California may be the most beautiful state in the union. Its scenery blends stunning beaches and forests full of towering trees with looming, snow-capped mountains, beautiful blue lakes, and sprawling, arid deserts. In this natural wonderland are some of America’s most vital and most vibrant cities, including the legendarily hip San Francisco and the pop culture capital of the world, Los Angeles. No wonder, then, that more than 40 million people are happy to call California home.
But no place on Earth is perfect — not even California. With all of those people come lots and lots of motor vehicles. California has beautiful scenic highways like the legendary Pacific Coast Highway, but it also has infamous traffic and car pollution. Californians who commute by car or who use their vehicles for personal and social reasons need to know that they face certain dangers when they get behind the wheel.
Car accidents: a real problem for California
California does not have the most dangerous accidents per capita in the United States, but it doesn’t have to. With 40 million people and so many cars on the roads, the raw number of car accidents in California can be staggering. You can’t watch the local traffic report without hearing about at least one. And, eventually, there’s a good chance that you yourself will be involved in a car accident in California.
If you’re involved in a California car accident, start by focusing on your safety and that of others. Call 911 right away if anyone needs medical attention, and use your judgment to decide if you should move the involved vehicles off of the road or leave them where they are and step off to the side of the road.
California law requires drivers to notify the police when an accident has caused an injury or more than $1,000 in damages. Even if your accident does not fit this criteria, it’s a good idea to call the police to the scene, regardless: you may later need the documentation that the police will produce.
The consequences of a car accident
A car accident can be frightening and upsetting. Unfortunately, the problems don’t always end there. If you are injured in a car accident, the consequences of that moment can linger on for months, years, or even decades.
A lingering injury can cost you dearly. You could need regular visits to the doctor, and you might need physical therapy, both of which aren’t cheap. Remember, medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in our country.
And what if you can’t go back to work? California has laws that protect workers, but there’s only so much that you can do when your injury is preventing you from doing your job. You could lose a lot of income or even lose your job entirely due to time that you have to take off after your accident.
When all of this stems from an accident that was not your fault, it can be extremely unfair. In situations like that, you’ll want to take action.
Fighting for what’s yours after a car accident
California personal injury law gives you options in the days and months following a car accident. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible and fight to recover the funds that you are owed for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Your first step should be to find a local California personal injury attorney, explains a car accident lawyer in Irvine. Make sure that you’re choosing someone who specializes in your type of accident. Show up prepared to explain your case. Bring along relevant documentation, including that police report. Lay out your story and learn more about your options under California law.