Anaheim is the second biggest city by land area in Orange County, California. It is also home to the original Disneyland, to which it owes its fame as “the happiest place on earth.”
Looking closer, you might find Ducktown isn’t quite that happy in the streets. Its many intersections are notorious for car accidents and pedestrian injuries.
Yearly, Anaheim clocks in an average of 5,004 car collisions, with 43% resulting in at least one person injured. The latest figures from the California Office of Traffic Safety show 227 accidents involving drinking.
You would deserve compensation for your injuries if you sustained hurt in a California vehicular mishap. An Anaheim car accident attorney can help you seek damages, depending on your case.
The Personal Injury Center is where you can find help looking for a lawyer to take on your case. Visit us for an initial consultation at no cost to you.
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5 Common Types of Injuries in Car Accidents in Anaheim
Car accidents happen for many reasons, and the injuries they inflict can vary as much. Factors like collision impact, seatbelt use, and body position affect how badly one can get hurt in an accident.
Basic knowledge of car collision injuries makes you better equipped to handle the accident scene before help arrives. You can also get a glimpse of your injuries’ potential impact on your claim or lawsuit. Here are the five most common medical issues that may arise from a road accident.
1. Head injuries
Blows to the head are some of the most concerning ways a car accident can affect people. But not all head injuries are the same. Some are immediately life-changing, while others can take years to surface. Here are five types of head injuries often seen among car accident victims:
- Concussion. A concussion is one type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a powerful hit to the head. According to some studies, any force exceeding 85g can cause TBI. For perspective, a football impact is often between 20 and 25g. A concussion can also result from a strong body movement that moves the brain inside the skull. Either way, a concussion may be mild or severe.
- Contusion. The medical term for bruising is contusion. Everyone gets bruises, but in the brain, they can cause disability or death. Cerebral contusion comes with scattered bleeding on the brain’s surface due to an injury. A contusion may require surgical removal if it is large enough to compress the brain or increase intracranial pressure.
- Brain Penetration injury. Brain penetration injury occurs when an object breaks through the skull and enters the brain. The condition is often fatal, and those who survive it usually endure lifelong debilitation. Higher-velocity objects penetrating the brain also tend to cause more lethal damage. Because of the impact of motor vehicle collisions, this injury is common among car accident victims.
- Coup-contrecoup. In a coup injury, the head crashes against a stationary object and slams the brain forward against the skull. With enough impact, the head will rebound. This slams the brain backward against the skull, creating a contrecoup injury. Either way, the condition is life-threatening.
- Diffuse axonal injury. In diagnostic imaging, diffuse axonal injury appears as torn connecting nerve fibers called axons. Diffuse axonal injury or DAI happens when the brain moves around inside the bony skull because of impact. Patients with the condition often end up in a coma due to injury to different parts of the brain.
2. Spinal cord injuries
The spinal cord is a spongy column of nerve tissue controlling the central nervous system. It controls the transmission of brain-to-body motor commands. It also receives sensory information and manages reflexes.
When injured in an accident, the spinal cord can go haywire. It can cause spasms, loss of urinary bladder or bowel control, loss of feeling, and even complete paralysis. The spinal cord doesn’t have to be severed to bring on any of these issues. When it does split apart, the brain can no longer communicate with the body from the point of injury downward.
3. Bone fractures
With more than 200 bones in the body, everyone is at risk of breaking a few in a car collision. Sometimes, a fracture can be easy to spot, such as a split bone cutting through the skin. In the absence of visible signs, fractures can get tricky. Even a tiny break in the bone can cause life-threatening complications like blood clots. Hence, it’s essential to pay attention to bone fracture symptoms, including the following:
- Persistent pain
- Mobility issues
- Numbing and tingling
Some of the more severe car accident injuries lead to amputations. In traumatic amputation, impact from the collision severs the body part on the spot. In surgical amputation, a surgeon removes a severely injured body part approaching tissue death to save the victim’s life.
In either case, the effects can be physically and psychologically debilitating. Recovery can take years and often requires therapy to help the patient restore mobility or cope with its loss. Psychotherapy may also help the victim recover from the emotional trauma of losing a body part.
The high value we attach to physical appearance makes disfigurement particularly traumatizing for anyone. In a car accident, disfigurement can result from the following:
- Burn injuries
- Road rashes
- Deep-cut wounds
- Loss of extremities or any body part
Beyond the physical effects, disfigurement can compromise a person’s mental health. It can cause depression as they struggle with the impact of their disfigurement. For example, they may lose self-confidence because of their altered appearance. They may feel worthless over a loss of function or, worse, a job loss. In most cases, recovery will require long-term psychotherapy.
Damages Car Accident Victims Can Claim in Anaheim, CA
You can generally pursue two types of damages after a car accident: economic and non-economic. Courts may also award a third type called punitive damages in Anaheim and the rest of California.
Economic damages are compensatory damages paid for your material losses after an accident. Here are examples:
- Lost wages
- Demonstrable reduction or loss of earning capacity
- Property losses
- Medical bills related to the accident (past, ongoing, and expected)
- Non-medical costs related to disability, such as housekeeping expenses
Non-economic damages are also compensatory damages, but they cover mathematically unquantifiable losses, such as the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Separate from compensatory damages are punitive damages, which purpose is to punish the defendant. By awarding punitive damages, the courts tell society that the law does not tolerate negligent or malicious behavior.
Punitive damages come in cognizance that car accidents are not always accidental. Sometimes, they involve a degree of intent, whether direct or indirect.
Consider a driver in a fit of road rage after being cut off by another motorist. He drives double the legal limit and strikes another driver, who ends up completely paralyzed due to a TBI. The aggressive driver may not have thought of harming anyone by overspeeding. However, he was well aware of the possibility and chose to ignore it.
According to California Civil Code Section 3294, the court will impose no caps on punitive damages in Anaheim car accidents. If you can prove malice on the defendant’s part, you can include punitive damages in your claim. However, note that insurers do not cover punitive awards. You could be wasting your time if the defendant is “judgment proof,” meaning they are incapable of paying punitive awards.
Planning to file a claim for car accident injuries? Get a free case evaluation from The Personal Injury Center to help find the right lawyer for your case.
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Reasons to Work With an Anaheim Car Accident Lawyer
The law is one of the best things ever invented for humankind. It protects us and ensures we live in a just and equitable world. But nothing is guaranteed.
When we don’t understand the law, we may never take full advantage of its benefits. Worse, it can be used against us by others taking advantage of our ignorance. You can prevent both by hiring a personal injury lawyer for your car accident claim. Here are more specific reasons to work with an attorney or law firm for your Anaheim car accident claim.
California is an at-fault state for car accidents. To receive compensation in Anaheim, you must first establish that the other driver was responsible. Aside from that, you must prove your injuries and losses from that accident. Both require evidence gathering, a strong suit for lawyers. Let’s go into detail.
- Establishing liability
Experienced lawyers know what to look for when gathering evidence. Suppose the at-fault driver submits a written statement from a witness, but you know that’s not what happened. To dispute that statement, your lawyer may look for a video recording from other witnesses. They know that videos make for more substantial proof.
Lawyers are also usually very meticulous. Even if you’ve taken a few pictures, they will probably want to examine the scene themselves. They will get copies of all the accident or police reports and even speak to the police officers personally. Suffice it to say they will spare no effort in looking for evidence to help your case.
- Proving your injuries
Your medical records are critical in proving your injuries in a car accident claim. But obtaining them may be challenging. Healthcare providers are just not the most cooperative regarding medical records.
Even when they finally respond to your request, you may need help getting what you need. Doctors don’t always discuss causation and patients’ extent of injury or disability on medical records. To be considered, your documents must contain the following:
- The nature of your injuries
- Medical confirmation that the accident caused your injuries
- Medical confirmation that your injuries stopped you or can stop you from performing specific tasks for a particular time
Car accident lawyers work with healthcare providers all the time. They can easily slide in a request for your documents and get a relatively prompt response. Most importantly, they can ensure the necessary information is at hand.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 75% of tort or personal injury cases end in settlement. You only sometimes go to court immediately when you get a low settlement offer from an insurer. Litigation is expensive and exhausting. Instead, you start negotiating, another forte of lawyers.
An experienced attorney knows what your case is worth and will stop at nothing to get it. Besides, insurance companies have lawyers who have one job: reduce your settlement. They can eat you alive on the negotiating table unless you have an attorney standing your ground.
The situation becomes more complex if your benefits come from a health, disability, or workers’ compensation insurer. They have a lien on your claim, so you only get what’s left of your settlement or judgment after they’ve been paid. But that’s not always bad news. You can negotiate that lien down with a good lawyer so you can still go home well-compensated.
Readiness for court trial
Nobody wants the complications of a court trial. But when negotiations break down, and there is no other way, a lawsuit would be in order. When that happens, be sure you’re ready. You’re free to represent yourself in any court of law but prepare for high-pressure tactics from the other party.
Representatives of the insurer and other parties will do everything possible to get you back down. One option you have is to fight them with your passion and limited knowledge of personal injury law. Another is to hire a high-caliber lawyer and skyrocket your chances of winning your case.
Lawyers are more than just skilled in evidence gathering and negotiations. They are also adept at the rigors of court battles. In short, they know all the tricks in the book and can get you a fair judgment.
Statute of Limitations for Anaheim Car Accidents
As an Anaheim car accident victim, you have two years to file your claim from the date of the incident. The California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 specifies this statute of limitations. However, some exceptions apply, including the following:
- The victim is mentally incapacitated or a minor (the two-year statute begins on their 18th birthday)
- The defendant is in prison, out of state, insane, or bankrupt
- The claim is only for property damages (the statute is three years from the accident date)
- Death of the victim (the two-year statute begins on the date of death, not the accident)
- The defendant is the government (only six months from the accident date)
Rationale behind statutes
Statutes of limitations ensure that fault determination is not compromised by a witness’s fading memory or deterioration of physical evidence. Thus, the court does not allow car accident claims beyond the statute unless the case qualifies as an exception. If you do file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations runs out, the defendant will move to dismiss it.
The right time to file
Just because a statute of limitations exists doesn’t mean you must rush to file a lawsuit after your accident. Most lawyers would advise you to file a claim with the other party’s insurance company first. Meanwhile, you can work on your medical treatment, physical therapy, etc.
Once you have ascertained the full extent of your injuries and losses, you can settle the claim for a fair amount. It is usually wiser than waiting for a judge to determine how much your case is worth.
Pure Comparative Negligence and Its Impact on Your Claim
Despite being an at-fault state, California follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. It means you can still claim damages even if you are partially responsible for your accident. However, instead of receiving 100% of your recovery, you will be compensated according to your degree of fault.
Let’s assume your case is worth $200,000, and they determine you are 20% responsible for the accident. It means you can still be compensated but only with 20% less than your recovered amount. Anywhere in California, you can be responsible for up to 99% of an accident and still file a claim.
In contrast, the comparative negligence doctrine allows recovery only if the driver is not at least 50% liable for the accident. Examples of states that follow this standard are Illinois, Michigan, and Nevada.
In a handful of states, such as Maryland, North Carolina, and Alabama, the doctrine of contributory negligence applies. Under this rule, you cannot claim damages if you are even 1% liable for the accident. This standard is also absolute, whether for car-to-car collisions or pedestrian accidents. Even if the other party is responsible for 99% of the accident, nobody collects any damages.
Get Fair Settlement With the Help of an Anaheim Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents account for 8 percent of non-fatal emergency room visits in the US. The statistic is not staggering, but it can take a split second to be a part of it. Note that when you have a non-fatal injury, it isn’t always as mild as torn ligaments or even whiplash.
A car crash can lead to head injuries, spinal cord injuries, bone fractures, amputations, and disfigurement. In many cases, they can mean lifelong disability, debilitation, and personal injury claims.
When seeking damages in Anaheim, you may be eligible for compensatory damages for your economic and non-economic losses. As California is an at-fault state, you must prove that the defendant was liable for your losses.
You may also receive punitive damages if you establish that your accident involved malice or intent. In any case, there are no caps to the compensation you may receive in Anaheim.
In convincing the court that you deserve damages, you may require the expertise of a personal injury attorney. Lawyers are professionals in evidence gathering and negotiations and are respectable defenders in court. Even if you don’t go to trial, an attorney can protect you against the lowballing tactics of insurance companies.
Did you have an auto accident in Anaheim? Find a lawyer who can help you secure maximum compensation for your damages. Start with a free consultation with The Personal Injury Center. Let them connect you with the proper representation for your case.
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FAQs on Car Accident Lawyer Anaheim
Yes, because in some cases, injuries can take a while to become apparent. Hence, it would be best to get medical attention to ensure you're not missing anything. Physicians are experts in determining injuries that lay people cannot recognize. Whether you feel something wrong or not, never settle a car accident claim without your doctor's clearance.
The value of your case depends on issues crucial to your claim. These issues typically include the following:
- The circumstances of your accident.
- The severity of your injuries.
- The resulting medical expenses.
If your accident led to lost wages, that would also be a factor, along with your vehicle repair costs. Generally speaking, the court will consider all material and non-material losses you incurred in determining the value of your case.
If the at-fault driver is uninsured, you can still file a claim on your insurance policy. However, you need uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) to do so. In California, car insurance companies must offer UIM to all drivers. You must sign a written waiver if you decide not to get this coverage. If you go for it, you acquire financial protection against bodily injury and property damage costs.