The busy streets of Los Angeles County are notorious for heavy traffic and daily car accidents. California traffic law can be confusing and leave you overwhelmed. Expensive medical bills will soon follow, as will raised insurance premiums. Who is going to pay for damage to your car and for the mounting medical bills due to bodily injury? When can you go back to work? By speaking with a qualified and experienced Los Angeles County car accident lawyer, you can get these and other questions you have answered.
You will undoubtedly have a lot of questions and will need a lot of professional advice to understand your rights.
While you may be certain that the accident was not your fault, the other party may start pointing the finger at you When you have been involved in an accident and you have exchanged information, what is your next step?
Filling out the seemingly unending pile of claim forms and settlement papers can be a huge task to face on your own. Auto accident victims often feel isolated, emotional and concerned. You may be tempted to take the quick settlement just to get the whole incident in your distant memory, but this may not be in your best interest in the long run. Fortunately, calling an attorney is easy and painless!
You know that the insurance company will have their team of lawyers ready to fight and you need someone on your side too. Whether you are bringing a claim against your insurance company or against the other party, an experienced attorney can answer your questions, investigate the accident and file your paperwork to ensure that your case is properly prepared and filed within the time limit required by the court. Your initial consultation will allow your attorney to review your case and determine whether or not you are entitled to compensation for damages.
The lawyers working at the law office of Duque & Price have amassed extensive experience handling a wide range of accident cases throughout Los Angeles County and beyond. The team has offered aggressive representation to thousands of combined cases involving car accidents and personal injury claims. Our team tends to take on the types of challenging cases that other law firms avoid.
Working on every aspect of your legal claim, including investigation, negotiation, trial preparation, and litigation, our attorney team employs determination and diligence in every client’s case and provides a personalized level of legal support. No matter the details of your case, reach out today for a free consultation if you’ve been involved in a car accident in Los Angeles County.
Car accidents can occur for a wide variety of reasons, and every case is unique. The circumstances involved in your accident are specific to you, and every claim should consider the relevant factors and evidence. Identifying causes for accidents is important, however, as that determination will have a direct impact on final settlement awards and liability. The following represent the most common causes of California car accidents:
No matter how the accident occurs, and regardless of who is at fault, car accidents remain one of the most common ways in which injuries occur.
Victims of car accidents experience multiple types of injuries, ranging in severity from mild to serious. Car accident injuries can lead to both short- and long-term complications. The most common injuries include:
It is important that victims pursue appropriate legal action against at-fault parties to recover damages for the harm they experienced.
Unfortunately, personal injury lawsuits can be complicated and lengthy. Without an attorney, you may find the process exhausting and overwhelming, especially since the other party or insurance company will be armed with a team of attorneys on their side.
California traffic law is quite intricate and the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is strict. Without a thorough knowledge of the ins and outs of the process, your case could be over before you even enter a courtroom. Our experienced attorneys know the timeline required as well as how to fill out and file the extensive paperwork a lawsuit includes. A large number of car accident victims are not able to collect the damages they deserve because the paperwork was filed too late or documents were improperly filled out or missing altogether. You do not want this to happen to you!
Residents of California have two years from the date of their accident to file a personal injury claim on any injuries or losses they experienced. In order to avoid potentially delaying your claim or receiving an automatic denial, you should begin the legal process as soon as you become aware of your injuries.
Despite this seemingly generous amount of time, many potential cases are lost on account of missing the deadline to file for several reasons. First, many victims wait until they are most of the way through their recovery from their injuries before they start looking into legal claims. However, motorcycle accidents lead to injuries that can take several months to heal. Waiting can delay your case significantly, putting your case at risk for missing the deadline to file.
Second, the at-fault party’s insurance company may attempt to further delay your case in order to push it close to or beyond the statute of limitations. During negotiations, agents may be slow to respond, spending up to 30 days at a time between answers. Ultimately, it is in your interest to begin your claim as soon as possible, starting the legal process by speaking with an experienced car accident attorney from the very start.
When it comes to legal liability in a car accident, you and your attorney can prove that one or more of the other parties were at fault due to negligence. One party’s failure to demonstrate reasonable care towards another through any action or inaction can constitute negligence. The law holds any and all negligent parties accountable.
In order to establish negligence, you must be able to prove each of the following:
California’s standard of statutory negligence means that negligence will be automatically presumed in some cases. If any individual or entity is found to have violated a law without justifiable cause, they will be under a legal presumption of negligence and will be liable for any accident-related injury or loss that ensues as a result.
For example, if the other motorist committed a traffic violation, such as speeding or driving under the influence, the burden of proof will then be on them to prove they were not negligent rather than on you and your attorney to demonstrate that they were. If they cannot defend their negligence, they will be held liable for the accident.
California traffic law includes a clause for Shared Fault claims, also known as comparative negligence, that could limit or reduce the amount of compensation you are able to collect. Under shared fault and comparative negligence, courts can rule that you are partially to blame for the accident if the defendant in your case argues that both parties are at fault. A lawyer can explain this clause and the possible significance to your specific case.
In many cases, no single party bears 100% of the fault or blame for an accident. Rather, fault may lie in several parties, including those we would still consider victims. This can be the case even if one party committed a violation that led to the accident.
In this scenario, we’ll assume that the defendant that hit your car ran a stop sign. Let’s also assume that you were driving 10 miles over the posted speed limit. The attorney for the other party can argue that you take on a percentage of the blame since you were also breaking the law.
If the court finds you to be 10% at fault for the accident, your lawsuit for recovering compensation that resulted in a gross settlement amount of $30,000 in damages to cover the loss and harm to your car and person may be reduced to a net settlement amount of $27,000 once your portion of the fault is subtracted.
The defense, however, will likely try everything they can to reduce their liability in your case by attempting to establish some portion of fault with you. In your accident case, you should be prepared to defend against any counterclaims made against you.
Since any amount of fault will reduce your net settlement, no matter how great or small, it is essential that you work closely with an experienced attorney who can not only prove the other party’s negligence but also defend against baseless claims of shared fault. By doing so, your attorney can protect your maximum compensation award.
There are some situations in which comparative negligence will actually be in your favor. California’s pure shared fault standard entitles any party to seek compensation, no matter what portion of fault they share in the accident. Drivers who are found to be 99% at fault, in fact, could still legally claim 1% of the gross settlement amount in their case.
If the roles were reversed in our above example, and you were the driver who failed to stop at the stop sign, you could still recover $3,000 in your settlement against the driver who was driving ten miles over the speed limit. In this example, the court has found you 90% at fault for the accident, leaving you 10% of the gross award of $30,000 to recover.
Whether you believe you share fault for your accident or not, it is in your greatest interest to discuss your case with a qualified Los Angeles County car accident attorney. They can answer questions about pursuing a claim against the other driver or other third party and are ready to help you secure the maximum recoverable benefits allowed in your case. Reach out to Duque & Price today to find out how much your case is worth during a free consultation.
There are often exceptions to the rules that you may qualify for but not even know about. An attorney can find these exceptions to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
For instance, California law places limits on financial gains for certain types of damage. An uninsured driver may not be eligible to collect the full compensation that an insured driver may be entitled to. Damages such as pain and suffering may not be awarded to an uninsured driver under California law.
Once you’ve sufficiently demonstrated negligence, you can pursue a claim against the at-fault party to recover damages. This includes some combination of the following categories:
Liable parties have a duty to restore victims back to “wholeness” following an accident as much as possible. Your attorney will have the experience required to understand how to quantify this amount and ensure that you are able to secure a fair and just compensation for your car accident case.
In the end, your personal injury attorney is your strongest advocate in court. At the Los Angeles County law offices of Duque & Price, our lawyers are highly professional, knowledgeable, aggressive and successful. Time limitations apply to any injury claim you might have, so for purposes of investigating a possible case and possibly preserving evidence, it’s best for you to contact us immediately after an accident.
Contact the Los Angeles County law office of Duque & Price at 877-590-0080 for a free consultation and case evaluation. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.
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