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4 California Car Accident Laws Victims Need to Know


Alameda County may fall in seventh place in terms of population among other counties in California, but there is another rank that should be a concern for motorists in the Oakland area. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), Alameda County is 20th of 58 counties when it comes to fatal and injury car accidents. More than 11,200 people are killed or suffer bodily injuries, and the consequences extend to entire households. The physical, emotional, and financial losses can be staggering.

While you do have rights if you were injured or lost a loved one, the legal process is quite complex. There are numerous statutes, case precedent, and procedural rules that impact your rights, so it is wise to trust an Oakland car accident lawyer for assistance. Still, there are a few laws you need to know to protect your own interests. 

  1. California’s Statute of Limitations: State law imposes a time restriction on all personal injury cases, including those based upon auto collisions. You have two years to file a lawsuit in court, and the statute of limitations starts on the date of the accident. If you fail to initiate litigation, you are forever barred from recovering any monetary damages. Note that the clock continues to run even when you have filed a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer and are negotiating settlement.
  1. Legal Definition of Negligence: The basis for liability in a motor vehicle collision is negligence, so you must prove several sets of facts to recover compensation. They are:
  • You need to show that the responsible motorist had a legal duty to drive safely;
  • You must present evidence that the other driver breached this legal duty through careless acts;
  • You have to establish causation, i.e., the accident would not have happened but for the at-fault motorist’s breach of duty; and
  • You need to prove that you suffered losses because of your injuries.
  1. Comparative Negligence: The concept of negligence applies to your conduct as well, so your compensation may be impacted by your own careless misconduct. California’s version of comparative negligence operates to reduce your monetary damages by the amount of fault attributable to your own actions. For instance, if you are determined to be 20 percent at fault, you will only receive 80 percent of what would be due to you.
  1. Wrongful Death Statute: If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you may qualify to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. You are still required to prove the essential elements of negligence, but you must also show that you have standing as a surviving family member or other individual named in the statute.

Our Oakland Car Accident Attorneys Will Handle the Details 

Many other California laws and statutes apply to auto crash claims, but you can trust our lawyers at Venardi Zurada, LLP to navigate the complexities. We have in-depth knowledge of the relevant concepts and strategies for obtaining the compensation you deserve. To learn more, please contact our firm to set up a no-cost consultation at our offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek, CA.


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