At Los Angeles City Law, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the legal representation they need to obtain the justice they deserve. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another driver, then call our Los Angeles car accident lawyers to get started with a free case evaluation. Our lawyers work with you through every step of the legal process, so please get in touch with us if you or someone you know requires legal assistance.
When to Hire a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
Determining when you should seek legal counsel can be difficult. According to California law, a report must be reported with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days of an accident involving the following:
- Property damage exceeding $1,000
You will be required to fill out and submit a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California, which is also known as an SR-1. This form can often seem complex, and it requires a significant amount of information about the accident. Our car accident lawyers can help you complete the SR-1, which requires the following information:
- The location, time, and date of the accident.
- The other party’s name, address, and date of birth.
- The other party’s license number and state, even if they are a resident of California.
- The other party’s license plate number and state, even if they are a resident of California.
- The insurance policy holder’s name and address.
- The vehicle owner’s name and address.
- A detailed report of any injuries and property damage sustained in the accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you, or someone close to you, has been in a car accident recently, there are a few steps you should take:
- Stop. Never drive away from an accident, even if there is no vehicle damage or any injuries.
Check to ensure that you and your passengers are okay. It is likely that your body will release adrenaline during the accident, so you may not notice injuries until the effects wear off.
- Turn on your hazard lights to keep other drivers on the road safe. Keep your vehicle where it is, unless it endangers other drivers. If your hazard lights do not work after an accident, then stand away from the road to protect yourself while you wait for assistance.
- Contact the police. Even if the accident is minor and there is no cosmetic damage to your vehicle, your vehicle may have sustained internal damage that will need to be repaired. In the event that you need to file a claim through your insurance company, they will likely ask for a police report detailing the accident. The police will take statements from all involved parties, compile a police report, and assess the situation to identify fault. You can give a statement to the police, but do not give a statement to the other party’s insurance company or sign anything. When assessing your injuries, it is often best to say that you are unsure, as the effects of adrenaline will often mask pain. Give the officers as much detail about the accident as possible, but do not guess or speculate if you are unsure of any details, as misstating the details could hurt your case. Nearby witnesses may be able to fill in the gaps.
- Be sure to acquire the information of every person who was involved in the accident. You will need to make sure you obtain driver’s licenses and information about the other party’s insurance company.
- Photograph as much of the scene as possible. Take pictures of your vehicle and the other party’s vehicle, and if it is safe to do so, get pictures from multiple angles. Document any injuries you and your passengers sustained, as well as any property damage in the surrounding area. Document as much of the surrounding scene as you can, as it is always better to have too many pictures than too few. Most people have cell phones with cameras, so ask a bystander to take pictures if you do not have access to a cell phone. The car accident attorneys at Los Angeles City Law can also help you document your injuries — call us at 866-999-6640 to learn more.
- Make sure you consult with an attorney experienced with personal injury cases before you sign anything or speak with anyone representing the other involved parties.
- Visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible, even if you do not believe you have any serious injuries. Medical records can play a key role in your case. Serious injuries can sometimes take weeks to surface and if you haven’t seen a doctor right away, then attributing the injuries to the accident may be difficult. The other party can use the fact that you didn’t see a doctor right away as a way of disputing that injuries — which may appear weeks later — were, in fact, caused by the accident.
Protect Yourself From Predatory Insurance Companies
You should avoid dealing with the involved party’s insurance company on your own. Many insurance companies will not work fairly with victims, and this is especially true if the victim sustained serious injuries in an accident. Their goal is to have you provide a statement that will hurt you later on. This, in turn, will justify a small payment (if any) for your injuries. Insurance companies are directed by their own internal attorneys when handling a new case, so it would greatly benefit you to have competent and aggressive legal representation in your corner.
You should consult with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible if you have been injured in an accident. If you can, consult with an attorney before interacting with the other party’s insurance company. The best case scenario is to work with your own attorney and have them communicate on your behalf.
Gather written statements, any and all witnesses interviews, and advice from your car accident lawyer to build a case in your favor. It is best to gather this information as soon as possible, as memories often fade or change in the days following a traumatic event. You can learn more about what to do after an accident in the preceding section.
Car Accident Laws in California
Car accident laws in California are complex, but they include two fundamental points that are easy to understand. A complete list of these laws can be found in the Vehicle Code. Here are the two basic points you need to understand about car accidents in California:
One of these laws states that a driver cannot be negligent while operating their vehicle. If a driver is negligent while operating the vehicle, and the negligence results in another person’s injury, then the driver can be held liable for any damages. Negligence could include anything from texting while driving to driving through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop.
California is classified as a comparative negligence state. Comparative negligence means that you can be partially at fault for an accident and still receive damages from the other person involved, though you would need to be less at fault than the other person in the accident. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed through a case in which you are partially to blame for an accident.
Whether an accident was your fault, partially your fault, or the fault of another driver, seeking experienced legal counsel can help you pursue compensation with confidence.
Seeking Compensation After a Car Accident
If you have been in a car accident in Los Angeles, then you may entitled to compensation if you have suffered injuries and property damage. General damages and special damages are the two types of damages considered in California.
Non-economic damages can also be called general damages, and this is often how compensation for pain and suffering is classified. Non-economic damages handle issues such as having a lesser quality of life after the accident occurred. Examples of non-economic damages include, but are not limited to:
- Daily pains. Pain that compromises your quality of life on a frequent basis is something that deserves to be addressed in court.
- Lifestyle changes following the accident. An accident may leave you unable to enjoy your previous hobbies, and this change would be classified as a non-economic damage.
- Relationship changes. You may find that your intimate relationships are negatively affected by the effects of an accident.
- Depression and anxiety. You may experience mental anguish and distress in the days and weeks following a traumatic event. These symptoms should be immediately discussed with a medical professional and brought to the attention of your lawyer.
Special damages, also known as economic damages, pertain to monetary aspects of your life that have been affected by an accident. Economic damages include medical bills, wages lost as a result of your injuries, and any profits your business may have lost as a result of an accident. These economic damages are not always obvious immediately following an accident, but you should thoroughly document any areas of your life that have been impacted.
It is important to consult with an attorney while you decide which damages are important to seek. You may not completely understand what is required to recover from your injuries. For example, you may eventually need to attend physical therapy sessions, have an MRI, or seek surgery to resolve ongoing issues. These procedures and services can be costly, and the last thing you want is to be paying for someone else’s mistakes. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you fully understand how much you may be entitled to pursue.
How to Choose a Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
Experience is key when you’re choosing a car accident lawyer. You want someone who handles car accident claims on a regular basis and someone who goes to trial regularly. If an insurance company knows a lawyer won’t go to trial, it will not pay the full amount of the damages since there is no threat of litigation. A lawyer who has a reputation for being unafraid to litigate a case will be better able to obtain the full measure of damages to which their client is entitled.
In short, select a lawyer who:
- Is thoroughly experienced with car accident cases. At Los Angeles City Law, we proudly stay current on updates and recent car accident law cases that could affect new clients. Moreover, we understand the complexities and nuances pertaining specifically to car accidents in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.
- Goes to trial regularly. We help numerous clients navigate their car accident cases from start to finish every year.
- Has a winning track record. Los Angeles City Law is proud to have a 98-percent winning track record for our clients.
Speaks both English and Spanish. We understand that many Los Angeles residents do not speak English as their primary language. We proudly offer all of our legal services in Spanish.
- Has access to competent doctors and staff to handle your case with efficiency, care, and kindness. As your representatives, our goal is to provide you with the care you need to return to your previous life. You may have ongoing medical issues resulting from an accident, and we will work to ensure that you are always taken care of by experienced and empathetic medical professionals.
The Cost of Hiring a Lawyer
When you work with Los Angeles City Law, you are not charged a fee unless you recover money from your claim. If we are unable to obtain any compensation for you, then we do not charge you for our services. We are on your team and it is in our best interest to help you obtain the maximum compensation for your damages. We also do not believe you should ever have to pay a consultation fee, so we provide all of our clients with a free case evaluation before beginning any work. Our incentives to resolve your claim are aligned with yours, so do not hesitate to reach out to us if you would like competent and ethical representation in your case.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, the personal injury lawyers at Los Angeles City Law Firm provide competent, aggressive legal representation that aims to achieve the best possible results for our clients. Our firm is client-focused and adheres to strict ethical guidelines in every case we take on. If traveling to our law firm in Los Angeles is an issue, then we will make arrangements to come to you. To schedule a free case consultation, please contact us toll-free at 866-999-6640 .