Uncertainty, confusion, stress, all while in a state of injury, are expected feelings of what car accident victims may experience following a crash. When the insurance claims adjuster reaches out offering to compensate for immediate damages, the gesture may sound enticing. But…
Before accepting an offer, it would be in your best interest to consult with Los Angeles car accident attorneys first. The aftermath of car accidents is immensely challenging, especially when dealing with significant injuries and mounting bills for medical treatment.
Unfortunately, accident victims encounter unfair settlement offers that fall far short of their recovery needs. This is because the insurance companies prioritize their bottom line over a victim’s well-being, pressuring them to accept inadequate compensation.
Car accidents are overwhelming, but don’t let that be the reason you settle for less than what you deserve. Here is when to seek legal guidance to ensure you receive the resources necessary for an optimal recovery.
Examples of When to Call Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys
Due to regular road congestion and impacted freeways, car accidents in Southern California are a regular occurrence.
Some damages may initially appear insignificant but carry the potential to escalate and worsen with time. Here are some real-life scenarios of when car accident lawyers’ assistance may be necessary:
- Physical or emotional injuries are sustained: Harm that may initially appear minor can escalate, which is why potential future medical care costs must be considered.
- There is significant vehicle damage: This may involve dealing with repairs, totaled-car claims, or requiring transportation alternatives while the car is being repaired.
- Multiple parties are involved: Complexities arise when pedestrians, cyclists, or other drivers are involved, because more insurance companies will also be involved.
- Fault is disputed: Unclear or conflicting information from the at-fault party regarding the events of the car crash can result in the insurance company rejecting the car accident claim.
- Government involvement: Car accident cases involving a government vehicle, resulting from ill-maintained roads, or caused by any affiliation to a government entity will have a shorter statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim.
- Uninsured/underinsured drivers: Car accidents with drivers who do not have insurance or do not have expansive coverage will not be able to fully compensate for damages.
- Uncertainties about legal rights and options: Professional guidance on next steps and legal options is always recommended, especially for individuals who have never been in a car accident before.
- Insurance company not offering a fair settlement: If a case is undervalued, a Los Angeles car accident attorney will file a car accident lawsuit for maximum damages. Even before filing a lawsuit, some insurance companies will yield once legal representation is sought to avoid going to court.
What Are the Benefits Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys Provide?
Not all types of motor vehicle accidents will require legal assistance. However, it is always a good idea to consult with a car accident lawyer for an initial consultation to better understand whether your case requires representation. Professional legal representation offers many benefits for most car accident claims.
Partnering with a qualified lawyer after a car accident can significantly increase the chances of securing maximum compensation. In fact, studies indicate that 90% of cases that were handled by a personal injury attorney resulted in a settlement.
A case is as strong as its evidence to support the claim. An experienced car accident attorney possesses the knowledge to obtain all necessary documentation, like police reports and witness statements, to prove fault on the other party.
Additionally, experienced car accident lawyers will ensure all paperwork is completed accurately and submitted before the statute of limitations expires, safeguarding the car accident case. This also allows clients the opportunity to rest and focus on their recovery.
An experienced car accident lawyer plays a crucial role in analyzing evidence to establish a clear picture of negligence, which is necessary to build a compelling case. Securing fair compensation is based on demonstrating the at-fault party was “negligent.” This can be proven by demonstrating the four elements of negligence.
- Duty of Care: The defendant owed you a legal duty to act with a reasonable standard of care in the situation. This means there was a responsibility to behave cautiously and avoid causing harm to others. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant violated their duty of care by engaging in a reckless act. This could include speeding, driving under the influence, failing to yield the right of way, or texting while driving.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the accident. In other words, the accident wouldn’t have happened if the defendant hadn’t acted recklessly. This element often requires demonstrating a clear link between the defendant’s actions and the resulting damages and injuries.
- Damages: As a result of the accident, injuries, monetary losses, and other damages were suffered. These damages can be financial (medical bills, lost wages) or non-financial (pain and suffering, emotional distress).
Consulting with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer helps gather evidence, understand the legal nuances, and build a strong case to establish negligence and pursue fair compensation.
Common Car Accident Injuries That May Require Legal Services
A common misconception that often leaves victims left to pay their own medical bills is not seeking medical treatment because it is believed that their injuries are minor. Some injuries may worsen with time, which is why it’s important they are professionally diagnosed as soon as possible.
Additionally, trying to negotiate with an insurance company for medical expense reimbursement will be extremely challenging if medical attention is not immediately sought, as they can argue the injuries were sustained from an unrelated event.
The most common car accident injuries that a personal injury lawyer can help obtain compensation for include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Bone fractures
- Cuts and lacerations
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries or paralysis
- Back and neck injuries
- Permanent disabilities
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Wrongful death
Damages a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Can Recover
Experienced car accident attorneys can recover maximum compensation because they understand the true value of the cases they handle, considering all areas of impact with life-changing consequences.
Whereas, insurance companies only account for current financial losses, like medical bills and property damage.
Victims must be compensated for all forms of loss, including the hidden costs. There are actually various types of damages that car accident victims qualify for, including the following.
This refers to measurable financial losses with quantifiable costs directly tied to the car accident and typically documented with receipts, bills, and other invoices. Common examples include:
- Medical expenses: Doctor visits, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, therapy, and any other costs related to recovery
- Lost wages: Income that could not be earned due to being unable to work after the accident
- Vehicle repairs or replacement: Costs associated with fixing or replacing a damaged vehicle and can also include rental car costs
- Other out-of-pocket expenses: Other costs that resulted from the car crash, such as transportation costs, childcare, housekeeping assistance, and other accident-related expenses
This refers to intangible losses, based on subjective experiences that do not hold a monetary value but do possess a significant impact on the victim’s life and well-being. Common examples include:
- Pain and suffering: Physical and/or emotional pain, discomfort, or distress originating from the car accident
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Inability to participate in activities previously enjoyed due to current physical or emotional state
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Anxiety, depression, fear, and other forms of psychological impact interfering with everyday tasks
- Loss of consortium: Loss of intimacy, companionship, and support from a partner or loved one due to sustained injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement: Emotional and social impacts of visible injuries
Punitive damages differ from both economic losses (tangible financial losses) and non-economic (intangible losses like pain and suffering).
The intent is to punish the at-fault party for egregious conduct and to prevent similar future behavior. Examples of behavior that warrant punitive damages in a car accident case include:
- Intentional misconduct: Driving under the influence, street racing, or other deliberate actions exhibiting willful disregard for the safety of others
- Gross negligence: Reckless behavior exceeding simple carelessness, like speeding through a red light or ignoring other traffic laws
- Fraudulent actions: Intentionally providing false information or manipulating evidence related to the facts of the car accident
Important California Laws Regarding Car Accidents
Complex personal injury laws affect the outcome of car accident cases. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of these rules and regulations.
However, working with an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer clarifies these details and prevents missteps in the car accident claims process. Here are some of the most important laws to know.
California Car Accident Statute of Limitations
California car accident laws set a legal timeframe on how long an individual has to file a car accident injury claim against the party believed to be at fault.
Generally, motor vehicle accident victims have two years from the date of injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. This takes into account when the injuries were discovered, not the date of the actual car accidents.
Therefore, if injuries are not immediately apparent, the window to file a car accident claim starts from the date of discovery, or when it became known that the injury was connected to the crash.
Courts rarely grant exceptions to the statute of limitations. Missing this deadline can jeopardize the ability to pursue legal action and recover compensation. Consulting with car accident attorneys ensures these details are understood before it’s too late.
Car Insurance Policies in an At-Fault State
California adheres to a fault-based car insurance system, meaning the at-fault driver’s insurance is primarily responsible for compensating injured parties.
However, drivers are only required to carry minimum liability coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $5,000 for property damage, per California Insurance Code §11580.1b. This can be problematic if damages exceed the policy’s maximum amount, leaving victims left with the remaining bills.
Additionally, more than one party can be liable for damages. After a crash, an injured individual typically files a car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
However, car accident cases involving multiple at-fault parties can take longer to resolve, as each car insurance provider will work to push the majority of fault on each other.
Understanding this system and available options is crucial to maximize recovery. Consulting with Los Angeles car accident lawyers will help navigate the complexities of fault-based insurance to determine the best course of action.
When the Plaintiff Is Also At Fault
Liability laws in California follow pure comparative negligence. This means that if the plaintiff shares a degree of fault, financial recovery is still available but at a decreased rate.
Compensation is reduced based on the percentage of deemed fault. For example, a plaintiff who is found 40% responsible for causing a car crash will only receive 60% of the financial award.
However, an insurance company will put forth every effort to pin as much blame on the plaintiff as possible, making representation from a law firm a necessity. A car accident lawyer will construct a strong strategy to maximize compensation, even if fault is shared.
Not Sure if It’s Time to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?
At Angeleno Accident Lawyers, our car accident attorneys empathize with the physical, emotional, and financial difficulties car crashes can cause to victims. It is our goal to make this process as simple as possible.
Understandably, there is concern surrounding the costs of hiring legal counsel. This is why we offer our services on contingency, meaning no upfront fees and no collected fees unless the case results in a win.
Additionally, we offer a 100% free consultation to all prospective clients. This allows you to ask any clarifying questions, while allowing us to offer more insight into your situation and potential settlement.
When you are ready, please schedule an appointment with one of our Los Angeles car accident attorneys today.