Personal Injury Firm in Los Angeles
Millions of Americans are injured every year in motor vehicle accidents and thousands more are killed. Those who do survive are often left to deal with various forms of injury, including permanent disabilities such as brain damage and spinal cord injuries.
Some form of negligence on behalf of one, or both drivers, is often the culprit in the majority of all car accidents. However, that will not always be the case. It is entirely possible for more than one driver to share liability for causing an accident. Also, many car accidents are not caused by driver negligence at all, but by defective car parts or poorly maintained roads.
A car accident victim may be entitled to compensatory damages for
Determining liability after a car accident in the state of California can be a complex process, especially when multiple parties are involved, but it is generally based on negligence. This means that the driver who caused harm to another will typically be held liable for any injuries sustained, as well as the resulting damages.
As it relates to car accidents, negligence is usually some form of careless or reckless behavior. Common examples of driver negligence include:
Negligent behavior is unacceptable. Every driver has a duty of care while behind the wheel. This means that all drivers are legally responsible for using reasonable care while operating a vehicle. They must also be mindful of pedestrians and road conditions, as well as maintain control of their vehicle.
If you were injured by another driver, you must be able to show that the other party’s negligence directly caused your injuries. The legal standard for negligence in the state of California will consider the following three elements:
It is possible for more than one individual to be held liable for causing a collision. California is a comparative liability state, which means that more than one party may be found liable for causing a car accident. Therefore, liability can be divided based on the degree of fault. Damages are also divided based on the share of fault. Finally, any available damages will be reduced depending on a driver’s individual degree of fault.
If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver, you have the right to obtain compensation for your losses. Car accident victims may be entitled to damages for:
Depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded on top of the normal compensatory damages you may already be entitled to. Punitive damages are only awarded when the defendant deliberately tried to cause a plaintiff harm.
If you were involved in an automobile accident and the at fault party doesn’t have insurance or has insufficient coverage, you may be able to recover compensation from your own insurance carrier if you purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
In the state of California, all automobile insurance companies are required to offer uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to their policyholders. In many situations, the amount of coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists will be equal to the liability limits of your auto policy.
For example, if you had a $50,000 underinsured/uninsured motorist policy you would be entitled to collect the full $25,000 difference from your insurance carrier along with $25,000 from the insurance carrier for the at-fault driver. If your underinsured/uninsured policy limit was $30,000, you would first collect $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s policy and then only be able to collect $5,000 from your own carrier.
However, if you have not purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may still be able to recover damages. An experienced Los Angeles auto accident attorney can help explain other options for you to recover the damages owed to you.
Trying to handle a car accident claim on your own will not only get you less money than you deserve, but it is more stressful than you may think. The insurance companies are not on your side. They are trained to pay car accident victims less than what they deserve.Their success is entirely dependent on making money by paying you less than what they collect in premiums.
Our experienced team of Los Angeles car accident attorneys will take care of everything for you. We will deal with the insurance companies, help with your medical treatment, take care of all the paperwork, build a strong case in your favor, and help you settle for the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
If necessary, we are prepared to go to trial and we will not stop fighting until we recover all the compensation you are entitled to.
There are several types of car accidents that can be caused by different circumstances. Below is a list of the most common types of car accidents:
The faster a car is moving, the more energy and time it takes to bring it to a complete stop. Driving at high speeds increases the likelihood that a driver will lose control of his or her vehicle. Traveling at excessive speeds reduces driver reaction time and the ability to adapt to unexpected changes in traffic or emergencies, which can easily lead to horrific injuries. Due to the reckless nature of speeding, injuries caused by a speeding driver may also qualify for punitive damages.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that, on average, nine people are killed every day in the United States because of a distracted driver. Despite what some drivers may believe, you cannot drive safely unless you’re completely focused on the task of driving. The most common and dangerous example of distracted driving is texting.
On average, it takes about five seconds to send or read a text. That’s five seconds during which your eyes are not focused on the road. If you’re driving on the freeway at the reasonable speed of 55 mph, that’s comparable to closing your eyes while driving across the entire length of a football field.
Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol is reckless and a serious criminal offense. Along with speeding, driving while under the influence of alcohol is particularly destructive and very dangerous. Being convicted of a DUI charge will often carry punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded on top of the normal damages for medical expenses and property loss and are intended to punish a defendant for their reckless behavior.
In California, aggressive behavior, sometimes known as road rage, has been added to the list of behaviors which are now included in the state’s reckless behavior laws. A reckless behavior is an action which lacks an intention to cause harm, but which nevertheless still goes beyond simple negligence.
Accidents caused by inexperienced drivers tend to be catastrophic. Consider the fact that people in the 15-19 age group account for only 7% of the U.S. population, yet they account for 11% of all motor vehicle injuries in the country. On average, teen related car crashes account for $13.6 billion (8.4%) of the accumulated costs of all motor vehicle injuries in the United States.
Alcohol is the most common intoxicant involved in substance impaired car crashes, but marijuana is the second most commonly found drug in blood tests conducted on drug impaired drivers. Given how common marijuana use has become in the state of California, it’s important to understand its effects. Marijuana may create delays in reaction times, affect one’s perception of time and space, and reduce muscle coordination.
Drowsy driving is a dangerous blend of driving while sleepy or fatigued. A driver who sleeps for only five to six hours doubles their risk of being involved in a serious car crash, in comparison to someone who has enjoyed seven hours of sleep or more.
Crash rates increase with the less sleep a person gets. Drivers who sleep for only four to five hours have the same risk of being involved in a collision as a drunk driver.
Multi-car accidents often result in multiple claims and can become contested, drawn out affairs. There’s no real standardized method for assigning liability in these types of collisions. Sometimes, one driver will be deemed 100% responsible, but multiple drivers may also share responsibility. An experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney can help you understand liability as it applies to multi-car collisions.
A rear-end collision is a collision in which one car hits the back of another. These types of crashes, while rarely deadly, still cause serious injuries and significant loss of property. Rear-end crashes, while seemingly minor, often result in painful neck or back injuries. Injuries as a result of a rear end collision may not manifest themselves immediately, or in severe ways either.
Head-on collisions often occur as a result of mechanical failure or a driver’s negligence, such as when a driver ends up on the wrong side of the road, is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or is distracted. The impact of a head-on collision is more severe than in other types of car accidents, and the accumulated costs of medical care associated with treating subsequent injuries will likely be extreme. Head-on collisions often involve punitive damages.
A car that is struck in a side-impact collision is completely vulnerable to being impacted with brutal force and has literally nothing to protect itself, or the driver inside, from an oncoming vehicle. The potential for horrific injuries, especially if there are high speeds involved, is very high and nearly guaranteed in a side-impact collision.
Side-swipe accidents almost always happen when two vehicles travelling in a parallel manner — whether in the same or opposite direction — make contact with the side of one another’s vehicle. Side-swipe accidents are more or less universally associated with either an intentional or unintentional lane change. In the worst cases, an intentional lane change can be deliberate or reckless in nature.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of another driver’s carelessness, you have the right to hold that driver responsible. An auto accident attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering from your injury.