San Diego Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been involved in a car accident in the San Diego, California region, you may be seeking advice on how to pursue compensation. As Diego County had 23,000 car accidents in 2019, we are here to provide you with relevant and concise information to navigate this process. 

Car accidents are unfortunate but common occurrences on our roads. They can lead to various injuries, some of which may have long-term effects on your health and well-being. Additionally, these incidents can cause significant financial burden due to medical bills, vehicle repairs, and loss of income during recovery. 

No one should have to face the aftermath of a car accident alone. By arming yourself with the right information and seeking help from a skilled San Diego car accident attorney, you can successfully navigate this challenging period.

Cars head across major bridge in San Diego

Common causes of car accidents in San Diego

Despite the best safety measures in place, car accidents in San Diego are unfortunately quite common. Understanding the common causes of these accidents can help you drive more safely and avoid potential hazards. Here are some of the most frequent causes: 

  • Speeding: Speeding was a factor in 29% of fatal car accidents in California and driving over the speed limit is a leading cause of accidents in San Diego. The high speeds make it harder for drivers to stop or react in time, thus increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  • Distracted Driving: This includes any activity that diverts attention from driving, such as talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, or fiddling with the stereo.
  • Drunk Driving: Consumption of alcohol impairs the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle safely, resulting in accidents.
  • Reckless Driving: This includes aggressive driving behaviors like tailgating, changing lanes without signaling, and ignoring traffic signs.
  • Poor Weather Conditions: Rain, fog, and other adverse weather conditions can make roads slippery and reduce visibility, thereby increasing the risk of accidents.

Common injuries resulting from car accidents in San Diego

In San Diego, like many other places, car accidents happen frequently and often result in a number of common injuries. These injuries can range from minor to severe, impacting various parts of the body. Here are some of the most common injuries that victims might experience: 

  • Whiplash: An injury often associated with rear-end collisions, whiplash occurs when the neck is jerked back and forth rapidly. This can lead to neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and sometimes even memory loss.
  • Broken Bones: The force of a collision can easily cause broken bones. Commonly broken bones include ribs, arms, legs, and collarbones.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): These are often caused by the head hitting a part of the car during the accident, or by the force of the collision causing the brain to move within the skull.
  • Internal Injuries: In some cases, the impact of a crash can cause damage to internal organs such as the lungs or spleen, sometimes leading to internal bleeding.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: These can occur when the force of a crash causes damage to the spine. In severe cases, this can lead to paralysis.
  • Burns: If a car catches fire during an accident or if hot parts of the car come into contact with the skin, victims can suffer from burns.

Car accident hotspots in San Diego: Where are the most dangerous areas?

San Diego, known for its beautiful coastline and bustling city life, unfortunately, also has several areas known for frequent car accidents. Here are the top five accident hotspots in San Diego, detailing why these areas see a high number of incidents: 

  1. I-15: This major interstate highway is often congested, leading to a high number of rear-end collisions and multi-car accidents.
  2. I-5: Stretching from the US-Mexico border to the Canadian border, the San Diego section of this highway is notorious for its high-speed accidents.
  3. SR-94: This state route, particularly in the downtown stretch, sees a significant number of incidents due to the heavy traffic and complicated exit and entry points.
  4. SR-78: Known locally as the Ronald Packard Parkway, this route experiences a high number of accidents, mainly due to speeding and distracted driving.
  5. Downtown San Diego: With its high-density population and bustling city life, downtown San Diego is prone to pedestrian accidents and fender-benders.

What to do immediately after a car accident in San Diego

When you find yourself involved in a car accident in San Diego, it can be an overwhelming experience. Yet, it’s crucial to keep your calm and follow certain steps to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights. Here’s a rundown of what to do: 

  1. Ensure Safety: Initially, check yourself and the other passengers for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately. If possible, move your vehicle out of traffic to a safe location. Otherwise, turn on your hazard lights to signal danger to other motorists.
  2. Contact Authorities: Notify the police, even if the accident seems minor. A formal police report can be instrumental in filing a claim with your insurance company.
  3. Gather Information: Collect details like the other driver’s name, contact information, insurance details, and license number. Also, jot down the make, model, and color of the other vehicle(s) involved. Note the location, time, and cause of the accident as well.
  4. Document the Scene: If possible, take photographs or video recordings of the scene from different angles, capturing the damage to vehicles, injuries, traffic signs, etc. This visual evidence can be helpful down the line.
  5. Seek Medical Attention:  Even if you feel okay, it’s advisable to see a doctor. Some injuries may not be apparent immediately following an accident.
  6. Contact a Car Accident Attorney: If you plan to seek compensation, get in touch with a San Diego car accident attorney as soon as possible. They are well-versed in the intricacies of the law and can guide you through the process of filing a claim.

Note: Do not make any statements or sign any documents without your attorney’s advice. Anything you say can potentially be used against you in the legal proceedings.

Remember, the steps you take immediately following an accident can greatly affect your ability to receive compensation for your damages and injuries.

How to file a car accident claim in San Diego

Filing a car accident claim in San Diego involves several crucial steps. These steps are designed to help you navigate the complex process and increase your chances of receiving the compensation you rightfully deserve. Remember, each case is unique, so the process may vary slightly depending on the specifics of your situation. 

1. Consult With a Car Accident Attorney:

Once your health is stable, seek legal advice. An experienced attorney can guide you through the claim process, ensuring you understand your rights and what you’re entitled to.

2. Document the Accident:

Gather as much information as you can about the accident. This includes photographs of the scene, witness contact details, and police reports.

3. Evaluate Your Damages:

With your attorney, assess the damages you’ve suffered. This isn’t just limited to physical injuries, but also factors in emotional distress, lost wages, and property damage.

4. Negotiate With Insurance Companies:

Insurance companies often attempt to settle for less than what you’re entitled to. Your attorney can handle these negotiations on your behalf, fighting for a fair compensation.

5. File a Lawsuit if Necessary:

If negotiations fail, your attorney may advise filing a lawsuit. This extends the claim process but may result in higher compensation.

6. Prepare for Trial:

If your case goes to court, your attorney will help you prepare. This includes gathering evidence, arranging for witnesses, and practicing your testimony.

7. Settlement or Verdict:

The process concludes either with a settlement agreement or a court verdict. Your attorney will help you understand the implications of each outcome.

Following these steps will ensure that you’re adequately prepared and informed throughout your car accident claim process. Having an experienced attorney by your side can make this often daunting process significantly less stressful and more manageable.

Statute of limitations for car accident claims in San Diego

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is generally two years from the date of the accident. Remember. However, there are certain circumstances which can alter this time limit. It’s vital to understand these nuances to protect your right to compensation. 

  • Personal Injury: If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit (California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1).
  • Property Damage: For property damage claims, such as to your vehicle, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit (California Code of Civil Procedure section 338).
  • Claims Against Government Entities: If your accident involved a government entity, like a city bus, the time limit is significantly shorter. You have six months to file a formal claim (California Government Code section 911.2).

Note: The statute of limitations can be extended in certain circumstances, such as if the victim is a minor, mentally incompetent, or if the defendant leaves the state for a certain period of time after the accident.

Missing these deadlines can result in your claim being dismissed, so it’s crucial to act promptly. Consulting with a San Diego car accident attorney can help ensure you file your claim within the required time frame. 

Type of ClaimStatute of Limitations
Personal Injury2 years
Property Damage3 years
Claims Against Government Entities6 months

While the general rule is a two-year statute of limitations for car accident claims in San Diego, this can vary depending on the specifics of your case. Always seek professional legal advice to ensure you abide by these deadlines.

Factors that can affect the outcome of your San Diego car accident claim

When you’re involved in a car or road accident in San Diego, it’s crucial to understand what factors can influence your claim and the potential compensation amount. The compensation is designed to cover various damages and losses incurred due to the accident. Below are some of the factors you can base your claim on: 

  • Medical expenses: You can claim for all the medical costs related to your injuries, both present and future.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries have forced you to take time off work, you can claim for lost income.
  • Property damage: If your vehicle has been damaged in the accident, you can seek compensation for repairs or replacement.
  • Pain and suffering: This includes physical pain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life caused by the accident. 

However, the compensation amount is not just determined by the damages you suffer. There are several other factors that can have a substantial impact on the amount awarded: 

“Remember, the specific circumstances and details of your accident and the severity of your injuries are crucial in determining the compensation amount.”

Severity of injuriesThe more severe your injuries, the higher the potential compensation.
Long-term impactIf your injuries have long-term or permanent effects, it could significantly increase your compensation.
LiabilityClear evidence of the other party’s fault can influence the compensation amount.
Legal representationHaving an experienced San Diego car accident attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim.

Understanding these factors can help you navigate your compensation claim more effectively. If you’re unsure about any aspect of your claim, it’s always advisable to consult with a knowledgeable car accident attorney. 

Seek Justice

Seeking compensation for a car accident can be a daunting and challenging process, especially when you are recovering from physical injuries. However, understanding the process, knowing the common causes of accidents, the typical injuries incurred, and the hotspots for accidents in San Diego can empower you to navigate this process more effectively. 


How much does it cost to hire a car accident attorney in San Diego?

The cost of hiring a car accident attorney in San Diego can greatly differ. This variance largely depends on factors such as the intricacy of your case and the experience level of your chosen attorney. However, it is common practice for most attorneys in this domain to operate on a contingency fee basis. 

What Is a Contingency Fee Basis?

In legal terms, working on a contingency fee basis implies that the attorney will not charge you any fees upfront. Instead, their payment is contingent upon the success of your case. 

  • When you win: If the outcome of the case is in your favor, the attorney will receive a certain percentage of the settlement or verdict. This percentage can vary, but it typically ranges from 25% to 40%.
  • When you lose: If the case doesn’t end in your favor, you typically won’t owe the attorney any service fees. However, you may still be responsible for certain court costs and other expenses associated with your case.

Note: It is important to discuss the specifics of the attorney’s fee structure during your initial consultation to avoid any misunderstandings later on. Always ensure that you clearly understand the terms before proceeding.

Can I still receive compensation if I was partially at fault for the car accident?

Yes, you can still receive compensation even if you were partially at fault for the accident. California follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule, which allows you to recover damages, but your compensation might be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Can I handle my car accident case on my own or do I need an attorney?

While it’s technically possible to handle a car accident case on your own, it’s generally not recommended. Navigating the complexities of the law, dealing with insurance companies, and ensuring fair compensation can be challenging without legal expertise.

Updated on August 30, 2023

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