Have you been injured in a car accident? You may have many questions about your rights and compensation for your damages.
At Citywide Law Group, we have 20 years of experience helping accident victims get the money they deserve. We have recovered millions for our clients involved in auto crashes. Our understanding of car accident claims helps us maximize your compensation. Speak with a Los Angeles car accident attorney at Citywide Law Group today for a free consultation.
How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Assist You
After a car accident, you’ll probably have to deal with the other driver’s insurance company. Our personal injury attorneys can assist you by:
- Having our experts accurately assess your injuries,
- Investigate the accident,
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and
- Go to trial if necessary
We investigate every aspect of your accident to maximize your recovery. We will hold every person liable for your accident responsible so you can get the money you need for you and your family.
What You Can Recover For After a Car Accident
After an auto collision, you may be eligible to recover for all the following:
Injuries caused by car accidents are permanent in approximately two-thirds of the cases. In serious injury claims and cases, car accident lawyers are a necessity and can reduce the stress and hardship on you, your loved ones and friends. This may include, but is not limited to, a car crash that resulted in:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI),
- Spinal cord injury,
- Loss of limbs, or
- Fatality or wrongful death,
We have the medical contacts to make sure you get the care you need. We also have experience fighting against unwilling insurance companies. Remember, you only have one chance to settle with the at fault party. Our law firm will push the limits to make sure you receive the highest possible settlement on your claim.
Car Property Damage
Car property damage, whether it’s a damaged fender or a totaled vehicle, happens in almost every car accident. The insurance companies often lowball the payouts for vehicle damage. This, along with lost income and expensive medical treatments, may leave you in a financial hardship. With the help of Citywide Law Group, you are more likely to recover for all your damages.
Collecting From an Uninsured Motorist
If an uninsured motorist crashed into you, you need an accident attorney that knows the law for Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Although uninsured motorist may be responsible, it does not mean that you will not be able to recover money for the accident.
Who May Be At Fault For Your Auto Accident
The most common type of car accident involves an individual driving his own vehicle. This type of accident is a negligent driver situation, where the driver did something they weren’t supposed to do, such as:
- Making an unsafe lane change,
- Making an unsafe left turn,
- Going through a red light, or
- Not paying attention to stopped traffic in front of them.
In these situations, the driver and owner of the vehicle are responsible. By law, they should have insurance coverage to cover the damages caused by their negligence.
Agencies and Organizations
A driver of the vehicle may not own the vehicle, but in fact, be driving it on behalf of another person. For example, an employee driving on behalf of their employer.
In these cases, not only is the actual driver liable, but so is the employer based on the theory of Respondeat Superior. According to this theory, the employer shares liability for the employee’s negligence. In these situations, the court may order both the employer and employee to compensate you.
Car companies have often sold vehicles with defective or malfunctioning parts to the public. Sometimes these defects cause accidents, some of which can be very severe.
Auto accidents caused by a defect or malfunction will sometimes look like it was the driver’s fault. In fact, it was the fault of the manufacturer who produced the malfunctioning vehicle. In these situations, the manufacturer of the vehicle is responsible. We will attempt to hold them liable.
When this occurs, we pursue a claim against the auto makers to make them pay for the the damage and pain they caused. If you are unsure of what caused your accident, or think your accident wasn’t your fault, contact us today.
Sometimes government agencies use improper signage on public roads. This may lead to dangerous situations and can sometimes put the blame of an accident on that government agency. Additionally, traffic light malfunction or defective roads can also lead to accidents.
Especially in the case of defectively built roads, there are agencies which monitor the types of roads that are built and how they are designed. For example, the Federal Highway Agency (FHA) has put out a warning video for states regarding the proper way to create road edges on highways, because the “drop off’s” have been the cause of severe accidents.
If you have been in an accident where you believe the road conditions caused the accident, contact us.
Establishing Liability After a Car Accident
California law requires drivers to use “reasonable care” when operating a motor vehicle. This means that “Drivers must keep a lookout for pedestrians, obstacles, and other vehicles. They must also control the speed and movement of their vehicles. The failure to use reasonable care in driving a vehicle is negligence.” (Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instruction 700).
This standard also applies to minors and drivers with mental disabilities. (Prichard v. Veterans Cab Co. (1965) 63 Cal.2d 727, 732; Fox v. City and County of San Francisco (1975) 47 Cal.App.3d 164, 173).
The court determines liability on a case by case basis. It takes into account the details of the accident, including:
- Time of day,
- Placement of lights,
- Road conditions, and
- Types and locations of the vehicle,
There are some specific rules which make it more likely than not as to who is liable.
When there is a rear-end collision, the vehicle in the back is usually the “At-Fault” or liable party. If there are multiple collisions in a rear-end type collision, it may be possible for more than one person to be liable. The liability may be split either evenly or proportionately among the vehicles that are at fault.
Although this makes assigning liability more difficult, our team has experience with these cases. In one occasion, we obtained money for our client involved in a ten car collision.
Left-hand Turn Collision
California law requires that a party attempting to make a turn ensure that the road is clear before starting the turn. If there is a collision which includes a party making a left turn, under most circumstances, that party will be at fault.
There are exceptions to this rule. For example:
- The other vehicle speeding,
- Driving through a red light,
- Failing to yield to yield signs, or
- If the party making a left turn has a green left turn arrow giving it the right of way.
Using The Police Report To Establish Liability
If you contact the police after your accident, they will generally attempt to collect the following information:
- Statements of the drivers, pedestrians (if involved), and witnesses,
- Observations of the locations of the vehicles,
- Severity of the impact to each vehicle, and
- Place of impact to each vehicle.
All of this information will be put into a police report and will be made available to all involved parties down the line. Although the police attempt to come to the correct conclusion, they are not always correct in their observations and assumptions, because in most cases, they are not present when the accident occurred.
If there are cases where the you have been put at fault in a police report and it seems to be incorrect, we have the ability to use biomechanical experts and accident reconstruction experts to:
- Negate the police report,
- Show you were not at fault, and
- Create an understanding of who or what actually caused the accident.
We have experience with accident reconstruction and can help assist you to better understand who really was at fault.
Sources of Compensation for Auto Accident Injuries
There are several sources of compensation, not all of which are immediately understood. When an accident occurs, the person at fault is primarily liable to compensate those who were hurt or whose property was damaged.
California law states that everyone driving a vehicle must carry, at the very minimum, liability insurance in the amount of:
- $3,500.00 for property damage, and
- $15,000.00 per person/ $30,000.00 per accident in bodily injury coverage.
This is the minimum, and many drivers carry much larger policies, some even have extra policies on top of their car insurance coverage called an umbrella policy. These policies can be very large and reach into the multi-million dollar level of coverage.
We will first attempt to recover compensation from the driver’s insurance policy. After the at-fault parties insurance coverage is depleted, the injured party can either go after the at-fault party personally and look to recover based on the at-fault parties assets, including any properties they own or to garnish some of their wages.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
We can help collect from your Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Coverage (“UIM”) (if available). UIM protects you in the event that you are in an accident and the at-fault party does not have sufficient coverage to compensate you. We recommend that all of our clients maintain UIM coverage of at least $100,000.00/$300,000.00 or greater, to protect them in the unfortunate event of a severe car accident.
If a driver of a business or a government entity caused your accident, then the business or entity will be liable for the accident. The injured party can collect from the business or entity directly, even if the business or entity does not have insurance.
Although most businesses are insured, some are considered “self-insured.” This means that they are required to put a certain amount of money in a bond in case of an accident. Our office is well versed in negotiating and recovering money from so called “self-insured” companies and agencies.
Amount of Compensation after an Auto Accident
The amount of compensation you can get from a car accident varies based on each individual case. There are several factors that go into the amount of compensation. The first factor is the extent of your injuries and the policy limits. Next, the types of damages you can collect are classified as such:
Economic Damages: These are damages that can be directly compensated for with money. Example include:
- Property Damage
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Income
Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages are those that cannot be easily quantified. They include:
- Pain and suffering, which encompasses:
- Physical pain
- Loss of enjoyment of quality of life
- Loss of ability to perform certain life functions
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
Future Damages: The at-fault party will also be responsible for the damages they have caused which have not yet been resolved or which are likely to occur in the future as a result of the accident. This can include:
- Possible need for future surgeries or treatments,
- Future therapy needed to recover from surgeries,
- Future pain and suffering, and
- Future loss of earnings as a result of missed work or inability to work in the future.
Often proving future damages is a tough task, but can increase the amount recovered exponentially. If your case goes to trial, we have certified life care planners, who are experts in proving future costs, pain and suffering and lost income. Through our proven process, with the help of the certified life care planners, we are able to persuade insurance companies to increase their offers and thereby increase your recovery.
Common Car Crash Injuries
Depending on the type of accident and the severity of the accident, an injured party may have different types of injuries:
Back and Neck Injuries:
The most common type of injuries occur to the back and neck because they are the support system of the base of the body and absorb most of the impact, especially in rear-end type accidents. These injuries can include:
- Sprain or strains,
- Whiplash, and
- Fractures or disc displacements including bulges, protrusions or herniations.
Sometimes the injuries to the back and neck cause pain that shoots into the extremities such as the arms and legs, or causes numbness in those areas as well. It is not uncommon to have a neck or back injury that is mistaken for pain injuries in the legs or arms or both.
Head and Brain:
Closed head injuries often occur as a result of car accidents. Close head injuries include: momentary loss of consciousness, concussion, and traumatic brain injury. Even accidents that are not very severe can still cause head and brain injuries.
These injuries often take place when the head has a direct impact with part of the vehicle. Sometimes, even the “soft” part of the headrest or airbag can create enough resistance to cause a brain injury.
Broken and fractured bones often occur when there is a hard impact in a car accident or when a persons body is not perfectly aligned as they drive. Broken boes also occur when a body part comes into contact with a hard surface in the car during an accident.
Common broken bones are:
- Collar bones,
- Toes, and
Although it is possible to break any bone in an accident, depending on how the accident occurred and whether you were prepared for the accident before the impact.
Burn injuries occur often as a result of a car accident. The airbag system, which rapidly inflates, can cause a burn from the hot air or from the rubbing of the material. The rubbing of the seatbelt against your body while holding you in place can result in a burn injury.
Coming in contact with the road or with moving parts in the vehicle can also result in a burn injury. These friction burns occur often. You should document these injures at the time they appear and while they are healing. We can then use the pictures as evidence of pain and suffering. Burns can also occur in the unfortunate event of a fire in the vehicle. These burns can range from first degree burns to third degree burns. You should seek immediate treatment for any burn injuries.
Loss of Limb:
When a car accident is very serious, there is the possibility of part of a body becoming trapped during the accident. In those cases, the injures may lead to partial or full amputations.
In cases of amputations, our attorney’s are well equipped to help you recover and introduce you to vocational rehab experts to create the most accommodating future possible for you.
Cuts and Lacerations:
In the process of the impact occurring, many pieces from the vehicles, including sharp shards of glass go flying through the air with great speed. These fragments and shards can cause cuts and lacerations. If not treated properly, they may lead to infections and future problems.
If you suffer cuts or lacerations during an accident, take pictures and immediately get medical treatment.
Also known as wrongful death, in the most extreme of accident circumstances, a party may not survive or may not survive very long after the accident.
As family members of the deceased, you have the right to recover money to compensate you for your loss. Let us help you through the process to relieve some of the stress and to ensure you receive the justice that your loved ones deserve.
If you’ve been in a car accident there are several things you should immediately do. First off, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and prioritize your next steps:
- Move to a Safe Location. If your accident occured in a high traffic area, move to a safe area. Although it is important to collect as much information as possible, your safety comes first.
- Check For Injuries. If you or a passenger in your vehicle has been injured as a result of the accident, you should seek medical treatment. If the injury is severe, call 911. Otherwise, find an urgent care facility or contact your primary care doctor to make sure everything is ok. Although your injuries may seem minor at the time, it’s important to see a doctor immediately after your car accident. Some symptoms may not appear for days or weeks, or the adrenaline rush may dull the pain. Immediate medical treatment can help prevent your injuries from increasing.
- Collect Information. Once you have ensured your safety and that of the others around you, start collecting data; take pictures (including the placement and positions of the vehicles and the injuries that occurred, if possible); get witness information; copy the drivers license and insurance card of the other party involved; write down the date, time and location of the accident; and make note of any other information that you think is relevant
- Hire an Attorney. Contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney you trust and that specializes in auto accident cases.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Today
Regardless of the type of auto accident you have suffered, we are here to serve your needs. We have successfully settled numerous car accidents result from defective equipment, and parts, whether it’s air bags that have not deployed, or a vehicle that unexpectedly turned off while driving. The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Citywide Law Group can help. Call today.
Blog for Car Accidents
- California Code of Civil Procedure 335.1
- California Traffic Safety Info
- Car Accident Do’s and Don’ts
- Statute of Limitations Info Provided by the California Courts
- What To Do After a Car Accident
Sherwin Arzani and his team have over 15 years of combined experience successfully representing those injured due to the negligence of a third party. Mr. Arzani graduated from top ranked University of Michigan School of Law and has achieved several million dollar settlements for his clients.
Sherwin was recently chosen as a SuperLawyer, is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Form, and was recognized as one of the “Top Attorneys in Southern California” by Los Angeles Magazine.