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Everything You Should Know If You’re Injured in a Los Angeles Car Crash: Insight From the Best Car Accident Injury Lawyers

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 multiple drivers, is often the culprit in the majority of all car accidents. However,  it is possible for more than one driver to share liability for causing an accident. Also, many car accidents are not caused by negligence at all, but by defective car parts, poorly maintained roads, or inclement weather

A car accident victim may be entitled to compensatory damages for:

1) Determining Liability

Determining liability after a car accident in the state of California can be a complex process, especially when multiple parties are involved, but this determination is generally based on negligence by a driver. 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. However, there are instances when negligence will not play a factor, such as when poor road maintenance causes an accident. 

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. All drivers must drive safely. 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 negligence directly caused your injuries. The legal standard for negligence in the state of California will consider the following three elements:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
  • The defendant breached his or her duty of care through negligence, and 
  • The defendant’s negligence was the primary cause of the injuries sustained.

2) Shared Liability

It is possible for more than one individual to be held liable for causing a collision. California is a comparative negligence 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. 

For example: Let’s imagine that Ana is driving a car with faulty brakes. The brakes on Ana’s car can bring it to a stop, but they sometimes delay in doing so. Ana realizes there is a risk in driving this car, but she does so anyway. 

While on the freeway, Ana is driving behind Carl, who is driving a brand new van. Carl is very excited about his new car and its navigation system. Due to his excitement, Carl spends a little too much time looking at his dashboard and doesn’t notice that traffic has come to a halt. Carl slams on the brakes and is fortunately able to stop in time. 

However, Ana is unable to avoid colliding with Carl because her brakes are not working properly. In this example, both drivers are partially responsible for the accident, regardless of injuries or property loss sustained. Ana was negligent by driving an unsafe vehicle, and Carl was negligent for driving while distracted.

Therefore, liability will be divided according to each individual’s negligence. As mentioned, damages will also be divided according to each individual’s degree of liability. 

3)Available Damages After A Car Collision

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:

Punitive Damages *

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 or behaved in a particularly egregious manner, such as driving under the influence or after a hit and run.

4) What If I’m Involved In A Collision With An Uninsured Motorist?

If you were involved in an automobile accident and the party at fault doesn’t have insurance or has insufficient coverage, you may be able to receive 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 limit 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 or 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.

5) What Can A Car Accident Lawyer Do For 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 file a claim 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. It is also important to understand that there are times when it is better not to file a claim. 

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. 

6) Types Of Car Accidents

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: 

  • Accidents Caused By Speeding 
    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 their  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

  • Accidents Caused By Distracted Driving 
    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. 

  • Accidents Caused By Drunk Driving 
    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 a victim would be entitled to. They are intended to punish a defendant for their reckless behavior.

  • Accidents Caused By Aggressive Driving 
    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 goes beyond simple negligence.

  • Accidents Caused By Inexperienced Drivers 
    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 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.
  • Accidents Caused By Drug Impaired Drivers 
    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.

  • Accidents Caused By Drowsy Driving 
    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 Collisions 
    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. 

  • Rear-End Collisions 
    A rear-end collision is a collision in which one car hits the back of another. These types of crashes, while rarely deadly, can 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 severely at first.

  • Head-On Collisions 
    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. 

  • Side-Impact Collisions 
    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 Collisions 
    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.

  • Rental Car Accidents 
    Accidents can happen under even the most unideal of circumstances, like while driving a rental car during a vacation. If you are the driver at fault in an accident involving a car you were driving as a rented vehicle, know that you will only have the damages covered for which you purchased rental insurance or if you purchased a premium on your personal car insurance that covers rental cars. If you are not the driver at fault of the accident, the other driver’s insurance company will have to cover your damages.

7) Insurance Claims And More

Below, our car accident attorneys have curated several articles discussing various scenarios relating to insurance claims:

  • How Can I Stop My Car Insurance From Increasing? 
    A simple way to control your insurance rates is to manage your driving behavior. Driving safely and avoiding accidents can create a positive impact on your driving record, thus affecting your premiums on a long-term basis.
  • Car Accident Recovery Tips
    Car Accident Property Damage Settlement Guide
    Property damage and personal injury are considered separate issues. Property damage refers to the destruction of a personal estate by means of another’s negligence or voluntary behavior.
  • No-Fault Car Accidents 
    In most cases, the court decides who is at fault and the guilty party’s insurance is usually responsible for the damages. However, what if unpredictable conditions, such as a deer in the road or harsh weather, cause your vehicle to swerve off the road and damage someone else’s property?
  • Car Accident -- No Insurance, No Police

    When the amount of cars on the roads increase, the chances of you getting into a car accident  increase as well. Though having car insurance is required by law, some drivers may be negligent or confused about Los Angeles car and car insurance laws.
  • Car Insurance Laws For New Los Angeles Residents 
    When combined with the 39.56 million already living here and the thousands that drive to work everyday, the state of California has established a strict set of guidelines to regulate commuter and pedestrian safety. If you’re moving to Los Angeles and plan on bringing your car with you, you may have questions about how you can legally operate your vehicle on the road.
  • Legal Guide To Owning A Classic Or Custom Car In California  
    Auto enthusiasts tend to drive more safely when in their custom cars to preserve the vehicle's condition and value. Combined with the average amount of vehicle coverage, classic cars often receive several perks.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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