There are many different ways to be injured in a car accident. Different types of car accidents present different legal issues. Injury victims need to work with a skilled car accident claim lawyer who has experience handling your specific type of accident case.
The experienced car crash attorneys at our award-winning law firm have helped many injury victims across California get the compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses. Learn more about different types of car accidents and injury claims and how an injury lawyer can protect your important legal rights.
Distracted driving has quickly become one of the most serious public health risks facing road users across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over three thousand victims died due to distracted drivers in 2019. While texting and driving is a major cause of distraction, it is not the only risky behavior that leads to road deaths. Drivers can also be distracted by navigation programs, built-in entertainment systems, food and drink, pets, children, and many other things.
Anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the road increases the risk of an accident dramatically. Drivers must take personal responsibility for choosing to eliminate all distractions in the vehicle. Put your cell phone out of reach, and make use of its “do not disturb while driving” functions. Program your navigation program for your destination before putting the vehicle in motion.
Settle your pets or children before leaving so they are less likely to need your help while on the road. Parents should enforce rules that prevent their teen drivers from allowing themselves to be distracted, and passengers should speak up when a driver is operating their vehicle safely.
When accidents do occur due to distracted driving, it is important to hold these drivers accountable for their negligence. Doing so discourages the driver from engaging in dangerous driving behaviors in the future. It also sends a message to other drivers and lets them know that distracted driving has consequences.
Filing an insurance claim against a negligent driver protects your legal right to receive compensation for your injuries and losses. It also provides financial consequences to that driver to deter them from becoming distracted while driving in the future.
Some accidents are not any driver’s fault. Sometimes, vehicles have mechanical issues that result in accidents a driver cannot avoid, and the driver is therefore not legally at fault (“liable”) for causing the accident. Liability for equipment malfunctions can fall on a third party that was not even at the accident scene.
If, for example, a mechanic worked on your car and claimed that your braking system was safe, the mechanic might be liable for an accident that occurred when your brakes failed outside of their shop. Another common defendant in these cases is the company that manufactured the defective vehicle.
Companies that sell consumer products in the United States (including vehicles) must make them safe. When they are not, the company can be held liable for injuries caused by the defect. This accountability is why car companies voluntarily pay for costly recalls.
Often, it is cheaper to pay for repairs instead of paying injury claims for thousands of accidents caused by defective vehicles. It is not always clear exactly which company is liable for a mechanical malfunction that causes an accident. The uncertainty is why it is important to hire an injury lawyer who knows how to hire experts and prove complicated technical issues.
Truck accidents cause some of the most serious injuries of all traffic accidents, in large part because a heavy truck generates more force in a collision. The more force generated in a collision, the more serious a victim’s injuries are likely to be. A victim in a smaller vehicle or not inside a vehicle is at a serious disadvantage when struck by a heavy truck, which is why many truck accident injuries are fatal.
Even if a victim can survive a truck accident, the accident could leave them with catastrophic injuries that require a lifetime of care. Lost wages, in-home nursing care, medical treatment, and modifications to the home to make it accessible are all subject to compensation in a personal injury claim. An experienced truck accident lawyer will know how to prove the value of these future expenses to ensure that you receive fair compensation for them.
Car accidents also result in serious injuries when the victim is not inside a vehicle. Bicyclists and pedestrians can suffer serious injuries in a collision because a motor vehicle’s steel frame does not protect them.
By design, these frames crumple and absorb the impact of a collision, diverting the impact’s force away from the vehicle’s occupants and reducing the severity of their injuries. Bicyclists and pedestrians are also not protected by airbags or seat belts, which further reduce the risk of injury in a car accident.
Often a bicycle rider is only protected from the force of a violent collision by a helmet. Pedestrians do not even have this protection. Experienced bike accident lawyers and pedestrian injury attorneys understand the unique injuries that are likely to occur when a victim is not inside a vehicle.
Uber and Lyft have become incredibly popular all across California. These rideshare services allow for affordable and convenient travel, but as with any form of travel, they come with the risk of injury. New legal issues arise when a third party (such as a rideshare company) is involved in the injury claim process.
Even worse, these circumstances can jeopardize an injury victim’s legal rights. The more parties involved in a case often means there are more opportunities for the defendants to shift blame to one another, resulting in an injury victim left without compensation.
Rideshare services have also created new legal issues that injury cases must address. Are drivers employees of the organization or independent contractors? What does Uber’s commercial insurance policy cover? How is liability split between a third party and an Uber driver when both are partly at fault for an accident?
Courts have not yet settled these questions. They, too, can result in an injury victim left without the compensation that they legally deserve, especially if that victim does not have their attorney to protect this right. Arash Khorsandi’s team of experienced injury lawyers at Arash Law have handled many different accident cases involving Lyft and Uber. We will be sure that you have access to all the sources of compensation you are legally entitled to pay for your injuries and losses.
Unfortunately, not all car accident victims can survive their injuries. A resultant death does not mean that a negligent driver does not have to pay for the damage that they cause. The victim’s surviving family members (or legal heirs) have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent driver.
Individuals can also file wrongful death claims against third parties (such as a rideshare service or manufacturer of defective brakes) who are liable for the accident. These are difficult cases for family members to pursue.
They must relive the accident, and their losses, and their grief. They must talk about these losses to strangers in depositions and at trial. It can take months or even years to resolve a case. All of this can take a very real emotional toll.
It is, however, important to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. It is especially important to have accountability in serious cases where negligence resulted in unnecessary death. It can be difficult to pursue a wrongful death claim, but it also provides some small sense of closure for grieving family members. It also keeps the roads of California safer for everyone who uses them.
Our client was driving with his wife and son on a two-lane highway when a drunk driver crossed the double yellow lines, causing a head-on collision that claimed the life of a loving wife and mother.– Arash Khorsandi
Any time you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, your first priority should be getting to safety. Get out of the vehicle and find a safe spot on the side of the road that is far away from the flow of traffic. If you cannot leave the car, call 911 and let them know that you are trapped. They will send the proper equipment and responders right away.
Next, you need to take care of your medical needs. Let the emergency medical personnel on the scene evaluate your injuries and follow any of their recommendations. If you choose not to leave the scene in an ambulance, you should still visit an emergency department or an urgent care facility right away.
Even if you think you are not injured at all, it is always important to follow up with your primary care doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries may not start to show symptoms for days or weeks after an accident occurs. Only a qualified medical provider can determine the extent of your injuries. Whether you think you are injured or not, this documentation will be critical evidence in your personal injury claim.
Once you have addressed your medical needs, it is time to address your legal needs. Find an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Do not make any statements about the accident to the insurance company until you have retained a lawyer. Once the insurance company is notified of your attorney’s contact information, they can no longer contact you regarding the accident, which will protect you from inadvertently saying something that could be detrimental to your personal injury claim.
If your attorney files a lawsuit on your behalf, there is a chance that you might have to come to court. Before trial, there are status conferences to handle scheduling and other administrative matters. You usually will not have to speak at these conferences. If the attorneys disagree on the evidence that can be used at trial, the court might hold a hearing to determine whether the evidence can be admitted.
While this may sound overwhelming, it is essential to understand that very few personal injury cases ever go to trial. The vast majority of car accident cases in the United States settle outside of court. This fact makes it unlikely that you will have to go to court, but if you do, your attorney will thoroughly prepare you for what to expect and what will happen.
The law enforcement officers who respond to the scene have the responsibility to file a police report about the incident. This report is a critical piece of evidence. You usually can not get a police report unless the officers respond to the scene. The officers will take your statement about what happened. (While you should not discuss the accident with the other driver or bystanders on the scene, you should give your statement to the officers to be used in their official police report.)
If you have an auto accident attorney, you will not have to worry about filing a claim. Your attorney will handle the paperwork for you. He or she will also prevent you from saying something to the insurance company that could hurt your claim. If you choose to handle your case without an attorney, you will have to call the insurance company to file your claim.
The insurance company will rarely make a fair settlement offer on the first try. Instead, they will try to lowball you with an offer that does not fully compensate you for your pain and suffering. These methods are why it is crucial to be represented by an experienced car accident lawyer. A lawyer knows how to respond to lowball offers and then prove what the claim is truly worth.
If a fair settlement offer cannot be reached in negotiations, your lawyer might want to file a lawsuit on your behalf. In many cases, the mere fact that a lawsuit was filed is enough incentive to get the insurance company to raise its settlement offer. If not, the parties will engage in the discovery process, which involves investigating the case to find evidence that is then exchanged. Evidence found in discovery can also affect the insurance company’s settlement offer.
Unlike criminal defense or divorce lawyers, who charge an hourly rate, most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. Working on contingency means that they will be paid an agreed-upon percentage of any eventual settlement. If you don’t get paid, the attorney doesn’t get paid. If the attorney must file a lawsuit on your behalf, the work required on your case goes up dramatically. This fact is why most personal injury lawyers often take a higher percentage if a lawsuit is filed on your behalf. There will also be court costs and litigation expenses, so it is important to be clear on who will pay those fees if the case goes to trial.
The key thing to understand is that you can hire a personal injury lawyer with no upfront fees. Some injury victims do not get representation because they are worried about the cost. Not hiring a lawyer can lead to you hurting your claim. You might say something to the insurance company that leads them to believe you were at fault for the accident.
Surprisingly, the empty roads are riskier than before the pandemic caused by COVID-19. A news release by NSC shows that despite the decrease in driving and mileage of drivers, there has been an increase seen in a few places. The early data is indicating a 14 percent jump in year-over-year fatality rates per miles that were driven in March, despite an 8 percent drop in the total number of car accident deaths in March of the previous year.
Below are the states that have seen an increase in car accident deaths within the first 3 months of 2020.
The states listed below have seen decreases in the number of car accident deaths for the first three months this year.
Generally, big cars are considered safer than small cars. There are several important reasons for this. First, in a larger car versus light car crash, physics favors the more massive vehicle. Momentum is a product of mass and velocity.
Of course, large car versus small car safety is a far more complicated issue than which vehicle has more momentum in a collision. A vehicle's safety also considers its ability to withstand a crash, or even help the driver avoid an accident altogether. The driver's experience and comfort with the vehicle's features are also critical components of the safety equation.
When it comes to car accidents in California, it's almost always a good idea to get a personal injury attorney. It is commonly thought that a lawyer is not needed if the accident is minor and does not cause injury. But even a fender bender that seems insignificant can turn into a major headache without a car accident lawyer.
It is estimated that speeding alone led to over 10 thousand fatalities in the United States in 2016. In 2019, 2 million Americans suffered permanent injuries from a car accident. A California personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal mess that can be an unavoidable outcome of an accident.
Under California law, a car accident case involving speeding would be an easy case to show where negligence is indicated. California is an at-fault state, meaning whoever is at fault in a car accident bears most of the burden of responsibility, if not all of it. If you don't know this, you may try to negotiate your insurance claims. Doing this can quickly become a nightmare.
After an accident, you'll have to deal with the police, your insurance company, maybe someone else's insurance company, and the medical field. Sound daunting? It is! Dealing with these problems is what an experienced accident attorney can do for you. Contact a California personal injury attorney as soon as you can after a car accident.
You could undoubtedly hire an attorney, but not just any attorney will give you the results that you deserve. It's crucial to the success of your claim to hire someone with experience and knowledge. It should not be difficult to talk to them about the specifics of your case. Look for these requirements when hiring a California car accident lawyer near you:
In California, the law allows for what is referred to as the medical emergency defense, also known as the sudden emergency defense. This law is only applicable if the individual has an unforeseen and legitimate medical condition, and all of the following terms have been met:
This means that for the medical emergency defense to be used after an accident, it would need to be proven that the accident was the cause of a sudden health crisis that arose. The driver at fault acted reasonably as anyone else would have done. The driver at fault would have to provide detailed medical evidence that supports their unforeseen medical emergency occurred. Not all states have the same requirements for this law, but a driver that has suffered from a sudden medical emergency will often be burdened by showing proof that the conditions above were met.
While some physical effects of a crash can be visible right away (e.g., bruises, scars, and broken bones), others may not be noticeable immediately after the accident. Sometimes, high levels of shock and adrenaline after a car accident keep us from recognizing injury symptoms and may even mask the pain for hours. That is why it is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident to diagnose and document all of the injuries and physical damages.
In most cases, the aftereffects of a car accident can be divided into two categories:
A severe injury can have long-term emotional effects after an accident. Some of the psychological and emotional effects following a car crash can haunt an injured victim for years or even for the rest of their life. The emotional effects of a car accident include:
The quick answer to this question is yes, and no. California law stipulates that car insurance follows the car, not the driver. If anyone gets into a car accident in your vehicle, your car insurance will be involved. You will be held liable at some point. However, you may not be held entirely responsible, depending on the circumstance.
There are some situations where you won’t have to worry if another driver gets into an accident with your car. However, what you have to worry about may be different in every situation. Here are some examples of kinds of car crashes where your liability decreases:
If you are severely injured on the scene of an accident, it is easy to make the decision to go to the emergency department in an ambulance and get medical care right away. But it is more challenging to know what to do if your injuries don’t appear to be serious. Just because you were able to walk away from a car accident doesn’t mean you were not injured in the crash. It is essential to see a doctor to be sure that you did not suffer any latent injuries.
Beyond the medical concerns, there are also legal reasons to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your ability to be compensated – and the amount of compensation you receive – is determined by automated information about your injuries. While you will likely be in touch with a claims adjuster, most of the real insurance adjusting is done by a computer program that will be fed data about your accident and injuries. One crucial piece of data that could increase your odds of recovering fair compensation is whether you sought medical attention in a “reasonable” amount of time after the accident.
As with medical care, it is important to see a legal professional as soon as possible after an auto accident. Any statement you make on the scene or over the phone to the insurance company can be used to attack your claim. Insurance companies even go through victims’ social media accounts to try to find evidence that will contradict their story, or prove that they are not in as much pain as they say they are. An experienced California personal injury attorney can help you fight these insurance company tactics. The sooner you have a lawyer fighting for you, the better protected you will be.
Of course, you must first tend to your medical needs. See a doctor as soon as possible after an accident. Follow his or her recommendations and get the necessary rest. Then, meet with an auto accident lawyer as soon as you are able. Once the insurance company is notified that you have an attorney, they are not allowed to contact you about the accident. You will not have to deal with harassing phone calls or tedious paperwork.
Let our experienced car accident attorneys handle your legal claim so that you can focus on your recovery. You don’t need to wait until you are done with your medical treatment to meet with a lawyer. Sometimes, medical treatment can take months – or even years. Your legal rights are in jeopardy without a lawyer, so you do not want to wait. Find a lawyer as soon as you are medically stable and able to do so. He or she will help move your case forward while you are finishing your medical treatment.
A hit-and-run accident is a crime. The California Vehicle Code requires a driver to stop at the scene of an accident, even if it only involved property damage, and no one was injured. If a driver strikes you but does not stop, you are the victim of a crime. The driver is open to prosecution.
In addition to any criminal court charges, it is also important to hold these drivers accountable in civil court. All negligent drivers must be held accountable for the damage they cause, especially those who try to get out of this responsibility by running away.
You might wonder how your lawyer can find a hit-and-run driver to hold them accountable. The first step is to report the driver to law enforcement. Call 911 right away to report the hit and run accident. The sooner police can begin looking for the driver, the better chances they have of catching them.
Give them all the information you have: what the car looked like, the car’s direction of heading, and any passengers or unusual objects in the vehicle. Any description can help the police find the person who was responsible for hitting you. Even if they cannot find the driver, you might be entitled to compensation under your own auto insurance policy. Uninsured motorist coverage, medical payments, and other optional coverage can pay a policyholder for injuries caused by a hit-and-run driver.
Do not assume that you have no compensation options just because the police could not find the person who hit you. Always consult with your personal injury lawyer to be sure that someone on your side is investigating your legal right to compensation.
Drunk driving is also a crime, and victims are entitled to justice through the criminal court system. A victim advocate who works for the prosecutor’s office may approach you.
This person will help guide you through the criminal court process, advise you about your legal rights, and help connect you with the prosecutor working on your case. Criminal prosecutions are an important step in deterring drunk driving on the roads of California.
When victims help prosecutors by testifying, the case is stronger, and it is easier to process the case through the court system. It is important to understand the difference between your legal rights in the criminal court system and your legal rights in the civil court system. A criminal case’s goal is not to ensure injury victims receive compensation for losses caused by a drunk driver. The goal is to get a criminal conviction against the driver so that the state can impose consequences such as jail time and fines.
To receive compensation for their injuries, a drunk driving victim must usually file a civil claim against the drunk driver, which often begins with your injury lawyer opening a claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company. Your attorney will negotiate the claim’s value, and if the insurance company makes a fair settlement offer, the case can come to a resolution quickly. Your attorney might have to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver if their insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer.
The case might progress to trial, but this is not very common in drunk driving cases. Since the victim’s attorney could introduce evidence of the driver’s intoxication at trial and make it difficult to defend the case, the insurance company’s lawyers are generally wise enough not to let a drunk driving case go before a jury.