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The state of California, also known as The Golden State, is located in the western United States on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. With a population of 39.53 million, California is the most populous state in the country and the third-largest state by land area.
Additionally, California has 840 miles of coastline and 43 million acres of farmland to go with its nearly 400,000 total roadway miles. Californians love to drive, which means the need for a good California car accident attorney is about as common in the Golden State as surfing and roadside fruit stands.
California became a U.S. territory in 1847 at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War. Around that time, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, and an influx of settlers migrated to California seeking fortune–the population boomed from 14,000 to 250,000 in just four years. In 1850, California became the 31st state. In addition to gold, the state’s economy largely focused on agriculture. The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 extended California’s reach and revolutionized the state’s many industries.
Today, California’s agricultural production represents 13 percent of the national total, and if California were a country, its economy would be the fifth largest in the world. California’s influence is more than just economic–this remarkable state is also a hub of culture, innovation, and tourism.
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Living In California
Historically, California has had an outsized impact on popular culture. With the growth of the Hollywood film industry and the ensuing emphasis on celebrity society, the counterculture movement in the 1960s, and the state’s focus on environmentalism, California’s ideological influence is widespread.
Innovative ideas are abundant in California. Some of the world’s most prominent technology companies got their start in the Bay Area’s Silicon Valley, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Also, the state is home to several of the nation’s top colleges and universities like Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
The diverse geography of California is an added plus. The state’s outdoor spaces have something for everyone, with redwood groves, glimmering beaches, snow-capped mountains, and arid deserts. At Yosemite National Park, you’ll find 1,200 square miles of deep valleys, waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, and views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. If the beach is more your thing, visit San Diego for some of the best surfing spots and a laid-back coastal feel.
It’s no surprise that California attracts more than 250 million visitors each year–compounding the need for a good California car accident attorney. Tourists flock to attractions like Disneyland for its imaginative rides and family-friendly atmosphere, and Northern California’s wine country for picturesque scenery and top-notch pours. The state also boasts iconic sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood sign, and General Sherman, one of the world’s largest trees.
With California’s many offerings, its median home price is $781,900, which is 89.5 percent higher than the U.S. average. The high cost of living is met with an increased median income– the average California household brings in $78,672, which is $11,151 more than the national median.
Intro To Car Accidents In California
If you’re a California car accident attorney, you’re pretty busy. Fortunately, most car accidents are relatively minor. However, the state reported 4,258 motor vehicle fatalities in 2021, accounting for 10 percent of all traffic deaths in the U.S. that year.
The main causes of car accidents in California (and in most states) are impaired driving, speeding, and distracted driving. Even if you’re the most careful driver on the road, all it takes is one motorist sending a text message to their bestie–taking their eyes off the road for mere seconds–to completely upend your life. This is where the expertise of an experienced California car accident attorney comes in, especially if you’ve suffered serious injuries.
When Should I Call A California Car Accident Attorney?
It’s always good to know whether an attorney could be helpful, or even essential, to your recovery after a car accident. While the best car accident lawyers in California are never cheap, not hiring an attorney when you really need one (especially if there are injuries) carries substantial risk. A skilled legal professional knows how to obtain and evaluate the relevant evidence, negotiate with opposing counsel, and formulate the best possible course of action to help you get the settlement you deserve.
Although every incident is unique in some way, you may not need a lawyer if:
- Property damage sustained by involved parties is only minor
- It’s clear who the at-fault party is and their insurance will fully cover your losses
- No one involved in the accident sustained injuries.
Let’s say the car behind you at the In-N-Out drive-through bumps into your rear fender, causing a minor dent and no apparent injuries. The driver gets out, apologizes, and hands you their ID and proof and insurance. You go home, enjoy your double-double and fries, and call in your claim the next morning. Lawyers most likely aren’t needed here, but you might want to use tools like an online damages calculator or Kelley Blue Book to ensure your damages are fully covered.
However, it’s not always clear whether anyone suffered an injury until later. Certain soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, can occur after impact at low speeds and may not be apparent until days later. Perhaps the damage to your car you thought was minor is actually quite extensive. Also, there’s the possibility that the other party’s insurance company is low-balling you. If you decide to call a California car accident attorney, detailed notes of the incident and any property damage or injuries can be invaluable.
How Do I Compare California Car Accident Lawyers?
Whether you were sideswiped in Crescent City or rear-ended in Chula Vista–or somewhere in-between–there is an abundance of attorneys who can help you with your car accident claim. Don’t just call the first name you see, though. Be sure to vet them first by looking them up on the State Bar of California’s website. Are they licensed to practice in California? Are there any disciplinary reports or other concerns? Trusted attorney review sites are also helpful.
Interview Attorneys Before You Hire One
Even if the California car accident lawyers on your list all want your business, it’s important to take them for a test drive before you select one sign on the dotted line. This means scheduling consultations with at least a few top-rated attorneys (which, in most cases, won’t cost you a dime). At a minimum, they will have a solid grasp of California’s motor vehicle accident laws and be able to explain their process; but, more to the point, are they the right fit for you?
Here are some questions that can help you decide which lawyer to hire:
- What is their experience representing California clients in car accident cases? Is motor vehicle accident law their main focus? Ask them to describe some of their recent legal victories.
- How accessible is the lead attorney? Do they communicate directly with clients or through paralegals or associates? Will they answer any urgent questions you may have in a timely manner?
- What kind of a firm is it, large or small? How is billing handled for junior associates, paralegals, and others in the office?
- Is there a flat fee, or will you be billed hourly? Is your payment contingent upon the attorney winning your case? Are you provided options?
Even the most experienced, capable California attorneys may not be right for you and your particular situation. The best car accident lawyers in California are the ones who are responsive to your needs, answer your questions fully (and honestly), and make you feel at ease. You should have a good idea of which attorney is right for you after you interview your top prospects.
Driving And Transportation In California
An ideal way to experience California is on a road trip. The state is full of scenic drives, and one of the most famous is the Pacific Coast Highway. Alternatively known as Route 1, this highway spans 600 miles, traveling from San Diego to San Francisco, and highlights the best of California along the way.
With California’s large tourist presence and high population, its roadways are bursting at the seams. California is consistently ranked as the most traffic-clogged state in the country. Across the state, cities are developing plans to address this–San Francisco and Los Angeles are specifically working to minimize congestion by improving public transportation and creating pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly cities.
Unsurprisingly, California’s traffic contributes to a high occurrence of car accidents. Cities across the state are experiencing a higher-than-normal frequency of injurious and fatal crashes, especially in larger cities like Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Transportation is implementing a comprehensive plan to create safer roads, vehicles, and laws, aimed at reducing traffic fatalities and injuries across the nation.
Top California Cities
Learn more about some of California’s most beloved cities and a few good reasons for visiting each, as well as California car accident attorney information in each location.
- Anaheim: This lively city is famous for two main things: Disneyland and the Anaheim Angels baseball team. Anaheim also features preserved natural spaces that are ideal for outdoor activities, like Featherly Regional Park.
- Bakersfield: Surrounded by endless farmland, this city is the southern hub of culture and entertainment in the San Joaquin Valley. Country music, race tracks, and locally sourced food are just a few of Bakersfield’s many draws.
- Carlsbad: With jaw-dropping views of the Pacific, Carlsbad offers beachgoers some of the area’s best waves. In addition to coastal sights, the city is home to Legoland California and offers high-end shopping and dining.
- Chico: Yes, Chico is a college town, but it’s also a craft beer hub and home to Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Come for the exceptional brews and stay for the eye-catching natural sights, delicious cuisine, and fascinating museums.
- Chula Vista: As a leader in environmental conservation, Chula Vista is a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city. If you’re looking for pristine beaches, quality schools, and an urban-suburban feel, Chula Vista is the place for you.
- Citrus Heights: Visit the community of Citrus Heights for suburban parks and retail therapy. Its sprawling shopping centers attract visitors from the surrounding Sacramento County and beyond.
- Concord: While thrill-seekers will love Concord for its amusement parks, this city also offers multicultural food options, a rich history, and bay views. Stop by the city’s central gathering place, Todos Santos Plaza, for live music and farmers markets.
- Downey: Distinguished for its role in aviation history, Downey is home to the Columbia Memorial Space Center. There’s more than just space travel in Downey–this tight-knit L.A. suburb features farmers markets, golf courses, and walking trails.
- Elk Grove: Enjoy Elk Grove for its family-friendly atmosphere, outdoor spaces, and wide variety of restaurants. This community puts a strong emphasis on youth development, with aquatic centers and sports parks dedicated to high-quality instruction.
- Escondido: This locale in San Diego County offers spacious suburban neighborhoods and top-rated public schools surrounded by valleys and forests. Car enthusiasts will enjoy Escondido’s annual automobile shows and countless scenic drives.
- Fairfield: Adventure awaits in this city famous for its racetracks, theme parks, and Travis Air Force base. While in Fairfield, make sure to check out the Jelly Belly Factory for a self-guided tour and Sonoma Raceway for a NASCAR race.
- Folsom: With its western-style historic district and waterfront recreation areas, Folsom has a charm all its own. Its convenient access to Lake Tahoe and nearby national parks is an added perk.
- Fresno: As a prominent agricultural center, Fresno features vast farmlands and flowering fruit trees. The vibrant culture is also evident in its art museums and unique historic structures.
- Fullerton: Home to five universities, Fullerton is not only known for its educational prowess, but also for top-notch dining and lush landscapes. While exploring Fullerton, you’ll find everything from unique stores to tree-lined roadways.
- Irvine: This Orange County city is celebrated for its comprehensive urban planning, ample public parks, and stellar performing arts. In Irvine, enjoy ballet, symphony, and art museums, or bask in the sunny California weather while hiking the Pacific Ridge Trail.
- Lancaster: With its award-winning renewable energy infrastructure, Lancaster harnesses the power of the desert sun. Make sure to visit the rolling hills full of golden poppies in the springtime, as well as Lancaster’s musical road, which emits a tune as cars drive along it.
- Livermore: Home to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore enjoys a deep connection to science. Visit the lab’s museum for a firsthand look into current research programs, and enjoy the benefits of the area’s ideal grape-growing climate by tasting the distinctive local wines.
- Long Beach: The port city of Long Beach boasts the ideal mix of coastal and metropolitan energy. While traveling the oceanside streets, you’ll find retailers, fine dining, and the famous Ferris wheel just steps from the 7-mile beach.
- Los Angeles: One of the most populated cities in the country, Los Angeles is home to a world-renowned art scene, top universities, and luxury dining and shopping. Stop by some of the most iconic spots like Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, and the Sunset Strip.
- Modesto: Surrounded on all sides by farmland, Modesto boasts locally grown produce and a growing list of restaurants. Also, this locale has a strong hot rod culture–the community comes together for an annual festival celebrating unique automobiles.
- Moreno Valley: If you’re looking for great hiking, Moreno Valley is just the spot. Make the trek to Hidden Springs, Lake Perris, or the Box Springs M Trail, where you’ll be able to see the town’s famous lit-up M that makes an appearance during community events and holidays.
- Mountain View: This Silicon Valley city is not just the site of Google’s headquarters, but it also offers award-winning theater, live music, and museums. Check out Mountain View’s walkable downtown, featuring international cuisine and unique stores.
- Oakland: In this city east of the bay, you’ll find an array of eateries in Jack London Square, urban wineries along the Oakland Wine Trail, and plenty of museums. For some outdoor fun, catch an Oakland A’s baseball game or explore the redwood groves in Joaquin Miller Park.
- Ontario: Known for its international airport, Ontario is affectionately called the “Gateway to Southern California.” Enjoy the laid-back lifestyle while strolling the coffee shop-lined streets and numerous community parks.
- Pasadena: With the San Gabriel Mountains as its backdrop, Pasadena offers stunning views in addition to a thriving local culture. Attractions include Old Pasadena’s local eateries, the annual Rose Parade, and The Huntington’s art collection, library, and botanical gardens.
- Pleasanton: As its name suggests, Pleasanton is full of charm. This city houses local wineries, art centers, museums, and farmers markets. It also borders thousands of acres of protected land dedicated to recreation.
- Pomona: This SoCal city has developed into a family-oriented, outdoor-focused community. Whether you’re learning about the history of one of the area’s original adobe structures or participating in the West Coast’s largest classic car show, Pomona is sure to delight.
- Rancho Cucamonga: An idyllic spot, Rancho Cucamonga is beloved for its picturesque mountain scenery, numerous museums, and modern suburban amenities. For stunning views of the San Bernardino Valley, take a hike in the North Etiwanda Preserve.
- Redding: Feeling adventurous? Redding is one of the top recreational destinations in the region and features Turtle Bay Exploration Park. Recognized as California’s sunniest city, Redding provides great weather in which to explore nearby state and national parks.
- Rialto: You’ll find a blend of history and recreation in Rialto, in addition to its affordable cost of living. Try a tour of Bud Bender Park’s 19th-century adobe, or take a stroll in the many parks and trails.
- Richmond: While often noted for its 20th-century shipbuilding prowess, present-day Richmond is just as remarkable. From fine dining in revitalized factories to bay views from the parks and trails along the harbors, Richmond is full of historic sites with a modern twist.
- Riverside: With emerald golf courses, local festivals, and sweeping citrus groves, you’ll find a flourishing community in Riverside. This sweet city is also home to one of the only remaining orange trees from which all of California’s navel oranges originate.
- Sacramento: As the California state capital, Sacramento is not just the seat of government, but also a hub of culture and education. Downtown Sacramento delivers high-quality dining, nightlife, and shopping, and the area houses several universities and museums.
- San Bernardino: The vibrant urban community of San Bernardino definitely has much to offer. From performing arts and museums to local sports teams and speedways, you’ll find plenty of exciting activities here.
- San Diego: Leisure activities abound in San Diego. With picture-perfect beaches, coastal trails, and deepwater bays, San Diego will make you want to spend most of your time outside. This quintessential beach town is more than just relaxation–it’s also home to top colleges and a U.S. naval base.
- San Francisco: This dynamic cultural center boasts innovative industries, higher learning, iconic sights, and varied attractions. While there, definitely take a drive over the famous Golden Gate Bridge, see the sights at Fisherman’s Wharf, and plan a visit to the Castro and Haight-Ashbury districts.
- San Jose: Ranking as not just one of the largest, but also the safest cities in the country, San Jose is certainly an appealing destination. This urban-suburban area features a famous assortment of international foods, enchanting museums, and a range of unique shopping destinations.
- San Luis Obispo: This quaint spot on California’s central coast provides a laid-back downtown district, a college-town atmosphere, and close proximity to the ocean and wine country. With these attractions, it’s no surprise that San Luis Obispo has ranked among the best places to live in the country.
- San Mateo: Choose the small-but-mighty city of San Mateo if you’re looking for great schools, high-end housing, and plenty of outdoor activities, especially biking. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, try one of the city’s award-winning restaurants.
- Santa Ana: As the largest city in Orange County, Santa Ana is full of opportunities. Experience the local arts renaissance at the Grand Central Art Center and the downtown art walk, and check out the lowrider culture in the yearly No Man’s Land car show.
- Santa Maria: Surrounded by vineyards, Santa Maria is known for its wineries serving locally sourced pours. This charming city is also home to sprawling suburban neighborhoods, community parks, and a growing residential population.
- Santa Rosa: Found in the heart of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa certainly has a fantastic selection of wine, but visitors may be surprised to find that it’s also known for outstanding craft beer. In addition, you can enjoy the theater, public art, and natural wonders.
- Simi Valley: For a small-town feel, Simi Valley is the place to go. You’ll love this area for its golf courses, mountain views, and the 30-plus public parks scattered throughout its residential neighborhoods.
- Stockton: While most of Stockton is densely suburban, revitalization projects have added to this location’s metropolitan sophistication. Enjoy the many outdoor spaces with a picnic by the San Joaquin River.
- Tulare: Whether you visit for the World Ag Expo or for views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, you’ll love your time in Tulare. This community expertly blends its agricultural roots with modern suburban conveniences.
- Turlock: This desirable city, influenced by the surrounding farmland, offers an up-close look into agriculture at Pageo Lavender Farm and the annual Farms & Fields celebration. Turlock is also home to historical museums, art galleries, and an active downtown area.
- Victorville: Found in the western Mojave Desert, Victorville has an arid climate that’s met with bustling malls, theaters, a center for performing arts, and a long list of restaurants. For a break from the dry landscape, take a trip to Mojave Narrows Regional Park for its lush plant life and waterways.
- Visalia: The effortlessly charming city of Visalia offers a nature-oriented alternative to larger metropolitan cities. You’ll love Downtown Visalia for its sidewalk cafes, cozy boutiques, and farm-to-fork eateries.
- Walnut Creek: Relaxation is the name of the game in Walnut Creek. This location is a popular spot for Bay Area retirees, as well as those who enjoy breathtaking outdoor spaces, quality cuisine, and varied cultural attractions.
- West Covina: This L.A. suburb is perfect for families, with a wide range of housing options and retail centers. Those with an active lifestyle will enjoy West Covina Sportsplex and the area’s community parks.
Need a California Car Accident Attorney?
Getting into a car accident is a scary and confusing matter. If you’re struggling to find help, consider seeking legal advice to help you manage the process of settling your claim.
Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information, but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.