Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyers
- What Do Car Accident Lawyers in Bakersfield Do?
- Car Accident Statistics in Bakersfield
- Frequent Causes of Car Accidents in Bakersfield
- Types of Car Accident Injuries
- Psychological Issues After Car Accidents
- Uber or Lyft Involvement in Car Accidents
- What You Should Do After a Car Accident
- After the Car Accident
- Possible Car Accident Compensation
- Determining Fault in a Car Accident
- How Age Factors into Bakersfield Car Accidents
- Car Accidents by Vehicle Make
- Dangerous Intersections in Bakersfield
- Wrongful Death Claims and Car Accidents
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Car Accidents in Bakersfield
- Finding the Best Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyers
- How Much Will a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyers Turning Injured Victims Into Victors
Bakersfield is the county seat of and largest city within Kern County, California, and the 2020 United States Census reported that the city had a population of 407,615. According to the Census, 57.9 percent of the population is white alone, 52.0 percent is Hispanic or Latino, 12.5 percent are two or more races, 7.2 percent are Asian alone, and 7.0 percent are Black or African American alone. Car accidents can happen anytime in Bakersfield, and they can be devastating. If you or someone you know has been in a car accident, seek legal representation from experienced Bakersfield car accident lawyers. Our attorneys will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.
The Census stated that the median value of owner-occupied housing units in Bakersfield was $272,000. A Forbes article entitled “Best Places To Live In California In 2023” listed Bakersfield as the 10th best place to live in the state, saying that the median home price was $395,475 and estimated monthly expenses were $6,327 for a location only a couple hours from Los Angeles.
A person who is involved in any car wreck in the Bakersfield area will want to be sure they take the time to speak with a record-breaking Bakersfield car accident lawyer from Arash Law, founded by famous attorney Arash Khorsandi, Esq., about their case because our firm regularly helps people involved in collisions throughout the city and we know how to help people recover all of the financial compensation they are entitled to in these cases.
Your only focus should be on your own recovery, so let us handle all conversations with insurance companies. Do not add any more unnecessary stress to your already considerable load to bear.
A farm worker, suffered multiple broken bones and other orthopedic injuries resulting from an auto accident where the defendant driver attempted to make a left turn in front of our client in heavy fog.– ARASH KHORSANDI
What Do Car Accident Lawyers in Bakersfield Do?
Attorneys who handle car accident cases represent people hurt in collisions and help them recover appropriate compensation for their losses. In most cases, a Bakersfield car accident lawyer will negotiate with an insurance company to determine a fair and full settlement, but there may also be cases that an attorney has to take to trial to get justice.
Car Accident Statistics in Bakersfield
California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) statistics show that there were 1,958 fatal and injury crashes in Bakersfield in 2020, including 265 alcohol-involved accidents, 103 motorcycle crashes, 112 pedestrian accidents, 63 bicycle crashes, 246 speed-related accidents, and 297 hit-and-run crashes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WONDER statistics also show that the rates of car accidents were higher in Kern County than they were statewide or nationally.
Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SITRS) records further show that the most recent year involved 3,259 car accidents in Bakersfield and 1,561 injuries. There were 1,326 instances of two cars colliding, 79 cases of drivers hitting fixed objects, 43 cases of pedestrians being struck, 42 instances of cars striking parked vehicles, and 37 bicycle accidents.
Frequent Causes of Car Accidents in Bakersfield
When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) crimes in California, the 2021 Annual Report Of The California DUI Management Information System establishes that the DUI arrest rate and the number of felony, misdemeanor, and total DUI arrests have fallen each year over the past decade. Whereas the DUI arrest rate was 880 per 100,000 licensed drivers, and there were 5,577 felony DUI arrests and 202,954 misdemeanor DUI arrests in 2009, the DUI arrest rate was 455 per 100,000 licensed drivers, and there were only 4,920 felony DUI arrests and 119,221 misdemeanor DUI arrests in 2019.
DUI conviction rates have also decreased from 77.2 in 2009 to 71.1 in 2018, and the number of total DUI convictions fell from 161,074 in 2009 to 93,926 in 2018. Alcohol-involved crash fatalities fell from 1,263 in 2009 to 1,187 in 2019, but alcohol-involved injuries have increased from 26,058 in 2009 to 27,333 in 2019.
Most people are aware that drunk driving is against the law in California, yet too many motorists decide to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks and place countless people at risk of serious injury. Anybody involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver will want to be sure they are working with Arash Law, whose team is managed by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., because we understand how to help people hold drunk drivers accountable.
While the statistics indicate that more than 72,000 suspensions are for first-time DUI offenders, there are also more than 27,000 second-offender violations, nearly 7,000 third-offender actions, and over 2,000 fourth or more revocations. The bottom line is that many people who cause drunk driving accidents in California are repeat offenders, and people who commit repeat offenses will also have a more difficult time defending themselves.
Proposition 213 was supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the California Police Chiefs Association, the California Association of Highway Patrolman, the Doris Tate Crime Victims Bureau, the California Peace Officers’ Association, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, and the Association for California Tort Reform, and it was officially entitled The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996. The initiative limits the right of uninsured motorists, drunk drivers, and felons to sue and recover damages from law-abiding citizens.
Proposition 213 prohibits recovery of non-economic damages in certain accidents, and an uninsured driver or driver subsequently convicted of DUI at the time of an accident cannot sue a responsible party for non-economic losses. Only economic damages can be awarded, but an uninsured motorist injured by a drunk driver can still sue to recover non-economic losses from a drunk driver.
A 2021 OTS Public Opinion Survey found 74.3 percent of Californians identified distracted driving as being their biggest traffic safety concern on local roadways. The financial website MoneyGeek actually found that California ranked 46th in the nation in terms of distracted driving death rate, with a rate of 0.35 deaths per billion miles and 223 distracted driving deaths between 2019 and 2020.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that distracted driving killed 3,142 people in the United States in 2020. NHTSA defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from driving, including:
- talking or texting on a cell phone
- eating and drinking
- talking to people in a vehicle
- fiddling with a stereo, entertainment, or navigation system
- reaching for an object
California prohibits people from using a cell phone or similar electronic communication device while holding it in their hand while driving, meaning people can only use cell phones in a hands-free manner, such as speaker phones or voice commands. All drivers under 18 years of age are prohibited from using cell phones for any reason.
The CDC states that nine people nationwide are killed every day in crashes reportedly involving distracted drivers. More alarmingly, one in every five people who are hurt in distracted driving crashes are people who were not within motor vehicles, meaning injured parties were bicyclists, pedestrians, or other parties outside of motor vehicles.
Under California Vehicle Code § 23103, a person commits a reckless driving offense when they drive a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property or drive a vehicle in an off-street parking facility in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. This crime is punishable by up to 90 days in a county jail or a fine of up to $1,000 (or both).
A person who drives recklessly will also be much more likely to be at fault in an accident. It is important for people to retain legal counsel when they need help proving another driver committed a reckless driving offense.
Some of the most common examples of reckless driving include, but are not limited to:
- driving at high speeds
- weaving in and out of traffic
- illegal passing over a double-yellow line
- swerving into opposing lanes
- driving on sidewalks
- deliberately running red lights
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) reports that 928 people were killed in crashes that involved red light running in 2020. Half of the fatalities in these cases were people outside of motor vehicles, such as pedestrians and bicyclists.
Red light cameras are legal under California Vehicle Code § 21455.5 and can be extremely beneficial in cases in which accidents are the result of drivers running red lights.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur annually, which is more than the 100,000 police-reported, drowsy-driving crashes from NHTSA. The CDC estimates that 1 in every 25 drivers falls asleep while driving in the previous 30 days.
Drowsy driving is incredibly dangerous because the effects of fatigue can mimic the effects of intoxication, meaning people will be more likely to cause accidents. Frequent yawning or nodding off are common signs of fatigue, but missing exits or drifting out of your lane can also be signs.
While the list above covers many of the most common causes, other common causes of car accidents in Bakersfield can include drivers who were speeding. Speeding is a very common traffic violation in California, and a person who exceeds a posted speed limit can be at fault for a car accident. Aggressive driving can be another common cause, although determining what constitutes aggressive driving can be difficult. Many other drivers may be under the influence of prescription medication or other drugs. There is also an increased risk of crashes being the result of defective automobile parts. Any part of a motor vehicle that fails can lead to a possible product liability action. There are also issues with roadways themselves, as governmental entities can be liable for accidents caused by certain dangerous road conditions. Such cases usually require immediate legal action because people must file claims against the government within six months of their accidents.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
The nature of the injuries people may suffer in car accidents in Bakersfield can always vary depending on multiple factors, including how fast cars were traveling, where the impact occurred, and where people were seated.
Not all injuries are immediately apparent, which underscores the importance of people getting medical attention after any car accident because it will be important to know if you may have suffered a more serious injury than you even realize.
- Whiplash – Whiplash is one of the most common kinds of injuries people suffer in car accidents because the injury involves a person’s head and neck being violently thrown forward because of sudden impact. Symptoms of whiplash do not always appear immediately, but many people can be dealing with considerable pain that limits their movements for prolonged periods of time.
- Broken bones – Fractures can possibly involve surgeries or cause long-term disabilities. Serious fractures can require reconstructive surgery and the insertion of pins, plates, or screws. Simple fractures or closed fractures involve broken bones remaining within the body and do not penetrate the skin, but compound fractures or open fractures are broken bones that do penetrate through the skin and may expose the bone and deep tissues to the exterior environment.
- Lacerations – A car accident can often involve glass breaking or other sharp objects cutting people deep and causing serious wounds.
- Severe bruises – Contusions and hematomas are more serious forms of bruising that involve more severe medical implications. A contusion is the medical term for a bruise and usually involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Hematomas are more serious bruises that may involve skin infections.
- Burns – When a car accident results in a fire, then people can suffer severe burn injuries. Serious burns can require first aid and wound assessment, with treatment that involves medications, wound dressings, therapy, and surgery. Other severe burns may require treatment at specialized burn centers for skin grafts to cover large wounds.
- Internal organ injuries – An internal organ injury can be one of the most dangerous types of injuries because failure to treat these injuries properly can cause serious complications or even death. Common kinds of internal organ injuries include broken ribs, brain bleeds, abdominal aorta aneurysms in which the stomach is compressed during an accident and causes a rupture of the abdominal aorta, pneumothorax involving a rib puncturing a lung, ruptured spleens, and internal bleeding.
- Traumatic brain Injuries (TBI) – A TBI is one of the most devastating injuries a person can suffer because the effects of the injury are often invisible to most other people, but people with TBIs will be dealing with a considerable number of daily challenges. TBIs may be mild, moderate, or severe, and half of severely head-injured TBI patients need surgery to remove or repair hematomas (ruptured blood vessels) or contusions (bruised brain tissue).
- Spinal cord injuries – A spinal cord injury is damage to the bundle of cells and nerves that send and receive signals from the brain to and from the rest of the body. An incomplete spinal cord injury involves a spinal cord that can still transmit messages to and from the brain to the rest of the body, while a complete spinal cord injury is when there is no nerve communication and motor function below the site where the trauma occurred.
Psychological Issues After Car Accidents
There is little doubt that a car accident can be an incredibly traumatic experience for a person to deal with, so it is not uncommon for many people to be dealing with more complex psychological problems following a crash as well as physical ailments.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a person either experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event, and some of the common effects of PTSD can include:
- car accident flashbacks
- suicidal thoughts
- nightmares about the crash
- feelings of hopelessness
- trouble sleeping
- emotional distress reactions to reminders
- severe anxiety
- detachment from loved ones
- mood swings
- difficulty concentrating
- aggressive outbursts
- startling easily
When a person is dealing with any mental health issue after a car accident, their Bakersfield car accident attorney can work with their therapist, doctor, or other experts to help prove that a person is dealing with the psychological effects of an accident. Non-economic damages are often intended to compensate people for more psychological injuries.
Uber or Lyft Involvement in Car Accidents
Rideshare services have only become more popular nationwide in recent years, and with the increase in the number of these vehicles on the road, there is an inevitable increase in the number of accidents involving Uber, Lyft, or other ridesharing vehicles.
Many people involved in such accidents believe they can hold the ridesharing company liable for their crashes, but it is rare to do so since many drivers are classified as independent contractors, meaning they are not actually employees of the companies for which they are working.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
Always try to take photographs or videos of your entire crash scene, being sure to get pictures from multiple angles and distances. Contact a car accident lawyer in Bakersfield as soon as possible after your crash.
After the Car Accident
Soon after a car crash, the insurance company for the negligent driver is likely to reach out to other people involved in an accident to offer a lump-sum settlement. You need to be aware that these are almost always lowball offers designed to get the most desperate people to close their cases quickly for the lowest possible cost, so you should absolutely decline any settlement offer until you can have a settlement negotiated by an experienced Bakersfield personal injury lawyer with extensive knowledge in automobile accidents.
You will want to get a Bakersfield car accident lawyer from Arash Law, spearheaded by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., involved in your dealings with insurance companies as soon as possible because we can immediately step in and help you avoid the consequences of possibly saying the wrong things to insurers. Our firm has extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and knows how to argue for fair and full damages in these cases.
Possible Car Accident Compensation
- property damage or diminution of value relating to the cost of repairing or replacing a vehicle
- medical expenses
- lost wages for missed work
- lost future earning capacity when an injury results in permanent disability and renders an injured individual unable to return to work
- incidental or out-of-pocket losses caused by the accident
- pain and suffering
- emotional distress
- loss of the enjoyment of life
- physical impairment
- loss of consortium
- loss of society
Determining Fault in a Car Accident
You are going to want to be sure you are working with an experienced car accident lawyer in Bakersfield who can determine all liable parties in your case and hold each one completely accountable.
How Comparative Fault Works
How Age Factors into Bakersfield Car Accidents
OTS reports that teen motor vehicle fatalities (meaning people ages 16 to 19) decreased 25.2 percent from 219 in 2018 to 164 in 2019, and teen driver fatalities decreased 12.7 percent from 95 in 2018 to 83 in 2019.
The California Department of Transportation reports that adults 25 to 34 years of age make up the most number of victims in fatal and serious injury collisions. Almost half of all fatal and serious injury collisions involve people between 15 and 34 years of age.
Car Accidents by Vehicle Make
The lending business TitleMax reports that the five most common kinds of motor vehicles involved in fatal accidents in the United States include the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Dodge Ram. The Honda Civic, Nissan Altima, Toyota Corolla, GMC Sierra, and Ford Explorer round out the top 10.
Dangerous Intersections in Bakersfield
In October 2022, KGET-TV commissioned a study involving crash data around Bakersfield since 2011 to determine Bakersfield’s top 10 most dangerous intersections. The 40 crashes at Ming Avenue and New Stine Road made it the top intersection for crashes.
- Ming Avenue and New Stine Road (40 crashes)
- Gosford Road and Ming Avenue (37 crashes)
- Real Road and Wilson Road (35 crashes)
- 34th Street and Q Street (34 crashes)
- Brundage Lane and P Street (34 crashes)
- H Street and Ming Avenue (34 crashes)
- H Street and Planz Road (33 crashes)
- Baker Street and Niles Street (31 crashes)
- H Street and Wilson Road (31 crashes)
- 4th Street and Union Avenue (30 crashes)
Wrongful Death Claims and Car Accidents
California only allows for a deceased person’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, surviving children, or grandchildren of any deceased child of a decedent to file wrongful death claims.
When none of these parties exist, it may be possible for another party entitled to the property of a decedent by intestate succession, such as their parents or siblings, to file, although many people who were financially dependent on decedents can also file.
Damages in a wrongful death case often include funeral and burial expenses but may also include financial support a decedent will have contributed to a family, loss of gifts or benefits that a family or family member will have expected to receive from a decedent, and the reasonable value of household services that a decedent will have provided.
Non-economic damages often compensate people for emotional losses in these cases, such as loss of consortium, loss of companionship, loss of comfort, loss of care, loss of assistance, loss of protection, loss of affection, loss of society, and loss of moral support.
Punitive damages are generally prohibited in wrongful death cases unless a person dies as the result of a felony homicide for which there is a conviction, but people can recover punitive damages in survival actions, which are lawsuits that can be filed by a car accident lawyer in Bakersfield on behalf of a deceased person’s estate.
A survival action seeks compensation for any claims unrelated to a death that a person has the right to sue for or injury claims before death.
Settlement in a motor vehicle accident involving a commercial agricultural defendant – client suffered spinal injuries– JUDD ROSS ALLEN
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Car Accidents in Bakersfield
Most people do not have any idea what their case is actually worth, so it is always wisest to consult an attorney who can inform you whether it will be in your best interest to pursue a case against another driver. When people are not dealing with any major injuries, then claims may be minimal.
The bottom line is that all drivers can be entitled to recover damages. People can seek various forms of compensation for many concerns beyond just injuries. Property damage to vehicles involved can be very costly alone.
When total damages associated with an injury are less than $7,500, a person can be better served to file a claim in small claims court. While doing so can provide quick solutions without people needing to pay attorneys, small claims court may not be appropriate for all cases.
Led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., the team at Arash Law understands how stressful the money aspect can be for most people, and we will be completely honest with you about the potential of your case and what we can recover for you. You can count on us to have an honest conversation about what to expect.
Multiple groups supported the passage of Proposition 213 in 1996 because insurance costs had skyrocketed for Californians who took responsibility for their actions. The problem was that uninsured motorists, drunk drivers, and criminal felons were being rewarded for their irresponsibility and lawbreaking.
State laws allowed uninsured motorists and drunk drivers involved in drunk driving and other accidents to recover damages from law-abiding citizens. Criminals can also recover damages from law-abiding citizens for injuries suffered during the commission of crimes.
Proposition 213 prohibits the recovery of non-economic losses in certain kinds of accidents, and uninsured drivers or drivers subsequently convicted of DUI at the time of their accidents cannot sue responsible parties for non-economic losses because they can only be sued for economic losses. Uninsured motorists injured by drunk drivers can still sue to recover non-economic losses from drunk drivers.
People convicted of felonies cannot sue to recover any losses suffered while committing crimes or fleeing from the crime scenes when those losses resulted from another person’s negligence. Convicted felons may still sue to recover losses for certain injuries suffered while committing or fleeing a crime.
A Rand Institute for Civil Justice study entitled “The Effect of Proposition 213 on the Cost of Auto Insurance in California” determined Prop 213 will reduce insurers’ compensation costs for personal injuries by 10 percent. The study showed a 53 percent reduction in Los Angeles, a 43 percent reduction in San Diego, a 35 percent reduction in Fresno, a 45 percent reduction in San Francisco, and a 38 percent reduction in Sacramento for a 65-year-old person with no traffic violations while a person 30 years of age can expect a 48 percent reduction in Los Angeles, a 40 percent reduction in San Diego, a 31 percent reduction in Fresno, a 42 percent reduction in San Francisco, and a 36 percent reduction in Sacramento.
People should never admit to any fault at the scene of a car accident, especially while discussing a crash with the police. Police reports are not the final words in accident cases, so one officer’s assessment that a person was to blame may not line up with what an independent investigation reveals.
People are again entitled to compensation even when they were partially at fault in California, but you will want to be sure you are working with an experienced lawyer who will know how to handle your case. Arash Law, run by the talented team of Arash Khorsandi, Esq., will know how to overcome any oversights by a police officer and prove when another party is to blame for a car accident.
It is often the insurance company for a negligent driver that pays out all awards in a car accident case. Insurers do whatever they can to minimize their losses in these cases, so people need to avoid speaking to insurance companies without attorneys.
It may be possible that a driver becomes personally liable for damages when damages exceed the limits of their insurance policies. Certain other cases may also involve liable parties being companies that hired drivers, but people are generally filing either first-party claims with their own insurance companies or third-party claims with the insurers for other drivers.
It is never easy to pinpoint an exact figure for possible compensation because so many factors can impact the ultimate settlement amount. An attorney can provide a range of compensation to expect, but the final figure is usually somewhat elusive until near the very end.
You should always be wary of any lawyer who quotes you a specific amount they will recover, as it is generally not advisable for any attorney to promise any figure. When you speak to the team at Arash Law, founded by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., we will do our best to give you an honest estimate of what you can expect in your case.
There is no hard and fast rule for how long car accident cases will take to settle. Some injury claims can be quickly resolved within a matter of weeks, but many other cases will drag out for several months or possibly even years.
People need to be patient during their car accident claim process because insurance companies are not always ready to pay people any compensation, so it can take time to convince an insurer it is liable.
You need to know that whatever amount an insurance company offers you after your accident, chances are very good that the figure is nowhere near what you are actually entitled and you will run the risk of being unable to recover any additional money if you accept the offer and learn later that it is not sufficient. Insurance companies have a goal of working against the interests of people seeking financial compensation, so people are going to want to retain legal counsel in these cases.
It is generally recommended that all people avoid speaking to any insurance company after an accident, instead letting a lawyer deal with the insurers on their behalf. A skilled car accident lawyer in Bakersfield will be better suited to deal with insurance companies and protect the rights of people hurt in car accidents.
I-5 is one of the busiest roads in the greater Bakersfield area, about a half-hour west of downtown. There are constant reports of accidents on I-5 every day, so it is not uncommon for people to be involved in collisions on I-5.
The Los Angeles Times once reported that almost 200 people were killed in accidents on I-5 between 2015 and 2017. Arash Law, created by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., understands all of the dangers involved on I-5, such as popular areas like Tejon Pass, The Grapevine, and the Central Valley.
New Car Laws in California
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides a list of recent changes. Beginning January 1, 2023, online driver’s license renewal for Californians 70 and Older Ends, and these people must renew their license in person at a DMV office.
What Is California’s Seat Belt Law?
Timing of Accident Claims?
Similarly, people who are mentally incapable of taking legal action following a car accident, such as people in a coma, can also have their statute of limitations extended. When a person is only seeking compensation relating to property damage, then they will have three years to file their claim. Contacting Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyers as soon as possible after an accident can help ensure that the statute of limitations is not a barrier to receiving the compensation you deserve.
The Frequency of Drunk Driving Accidents in California
According to OTS, one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of 0.08 or higher, and 10,076 people were killed in such crashes during the most recent reporting year. One in five child passenger deaths, meaning people 12 years of age and younger, were drunk driving deaths, and 71 percent of cases involved children being in the vehicles of drunk drivers.
OTS states that a person dies in a drunk driving crash every 52 minutes in the United States. The CDC states that 10,327 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in California between 2003 and 2012, with people 21 to 34 years of age having a death rate of 4.5 per 100,000 people, people 35 years of age or older having a death rate of 1.8, and people 20 years of age or less having a crash rate of 0.9.
Finding the Best Car Accident Lawyers in Bakersfield
When you need to recover compensation to cover your costs stemming from a motor vehicle accident in Bakersfield, you will always be best served by hiring our Bakersfield car accident lawyers. An attorney is going to know what needs to be done to help you get back on your feet and obtain all of the money you need and deserve.
How Much Will a Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Many people have concerns about how much they are going to have to pay a car accident Lawyer in Bakersfield to handle their car accident case, but this issue is usually a moot point. Arash Law, managed and operated by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., is among the many lawyers in California who provide legal representation on a contingency fee basis.