Anyone’s top ten list of American cities will easily make room for Los Angeles. It’s the world’s entertainment and creative capital, after all.
Home to Hollywood stars, stunning beaches, world-famous theme parks, and more, it attracts over 6 million tourists annually. As a Southern California city and the West Coast’s biggest one, it is also the most populous in the country.
Busy is an understatement for the vast urban mass that is in LA. And nowhere is that more apparent than on its congested roadways.
In 2020, the City of Angels finished 6th on the list of the most crowded metropolitan areas nationwide. Perhaps inevitably, this came with a slew of vehicular accidents, causing anywhere from minor scratches to catastrophic injuries.
LA broke its own record in 2021 with 294 fatalities from car crashes – a two-decade high– plus 1,479 injuries. How did it get so bad? Many would say distracted driving, given the many sights around LA. However, authorities are still working it out. But one thing remains constant for the public: they have recourse in the law.
If you sustained an injury from a California car accident that’s not your fault, you could file for compensatory damages. A Los Angeles vehicular accident attorney can help you recover your economic and non-economic losses, depending on your case.
Finding a law firm to help you can be intimidating, but The Personal Injury Center can be your guide. We offer free consultations and connect you with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer who best suits your needs.
Featured on the Steve Clark+Associates website
“Medical malpractice law enables patients to get compensated for any injuries they sustain as a result of sub-standard treatment. According to a report by the Medical Malpractice Center, about 15,000 to 19,000 medical negligence lawsuits are filed in the U.S. every year.”
Read the article here.
What to Do When You Get Injured in an Accident in Los Angeles
Vehicular accidents can be traumatic in many ways. They can cause property damage, physical and emotional distress and often infuriates a responsible motorist. The most important thing you need right after a car mishap is composure.
It’s one thing to know that you have rights as a victim. It’s another to have the presence of mind after a motor vehicle collision. Let’s discuss the most crucial steps you need to take following a car accident in Los Angeles.
Find a Seasoned Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney to Fight for You
If someone is seriously hurt, call 911 before taking further steps. Be very clear when talking to the dispatcher. There are many types of car accidents, so describe your scenario in detail. This is necessary to ensure they send appropriate help.
An ambulance and police officers will soon be on their way, and when they arrive, expect to answer even more questions. They will ask you what caused the accident, who were involved, and what exactly happened.
Call the LAPD
If no one appears seriously hurt in the accident, you can call the LAPD instead. They will come to the site and ask numerous questions. As always, your answers must be as detailed and accurate as possible. This police report will be critical evidence when you file a personal injury claim.
First, this document will help prove that you sustained injuries from the accident. Second, it will help convince the negligent motorist’s insurer to cover your medical treatment costs. Third, it will be necessary to establish your claim for lost wages and other expenses related to your injuries.
Aside from the police report, pictures of your injuries and the damaged car can add weight to your claim. The same goes for photos of the scenario in general, including witnesses. Additionally, you’ll want to ask these witnesses to give their accounts of what happened on video.
Here are some of the essential details to take note of at the accident scene:
- All involved drivers’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, and driver’s license numbers
- License plates and VINs
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of passengers and witnesses
Additionally, you’ll want to write up your own “report” of the incident as soon as possible. While this document will not officially count as evidence, it will help you remember the details crucial to your case.
Notify your insurer or the other party’s
If you have a car accident in Los Angeles, you must inform your insurer as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter who’s at fault at this point. You’ll want to tell them your version of the incident before the other party files a claim against you. At the same time, you need insurance information later when you prepare your claim.
If you’re uninsured and know the accident wasn’t your fault, you must notify the other driver’s insurer. Remember that car insurance adjusters are out to reduce their payout to the barest minimum. That’s what they do, and that’s what a Los Angeles accident lawyer can help you prevent.
Report the accident to the DMV
Car accidents don’t always have to be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If they led to at least one serious injury, wrongful death, or vehicle damage exceeding $750, that’s another story. Filing a report then becomes necessary within ten days, or they might suspend your driver’s license.
Advantages of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
The law won’t stop you from seeking damages alone, but hiring a lawyer can be your best move. And, yes, the benefits of legal representation go way beyond dealing with adjusters. Note that insurers have a battery of lawyers at their disposal. Having your attorney fighting tooth and nail for you has its rewards. Let’s take a look at them.
As mentioned, insurance adjusters and lawyers want to give you as low a payout as possible. Even insurance companies aren’t shy to admit this. After all, they, too, have interests to protect.
The problem is when protecting their interest translates to lowball settlements or invalidated claims. You need to know that insurance companies can be formidable on the negotiating table. With an experienced lawyer representing you, you can give them a run for their money.
An auto accident attorney will work to fetch you the maximum compensation you deserve. And with their negotiating prowess, they will know exactly how to do that.
Sometimes, the police officer who responds to your accident will not have your best interest at heart. Maybe they’ll go through their report haphazardly, irrespective of how it impacts your claim. Even your own “report” may not help, considering your limited knowledge of gathering car accident evidence.
With a personal injury lawyer, you can ensure that someone is actively working to build you a solid case. Like a police officer, a lawyer knows what evidence they need. But unlike the police officer, your attorney will give special attention where it matters to your claim.
For example, if they think it will help your case, your attorney may go as far as analyzing vehicle damage. They can still work with investigators. But they may conduct their probe, ensuring they cover all bases to their satisfaction.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that three-fourths of tort or personal injury cases never reach the court. Instead, the parties settle among themselves. While this may sound a bit surprising, it can also be reassuring.
Who wants to go to court anyway? Litigation can be rigorous, not to mention insanely expensive. Then again, not all parties are willing to settle, especially over a personal injury award.
If neither you nor your lawyer is happy with the settlement offer, a court trial may be in order. A Los Angeles car accident attorney is adept at litigation, but It should be your last legal option. Even if the odds of a court battle are low in your case, it’s always best to be ready.
Knowledge of statutory requirements
Car accidents in California have a two-year statute of limitations from the date they occurred. That means you have that long to file a claim against the driver who caused your injury. While that may sound pretty straightforward, the lines can blur around some areas.
For example, if your injury surfaced long after your accident, that can change the time frame allowed by the statute. The same is true if a minor loved one with you in the car also got injured. Regardless, a lawyer will know what to make of your case while meeting all legal deadlines.
Realistic evaluation of damages
Even if you suffered losses from an accident, you don’t necessarily know which ones are legally recoverable. A personal injury lawyer has that knowledge and ensures you get compensated accordingly. Below are the most common damages you can claim after a car accident:
- Medical costs. You can recover all your medical expenses arising from your injury, such as doctors’ fees, assistive devices, medications, etc.
- Pain and suffering. Some car collision injuries can cause chronic pain and mental anguish. Your lawyer can get you fair compensation for both after your accident.
- Lost wages. If the accident forced you to skip work, you could recover any wages you didn’t earn.
- Reduced ability to earn an income. If your injury prevents you from making as much money as you used to, you are entitled to legal damages.
- Car repair bill. To get compensated for your car repair costs, provide your lawyer with copies of all your receipts.
An objective eye
We’ve learned that personal injury lawyers know what car accident damages you can recover legally. What makes them more effective at this job is their objectivity. A reasonable attorney will tell you honestly about your chances for compensation.
They know too well that not all injury claims will hold water. Hence, they will give you a realistic view of the situation, helping you avoid wasting time, money, and energy.
How to Pay a Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles
When people hesitate to hire a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles, it’s usually because of the fees. They think working with an attorney is too expensive. They need to learn that things may work differently with personal injury cases. Explore the flexible ways lawyers charge their car accident clients and all the reasons not to be intimidated.
In most cases, personal injury lawyers charge on a contingency basis. It simply means you won’t be paying anything until they recover money for your losses. The amount can come as a settlement agreement or a court award. If you get neither, the attorney does not get paid.
How much of the settlement or court award goes to the attorney depends on the case. The range is from 25 to 40 percent, with more complex cases demanding a higher percentage. However, most lawyers will charge around 33 percent.
Other modes of payment
While most personal injury lawyers charge on a contingency basis, some may follow other payment modes. They may charge hourly, with a good-faith estimate of the total time a lawyer may spend on the case.
Some attorneys charge a flat fee upon taking a case, plus a percentage of the total compensation received. Otherwise, they may charge a retainer, a preset amount for a certain number of hours, plus extra hours. In any case, these payment details should be stated explicitly in a written contract.
Filing a car accident claim with a lawyer can also come with other costs, whatever the case’s outcome. These may include expert witness fees, court filing and reporting fees, and expenses related to securing police reports and medical records.
Sometimes, you need to pay the costs as they incur, or they will be deducted from the total award once received. Again, having a written contract with the auto accident lawyer you hire is essential.
How to Choose a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
According to IbisWorld, California has the highest number of personal injury lawyers and attorney businesses nationwide. This only shows how competitive the industry is and how much advantage you have as a potential client.
After all, more choices mean more chances of finding someone who fits your needs. Unfortunately, choosing the wrong lawyer or law firm for your case is fatally easy. Thus, you need to pay extra attention when choosing a car accident attorney.
Everyone will say they’re the best, but you should know better than to take their word for it. Here are pointers to help you search for a competent, ethical, and experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles.
Ask friends or family members for referrals
A good lawyer is sometimes a referral away, so don’t hesitate to consult your circle. Maybe a friend, relative, or coworker has worked with a car accident attorney. Most people are happy to help.
In fact, among the best ways to find a lawyer is through a personal recommendation. An online review can help. However, it won’t be half as good as a testimonial from someone you know and trust.
Check with the California Lawyers Association
Among the most foolproof ways of finding an automobile accident lawyer in Los Angeles is via the California Lawyers Association. This esteemed legal organization can provide critical information to help you find a good attorney.
They will probably give you a list of lawyers in your area, particularly specialists in car accident cases. When the CLA makes a recommendation, you can probably trust it.
Check the firm’s website for their services and areas of specialization
While the CLA and your social circle can give high-value referrals, nothing beats doing your research. Start by visiting your prospect’s website. See how long they’ve been practicing personal injury law.
How much experience do they have representing car accident plaintiffs in Los Angeles? Most importantly, what’s their track record of success as personal injury lawyers? How many winning verdicts have they won? If you are still looking for the answers on their website, feel free to ask them directly.
Learn more about the lawyer’s local reputation
Like most professionals, a lawyer precedes their reputation. This is one of the most crucial reasons to do your research. Local adjusters don’t only know the vulnerabilities of local attorneys. They will also use those to weaken your claim.
Before committing to a lawyer, see how active they are in the local scene. You’ll also want to check whether they belong to any local bar association. Above all, ensure they have no history of disciplinary action by any legal organization.
Choose a lawyer with adequate resources
Before hiring a personal injury lawyer, find out if they have the resources to prepare your case. This could be crucial if you were seriously hurt in the accident. The preparation will be simple if you only have minor injuries, such as whiplash.
However, the lawyer may have to call in more experts for conditions like traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries. These can include physicians, accident reconstructionists, biomechanics, etc.
It’s not unusual for legal teams to spend $100,000 to prepare a case. So don’t feel guilty judging them by how they or their law offices look. This is actually one of those cases where face value might help. Of course, you still need to look at other important considerations.
Schedule a consultation
What’s great about personal injury lawyers is they usually offer free initial consultations. You get the perfect opportunity to assess your prospect’s suitability for your case. Also, it’s your chance to ask them about their experience and track record.
On top of their legal expertise, you must also consider the chemistry between you and your potential lawyer. Most car accident claims drag on for months, if not years. Unless you can work amicably together, your lawsuit will hardly prosper.
Sometimes, you will initially consult with one lawyer and get another to handle your case. That should not happen. You want to avoid growing comfortable with an attorney and realize they won’t be involved in your claim. Ensure you meet the exact lawyer who will be with you on this journey.
Contact The Personal Injury Center for a Case Evaluation
We all wish we could avoid motor vehicle accidents with certainty. But that’s not always how it works, especially in crowded LA. When they happen, it’s essential to know what to do. Call 911 or LAPD, gather evidence, and inform the insurer – these are all basics we need to know.
Getting compensation for injuries can complicate the issue significantly. It’s where personal injury attorneys are indispensable. Lawyers are experienced investigators, negotiators, and court defenders. Furthermore, they know every legal detail that can help maximize your compensation as an accident victim.
If you’ve had a car accident in Los Angeles, a personal injury lawyer can help you claim the damages you deserve. The Personal Injury Center offers free consultation and assists you in finding suitable representation for your case.
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FAQs on Car Accident Lawyer Los Angeles
How much is the average settlement of accident cases in Los Angeles, California?
Accident claim settlements in the U.S. range from $14,321 to $28,215, averaging $21,000. Many things can affect the final amount, such as the victim's injuries, medical bills, and lost wages.
The accident's specific circumstances can also be significant to a case, such as a DUI for either driver. Additional factors include the strength of the evidence and any non-economic damages suffered by the car accident victims.
How much damage can you ask for pain and suffering due to a car accident in Los Angeles?
Some states put a ceiling on the compensation you can claim for car accident pain and suffering. Fortunately, limits apply to California only with medical malpractice cases. If you sustained car accident injuries, there is no cap on how much you can receive in damages.
Is Los Angeles, California, a no-fault state for car accidents?
No, the state of California does not subscribe to the no-fault policy for car accidents. It is an at-fault state, meaning the driver who caused the accident is responsible for all the damages. These include both injuries and car repairs.
In a no-fault state, all drivers involved in the accident will pay for their treatment or hospital costs. Their respective insurance policies will provide this medical coverage. However, the driver found at fault will still pay for repairs on the other driver's vehicle.