In Los Angeles, automobiles represent more than just a mode of transportation. They are a way of life.
Perhaps the most striking visual of the Los Angeles metropolitan area is the image of the web of freeways that connect our city with the rest of Southern California. This is the image which people from around the world think of when they hear the name Los Angeles.
This transportation network is integral to us Angelenos… but it comes with a major downside which should not be ignored. When you are part of a car culture, you are also not too far away from car accidents.
In Los Angeles, car accidents are commonplace. You have almost certainly passed a crash site while driving to work or have seen one on the news. You likely know someone who has been involved in a car accident. Or you may have a personal experience of being in one.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is likely that you have a few questions:
These are urgent and pressing questions, and the answers can have a significant impact on not just your life, but also the lives and well being of your family members.
Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers have a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of car accident law, which stems from our significant experience in handling a variety of car accident cases. We provide top quality customer service as well as skilled and compassionate legal representation to our clients. Our results are a testament to our tenacity, resourcefulness and knowledge.
Please call us to find out how we can help you.
The actions you take and the decisions you make after a car accident can be critical to the outcome of your claim. Here are five crucial steps to take in the aftermath of a Los Angeles car accident.
The police report is typically available at the department a few days after the incident. It is important to get a signed copy for your records. If you are injured and unable to do this, your lawyer can help obtain the police report for you The report will have important details including date, time and location of the car accident as well as a narrative written by the officer containing his or her assessment of the incident. This may prove to be a valuable piece of evidence for you.
Your Los Angeles car accident lawyer can help preserve vital evidence by writing a spoliation letter to the relevant parties. This helps ensure that the evidence in a car accident case is not misplaced, lost or destroyed in the aftermath. It would also be a good idea to take photos and video footage at the crash scene showing the location and position of the vehicles. Obtain information from other parties involved including driver’s license, vehicle insurance details, license plate number, contact information, etc. If possible, talk to other people at the scene who may have witnessed the crash. These individuals may disperse soon after the accident, so it is vitally important to speak to them right away and get their contact information should you need to speak to them later. Eyewitness accounts are extremely valuable as they could help corroborate your statements throughout the case.
In any personal injury case, negligence is a major factor when it comes to establishing fault and liability. A vast majority of car accidents are caused by human error, carelessness or deliberate wrongdoing. Motorists have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely and owe a duty of care to everyone else, including their own passengers and all other road users. In order to receive compensation, plaintiffs or the injured victims in car accidents, may have to prove that the other party was negligent.
Here are just some of the most common causes of car accidents in Los Angeles involving negligence, which may result in injuries and/or fatalities:
Drunk or drugged driving: When a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, his or her judgment is compromised, which increases the risk of a car accident. When a driver causes a car accident while under the influence, he or she can be held financially responsible for the victim’s losses. However, the driver doesn’t have to be charged with driving under the influence for you to claim negligence. If he or she had been drinking and caused the accident, then that would amount to negligence.
Distracted driving: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a distraction as any activity that causes drivers to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, or their attention away from the act of driving. These distractions include such activities as eating, drinking, grooming, applying makeup, using a cell phone, fiddling with the radio or GPS or talking to a passenger, among others.
Drowsy driving: Not many drivers realize they are being negligent when they fall asleep at the wheel and cause an accident. Fatigued driving has the potential to cause catastrophic or even fatal crashes. Fatigued driving is extremely dangerous and being sleepy affects your ability to operate the vehicle safely. You are less likely to pay attention to the road. Your reaction times are likely to be slower. And your ability to make good decisions may be seriously compromised. Drowsy driving amounts to negligent driving, and fatigued drivers can be held liable for the car accidents they cause.
Violating rules of the road: As drivers, we have a legal obligation to follow the rules of the road including stopping for red lights and stop signs, yielding the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians, making safe turns and lane changes, observing the speed limit, and so forth. When drivers intentionally or inadvertently break these rules and cause an accident, they can be held financially responsible for the resulting injuries and losses.
Defective autos: There are also a number of cases where a defective vehicle or part may cause or contribute to a car accident. In such cases, the automaker or the manufacturer of the defective part can be held accountable for the injuries, damages and losses caused.
The value or worth of your claim will depend largely on the nature and extent of your injuries and the degree to which the defendant was negligent. Every car accident case is unique and there is no clear-cut formula to determine the worth of your case. However, here are some of the factors you may take into account when you calculate damages.
Vehicle damage: Your insurance company will make an assessment of the damages to your vehicle. This is something that will likely be included in your car accident claim. You will be able to seek reimbursement for any repairs that were done on your vehicle or, if your car was totaled, the cost of a replacement vehicle.
Medical expenses: You may seek compensation for all medical expenses including ambulance transportation, emergency room costs, hospital visits, surgery, cost of medication, medical equipment, and more. You can also seek compensation for any type of ongoing rehabilitative therapy you may need to recover completely such as physical therapy or chiropractic care.
Lost income: This includes any wages or income and benefits you may have lost as a result of your injuries. You may also include lost earning capacity or loss of livelihood. This is often the case where victims have suffered catastrophic injuries such as amputations, paralysis or traumatic brain injuries and are unable to return to work or earn a livelihood.
Pain and suffering: These are known as non-economic losses or damages that cannot be easily quantified. This includes compensation for the physical pain and discomfort you experience after the accident, as well as emotional suffering. Many car accident victims suffer from psychological issues such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
An experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer can help you document all your losses and assist you with determining the value or worth of your claim. It is also crucial that you don’t sign any documents or enter into agreements without consulting your lawyer. Doing so might jeopardize your ability to seek full compensation for all your losses. In serious injury cases, it might take several months for a complete picture to emerge. If you rush into a settlement with the insurance company, your case will be closed and you may not be able to seek any further compensation.
The importance of hiring of a knowledgeable and skilled Los Angeles car accident lawyer cannot be overstated, especially in cases where victims have suffered serious injuries or have lost a loved one. We realize that car accidents have an impact not just on the victims, but also on their family members. Our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of car accident law, as well as familiarity with Los Angeles courts and a successful track record of representing car accident victims in Los Angeles.
At TorkLaw, we pride ourselves on going the extra mile for our clients and treating them with dignity, respect and compassion. We have been able to help numerous clients receive fair and full compensation for medical expenses, lost income and other losses sustained in car accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Los Angeles car accident, please call TorkLaw to obtain more information about your legal rights and the options at your disposal. We offer free, comprehensive and confidential consultations.