San Bernardino Car Accident Lawyer

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Car Accidents

The busy streets of San Bernardino can (and do) lead to daily car accidents. California traffic law can be scary when faced alone and can leave you extremely confused. Damage to your vehicle and person can produce visions of expensive repair bills, medical expenses and increased insurance premiums. Working with a San Bernardino car accident lawyer as early as possible can help you effectively handle these concerns.

Who is going to pay for damage to your automobile? How will you pay for the mounting medical bills? How soon can you go back to work? You WILL have a lot of questions and you are going to need a lot of professional advice through them all.

You may know that the accident wasn’t your fault, but what happens if they start accusing you of causing the accident? Once both parties have exchanged information, what do you do next?

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in San Bernardino

Filling out the numerous claim forms and settlement papers can be a daunting task on your own. Auto accident victims can feel alone, distracted and desperate. The other side will tempt you to settle for a quick amount just to put the whole incident behind you, but this may not be in your best interest in the long run. Fortunately, calling an attorney is easy and painless!

You need someone on your side who knows the law and can fight for your rights. An experienced attorney can answer your questions, investigate the accident and file your paperwork to ensure that your case is properly prepared and filed within the time limit required by the court. Your initial consultation will allow your attorney to review your case and determine whether or not you are entitled to compensation for damages.

Car Accident Representation in San Bernardino, CA

The lawyers at Duque & Price have comprehensive experience managing car accident cases in and around San Bernardino and have collectively represented thousands of personal injury and car accident cases for our clients. Our knack for taking on cases that other firms tend to reject has earned us a strong reputation in the community.

Because we believe every client deserves high-quality service in their accident cases, we ensure that we provide careful attention and communication to each of our clients.

Our attorneys have a record of successful cases due to a combination of unparalleled diligence, proactive assertiveness, and aggressive action from investigations and trial preparation to negotiations and litigation. Whatever the details of your case, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation to find out what your case may be worth.

What Are Some Common Causes of Car Accidents?

Car accidents can arise from many different situations and may not be the result of any one particular cause. Determining contributing factors and root causes is important for establishing liability and building a case, however. The following factors represent some of the most common accident causes:

  • Driving under the influence. DUI drivers jeopardize both their own lives and the safety of others when they operate their vehicles after consuming alcohol or using substances. Impairment has a significant adverse effect on reaction time, attentiveness, and decision-making. DUI drivers face legal consequences in addition to accident liability.
  • Distracted driving. An alarming percentage of drivers regularly interact with their smartphones or other devices while driving, hindering their ability to remain alert to traffic. Texting, watching videos, or searching devices can lead to collisions between motorists.
  • Drowsy driving. Driving while fatigued can be as dangerous as driving under the influence, as tired drivers can experience similar impairments to their reaction time, coordination, and overall awareness.
  • Disregarding signage and road conditions. Failing to stop at traffic lights or stop signs, follow detours, or reasonably adjust driving to match the conditions of the road, such as accounting for inclement weather or changes in traffic congestion, can all lead to collisions with other motorists.
  • Reckless endangerment. Speeding can significantly raise the probability of accidents occurring, as can reckless driving, which is characterized by aggressive or careless behaviors, such as swerving, tailgating, or driving erratically.

What Are Common Car Accident Injuries Experienced by Victims?

Regardless of fault, car accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries, from minor to severe. Victims often suffer more than one kind of injury. The following demonstrates some of the types of injuries experienced as a result of vehicle collisions:

  • Head injuries. These include concussions, which can cause chemical changes in the brain after the brain impacts the inside of the skull, and traumatic brain injuries, the symptoms of which, such as memory loss and decreased function, can be slow to manifest.
  • Facial injuries. The impact from car collisions can dislodge teeth, break noses, and lead to eye trauma, lacerations, jaw fractures, scarring, and facial deformities.
  • Back and neck injuries. These include whiplash, pulled muscles, back sprains, herniated discs, nerve damage, and spinal cord injuries, which can lead to paralysis.
  • Broken bones. Wrists, hands, legs, and feet are vulnerable and susceptible to injury in collisions. Various other body parts can experience acute to catastrophic breaks, ranging from stress fractures, partial fractures, and non-displaced fractures to displaced fractures and open fractures.
  • Additional injuries. Car accidents can also lead to burns, internal organ damage, or amputations.

Many car accident injuries can result in permanent or long-term consequences or disability for victims. Even milder injuries can impact a person’s daily life for weeks to months on end. It is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention following an accident to ensure you receive needed care. Seeking proper compensation is crucial for victims who’ve sustained life-altering injuries.

Filing a Lawsuit in San Bernardino, California

Unfortunately, personal injury lawsuits can be tedious and time consuming. Without an attorney, you may find the process daunting and strenuous, especially when the other party or insurance company is armed with a team of attorneys on their side. Our lawyers are ready to walk you through each phase of the claims process and can offer both legal counsel and guidance. When you are ready to begin your claim, you and your attorney will:

  • Investigate the accident. Your attorney can collect and analyze evidence, police reports, eyewitness accounts, medical records, and other information regarding the case in order to come to a fair assessment of what you are entitled to in your case.
  • Draft a demand letter. Your attorney can then draft a letter to be sent to the other driver’s insurance company outlining the evidence for fault and a breakdown of what is being asked for in the claim. This is a proactive step that will help you secure a fair settlement amount.
  • Negotiate the claim. Most insurance companies will come back with a counteroffer in response to the demand letter, beginning the process of negotiation. It is in everyone’s interest to settle the case during this stage rather than proceed to trial. Having a skilled attorney handling your case improves your chances of doing so, as insurance companies will be more highly motivated to settle out of court.
  • Take the case to trial. If the insurance agency disputes liability or challenges the severity of your injuries or the extent of the property damage, negotiation attempts may ultimately fail. In those cases, you will need to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. Once you start this process, the case will fall under court-imposed deadlines and supervision.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Claims?

Without a working knowledge of the intricacies of traffic law and statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, your case can be over before you even enter a courtroom. Your attorney knows the timeline required as well as how to fill out and file the extensive paperwork a lawsuit includes. Too many victims of car accidents are unable to collect the damages they deserve because the paperwork was filed too late or documents were improperly filled out or missing altogether. Don’t let this happen to you!

Car accidents fall under personal injury law, which has a two-year statute of limitation in California. This means victims have two years from the date of their car accidents to bring a claim against an at-fault party. If the case is against a government entity, however, you only have six months to file your case. It is vital that you begin the process as soon as possible to avoid potential delays or denials in your claim.

Proving Fault in a San Bernardino Car Accident Case

Proving fault in a California car accident case requires you and your attorney to effectively demonstrate the other party’s negligence. This means proving the following:

  • Duty of care. You must prove that the other party owed you a duty of care. When the claim is against another driver, this is fairly straightforward, as all motorists owe others on the road a duty of care to observe all applicable traffic laws and drive in a reasonably safe manner. This can be more complex if you’re seeking a claim against a business, manufacturer, or other third party.
  • Breach of duty. You must also prove that the other party breached their duty of care. Drivers who fail to exercise reasonable caution, drive recklessly, or commit a traffic violation are guilty of breaching their duty of care.
  • Damages and causation. You must lastly prove that you experienced actual loss or harm as a direct result of the breach of care. In addition to showing evidence of the extent of your injuries, such as with medical records, your attorney can use evidence from the accident scene to prove that the actions or inaction of the other party directly led to the accident.

In many cases, courts will presume negligence upon a defendant who violated the law under the standard of statutory negligence. This means that if the other driver was guilty of a crime, such as a DUI, speeding, or running a red light, the burden of proof is no longer on the victim to prove negligence, only to provide evidence showing the extent of the harm inflicted.

Shared Fault Laws in California

California traffic law includes a clause for Shared Fault claims, also known as comparative negligence. The courts can actually rule that you are also to blame for the accident if the defendant in your case argues that both parties are at fault. A lawyer can explain this clause and the possible implications that may affect the amount of compensation you receive. Often, no single party bears 100% of the fault for an accident, resulting in many instances of shared fault.

Example of Shared Fault Claim:

Let’s assume that the defendant who hit your car ran a stop sign. Let’s also assume that you were driving 10 miles over the posted speed limit. The attorney for the other party might argue that you take on a percentage of the blame. If the court finds you to be 10% at fault for the accident, your lawsuit for recovering damages that results in a gross settlement of $40,000 in damages to cover the loss to your car and person may be reduced to $36,000 once your portion of the fault is subtracted.

The defending party will attempt to reduce their liability by trying to establish that some amount of fault for the accident lies with you. They will make counterclaims based on their own investigations of the police report, testimony, and other evidence. Since any portion of fault, however great or small, will reduce the net total of your settlement, it is vital that your attorney also knows how to defend you in your case.

What Compensation Am I Entitled to Recover?

Following a car accident, you can seek compensation for various damages, including:

  • Medical expenses. Your claim should aim to cover all related medical bills, including recovery for emergency services, hospitalization, surgeries, medications, and ongoing care, such as physical therapy.
  • Property loss. If your vehicle was damaged, your claim should aim to cover repairs and replacement costs, which means an offer of fair market value if the vehicle is deemed a total loss.
  • Lost income. Car accident injuries can take up to several months to heal, preventing you from returning to work. This leads to lost income, which can be devastating. Your claim should seek compensation for the time you’ve missed at work. If the injury is permanent, you can seek damages for the loss of future earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering. Your claim can seek compensation beyond mere financial losses. The accident likely caused mental distress, emotional anguish, and physical pain and discomfort. While more difficult to quantify, your claim should cover the loss of quality of life experienced by the accident.
  • Punitive damages. In some cases, courts may add punitive damages to the claim as a means to punish the at-fault driver for gross negligence or blatant disregard for the safety of others. Drunk drivers, for example, could be further penalized in an effort to deter similar future behavior.
  • Wrongful death benefits. In accidents in which injuries led to the death of the victim, their surviving family members can recover damages in place of their loved ones. In addition to the above compensation, wrongful death victims’ families can recover funeral and burial expenses and receive compensation for their loss of consortium, which refers to the intangible losses that come with the death of a loved one.

Insurance companies often try to minimize their liability by downplaying the severity of your injuries, underestimating the extent of your property damage, or disputing fault altogether. Your attorney should be skilled enough to evaluate your claim and pursue the maximum possible settlement allowed to increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Financial Limits for California Lawsuits

There are often exceptions to the rules that you may qualify for but not even know about. An attorney can find these exceptions to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

For instance, California law places limits on financial gains for certain types of damage. An uninsured driver may not be eligible to collect the full compensation that those who have insurance may be entitled to. Damages such as pain and suffering, that does not have a determinable monetary amount to award, may not be awarded to an uninsured driver under California law.

How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

Settlement amounts for car accidents in California can vary depending on the extent of the injuries and losses sustained by the accident. Every case is unique and will vary based on all of the previously mentioned factors, such as:

  • Each party’s share of the fault
  • The severity of injuries
  • How extensive the property damage incurred was
  • The nature of the other driver’s negligence or violation

How Much Is a Car Accident Attorney in California?

Most car accident attorneys in California work on a contingency fee basis, taking around 33% of the final settlement awards in successful cases. This payment structure is intended to remove any upfront costs associated with obtaining quality legal representation in an effort to remove the barriers to access. It is vital that all car accident victims have the opportunity to secure qualified and skilled legal counsel for their cases. This is because attorneys:

  • Provide accurate evaluations of the worth of your accident claim
  • Tirelessly pursue fair and just settlement amounts
  • Are prepared to go to trial, which insurance companies try to avoid
  • Have extensive experience with accident cases, investigations, and evidence-gathering
  • Can identify additional third parties that may potentially hold liability for the accident

Working with a skilled attorney can lead to significantly higher compensation awards in most cases when compared with settlements offered to victims who choose to represent themselves. For these reasons, hiring a car accident attorney is generally in your interest. Most attorneys, such as those on our team at Duque & Price, offer free consultations where you can determine what legal representation might look like.

Contact Your San Bernardino Car Accident Attorney

In the end, your personal injury attorney is your advocate in court. At the San Bernardino law offices of Duque & Price, we maintain a staff of a highly professional, knowledgeable, aggressive and successful car accident attorneys who represent injured people through our offices that stretch across Southern California. Time limitations apply to any injury claim you might have, so for purposes of investigating a possible case and possibly preserving evidence, it’s best for you to contact us immediately after an accident.

Contact our San Bernardino County Personal Injury Attorney at 1-877-590-0080 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.

Practice Areas


Brain Injuries

Brain Injuries


Burn Injury

Burn Injury


Bus Accidents

Bus Accidents


Car Accidents

Car Accidents


Construction Accidents

Construction Accidents


Dog Bites

Dog Bites


Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle Accidents


Premises Liability

Premises Liability


Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death


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