Like other California cities, Huntington Beach sees its fair share of car accidents. Many motorists are injured driving on the highway or on side streets, while others are hurt in parking lots or even when pulling out of a driveway.
At Kalfayan Merjanian, LLP, our team of Huntington Beach car accident lawyers has the experience necessary to negotiate with car accident insurers. Our team has handled a wide array of car accident cases and we can meet with you for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Types of Car Accidents
Car wrecks are traumatic events. Even when traveling at low speeds, motorists can suffer terrible injuries when they collide with another vehicle or a stationary object.
Our team has experience handling the following types of accidents:
- Head-on collisions. Often these are high-speed accidents which can result in devastating injuries. Motorists involved in these accidents are often lost, intoxicated, or fleeing from the police.
- Side-impact crashes. Two cars can crash in an intersection when one runs a red light. The front of one car plows directly into the side of another, leading to a T-bone wreck.
- Rear-end collision. These accidents often happen in parking lots when one car follows too closely and fails to stop in time. They can also take place on the open highway.
- Rollovers. A vehicle can flip when it trips on something, such as soft gravel.
- Hit-and-run accidents. California law requires that motorists stop after a wreck. But many simply speed away, leaving badly hurt victims behind.
- Distracted driving. Cell phones, pets, and children are some of the distractions that cause motorists to take their eyes off the road, leading to wrecks.
Following an accident, try to call the police if possible. An officer should respond to the scene of the wreck to write a police report.
Compensation for Car Accidents
Compensation in California comes in the form of money damages, which are designed to cover economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses may include:
- Lost income
- Lost future income
- Past and future medical care
- Property damage
Anyone involved in an accident should save all their bills and receipts so they can establish the full amount of their economic losses.
Non-economic losses cover intangible harms which are not easily measured in monetary terms. Nevertheless, California law allows damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental suffering
- Loss of consortium
In some situations, California might limit the ability of a victim to receive non-economic damages, especially if the victim does not carry insurance.
Protect Yourself From an Unfair Finding of Fault
California is a comparative fault jurisdiction. The state adopted the ‘pure comparative fault’ regime in the 1975 case of Li v. Yellow Cab Company. Under the type of liability system, all parties to an accident will be held legally liable for their proportionate share of the fault. The good news is that, unlike some other states, California does not bar someone from seeking compensation when they are responsible for a small portion of their own accident. The bad news is that your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Every percentage point of blame matters. For example, imagine that you were injured in a car accident in Huntington Beach. In total, you sustained $22,000 in damages. If another driver is found at fault for the entire accident, you can seek compensation for 100 percent of your losses, or the full $20,000. However, if you are found at fault for 10 percent of your own accident, your compensation would be reduced accordingly—down from $20,000 to $18,000. An unfair finding of fault could take thousands of dollars out of your settlement. Our Huntington Beach car accident lawyers will protect your rights.
Car Accident Settlements
Most car accident claims settle. The other motorist’s insurer will investigate and make an initial offer based on what they believe a victim’s injuries are worth. Generally, the first offer is far too law. Our Huntington Beach car accident lawyers have seen some very low initial offers—embarrassingly low. Fortunately, no one can force an accident victim to accept a settlement which does not fully compensate them.
Negotiation is a back-and-forth process which can take several months. But what happens when the two sides cannot agree on a fair amount? In that case, a victim might need to bring a lawsuit in court to seek fair compensation for their injuries. A seasoned car accident attorney is a big help in the negotiation process and proves vital when a case heads to court.
Contact Our Huntington Beach Car Accident Lawyers
Kalfayan Merjanian is an experienced law firm with ample trial experience. We understand how stressed accident victims feel in the days following a wreck. Realize that you are not alone. Fortunately, we offer a free consultation to discuss your case. We also never charge attorney’s fees unless we win a case for our clients. Call us today.