Unfortunately car accidents can happen to anyone at any time, including to safe and careful drivers. If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident, it’s important to contact a California car accident attorney for assistance. You have rights under California law that may help you receive compensation for your injuries.
The lawyers at Kalfayan Merjanian understand the intricacies of California car accident liability laws and can help you navigate them successfully.
What To Do If You Get Into a Car Accident
When the unthinkable occurs and an accident strikes, it’s important that you know what to do to protect yourself and any others involved. Here are some tips from an experienced California car accident injury lawyer:
- Stop your vehicle. Move out of traffic lanes to the shoulder, only if it is safe to do so.
- If there are injuries, call 911. If the only damage is to vehicles, you can call the police directly. In some localities police respond to every accident scene. In other areas accident officers or other officials may arrive.
- Collect driver information. Get names, telephone numbers, addresses, and license numbers of every driver involved. Copy down license plate numbers as well.
- Collect passenger & witness information. Get names, telephone numbers, and addresses of any passengers or witnesses on the scene.
- Take pictures. Use your phone or a camera to take photos of the damage and the scene of the accident, including road signs, stoplights, and any visual obstacles.
- Notify the DMV. If vehicle damage exceeds $750 or there are any injuries, you must notify the Department of Motor Vehicles. Failure to timely notify the DMVmay result in license suspension, even if the accident is not your fault.
- Medical Treatment. Seek medical evaluation and treatment. Be sure to save all medical records if you receive any treatment.
If you believe that you are entitled to compensation for damages sustained in an accident, contact an experienced Southern California car injury attorney. Share the information you gathered and they will assess the situation.
Car Accident Compensation Under California Law
California divides damages into two categories; economic and non-economic. You can sue to recover both.
This includes specific economic losses, including:
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of employment
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Vehicle repair
- Burial expenses
As these losses can be defined differently or limited depending upon jurisdiction, it’s a good idea to contact a local attorney in your area, such as an Orange County car accident attorney. They can determine what economic damages apply in your case.
These types of damages are a little more complicated. They typically include things that are not easily quantified, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Disfigurement and disability
- Loss of companionship
While California does not impose a limit on non-economic damages, it does have a law that prohibits a victim without automotive insurance from recovering non-economic damages, regardless of fault. If you have questions about these types of damages, call a Riverside, San Bernardino, or Orange County car accident lawyer. They can figure out exactly what damages are appropriate for your claim.
What To Expect From a Car Accident Claim in California
Generally, once your attorney presents your claim, including supporting evidence, to the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Often an experienced injury attorney is able to successfully reach a settlement with the insurance company and there’s no need to go to court. If this doesn’t occur, however, you may need to file a lawsuit and pursue your claim in court. An experienced injury attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit versus settling your claim beforehand. Keep in mind that not all lawyers are able to represent you in court. Kalfayan Merjanian has the experience needed to reach settlements outside of court as well as fight for their clients in court.
In California, car accident lawsuits are a type of personal injury lawsuit where plaintiffs or the injured person, must prove that their injuries were caused by the negligence of another. Generally, all four elements of negligence must be established, to be eligible for compensation:
- Duty of care was owed by the defendant. In California, the duty of care applies to all motorists who are expected to follow traffic laws, drive safely, and not drive while impaired.
- This duty of care was breached by the defendant. This can be proven if the defendant was not paying attention or was engaging in activities while driving that caused a distraction. Texting, talking on the phone, or eating are all examples that can indicate negligence. Of course driving while under the influence or not following traffic signs are also a breach of duty of care.
- Your injury was caused by a breach of the duty of care. This may seem cut and dry, but insurance companies like to fight this one. They may try to show that your injuries were pre-existing or occurred somewhere else. Medical records are crucial at this step.
- The injury caused you suffering and damages. These damages can be mental, emotional, physical, and financial. Your attorney will need to show that your injuries caused your economic and non-economic losses, and you are entitled to financial compensation.
There is a statute of limitations for filing a claim against injuries sustained in a car accident. The statute of limitations may vary depending on your potential case. Because the statute of limitations can act as a bar to your recovery, it is important to act quickly and reach out to an experienced team of lawyers to find out how long you have to file your claim. Speaking to a local California car accident lawyer quickly to get the process started can be vital.
No Fees Unless You Win
It’s common to be concerned about legal fees when considering an attorney for your personal injury. Our highly-rated lawyers at CA Trial Attorneys powered by Kalfayan Merjanian never charge a fee unless we reach a settlement on your behalf.
That’s right. Once you become a client, you do not owe us a dime unless we win your case.
Rest assured that you will never pay us a penny out of your own pocket until we successfully settle your claim. This ensures that you can focus on recovering from your injuries without worrying about the cost of pursuing legal action.