San Diego Car Accident Attorney

After A Car Accident In Southern California, Work With A Law Firm Dedicated To Your Needs

San Diego Car Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, car accidents are a part of life. However, if you find yourself in a car accident, there are steps you can take to ensure your health, safety, and finances are intact. A San Diego car accident lawyer can help you go through this process

Mitchell Law Corporation, a Law Firm You Can Trust

In 2015, more than 1.7 million individuals were injured in accidents occurring throughout the county, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Tragically, more than 32,000 people died from a fatal car accident in 2015, the highest total since 2008.

With years of litigating auto accident cases, we have successfully defended countless clients, obtaining favorable settlements. Our crash attorneys remain up-to-date on the most recent legal developments to deliver the greatest possible representation for your circumstances. We take the time to get to know you and your unique situation so that we can tailor our approach to give you the greatest chance of success.

We have won difficult cases and maximized compensation for our clients, so our track record of success speaks for itself. We can put forth the effort to secure you the compensation you deserve. We can fight for the justice that you are due. We know that dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be extremely stressful. We are dedicated to providing not only excellent legal counsel but also caring support during this process.

If your case goes to court, we are skilled at negotiating on clients’ behalf. We understand how to speak to insurance adjusters. We can handle all aspects of your case, including obtaining information, organizing medical documents, settling disputes with insurance providers, and defending you in court. Our aim is to ensure that the procedure runs as smoothly and stress-free for you as possible.


Car accidents are caused for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons are driver errors, and some are external errors, such as road hazards or car troubles. A number of factors can contribute to a car collision occurring, including:
  • Faulty vehicle equipment: Faulty vehicle equipment refers to any parts of the car that are defective and can cause a car wreck. This includes brake failure, which can prevent a car from stopping in time.
  • Faulty vehicle equipment can also include defective tires that can blow out and can cause a driver to lose control of the car and potentially get into a car accident. Other faulty equipment issues include steering problems, airbag failures, and issues with lighting.
  • Poor vehicle repair. Poor vehicle repair involves someone performing inadequate repairs on a vehicle. This could mean installing parts incorrectly, using low-quality parts that can malfunction or fail, and improper maintenance, such as staying up to date with brake and tire maintenance.
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals. When traffic signals malfunction, it increases the likelihood of a car accident because it causes confusion. This is especially true for instances where the traffic signals are improperly timed or completely broken. When signals are not functioning properly, it can cause collisions.
  • Negligence of another driver. Another driver’s negligence is a common cause of car accidents. Drivers are becoming increasingly distracted, and distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. However, negligence can also include speeding, running red lights and stop signs, failing to yield, driving while intoxicated, and reckless driving.
  • Poor road conditions. Poor road conditions are caused by a number of factors. Some of these include inclement weather, such as rain, snow, ice, and fog. This can also include poor road issues such as potholes, uneven lanes, and road obstructions like debris or large branches.
  • Missing or malfunctioning road signs/barriers. Road signs and barriers are incredibly useful. However, when they are not present or not used correctly, it can cause confusion or vehicles not driving in the intended way, which can lead to accidents. This can include missing yield signs, signs hidden by another object, damaged guardrails, or incorrect signs.


Being in a car accident can be a sudden and traumatic experience. However, there are still some steps you can and should take immediately following an accident to ensure a smooth transition and process after the fact.
  • Seek medical attention immediately. If you have serious or immediate injuries, it is important to contact emergency services so you can receive the attention you deserve. Medical attention can be the difference between an accident being fatal or not.
  • If you do not have any immediate injuries, check to see if the others involved in the car accident need medical attention. This includes other drivers and those who may have been in the car with you.
  • Remain on the scene. It is very important that you stay at the scene of an accident, even if it appears minor. If you leave, you are at risk of being charged with a hit and run. Once law enforcement shows up, wait until you have their permission to leave.
  • Contact law enforcement. In California, car accidents must be reported to law enforcement. Law enforcement should be notified due to property damage, even if no one was injured. Police officers will make official reports, and they will be able to make observations that you may have missed, such as the other driver being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Move your vehicle. If the vehicle is still in working condition, you will want to move your car to the shoulder of the road or some other spot that is out of the way of the flow of traffic. This will also help any ambulances, law enforcement, or any other first responders get to the scene quicker.
  • Exchange information. Provide your basic contact information and insurance information to the others involved in the car accident. You will also want to get this information from others as well. Key pieces of information include their name, insurance provider, license plate number, and contact information. Taking pictures of this information is a good idea so you do not misrecord anything.
  • Also, if there are any witnesses, you should gather their contact information if they are willing to give it, as their testimony may help you in the long run with insurance companies or the court if the situation results in a trial.
  • Gather evidence. The more evidence you can gather, the better. This will help you with insurance companies and any trials if you go to court. Evidence includes eyewitness testimonies, the other driver’s information, such as the make and model of their car, and photos or videos of the vehicle and other property damage.
  • You can also take pictures of things outside of both drivers' control that could have contributed to the accident, such as a stop sign that was blocked by a construction truck.
  • Use your words carefully. It is highly recommended that you do not verbally admit fault at the scene of the accident. This is because insurance companies can use this information against you when it comes time for them to give you a payout. Even if you believe you are at fault, only communicate the facts about what happened.
  • Also, do not tell the other driver that you will do or pay for anything. Finally, if the situation becomes serious after the fact and you need to go to court, refrain from discussing the details with others except your attorney.
  • Assess how you’re feeling physically. Even if you have no external injuries, internal injuries are a possibility and can result in serious damage or even death if left untreated. Even if it feels minor, like slight dizziness, seek medical attention right away.
  • It is better to get checked out by a medical professional and find out nothing is wrong than to refuse medical attention only to have to deal with a serious injury later that could have been treated immediately.
  • This will also help you later if you incur medical bills. You can include this in any car accident claim that you make as you seek compensation.
  • Provide details in writing. Write down everything that happened during the accident. Doing this as soon as possible is beneficial while the details are still fresh in your brain. The longer you wait, the more details you may forget. Having a written statement that you can reference can help you, especially if insurance companies or courts begin asking questions.
  • Some information you want to include in this statement includes the time, place, and date of the accident, which direction you were going, what you were doing when the collision happened, and what the other car was doing at the moment of collision.
  • Contact your car insurance company. Car insurance companies have policies that outline how soon they would like to be notified of an accident. However, regardless of fault, you will want to notify them as soon as possible. Notifying them does not mean that you have to file a claim, but a lawyer can help give you legal counsel on whether or not it would be beneficial to do so.
  • Notify the California DMV. In California, you must notify the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of an accident if the property damage exceeds $1,000 or if someone was injured or killed.
  • Keep a record. Keep a record of everything that happens after the accident. This includes conversations with your insurance company, how your injuries have affected your life, and any expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Even if you don’t initially seek to file a claim for damages, these records can help you later if you change your mind.
  • Talk to an attorney. An attorney can assist you in many steps after an accident. This is especially true in complex cases that involve serious injuries or significant property damage. They can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. They can also assist if you are facing criminal charges due to the accident.


While having an attorney after a car accident is not required, it can be a huge help, especially in complex and serious cases. Generally speaking, a lawyer can:
  • Speak with the other driver’s insurance company. A good lawyer will know how to speak to your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company in order to negotiate compensation on your behalf.
  • Gather appropriate evidence. This can help establish fault or clear you of fault that you thought you had at the time. An attorney can also seek evidence that you may not have realized you needed or would have helped.
  • Determine your losses. Seeking damages for a car accident goes beyond just the damage to the car. An attorney can inform you of all your options for compensation following an accident.
  • This includes the cost of medical treatment, follow-up appointments, lost wages if you miss work, future lost earnings, surgeries, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and medication. This can also include pain and suffering and any other psychological damage. A lawyer can also help ensure that any information, evidence, or documentation you need to prove these damages are acquired.
  • Gather medical information. A lawyer can gather hospital records and medical bills for you. They can also let you know of any information they will need from your doctor, such as how they anticipate your injuries will affect your life in both the short-term and long-term.
  • This is beneficial because, let's say, for instance, your doctor says that you will likely be out of work for six weeks while you recover. Your attorney can include this in your car accident claim and seek to recover lost wages you will potentially miss in the next six weeks.


Every day, 28 people die in the United States from an accident involving an alcohol-impaired driver, according to the NHTSA. The NHTSA considers a crash alcohol-related if at least one driver involved in the wreck has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .01 percent or higher (the legal limit is .08 BAC).

Drunk or drugged driving accidents are preventable and victims who have suffered a serious injury in a DUI accident may be entitled to monetary compensation. The experienced attorneys in Los Angeles at the Mitchell Law Corporation have seen the devastation, pain and grief associated with a serious injury and will fight tirelessly to ensure victims receive full and fair compensation for accident-related damages.

With the experienced legal representation of one of our lawyers, victims drastically increase their ability to recover larger settlements. We will work tirelessly to ensure you receive maximum compensation for hospital stays, doctor visits, physical therapy, lost income, physical pain, disfigurement and emotional strain.

We’ve Recovered Compensation From A Broad Range Of Auto Accident Injuries

San Diego auto accidents can cause various types of serious injuries, including:
  • Head injuries. In a car accident, a head injury can occur in a number of ways, including the head hitting the steering wheel or window or being hit by a flying object, such as glass. Head injuries range in severity from minor concussions to major traumatic brain injuries. Head injuries are serious and should be evaluated immediately in case the injury is more severe than it initially seems.
  • Neck injuries. Neck injuries are common in car accidents, and they often happen as a result of whiplash. Whiplash is common in rear-end collisions. Whiplash causes a quick back-and-forth motion of the neck, which can cause injury due to the force of the motion. Neck injuries can cause pain and stiffness. Neck injuries also range in severity from strains and sprains to spine fractures.
  • Back injuries. Back injuries can also happen in car accidents. Back injuries require medical attention as they can potentially cause problems later on if they are never properly attended to. Common injuries include spinal cord injuries and herniated discs. While minor injuries may only cause mild pain, in extreme cases, back injuries can cause paralysis.
  • Burn injuries. Burn injuries can occur when a car catches fire in an accident, if parts of the car become hot and someone comes in contact with it, or if hot steam or chemicals come in contact with skin.
  • Bone injuries. Bone injuries occur when a bone is broken, dislocated, or fractured in an accident. This usually happens when a car is struck at high impact during an accident and can happen to any body part, including the arms, legs, and ribs. Bone injuries usually need medical attention and can be remedied through casting, physical therapy, and even surgery.
  • Hand injuries. Hand injuries can occur for a number of reasons, including when someone braces for impact or uses their hands to shield another body part from getting hurt. Sometimes, hands can be injured by flying objects like glass or other personal items, or they can be injured because of a direct impact on the car. Injuries like a broken hand can be minor, such as scrapes and scratches, or more severe.
  • Brain injuries. Brain injuries can happen with head injuries. They usually happen from sudden and serious blows to the head. Brain injuries can result in memory loss, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries are arguably the most serious type of car accident injury because there is a high risk of losing basic mobility abilities, such as walking and performing basic tasks, or even paralysis. Effects are usually more than just physical pain.
  • Internal organ injuries. Internal injuries are not always easily noticeable but can be fatal if not treated. Internal organs that can be affected include the kidneys, lungs, and spleen. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, low blood pressure, or dizziness.
  • Blunt trauma injuries. Blunt trauma is an injury that is caused by intense force but does not cause piercing to the skin. This can happen from being struck by flying objects. Injuries can range from minor to major, including minor bruises to internal injury.
  • Fatal injuries. If any of the above injuries are severe enough, they can be fatal either immediately or later on, especially if left untreated. Seeking immediate medical attention after a car accident is crucial to help reduce the likelihood of an injury becoming fatal.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury in a car accident, please contact our law firm immediately. Our ethical lawyers in Los Angeles at the Mitchell Law Corporation will carefully examine your potential case and determine how much compensation you need for a full recovery (if a full recovery is possible). We have successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients and will not rest until we get you the funds you need and deserve.


If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be able to seek compensation for damages incurred after the accident. California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that you can still seek compensation from the party who is at fault, even if you share some portion of the fault. However, the amount of compensation that you are awarded will be reduced by the amount of the percentage you are considered at fault.

For instance, let’s say you are seeking compensation from another driver for an accident and are seeking $10,000 in damages. The other driver ran a red light and hit you, but you were also speeding a bit, so the court says that you are 30% at fault. You can be awarded the $10,000 minus 30% ($3,000), so your ultimate total in awarded damages would be $7,000. This rule will be looked at both by the courts and by insurance companies when determining how much to pay.

Damages can be economic, non-economic, or punitive. Economic damages include damages that are easy to calculate, while non-economic ones are determined by the discretion of the court because they are not calculated with a referenceable price tag. Punitive damages are less common, as they are used to punish the offender in extreme cases of grossly negligent behavior, such as driving while extremely intoxicated or going significantly over the speed limit.

Economic damages include:

  • Medical expenses. This includes medical bills and the cost of any treatment needed to recover from injuries, such as surgeries, doctor appointments, and visits to the emergency room. Medical expenses also include any future medical care that is needed, such as rehab or physical therapy. It can also include the cost of medications and transportation to and from medical appointments.
  • Lost wages. Lost wages include time missed from work. However, it can also include loss of future wages if your injuries are severe enough that they affect your ability to work in the future.
  • Property damage. In car accidents, at the very least, damage is done to the vehicles involved. A person can also seek compensation for items inside the car if they were damaged or destroyed in the process.

Non-economic damages refer to damages that are not monetary, but a monetary value can be placed on them through claims. Some of these include:

  • Pain and suffering. If your injury causes significant pain, you can seek compensation for your suffering.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. If your injury has caused you not to be able to enjoy the same quality of life as before, especially removing your ability to perform tasks, engage in hobbies, and do other recreational activities.
  • Emotional damages. Some of these include PTSD, depression, anxiety, and stress. Emotional damages include the psychological impact of the accident.


Generally speaking, car accidents in California must be reported to law enforcement, your insurance company, and the California DMV.

Legally speaking, if any person was injured or killed in a car accident — including the driver, a passenger, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist, an electric scooter rider, or a pedestrian, etc. — the driver of any vehicle involved in the collision must file a written report of the incident with the California Highway Patrol or the local police department within 24 hours of the incident.

The incident will be forwarded to the appropriate investigative authority if your initial contact is not in charge of the accident investigation. If the law enforcement officer attended the scene of your accident, they will write up the incident report on the organization's behalf. In that case, you are not required to create a second written report.

In many cases, you do have to report an accident to the California DMV. Generally speaking, it must be reported within ten days, particularly if someone was injured, someone was killed, or there was property damage valued at more than $1,000. Property damage can be caused by damage to the car or some other damage, such as a home's fence being destroyed in the collision.

In general, California does not have any law dictating when or if policyholders who are involved in car accidents must notify their auto insurer.

Nevertheless, all auto insurance policies do have mandates in place that the policyholder notify the insurance company as quickly as possible following an accident. The faster the insurance receives notification of the accident, the sooner it may begin the claim investigation process.

Your insurance provider may refuse to cover you for the collision if you fail to report the incident to them within a reasonable time frame. To ensure that your auto insurance will cover the collision, you should report your car accident to your provider, even if it was minor.


If you wish to file a claim after an accident for damages incurred as a result of the incident, a claim is typically filed with your insurance company as you let them know that you are seeking compensation. Nowadays, it is typically fairly easy to file a claim.

Most companies have an online or mobile portal available for you to do so. When filing a claim, you want to ensure that you have your name, contact information, vehicle information (make and model), the names and contact information of other people involved, and details about the accident, including when and where it took place.

In a first-party claim, you or whoever the policyholder is making the claim will also want to include your policy number. In a third-party claim, the person making the claim is not the policyholder, but they are seeking compensation from another person's insurance company, usually the other driver. If you are making a third-party claim, they may also want your insurance information as well.

In third-party claims, you will want to be minimal with details and have your attorney communicate them to their insurer. After the claim is filed, the follow-up process will depend on the type of claim.

For a first-party claim, you will work with a claims adjuster assigned by your insurance company to resolve the claim. This is usually a straightforward process, but if you feel that they are not working in your greatest interest, a crash attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you are filing a third-party claim, an insurance adjuster from their insurer will handle the claim. Remember that their goal is to minimize the payout amount to you. Typically, these claims include medical expenses, so when you have received notice from your doctor that you have received sufficient medical care for your injuries, you can prepare a settlement demand letter for the other driver's insurance company.

It is common for insurers in third-party claims to counter-offer lower than you originally requested. This is typical. You can then begin negotiations with them, or you can hire an attorney to do it for you.

Don’t Miss Out On Receiving Compensation After A Car Accident

According to California’s statute of limitations, victims have two years from the date the injury occurred to file a personal injury claim and pursue compensation for various accident-related damages. This statute of limitations is reduced to six months if a government employee causes an accident, such as a city bus or mail truck rear-ending you. You would have to file a claim with the appropriate agency and wait for them to respond to your claim.

If you do not take legal action within the statute of limitations, victims cannot file a claim. Please make sure you are not denied the ability to file a claim, contact our law firm as soon as possible to arrange a consultation.


Q: How Much Do Car Accident Lawyers Charge in California?

A: Car accident lawyers in California generally charge a contingency fee. This means that the lawyer does not charge upfront. There will be no fee unless you receive compensation for your damages. Each lawyer charges a different amount. A common percentage is about 33% or one-third of your damages. Therefore, if you received $10,000 in damages, your fee to your contingency lawyer would be approximately $3,300.

Q: How Much Should I Expect From a Car Accident Settlement in California?

A: The amount you should expect from a car accident settlement in California will vary based on a number of factors. Each car accident is different, and therefore, the aftermath of the car accident will depend on the severity of the crash. Some factors that influence a settlement amount are the severity of injuries and needed medical attention, the amount of property damage, and how the accident affected your life afterward.

Q: Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident in California?

A: While having a lawyer for a car accident in California is not required, having one can be beneficial, especially in complex cases involving severe injuries or significant property damage. A lawyer can also help with negotiating with insurance companies if they offer you a low settlement. A lawyer can maximize your compensation for you.

Q: Who Determines Fault in an Auto Accident in California?

A: In California, fault is determined by gathering information from the accident. This includes evidence provided from the scene, eyewitness statements, and potential photos and videos. Police will create a report that will outline the evidence and include their own observations. Insurance companies will also conduct their own investigation and make their own determinations. A judge or jury can determine fault if the case goes to court.

Q: What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident?

A: Immediately after a car accident, you should seek medical attention if you have immediate injuries. If not, check to see if the other individuals involved are ok and call 911 for them if they need assistance. Next, report the accident to the police. Do not leave the scene of the accident. Give law enforcement as many details as possible and exchange information with the other driver. Do not forget to seek medical attention for yourself later.

Speak To An Experienced Attorney Today

San Diego Car Accident Attorney

No matter what type of injury you sustained in a car collision, please call now to speak with one of our aggressive attorneys. Serving clients from San Diego to Riverside, we will answer your questions and explain what your legal rights are. We can also help you determine if filing a personal injury claim is the best decision for you and your family.

Contact our law firm today by calling us toll free at 619-702-6518. You may also complete the contact form on our website. We work on a no-recovery, no-fee basis.

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