California Car Accident Guide

The California Car Accident Guide was created by our attorneys to help residents obtain maximum compensation from the negligent party. If you have been seriously injured in a crash, contact our office for a free consultation.

California Car Accident GuideIf you have been involved in a car accident in Los Angeles, know that you are not alone. In 2016, there were a total of 55,360 traffic accidents. This includes car, pedestrian, and motorcycle accidents. It is a staggering number of people. It seems that the number of accidents in L.A. has spiked over the years. If you were one of the many people who were seriously hurt due to someone else’s negligence please call Los Angeles car accident attorney Mindy Bish today.

Our experienced Newhall personal injury lawyers will make sure that the negligent party is held responsible and you receive full compensation for your injuries. When seriously injured in a crash, it is important to get in contact with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Our dedicated car accident lawyers are ready to help. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.

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Causes of Car Accidents

We know that everyone is in a big hurry to go nowhere especially in L.A. It is a city full of people who have business to attend to and there are some drivers who put other drivers’ safety at risk because they’re in a rush. Those drivers are usually the ones who cause the accidents.

The LAPD has data that reflects the fact that they have dramatically reduced the number of speeding tickets they have been giving over the past ten years. It is perhaps because their numbers have been focused on keeping crime at bay. While perhaps there has been a neglect to patrol our freeways, this may have contributed to the rise in traffic accidents.

The one true cause of these accidents, however, is unsafe drivers. Some common causes of car accidents in L.A. include:

  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating
  • Failure to merge or yield

Please note that if you were injured by a drunk or drugged driver, you may be able to collect punitive damages from that person as a punishment for their careless and malicious behavior. Everyone in this country knows that drunk driving kills, so if someone chooses to get behind the wheel drunk, they are fully aware of the possible consequences.

California Car Accident Compensation

Car Accident CompensationAs per the rules of pure comparative negligence that California abides by, you are able to collect compensation even if you were found to be at fault for the accident. Some states will cut you off at a certain percentage of fault, but pure comparative negligence allows you to be found at fault for any percentage of the accident and still be able to get compensation.

However, the drawback of this is if you were to be found 30% at fault and you were awarded $10,000, you would be barred from receiving 30% of that award. The compensation would be reduced to $7,000.

If you hire an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney, you don’t have to worry about your compensation being significantly reduced. They will fight the insurance companies for you and protect your rights and get you the most compensation possible for your claim.

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Importance of Contacting an Attorney

This is not the type of thing to try to go at alone. You may be seriously hurt and we want you to focus on healing, not trying to figure out ways to defend yourself. If you have not dedicated your education and career towards defending injured drivers, you won’t know the best way to handle the insurance companies or how to tell when they are offering you a fair settlement. We are here to take all the guesswork out of the equation and go for what we know is a full and fair compensation.

Getting to an attorney right away is very important for the success of your case. This is for two main reasons: we want to be able to collect evidence right away and start discovery for your case immediately. The longer you wait to start asking witnesses for statements, the fuzzier their memory will be and the less accurate their information will be. You want to get to these witnesses and see the scene as soon as possible. The sooner this all happens, the more helpful the information will be.

You also want to start your claim as soon as possible because you will be under a time constraint. There is something called the statute of limitations. That is the amount of time you get to bring a claim or settle a claim. In California, you have two years from the date of the accident to bring your claim or settle it. That might seem like a very long time, but once you start your healing process, and then get back into work and stress because you fell behind, and deal with normal life, time will have passed. If you don’t keep this claim on the front burner, you run the risk of forgetting. We suggest you make the call to us as soon as you are physically able to so we can go right to work for you.

Frequently Asked Car Accident Questions

What Are the First Steps After a Car Accident?

California Car Accident GuideThe first thing to do is get documentation of the incident, be it through a police report or photographs taken on a cell phone. It’s most important that the accident gets documented. After that, we generally have a period of time in which you seek treatment. After culmination of treatment, we usually begin the dialogue with the insurance companies or whoever is handling the claim on behalf of any municipalities or cities.

After that point, if we are presented with a reasonable offer, the client ultimately decides whether or not to proceed with the claim. If we are unsatisfied with an offer for settlement, we will initiate litigation. Once we initiate litigation, which you began by filing a lawsuit, you begin what’s called the discovery phase of litigation, which is the formal exchange of information. It is at that point that your case is formally geared up for trial. In securing a trial lawyer from the outset of your case, you can guarantee, that your case is being geared up for trial from the very inception.

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What If I’m Seriously Hurt in an Accident?

There are three basic answers to that question. The first is to get yourself treated. Get the medical treatment that you need to make yourself feel better. I can’t stress the importance of that enough. Number two is to seek out an experienced personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney, preferably a trial attorney, will know how best to package your case and your claim to take it all the way to trial. When you get an attorney who’s taken cases such as yours to trial, you know that they would be best suited to handle your claim the best way.

A third aspect to the answer of that question is to start a paper trail and start the documentation of the incident as soon as possible. Whether it’s a slip and fall and reporting that incident to a manager, or it’s taking photos of damage to a vehicle, it’s important to get the ball rolling and document that stuff, and to get any witness information from anyone who may have seen the incident.

What Mistakes Should I Avoid?

There are two or three that come to mind. The first is probably minimizing your own injuries and suspecting that they’ll just go away over time and waiting too long to seek medical care. Another common mistake is when people do seek medical care, generally close in time to the incident, but they don’t follow through on their doctor’s advice, meaning a doctor may say, “Thanks for coming in. I need you to get x-rays. I’m going to recommend a round of physical therapy,” or “I’m going to recommend that you go see a chiropractor.” The mistake being you don’t get it done or you get it done much later in time than they should have been done.

Finally, another mistake that comes to mind is an injured victim thinking that they can handle the claim on their own without the advice or guidance of an experienced injury attorney. Car accident attorneys have experience, or very likely have experience, with the exact same claim that you’re walking in the door with. It’s a good idea to retain an experienced car accident attorney, preferably one who has experience taking cases like yours to trial.

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Who Will Pay My Medical Bills?

As a general matter, when you have been injured through no fault of your own, liability or acceptance of liability by the other side is the aspect that determines how your medical bills are going to be paid. Generally, it’s the other side who should be responsible for paying those medical bills.

Should I Deal with Insurance Companies?

My answer is always no. The reason you retain a lawyer is because that lawyer, in many ways, becomes your voice in advocating to the insurance company and, if it gets that far, to a jury of your peers. It’s never a good idea to speak to the insurance company unless and until you have to. We have found that any statements that are given prior to retention of a lawyer, or even after, can often be twisted and can be used to argue things that you never meant to assert in the first place.

What is Lost Wage Reimbursement?

We begin by documenting or providing documentation of how much you were making, and we compile an estimate of how much you lost as a result of your inability to work over a period of time. That documentation, be it W9s or documentation from your employer, is then sent over to the other side and that begins the wage loss reimbursement process.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured Motorist CoverageThe other day, we had a prospective new client come in and she had been involved in a car wreck with an uninsured driver, meaning there was an auto incident where she was injured through no fault of her own. The problem was the person that hit her did not have insurance. As a general matter, when you are seeking out insurance and when you are purchasing insurance, there is an additional coverage that you can purchase called, UM/UIM, which stands for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. That coverage, and the limits you get to decide effectively dictates or covers you for any incidents that you may be involved in with an uninsured driver. Therefore, if you are pursuing a claim against an uninsured driver, the first thing to do is to look to your own insurance policy and ascertain whether you have coverage for the incident.

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How Long Will My Case Last?

The answer to that is it depends. It depends, in large part, on the extent of your injuries. We don’t know the extent of your injuries unless and until you’re done treating. After treatment, once we have an idea what your injuries are, the case is poised to resolve. Now, whether it resolves then or soon after, or we have to take it to trial, you can rest assured that we will move your claim to resolution as quickly as possible.

How Long Do I Have to File?

It’s important to understand, first and foremost, that you should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney because there are multiple laws that govern how and when you should file your claim.

For example, if you are involved in a claim or an incident with what’s called a governmental entity, the statute of limitations to bring your claim is only six months. Alternatively, if you’re involved in an incident with a private citizen, you have up to two years to file your claim. The distinction between when to file a claim is pretty nuanced, and that is one of the main reasons why you want to seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

It’s important to understand that, at the very outset of your case, things are a little murky and it’s not exactly clear what the value of your case is, in large part, because the extent of your injuries aren’t clear yet. There’s a correlation between the value of your case and the extent of your injuries, which really doesn’t become clear until several months or maybe even a year or two after treatment begins.

Another aspect in the value of your case is how long your injuries have lasted. Have they lasted for a finite period of time? Have you had them for a long time and you anticipate, according to doctors’ treatment, that your injuries will continue on, either into the future or for the duration of your life? The question of “How do I determine my case value?” is multi-tiered, and it’s never clear right at the beginning.

It’s composed of your damages, and when we go to a court of law and we present your case in front of a jury, there are seven or eight different aspects of how the injury and subsequent treatment have impacted your life. It has to do with social context, with what’s called future earnings, with any professional issues in your ability to secure future income, and pain and suffering. That’s not an exhaustive list. I think there are nine or ten different categories of damages that ultimately will help us in answering the question of what the value of your claim is.

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Contact Our Office Today

If you need an experienced lawyer who will take on your car accident case in Los Angeles, please call Los Angeles car accident attorney Mindy Bish today. You will be in competent hands. Your recovery is our priority. Don’t let the insurance company jerk you around. Allow our experience to work to protect your rights. You are a priority to us. Please call us today.