accident without providing contact information and can result in a ticket (at a minimum) and possibly criminal charges.
Statistics About Car Accidents in California
Motor vehicle accidents are all too common. According to Traffic Safety Facts released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were an estimated 6.3 million police-reported crashes last year.
Those collisions resulted in 2.44 million people being injured on America’s roads. Many of which were due to negligence.
Here are some other alarming statistics about automotive accidents in the United States and California:
- 35,092 people lost their lives nationwide last year as the result of a vehicular accident
- Almost half (48%) of all fatally injured vehicle occupants were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident (2015)
- 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States involve alcohol (2015)
- California had 4,382 drivers involved in fatal accidents during 2015
- 955 of California’s fatal accidents occurred while the driver was speeding
- 914 of California’s fatal accidents occurred while the driver was intoxicated
(Sources: National Traffic Stats, CA Traffic Stats)
Common Injuries in a Car Accident
Car accidents are among the greatest causes of personal injury in the United States. Over 5.6 million car accidents occurred in the United States in 2012, with over 30,000 ensuing fatalities and 1.6 million serious injuries reported. While automobile manufacturers continue to implement life-saving features in new vehicles, injuries due to vehicle collisions remain a serious risk to American motorists. Below, we’ll examine a few of the most frequent automobile injuries that occur, and what to do if you or a loved one are ever injured in a car accident.
1. Spinal Injuries
While not the only neck injury a vehicular collision can cause, one of the most common injuries is commonly referred to as “Whiplash.” Whiplash occurs when an impacted vehicle causes the victim’s head to be thrown forward, backward, or to the side; the velocity of this action can inflict severe strain on the muscles and ligaments of the neck and upper back.
While most cases of whiplash resolve themselves with time, some can be permanently disabling. Additionally, the trauma of a vehicular collision can cause various forms of damage to the soft tissues of the upper and lower back, and in serious cases, can even lead to disc herniation or associated skeletal trauma. In these cases, a long recovery period is common, and may frequently require treatment through surgery, physical therapy, and/or long-term pain management.
Severe spinal injuries are also, unfortunately, one of the most costly automobile injuries to treat. Extensive trauma to the spine can result in paralysis, both partial or total, as well as death. In some cases, spinal cord injury cannot be fully corrected, resulting in permanent disability. This can result in an inability to work, care for oneself, or engage in normal everyday activities.
2. Brain and Head Trauma
17.3 percent of all TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injury) in the United States are caused by car accidents. Traumatic Brain Injury can occur when a rapid movement of the skull causes the brain to impact the hard surface of the skull; because our brains rest freely within the skull, rather than in a fixed position, a traumatic event can cause enough impact to damage the soft tissues of the brain. Traumatic Brain Injury can result in bruising, swelling, or bleeding of the brain, as well as several other severe conditions such as skull fracture. While many victims may suffer immediate unconsciousness or other visible symptoms, Traumatic Brain Injuries can also be difficult to diagnose; many sufferers do not encounter symptoms of the damage until much later.
Emergency care is essential in the case of a Traumatic Brain Injury, and in many circumstances, may require extensive follow-up treatment, including brain imaging diagnostics such as a CT (Computer Tomography) scan or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Serious neurological injuries can cause substantial impairment to the victim’s cognitive functioning, and in severe cases, may require extensive or even lifetime rehabilitation.
3. Broken Bones
The upper and lower limbs are particularly susceptible to injury in the event of an automobile accident and typically require both emergency and follow-up treatment. Broken bones are at a high risk for infection, and in serious cases, may require physical therapy and/or surgical techniques to fully repair function of the injured limb. In the most severe accidents, trauma to the limbs can result in loss of the limb, causing substantial impairment to one’s quality of life and ability to engage in everyday tasks and responsibilities.
Minor breaks, sprains, or spurs are also common in automobile accidents. While these injuries are not typically complex to treat, some may require an extensive period of healing and rehabilitation to restore function in the injured area.
4. Facial Injuries
Facial injuries can range from minor, such as bruises, scrapes, or cuts, to more severe, including fractures, deep lacerations, burns, or dental/jaw damage. Lacerations, such as deep cuts, scrapes, or punctures into the underlying skin, are frequently encountered even in minor car accidents, as the soft tissues of the face are particularly susceptible to trauma from impact with parts of the vehicle’s interior, thrown objects such as personal items or broken glass, or in severe cases, punctures from related injuries such as broken bones or other sharp objects.
Damage to the facial bones is also not uncommon, and can range from cosmetic damage to debilitating injury (such as a broken jaw). In some cases, victims may require reconstructive (cosmetic) surgery to restore the proper look and/or function to the face. While some injuries, such as a broken nose, are relatively simple to treat, complex injuries like jaw dislocation can require extremely long periods of treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery.
5. Psychological Injuries
Regardless of physical injury following a car accident, many victims can suffer from one or more associated psychological symptoms associated with the event. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), for example, is a common disorder often requiring the treatment of a professional following a car accident; victims with PTSD may suffer severe distress resulting from the traumatic event, whether short-lived or requiring several years of treatment to obtain a full return to normal thought processes. Associated disorders resulting from a car accident can also include anxiety, whether a generalized state of unease or acute, severe panic attacks, and/or depression, whether due to the trauma of the event or the ensuing recovery.
Treating psychological injuries can be difficult, and may require therapy with a licensed professional, medication, and/or a long period of rehabilitation to return to one’s normal mental state. In some cases, victims may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress resulting from the car accident.
California Car Accident Guide & Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a collection of articles that will help you take the proper steps following a car crash in CA. If you have been involved in an auto accident in California we invite you to contact us for a free case review.
California Office Locations Near You
Information to Gather after a car accident
No one gets into their vehicle and expects to be involved in an accident. Car accidents nonetheless happen on a daily basis throughout the state of California. In many cases, people involved in car accidents sustain serious injuries that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Even in less serious accidents, victims often experience significant pain and incur thousands of dollars in property damage to their vehicles. Fortunately, when motor vehicle accidents are caused by the negligence of others, victims are often able to recover financial compensation for their losses through a California personal injury claim.
Such recovery does not happen automatically, however, and car accident claims often require a significant amount of evidence to prove negligence and accident-related losses. There are several types of information victims should gather after an accident in order to preserve potentially important evidence and protect their right to recover. The most critical information to gather after a collision is discussed below.
Get Information from the Other Driver or Drivers Involved in the Accident
California law requires people who are involved in accidents to exchange information with the other drivers. In addition to being required by law, collecting information from the other drivers involved ensures that victims will be able to file a claim against the correct party or parties who were at fault for the accident.
The kinds of information that should be documented include the following:
- The names of the other drivers involved in the accident;
- Driver’s license numbers;
- The vehicle identification numbers (VIN) of the other vehicles involved;
- The addresses and contact numbers of the other drivers;
- Insurance company and policy information.
It is important to remember that after a car accident, most people are upset, angry, confused, and may even be in significant pain. For this reason, if you are able to ask the other drivers involved in the accident for this type of information, it is important to remain patient and give them time to regain their bearings after an accident has occurred.
Secure Contact Information from Anyone who may have Witnessed the Accident
It is also important for accident victims to obtain contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the accident occur. In many cases, drivers can have significantly differing accounts of how an accident happened and eyewitness testimony can often help resolve these kinds of disputes. In addition to talking to people who may have witnessed the accident, victims should also look around and see whether any businesses or homes in the area have surveillance cameras that may have captured the accident taking place.
If cameras do exist, it may be possible to obtain the footage in order to determine how exactly the accident occurred. Even if a business or homeowner is reluctant to turn over the footage, there are ways in which an experienced personal injury lawyer can compel the production of evidence relevant to a particular case. Having video footage can serve as concrete evidence of certain acts of negligence and can eliminate discrepancies between witness accounts.
Take Photographic Evidence of the Scene and Aftermath of the Accident
The fact that a majority of adults now carry a phone that is also a digital camera has made documenting the aftermath of an accident significantly easier than it was in the past. If you are physically able, you should take photographs of anything you believe may be relevant to the way in which the accident occurred.
Relevant photographs may include the following:
- Your vehicle;
- The other driver’s vehicle;
- Your visible injuries;
- Damage to guardrails or other objects;
- Any roadway hazards you believe may have caused or contributed to your accident;
- Tire marks; and
- The general layout of the roadway where your accident occurred.
Examining photos can not only help piece together what happened, but also paint a clearer picture of the collision for a jury should your case go to trial.
Note any Relevant Details Regarding Your Surroundings
While not as high-tech as using a digital camera to gather photographic evidence, anyone involved in an accident should also make notes about specific surroundings they believe may have contributed to the way in which the accident took place.
Examples of the kinds of things worth noting may include;
- The weather conditions at the time of the accident;
- Any observations regarding the other driver or drivers that may be relevant to their mental state at the time of the accident;
- Traffic conditions at the time of the accident;
- Whether there were any traffic signals in the area; and
- The road conditions at the scene.
Obtain a Copy of the Police Report
After law enforcement arrive on the scene and interview those involved and those who witnessed the collision, they will enter information into an official police report. The report can not only provide important details but also may include a statement giving the officer’s opinion on who was at fault in the accident. You should obtain the report and ensure it includes an accurate portrayal of what you said. If it does not, you can request to have the report amended.
Contact a California Car Accident Law Firm Today to Discuss Your Case
After a car accident, you should be focusing on your recovery, not trying to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. The skilled car accident attorneys at GJEL are dedicated to protecting the legal rights of our clients and work tirelessly to ensure each client we represent gets the full and fair value of their claim.
Our firm has recovered more than $950 million on behalf of our clients and has been successful in over 99 percent of the cases we’ve taken. To schedule a free consultation with one of our California car accident lawyers, call our office today at 866-218-3776 or send us an email through our online contact form.