AUTO ACCIDENTS IN VENTURA COUNTY:
If you are involved in a car crash in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Ojai, Thousand Oaks or anywhere throughout Ventura County, I would be honored to represent you. Or, if you live in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Ojai, Thousand Oaks or anywhere throughout Ventura County, and are involved in an accident in California, I can help. With no strings attached, you can come to my office, speak over the telephone, or meet somewhere else to talk about what I can offer you. You will speak or meet with me, an attorney with twenty years’ experience.
WHY GET AN ATTORNEY?
The simple reality is that insurance companies are for-profit corporations who survive by collecting premium dollars and paying as few of those dollars out to settle claims. This simple fact puts your interests of obtaining a fair recovery at odds or in conflict with the insurance companies’ interest: paying you as little as possible regardless of the unfairness to you. The insurance company is on one side, and you are on the other: Let me deal with the insurance company. I have twenty years’ experience doing it!
TIME LIMITS TO BRING THE CLAIM
California imposes strict time limitations in bringing cases related to automobile accidents. These time limitations are known as statute of limitations and fall into several types of categories depending upon who is bringing the claim and against whom the case is being brought. For this discussion, the assumption is that an adult is pursuing the claim, as minors have special rules not discussed below.
- Against a government entity, such as a school district, city, county, or state, an individual has six months to file a claim against the appropriate entity. Going back to English common law, the source of most non-statutory laws in the United States and dating back as far as the Magna Carta (1215), the king was sovereign and quite literally above the law. If the king caused you harm you were without a remedy or recourse, unless the king allowed for a remedy or recourse. This sovereign tradition has carried over to the United States. In California, the state has authorized claims and lawsuits to be filed against it or any junior governmental entity through the Government Tort Claims Act. There are very specific time periods and procedures that must be strictly followed to pursue such a claim. For instance, failure to file a claim against the proper government entity within six months of suffering a personal injury or one year for property damage, may bar you from pursuing the claim. The Government Tort Claims Act is riddled with traps for the wary and a person choosing to represent his or herself does so at their own peril!
- For personal injury (meaning a claim for physical/mental injuries suffered in an automobile accident) claims, an individual has two years from the date of the accident to either settle his or her claim or file a lawsuit.
- For property damage (meaning a claim to recover for damage done to property such as a vehicle or items in the vehicle that were damaged), an individual has three years from the date of the accident to either settle his or her claim or file a lawsuit.
To recover damages, you must first prove that a party is liable for your injuries and damages. A person or entity (liable through the conduct of its employee under the doctrine of respondeat superior) can be liable for your injuries and damages if the individual was negligent. This broad concept of “negligence” can be reduced down to the concept of doing something that should not have been done (or the corollary, not doing something that should be done) and this breach of duty hurts someone. For instance, if you are stopped on the 101 freeway in traffic, and the driver behind you crashes into you, that driver is negligent since he should have brought the vehicle to a stop before striking your vehicle. Or a driver on the 126 freeway crosses over the center median, or a driver makes a left hand turn in front of you when you have the green light at one of the intersections on some of our busy streets such as Rose Avenue, Victoria Avenue, Telegraph Road, Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Las Posas Road, Ojai Avenue, and so forth.
Whether one has done something he or she should not have done is measured by the objective, reasonable person standard. Did the individual act reasonably under the circumstances? In many instances, a specific Vehicle Code will set forth the applicable standard of care, and its violation, will be negligence per se (as a matter of law).
- CAN I BE PARTIALLY AT FAULT AND STILL GET A RECOVER MY DAMAGES?
- CALIFORNIA CIVIL JURY INSTRUCTIONS (CACI) RELATED TO AUTOMOBILE NEGLIGENCE
No. 400 Negligence- Essential Factual Elements
- “Although it is true that some exceptions have been made to the general principle that a person is liable for injuries caused by his failure to exercise reasonable care in the circumstances, it is clear that in the absence of statutory provision declaring an exception to the fundamental principle enunciated by section 1714 of the Civil Code, no such exception should be made unless clearly supported by public policy.” (Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108, 112.)
- “‘The elements of a cause of action for negligence are well established. They are “(a) a legal duty to use due care; (b) a breach of such legal duty; [and] (c) the breach as the proximate or legal cause of the resulting injury.” ’ ” (Ladd v. County of San Mateo (1996) 12 Cal.4th 913, 917 .)
“Aside from the mandate of the statute, the driver of a motor vehicle is bound to use reasonable care to anticipate the presence on the streets of other persons having equal rights with himself to be there.” (Zarzana v. Neve Drug Co. (1919) 180 Cal.32, 37.)
“[A driver is] under a duty, both by statute and common law, to operate his vehicle without negligence so as to abstain from injuring any other person or his property.” (Bewley v. Riggs (1968) 262 Cal.App.2d 188, 194.)
The standard of care is that of a reasonably careful person under the circumstances: “[The driver] was required to act as a reasonably prudent personunder the same or similar circumstances . . . .” (Watkins v. Ohman (1967) 251 Cal.App.2d 501, 502-503 .)
“The operator of a vehicle must keep a proper lookout for other vehicles or persons on the highway and must keep his car under such control as will enable him to avoid a collision; failure to keep such a lookout constitutes negligence.”(Downing v. Barrett Mobile Home Transport, Inc. (1974) 38 Cal.App.3d 519,524.)
“The age of a minor who operates a motor vehicle will not excuse him from liability for driving it in a negligent manner, and he will be required to meet the standard established primarily for adults.” (Prichard v. Veterans Cab Co. (1965) 63 Cal.2d 727, 732.) Drivers with mental disabilities are required to exercise the ordinary care required of an adult without such disability. (Fox v. City and County of San Francisco (1975) 47 Cal.App.3d 164, 173.)
- 3903A. Medical Expenses – Past and Future (Economic Damage)
- 3903B. Medical Monitoring – Toxic Exposure (Economic Damage)
- 3903C. Past and Future Lost Earnings (Economic Damage)
- 3903D. Lost Earning Capacity (Economic Damage)
- 3903E. Loss of Ability to Provide Household Services (Economic Damage)
- 3903F. Damage to Real Property (Economic Damage)
- 3903J. Damage to Personal Property (Economic Damage)
- 3903K. Loss or Destruction of Personal Property (Economic Damage)
- 3903L. Damage to Personal Property Having Special Value (Civ. Code, § 3355) (Economic Damage)
- 3903M. Loss of Use of Personal Property (Economic Damage)
- 3903N. Lost Profits (Economic Damage)