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Cars are amazing machines, but they are inherently dangerous. When two cars collide, an enormous amount of force is exerted on both vehicles, leading to injuries and property damage. Unfortunately, many car accidents are caused by a driver’s recklessness, and the victim’s injury or death could have been avoided had the at-fault driver paid attention and followed the rules of the road.

If you were injured in a car accident that was a result of another’s negligence, you may recover compensation for your injuries and other expenses. For example, if a driver was texting, not paying attention, and caused an accident that resulted in an injury, you may file a personal injury lawsuit. The suit will help recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.

If punitive damages are applicable, compensation may be significantly higher.

Ernst Law Group is here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Medical bills, stress, and emotional turmoil can pile up quickly after your accident, so it’s important to talk to a San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Car Accidents in San Luis Obispo

In the San Luis Obispo area, people enjoy the amazing weather and proximity to beaches and other attractions in Southern California. The seat of San Luis Obispo County, our city is a bustling area and is home to more than 47,000 residents.

Tourism and growing populations are great for the local economy, but with all that traffic and increasingly limited space, car accidents are more and more frequent.

According to California Highway Patrol, there were 4,207 motor vehicle collisions in San Luis Obispo County from January 2019 to January 2020 alone. That number halved to 2,708 from April 2020 to April 2021, predictably due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We can expect that number to rise again as 2021 marches on and more people return to the road.

There are several reasons why these accidents occur in San Luis Obispo:

  • Distracted driving – This includes texting, talking on the phone, and talking to other passengers.
  • Speeding – A driver speeds when they drive above the posted speed limit, leading to less control of the vehicle, which frequently causes accidents.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – Impaired driving is responsible for crashes, injuries, deaths, and includes driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, prescription pills that come with operation warnings, and more
  • Not following the rules of the road – This occurs 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 are common causes of accidents.

Ernst Law Group has proudly served the San Luis Obispo community for more than 35 years. We provide legal representation to members of the community who have been injured through no fault of their own and help them get the compensation they deserve.

If you or a loved one were injured in a wreck, contact a San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer today.

What to Do After a Car Crash

When you’re involved in a car accident, you need to be prepared for anything that the insurance company or other driver(s) could do. Whether or not you caused or had a role in the collision, being prepared will give you a much better chance of making a successful auto insurance claim and will protect you if the other driver falsely accuses you of causing the accident.

Here are five things you should do in the event of a car crash:

  • 1) Move your vehicle to a safe location.

If possible, pull your car to the shoulder of the road, preferably in a well-lit place where other people can see you. Witnesses are integral to many car accident cases, and if other drivers saw the accident occur, it’ll be much harder for the at-fault driver to blame you.

  • 2) Check yourself and your passenger(s) for injuries.

After moving your vehicle to a safer location, check for any visible injuries to your person. Car accidents often cause an adrenaline rush, which could mean that you don’t feel your injuries immediately.

Of course, if you or your passengers are seriously injured, you should call an ambulance immediately. Remember, if you have to leave the scene, you can ask the reporting police officer to send you a copy of their report.

  • 3) Call the police.

Drivers involved in an accident where someone was injured or killed are required to notify California Highway Patrol or the police within 24 hours. Although drivers aren’t required to call the police in other situations, it’s not a bad idea.

First of all, a reporting police officer can mediate any argument or harassment from the other driver. Even though they caused the accident, at-fault drivers have been known to intimidate victims into not calling the police or bribe them not to report the crash.

That won’t happen when an officer is present, and no matter how nice you are, remember: the other driver isn’t looking out for you. This might go against your nature, but you need to put your interests first in these situations.

The officer will also create a police report that will be integral to your claim. In their evaluation of your claim, insurance companies will first look at the police report. These documents carry a strong weight with insurance adjusters.

  • 4) Gather evidence at the scene.

You don’t have to wait for the police officer or your lawyer to arrive to complete this step. If you are able, you should try to gather as much evidence at the scene as you can. That includes photos of your and the other driver’s vehicle, traffic and stop signs, weather conditions, skid or tire marks on the road, and any visible injuries that you suffered.

Evidence from the scene is indispensable to your case and can help prove, among many other things, that you were not at fault in the accident, that the other driver was at fault, and that you suffered injuries or damages as a result of the accident.

  • 5) File an insurance claim.

You are almost guaranteed to have to file a claim with your insurance company after being in a crash. To get the ball rolling on your claim and to start the process toward compensation, contact your insurance as soon as possible after the crash.

How We Can Help

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, request documents from you, and want you to sign paperwork. However, their goal is to pay you as little money as possible and be done with it.

Lawyers deal with insurance companies every day, and our job is to maximize the amount of money the insurance company pays you. Hiring a San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer will most certainly help. A lawyer can increase your chances of getting the maximum amount of compensation available 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 pay for their services unless you are awarded compensation. A contingency basis means that the lawyers get a percentage of the award 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 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 Attorney

When choosing to work with an attorney, look for firms that have experience with your type of case and an excellent reputation. This does not strictly 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.” That’s what other lawyers say about Ernst Law Group, and we’ve worked hard for that recognition.

Hiring a trial lawyer is the most important thing you can do.  Most firms will say they go to trial, but they’re just talking.  Test this theory and ask, “How many times have you gone to trial for a jury verdict?”  Many firms will not go to trial regularly, and this answer will be under five or 10.  That is not a firm you want representing you.

You want a firm that is fully prepared to go to trial from day one. At Ernst Law Group, we’re poised to take your case as far as it will go to get you the money you deserve.

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 value your case at $100,000, where a lawyer with an excellent reputation will value your case at $750,000.

That’s a pretty large difference.

Knowledge of similar cases 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, not keep you in the dark or work 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.

At Ernst Law Group, we’re more than happy to provide you with detailed case results and past cases. You can find these throughout our site, but if you’d like more in-depth information, contact us at (805) 600-2798.

Past Car Accident Case Results by Ernst Law Group Attorneys

The Ernst Law Group has a reputation for vigorously protecting 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.

Two main elements are required in proving a car accident case: 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 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 our California personal injury attorneys as soon as you can to begin building a strong case, estimate the full extent of your damages, and 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.

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 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 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.

Let us 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 Free Consultations 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, belong to a highly respected, premier law firm that consistently produces results for injured clients. Compensation often includes, but is not limited to:

 

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

Call our car accident attorney at (805) 600-2798, or contact us by email at [email protected] Our San Luis Obispo law firm offers a free case evaluation to auto accident victims. Remember – 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. We’re committed to protecting the rights of car accident victims in San Luis Obispo and beyond. Call a San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer today for more information.

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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How Can Ernst Law Group Help?

Ernst Law Group custom tailors our representation to you. Our San Luis Obispo personal injury attorneys have been named Super Lawyers and Top Trial Attorneys by numerous organizations including the highest possible rating for ethics and skill. We have developed our negotiation and litigation expertise by successfully taking on the tough cases and fighting against the biggest corporations and insurance companies. We will put our decades of collective expertise to work when representing you in court if you’ve been harmed or a loved one lost his life due to negligence.

 

Schedule your free consultation by calling 805-541-0300 or contact us online to learn about the legal services we can offer you.

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