Santa Rosa Car Accident Lawyer
Experienced Santa Rosa Car Accident Attorney Ready To Serve You
When you have been injured in an accident, you need someone who can guide you through the recovery process. You need someone who can call on decades of experience to advise you of your rights, help you avoid mistakes, and protect you from insurance companies. You need someone who will work to resolve your situation as quickly as possible, but who is prepared to fight if that’s what it takes to enforce your rights. You need a skilled and trusted Santa Rosa car accident attorney today.
A Devoted Advocate for Individuals and Families in Crisis
Santa Rosa car accident attorney Michael Henderson has been representing auto accident victims for more than 20 years. After graduating at the top of his class at the prestigious McGeorge School of Law, Michael embarked on a legal career devoted to helping individuals and families recover in times of crisis. In his decades of experiencing giving a voice to those who have been injured and who are otherwise at the mercy of the insurance companies, he has recovered tens of millions of dollars in compensation, including several individual awards in excess of $1 million.
If you have been injured in an accident in Santa Rosa, it is important that you seek help from a proven Santa Rosa car accident lawyer. If someone else is to blame for your injuries, you could be entitled to substantial compensation. But, without a skilled car accident lawyer, no one involved in your case has your best interests in mind. If you try to deal with the insurance companies on your own, you will almost certainly end up with far less than you deserve – and you won’t know it until it is too late. Our dedicated Santa Rosa car accident attorney Michael Henderson can help you understand what you have lost and what you will lose in the future, and he can make sure that you do not settle for less than you deserve.
“Michael and his staff were wonderfully supportive, knowledgeable, and effective in resolving my car crash accident case. Everyone [at the firm] made the process less intimidating, and [they] got a result that I was very happy with.”
Experienced Santa Rosa Car Accident Lawyer
Our Santa Rosa car accident attorney provides experienced legal representation for individuals injured in all types of auto accidents in the Santa Rosa area. We routinely represent clients in cases involving:
- Car Accidents – Our Santa Rosa car accident attorney handles all car crash accident cases, including those involving drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, failure to yield, failure to stop, and uninsured/underinsured motorists.
- Semi-Truck Accidents – Truck accidents can be devastating for innocent drivers, passengers, and their families. We take on the trucking companies, truck manufacturers, and other companies to fight for maximum compensation. Let an experienced attorney help you out.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – If you were injured on your motorcycle, winning your case will require overcoming the common prejudices against motorcycle riders. Our attorney has the experience required to maximize your settlement or secure a favorable verdict at trial.
Not only does our firm handle several types of motor vehicle accidents, but if you were involved in an accident that included the following, we can also help:
- Wrongful Death Claim – When someone falls victim to an accident that then leads to death, it may qualify as a wrongful death case. Usually, in these types of cases, the victim’s family is awarded damages (like in the case of personal injuries when the victim survives) to cover medical bills, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. If a loved one died due to an auto accident, contact us today.
- Medical Negligence – If you or a loved one believe that medical malpractice was at play when seeking medical care following a car accident, it’s possible that your case is much more complex. Essentially, medical malpractice is anything that constitutes abnormal or erroneous behavior that other doctors would not have done had they been providing the care. But, medical malpractice cases can be very complex. So it’s best to consult with an experienced lawyer who knows how to address questions about doctor-patient relationships, negligence, and damages that result from malpractice.
- Product Liability – Not all accidents are the fault of the drivers. In some cases vehicle malfunctions can cause an auto accident. Vehicles and their components may be faulty by design or may have been manufactured outside of the normal specifications. Errors in design or assembly can cause big problems for vehicle functionality. If you suspect that a vehicle malfunction caused the car crash, you may have a product liability case.
What You Should Do at the Scene of an Accident
When you have had a motor vehicle accident, there are certain things that you need to do to enhance your chances of obtaining recovery down the road.
Only Move if You Can Do So Safely
Many times, people who have been in a car accident are in shock just after the crash and for an indefinite amount of time afterward. Right after the accident, assuming that you are conscious, take a moment to breathe. Assess the situation as best you can by checking to see if everyone in the car is OK and to acknowledge how you are feeling. Particularly if your car has flipped or you are otherwise in a precarious position due to the car collision, do not move right away unless necessary. You could further harm yourself in some instances where there has been a spine injury or other serious injury. So if you’re not sure if you should move, don’t.
Call the Police
Whether you can move or not, call the police or have someone else call them. They may come out and do a full report. However, they are not required to. So if they do not and there is injury or harm to any person, the law requires you to make a report of the accident within 24 hours to the police. This is necessary whether or not you file a personal injury claim, and if you do end up filing a claim, it can be a critical piece of evidence.
In this situation, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. So if you are able, take as many photos of the crash scene as you can (within reason of course). You want to capture:
- The damage to both vehicles is in detail. Take shots of varying parts of both cars so that the damage is recorded.
- The relative position of the cars in relation to one another (assuming that they haven’t been moved yet).
- Any stop signs, red lights, or other traffic devices that affected the auto vehicle crash. If you can, get the relative position of the cars and the device.
- Any skid marks or debris and their proximity to either car.
- The weather conditions at the time. For instance, if it is raining and the roads are wet and slick, try to capture that on film.
- There will be medical evidence of your injuries, but you can take photos of them right after the crash as well.
Gather Contact Information
It’s important to exchange information with the driver of the other vehicle, assuming you are able. Yes, the police will also collect this information, but you may not get access to it right away and it is important to keep it for your own records. You should get the name, phone numbers, and email addresses of all parties involved in the accident. You should also get the make and model of each vehicle, driver’s license numbers, license plate info, and insurance policy information. Lastly, it is also important to speak with any witnesses to the crash. Get their contact information as well, so you can pass it along to your Santa Rosa car accident lawyer.
California Auto Vehicle Accident FAQs
Q: How do I know if I have a claim for compensation after an auto accident?
After an auto accident, the only way to determine whether you have a claim is to hire a law firm to conduct an investigation. You need to know who was at fault in the accident, and this means recovering key evidence before it disappears. If necessary, we can act quickly to investigate your accident and preserve your claim for compensation. Contact our Santa Rosa auto accidents lawyer to discuss your case.
Q: What is the average settlement amount for an auto accident?
There is really no “average” settlement amount that applies to all car crashes. The amount of compensation available to you depends on the specific circumstance of your car crash and the extent of your injuries. Your Santa Rosa car accident lawyer will evaluate the facts of your case to determine what your case is worth. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, therapy, and more.
Q: What if the driver who hit me fled the scene or was uninsured?
If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident or an accident involving an uninsured driver, our injury and accident firm may still be able to help you secure a financial recovery. Your options in these scenarios may include:
- Using witness statements, video footage, and other evidence to identify a hit-and-run driver
- Filing a claim against your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy
- Identifying other parties that contributed to causing the accident
Q: Do I really need an auto accident attorney to deal with the insurance companies?
The insurance companies want to pay you as little as possible, and their adjusters are trained to solicit statements and information that will minimize accident victims’ financial recoveries. They will not advise you of your rights, and they are under no obligation to tell you how much your claim is worth. To avoid falling victim to the insurance companies’ tactics, you need an experienced Santa Rosa auto accidents lawyer.
Q: If I accept a check from the insurance company, can I seek additional compensation later?
When you accept an insurance settlement, the fine print states that you are waiving your right to seek additional compensation. You get one chance to protect your rights, and if you settle too soon, you could end up paying for someone else’s mistake for years (or perhaps decades) to come.
Q: What are the common causes of car accidents in Santa Rosa?
Some accidents aren’t avoidable, but many are. Driving is inherently dangerous, yet necessary for most people. One thing you absolutely cannot control is other drivers on the road. But you can control your own behavior, and one of the best ways to stay safe on the road is to limit distractions. Here are some common causes of accidents in Santa Rosa.
- Excessive speed is a common problem, especially in congested areas. Santa Rosa often experiences the heavy stop-and-go traffic common to other parts of the bay area—and this requires more care and less speed to remain safe.
- Distracted driving such as texting, changing the radio station, or looking at things outside the window is a very common cause of auto accidents.
- Inclement weather can cause roads to become slick, reducing visibility and your ability to react quickly.
- Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are a problem nationwide.
- Inexperienced drivers may have difficulty reacting in various situations. Teenagers or drivers who have recently obtained their license should get as much supervised practice as possible before driving alone.
- Design or manufacturing defects can cause the vehicle to malfunction through no fault of the driver.
Q: What if I was at fault?
First, don’t make that assumption before talking to a Santa Rosa auto accidents attorney. You may think that the accident was caused by your failure to yield or run a red light, but you may not be right. Through investigation, it may be discovered that something else was in play that may not be obvious at first. It is best not to jump to conclusions and leave the assessment to the professionals. Furthermore, California uses the comparative negligence system of recovery. This means that, even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover for the portion that you are not at fault for. In other words, if it is determined that you were 30% at fault for the accident, you can still recover 70% of your damages.
Q: What are the most common injuries in a car accident?
Each auto accident is unique and so are the injuries that occur. From fender benders to devastating collisions, there are a lot of factors that impact the severity of a car crash. Common injuries include:
- Bruises and lacerations;
- Broken or fractured bones;
- Back and neck injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Muscle tears or strains;
- Internal bleeding; and
Q: Can I recover if I was not wearing a seatbelt?
Although it is the law that you must wear your seatbelt in California, failure to wear it does not mean that you have no case. As per the answer above, the failure to wear your seatbelt will be a factor in assessing your percentage of fault for your injuries. The comparative negligence system will then be used to calculate your recovery.
Q: Should I see a doctor even if I feel fine?
In a word, “yes.” Injuries from an auto accident may not be obvious to you right away. Sometimes, it takes days or even weeks before you see or feel any symptoms of an injury. These types of injuries can sneak up on you. And if you choose not to see a doctor right away, you could be forfeiting any chance of recovery. The reason for this is logical if you think about it. If an accident happens on the first of September and you don’t see a doctor for your injuries until November, too much time may have passed for you to show that the accident was what caused your injury. Any number of things in the intervening months could have caused or greatly exacerbated your injuries. And the more time that passes, the less likely your doctor will be able to definitively tie your injuries to the accident. So don’t delay. Seek treatment immediately and keep all doctor’s appointments during the pendency of your case.
Q: Can I recover for expenses that I could incur in the future?
Absolutely! This is yet another reason why an experienced Santa Rosa auto accidents attorney is essential. Calculating future expenses can be a tricky business. How can you know what your future medical costs will be or if you’ll experience a loss of income in the future? A lawyer is your best chance of accurately calculating those costs and recovering them during the pendency of your accident claim. This is extremely important because if you fail to project your future losses accurately, you could be left with nothing down the road. This is because the law prohibits you from going back to file a secondary or follow-up claim. Once the case is settled, it is settled for good. There are no second chances. So make sure you get what you need the first time around by using a professional.
Q: How long do I have to file an auto accident claim?
The California statute of limitations grants victims two years from the time the accident occurred to file a claim. The sooner the better. The longer you wait to file your auto accident claim, the more difficult it will be to gather the necessary evidence. It’s best to file a claim with your insurance company as soon as reasonably possible. That being said, it is often in the best interest of accident victims to have their Santa Rosa car accident lawyer contact the company on their behalf. An experienced attorney will know how to negotiate to ensure you receive a fair settlement or advise you to pursue litigation.
Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation with Santa Rosa Car Accident Lawyer Michael Henderson
For more information about protecting your right to compensation after an auto accident, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Santa Rosa car accident lawyer Michael Henderson. We also handle other types of cases, including dog attacks, pedestrian injuries, trips, falls, and bike accidents. To discuss your case in confidence, call the Henderson Law offices or contact us online now.