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If you’ve ever been in an auto accident, you know just what a frightening experience it can be, especially when significant injuries or major property damage occurs. After your initial shock wears off, you have lots of questions. What are the first steps you should take? Who should you call? How can you help those around you, but still protect your legal rights and your family’s future?

These are all important questions to ask and can make the difference between getting back to normal or facing a lifetime of misery and regret. Understanding the law and making the right choices are critical if you want to have a successful case outcome.

This guide answers some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the legalities associated with car accidents, and helps to explain the correct actions you should take, should you find yourself in this situation. Keep in mind that every situation is unique - and laws may vary depending on your location - but most information is applicable to the vast majority of scenarios.


Most accident victims are not usually in the best frame of mind to handle the emotional and physical stresses of managing their own claims. Whenever possible, focusing on healing and recovery should be your first priority. While there is certainly no rule that says you have to hire an accident lawyer to help with your case, there are number of compelling reasons why you may want to.

Documenting Medical Issues

A key component of negotiating a fair settlement involves assembling a complete medical profile to support your claim. Therefore, it’s important to start the process as soon as possible and keep detailed notes of every visit, treatment, procedure, and medication related to your accident. Doing so will help your lawyer mount a strong argument for your claim and may provide leverage for negotiating higher compensation rates.

Items to collect include:

  • ER Reports
  • X-Rays
  • Specialist Treatments or Procedures
  • Follow-Up Visits
  • Medications
  • Physical or Mental Therapy
  • Bills and Payment Statements

In addition to helping locate and organize this evidence, an lawyer can also help in several other ways.

Obtaining Records

Although you have a right to view your personal medical records upon request, providers and facilities often put a low priority on completing such tasks. Having your lawyer ask for this same information, as part of an injury claim, can often speed up the process. Partnering up means the initial request - and any subsequent follow-ups needed afterwards - fall on the lawyer’s shoulders (not yours).

Ensuring Completeness and Accuracy

Although obtaining the records themselves are step #1, there’s often much more to the story. If the records are incomplete or inaccurate, a lawyer can help you get these errors corrected. As the main point of contact for your case, your lawyer will work with the facility to make sure everything is ready to submit as evidence in your case.

Additionally, the wording of the reports themselves can make a huge difference for your claim. In order to win your case, the doctor’s findings must clearly state the exact nature of your injury and explain how it was caused by someone else's negligence. If these two points aren’t clearly spelled out in the doctor’s findings, your lawyer can work with the provider to clarify these points.

Presenting Evidence in the Best Light

In the same way that medical reports have to be formatted correctly, how the evidence is presented makes a big difference. Most insurance companies have a full “bag of tricks” at their disposal in order to reduce or even deny your claim. A skilled personal injury attorney knows all of these tactics and can ensure your case is taken seriously.

Dealing With Insurance Companies

As with medical issues, a personal injury attorney can assist with insurance company proceedings as well. Skilled lawyers understand how to file a claim, negotiate with adjusters, and manage the entire process from start to finish. When insurance companies know you have a professional on your side, they’re far less likely to bully you or use scare tactics to reduce your settlement amount.

Perhaps best of all, your attorney can act on your behalf in most proceedings thereby avoiding the stress and hassle of doing it all yourself. Additionally, an attorney can also handle other aspects of your case that might not be so obvious.

Negotiating a Favorable Settlement

Because personal injury lawyers see these types of cases so often, they have a strong grasp of what’s needed - and should be expected - in an accident claim. A good lawyer will fight for their client’s rights and demand a fair settlement on their behalf.

Securing and Managing Evidence

A key part of the process is also obtaining and protecting the evidence of a case. Accident attorneys understand what needs to be saved and, likewise, what can be ignored. For instance:

  • Physical Evidence - crime scene data including: any property damage or bodily injuries, scene photographs, accident conditions and police reports.
  • Witness Testimony - to collaborate the victim's account of what happened.
  • Help to Prove Liability - an experienced accident attorney will work tirelessly to ensure there is both a sufficient quality and quantity of evidence to support the victim’s claim.

As you can see, an accident attorney can help with your case in many ways, not only from a legal standpoint, but in an emotional one as well. However, there are certain situations when choosing to represent yourself is also a viable option. Let’s take a look.

This case involved allegations against a trucking company for negligently changing lanes and colliding into our client’s vehicle. The vehicle overturned and our client suffered head injuries. The matter settled on the first day of trial. The defendants increased their offer from $900,000 to $2,500,000.

$2,500,000 SETTLEMENT 
Unsafe Lane Change Caused Head Injuries


A question often asked by accident victims is whether they should hire an attorney. The answer? It depends. While there are times when going it alone is doable, there are several areas to consider before making a decision.


The advice here tends to vary slightly, but most experts agree that $3000 (or less) of damage is a good starting point. Anything below this number can probably be safely handled on your own, while anything above would likely benefit from the services of an accident attorney. There are a number of reasons for this theory.

Resistance - As you can imagine, as the cost of damages increase so will the insurance company’s reluctance to pay for them. Minor claims are normally covered and paid out quickly to resolve the issue. Larger settlements, however, may be tied up for months (or even years) while an army of corporate lawyers “duke it out” with your attorney. As a rule of thumb, assume the more the damages, the harder it will be to recover them.

Complexity of Laws and Regulations - As injuries and damages begin to mount so do the complexities of proving liability and determining a proper settlement. Minor fender-benders are typically straightforward, while scenarios like head-on collisions or multiple-car accidents can result in volumes of evidence and weeks of multiple court appearances.

Unless you’re comfortable with the law and legal proceedings in general, complex cases usually benefit from the services of an attorney.

Costs - A competent attorney’s fees will likely amount to roughly one-third of your final settlement. When a large payout is expected, the result usually justifies the expense. However, in smaller cases, you may be better off in the end handling the issue yourself.

Just like analyzing the damages/costs of an accident, evaluating injuries is another point to consider.

Types of Injuries

As you may have guessed, the tipping point for injury costs is roughly the same as those for property damage - around $3000. Anything less can likely be handled directly with your insurance company, while those that are more serious often require legal counsel.

When it comes to injuries, there are three main areas to keep in mind:

  1. Extent of Damages - How severe is the injury and what’s the impact to the victim?
  2. Recovery Time - How long will it take to recover? What’s involved in the process?
  3. Cost Analysis - What will the total medical bills amount to? Is the injury temporary or permanent?

Anytime there are severe injuries both the initial fees and subsequent recovery costs tend to increase. Keep in mind that with the price of medical treatment continually rising, even seemingly minor ER visits can generate bills into the thousands of dollars. Those “bumps and bruises” may end up costing a lot more than you think.

Extenuating Circumstances

The final point to consider when choosing whether to hire an attorney lies in the complexity of the case itself. While a small percentage of accidents are cut and dried many others are just the opposite, especially when dealing with hard-nosed insurance adjusters.

Insurance Pushback - The most common issues victims face with insurance companies are either:

  • Denial of a Claim - usually stemming from the belief that the insurer (or the party they represent) is not liable for the victim’s damages.
  • Reluctance to Pay - if they do agree on liability, the proposed settlement amounts are often much lower than what’s expected.

Either way, in these cases it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney to ensure your rights are protected. Doing so can mean the difference between a fair settlement and one that barely covers your losses.

Lawsuits - Probably the scariest legal outcome from a crash. If you find yourself being served with a lawsuit - or end up having to go to trial - you probably don’t want to be playing hero. Much of the legal process is near impossible to navigate without proper education and experience.

Besides, with the outcome being something that could potentially affect the rest of your life, it’s best not to take unnecessary risks.

Our client, age 36, was driving a Lexus sedan and was rear ended by another vehicle. Our client's car sustained $7,000 in property damage, and she suffered injury to her neck. Our client underwent an MRI which revealed nothing. Her symptoms persisted, and she was sent for a cervical discogram. A discogram helps diagnose discogenic pain and annular tears. The results evidenced a significant problem. Without the discogram our client would have never been properly diagnosed and her case would have been worth significantly less money. Our client subsequently underwent surgery. Because of the progressive nature and potential for future neck problems we were able to obtain medical testimony evidencing that our client’s work life would be reduced by 10 years. At the time of the accident, our client earned $70,000 per year and had not missed much work. Our Client works for the State of California in a desk position. However, using the medical testimony we were able to resolve her case for $600,000. Thinking ahead and outside the box sometimes opens doors to damages that other lawyers may never think about. Most lawyers do not realize that surgery is usually a temporary fix to a problem. Neck pain will return at some point and it will affect the client's ability in the future to work.

$600,000 SETTLEMENT 
Rear-End Collision Caused Neck Injuries


While making the decision to hire an accident attorney is a major step in the process, one question likely remains - which one do you choose? With the myriad options available it can be difficult to decide. However, there are a few areas to consider that might make your selection easier (and hopefully more rewarding).


Most people are aware that hiring a lawyer can be expensive. However, many accident victims don’t know how these costs are structured. In most instances, your financial liability will fall into two main categories:

Consultations - As the name implies, the consultation is your initial meeting with your personal injury attorney. This is when you discuss the basics of your claim and discover whether you have a case.

In most offices, your initial consultation should be free. If this is not the case, ask what costs are involved beforehand and be sure to request a copy in writing.

Settlement - Your settlement is the total financial compensation received should you win your claim. Ask ahead of time what your attorney's share will be for managing the case. Normal fees usually hover somewhere around one-third of the total compensation. Be wary of attorneys who offer to represent you for substantially more (or significantly less).

Also, keep in mind that unless your situation requires immediate legal advice, you really should shop around and compare your options.

Background and Experience

While cost might be the first element you consider, it certainly shouldn’t be the last. Finding a reasonable rate is meaningless if the attorney doesn't know what they’re doing. Asking the right questions can make the decision process easier. Topics to discuss might be:

  1. Have they tried cases similar to yours? If so, what kind? Ask for specifics.
  2. What were the results? Were they successful? How often? What was the typical compensation awarded?
  3. How many years of experience do you have? While there are many great young attorneys out there, experience is a quality that only comes with time. Look for lawyers with the knowledge, skills, and experience to get results.

The more case similarities and experience you can find, the better off you’ll likely be.

Philosophy and Style

Remember, the larger the claim the longer it will take to resolve. You’ll want to be comfortable with the attorney that you’re working with. You’ll want to understand how they operate, communicate, and what that means to your relationship. Keep asking questions until you're satisfied with the answers.

  1. What's your approach for managing these types of claims? Have the attorney walk you through a typical case. Where do you begin? What happens next? How do they manage the process along the way?​
  2. Who's responsible for handling my case? Will you be working with the lawyer who does the consultation? Or someone else? If it's another attorney, will you be able to meet with them before getting underway? Knowing whom you'll be working with makes the experience much less stressful. 
  3. Who will be my point of contact? Can you call your lawyer directly if you have questions? Or will you need to go through an assistant or junior partner? If so, can you meet them beforehand?
  4. Will I be working with a single attorney or a team? As you can imagine, the relationship and case dynamics are much different for a team vs. one-on-one.
  5. How and when will I be updated on the progress of my case? You'll undoubtedly have questions along the way. It's important to understand the process for getting these issues resolved and knowing how you'll be kept informed. 

Case Specific

Once you find an attorney you’d like to work with, you’ll want to know whether you have a valid claim. Based on your initial consultation, a competent accident lawyer should be able to tell you quickly. Once the merit of the case has been determined, you’ll want to go into more specifics. Follow up questions might include:

  1. What do you see as the expected outcome of my case? Can the case be won? What will it take to make that happen? What kind of compensation can you expect?
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case? Is the claim a slam-dunk? Or will it be a bumpy road to cross the finish line?
  3. How long will the process take to complete? A matter of months? Or could it drag on for years?

Gathering all the information you can will make for a better decision. However, it’s not just about what a potential attorney also matters how comfortable you are with the person themselves. In addition to the previously mentioned questions, you’ll also want to ask yourself a few as well.

How does the attorney make you feel? They should inspire confidence and put you at ease, not leave you with nagging doubts or feeling restless. How about knowledge? If you’re not certain they know what they’re talking about - they probably don’t. Most importantly, do you like their personality? You should be able to picture yourself working with this person long-term.

In the end, your gut will probably tell you who to trust and the best fit for getting the job done. Just be sure you’re listening.

Our client, age 42, was driving a large Dodge pickup truck and was rear ended by another truck. An MRI and discogram revealed injury to four levels of her neck. The neurosurgeon agreed that it was extremely rare to have four levels affected. It is as if you bend a coat hanger, you only expect it to bend in one spot. A repeat discogram was performed, and this time it revealed only a problem at one level. Our client was told she needed surgery and she declined. Her wage loss was minimal, however we argued for loss of future income based upon reduced work life. Her case was resolved for $400,000.

$400,000 SETTLEMENT 
Rear-End Collision


There’s often confusion surrounding the cost of hiring a car accident lawyer. However, in reality, it’s fairly straightforward. While a select few personal injury attorneys may request payment up front, the vast majority do not collect any fees until after your case is resolved. This type of arrangement is known as a contingency agreement and is common in the industry.

Most personal injury lawyers will waive any initial consultation fees and instead opt to take a portion of the final settlement for their services. In most instances, if the attorney can’t provide a successful resolution to your case - they don’t get paid. While it may sound a bit strange, this arrangement is actually better from the client’s perspective.

Accident victims aren’t required to come up with a large down payment to secure legal representation. Secondly, this kind of “payment on delivery” system ensures the attorney is going to work that much harder for his/her client in order to generate results for themselves. For this same reason, attorneys are less likely to take on cases they can’t win or else they get left holding the bag.


Although the contingency process itself affords the client some protections, it would be foolish to rush into anything without knowing the final details. This is where agreements come into play. These documents spell out exactly what both the victim and the attorney will be entitled to upon completion of the case. While the actual contract itself may vary, here are a few standards to look for:

Get everything in writing - By California law, any fees, costs or expenses have to be spelled out in writing with copies provided to each party involved. An attorney that says otherwise should be avoided.

Within these documents, the percentages for consultations, settlements or any additional fees should be plainly stated. Be sure to ask about liens or other possible costs that may fall outside the scope of what are considered “normal” fees. Liens are common when attorneys arrange medical care for a client but defer payment until after the case has been resolved.

If you’re unsure about any parts of the document, ask for clarification. Don’t continue the process unless you understand and are satisfied with the answers you receive.


Accident victims are often surprised to learn that attorney fees typically range between 33 - 40% of the final case settlement. This is an average and some lawyers may charge even more. While this may seem like a disproportionate amount to some, there are two main points to keep in mind.

Running a Tab - The accident attorney is going to be fronting the cost of nearly every part of your claim. These expenses include their time, resources, investigative efforts, client medical bills, third party payments, etc. Depending on the complexity of the case, these numbers can quickly add up.

Also, the longer a case takes to resolve, the more work the attorney will have put into it. Thus a large share of the settlement is to be expected.

Anything is Better than Nothing - You may have some grief with the thought of someone else taking a third or more of your settlement. However, it’s important to remember that without the attorney’s help you could end up with nothing (or be left even further in debt). Earn what you can, take care of your family, and get back to living.

Again, take your time and shop around for the best fit and a fair price. Just don’t make cost your only determining factor. With your entire future possibly on the line, now is not the time to go cheap.


Being in a car accident is a frightening and overwhelming experience. Everything happens so quickly that sometimes you don’t fully realize what’s going on until it’s too late. Because of this, victims often make costly mistakes that can jeopardize their case or potentially reduce their settlement.

More often than not, these errors are the result of misunderstanding the process or simply trying to avoid trouble. In order to build a strong claim it’s important to take the right steps from the beginning (and know which problems to bypass).

Not Following Doctor’s Orders

If a doctor tells you to take a certain medicine, and avoid performing certain tasks, then you should follow their orders to the letter. Even if you feel better, keep following medical advice and attending your appointments. Otherwise, it can be argued that your injuries were not as bad as you claimed.

Failing to Call the Police

Never assume or let another driver tell you that calling the police after an accident isn’t necessary. Whether or not property damage is evident, if you and another party are involved in an accident, law enforcement should be notified. Making the call strengthens your case in a number of different ways.

Documenting Your Case

Police reports are often a crucial piece of evidence in accident claims. They serve as the first official record of your accident. The form usually includes important details such as the cause of the accident, specific damages to property and people, and contact info for the parties involved. All of this is critical information for filing a claim with your insurance company and helping your attorney build your case.

Not Contacting Your Insurance Company

Obviously, your insurance company should be notified ASAP after an accident. Failing to do so can put your claim in serious jeopardy. In fact, the longer you wait the worse things can become. Some fear making this call because of the insurance company raising their rates. However, if carriers are left blindsided in regards to a claim you may get dropped and end up with no insurance coverage at all.

Speaking of insurance companies, it pays to have at least a basic understanding of how the process works. Otherwise, you may be leaving money on the table.

Poor Negotiating or Accepting the First Offer

Insurance companies are in the business of making money and avoiding paying claims is how they do it. No matter how “nice” the adjuster may seem, their main goal is to walk away from the claim leaving you with as little as possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t receive a fair offer, just that you have to be smart in regards to how you go about it.

Don’t Accept the Initial Settlement - Insurance companies are notorious for trying to “lowball” victims out of the gate. And why not? People not familiar with the process - or those without legal representation - often don’t know any better and willingly accept whatever is given to them. It’s a better idea to at least consult with an attorney and establish a baseline for what your injuries are worth.

Watch What You Say - The claims process is a bit of a dance at times. Insurers may try to lead you on in the hope that you incriminate yourself and negate your claim. It’s important to know what to say - as well as what to avoid - as these companies can and will use your words against you. Never admit fault at the scene of an accident or go around apologizing to the other parties. Simply stick to the facts and answer police questions as calmly and politely as you can.

Not Documenting Your Case

As with any legal issue, car accidents are based on evidence. Specifically, what happened and who was at fault. A great way to build momentum for your claim is to collect as much evidence as possible at the scene. Even if you’re unable to do so, ask another party or law enforcement officer to photograph everything.

Collect images of what happened, the scene, and the conditions. Get photos of any vehicles that were damaged and to what extent. Take pictures of the road and surrounding areas and note any unusual weather issues (rain, fog, snow etc.).

If possible, try to photograph any injuries to yourself or others. Specifically, bruising, bleeding or other temporary problems that may fade as time passes. Capture images while these injuries are still fresh to enhance your chances for compensation.

Losing Your Cool

No doubt - it’s hard to remain calm after an automobile accident. Your nerves are racing, adrenaline is pumping, and you’re scared to death. While it’s okay to be nervous on the inside, it’s important to keep a steady keel on the outside. You can be tripped up with so much activity going on all around you (the other driver’s actions, police investigations, insurance company questions, etc.). Here are a few things to remember:

Don’t Make Accusations - It serves no purpose to accuse or blame the other driver for what happened. Leave the investigative work up to the police and let them decide who is at fault. Staying calm and answering their questions politely will put you in good graces and serve to further your claim, especially when other drivers are behaving the opposite way.

Don’t Lie - While it sounds bad, drivers usually lie with the best of intentions. Most of what is said is based on the fear of getting in more trouble for telling the truth. So victims say what they “think” the police want to hear. Don’t be that person. Law enforcement has seen every type of crash you can imagine and can easily tell when drivers are not being honest. You're far better off being truthful and letting the details sort themselves out.

Not Remaining Confidential

As crazy as it sounds, you’re likely being watched at some point after your accident. Insurance companies routinely assign private investigators to follow victims in order to prove their injuries are what they say they are. That means you need to adhere to medical orders and advice to the letter.

If you’re told to stay in bed, don’t be caught outside walking the dog. If you’re assigned a light-duty assignment at work, avoid exercising at the gym. You’re being observed - and if you’re not following protocol, you may be jeopardizing your case.

On the same token, be careful what you share about your case with others or on social media. Even if you’re not “friends” with someone there are ways to find out what you’re posting. Best believe word will get back to insurance adjusters and affect your case.

Until your claim is resolved, lay low and avoid drawing attention to yourself.

Failing to Take Advantage of Legal Counsel

Lastly, if it all possible, consult with an attorney to learn what your options are. Working with a lawyer makes for a stronger claim and provides a barrier against insurance companies trying to misguide or intimidate you. Accident laws can be tricky and having someone in your corner makes the process less stressful.

Additionally, a good attorney may be able to negotiate a better settlement than would be possible on your own. With most personal injury lawyers offering free consultations and contingency-based payments, there’s really no reason not to ask.


Most insurance policies are designed to cover basic property damage and minor injuries. However, these coverages usually fall short when it comes to covering serious injuries or disabilities. Once basic liability coverage has been exhausted, victims may choose to file suit to cover their remaining losses.

In order to be eligible for an accident claim, a crash victim must have died or sustained a significant injury. Typical examples of significant injury include (but are not limited to) broken bones, head or facial trauma, brain injuries, whiplash, paralysis or permanent scarring/disfigurement.

Your attorney will attempt to work with the insurance companies first to resolve your case out of court by settlement. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, filing suit is the next step. While each accident is unique, and the appropriate legal action will vary by jurisdiction, here are some common types of personal injury lawsuits common to car accident victims:


By far the most relied upon method is a negligence suit. The basis for a negligence lawsuit is the idea that the responsible party failed to exercise a reasonable amount of caution in their actions. Some examples of negligence suits include DUI, dangerous drivingdistracted driving, road rage or reckless driving, speeding, and failing to stop or yield the right of way.

To be successful, negligence claims must prove that the defendant’s actions were not reasonable, and caused the accident as a result.

Wrongful Death

Similar to negligence, wrongful death claims assume that a driver’s actions were unreasonable and thereby led to someone’s death. The victim’s family may initiate the suit and are allowed to seek compensation for both economic and non-economic losses (as well as punitive damages).

Wrongful death claims are tricky to navigate and are best served by attorneys experienced in this area of law.

Manufacturer Defects

Sometimes the root cause of a car accident is not the driver, but poor design, workmanship, or defective parts. In these instances, the vehicle or product manufacturer can be held liable for related damages and injuries.

Manufacturer defect suits can be difficult to pursue, especially when going against a large corporation with deep pockets. However, if your car accident attorney can prove that the vehicle or part was “unreasonably dangerous”, that the driver was operating the vehicle under normal conditions, and that the vehicle had not been substantially modified since its initial purchase, then you may have a legitimate case.

Common parts that fall under this category include tires, brakes, airbags, engines, and steering components.

Road Design

Surprisingly, the construction and condition of the roadway itself can be grounds for a claim. If roads are not designed, built, or maintained correctly, a driver can face serious risk of an accident. Common examples include:

Poor Signage or Traffic Control - Little notice for sharp turns, upcoming intersections, or changing lane patterns are all potentially hazardous situations, as are busy intersections with inadequate traffic lights or proper crosswalks.

Uneven Road Surfaces - Loose gravel, potholes, even embankments that are too steep or not wide enough can cause the loss of control of a vehicle, resulting in a car accident.

Improper Medians or Safety Devices - No curbs to protect pedestrians, missing speed bumps, or lack of guardrails are an accident waiting to happen.

If you’ve opted to invest in it, uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage will help you cover your claim. If basic insurance does not cover all your losses, this optional coverage may help to recoup some of the difference. Uninsured/underinsured provisions also apply if the other driver is found to be at fault and does not have proper insurance coverage. Additionally, some homeowners' policies may provide supplementary coverage as well.

When in doubt, consult with a qualified personal injury attorney to learn which options may be available to you.


Once they discover they have a claim, most car accident victims want to know what kind of compensation they can expect. Although specific dollar amounts are hard to estimate since each case is unique, there are some general guidelines as to what can be claimed. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of compensation for a car accident claim.

Compensatory Damages

The word “compensate” is used to describe something that makes up for a loss. In car accident cases, these losses usually refer to income. However, there is more to this type of claim than just filing for a missing paycheck; it is also about the possibility of losing future earnings.

Lost Wages

Lost wages compensation means compensation from having to take time off work The more severe your injuries, the higher this amount will be as you’ll need more time off for your recovery period.

Future Income Potential

Although healing and recovery are always the victim’s first priority, getting back to work is usually a close second. However, with extensive injuries, this goal is easier said than done. Some accident victims never fully recover from their injuries and may not be able to return to their previous career.

When this occurs, the loss of future income potential becomes a factor. Accident attorneys and other professionals can determine how crash injuries will affect a victim's ability to work and earn a paycheck. If the injured party is unable to perform their previous job duties, a claim can be made to compensate for these future losses.

Medical Bills

With the cost of healthcare continually rising, even a short hospital stay can lead to enormous medical bills. If your injuries are due to another driver’s negligence on the road, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

An experienced accident attorney can help recover costs for both current and future medical bills. This fact holds special importance when talking about neck, back, or spine injuries that are often difficult to treat and may linger for years beyond the initial diagnosis. Being able to cover these costs is vital for anyone facing this type of financial hardship.

Non-Economic Losses

While missing wages or medical bills are the first thing most accident victims think about, there are other claims that can be made as well. These losses usually focus on the physical and mental aspects of an accident rather than the financial implications. Typical claims include:

Mental anguish covers the mental stress and trauma caused by an accident. Worry, grief, depression, and anxiety are common symptoms.

Pain and suffering is a metric for measuring the pain and discomfort of an injury and its recovery. Factors include the type of accident, severity of injuries, length of treatment, and ability to fully recover afterward.

Loss of consortium occurs when a spouse or companion is no longer able to enjoy companionship, sexual relations, or affection from their partner.

Punitive damages are sometimes awarded when the liable party’s actions are so heinous that they defy any sense of normal behavior. Although victims typically receive some level of higher compensation, punitive damages are also intended as punishment to deter future criminal behavior from the defendant.

While money and lost wages remain the focus (in most cases), it’s important to remember that they’re not the only avenue of compensation. Physical, mental, and emotional quality of life issues are part of the equation as well. A well-researched claim incorporates all of these elements into a single package and provides the best option for a comprehensive recovery.


When it comes to selecting an attorney, you have many options to choose from. As a client with so much riding on the outcome of your case, it only makes sense to shop around and find the right fit. However, once you get down to the details, there’s usually only a select few that stand out. Although you want to feel comfortable with the attorney you’re working with, you also need to verify that they have the background and resources necessary to win your case.


At Sevey, Donahue & Talcott, our team of expert attorneys have over 150 years of combined legal experience and have managed nearly every type of personal injury claim that exists. With a strong record of accomplishment in car, truck and motorcycle accidents, our top-notch lawyers know what it takes to win in tough cases and get the results our clients deserve.


In addition to our team of highly-competent personal injury attorneys, our firm also partners with numerous experts in related disciplines and fields. Do you need help finding a doctor to evaluate your injuries? We’ve got you covered - expert medical care is available to all our clients.

Our how about determining what an accident means to your current income or future earning potential? No problem - leave it to one of our partner financial experts to pinpoint your exact number. Whether your needs involve legal, medical, or financial representation Sevey, Donahue & Talcott is here to help.


One of the biggest advantages a law firm can have is expertise in their chosen field. Sevey, Donahue & Talcott is no exception. Prior to joining our team, senior partner Matthew Donahue was a defense attorney in the insurance industry for over ten years. This experience provided invaluable information for dealing with insurance companies. Matthew and the other attorneys on staff have served dozens of clients in both auto accident and personal injury litigation and can do the same for you.

Compassion, Understanding and Recovery

While demanding proper compensation for our clients is our primary assignment, we know that justice involves more than just a dollar amount. Our mission is to understand and address the specific problems and needs of each client and provide them the fastest, most comprehensive recovery possible. Some of the areas we provide assistance with include:

  1. Health Concerns – We ensure our clients are provided access to proper medical care to quickly recover from their injuries. We can assist not only with emergency treatments, but also continuing care, specialist services, and rehabilitative therapy.
  2. Financial Issues - Our firm can help with out of pocket expenses, ongoing medical bills, and other debt accumulation due to an accident. We know that money is often in short supply when family members are out of work and thus do everything we can to assist.
  3. Stress Reduction - The stress of an accident can become almost unbearable at times due to worrying about money, taking care of family, and constant anxiety about the unknown. You want to make the right choices, but sometimes it’s difficult to know where to begin.

We understand what you’re going through. Our firm has helped hundreds of Northern California victims reduce their stress and anxiety in accident-related cases and we can do the same for you. Our patient, caring attorneys are here to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have along the way.

Dealing with the aftermath of a crash is never easy, but partnering with the right lawyer can make the experience less painful and more productive. If you or someone you know has recently been injured in an auto accident, call us today at 916-788-7100 for a free no-obligation consultation and professional evaluation of your case.

A member of our team will be happy to discuss your situation and let you know whether you have a claim. There is no charge to meet with us and we only collect a fee if we win your case.

We serve Roseville and the surrounding Northern California area in all types of personal injury litigation and welcome the opportunity to assist you and your family in your time of need. Call 916-788-7100 or contact us today for your free consultation and get the process started.


  • Learn how to effectively deal with insurance companies after your accident
  • Uncover the common mistakes you should avoid that can sabotage your case
  • Find out how compensation is calculated and how much your case could be worth
  • Discover how an experienced personal injury attorney can help you win your case