Essential Tips for Filing a Car Accident Claim

At The Swanson Law Group, we offer free initial consultations & you don't pay unless we win!

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and want to file a claim to receive compensation for the damages, you can do so by following the steps listed below:

  • Document Important Details
  • Hire a Car Accident Attorney
  • Let Your Lawyer Build Your Case
  • File Your Complaint with an experienced lawyer
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Why should you watch out for insurance companies?

After a car accident, you can expect a call from an insurance adjuster. While the individual on the other end may sound caring, warm, and friendly…beware.

They will advise against getting a lawyer, ask about pre-existing conditions, whether you think you may have some responsibility for the accident, and anything else they can use against you. Insurance companies typically delay or deny claims for mysterious reasons, demand little paperwork, and pressure victims to take lowball settlements.

Insurance companies typically offer low-value settlements or nothing at all in the hopes that you will accept it in desperation or due to a lack of knowledge of how much your case is worth.

Unfortunately, when you accept a low offer, you will lose your right to file a lawsuit as part of the transaction and cannot ask for more. At the Swanson Law Group, our automobile accident lawyers in San Jose will protect your right to the compensation you deserve and deal with the insurance company & adjusters.

Why you should trust us with your car accident claim? 

Insurance companies know which car accident lawyers to push around and which ones they’ll have to pay. At The Swanson Law Group, our car accident attorneys in San Jose put in the work to build a strong case that shows:

  • How the accident happened
  • What caused your injury
  • How much compensation you are entitled to receive by law

Every lawyer says they’ll fight for you, but not every lawyer understands the actual value of your case and how much insurance companies should be paying you.

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Most attorneys have no idea that an insurance policy can be opened and that the insurance company will eventually pay full value. This is just one area that makes The Swanson Law Group stand apart from other attorneys.

When the insurance company sees the case we’ve built, knowing our track record of results, they usually come to us ready to pay up. If not, we’re prepared to fight for you in court.

We take care of our clients and take down insurance companies. You can also contact us for a free case evaluation.

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See how we go to bat for you!

To get an idea of how we operate, here is an excerpt of a letter our car accident lawyers in San Jose sent to an insurance company:

“Got your letter. Your company has had more than enough information to reasonably determine that the value of this case far exceeds the available policy limits of your insured. Attached are my last two one-level fusion surgery cases that the carriers allowed going to a jury. Neither case had a wage-loss component and both verdicts were over 3.8M. This letter will serve as my client’s final policy-limits demand. It expires in 15 days. I appreciate that we live in different spheres. One of the habits that most carriers develop is to undervalue cases until it is too late. Capitalizing on this mistake has allowed me to obtain financial freedom. Attached is a good illustration. Lauren is now dealing with a neck fusion case. My opening demand at mediation next month will be $7.5M. Will you be the latest Lauren? Fail to meet my demand if you wish to find out.”

Our case results tell a story

Over our years in practice, we have achieved many remarkable victories. To name just a few:

  • $8,870,000 Verdict: Semi-truck accident in which a semi rear-ended a passenger car.
  • $6,250,000: Confidential personal injury settlement: This case took us four years to resolve, but in the end, we prevailed for our client — who deserved every cent.
  • $5,000,000: Our founder, Ben Swanson, served as counsel for another firm in a car accident case. 
  • $4,400,000 Verdict: This was a neck injury in a car accident. The insurance company offered our client $440,000. The jury felt that our clients deserved more than ten times their offer. While every case is different and we can’t promise comparable results, we can promise that when we take on a case, we do everything possible to pursue full and fair compensation.
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How else we can help?

Our law firm provides clients access to excellent physicians and medical specialists for medical care, with the payment for the treatments deferred until your personal injury case is resolved.

These are incredible doctors, the same ones we would visit if we had the same injuries as you.

Tell us what happened by calling our automobile accident lawyers in San Jose for a free consultation.

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What to do after a car accident

If you were involved in a car accident, the actions you take afterwards are important. To protect your right to the compensation you deserve, follow these steps:

Call 911

If any person in your vehicle is injured, do what you can to help, such as apply a tourniquet or applying pressure to stop bleeding. Wait for emergency services and the police to arrive. Remain as calm as possible, and do not step out of the vehicle into moving lanes of traffic. If you are able, move your vehicle to the side on the freeway, but don’t take chances.

Gather information

If you are able, gather the contact information of the other drivers and of any witnesses to the accident, including names, addresses, and phone numbers. Take pictures of your injuries, the vehicles, skid marks, and the surroundings — as many as you can.

Get a full medical assessment

Ensure you undergo a medical assessment after the accident. Go to the ER or your own doctor, but don’t wait. Tell the medical professional attending to you that you were involved in a car accident so it’s noted on your chart and the right tests are performed.

Contact The Swanson Law Group

You need a car accident lawyer in San Jose to represent you immediately after the accident. The at-fault driver's insurance company will contact you within days. These calls should be handled by an attorney committed to protecting your rights and can help you avoid falling prey to strategies that could get you to say something that could reduce the value of your claim. Take the time you need to rest and recover, and let our team get to work for you.

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San Jose auto accident statistics

Despite its vibrant atmosphere, San Jose grapples with a concerning trend of auto accidents. With over 6,000 reported incidents in 2023 alone, the city's streets witness a disproportionate share of collisions. From head-on crashes to T-bone collisions, the consequences are severe, impacting lives and families.

To address this issue, residents must prioritize road safety. Defensive driving and adherence to traffic laws can help mitigate risks. However, seeking immediate legal assistance is crucial in the unfortunate event of an accident. At The Swanson Law Group, we're committed to securing the compensation you deserve. Together, we can work towards safer streets and a brighter future for San Jose.

California Statute of Limitations for car accidents

In California, the statute of limitations when filing a car accident lawsuit is generally two years following the accident date, as outlined in the California Code of Civil Procedure. It's crucial to understand this time limit as, if you don’t file a lawsuit within this window, it may result in losing the right to seek your compensation for injuries and damages sustained in the accident. However, there are certain exceptions and variations to the statute of limitations based on the case's specific circumstances, so it's advisable to consult with a legal professional to understand these deadlines and ensure timely action in seeking legal recourse for car accident injuries.

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What is my car accident case worth?

Every car accident is different. Valuing a case is a complex process and requires a full review of the following:

  • Your medical condition
  • The need for ongoing medical care
  • Lost income from work (now and future)
  • How the injuries have affected your quality of life

Our approach to valuing damages may involve calling upon medical experts, financial experts, and our other professional resources. The types of damages that are pursued in a car accident case include:

  • Economic damages: These include the hard costs you incurred, such as medical bills, hospital bills, the cost of ambulance services, lost income from work, reduced earning capacity, rehabilitation, and estimated expenses for future care. 
  • Non-economic damages: An injured person must be compensated for pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, emotional anguish, and other personal and emotional consequences. 

Who is liable for a car accident in San Jose? 

At The Swanson Law Group, we fully investigate the facts. You may have been told you were responsible for a collision; however, we don’t just accept these decisions. We investigate the facts to ensure our clients are treated fairly. California Civil Code 1714 covers who is a liable party:

“Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.”

“Damages are described in Civil Code 3281

“Every person who suffers detriment from the unlawful act or omission of another may recover from the person in fault a compensation therefor in money, which is called damages.”

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Understanding California car accident laws

Understanding California car accident laws is essential for all drivers and individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents within the state. California operates under a fault-based system, meaning that the party at fault for the accident covers both the damages and injuries resulting from the collision. It's important to note that California follows a comparative fault rule, which means that each party's degree of fault in the accident will directly impact the compensation they receive. Additionally, California law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover both property damage and bodily injury in case of an accident. Becoming familiar with these laws can help individuals navigate the aftermath of a car accident and understand their rights and responsibilities under California's legal framework.

Proving liability in a car accident in San Jose

When proving liability in a car accident in San Jose, keep in mind the following points: 

  • Duty of care: The duty of care is the responsibility to act in a reasonably safe manner to avoid harming others.
  • Breach of duty of care: A drunk driver, speeding driver, or a driver who operates a vehicle while distracted, texting, or breaking traffic laws is breaching (violating) the duty of care.
  • Causation: The action of another driver must be proven to have been the cause of the accident and injuries to the victim.
  • Damages: The injuries sustained must have resulted in damages (the losses the injured person experienced from the accident).

Get the settlement you deserve

After a car accident, life can be confusing, difficult, and frightening. What will happen to you, your family, and your ability to survive? When another driver causes an accident, their auto insurance company gets involved. The types of losses that must be valued include:

Medical care

The cost of medical care has bankrupted many people. An injured person may incur tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills in just days. You may need surgery or a series of surgeries, depending on the extent of your injuries. You may require weeks, months, or more of rehabilitation. All these losses are calculated and listed, down to the last cent, in a claim or lawsuit filed by our firm.

Additional medical expenses

You may need to remodel your home to allow access for medical equipment, a wheelchair, or require professional nursing care. The household tasks you once performed may be impossible, and you may need help from another person for cooking, cleaning, and other day-to-day tasks. 

Loss of income from work

You may be unable to work or continue in your chosen career. These losses can last a lifetime. An injured person who has sustained disabling injuries often requires ongoing medical care that can cost millions over a lifetime. You may be forced to take an easier job at lower pay, or you may need to be retrained in a new career. These costs are given a dollar value in the claim or lawsuit we file on your behalf. 

Pain and suffering

Your quality of life may be forever changed. The emotional toll of an injury accident often lasts a lifetime. You may be in a condition where you are unable to provide the support, care, love, and guidance to your family that they need, with extreme emotional consequences. You may be living with physical impairments, disfiguring injuries, or pain that makes everyday life a terrible struggle. These consequences must be given a dollar value in your claim. 

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Why choose us?

When you work with The Swanson Law Group in San Jose, your case is in the hands of a law firm that does not compromise. When we get involved, we protect our clients from falling prey to the insurance company, and we pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. 

We take our responsibility to our clients to heart and deliver personalized services beyond the ordinary. Our team is here to answer your questions and provide you with resources to help you improve your health, your finances, and your quality of life.

Even after your legal case is resolved, we know that there are more challenges to come, so we stay in touch and help you keep moving in the right direction.

We proudly serve the Hispanic community, as insurance companies frequently bully this group. Ben Swanson has great respect for the values of the Hispanic community and has made it his personal mission to help when insurance companies try to bully the members of this group.

Insurance companies typically offer low-value settlements in the hopes that in desperation, or due to lack of knowledge of how much the case is worth, an injured victim will accept it.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, we urge you to contact The Swanson Law Group immediately. Read our case results to see what we have achieved for our past clients.

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Types of car accidents in San Jose

Car accidents are a widespread problem in San Jose and the entire Bay Area. Accidents occur on city streets and highways, including the 101, McLaughlin Avenue, Story Road, the Almaden Expressway, Blossom Hill Road, Capitol Expressway, Tully Road, or Monterey Road. Accidents can happen any time, and on any roadway. The types of accidents that commonly occur include:

  • Head-on collisions: These are one of the deadliest types of collisions, often leading to catastrophic injuries or death. The driver in a head-on accident may be drunk or drug intoxicated, passing another vehicle unsafely or driving the wrong way.
  • Sideswipe accidents: A speeding driver weaving lane-to-lane or a driver merging unsafely can cause a sideswipe accident that leads to serious or catastrophic injuries.
  • T-bone accidents: These collisions often occur at intersections when a driver runs a red light or stop sign.
  • Multi-vehicle accidents: One driver making a serious mistake in moving traffic can lead to many vehicles being involved in a collision, and a more complex accident investigation to determine liability.
  • Intersection accidents: Intersections are the location of many serious or fatal car accidents in the San Jose area.
  • Truck vs. car accidents: The city streets and freeways are heavily traveled by commercial trucks delivering goods to the local area. These huge, heavy vehicles, when hitting a passenger car, can lead to car drivers and their passengers sustaining very serious injuries.

Our car accident lawyers in San Jose are very well versed in handling these claims and it is their sole priority to get you what is right. 

Types of injuries in head-on accidents

The injuries sustained in a head-on accident are often very serious, catastrophic, or fatal. If the victim survives, they may require months or a lifetime of care and treatment. Some of the common types of injuries sustained in head-on collisions include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries (paraplegia, quadriplegia)
  • Disfiguring injuries
  • Fractures
  • Head injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Severe soft tissue injuries
  • Injuries to ankles, feet, and legs
  • Injuries to arms, shoulders, wrists

How long after an accident can injuries appear?

Injuries from an accident can appear immediately or may take some time to manifest. In some cases, symptoms of an injury may not become evident until hours, days, or even weeks after the initial incident. It is important to seek medical attention following an accident, even if there are no immediate or obvious signs of injury, as some conditions may present delayed symptoms.

Concussions, whiplash, and internal injuries are examples of conditions that may not be immediately apparent but can have serious consequences if left untreated. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor one's health closely and seek medical evaluation if any symptoms develop following an accident, regardless of the time that has passed since the incident.

Causes of head-on collisions

A head-on collision can occur due to the following situations:

  • Drunk driver: An alcohol or drug-impaired driver may swerve into oncoming traffic or drive the wrong way on a street or freeway, causing a deadly impact.
  • Distracted driver: A driver who is busy texting, eating, daydreaming, or talking on the phone may drift into an oncoming lane, colliding with an innocent driver.
  • Dangerous passing: Aggressive drivers may take risks when there’s not enough room to pass a vehicle safely, which can cause them to hit an oncoming car.
  • Wrong-way driving: A driver who is new to the area or who makes a serious error could drive the wrong way on a one-way street, freeway ramp, or other roadway.
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Where accidents happen most in San Jose

In San Jose, auto accidents aren't just a statistic—they're a stark reality. With bustling thoroughfares like the 101, McLaughlin Avenue, and Story Road, accidents happen frequently and unpredictably. Intersections, especially along Capitol Expressway and Tully Road, are hotspots for collisions, often resulting in T-bone accidents and multi-vehicle pile-ups.

Moreover, the Almaden Expressway and Blossom Hill Road witness their fair share of sideswipe accidents caused by speeding or unsafe merging. These incidents underscore the need for heightened caution and awareness on San Jose's roads.

If you find yourself in the aftermath of an accident in these high-risk areas, don't hesitate to seek legal assistance. Rest assured, the Swanson Law Group is here to help navigate the complexities of your case and fight for the compensation you deserve. Together, we can work towards safer streets and a brighter future for San Jose residents.


Do I need a San Jose car accident lawyer for my insurance claim?

How long will it take to get compensated for my personal injury claim?

What happens if I’m at fault?

What if an unlicensed driver causes an accident with my car?

How long does an accident stay on your record in California?

Can partial liability affect a claim?

Do I need a San Jose car accident lawyer for my insurance claim?

While it's not legally required, hiring a car accident lawyer in San Jose can significantly benefit your case. Insurance companies often employ tactics to minimize payouts, but an experienced lawyer can navigate negotiations and ensure you receive fair compensation.

How long will it take to get compensated for my personal injury claim?

The timeline for receiving compensation varies depending on the specifics of your case. The severity of injuries, complexity of the claim, and negotiations with insurance companies all play a role in this process.

What happens if I’m at fault?

If you're found to be at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation, depending on California's comparative negligence laws. Your lawyer can help assess your level of fault and work to maximize your recovery.

What if an unlicensed driver causes an accident with my car?

If an unlicensed driver is at fault for an accident while they are operating your vehicle, you may still be liable for damages. However, your insurance coverage and legal options may vary. Consulting with a car accident lawyer can clarify your rights and responsibilities in such situations.

How long does an accident stay on your record in California?

Typically, they stay on your driving record for three to seven years in California, depending on the severity and circumstances. However, this duration may vary based on individual factors and insurance company policies.

Can partial liability affect a claim?

Yes, partial liability can impact your claim. California follows comparative negligence laws, meaning compensation may be reduced based on your degree of fault. However, even if you're partially at fault, you may still be entitled to some compensation.

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