Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney
Los Angeles is one of the biggest and busiest metropolitan areas of the United States. Each year, Los Angeles County consistently ranks the highest in California for countywide accidents, with thousands of collisions occurring for various reasons. When a car accident happens, proving fault is an essential first step in recovery for the injured victims. If you or a family member recently experienced an accident in Los Angeles, you must prove how the accident happened to recover as fully as possible from the damages you suffered.
Experienced Legal Representation for Car Accident Claims in Los Angeles, CA
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has years of professional experience with personal injury claims in Los Angeles, and we can provide the legal counsel you need for a car accident claim. Our team has successfully helped many past clients navigate highly complex civil cases involving car accidents, and we can put this experience to work for you. While it may be technically possible to handle your own recovery efforts after an accident in Los Angeles, a car crash attorney can offer a much greater chance of recovering your losses as fully as possible in the shortest time possible.
Typically, the victim of a car accident in Los Angeles will need to identify the driver responsible for their accident, prove they directly caused the accident, and then file an auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver. When insurance alone cannot fully compensate their losses, they must then file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused the accident. When you choose Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates as your legal representation, you will have a responsive legal advocate readily available to help with every step of this recovery process.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a very busy place, and thousands of motorists drive through the area every day. If you recently experienced an accident in Los Angeles, you must be prepared to prove the exact cause of the accident before you can secure recompense for your damages. The state upholds the fault rule for resolving car accident cases, so proving fault is an essential first step in the recovery of your damages.
Most auto accidents reported in the Los Angeles area result from negligence, or failure to exercise reasonable care in a specific situation. Proving negligence in any civil claim for damages starts with identifying the party you believe to be responsible for the damages you experienced and proving they held a duty of care in the situation in question. Next, you must use evidence and witness testimony to show that they breached this duty of care in some way. Finally, you then need to show the full amount of damages that directly resulted from their breached duty of care.
A few of the most commonly cited causes of car accidents that generate civil claims in Los Angeles include:
- Traffic violations. Failure to navigate intersections correctly, yield the right-of-way when appropriate, or stop for stop signs and red lights are just a few common moving violations that regularly cause accidents in Los Angeles.
- It’s common for many drivers to exceed speed limits, but whenever a driver does so, they inherently increase the risk of causing an accident. Whenever accidents happen at higher speeds, they are more likely to involve multiple vehicles and cause catastrophic or fatal injuries. Speeding is a leading cause of fatal car crashes in the state each year.
- Distracted driving. Throughout the United States, inattentive driving is one of the leading causes of all motor vehicle accidents each year. Despite many laws in place designed to curb distracted driving, especially texting while driving, this continues to be the top-reported cause of accidents in Los Angeles.
- Vehicle maintenance issues. Drivers have a duty of care when it comes to maintaining their vehicles. Once a driver becomes aware of any mechanical issue with their vehicle, they must have it inspected and arrange for the issue to be repaired. For example, failure to fix a broken brake light or turn signal could cause an accident, and liability would fall to the driver for failing to address the problem in a timely manner.
Whenever negligence causes a car accident, the injured driver can consult with an attorney to determine the most viable means of proving negligence directly caused the accident. Your Los Angeles car crash attorney can help gather evidence such as eyewitness testimony, physical evidence from the scene of the accident, and digital records like traffic camera footage and the other driver’s cell phone records. Once you have identified the driver responsible for the accident and proven their negligence directly caused your claimed damages, you can proceed with gathering proof to show the full extent of those damages.
Resolving Accidents Caused By Illegal Misconduct in Los Angeles
While most of the accidents reported in Los Angeles each year happen because of negligence, many are the result of willful misconduct behind the wheel. The most common examples of this are reckless driving and driving under the influence (DUI). When drivers knowingly engage in dangerous maneuvers and/or attempt to intimidate other motorists, they can easily cause serious accidents. Additionally, if they break laws in doing so, they face criminal charges.
DUI is the most commonly cited form of illegal activity responsible for accidents in Los Angeles. The standard penalties for a DUI conviction include fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension, and additional penalties assigned at the discretion of the sentencing judge. However, any DUI that causes bodily injury or death will automatically incur greater penalties. For example, DUI with serious bodily injury could escalate the defendant’s charge from misdemeanor level to felony DUI.
When any type of illegal action has caused a personal injury, the defendant faces full responsibility for all the damages they inflicted on the victim. However, the victim may also receive more compensation due to the fact that the defendant broke the law in causing the accident. For example, the judge who presides over the civil case against the defendant could add punitive damages to the plaintiff’s case award to account for the defendant’s illegal behavior. Alternatively, the judge who sentences the defendant in their criminal case may include restitution to the victim as part of the defendant’s penalty. Both variables could influence the final outcome of your recovery efforts, and your attorney can explain how the nature of the defendant’s actions could influence the amount of compensation you receive for your accident.
Benefits of Hiring a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney for Your Case
While it is technically possible for you to navigate your recovery efforts after an accident without hiring legal counsel, you are likely to encounter several significant challenges if you attempt this. First, you could overlook crucial details or pieces of evidence you need to establish liability for the accident. This could prevent you from proving responsibility for the accident and securing the compensation you legally deserve from the at-fault driver.
Your recovery is also likely to begin with a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance, and dealing with any insurance company can be incredibly stressful without legal counsel you can trust on your side. Your Los Angeles car crash attorney can help prove liability for the accident and guide you through the process of filing your auto insurance claim. If any issues arise with the insurance carrier, your attorney will know how to resolve these problems on your behalf and secure as much compensation as the at-fault driver’s policy provides.
When it comes to filing your personal injury claim, legal representation you can trust will be especially valuable. While you can try to file a civil suit on your own without an attorney, making any procedural errors with the claim and/or failing to meet court filing deadlines will threaten your ability to recover as fully as possible. Working with an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney eliminates these risks and allows you to focus on your medical needs while your legal team handles your recovery efforts on your behalf.
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates offers not only the professional resources, skills, and experience you would expect from a seasoned attorney but also the professional insights that a medical doctor can provide in your case. Kenneth Sigelman holds both an MD and a JD, providing clients in the Los Angeles area with a robust level of legal representation that very few other attorneys can match. When you hire our firm to represent you in your recovery efforts, we have the professional experience necessary to ensure your case award accurately addresses the scope of the damages you suffered from the accident.
Filing an Auto Insurance Claim for an Accident in Los Angeles
Every driver in the state is legally required to have auto insurance, and each driver’s policy must meet strict coverage requirements. At a minimum, a personal auto insurance policy must provide at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person injured in an accident caused by the policyholder. This is required to expand to at least $30,000 in total accident liability coverage, which will compensate multiple victims injured in the same accident. Additionally, a policy must provide at least $5,000 for property damage liability coverage, which will pay for vehicle repairs or replacement.
You have a very limited window of time in which to file an auto insurance claim after an accident. You must notify the insurance company of your intent to file a claim within a day or two, but you should refrain from discussing a settlement until your attorney has had a chance to review the at-fault driver’s policy. A Los Angeles car crash attorney can review the details of your accident, help file a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, and resolve any problems that arise with your insurance claim.
Once the insurance carrier completes its investigation of your claim, it will send its settlement offer. Your attorney can verify that it is suitable under the terms of the at-fault driver’s policy and provides as much compensation as possible. If you are able to recover the full amount of your damages through the insurance claim process, your case will end here. However, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, or if your damages exceed their coverage limits, you will need your Los Angeles car accident attorney’s help to start a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Recovering Compensation With a Personal Injury Claim
The main goal of a personal injury claim is for the plaintiff to hold the defendant accountable for all the damages the defendant inflicted with their negligence or intentional misconduct. California’s fault rule for car accidents dictates that the driver responsible for causing an accident must repay the damage done, and this can include both economic and non-economic damages.
After establishing liability for your recent accident and recovering as much compensation as possible through the insurance claim process, the remaining damages can be included in a personal injury claim filed against the defendant. When it comes to your economic losses, you have the right to hold the defendant accountable for:
- Vehicle repair costs. The defendant’s auto insurance may only cover a portion of the total cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, or the defendant may not have insurance at all. In either case, any property damage not covered by insurance can be included in a personal injury suit as economic damages. Your Los Angeles car crash attorney can help gather any documentation you need to prove the full amount of property losses you suffered in your accident.
- Medical bills. Many car accidents cause severe physical injuries, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and more. The defendant who hit you is liable for paying for all medical care you need to reach maximum recovery from your injuries. This includes both immediate and future medical care. For example, if you suffer a severe injury, you may require not only extensive initial hospital treatment but also multiple surgeries followed by rehabilitation. A good Los Angeles car crash attorney can help hold the defendant accountable for the entire scope of medical expenses you face after your accident.
- Lost wages. Victims of car accidents are often left unable to work and earn income while they recover from their injuries. If this applies to your situation, your attorney can help hold the defendant accountable for the wages you were unable to earn after your accident.
- Lost earning power. Unfortunately, many car accidents in Los Angeles leave victims permanently disabled. While some of these victims may be able to work again in the future, they may be unable to earn as much income as they did prior to their accidents. It is also possible for a victim to be completely unable to work at all in the future due to the severity of their injuries. If this applies to your situation, the defendant is responsible for the future income you are no longer able to earn due to the defendant’s negligence or misconduct.
When you choose the right Los Angeles car accident attorney to represent you in your recovery efforts, you could discover that your claim is worth much more than you initially expected. However, even after calculating the full amount of your claimable immediate and future economic losses, you could secure even more recompense for your pain and suffering.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering for a Car Accident Case in Los Angeles
The average person may hear the term “pain and suffering” and wonder how they would assign a monetary value to intangible losses like these. California law does not limit or cap pain and suffering compensation in car accident cases, so you have the right to seek as much pain and suffering compensation as you believe to be fair to reflect the severity of your experience. However, the amount you seek must reasonably reflect your condition after the accident.
When the victim of a car accident is expected to make a complete recovery from their accident in a relatively short time, their Los Angeles car accident attorney is likely to seek compensation that corresponds with the length of time it took them to recover. This per diem method starts with a set amount of compensation to be awarded for each day the victim spends in recovery, multiplied by the number of days it takes the victim to reach full recovery. For example, the attorney may deem $200 to be an appropriate amount of daily compensation, and if it takes 100 days for the victim to reach maximum medical improvement from their injury, this will amount to $20,000 in pain and suffering compensation.
Alternatively, when a plaintiff has suffered catastrophic injuries that have permanently diminished their ability to work and live independently, their attorney is more likely to seek a large lump sum. The multiplier method for calculating pain and suffering starts with the total of the plaintiff’s economic damages, then multiplies this amount by a factor that reflects the severity of the plaintiff’s condition, usually one to five. For example, if a plaintiff is seeking $200,000 in economic damages, their attorney might aim for two to five times this amount in pain and suffering compensation if their client suffered permanent harm in the accident.
Resolving Your Car Accident Claim in Los Angeles
After proving liability for your recent car accident and securing as much compensation as possible from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, your Los Angeles car crash attorney can help you proceed with your personal injury claim. Most personal injury cases filed in Los Angeles are resolved privately so the parties involved can avoid the time commitment, expense, and stress that litigation entails. As long as both parties are willing to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement, they can resolve the matter privately in a fraction of the time that litigation would require.
When settlement is not an option for any reason, a civil court judge must preside over a trial, and they will have the final decision when it comes to the defendant’s liability and the plaintiff’s recovery. If your case must proceed to litigation, it is imperative to have a Los Angeles car accident attorney with solid experience in the courtroom. They can help prepare for each session of your case and assist you in making the most compelling case possible before the judge.
Ultimately, every car accident victim in Los Angeles will face unique challenges as they seek compensation for the losses they have suffered. When you hire Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates, you are better prepared to meet the unexpected challenges that could arise in your recovery efforts. Our team has successfully represented many past clients in a wide range of civil claims for damages, including those resulting from car accidents. We know how difficult it can be to deal with auto insurance carriers, gather the evidence needed to prove liability in a personal injury case, and navigate a long series of difficult proceedings to reach a successful outcome. The sooner you reach out to our team for assistance, the sooner we can guide you to the compensation you legally deserve for your recent accident.
Q: Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident in Los Angeles?
A: There are no laws requiring you to hire legal representation for a car accident claim. You have every right to try to manage your case on your own, filing an insurance claim without an attorney’s help and even submitting your own personal injury complaint to the court. However, success with these recovery efforts is likely to be far more challenging than you might initially expect, and you have much better chances of success with all your recovery efforts when you have legal counsel you can trust on your side.
Q: How Much Can I Claim for My Recent Car Accident in Los Angeles?
A: State law allows you to claim full repayment for all the economic losses you suffered in your recent car accident. These might include paying for the repair or replacement of your vehicle, your medical bills for treatment of any injuries you suffered, and repayment of lost income if the accident forced you to miss time at work. An experienced Los Angeles car crash attorney can calculate the total value of your claimable economic losses, and they can also assist you in recovering a fair amount of pain and suffering compensation from the defendant.
Q: What Happens if a Car Accident Causes a Fatal Injury in Los Angeles?
A: If you lose a loved one in a fatal car accident, you will likely have grounds to file a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the accident. This type of civil case functionally replaces the personal injury claim the victim could have filed if they survived the accident. A wrongful death claim aims to compensate the victim’s family for the loss of their loved one and can provide several types of compensation. A wrongful death claim is functionally very similar to a personal injury claim, but state law dictates eligibility to file these claims, and all proceeds from a successful wrongful death suit go to the victim’s surviving beneficiaries.
Q: What Happens if More Than One Driver Is to Blame for an Accident in Los Angeles?
A: It is possible for multiple drivers to share fault for an accident. The state enforces the pure comparative negligence rule, so each liable party will have a fault percentage assigned to reflect their level of liability. These fault percentages dictate responsibility for corresponding shares of the total damages in the claim, so 10% fault means repaying 10% of the total damages, and 50% fault means repaying half the total damages. If the plaintiff is assigned any fault percentage, this is deducted from their final case award as a penalty, and they keep the remainder.
Q: How Much Are Attorneys’ Fees for a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney?
A: Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates does not charge upfront or ongoing attorneys’ fees during a client’s case. We ensure our legal counsel is as accessible as possible to those who need it most with contingency fee billing. With this billing policy, the client only pays legal fees after we win their case, and the amount they pay is a percentage of the total case award we recover on their behalf. We will only take this fee if we win, so there is no financial risk to you if we cannot secure recompense for your losses for any reason.
Los Angeles Practice Areas
An experienced attorney can make a positive difference in any civil claim filed in Los Angeles. It’s understandable to feel distressed and uncertain in the face of the various legal challenges you must overcome to secure recompense for your damages, and our goal is to streamline this process on your behalf as much as possible. If you are ready to learn how a seasoned Los Angeles car crash attorney can empower your recovery efforts, contact us today and schedule a free consultation with our firm.
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