Our Car Accident Attorneys Represents Victims & Their Families Across California
When cars collide, the results can be catastrophic or even fatal. If you have been injured in a wreck in San Luis Obispo, or anywhere else in the state, the car accident lawyers at Ernst Law Group are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Medical bills and stress can pile up quickly after your accident, so it’s important to talk to a car accident attorney as soon as possible to explore your options.
When to Consult a Car Accident Lawyer in San Luis Obispo
When you are injured after a car accident, the real job is figuring out how to explain the claim to an insurance company. The insurance company will call you, want documents, and want you to sign paperwork. However, the insurance company’s goal is to pay you as little money as possible while still honoring their duties. Lawyers deal with insurance companies every day, and our job is to maximize the amount of money the insurance company pays you. Having your own attorney can always most certainly help. Hiring a lawyer can smooth the claims process and increase your chances of getting the maximum amount of compensation available to you because we know how to pressure insurance companies into paying what you are owed.
Since most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, you won’t even have to provide money for their services unless you are awarded compensation. A contingency basis means that the lawyers charge a percentage if they win. If you never obtain a court award or settlement, you don’t have to pay them anything, under most circumstances.
If your accident did not result in injuries or property damage, you may not need a personal injury lawyer. However, if the accident led to significant injuries, someone’s death, or a permanent health condition, then an attorney may be needed to estimate your total losses and ensure you get a fair settlement. The insurer may also try to dispute who was at fault in the accident or whether all of your medical bill claims are covered by the policy, in which case a car accident lawyer can negotiate on your behalf.
Any time you aren’t getting the offer you need, have your claim denied, or worry that your claim will be disputed, you should strongly consider working with an attorney. This is especially true if you could be facing legal action from another party.
Choosing the Right Car Accident Attorneys
When choosing to work with an attorney, look for firms and specific lawyers that have experience with your type of case with an excellent reputation. This does not mean online reviews. A good reputation means when you ask other lawyers what the reputation of the firm you are considering, they answer “that firm is one of the best.”
Hiring a trial lawyer is the most important thing you can do. Most firms will say they go to trial. Test this theory and ask, “How many times have you been in trial to a jury verdict?” Many firms will not go to trial regularly, and this answer will be under 5 or 10. That is not a firm you want to represent you.
Insurance companies keep track of trial lawyers, and the results the trial lawyer gets. The stronger the reputation is of the firm that takes your case, the more valuable your case. One lawyer with a decent reputation will have your case be worth $100,000 dollars, where a lawyer with an excellent reputation and will have your case worth $750,000 dollars.
That is a pretty large difference.
Knowledge of similar cases can provide invaluable strategic insight, and it can give your attorney valuable information on what particular courts or insurers look for when weighing the merits of a claim.
You will want your attorney to be a good listener — someone who is patient, compassionate, and clear about what your legal options are in light of your circumstances. They should be willing to work closely with you during your case, not keeping you in the dark or working exclusively through assistants.
For any attorney you consider, check their rating on sites like Avvo Ratings, Martindale Peer Reviews, or Super Lawyers. Keep an eye out for client reviews and testimonials as well as their history of successful results for cases similar to yours.
Past Car Accident Case Results by Ernst Law Group Attorneys
The Ernst Law Group has a reputation for vigorously representing the rights of our clients and pursuing the maximum amount of compensation available for their life-altering losses.
One landmark case we participated in resulted in a ruling that forced an insurer to pay $10.5 million for damages related to a truck accident. The truck had pulled across a San Luis Obispo freeway, causing an accident that injured our client and resulted in permanent brain damage.
Another case involved a young boy who was hit on his bicycle by a car exiting a shopping center in San Luis Obispo. The boy sustained severe brain damage. His claim went to trial, resulting in the jury arriving at a $10.23 million award for his and his family’s total losses.
What Your Lawyer Will Help You Prove After Your Accident
A qualified San Luis Obispo car accident attorney uses their knowledge of the law to build a strong case for you backed by evidence and the testimony of experts.
Elements of a Car Accident Case in San Luis Obispo
Proving a car accident injury claim requires two main showings: 1) that the defending party was at-fault for the accident, and 2) that the accident directly caused injuries, resulting in a certain amount of damages.
To establish fault, most car accident attorneys in San Luis Obispo will attempt to prove a negligence claim. Negligence claims have four separate components:
- Duty: The defendant owed a duty of care to protect the plaintiff from harm to the point that a “reasonable person” exercising “ordinary care”
- Breach: The defendant breached their duty, either through violation of the law, a careless act, or a failure to act in a way that could have preserved the plaintiff’s safety
- Injury: The breach in the defendant’s duty of care directly caused an injury to the plaintiff, referred to as proximate cause
- Damage: The harm caused to the plaintiff by the defendant resulted in financial losses, such as medical expenses, and general damages, such as pain and suffering
To prove the extent of your injuries and resulting damages, your attorney will review your medical documentation, ensure a thorough diagnosis, and consult with medical and economic experts.
Steps You Can Take to Support Your Car Accident Case
The most important things you can do to support your car accident injury claim are to report your accident and receive immediate medical care. A police report and an official diagnosis are both crucial aspects of nearly every car accident case.
When you are at the emergency room or at your doctor’s appointment, describe your symptoms in detail, including the pain you feel and your inability to perform certain tasks like normal. Having these details included on your medical chart can back up your assertions of pain and suffering later while giving the most accurate picture of your condition possible.
Follow all doctor’s orders, even if it means missing work or activities you once enjoyed. Avoid discussing your condition, your accident, or your possible case with anyone, especially on social media.
Should you be contacted by insurers representing the at-fault party, restrict the information you provide to them to what can be found on the police report. You do not have to describe your current medical condition or your diagnosis in detail. Your health is an ongoing matter.
Contact a personal injury lawyer in San Luis Obispo as soon as you can to begin building a strong case, to estimate the full extent of your damages, and to prepare for any defenses the defendant or their insurer may use to lower the value of your claim or dispute it in its entirety.
Steps Your Attorney May Take to Investigate Your Case
Your attorney will vigorously review the police accident report and identify anything missing from your report or the reports of any witnesses. They may visit the car accident scene with crash reconstruction experts to gather further evidence and point to common physical signs of negligent driving.
Any applicable laws and prior case rulings will be pulled to give the full view of your available legal strategies. If possible third-parties may be liable, such as an employer of the driver who hit you, your attorney will consider filing an additional claim.
Expert witnesses will be called to make statements and potentially perform depositions to provide additional evidence of your damages. Medical experts can assist with describing a diagnosis, how long it takes to recover from it, and the approximate future costs of treatment, for example.
Causes of Car Accidents in San Luis Obispo
If you were injured in a car accident that was a result of another’s negligence, you may pursue a cause of action to recover compensation for your injuries and other expenses. For example, if a driver was texting and not paying attention to his or her driving, and it caused an accident that resulted in an automobile crash and a physical injury, you may file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage and more. If punitive damages are applicable, compensation may be significantly higher. The San Luis Obispo Ernst Law Group car accident attorney is a premier law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for their clients.
There are many causes of car accidents. Some of the leading causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted driving – includes texting, talking on the phone, inserting a CD, talking to other passengers
- Speeding – driving above the posted speed limit leads to less control by the driver and accidents frequently occur
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – impaired driving is responsible for crashes, injuries, deaths
- Not following the rules of the road – when a driver does not drive according to known rules and laws
- Driver fatigue – a tired driver may close their eyes or fall asleep while driving; this is a serious problem for many who work or drive long hours
- Equipment failure – brake and tire failure is a common cause of accidents
History of San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo was founded in 1772 by Spanish missionaries, making it one of the oldest European-founded communities in California. Franciscan Junipero Serra was tasked by the Spanish Empire to the natives of Southern California in 1769, and in 1772 the first Catholic Mass was held in the area. The city was named after Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse. While originally founded as a mission, San Luis Obispo became a parish in the mid-1800s.
Now, the city is a bustling area and the seat of San Luis Obispo County. It’s home to more than 47,000 people. There are also more than 180 buildings that have been designated as City of San Luis Obispo Historical Resources. In addition, the city is known for the Madonna Inn and the Fremont Theater.
San Luis Obispo is also known for the Motel Inn, the world’s first motel. The city is home to CalPoly University and plenty of wineries. Numerous businesses were founded in San Luis Obispo, including Jamba Juice, iFixit, Urban Dictionary, and more.
Notable people from the city include:
- Musician Weird Al Yankovich
- Sportscaster John Madden
- Writer Jack Kerouac
- MLB pitcher Mike Krukow
- Actress Hannah Marks
- Director John Sturges
- NBA player Bud Ogden
There are a variety of festivals throughout the year, including Harvest on the Coast, the California Festival of Beers, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and more.
People who live in San Luis Obispo enjoy the amazing weather and proximity to beaches and other great sites in Southern California. At Ernst Law Group, we have proudly served the community in San Luis Obispo for over 35 years. We provide legal representation to members of the community who have been injured through no fault of their own to help them get the compensation they deserve.
We have also provided scholarships, represented vulnerable members of our community at no cost, and taken other steps to make San Luis Obispo a better place to live.
Compensation for Car Accidents Caused by Equipment Failure
You may be entitled to compensation if you were injured in a car accident that was caused by faulty equipment, including:
- Faulty brakes – improperly installed, faulty design, improperly maintained
- Defective tires – tires that explode, leak or shred
- Harmed by auto parts – recently recalled, improperly installed sunroofs get sucked out of the car while driving at high speeds, flying through the air with great velocity, striking other vehicles or pedestrians, causing severe injury or death
Automakers and responsible third parties such as mechanics, their employers, tire stores, brake stores and parts manufacturers are all potentially liable for their involvement in your injury. The Ernst Law Group will thoroughly examine accident reports, witness statements, work schedules and all important related evidence that may be utilized to support your personal injury claim caused by their negligent actions. Ernst Law Group will take your case to court for a jury trial if settlement offers are less than the appropriate and fair amount.
Dealing with Insurance Companies After Your Accident
After your accident, your insurance company or the insurance company of the other driver may try to offer you a settlement amount for your injuries and damages. Don’t accept the settlement until you’ve consulted with your car accident attorney. Claims adjusters often attempt to minimize accident victims’ injuries and get them to settle for less than they need to cover expenses. This is because they are looking out for their company’s bottom line, not necessarily your needs.
Your Ernst Law Group car accident attorney is experienced in dealing with insurance companies and getting our clients the settlements they deserve. Anything you say in an official statement to insurance claims adjusters can be taken out of context and used against you, so we will handle all communication with the insurance company on your behalf. We are here to protect your rights and get you the compensation you need to recover and move on from your car accident.
Our Dedicated Car Accident Lawyers Offer a Free Consultation and No Up-Front Fees
If you were injured in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Ernst Law Group, your dedicated car accident attorneys are highly respected, premier law firm that consistently produces results for injured clients. Compensation often includes, but is not limited to:
Keep receipts of bills from emergency room physicians, general practice doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and any other medical professionals you visit after your accident.
If you are unable to work because of your car accident injuries, you may be able to recover the income you would have received. You may also be able to recover bonuses you would have received if you were capable of working.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, your attorney may be able to help you receive compensation for physical and emotional distress caused by the car accident.
For physical damage of your vehicle and the items inside, you may be able to recover expenses such as car repairs, towing services, and car rentals.
Call our car accident attorney at (805) 541-0300, or contact us by email at [email protected]. Our San Luis Obispo law firm offers a free case evaluation to auto accident victims. It is important to remember that lawsuits must be filed within specific time periods, usually within two years of the accident. Ernst Law Group handles car accidents on a contingency fee basis, which means that our earnings are deducted from the amount that we obtain in a settlement or court proceeding. If we do not win your case, you are not charged any fees. The Ernst Law Group is committed to protecting the rights of car accident victims in San Luis Obispo and beyond.
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What Our Clients Say About Us
I could not be more satisfied with Ernst Law Group. Over the course of my case they were nothing but kind and friendly. When you’re in a situation where you need a lawyer it can be a very stressful time in your life. Ernst Law Group made me feel like everything was going to be okay, and I knew giving them my case was the right thing to do. These lawyers genuinely care about their clients and don’t just see you as a case file. My case could not have turned out better, and I owe everything to this law group for their devotion to their jobs and clients.Samantha Spelman
Enough cannot be said for the amazing job done for us by the Ernst Law Group. Their compassion and dedication to ‘doing what is right’ makes them go above and beyond in all that they do. After spending time and money on other local attorneys, Don, Taylor and Terry were a blessing to us. They never backed down even though our case was a very unusual case. Thank you Ernst Law Group.Mary Barrett
Best personal injury and wrongful death attorneys available! The whole team is friendly, works very hard, is knowledgeable, and will do their best to take care of their clients. The Ernst team is the best around!Hannah W.