Car Accident Laws in San Francisco: What You Should Know
Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. Every year in the United States there are hundreds of deaths, and thousands of injuries caused by car accidents. San Francisco is no different. Accidents in San Francisco are an everyday occurrence and the property damage and injuries can be significant. While there are many fender benders that occur, there are also much more serious accidents that take place on the freeway where the speeds are much higher and therefore the stakes are more severe. As a driver, there are some things to make certain you ask your San Francisco car accident lawyer. You should be aware of car accident laws in San Francisco since they can directly impact your ability to recoup financial damages.
In California, there are very specific rules and laws that are applied after you have been in a car accident. These include the statute of limitations and comparative fault rules. It is important that you understand these two laws because what happens next will be determined by them. First and foremost, you need to seek medical attention. Next, you need to speak with an attorney that specialized in car accidents in San Francisco because the minute you have an accident, the clock starts ticking.
The Statute of Limitations and Car Accident Laws in San Francisco
California has enacted laws that place specific time limits around when you can make a claim to recover damages after an accident. These include a two-year filing limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit for any medical expenses you may have occurred. The time limits on a personal injury claim in San Francisco are directed by Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 335.1. What is important to note is that while you only have two years to file a personal injury claim, this has nothing to do with your insurance claim. That said, it is important that you get your insurance claims placed well before the legal statutes of limitations expire.
Similar to the time limits placed on filing a personal injury, there are also limits to the time you have to file a lawsuit for property damage. In San Francisco, this is limited to three years. What this means is that under Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 338, you need to make sure that your claim is filed before three years expire after the accident. Once again it is always best to get an attorney involved, so that the case can be filed as soon as possible.
Fault Laws in California
Another rule that you need to be aware of is that in California fault is determined on a comparative basis. Essentially what this means is that while you may win your case, you also have to prove that the majority of the fault lies with the other party in the accident. For example, if you are hit by another car that made an unsafe lane change, the judge may find that the other party is 75% at fault. However, say you were also speeding at the time. The judge may find that your actions were responsible for 25% of the accident. Under pure comparative negligence you would be responsible for 25% of any judgement. This means that whatever financial award you are allocated would be reduced by 25%.
Attorney, J. Chrisp is an award winning lawyer with a firm grasp on car accident laws in San Francisco. Having received recognition from Super Lawyer and state organizations, he is the go-to source for information related to car accident laws.