San Bernardino County, CA has experienced explosive growth since 1980. At the time, a little over 895,000 people called it home. Today, more than 2,180,000 people live in San Bernardino County.
San Bernardino is the largest county in California. It’s even larger than states such as West Virginia. You’d think a county this big could easily absorb over a million more people. However, most residents live in the areas closer to Los Angeles and Orange County, not out in the vast Mojave Desert. That sort of growth in a relatively small area equals a lot more cars in both the city of San Bernardino and the county. That also means a lot more auto accidents in this part of the Inland Empire.
The Dominguez Firm is here for you
If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a car accident in San Bernardino, call the San Bernardino car accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm right away for a free consultation at 800-818-1818. For over 30 years, we have been helping San Bernardino car accident victims obtain the justice and compensation they deserve. Let us fight for you too!
Please keep reading to find out more about car accidents in San Bernardino County, what your legal rights are and how personal injury lawyers at The Dominguez Firm can help you.
San Bernardino car accident statistics
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 15,104 people were injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents in San Bernardino County in 2017. Within the city of San Bernardino, 1,429 people were injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents. In neighboring Fontana, which is poised to overtake San Bernardino as the largest city in the county, 756 people were injured or killed in traffic accidents.
Even though the county was near the bottom for traffic accidents involving pedestrians or bicycle riders, it was in the top 10 for car accidents caused by underage drinking with 80 victims injured or killed.
Reasons for car accidents in San Bernardino
As previously noted, the population explosion that San Bernardino County experienced over the last few decades added hundreds of thousands if not millions of additional cars to the county’s roads. Today, many of these households have more than one car. And in 2018, the last year for which statistics were kept, over 80% of San Bernardino residents commuted to work by car, usually by themselves.
Another significant change was the construction of dozens of huge warehouses and distribution centers in San Bernardino County. That accounts for the major increase in truck traffic not only in urban areas like Fontana and the city of San Bernardino, but along Interstates 10, 15 and 40 as well.
We can also add illegal street racingas another reason for manyof the catastrophic and fatal car accidents in San Bernardino County. This dangerous form of reckless driving has become prevalent in San Bernardino and other parts of Southern California over the last few years. So much so that the CHPis actively trying to put a stop to it.
And finally, the city of San Bernardino had the sad distinction of leading the nation in drunk driving crashes between 2010-2012. There were 94 auto accidents per 1,000 residents during that time.
San Bernardino car accident injuries and damages
Any car accident in San Bernardino can cause major injuries, even those that appear minor at first. Certain injuries are not only serious, they can change a person’s life forever. These can include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries, including partial or full paralysis, both temporary or permanent
- Internal injuries, including bruised, damaged, and/or lacerated organs
- Crush injuries
- Facial injuries, eye injuries, dental injuries, and scarring
- Wrongful death
Obviously, those who lose their lives or suffer permanent injuries in car crashes will be entitled to damages (legal-speak for compensation) for their losses. But sometimes seemingly minor injuries can also leave a person with large medical bills and psychological trauma. Even worse, these injuries can totally upend their lives. Examples include:
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments
- Whiplash and nerve injuries
- Dislocated joints and/or deranged joints
- Cuts and lacerations
- Muscle strain and/or sprain
While thankfully, most people recover from the injuries listed directly above, others do not and end up facing further health complications. Factors such as age and underlying health conditions are two of the reasons why. As an example, a broken hip is certainly not minor, but most people are back to their old selves in a matter of months. In a person over the age of 6, the same broken hip can lead to serious complications and even death.
Dealing with the insurance company
Frankly, don’t deal with the insurance company. Let the San Bernardino car accident lawyers at The Dominguez Firm handle things for you.
After a car accident in San Bernardino, you may not be thinking clearly or be in too much pain to deal with an insurance company adjuster. Legally, you are under no obligation to speak to them or give them a recorded statement, contrary to what they might tell you. In fact, dealing with them directly could cost you a lot. That’s because the insurance companies are not there to help you. Their adjusters are trained to make lowball offers and settle your claim quickly. And if they can get you to say anything that weakens your claim, they’ll even try to reject it outright.
Instead, let our law firm handle all negotiations with the insurance companies while you concentrate on getting better. We know their tactics and how to counter them successfully. And as our client, we will also have a good idea what your case is worth based on your injuries and losses.
What compensation could I be entitled to for my San Bernardino car accident?
If you were seriously injured in a car accident in San Bernardino due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. In personal injury cases, this compensation is known as damages. These damages can include:
- Medical expenses – You are entitled to compensation for all of your medical bills related to your injuries, including:
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance bills
- Physical therapy
- Consultations with specialists
- In-home care services
- Psychiatric counseling
- Lost wages. If you can’t work because of your injuries, you’d be entitled to compensation for all lost wages. And if you won’t be able to return to work due to your injuries, you would be entitled to compensation for loss of future wages as well.
- Property damage – Generally, this covers the repair or replacement of your car.
- Pain and suffering – In personal injury cases, this category falls under non-economic damages and is intended to compensate the car accident victim for their physical and mental distress. While this amount can’t be added up on a calculator, it is often the largest part of a person’s final settlement or verdict. An experienced San Bernardino car accident law firm will know the approximate amount the accident victim should be entitled to based on previous similar cases they have handled.
- Punitive damage – These are not commonly granted. However, if the behavior of the defendant was particularly malicious or intentional, punitive damages may also be included in the final settlement or verdict. This is not done so much to help the accident victim but to punish the defendant and discourage similar behavior in the future.
Your options if you lost a loved one in a San Bernardino car accident
If you lost a family member in a car accident in San Bernardino and you are the next of kin, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The sudden loss of a loved one can never be forgotten but making those responsible pay can go a long way towards alleviating any financial burdens the family may be enduring.
Each personal injury wrongful death claim is different, but some damages are common:
- Ambulance fees
- Medical bills directly related to the injuries and subsequent death
- Lost income while they were hospitalized and future income the decedent expected to earn over their lifetime
- Funeral expenses
- Burial costs
Other possible damages:
- Loss of decedent’s financial support
- Loss of consortium (companionship), including love, community, affection, moral support and sexual relations
- Training and guidance, or other emotional losses related to the family member’s death
What distinguishes a wrongful death claim from a car accident claim is that in a wrongful death claim generally, family members cannot receive damages for pain and suffering. However, a loved one does have the right to certain damages that are not available in a car accident claim, such as loss of consortium. If you need more information or have questions regarding wrongful death claims, please contact the personal injury lawyers who are experts in wrongful death cases at The Dominguez Firm today for a free consultation at 800-818-1818.
Tips for finding the right car accident lawyer in San Bernardino
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident in San Bernardino, you want the best personal injury lawyers in San Bernardino to handle your case. But how do you know which law firm accident attorney is the right one for you? Here are some crucial questions you should ask any San Bernardino car accident lawyer:
- How many years of experience do you have handling San Bernardino car accident cases?
- Will you be working on my case or do you refer cases out to other law firms?
- From your experience, about how long will my case take?
- Could my case go to trial?
- Do I have to pay you anything up front? How do you get paid?
- What do you need from me to make my case as strong as possible?
Listen to their answers. Beyond that, get a feel for the communication between you and the person you are speaking to. Are they trying to rush you off the phone or answering you questions thoughtfully? Remember, you are hiring the accident attorney, not the other way around. First impressions do matter.
What if I can’t pay for a personal injury lawyer?
The Dominguez Firm works on a contingency basis. That means we only get paid if we obtain a verdict or settlement for you. You don’t have to worry about any upfront fees or hidden costs. When you sign on as our client, the client representation agreement will clearly state the percentage of your final settlement or verdict that we receive. That percentage is set, it won’t change in the future. And if we can’t obtain a settlement or verdict for you, you owe us nothing. In other words, you win, or you don’t pay.
How The Dominguez Firm can help you
There are many lawyers in San Bernardino, but not all of them are a part of a successful, powerhouse law firm. For over 30 years, the personal injury attorneys at The Dominguez Firm have been successfully helping car accident victims in San Bernardino County obtain justice and the maximum compensation they are entitled to for their injuries. We have recovered more than $750 million* for clients throughout Los Angeles and the Inland Empire.
The Dominguez Firm is a full service personal injury law firm with award-winning trial attorneys. The firm has also been recognized for its outstanding customer service. We are not a referral service, nor do we farm out complex cases to other law firms. We have the resources, knowledge and experience to take on the insurance companies and their lawyers head-on. If you were injured in a car accident in San Bernardino, call The Dominguez Firm today at 800-818-1818 for a free consultation. And remember: you win, or you don’t pay!