Bennett Johnson, LLP

Car Accident Lawyer

In California's East Bay, commuting is a part of life. Unfortunately, this means a higher rate of traffic collisions and serious injuries. 

When you need a car accident lawyer, the legal team at Bennett Johnson, LLP, can help you seek justice against negligent drivers.

An attorney can take care of your car accident case, from start to finish...

Car accident

What to Do Immediately after a Car Accident 

The moments immediately following a car accident can be confusing and overwhelming. Keeping a cool head and taking several steps can benefit you tremendously:

Avoid Admitting Fault

Following an accident, do not apologize or admit fault. This could be used against you in the future. 

Contact the Authorities

After an accident, call the police right away so that an officer can be dispatched to the scene. Obtain a copy of the police report.

Get Medical Care

To avoid further injury, undergo a medical assessment and any necessary treatment at the scene. Otherwise, see a doctor as soon as possible. 

Speak with Witnesses 

Gather the names and contact information of any parties who may have witnessed the accident.

Gather Evidence 

Take photos of the cars, injuries, the roadway, and all traffic signals. You can also make a quick written note of your perception of how the accident happened. Be sure to include information about the weather and any other details.

Swap Information 

Obtain the insurance information for every other driver involved, including an agent's name and phone number.

Call Our Firm

Time is of the essence, so call an accident attorney at our firm right away to schedule your free consultation.

Follow these steps to protect yourself...

Knowing what to do after a car accident can make all the difference when it comes to collecting compensation for your injuries and other losses. Attorneys Richard C. BennettWilliam Johnson, and Andrew Johnson with Bennett Johnson, LLP in Oakland, CA, explain exactly what to do - and what not to do - in order to ensure the best outcome. If you have been in a car accident, please call us at (530) 413-0245 so we can begin investigating your accident and resulting injuries right away.

after a car accident
Regardless of what you think may have caused your accident, do not apologize to anyone.

In the days following your accident:

  • Keep track of the medical bills and reports, so you can assemble a clear picture of how you were injured and what was required to recover.
  • Keep a diary of how you feel every day, and how your injuries prevent you from performing your daily tasks. You can also keep notes regarding your emotional state and how your family is impacted by your injuries.
  • If any insurance adjustor or other person representing another motorist contacts you, do not speak to them. Simply tell them to reach out to your lawyer.

It is important to take these steps even if you believe your injuries are minor. A judge and jury will be interested to know every piece of the puzzle. When your attorney deals with the insurance adjuster, having a complete picture of your injuries and expenses helps foster negotiations or determine when the time is right to file a lawsuit.

A personal injury lawyer can ensure that nothing is overlooked in your case. 

How a Lawyer Helps Can Help Immediately After an Accident

A personal injury lawyer can ensure that nothing is overlooked in your case. Your attorney can preserve evidence so that it can be used in your case. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters do not work for you, and will try to resolve the case with as little effort and compensation as possible. On the other hand, we can be your advocate and pursue an amount of compensation that meets your needs. We routinely work with medical experts and accident reconstructionists to find out exactly how the accident happened, and use that information to your benefit.

Why trust our firm with your case?

A Track Record of Success Previous Verdicts and Settlements 

Car Accidents

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Medical Malpractice

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Truck Accident

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Defective Machinery

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Proven Results 

Through our attentive, aggressive, and dedicated approach to every single case, we have helped our clients recover over $500 million in compensation. Bennett Johnson, LLP

Determining the Cause of an Accident  Can Strengthen Your Case

Car accidents are extremely common occurrences, and in many cases, are completely preventable. While reckless and negligent driving is to blame for many car accidents, there are other factors that can also factor into your accident, such as auto defects and dangerous roads. 

Richard C. BennettWilliam Johnson, and the rest of the legal team at Bennett Johnson, LLP, work with various experts to investigate car accident causes. Often, the cause of your accident will directly point to the responsible party. We look forward to helping you get the answers you need. To schedule your complimentary case review at our various practice locations in Napa, Santa Maria, and Oakland, CA, call us at (805) 438-2952 or send us an online message.

a man looking at his cell phone while driving
Distracted drivers, such as those texting while driving, are much more likely to cause an accident.

Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

Sadly, most motor vehicle accidents are completely preventable through proper care and caution, and can usually be attributed to driver negligence, reckless driver behavior, or manufacturer negligence.

The most common driver-related causes of car accidents include: 

Distracted Driving 

Whether a driver is texting, talking on the phone, manipulating the radio, or eating, they put others on the road at risk. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous. A driver can be distracted visually, physically, and cognitively, all of which can result in detrimental consequences.

A variety of activities can distract a driver enough to cause an accident, including:

  • Texting 
  • Eating 
  • Reading 
  • Putting on makeup 
  • Talking to a passenger 

An organization called TeenSafe® estimates that distracted driving accounts for nearly 25 percent of all fatal car accidents. 

Drunk Driving 

When a driver operates a vehicle while impaired, they don't have the cognitive ability to handle various rigors of the road or to react to other drivers appropriately. Additionally, drunk driving can cause an individual to become drowsy, have slowed reaction times, and to lose focus on the road.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health's (NSDUH) 2016 study estimated that 20.7 million people over the age of 16 had driven while intoxicated during the past year. An equally alarming statistic by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that alcohol was involved in 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding was a factor in 30 percent of fatal crashes during the year 2012. Intoxicated drivers were more likely to speed, creating a dangerous combination of causes contributing to serious or even fatal accidents.

Because many common causes of car accidents are negligence or recklessness and could have been avoided, you need a lawyer who can reconstruct the accident, determine the cause, and use the cause to point to the responsible party. 

Running Red Lights 

Running a red light or rolling into the intersection while making a right turn on red can have fatal consequences. According to, rolling while turning right at a red light accounts for 6 percent of pedestrian deaths. While drivers are looking left for oncoming cars, they ignore the pedestrians coming down the right side sidewalk. 


Driving while angry or rushed can easily result in devastating injury. This can often lead to rollovers and other serious crashes. Following another driver too closely makes it difficult to avoid an accident in the event that traffic stops suddenly. This type of reckless driving can lead to rear-end accidents. 

Drug Use 

According to the NSDUH, 11.8 million drivers drove under the influence of drugs during the year 2016. The most common drug found was marijuana. It is estimated that drivers that have marijuana components in their system are two times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than sober drivers.

Prescription drugs can also lead to accidents. A 2010 study found that 47 percent of drivers with drugs in their system involved in fatal accidents had used a prescription drug. Even common drugs prescribed by your doctor can impair your senses and ability to avoid accidents. 

Drowsy Driving 

According to studies, driving while drowsy is even more dangerous than driving drunk. A study by the NHTSA found that 23 percent of drivers involved in accidents were classified as fatigued

Other Potential Causes of Car Accidents 

While negligent, reckless behavior can lead to many accidents, there are other factors where the driver may not be at fault. 

Auto Defects 

Some accidents can be caused by the equipment of the vehicle itself. Malfunctions can be the result of defective vehicle equipment: when tires are not properly measured and filled, brakes give out, the steering wheel locks up, and more. In these cases, the manufacturer may be responsible.

Safety-related auto defects, such as faulty steering components, defective fuel components, bad accelerator controls, and poorly manufactured wheels, can cause devastating accidents. If a poorly designed or manufactured auto part directly led to your accident, you may be eligible for a product liability claim. 

Dangerous Road Conditions 

Potholes, unkept roads, or other dangerous factors are the responsibility of the transit authority to maintain. If dangerous road conditions led to your accident, you could be eligible for a premises liability lawsuit. We can help you compile evidence that negligence on the part of the transit authority led to your accident. 

The Importance of a Lawyer in Determining the Cause of Your Accident 

Large corporations, such as auto manufacturers and government agencies, will have their own lawyer on their side to protect their own interests, but our lawyers are committed to helping you protect your best interests and receive full financial compensation. 

Our firm works with in-house investigators, reconstruction experts, and local authorities to establish causation and determine liability. Because of the impact that the cause of your accident can have on your case, you need a legal team with a proven track record of success on your side. To schedule your free consultation, call one of our three convenient locations or message us online

Information About Car Accident Injuries

Car accident injuries can range from minor to fatal. They may be immediately apparent, or they may take time to present. Attorneys Richard C. BennettWilliam Johnson, and Andrew Johnson in Oakland, CA, invite you to learn more about the injuries that can result from car accidents, and why a thorough and accurate assessment of these injuries is essential to collecting the compensation you deserve. To book your free case review, send us a message online or call (530) 413-0245.

car accident injury
Car accident injuries can have devastating repercussions. Consult a lawyer if the negligence of another has caused you to become injured in a car accident.

Examples of Personal Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Some car accident injuries can be catastrophic, costly and life-changing for victims. There are many different types of injuries caused by car accidents, including:

  • Traumatic brain injury: Many car accidents involve forceful hits to the vehicle, causing those inside to be thrown into windows or against the side walls of the car. When a driver or passenger hits their head suddenly against the inside of the car during an accident, the result can be severe damage to the brain. This may be a concussion or a more serious and lifelong injury.
  • Spinal cord and paralysis: When the spinal column is damaged in an accident, it can result in partial or full paralysis.
  • Neck and chest injuries: The sudden jerking back and forth experienced by many car accident victims can cause whiplash, internal organ damage, and internal bleeding. 
  • Broken bones and loss of limbs
  • Burns, vision loss or impairment, deep cuts and lacerations, hearing loss
  • Death
  • Neck injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Knee injuries
  • Lacerations or cuts
  • Deep bruising

If you have been in an accident, you could have injuries that are not immediately apparent. The best course of action is to seek immediate medical care, and allow a personal injury attorney to pursue the compensation you need.

The team at Bennett Johnson, LLP prides itself on helping victims recover from injuries and other losses resulting from third-party negligence.

Determining the Extent of Injuries

A determination of the full extent of your injuries after a car accident is essential. The purposes of having a full report documenting every injury include:

  • Showing that the injuries are directly related to and caused by the accident.
  • Establishing the injuries are new, and do not pre-date the accident.
  • Establishing a monetary figure that represents your total loss, so you can pursue the amount of compensation necessary to help you recover
  • Proving whether full recovery is possible, or if the injury will have lifelong repercussions. Lifelong injuries require additional compensation to cover the ongoing cost of therapy and lost capacity to earn a living, as well as diminished quality of life.

How a Lawyer Helps with Your Injury 

When our firm takes on a personal injury case, we work with medical experts to evaluate your injuries and explain your damages to an adjuster and, if necessary, a jury. We offer a free consultation and take your case on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe us nothing unless we collect compensation for you. We have recovered over $500 million for our clients, and we are prepared to help you and your loved ones collect the compensation you are owed.

Determining Liability in a Car Accident is Necessary  to Determine Full and Fair Compensation

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can result in broken bones, internal injuries, head trauma, and many other minor to severe injuries. Victims of car accidents are entitled, by law, to be fully compensated for injuries caused by another.

Establishing liability for the accident is essential if maximum recovery is to be obtained. When calculating the amount to which you are entitled, our lawyers will consider factors such as: 

  • Obtaining damages for time off work or lost wages.
  • Making sure all injuries are fully treated, or providing ongoing care if the injury cannot be fully treated.
  • Determining whether there are any psychological effects that require treatment through therapy or counseling.
  • Differentiating between bodily injuries and property damage injury.
  • Making sure medication and rehabilitative services are part of the compensation.

Types of Liability For California Car Accidents

Liability for a car wreck in California depends on the circumstances of the incident. This could mean that liability can be limited, depending on the degree to which the liable party was actually at fault. This is seen when the driver being charged with liability for the accident claims the other driver was partially at fault. If any comparative negligence is found, the drivers will each bear liability for their percentage of fault.

In order to get to the bottom of the case, it is important to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what types of interviews to conduct and what pieces of evidence will shed light on how the accident occurred.

Liability can also be limited if the owner of the car was not driving at the time of the accident. It is not unusual for people to allow others to drive their vehicle. When that happens and an accident takes place, the owner of the car may only be liable for some of the damages.

Ways to Establish Liability for A Car Accident

Establishing liability for a car accident allows the victim to seek compensation for injuries sustained during the wreck. An experienced car accident attorney can establish liability by:

  • Interviewing witnesses and documenting the witness’ account of how the accident happened.
  • Reviewing the police report and asking the officer on the scene to corroborate the details of the report, or give additional data not contained in the report.
  • Taking the deposition of all parties involved, or sending written discovery to get a clear picture of what transpired before, during, and after the accident.
  • Determining whether extenuating circumstances, such as road construction or distracted driving, played a part in the accident.
  • Analyzing the laws regarding the rules of the road and making a finding as to whether those rules were followed. Disregard of traffic laws is a good indicator of liability in a car accident.
Symbols of factors involved in a car accident.
The lawyers at Bennett Johnson, LLP will comprehensively review the facts of the case when determining liability in a car accident. 

The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer to Establish Liability in a Car Accident

Most car accidents involve both (or multiple) drivers denying liability. In order to get to the bottom of the case, it is important to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what types of interviews to conduct and what pieces of evidence will shed light on how the accident occurred.  Once all of the evidence is gathered, a clear case can be made for liability, and a demand for damages presented.

Victims Are Entitled to Compensation for Their Injuries  and Damages in Car Accidents

Victims can seek damages in car accidents including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. Car accidents can result in a wide range of personal injury and also cause damage to personal property. Depending on the severity of the accident, personal injuries may be immediately treatable or may require long-term care. The damage done to personal property may be a total loss, or could involve extensive repair work. 

The lawyers at Bennett Johnson, LLP have over 40 years’ experience seeking complete compensation for all damage inflicted during a car accident for clients in the Oakland, CA, area. 

Injuries From Car Accidents Can be Far Reaching and Extensive

An injury from a motor vehicle accident can be more than just what is visible to the naked eye, or immediately noticed on scene. In many cases, the injuries from a car accident are not known right away, and could have an impact on the victim for years to come:

  • In the most severe of cases, such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, the victim may be unable to return to work. In those cases, it is appropriate to seek damages for lost wages and opportunity for the duration of the victim's life.
  • Physical injuries like broken bones or road rash are easy to identify, but many times a car accident can also cause an emotional injury. Victims are entitled to compensation for any emotional and psychological injuries resulting from a car accident.
  • When an accident involves the family breadwinner, the entire family suffers along with the victim. The financial strain a family can feel from a car accident involving a high wage earner is very real, and in such cases, compensation is available.
  • Relationships between parents and children and between spouses also suffer when someone is hurt in a car accident. These types of injuries are not commonly thought of the instant an accident takes place, but they do occur and should be given consideration when computing total damages.

Types of Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents and How They Affect Victims

Every car accident is different, and victims may sustain any number of injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Neck and Back Pain: This type of injury may not develop until a few days following the accident, but can leave the victim stiff and immobile. Back pain can be one of the most difficult types of pain to treat, and it can also lead to depression or anxiety because some physicians are hesitant to prescribe medication to ease the pain.
  • Broken Bones: In order to properly heal, a broken bone has to be reset and given time to mend. In some cases, a complicated surgery may be necessary to fix a broken bone, which can be a traumatic event itself.

Victims can seek damages in car accidents including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. 

  • Soft Tissue Injuries: When muscles, tendons, and ligaments are stretched beyond their limit, a soft tissue injury can result. These types of injuries can mean long-lasting pain for the victim and typically requires daily medication to treat the pain.
  • Burn Injuries: Burns that occur from a fire during a car wreck might require a skin graft to fix, a painful procedure that could still leave permanent scarring. Unsightly scars can cause victims to withdraw from friends and family, leading to social isolation and depression. 
  • Brain Injuries: Fractures to the skull, concussions, or having a brain bleed are all forms of brain injuries. These types of injuries typically require surgery and involve a lengthy recovery time, which could include extensive and costly rehabilitative therapy.
  • Internal Injuries: Internal organ injuries are common in a car accident, and generally require surgery. 

What Can You Recover in a Car Accident?

Victims of car accidents are entitled to compensation to help them heal. In order to help their clients fully recovery, our lawyers can request recovery of damages for:

  • Lost wages.
  • Medical care, including therapy and prescriptions.
  • Pain and suffering for emotional damage and anguish.
  • Punitive damages, which are damages over and above actual damages, and are intended to “punish” the offender. When the actions of the negligent party are so egregious, like in cases of reckless driving or driving under the influence, courts may consider making an award of punitive damages.
  • Damage to personal property, such as a vehicle or motorcycle.

Contact Our Office for More Information About Damages

Determining what damages are available to a victim of a car crash is complex and requires thoughtful analysis of every aspect of the case. Most cases require presentation of specific evidence that proves the damages sought, and an experienced attorney can help. For more information, contact us online or call Bennett Johnson, LLP at (530) 413-0245.

We Handle All Types of Car Accident Cases

The type of car accident you are involved in can directly affect the type of compensation you can collect and the best way to pursue damages. Our team at Bennett Johnson, LLP, in Oakland, CA, can investigate your accident and determine the optimal legal action to take on your behalf. Richard C. BennettWilliam Johnson, and Andrew Johnson are hands-on attorneys who handle cases involving a variety of car accidents. We have been representing Californians in personal injury suits for over 40 years and have a record of success. Schedule a free case evaluation with our team by contacting us online or calling (510) 444-5020 today.

Common Types of Car Accidents

An accident can happen anywhere. The nature of the accident can impact many aspects of your case, including:

  • How the insurance company handles your claim
  • The amount of compensation you can collect
  • Whether you can file a lawsuit
  • Who you can sue

At Bennett Johnson, we represent clients affected by all types of car accidents. We can help you understand how the type of accident you were in affects your case and ensure that you are treated fairly. 

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end accidents occur when one car collides with the bumper of the car in front of it. This type of accident is usually caused by inattention, distracted driving, or tailgating. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle that rear-ends the other car is considered to be at fault, unless the impacted vehicle was in reverse gear at the time. 

A common injury in rear-end collisions is whiplash, even if the crash occurs at lower speeds. In general, injuries are more severe for occupants of the impacted car.

car accident
Car accident cases have countless variables. We are here to analyze the details of your case and help you collect what you deserve.


Also called a t-bone collision, side-impact accidents take place when the front or back of one car impacts the side of another. These types of accidents often cause severe damage to vehicles and serious occupant injuries. Typically, the occupants on the side where the car was impacted suffer the worst injuries. Left-turn accidents, for example, can often result in side-impact collisions.

Whatever type of car accident you were involved in, hiring an attorney can help ensure that you are treated fairly by your insurance company and that you receive the compensation you deserve.


When a car flips over and lands on its side or roof, it is considered a vehicle rollover. While any vehicle can flip, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are more likely to flip due to a higher center of gravity. The most common cause of a rollover is a sharp turn at high speeds. However, other factors, such as road and weather conditions, can also increase the risk of a rollover.

Head-on Collisions

A head-on collision occurs when the front ends of two vehicles hit each other. This type of accident is one of the most dangerous and can often lead to fatalities.

Single vs. Multi-Vehicle Accidents

A single-car accident is handled differently than one involving multiple vehicles. In single car accidents, a vehicle strikes an object or pedestrian. The cause of these types of collisions is often more apparent. Multi-vehicle accidents tend to take place on highways and freeways and are more difficult to investigate. 

Whatever type of car accident you were involved in, hiring an attorney can help ensure that you are treated fairly by your insurance company and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys can investigate your accident and determine the best course of action.

Case Evaluation Free of Charge

If you are committed to protecting your rights after a serious auto accident, your first step should be to pick up the phone and seek the help of our car accident attorneys. You can entrust your case to Bennett Johnson, LLP, with confidence because we have a reputation for excellence and success. We are prepared to help you collect the restitution you are owed for injuries, property damage, and more.

Our car accident attorneys can help you get back on your feet and help with the stress of these challenging legal matters. 

Our team is entrenched in the California East Bay lifestyle and culture. Bennett Johnson, LLP was founded in 1981, and we've been serving clients with a high standard of professionalism and effective advocacy ever since. As a team, we have recovered well over $500 million in verdicts, arbitrations, and settlements for our clients.

Bennett Johnson, LLP 

Bennett Johnston team

The Bennett Johnson, LLP, attorneys are affiliated with various trusted organizations including the: 

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum 
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum 
  • American Board of Trial Advocates 
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers 

We offer free case evaluations for all clients. Request an appointment online or call  (510) 444-5020.

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