San Jose Car Accident Attorney
Car Accidents in Santa Clara County
Every year, tens of thousands of Californians are involved in motor vehicle accidents, many of whom suffer severe bodily injury or death. Often, these collisions could have been avoided had one or both parties followed the law and exercised due care.
If you were involved in a car accident in San Jose or anywhere in the South Bay, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your resulting medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. At the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia, our San Jose car accident attorney brings more than 20 years of experience to his personal injury practice, as well as a long and established history of success in highly complex cases.
Filing a car accident claim can be a challenging process without the help of a skilled attorney. We encourage you to reach out to our team as soon as possible if you or someone you love was hurt by a careless, reckless, or negligent driver. It is important that you act quickly, as you generally only have two years to file a car accident lawsuit in California. If you wait too long, you could lose your right to sue the liable party for damages.
Types of Auto Accident Cases We Handle
The Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia has extensive experience handling all types of motor vehicle accident claims, including cases involving:
- Passenger car accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Uber and Lyft accidents
- Bicycle-vehicle collisions
- Large truck and commercial vehicle collisions
- Bus,train, light rail,and other mass transit accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
We have successfully helped victims of distracted driving accidents, drunk driving accidents, rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, side-impact accidents, rollovers, and other types of crashes secure fair financial compensation so that they could get back on their feet and move forward with their lives. No case is too complex or too challenging for our team.
Can You Sue a Negligent Driver in California?
California follows a traditional fault-based (or “tort”) system when it comes to auto insurance and accident claims. This means that it is not only possible to sue an at-fault driver, but it is also necessary in many cases if you wish to recover compensation for your damages.
To sue an at-fault driver, there are several things you must prove:
- They had a duty of care or legal responsibility to drive carefully, follow the law, and avoid causing injury to others
- They failed to uphold this duty of care, either by acting negligently, driving recklessly, or violating traffic laws
- As a result of the other driver’s negligent, reckless, or wrongful conduct, you were injured and suffered measurable damages
- If you were also partially at fault for the accident, your degree of fault was less than 100 percent (i.e., the other driver was at least partially to blame for the crash)
Under California’s rule of pure comparative negligence, you can still file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company and/or sue the at-fault driver directly if you were partially at fault for an accident, as long as you were not entirely to blame. However, the amount you can receive in compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are seeking $100,000 in damages, but you are found to be 25 percent liable for the crash, you can only recover up to $75,000.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Proving fault is a key element of your car accident claim. Typically, this involves proving that the other driver was at least partly to blame for the accident. To do this, you will need to identify the cause of the collision.
Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Speeding, including driving too fast for current weather, traffic, or road conditions
- Distracted driving, including using a handheld device or texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol (drunk driving) or drugs (high driving)
- Driving while fatigued and/or falling asleep at the wheel
- Violating traffic laws or rules of the road, such as running red lights or stop signs
- Turning, merging, changing lanes, or passing illegally or unsafely
- Driving aggressively or recklessly and/or engaging in road rage behaviors
- Weaving in and out of traffic, following too closely (tailgating), and stopping suddenly
When motorists are negligent or reckless, they put everyone else on the road at risk. If you were injured by a careless driver, you are likely entitled to financial compensation for your resulting medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident
Being involved in any car accident, whether it’s a relatively mild fender-bender or a serious highway crash, can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, there are several things you should do (if you can) to protect yourself, your rights, and your continued health, safety, and wellbeing.
If possible, try to do the following in the hours, days, and weeks following the accident:
- Call 911 and/or seek medical attention. If necessary, get emergency medical treatment or go to the nearest hospital. If you do not need emergency care, visit your regular doctor as soon as possible after the crash. Even if you believe that you were not injuries or that your injuries are minor and will heal on your own, you should always see a medical professional after a car accident, as your injuries may be more serious than you initially realize.
- Contact the police and have them come out to the scene of the accident. By law, you are required to report any accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,500 to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days. If the police come out to the accident scene, they will fill out and submit this report on your behalf. A police report can also serve as invaluable evidence in your future personal injury claim.
- Obtain a copy of the police report and gather any other relevant evidence you can. Take pictures of your car, as well as the other person’s vehicle, before the scene is disturbed. Take pictures of your injuries and ask for copies of your medical records. Talk to any witnesses who saw the accident and get their name(s) and contact information, if possible. You should also keep any receipts for payments made related to the accident, such as doctors’ copays, property damage repairs, and more.
- Notify your auto insurance company about the accident as soon as possible—most auto insurance policies require policyholders to report accidents in a “reasonably timely manner.” What exactly this means depends on the specifics of your policy and the insurance company’s requirements. However, you should avoid giving any written or oral statements to the insurance company (yours or the other party’s) and never sign anything without first talking to an experienced car accident attorney.
- Last but certainly not least, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible if you were injured or if anyone was killed in the accident. Insurance companies will often do everything they can to avoid paying out claims, even legitimate claims. An attorney, like ours at the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia, will be able to fight back against these efforts and protect your right to fair compensation—even if that means taking your case to trial.
Why Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
There are many reasons to hire an attorney after a car accident. First, numerous studies have proven that people who work with personal injury lawyers tend to recover higher settlements than those who try to resolve their claims on their own. Second, an attorney will be able to handle the various legal details of your case while you focus on your physical recovery.
At the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia, our San Jose car accident attorneys can:
- Request your accident report
- Fully investigate your accident
- Properly document your injuries
- Assess your property damage
- Communicate with the insurance company
- Negotiate a fair settlement or take your case to trial
- Help you find a doctor
- Assist you in obtaining a rental car
Throughout the entire process, we are here to answer your questions and be the advocate you need as you move through the legal system. We are prepared to go up against powerful insurance companies, municipalities, public entities, and others in our pursuit of fair compensation on your behalf.
At the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia, we fight for victims of severe bodily injury, as well as the families of those wrongfully killed in fatal car accidents throughout Santa Clara County and the surrounding areas. We genuinely care about each and every one of our clients and have earned the respect of our peers, opponents, and clients thanks to our commitment to honesty, service, and results.
Q:What should I do immediately following a motor vehicle accident?
A:The first thing you should do following a motor vehicle accident—assuming you have been medically treated—is gather the contact information of any witnesses or passengers. You should also exchange information, if possible, with the person you believe is at fault for the accident.
Q:What happens if I am partially responsible for the accident?
A:In California, fault for a motor vehicle accident can be shared between multiple parties. If you are partially responsible for the accident, you can still be awarded damages. Your award will simply be lessened by the percentage of your fault.
Q:How is fault determined?
A:Fault is determined by a judge or jury with the assistance of witness and expert testimony, as well as recreations of the accident in question. A San Jose auto accident lawyer can help you investigate the accident scene and secure the testimony of any important witnesses.
Q:Who can be held responsible for a motor vehicle accident?
A:Any driver on the roadway can be held responsible for a motor vehicle accident. In addition, you may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist.
Q:What is a personal injury lawsuit?
A:A personal injury lawsuit is the type of lawsuit you would file should you choose to hold another party responsible for a motor vehicle accident. These lawsuits are designed to transfer compensation for damages from the plaintiff to the defendant.
Q:How long do I have to file a motor vehicle accident claim?
A:In California, it is important to file your claim within the appropriate time constraints. In most cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to sue the liable party for damages. However, there are often unique circumstances that can potentially affect the statute of limitations for your motor vehicle accident claim. Please consult with an attorney before making any major decisions about filing deadlines.
Q:What do I need to prove in court?
A:In court, you will need to prove that the defendant was negligent or intentionally reckless on the roadway. When driving, you owe others on the roadway an assumed duty of care. When you cause an accident, that duty of care is violated. When that violation leads directly to the injury of another person, compensation may be warranted.
Q:What kind of compensation can I collect?
A:There are several types of compensation you may collect as a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, including loss of income, future loss of income, pain and suffering, medical bills, future medical bills, and permanent disfigurement. However, it should be noted that it is impossible to guarantee a specific outcome in your case. Additionally, we cannot accurately assess the potential value of your claim without first reviewing the specific details involved. Contact the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia today to schedule a free initial consultation with our San Jose car accident attorney.
Q:How much compensation should I expect to win?
A:The total compensation awarded depends entirely on the severity of your injuries and the facts of the case. If your lawsuit is successful, then the awarded amount could range from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands.
Q:When should I contact a law firm?
A:You should seek legal counsel immediately following a motor vehicle accident that you believe was caused by a negligent or reckless third party. Attorney Braid Pezzaglia can walk you through the entire process and will help you meet any important filing deadlines.
Experienced & Dedicated Counsel
Attorney Braid Pezzaglia has over 20 years of dedicated legal experience and provides legal counsel and guidance in five languages, including Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog. We work to customize your experience for your needs.
Personalized Strategies & Results
Unlike other firms, our firm cares about instilling confidence in both you and your case. Our attorneys work one-on-one with you to ensure that your unique needs and goals are not only understood but obtained.
Accountable & Transparent
At the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia, we pride ourselves on always being available to our clients and we make it our main priority to keep you informed on how our team is working to obtain the best possible result on your behalf