How You Can Hire the Right Car Accident Lawyer in San Bernardino

If you figured in a vehicular accident either as a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian in San Bernardino or anywhere else in the United States, you need to contact a car accident attorney as fast as you possibly can. This is to help you understand whether you have the right to seek compensation for any injury or harm you may have sustained because of the accident.

All over the United States, there are more than 2.3 million individuals who suffer a host of physical injuries in addition to psychological trauma and emotional distress due to involvement in non-fatal traffic collisions, lane departure crashes, rollovers, and other incidents on the road. This does not include the more than 30,000 individuals who lost their lives due to similar road accidents but on a more fatal note. And while the government, both state and federal, have stepped up its traffic enforcement and traffic safety programs, lives continue to be lost and altered. An auto accident attorney can help you find justice if you happen to be one of the victims of these senseless motor vehicle collisions and road accidents.

The Need for a Car Accident Lawyer

Being involved in a car accident can have a variety of legal implications. In some cases where the road collision resulted in the loss of life, then the case can take the form of a crime which has significantly different legal frameworks compared to personal injury cases. If it resulted in damage to personal property, then that takes on a different tone as well. If the road accident resulted in multiple injuries to a number of individuals, each individual will have the right to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer to help them seek redress for their pain and suffering as a result of the road accident.

Motor vehicle collisions are generally classified under personal injury laws. As such it is important to get the services of a personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accidents. Personal injury cases are largely anchored on the determination of one’s negligence and whether this negligence directly resulted in the road injuries sustained by the victims. Unfortunately, it is not generally easy to assign negligence to someone as there are certain rules that need to be observed. So, even before you can file for a personal injury claim from the defendant’s insurance company, you will have to make sure that the defendant is indeed negligent and that the traffic collision is not merely the result of a freak accident.

So why do you need a car accident lawyer? You need someone to look at your case and tell you outright if you will be able to expect a favorable outcome. For example, you may have been injured in a traffic collision but if it was found that you don’t have a valid vehicle insurance then you might not be able to expect anything at all. You need to understand that there is a specific law in California, which car accident cases in San Bernardino are also based, that effectively disallows any person to file a claim for personal injuries suffered in a road collision if he himself does not have a valid vehicle insurance. If you don’t know this and you filed for a claim, you will just be wasting your time. However, if you did have passengers at the time of the accident and they, too, were injured or suffered emotional harm or psychological distress, then they can avail of the services of a reputable San Bernardino car accident lawyer. Your passengers can file for a claim for their personal injuries and the harm that has come to them

Car accidents insurance and lawyersThere is also a twist to the law itself. If the person who initiated the traffic collision or was deemed negligent that led to the car accident was also established to have been drinking or under the influence of an intoxicating substance at the time of the accident, then you will have a shot at claiming for personal injuries sustained regardless of whether you have a motor vehicle insurance or not. If you don’t get the services of a qualified San Bernardino attorney who specializes in car accidents, then you simply will never know if you have a chance or not.

Hiring the Right Lawyer for Car Accidents

Getting the services of a dedicated and highly-reputable car accident lawyer is very important right from the very start. This is to make sure that you have a case to begin with. In hiring the right vehicle accident lawyer you will need to do a number of things.

  • Always check their professional credibility. A lawyer who is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers should provide you with the peace of mind that the lawyer you are getting is indeed well-versed and duly-accredited by his specialty professional organization. Accredited professional organizations police their ranks to make sure that everyone is up to standards. These organizations also require their members to make sure that they are continuously updated with the latest in car accident laws. Some clients would also want to look at the educational institutions where the lawyer took his law degree. All over the world, there are schools that are ranked according to the quality of their educational programs. While this does not necessarily mean that the attorney is credible, just making it out alive in the tough academic program for attorneys is considered a feat already. These institutions demand only the best from their lawyers.

 

  • Make sure they are well-respected by the rest of the community. You need a vehicle accident lawyer who has the respect of his fellow lawyers. This is not to say that he will sell your case to the other side. It simply means that he will be taken very seriously by the other party. It is also important that your attorney has an excellent reputation in your community. Why? You need someone whom people respect and have high regard for. This will give you an idea of his character both as an individual and as a legal professional.

 

  • Consider their years of experience especially in the field of car accidents. It takes many years to build a career in law. Specializing in car crashes, while under personal injury law, will require an entirely different set of professional competencies. Unfortunately, this does not only come from reading law books and judicial motions but also, and more importantly, from years of experience handling such cases. An excellent car crash attorney therefore, is one who has many years handling many cases involving vehicles. It is equally important to choose a car accident lawyer who has won more times than he has lost. Whether you care to admit it or not, you definitely would like to win in your case.

 

  • Determine their ability to work with vehicle insurance companies. A good car accident lawyer must be able to know just how insurance companies work to undermine the merits of the case. In many cases, their insurance adjuster will determine the lowest possible amount of compensation the company should award the plaintiff. An excellent car wreck attorney must therefore, know these tactics and other strategies employed by insurance companies so that you will have a greater chance of getting a more favorable outcome. More importantly, your attorney knows just how much you are rightfully entitled to. Based on your injuries and the impact of the accident on your personal, social, and economic life, the car accident lawyer will be able to determine the minimum amount that you should receive.

 

  • Try to gauge their level of commitment to your case. Car accident attorneys must be committed to their cases. And while this may not only be the case they are handling at the moment, they will still need to show the same level of dedication and commitment to see your case progress. A good attorney is an excellent client advocate. Unfortunately, advocacy only works if your attorney is able to establish a healthy professional relationship with you. This relationship must be based on mutual trust and respect. It simply is a no-brainer choosing someone to represent your interests if you cannot get along with him well enough to trust the success of your case.

 

  • Check if they have adequate support. This is very important because attorneys are very busy professionals. They may have plenty of cases to handle so they need to have the correct number of support staff to do the exhaustive research necessary to build a case. An injury lawyer needs to be supported by an equally dedicated team of paralegals and other personnel. These work together to make sure that your case will lead to a more positive outcome.

Being involved in a car accident can be nerve-wracking. Whether you were involved in motor vehicle collisions or any other road accident, you simply want to know if you can file a claim for your personal injuries. Let a car accident lawyer in San Bernardino help you.

Please watch the video below so you can better understand why you need a lawyer when you have an accident.

 

Can a DUI Lawyer Get You Off the Hook If You are Arrested?

One of the most common questions first-time DUI offenders ask is if their DUI lawyers can get them off the hook. Well, it is not easy as it sounds but, given the right DUI lawyer with an excellent understanding of the complex laws of DUI, anything is possible. The very first thing you and your DUI lawyer will be to go through all of the evidence to come up with viable defense strategies to help persuade the prosecution to rethink its case either by dropping the charges or reducing them.

You should understand that the prosecution will attempt to prove two things – you were the one driving the vehicle and that you were under the influence. Now, proving that you were the one behind the wheel can be quite easy. However, proving that you are under the influence can really be a real challenge even for experienced prosecutors. That is why a very skilled and highly experienced DUI attorney can capitalize on the very vague interpretation of the phrase under the influence. His mastery of this subject will help you get off the hook for DUI charges.

Even Sober Individuals Can Drive Bad

One of the reasons why law enforcement officers may pull you over is because you exhibited what they call as patterns of driving of someone who is intoxicated or is under the influence. Your DUI lawyer can try to elicit from the arresting officer just what he means by these “driving patterns”. More often than not the police officer will say you were driving at very low speeds or had very uneven speeds. He may also say that you were weaving in between lanes and even crossing the highway’s center line. The police office can also say that you run a red light or you acted with hesitation when going on green. Unfortunately, these “signs” or so-called patterns are not exclusive to individuals under the influence. Your DUI lawyer can then elicit a testimony from the law enforcement officer attesting that there are more traffic violations committed by sober individuals and that driving pattern alone is not a very reliable or credible predictor of DUI.

Symptoms of Intoxication are Inconclusive

Another evidence they might have on you is your behavior and appearance during the DUI arrest. They will say that you had red and watery eyes, flushed face, and slurring of speech. The police officer may also testify that you had a very strong alcohol odor on your breath in addition to an unsteady gait. Your DUI lawyer can call on the testimony of an expert witness to show that these signs or manifestations are not exclusive to someone who is under the influence. Individuals with allergies, eye irritation, and colds will often present these symptoms. As for the alcohol breath, it is not only present in alcoholic beverages but also in non-alcoholic products made from hops and malt.

Field Sobriety Tests Don’t Measure Degree of Impairment

Performance in the horizontal nystagmus test, one-leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test have been largely considered by DUI prosecutors and law enforcement officers as excellent indicators of drunk driving guilt. The truth is that there are a lot of health conditions that can severely affect one’s ability to perform these tests. For example, your DUI lawyer can counter that fatigue, your state of physical and emotional health, and being flat-footed can all negatively impact your performance of these tests. Furthermore, the results of the tests are largely dependent on the level of competence and experience of the law enforcement officer administering it and the presence of the correct environmental conditions for testing. Just consider this, if it were very windy, will you not have problems standing on one leg? Only a seasoned DUI lawyer can elicit such testimonies. In short, field sobriety test results are never conclusive.

Breathalyzer Test Have Not Been Properly Administered

If the prosecution will show your BAC as evidence for your DUI charge, your lawyer can contest the validity and reliability of the test results. DUI lawyers will typically ask for the maintenance records of the Breathalyzer device that was used at the time of the DUI arrest. The record of calibration tests will be examined and an expert witness may be called in to provide testimony that the Breathalyzer device that was used in your case was actually notorious for malfunctioning. Furthermore, in some states like California, all arresting officers must wait for 15 minutes after pulling over a driver suspected of DUI before they can administer the Breathalyzer test. During this time they need to make sure that the driver will not put anything in his mouth, especially products that contain alcohol like certain medicines and mouthwash. Additionally, your DUI lawyer can also question the level of competency of the arresting officer in the operation of the device.

There are plenty of valid defenses for DUI charges. The most important thing to remember is to get the services of a seasoned DUI lawyer because he knows how to build a very strong defense for your case.

What to Do If You Were in a Car Accident that Wasn’t Your Fault

If you get into a car accident even if it wasn’t your fault, you will often find yourself having difficulty thinking straight. There are simply a lot of things to be concerned about especially if the accident resulted in substantial damage to your vehicle, someone else’s vehicle, or, worse, injury to you or other persons. The legal ramifications as well as the social and economic repercussions of the car accident are simply too great to overlook. If you happen to find yourself a party to a car accident through fault not your own, here are some things you can do.

Stay Calm – Don’t Play the Blame Game

It is natural for tempers to flare in a car accident especially if you were the aggrieved party. You simply would like to yank the other person out of his vehicle and give him a piece of your mind and your fist. Unfortunately, doing so might turn the case against you. While it is very difficult to control, try as much as you can to stay calm and composed. Refrain from playing the blame game. Never ever say you’re sorry either as this can be construed as an admission of guilt. If ever you have to exchange information with others in the place of the accident, know that you will only be obliged to give your name, contact details, and vehicle registration information. You can also ask the same information from the other party or parties involved in the accident or those who witnessed it. Leave the assignment of blame to the law enforcement authorities.

Call the Police

Remain calm and call the police. If there are people who are hurt, make sure to call first responders as well. Make sure to provide accurate information about the accident including your name and other pertinent information the police dispatcher might ask. Do this in a calm manner.

Gather Evidence and Write a Very Detailed Account of the Accident

Make a detailed account of what really happened. If you can describe every single event in a chronological manner, then all the better. This will come in handy when you will be filing for your insurance claim as well as any other legal action that might crop up from the car accident. Make sure to gather evidence by taking pictures of the accident scene. This also means you may have to take note of the statements of any witness in the area and get their contact details for future reference. Car accident lawyers will often recommend mailing the detailed account to yourself as a record of your activity. The date and time stamp from the post office will serve as your legal record.

DUI car accident

Contact Your Insurer and that of the Other Party

Inform your insurer that you were involved in a car accident and provide them appropriate information. This can help prepare your insurance company in case the other party’s insurer decides to make a counterclaim. It also pays to inform the insurer of the other party about the accident and to give them a heads-up on future damages. They can launch their own investigation but ultimately, the law enforcement officers will be the one to ascertain who is to blame for the car accident.

Let Law Enforcement Officers Do their Job

Once the police has arrived at the scene of the accident, give your version of the accident in a calm and factual manner. Don’t be hysterical. The calmer you are in presenting your side of the accident, the greater is your version’s credibility. If you have finished making the account of the accident, you can use this as your guide to answer the police officers’ questions. Be mindful of what you say. You are only supposed to answer questions that were posed. Once the initial on-scene investigation has been accomplished, you can leave the place of the accident and let the law enforcement officers do their job.

Seek Medical Attention

If you think you got hurt in the accidentyou need to seek medical attention. You will also have to make sure that your doctor will be able to document any injury that you may have sustained from the accident. This will be invaluable in building a case later on. Don’t forget your medical resume as well as other hospitalization and medication documentation.

Get Your Vehicle to a Repair Shop

Depending on your agreement with your insurer, you can bring your vehicle to a recognized repair shop or the nearest one in your home. Either way, you need to have a documentation of the damage that was caused by the accident.

If you are doubtful of what to do next, you can always ask the advice of a car accident lawyer. He will be able to tell you what critical steps can be taken next. However, given that you have heeded all the things listed here, then you should not have any problems at all.

What to Do if You were Involved in a DUI Car Accident?

Drunk driving is serious enough. Being involved in a car accident while driving under the influence of liquor or any other intoxicating substance can definitely be a nightmare especially for first-time offenders. You need to understand that, anyway you put it, people and law enforcement officers will still consider you to be in the wrong. The question now is what do you need to do if you were involved in a DUI car accident?

You need to try to calm down and never attempt to run away from the accident scene. Doing so will only add to your legal problems later on. If at all possible, call emergency medical services especially if you think there have been injuries sustained by people both in your car and in the other vehicle or vehicles as well as pedestrians. Report the incident to the dispatcher in a calm manner. Make sure to provide important details such as the status of the injuries sustained by the people involved in the car accident. Depending on the state where the accident occurred you are obliged to report the incident to law enforcement authorities especially if it involves injuries or damage to private or public property. Nevertheless, don’t wait for any specific law to spell it out for you. If you figured in a car accident, you need to call 911.

The next person you have to call is your DUI lawyer, if you already have one. If you don’t have any DUI lawyer yet, then this should be your priority once you have sorted out the car accident. If you already have a DUI lawyer, make sure to get in touch with him as soon as you possibly can so he can brief you on what you need to do next.

DUI car accidentIn the event that law enforcement officers already arrived at the scene even before you were able to get hold of your DUI lawyer, know that you are obliged to provide them the necessary information but only as to your name, address, and vehicle registration number. Anything else aside from these, you are not advised to answer. If you think that you will be faulted for DUI it is always best not to issue any written or verbal statements about the incident or about your being suspected of DUI to law enforcement officers. It is always in your best interest to not provide anything else except your contact information and your car ownership details. Any comment you make at this time can be taken as possible evidence against you.

If law enforcement officers ask you to perform field sobriety tests, know that you can politely refuse to perform such test. As much as possible you are not supposed to resist police officers. Just calmly decline the order to conduct field sobriety tests such as the horizontal gaze test, the standing on one leg test, or the walk and turn test. However, understand that if you fail to comply with a breath or chemical test, you may face criminal and administrative charges for noncompliance.

You are also not supposed to provide statements to any other person at the scene of the accident, be it the victim or witnesses. Saying sorry can be taken as an admission of guilt so it is always best to just stay focused on not divulging any other information about the accident. Remember, the only information you are legally obliged to divulge is your name, your contact information, and the ownership of your vehicle. So be very careful.

Write your own version of how the accident really happened. Make sure to write in chronological order, highlighting the time upon which each of the sequences of events took place. Some lawyers recommend having the written account mailed back to them to allow the post office to stamp it with a date highlighting the time at which the written account was made. Moreover, get the names and contact information of any potential witness especially if you honestly believe that you were not at fault. This can help you build a better defense in case police accident investigators rule against you.

Gather as much evidence as you possibly can. This means that you need to take pictures of the accident scene. You don’t need a professional dSLR camera for this because the camera on your smartphone should do just fine. Make sure to get the positioning of the cars relative to each other and to other infrastructure that was damaged in the car accident.

Whatever you do, never ever leave the accident scene lest you get into more trouble for hit-and-run.

The most important thing you can do if you are involved in a DUI car accident is to remain calm and call your DUI lawyer as soon as you possibly can. He can brief you on what you need to do and what you shouldn’t do.

Where You Stand Legally If You Caused a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident can be especially traumatic not only for those who may have suffered some form of injury or emotional distress but also to the individual who may have caused the car accident. While there are specific laws that govern the conduct of motorists on the nation’s roads, many individuals are often left wandering where they legally stand in situations where they think they might have caused the accident.

Who is Responsible?

There is an unwritten rule in the car insurance industry to never admit fault to any other person especially if the accident was not witnessed by anybody else. For example, you may find yourself bumping into a vehicle that was reversing without warning into your direction. Without witnesses, you will find it quite challenging to prove that it was the reverse acceleration of the vehicle in front of you that caused the collision. Having witnesses is an entirely different story. So is the presence of surveillance cameras at a busy intersection. You may still choose not to accept responsibility outright but you do have to take note of the accident, take as much evidence as you possibly can, including photographs of the scene and the corresponding damage the collision caused to your vehicle. What is important is to show the angle and positioning of the vehicles involved to provide a more plausible explanation of what could have happened. If there are eyewitnesses in the vicinity, it is always a good idea to ask for their contact details so you can refer to them should there be a need later on.

car accident legal actions

Should You or Should You Not Stop After a Car Accident?

Regardless of whether you caused the car accident or not, you are obliged by law to stop your vehicle. However, you are also protected by law from possible retaliation from the other party. As such, you are obliged to stay in car until anybody else who was also involved in the car accident has had the opportunity to ask you about your contact details. You are required by law to supply persons in authority and individuals who were directly involved in the accident pertinent information such as your complete name and address and your vehicle’s registration number. In case you don’t own the car that was involved in the accident, then you must supply the police officers or the other persons involved in the accident the details of car ownership. Generally, you are expected to stop your vehicle if someone has been injured, there is damage to someone else’s property, an animal has been injured whether on the road or in the other vehicle, or when there is damage to public infrastructure like street lamps and road signs.

Should You or Should You Not Report to the Police?

If there were no law enforcement officers at the time of the car accident and you didn’t leave your contact information with someone who was also at the scene of the accident, you are obliged by law to report the accident to the nearest police precinct or station within the first 24 hours after the car accident. Failure to do so will have a negative impact on you.

When the Accident Resulted in Wrongful Death

If you caused an accident that led to the death of another person, you need to understand that the surviving family of the victim have the right to claim for wrongful death. For example, the person who lost his life is the breadwinner of a family of 6 who are totally dependent on him for all of their living needs. Having been snuffed out of this world prematurely, then the surviving family would like to get compensation for his death often in terms of monetary compensation for the loss of economic capability. As a possible defendant to a case of wrongful death, understand that it is imperative to ascertain the presence of negligence on your part. This is where you will really need the expertise of a personal injury lawyer, especially someone who is experienced in handling wrongful death cases.

Proving Comparative or Contributory Negligence

Since personal injury and wrongful death cases revolve around the idea of negligence, you and your lawyer must be able to work your way towards reducing the assignment of full negligence on your part. In this particular instance, you can use either comparative or contributory negligence, often depending on the state and jurisdiction the case will be heard. Both forms of negligence posits that the victim is partly to blame for the car accident. The only difference is that in contributory negligence the surviving family will not receive any compensation; in comparative negligence, the surviving family will still receive compensation but only as a fraction of the total amount, commensurate to the percentage of involvement of the victim to the incident.

There are other legal implications of being involved in a car accident, especially if you think you caused it. What’s important is for you to know what you need to do.