Hello! I’m Brad Nakase, a California auto accident attorney. I am a boutique law office that focus quality of my services by accepting a limited number of clients. How do you know if I am the right lawyer to fight and protect your interests? I invite you to read the 80+ perfect 5 Stars Google Reviews and decide.
As car accident lawyers, this is one of the most common questions we hear. However, it is one of the most difficult questions to answer without a thorough understanding of your case. This is why we offer free consultations to our clients, so they can discover if they have a case and the value of their case before they hire us. In the free consultation, your car accident attorney can give you a ballpark figure of what your case may be worth. This will be an estimate until they have a clearer picture of everything involved.
Here are the three main factors for calculating the value of a car accident claim:
Your damages will be broken down into three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are easy to calculate losses directly caused by the car accident. Some examples are vehicle repair costs, lost income, and medical bills. These will be proved by pay slips, medical bills, and invoices from the mechanic. Sometimes, future medical costs and loss of wages may be calculated for your compensation claim. These will require expert testimony from doctors or economists to calculate.
Non-economic damages are less tangible and include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium. They may not always be available, and the non-economic damages you claim will depend on your injuries and the skill of your car accident lawyer.
Punitive damages exist solely to punish the illegal and intentional behavior of a driver. For example, if they knowingly caused an accident because of road rage. These will be awarded by the judge to act as a deterrent against future behavior and will be awarded to the car accident victim.
It is rare that the defendant actually pays the settlement. Usually it is their car insurance company that will pay the compensation. The defendant’s policy limit will often be the limiting factor in your compensation claim.
This is why it is difficult to calculate the value of your claim until they have checked the defendant’s car insurance policy details. Your damages may be worth a million, but if the defendant’s policy limit is $50,000, then that is the maximum you can claim. The exception will be if the defendant has significant income or assets that you could claim.
If both sides disagree to the liability and amount of damages in a car accident case, then you will need to provide evidence that both:
This means that until your car accident lawyer can gather proof that the other driver was at fault and all your medical bills are available, they may not be able to put a value to your claim.
After a car accident, the liable party’s insurance company must pay these costs:
If you are not claiming pain and suffering and emotional distress, then you simply add the costs of repair and medical bills. If you need to write off your vehicle and you are claiming pain and suffering, then the insurance company must compensate your non-economic damages.
There are several methods insurance companies use to calculate these damages, and they are always different from those a lawyer will use to calculate them. Even simple things like using fractions rather than whole numbers to multiply your damages are tactics used to reduce your compensation. They often use complex computer algorithms to calculate non-economic damages.
Most simple, low-value car accident cases need not go to court. If you hire a car accident lawyer with a proven track record of negotiating with insurance companies, they will get you a fair settlement. Because juries are unpredictable and have control over the damage awards, most insurance companies want to stay away from court.
Insurance companies do not want to go to court. Once they see you have hired a skilled car accident attorney, they will negotiate fairly. Without quality legal representation, they will likely offer insultingly low settlements. The insurance company will try and minimize your settlement so they can keep a larger portion of their profit. While you pay them to cover you if a car accident occurs, they are not on your side.
Insurance companies will use many dodgy tactics to try and increase the percentage of your liability or challenge your damages to try and reduce them. They will even try to convince you that the low settlement offer they give is worth taking. It is best to let all conversation with the insurance companies go through your lawyer so you can protect your compensation.
An experienced car accident lawyer will help you to navigate the complex claim and litigation process against insurance companies and other parties. Remember, this may be your first car accident, and you do not know what to do or what process to follow. Insurance companies deal with insurance claims every single day. They know the process inside and out. Even the playing field and consult with your own expert, a car accident attorney.
They will help you to calculate the factors which may affect your injury calculations. Some factors are:
This is a common question we hear as car accident lawyers. California is a comparative liability state, so you can still seek compensation; your compensation will just be reduced by your percentage of fault. Even if you hold the majority of fault in the car accident, you can still seek compensation.
Not every car accident is straight forward; often, there are multiple liable parties. One driver may have been drunk, but the other made an illegal maneuver. The road conditions could be to blame, or a faulty traffic light. This is why California is a comparative liability state to ensure each party is still compensated. The main job of a car accident attorney is to identify all the liable parties in a car accident. Often, the policy limit of another driver is low. However, if the road conditions were to blame, then the potential compensation could be higher.
California’s comparative fault laws mean that the court can award damages to multiple victims in the same car accident. These damages are awarded and paid based on the liability of every party involved. Even if you are partly to blame for the car accident, you can still seek compensation for your damages. Unlike states with a modified comparative negligence law, California has a pure comparative negligence law which allows a victim to claim compensation even if they are 99% to blame for the accident. They will simply only claim 1% of their damages.
Upon hearing each party’s testimony, the court will calculate the percentage of liability for the car accident. Every party’s compensation will then be reduced by their percentage of fault. This does mean that in California, it is vital to hire a skilled car accident lawyer. They will work from the start to strengthen your case and protect it from liability attacks.
In California, comparative negligence is often used by insurance companies or defendants to reduce the amount of compensation they pay. A car accident attorney can help lower your liability by proving these four requirements of negligence:
All of those four elements must exist to prove negligence. Remember, these four elements prove the other driver’s negligence, not your innocence. Even so, the other party may use your own actions against you.
The most common behaviors used against plaintiffs to prove partial fault are:
Even if you were engaging in any of the above dangerous practices, the court may still award you compensation, just a reduced amount. Speak to a car accident attorney, even if you were partially to blame for the car crash. You may still receive compensation depending on the other party’s percentage of fault.
When you should hire a car accident attorney depends on whether you caused the accident or are the victim of a reckless driver. When you’re the injured victim of a careless driver, hiring a car accident attorney will help you recover money for your medical bills, car repair, and the hassle of paperwork with insurance companies.
While some car accidents need lawyers, many do not. You can usually just file a personal injury claim against an insurance provider on your own. If you have either sustained minor injuries or no injuries at all, this is the path you can take.
If you have been involved in a severe car accident, with injuries to match, you should hire a car accident attorney. Our personal injury lawyers will help you battle the insurance companies calling you five times a day. Our car accident attorneys have extensive knowledge of the laws that apply to your case. As a result, our attorneys can assist you with court filings. You need an auto accident attorney to represent you that you can count on. Our attorneys will act on your behalf throughout the entire process.
When you are injured in a car accident, you should definitely address your injuries first. Most people find that the idea of hiring a car accident attorney is stressful. However, remember that there is a statute of limitations for filing. You will want to avoid postponing this for too long.
Each state has a different statute of limitations when it comes to car accident cases. So, what is it for California? It’s two years. As a result, you have two years to file a lawsuit, barring a few exceptions. Did you sustain an injury or had property damage? If so, you should file a lawsuit as soon as possible.
However, hiring an auto accident attorney should not be something that adds stress to your life. In fact, this should really alleviate any anxiety you have over your legal claim. Lawyers will take care of the whole process themselves.
The amount of money you may get for pain and suffering depends on the severity of your injuries. In most minor soft tissue injuries, the money a person may expect is $5000 to $15,000. When a person’s injury from a car accident is more serious, such as a spinal cord injury, the injured person may get between $90,000 upwards to $1 million. The amount depends on the medical bills, and injury severity or permanence. Our auto accident lawyers will give you an estimate of how much money you will get for pain and suffering.
There are many factors in a settlement payment. Given this, it’s imperative you document as much as possible. You should have as much evidence as possible when it comes to your auto accident. The following are the factors determining how much your settlement will be for:
While some car accidents need lawyers, many do not. You can usually just file a personal injury claim on your own, against an insurance provider. If you have either sustained minor injuries or no injuries at all, this is the path you can take. If you have been involved in a severe car accident, with injuries to match, you should hire a qualified lawyer. They can help you battle the insurance providers. Indeed, they have extensive knowledge of the laws that apply to your case. As a result, they can assist you with the legal filings. You need someone to represent you that you can count on. Therefore, our auto accident attorneys will act on your behalf throughout the entire process. What is a lawyer contingency fee? A lawyer contingency fee is just a fee that you get charged for services if a lawsuit is won. So, that means you only pay if your case is successful. Also, the payment would come out of the settlement, not your pocket.
Nearly all car accident attorneys provide services on a contingent fee basis. A lawyer contingency fee is just a fee that you get charged for services if a lawsuit is won. So, that means you only pay if your case is successful. Also, the payment would come out of the settlement, not your pocket. What is the percentage of the contingent fee does a lawyer receives? The industry standard, lawyers take 33% to 45% of a settlement. This is when the case gets a resolution without a need for a lawsuit. However, if a lawsuit is necessary, the fee will usually climb to around 40% of the total settlement. Remember, a majority of cases get settled outside of a court. If you hire us, we will only file a lawsuit if we receive your permission. We’ll paint a picture for you illustrating this. Let’s say we negotiate a $60,000 settlement on your behalf. Given this, you are getting $40,000. Out of that, you would have all your medical bills and other debts paid. Then, you get to keep anything else that’s left over. This money can be used for your recovery from the accident. You can also recover lost wages. Again, if there is no settlement, you do not have to pay anything. Insurance companies pay the settlement amount most of the time. Also, they almost exclusively pay our clients a lump sum. This is because they would rather not divvy up the settlement into small payments.
Although many car accident attorney require upfront money, our personal injury attorney does not require any up front money. In fact, you don’t have to pay anything upfront or during the lawsuit. When you hire our auto accident attorney, it is on a contingent fee basis. What does this mean? Well, it means that you don’t have to pay the attorney anything if we lose your case. When we win, you just pay a part of the settlement to us. So, not a single cent needs to be paid by you. Hiring our auto accident attorney will not cost you anything upfront!
People usually feel nervous about hiring a lawyer when it comes to auto accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, they believe it will only complicate things. Additionally, they may think that it’s not affordable. So, you can create more problems than you would resolve. This will happen if you do not have an attorney involved.
A majority of people have no idea just how complex a car accident claim can become. While insurance providers claim they are working in your best interests, they are actually working for theirs. Consequently, they will look to minimize any compensation you would receive. In fact, the more serious your accident, the more likely they are to take advantage of you. A lawyer can protect you from the unethical behavior of insurance companies.
Sure, you can handle your claim on your own if you want to. However, this is not always the wisest decision. In reality, we have seen many cases where people who had injuries did not receive the compensation they deserved. You don’t need to be one of those people who gets taken advantage of by the insurance companies. You deserve the maximum compensation possible.
An experienced lawyer battles the insurance providers for you. Yes, you can try to go up against them by yourself. However, you will find it to be incredibly difficult. Also, you will most likely get taken advantage of. You simply cannot rely on your insurance company doing the right thing. Also, this is especially true if you sustained injuries. You must contact a car accident lawyer. Doing so will provide you with the necessary guidance you need to go up against the insurance companies, along with anyone else involved.
Furthermore, car accident lawyers can reduce your medical expenses. Did you know that the average visit to the ER costs close to $20,000? Also, staying overnight at a hospital, as well as getting surgery, can cost you thousands of dollars. Additionally, physical therapy can add even more to your total medical costs. So, the total amount that you will rack up in bills can balloon into an incredibly high amount.
Therefore, how can a great California car accident lawyer support you? Here are some ways:
You can see how much there is to get done in a car accident claim. So, this is why you should let an experienced auto accident attorney take care of everything for you. When you hire us, we will do everything in our power to make sure your mind is at ease. We will make sure you can take time to recover from your injuries. We will keep you protected.
Unfortunately, we have seen people get robbed from the compensation due to them. This is because they accepted settlements without speaking with a qualified motor vehicle accident lawyer first. We have what it takes to fight for you and what belongs to you.
Calculating how much compensation you are eligible for isn’t as simple as submitting the repair bill for your car and your medical bills following a car collision. Car accidents can have a long term impact on your life, and your compensation should take that into account.
We will examine your case thoroughly and look at the broader impact the car accident has on your life. Here is a brief guide of some of the things our attorneys at Nakase Law Firm consider when calculating money you’re entitled:
If you are involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you must file a claim with an insurance company. You file with the negligent driver’s and your insurance companies. Under California law, the insurance company for the person who caused the auto wreck is responsible for injury to you and your property. Still, your own insurance company covers your bodily injury as well, so it is difficult to know which insurance company to file claims with. Our car accident attorneys at Nakase Law Firm can help you navigate the complex waters of insurance claims as efficiently as possible.
The most important reason why you should seek legal advice before filing an insurance claim is so that you don’t accidentally reduce your claim or imply liability through your wording or not presenting the full evidence. Insurance companies are looking to reduce their payout in a car accident any way possible. As your California car accident lawyer, Brad Nakase will protect every aspect of your legal rights.
Yes, it is possible to sue insurance companies and not hire a lawyer. However, we strongly recommend you hire a lawyer. This is because insurance adjusters are experts at reducing your settlement amount. They will also offer insultingly low settlement amounts and even deny your claim.
If you have never practiced law, you will not be prepared for the fight that will ensue. Sure, you can study the laws on the books. However, that does not make you someone experienced in dealing with insurance companies. In a court of law, you will be expected to know everything a lawyer does. When you undoubtedly come in unable to provide that, insurance providers will take advantage of you. The best course of action is to hire a qualified and experienced California car accident lawyer.
An insurance adjuster may, at first, attempt to cozy up to you. They may try to act like they are your best friend. They’re not. Avoid falling for their emotional manipulation tactics. They are not on your side. In fact, they are trying to trick you.
As soon as you file a claim, they will call you. This is when they will try to get the absolute lowest settlement possible for you to agree to. They are hired to offer you as little as possible. Also, they want to make you believe you are getting the best possible compensation.
At some point, they will likely ask you to provide them with a recorded statement. They want this on file before giving you your settlement. However, unless there is litigation going on, they have no right to demand this from you.
Also, never give the other driver’s insurance provider a recorded statement. If you do, they will be able to dissect everything you told them, hoping to find a loophole. Even a single word could be misspoken and enough to cost you your entire settlement. Remember, they are highly-trained to identify everything that can be used against you. Yes, it’s disappointing how much deception they are willing to use. However, it’s the reality.
Whenever you have to speak with insurance adjusters, only provide them with the most basic information. Stay professional. Never stray into the territory of it being a casual conversation. They may attempt to steer it that direction, but don’t fall for it. Remember, these are traps that they will try to set for you, hoping you will take the bait. As a result, they will try to get you to admit fault. Alternatively, they may also try to frame things so that you look dishonest with how much you are asking for. Furthermore, they may even try to downplay your injuries. The bottom line is that if they ever ask you for a recorded statement, reject their request. Even if they insist, hold firm to saying “no” to them.
Allow our team of experienced lawyers take care of all communication with the adjusters. We have extensive experience with the law. Therefore, we know the best way to navigate through challenging and manipulative conversations. Often, people who get an injury in car accidents have no experience with the law. This makes them prime candidates for being taken advantage of by insurance adjusters. Avoid being manipulated by them! Call us as soon as possible if you have been involved in an auto accident and need help.
Right after you file your claim, you will receive a call from your insurance provider. They will provide you with a settlement offer. You should already have a qualified auto accident attorney on your side at this point.
Sure, it can be tempting to accept their offer. However, you get far more than what they are offering. You may find solace in them providing you with some quick cash. However, avoid accepting their first settlement offer! You may end up making a costly decision that you will look back on as being a mistake. Once you agree, there is no going back.
Insurance providers will do whatever sort of underhanded tactics it takes to reduce or eliminate your settlement amount. Their primary motivation is to make a profit. In fact, they are looking at you as the person they will make a profit off of. It can be shocking to hear, but it’s true. Regardless of the pain and suffering you are going through, they will look at the financial opportunity that lays before them. So, remember not to accept any initial offer they push on you.
This is why you should let a car accident attorney take charge of all the communication with an insurance company. They will review the initial offer and let you know whether it’s fair or not. If it’s not, your attorney will fight to get the best settlement possible. Remember, it is essential to have a settlement that is high enough to cover all your expenses and suffering.
Insurance providers are well-aware of how lawyers know the game they play. Given the significant advantage a lawyer has over an insurance company, you have a more substantial possibility of success to get the best settlement.
Most people have the belief that they don’t need a car accident attorney when it comes to a claim. However, this isn’t true. For instance, if you do not have proper representation, you can get taken advantage of by insurance providers. When those companies see that you have a top-notch lawyer working for you, they will behave differently. We will fight for you until we get what you deserve!
We want to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to you. Besides the legal complications that can occur, these additional issues can give you more stress, anxiety, and fear. However, our team of qualified lawyers can provide you with solutions, support, compassion, and relief. We are thrilled to provide you with the support, experience, and knowledge of the law, to protect you. We want to achieve the highest compensation possible for you. Contact us today and learn how we can help you in your unique case.
As we mentioned previously, insurance providers do whatever it takes to reduce or deny your claim. That’s part of their job. The more claims they deny, the more money they get. If they can find any sort of means of not paying you, they will find it and use it against you. Furthermore, they will be aggressive in doing so. If you come in unprepared and without experience dealing with them, you will end up with nothing. Also, they won’t mind you going into debt either. You will have to think about the ramifications of not hiring an experienced car accident attorney. If you don’t have one working for you, insurance companies will take advantage of you.
Remember, avoid signing anything at all that an insurance provider pushes your direction at first. You should always consult with an auto accident attorney first. If you sign something before doing so, you may end up losing everything you should have gotten. Avoid making a mistake where you signed something without consulting with one of our lawyers!
Our car accident attorney gives free legal advice. You only pay when we win a settlement for you. Contact us today and allow us to assist you to take care of your claim the proper way. Remember, the longer you wait, the harder it will be for you to maximize your claim. Start the conversation today, and let us fight for the compensation that you deserve!
Brad Nakase, Attorney
AVVO Clients’ Choice Award 2019
Justia Highest Rating Honor 10
AVVO Highest Rated Lawyer 10
The use of this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. By submitting your message, you consent to us referring your message to another law firm that may assist you. *
Frequently Asks Questions:
Guide to Brain Injury
Guide to Spine Injury
Other Accident Injuries
San Diego County and local cities We Serve:
Carlsbad | Chula Vista | Coronado | Del Mar | El Cajon | Encinitas | Escondido | Imperial Beach | La Mesa | Lemon Grove | National City | Oceanside | Poway | San Diego | San Marcos | Santee | Solana Beach | Vista
Riverside & San Bernardino Counties and local cities we Serve:
Riverside | San Bernardino | Temecula | WildoMar |