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Car Accident Attorney Los Angeles
There are few places across the US where the roadways are as congested as sunny Los Angeles. Trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles and more clog up highways as residents scramble for their morning commute or to run daily errands.
Yet despite how commonplace it is to hop in our vehicles and hit the road, we often forget just how dangerous everyday driving can be and the devastating impact an auto accident can have on our lives.
In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an auto accident results in a fatality every 12-15 minutes, while also resulting in over 2.5 million injuries each and every year.
As if that wasn’t scary enough, of those injured, nearly half are left with permanent, life-altering debilitative conditions such as paralysis, amputation, orthopedic issues, brain damage and more.
All of which inevitably lead to emotional, physical and financial stress and suffering.
Los Angeles Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been impacted by the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident as a passenger, driver or pedestrian, its critical that you seek out the counsel and legal representation of a qualified and reputable law firm.
Ideally, you’ll want to seek out those firms with a talented team comprised of the following types of accident attorneys:
- Los Angeles vehicle accident lawyer
- Motorcycle accident lawyer Los Angeles
- Truck accident lawyer Los Angeles
You need a legal advocate in your corner that knows the ins and outs and local customs of the L.A. court system, as well as the experience and documented track record of helping their clients get the compensation and justice deserved.
As a leading L.A. law firm, The Capital Law Firm is dedicated to delivering exceptional support, advocacy and a steadfast commitment to obtain the most favorable outcome for every client.
Our reputation for excellence and results is a direct reflection of the integrity and principles we stand up for in and out of the courtroom. We have a true passion for helping our clients achieve justice and get the compensation they need to help them through what is often one of the most troubling times in their lives.
How Can Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers Help Me?
Every year thousands of individuals in the state of California find themselves in the unfortunate position of being involved in a motorcycle accident, truck accident or car accident. No matter how safely you drive, you can’t control the actions of others, putting you at risk every time you hit the roadways.
Motor vehicle accident victims facing the challenge of personal injury claims in the wake of a car crash are often confronted with a difficult legal process full of red tape, hard to understand legalese, and overzealous insurance companies looking out for their bottom line, not the victim’s best interests.
A personal injury attorney such as The Capital Law Firm can take the weight of legal proceedings and paperwork off of your shoulders, allowing you to focus on what matters most: recovery, self, and family.
What our Accident Attorney’s can do for You
Going through a vehicular accident can be one of the most traumatizing experiences of your life. It can often lead to both short and long term severe physical, emotional and financial distress. During this time you need a personal injury law firm in your corner, advocating fiercely to get you the compensation you deserve.
Our Team Will:
- Handle negotiations and mediation
- Prep, lead and handle a trial if necessary
- Document proof of your pain and suffering
- Gather supportive evidence in your favor
- Uncover any liable parties
- Navigate the nuanced court procedures
- Leverage our vast resources to fight for your case
- Advice and counsel on the proper course of action
- Advocate and fight fiercely for maximum compensation
- And more…
Most of all, we treat you like family. We know firsthand how difficult of an experience this can be to go through, all on top of handling injuries (or worse), time off work and mounting legal and medical bills. This is why we work at no cost until the point at which we win your case. If we don’t win you a settlement or compensation in or out of court you don’t pay. Simple as that. We’re here to make your life circumstances better off, not worse.
Remember, it is quite common for insurance adjusters and other liable parties to “rush” to offer a quick settlement, hoping the victimized party will take the “quick cash” payout…a payout that is often much lower than deserved.
What many injured parties don’t realize, is that once that offer is accepted, they (sometimes unknowingly) sign away their rights to any future compensation or litigation against that party. This is why it is always advisable to have a PI attorney review your case before making any decisions.
How Long do I have to File an Auto Accident Claim in California?
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, you have limited time to file a claim against allegedly liable parties. According to state law in California, if you don’t act fast, you may miss the window of opportunity to get the compensation you deserve.
We all think we have enough time, but dealing with injuries and the aftermath of a car wreck can quickly consume your life, and before you know it, the time to file a claim can lapse, leaving you and your family without legal recourse.
Statute of Limitations
According to California law, there is a statute of limitations for a victim of a car accident to file a claim. Statute of limitations refers to a prescribed limit of time during which a victim can file a lawsuit for damages, harm or loss. This limitation of time depends on the type of suit filed.
California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1 defines a two (2) year statute of limitations to file an action or claim related to the death of or injury to an individual as a result of the wrongful neglect, negligence or action of another party.
When Does the Clock Start Ticking?
If you or a loved one are or were an individual passenger, driver, pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcycle rider involved in an accident or crash that resulted in injury, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. However, if the accident resulted in a death, and you wish to bring a “wrongful death case” against another party, the “click” for the statute of limitations begins on the date of the individual’s death (not the date of the accident).
What About Claims for Damage to the Vehicle?
In the event that damages were only to the vehicle itself, the California Code of Civil Procedure 338 provides you with up to three (3) years to file a case against the responsible party.
What You Should do After an Accident in California?
The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be hectic, stressful and traumatizing. This makes it hard to focus on aspects that may help your case (if you need to file one) in the future. As a general rule of thumb, an overreaching goal should be to obtain and document as much information as possible.
Key Information You Should Obtain Immediately Following a Car Wreck:
- Contact and license information of the other driver. This includes a full legal name, home address, phone number, and even email.
- The other driver’s insurance company information and insurance policy. If they have a designated insurance representative, get their name and contact information as well to coordinate.
- The license plate number of all other involved vehicles
- Take detailed pictures from different angles of the accident (you can never have too many). If your phone is capable, consider video as well.
- Write down as much information about the accident itself, what circumstances led to it, and more. Include: where it happened (i.e. the exact intersection), what lane each driver was in, the direction each driver was headed, the speed each was traveling, the weather conditions, actions or inactions of you and others in a “play by play” leading up to the accident. And any other relevant details you can think of.
- Locate any potential witnesses. If they viewed the accident, ask for their contact information. Even if they don’t speak English get their information. Our law firm will hire multi-lingual investigators on your behalf.
- Call the police. You’ll need a formal police report on file to prove your case. DO NOT admit to anything incorrect or inaccurate either on a written or as part of a verbal statement. In the event that you do not know or are unsure of an answer to a question, simply state “I don’t know” or “I’ll need to think about that and get back to you”.
After Leaving the Scene, Seek IMMEDIATE Medical Attention
One of the worst things you can do, even if you feel fine at the moment, is to avoid seeking immediate medical help. Adrenaline has been known to mask the symptoms and signs of physical trauma, and priority number one should be making sure you are ok.
Further, the more time you wait to seek treatment, the worse of a position you put yourself in should you need to file a claim or suit against another liable party. Postponing medical evaluation and potential treatment can provide the other party with “ammunition” to use in negotiations and court proceedings.
For Example, They Could Claim:
- That your injury was sustained in an unrelated incident that happened AFTER the car accident.
- That your injury was “less severe” than you claim
- That your injury had less of a negative impact on your life and day to day than you claim
Not seeking medical help as soon as possible is a key indication to others (such as an insurance company, judge or jury) that the effects of that accident were not as serious as you are claiming
How to File for a Car Accident Claim in California
In the event that the accident involved an injury, death, or property damaged in excess of $1,000, you need to notify the California DMV within 10 days of the accident.
NOTE: Reporting the accident to either your DMV or your insurer is NOT the same as filing a claim or suing for damages.
Is a Lawyer Required to File a Claim?
The law does not require that you obtain legal counsel in order to file a claim or suit. However, given the complexity of the legal system, and the fact that the opposing party will no doubt have legal representation, going at it alone is not recommended.
Insurance adjusters are professionals trained in dealing with claims on a daily basis. They are well-versed in the tactics needed to “scare” or push an individual into a settlement that may not be in their best interests. Remember, they work for the insurance company, not you.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate the system and strengthen the position of your case while expertly negotiating for a larger settlement. If need be we’ll take your case to court where we’ll fight vigorously to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
What if I Don’t Have Insurance?
Presuming you were the victim/innocent party involved, you are still able to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider. However, an experienced California accident lawyer may be your best bet in getting them to take you seriously.
What Should I Look for When Picking a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer?
Choosing the right auto accident attorney in Los Angeles can mean the difference between winning the type of settlement you and your family deserve, or worst case, losing your case altogether.
At The Capital Law Firm, we treat each client’s case as if it was our most important, because to us you are priority number one. The law firm you choose should be attentive to your needs, be respectful of your time, provide clear and consistent communication and updates, and be there for you when you need them.
Compassion, understanding, and support are key components of our law firm. But its equally as critical that you have voracious accident attorneys that will fight aggressively on your behalf. Remember, insurance companies have an interest in paying out as little as possible to protect their bottom line. If you give them an inch insurance companies will no doubt take a mile. You simply can’t afford to hire a team not willing to put it all on the line and fight vigorously on your behalf.
What to Look for When Looking for Accident Attorneys in L.A.
- Demonstrated track record of successful client outcomes
- Positive ratings, feedback, and reviews from prior clients
- Experience in local laws and customs
- Experience dealing with personal injury cases
- Good communication
- Respectful, empathetic and compassionate demeanor
- Willing to answer all of your questions
- An honest assessment of your potential case or claim
- Availability for calls, in-office appointments and/or home visits
- A clear strategy and path towards compensation
- Realistic timelines/timetables
What Should You Prepare for Your Meeting with a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney?
Calling The Capital Law Firm is the first step towards justice and the path towards compensation owed. Our firm has helped accident victims get awarded millions of dollars in compensation both in and outside of the courtroom.
But before you pick up the phone it is prudent to have some basic information on hand that our firm, or any that trial lawyers would ask about your prospective case.
Questions You Should be Prepared to Answer Include:
- Where did the accident or crash occur?
- Were you able to obtain the contact information of other involved parties?
- Were there witnesses to the accident and do you have their contact information?
- Can you detail the events leading up to and including how the accident happened? (i.e. who did what, what lanes were each driving in, the direction of traffic, speeds, weather, etc.).
- Were there any other notable circumstances that may have caused the crash? Such as a defective brake or steering system, distraction with a cell phone or from other passengers, etc.
- Were you able to collect information regarding the other party’s insurance?
- Did you call the police and did you file a report?
- Did you document the crash with photos and/or video and can you provide those to us?
- What types of injuries were sustained in the crash? Have you sought out medical treatment? What was the diagnosis/prognosis?
- Have you experienced any other trauma, damages or losses such as emotional distress, anxiety, depression, loss of work/wages, etc.?
- What type of damages did your vehicle sustain? Have you had the damage assessed by a mechanic?
Proving Negligence in California
As previously mentioned, suits or claims can be filed against those allegedly at fault for causing a motor vehicle accident. However, in order to file a successful claim, you must be able to demonstrate negligence.
In Order to Prove Negligence, you Must Demonstrate:
- That the other party or parties had a responsibility or duty to operate their vehicle in a safe manner,
- That other party breached such a duty,
- That the actions (or inaction) of the other party was directly or indirectly responsible for the accident; and
- That the accident itself caused you direct injury and/or monetary loss
California – an “At Fault” State
For the purposes of claims related to driving incidents and insurance, the state of California is known as an “at fault” state. In lay terms, this means that the other driver must be found responsible in order for you to pursue a claim.
Further, those accidents occurring within the state are under the governance of “comparative negligence law”. As such, if your actions contributed directly or indirectly to the accident in any manner, the amount of compensation you may be able to recover could be reduced by whatever percentage of the accident is deemed to have been your fault vs. the other party.
What if n Government Agency or Municipality is at Fault?
There may also be situations where an accident was the cause of defects in the roadway itself, the median, curb or even faulty or inoperable traffic signals. In such cases, the liable party may be a state, county or city agency. If you feel like a local governmental or other agency is responsible, you are required to file a “notice of claim” with the appropriate agency within a period of no greater than six (6) months from the date of the alleged injury.
What if the Accident was Due to Mechanical Failure?
In some cases, auto accidents are the fault of neither party in the wreck, but rather the result of mechanical defects leading to failure of operation. In these instances, a product liability lawsuit may be the proper course of action against either the automaker, parts manufacturer or distributor.
Facts About L.A. Motor Vehicle Accidents
Why are There so Many Accidents in L.A.?
The majority of vehicular crashes are due to the result of human error including but not limited to:
- Driving over the speed limit
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Driving while sleep-deprived
- Defective vehicle parts
- Reckless driving
- Failing to adhere to traffic signals
- Road construction
- Poor weather conditions
- Teen/inexperienced driving
Most Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Collisions and vehicular wrecks, from motorcycle accidents to semi-truck crashes result in a broad range of injuries. Below are some of the most common injuries experienced:
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bruising and tissue damage
The end result of many of these injuries is a lifetime of suffering and debilitation. Traumatic brain injuries, paraplegia, and other conditions require ongoing care, support and medical attention. This can put a serious emotional and financial burden on any individual or family. Yet another reason why seeking compensation is so important.
Top 5 Most Dangerous Los Angeles Freeways
- Sierra Highway – Santa Clarita Valley
- I-405 in Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys
- I-5 Golden State Freeway
- Route 57
- State Route 118 / Ronald Regan Freeway
Top 5 Most Dangerous Intersections in L.A. For Hit and Run Accidents
- Van Nuys Boulevard and Roscoe Boulevard
- S. Figueroa Street and W. Manchester Ave
- S. Vermont Avenue and W. 3rd Street
- Sepulveda Blvd and Burbank Blvd.
- S. Western Avenue and W. Florence Ave.
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Disclaimer: This site contains general information only. It is not intended to provide legal advice, nor does it substitute for the professional judgment of The CAPITAL Law Firm concerning the facts and the laws that apply in your individual case.
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