Were You Injured in a Crash?
Get a car accident lawyer to stand up to the insurance company
The crash itself was just the beginning. You’re hurting, both physically and emotionally. You may not be able to work, play with your kids, or do the things you love. Your medical expenses are piling up and your prognosis is unclear. The car insurance company is breathing down your neck, trying to take advantage of your pain to get you to accept whatever pittance they'll offer.
You’ve been through dark days, and there are more challenges ahead. You don’t have to face them alone. The Swanson Law Group has a proven track record of standing up for people injured in car accidents, including a $5 million recovery for a person who sustained a brachial plexus injury. We’ll be your guides toward a better future. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced San Jose car accident attorney today.
What should I do after a car accident?
Your first priorities after a car accident should be your safety and your health. Make sure the scene is safe, then:
- Call the police and stay at the scene until they arrive. Make sure you get the investigating officer’s name, department name, and badge number, as well as names and contact information for any witnesses so that your lawyer can follow up with them.
- Seek medical attention immediately. Go to the emergency room, an urgent care facility, or your primary care provider within 24 hours, even if you feel okay. Car accidents often cause "hidden" injuries, such as internal organ damage, so this is the best option for your health. It also creates documentation of your injuries in case an insurance company later disputes them.
- Talk to a car accident attorney right away. Give us a call before you speak to the insurance company. Insurance adjusters know that their best opportunity to take advantage of a victim is in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Don’t let them have that opportunity; get an attorney on your side first.
Remember, keep your comments to anyone at the scene of the accident – the investigating officer, the other driver, paramedics, witnesses, etc. – as brief as possible, and avoid saying anything about fault. Even saying "I'm sorry" could be taken out of context by an insurance company and used against you. You’re not in a position to determine fault for the accident right after it happened, and again, the insurance company is looking for every opportunity to push you around. An experienced car accident lawyer will push back.
We will be the shield between you and the insurance adjusters
For you, the car accident was a totally unexpected moment of shock and pain. For the insurance adjuster, it’s just another day at the office. Insurance company representatives do this every day, and they are trained to talk to injured people in a way that undermines their claims. They’ll tell you they’re just looking for information they need to efficiently process your claim, when they’re really looking for any excuse to delay, dispute, or deny your claim. Their bottom line depends on it.
They’ll also tell you, or at least heavily imply, that you don’t need a lawyer. “We can take care of this for you, no problem,” they say, trying to give you a false sense of security. Of course, this only cuts one way. As soon as they’re done talking to you, they’ll pick up the phone and call their lawyer to make sure their interests are protected.
You should do the same. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to face the insurance companies head-on and protect your legal rights at every step in the process. When you hire us, the first thing we’ll do is tell the insurance company they can send all further communications to your lawyer. Several members of our team used to represent the insurance companies and have insider knowledge of their tactics, so we know exactly how to respond. While a car accident lawyer on our team builds your winning strategy, you are free to focus on what really matters: getting better.
We understand the full impact an injury can have on your life.
Our firm belief is that people injured in car accidents should get full value for their injuries. The crash took away one of the most precious things in life: your health. That means more than medical treatment for your injuries; it has ripple effects on every aspect of your life.
What damages can be awarded in a car accident case?
- Medical expenses: ambulance fees, hospital bills, surgery, medication, physical therapy, chiropractors, and other medical care. This includes not only the immediate treatment you received for your injuries, but ongoing care and future medical costs. For instance, if you hurt your knee in the crash and are now at an elevated risk to need future knee replacement, the cost of that surgery should be accounted for, even if it’s many years away.
- Lost wages and lost future income. It’s not just the time you were out of work recovering from your injuries. Will your change in health cause you to miss out on opportunities you would have otherwise had? Do you have to take a “light duty” role at reduced pay? Will you need vocational training to support a career change due to the injury? Experts, such as economists and career counselors, may be retained to quantify these effects on your ability to make a living and support your family.
- Replacement services for the value of domestic labor you performed before the injury. If someone else must take over childcare, cleaning, yard work, maintenance, and other tasks in your home, that has value, just like your lost wages at work.
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental illness. Pain goes beyond just the physical; it’s the way your family and your relationships have been affected by your injuries. Pain is a tricky thing to quantify because it affects everyone differently, but those losses are absolutely real and need to be accounted for.
- Modifications to your home or vehicle for accessibility, if you are permanently disabled by an injury. The goal is to help you regain your independence and quality of life.
- Property damage, including repair or replacement of your vehicle, as well as any valuable property that was in the car when the accident happened. Every aspect of your property damage claim should be accounted for, including the diminished resale value of your car because it was in an accident.
If an insurance company offers you a settlement, it’s usually a “lowball” figure based on the most obvious short-term expenses caused by the accident – the things that they know they can’t dispute. Their goal is to get you to take the offer and give up your right to sue for more when the full cost of your accident becomes known. When we get involved, we put a stop to those efforts and put in the work to establish the full, long-term value of your claim. Then, we get to work to build a strong case to win you full value.
Our team will thoroughly investigate your accident.
Car accident claims are won and lost based on careful preparation, meticulous investigation, and ultimately, evidence. What appears to be an open-and-shut case, in either direction, can take an unexpected turn when more evidence is acquired. We’ve seen this happen firsthand when we’ve represented people who were initially blamed for their accidents, but a deeper investigation told a more complex story. In one case, we recovered $1 million on behalf of someone who hit another vehicle from behind after we uncovered evidence that the vehicle they hit was illegally and dangerously parked.
That’s why we put in the effort to pore over accident reports, review physical evidence, track down witnesses, and otherwise thoroughly investigate car accidents. We often retain expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists, to help us understand what happened. This is how we prepare cases for trial – we build a compelling story, based on solid evidence, that a jury will find compelling. The insurance company has no choice but to find it compelling, as well.
Every car accident is different, but there are certain legal issues that tend to come up depending on the type of accident. We know how to handle:
- Rear-End Accidents: usually, fault is not in question when one car hits another from behind, although not always. If the front vehicle is illegally parked or has missing brake lights, for instance, its driver could be found at fault for the crash. More commonly, though, insurance companies dispute the extent of injuries sustained in rear-end crashes, especially if they happen at low speed. Even a low-impact crash can cause serious injuries like whiplash, and we know how to prove it.
- Head-On Collisions: when two cars collide head-on, it’s almost always because one of them was going the wrong way. The problem is that the evidence can be surprisingly inconclusive regarding which car was going the wrong way. Witnesses may disagree on what they saw and physical evidence from the scene may be unclear. Insurance companies seize on this uncertainty to dispute and deny claims because these are high-stakes cases with severe injuries. We are adept at cross-referencing stories and reconstructing accidents to get to the bottom of what happened.
- Intersection Accidents: intersections are always confusing places where it’s not always clear who has the right of way. They also have the potential to be dangerous, especially if one car strikes the unprotected side of another car. Understanding what happened in an intersection accident may require reviewing camera footage, interviewing multiple witnesses, and carefully analyzing photographs and skid marks with the help of an expert witness. We know how to put those pieces together.
- Rollover Accidents: when a car rolls over, the cause may be a problem with the road surface such as a bump or hole, another driver’s negligence, defective tires, or a manufacturing defect in the vehicle itself. Even if manufacturing isn’t the cause of the rollover itself, flaws in the roof or other parts of the car may contribute to injuries in a rollover. We have the resources to thoroughly investigate rollover cases and hold all the negligent parties accountable.
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents: crashes involving three or more vehicles can give rise to complex legal situations. There may be numerous witnesses and confusing or contradictory evidence. Multiple insurance companies will be involved, and while they’re ostensibly competitors, they also have a shared interest in minimizing the extent of the injuries and reducing the total payout to injured people. We know how to piece together what happened using accident reports, witness accounts, physical evidence, and when necessary, expert witnesses.
We get to the bottom of what happened to hold the at-fault driver accountable.
To recover compensation in a car accident case, you need to show negligence; that is, the driver or other party that caused your accident had a legal responsibility that they failed to meet. Some of the most common forms of negligence in car accident claims include:
- Distracted driving: texting and driving is perhaps the best known, but distracted driving includes more than just cell phone use behind the wheel. Motorists may cause crashes while eating and drinking, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio, programming a GPS device, or just lost in thought.
- Drunk or impaired driving: driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to pursue punitive damages from a drunk driver, if we can prove it.
- Fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel: driving while very tired is just as dangerous as driving drunk. We know how to find evidence that a motorist was asleep at the wheel, including looking for gaps or inconsistencies in their story that may indicate they don’t remember what happened.
- Speeding or reckless driving: we look at accident reports, talk to witnesses, and review physical evidence and “black box” data to find proof that the driver who hit you was operating at an unsafe speed.
- Poor vehicle maintenance: if a mechanical issue caused your accident, we’ll pore over records to seek to understand how and why it happened.
An experienced San Jose car accident attorney can find out why your accident happened – and how to hold the responsible party accountable.
Finding out the cause of your accident is more than a means to an end. It also definitively answers the question “why did this happen to me?” Moreover, by fighting hard to hold drunk, distracted, and dangerous drivers accountable, we make our roads and our communities safer. We’re not just fighting to get you money; we’re advocating for a brighter future for you and your family.
We understand the effects a car accident can have on your body
When a car crashes, there are three collisions that happen in quick succession. First, there’s the vehicle collision, when the car comes to a sudden stop after hitting another vehicle or an obstacle. Then, the bodies of the people inside keep moving until they hit something – a seat, window, windshield, steering wheel, door, or other part of the car. Finally, the internal organs keep moving until they hit bone.
Depending on how the force of the crash is transferred into the body, nearly any part of the body can be harmed. Car crashes often cause chest and back injuries because of the way force moves from the seat into a seated person’s body. Injuries to the arm, wrist, or hand are common, too, especially for drivers because of the steering wheel.
Soft tissue injuries, such as muscle, stomach, and neck injuries, can be quite painful and take time and medication to heal. Fractures (broken bones) can take weeks or months to heal, with surgery required to repair the damage and physical therapy needed to recover the range of motion. Injuries to the joints, such as the hip, knee, or shoulder, not only limit you in the short term, but also may require future surgery such as a joint replacement.
In short, the long-term cost of any car accident injury can easily stretch into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. It’s not just the initial medical treatment. It’s the follow-up visits with a doctor or chiropractor, the weeks or months you’re unable to work, the long-term or permanent effects that pain has on your ability to care for your family and live your life. Health has tremendous value, and if yours has been damaged, you deserve to be made whole again. That’s our job.
Attorneys who take on the car insurance companies, start to finish
The way to get the car insurance company to settle a case for a fair amount is to prepare it for trial. When we take on a case, we start from the presumption that we will eventually take it before a judge and jury and work backward from there. How will we explain the causes of the accident in a way that we know a jury will find compelling? What experts do we need to reconstruct the accident and to advocate for the full value of your injury? We put in the effort to gather the evidence we need and fine-tune the arguments we’ll use to compel a jury to do the right thing.
The insurance companies and their lawyers can see all this. They know when they’re up against a car accident lawyer who’s prepared to go to trial, and they know our track record of results. Usually, they respond by offering fair value for your injuries – this is why we say the best way to settle a case is to prepare it for trial. Sometimes, they refuse to work with us, and when that happens, we’ll take them to court.
Throughout the process, we’ll deal with the insurance company day-to-day so that you can focus on getting better. We’ll also keep you informed and make sure you are included in the strategic direction of your case. Ultimately, it’s your injury, it’s your health, and it’s your life. We are here to guide you forward, walk alongside you, and help you reach an outcome that suits your needs.
Schedule your free consultation with a car accident lawyer
Remember, the insurance company is already hard at work trying to protect its own interests. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the better. If you wait too long, important legal deadlines may expire, and evidence may disappear. Talking to a lawyer early in the process is the best option to protect your rights and build the strongest case.
If you’re wondering whether you can afford a car accident lawyer, the answer is “yes.” We work on a contingency fee, which means you don’t owe us a cent unless and until we win your case. If we don’t win, we don’t get paid. In other words, you have nothing to lose by talking to an attorney. The real question is whether you can afford not to.
We offer a free consultation to all prospective clients. There’s no cost and no pressure to hire us, just clear, candid answers about your legal options. Don’t go up against an insurance company alone. Contact us today to speak with an experienced car accident attorney about your case.