While car accidents in Greater Los Angeles area are far too common, if you’ve been involved in a car accident and suffer personal injuries, it is anything but common.  You and your injuries, your well-being, and your future are unique to you and deserve the full attention and service of experienced car accident attorneys.  We understand the challenges and obstacles that occur on the road to recovery after being injured in a car accident and have the award-winning trial lawyers, skilled investigators, detail-oriented staff, and financial resources to make it as smooth and efficient as possible every step of the way.

Our number one goal is to maximize your recovery while holding at-fault parties accountable for their actions. Hire a car accident lawyer who has your best interests in mind. Hire the personal injury attorneys at The Dominguez Firm.

Call us now and discover how we can help you and your family.
(800) 818-1818. We’re here for you 24/7.

What You Need To Know About Car Accidents & Auto Accident Attorneys

Do you need hire a lawyer for your accident?

Accident victim who might require an injury attorneyIf you have been in a car accident, you may be asking yourself whether you need to hire an auto accident attorney.  Many accidents are minor and can be resolved directly between those involved, or through their insurance providers.  In very simple cases or those that involve no injuries or lower damages, it may be faster and more straightforward to resolve the case without the help of personal injury attorneys.  However, even accidents that first appear minor can later prove to be extremely complicated, for example if injuries take a while to manifest symptoms or the other party to the accident fails to pay agreed-upon compensation.

Certain situations and serious accidents absolutely warrant hiring a car accident lawyer.  For example, if the crash resulted in injuries that required significant medical intervention or hospitalization, or that were disabling and impacted your ability to work, you should immediately contact an attorney.  Similarly, if there is a problem with either party’s insurance, for example one of you lacks insurance or is under-insured, you should consider consulting with a lawyer.  If there are any disputes about liability for the accident between yourself and the other party or their insurance provider, or if the other party or their insurance carrier is refusing to pay for damages related to the accident, you should get a lawyer involved.  Finally, if the other party to the accident is a government entity, they may potentially be protected from a lawsuit under ‘sovereign immunity,’ in which case you should seek legal representation.

Questions you should ask a lawyer before hiring them:

Questions to ask a personal injury attorney

  • Have you handled cases like mine?
  • If I lose, will I be responsible for costs?
  • What are your fees?
  • What staffing and financial resources do you have to fight my case?
  • How long have you been handling car accident cases?
  • About how long will it take to resolve my lawsuit?
  • What can be done to improve the chances of a successful outcome?

What to do after an accident

  • Get to an area of safety and call 911 to report the accident to the proper authorities.
  • Cooperate with the attending officer and provide your version of the facts as best you can.
  • Gather witness information and take pictures of the involved cars and scene if you are able to.
  • Seek or demand immediate medical attention for evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Engage the services of a powerhouse law firm to handle all aspects of your auto accident case.

What should I not do?

  • Do not admit fault or any wrongdoing.
  • Do not guess or assume facts when providing information to an attending officer.
  • Do not wait to seek medical treatment.
  • Do not give any statements to ANY insurance representative (including your own).
  • Do not accept any settlement offers or settlement agreements without consulting with a lawyer.

What injuries can I suffer from due to a car accident?

While a lot of people think the bigger the accident, and the more property damage to your car, the bigger the injury. The truth is that even small or seemingly minor accidents can result in catastrophic injuries.  It doesn’t take much force to hurt the vulnerable spine, delicate brain, joints, and bones alike.

With that said, some of the most common car accident injuries, include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Wrongful death
  • Spinal cord injuries, including partial or full paralysis, whether temporary or permanent
  • Whiplash and nerve injuries, including radiculopathy and others
  • Internal injuries, including bruised, damaged, and/or lacerated organs
  • Crush injuries
  • Facial injuries, eye injuries, dental injuries, and scarring
  • Broken bones
  • Torn ligaments
  • Dislocated joints and/or deranged joints
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Muscle strain and/or sprain

The legal process and time frames

Legal scales for attorneyThere often arises confusion about the difference between a car accident lawsuit and a car accident insurance claim.  These are two separate claims processes, and confusion likely arises from the fact that both involve a ‘settlement.’  In this section, we will specifically discuss filing a lawsuit.

Lawsuits related to car accident injuries are generally treated as personal injury lawsuits and filed in civil court, where the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) seeks to recover money from the defendant (the person being sued).  This type of action occurs independently of the insurance claims process, although the plaintiff may choose to sue the insurance company if they are unsatisfied with the compensation offered.

  1. File a complaint.
    The first step in pursuing a car accident lawsuit is to file a complaint (or petition) with the court.  This document includes a standardized court form, as well as a detailed narrative laying out what happened, what damages the plaintiff is claiming, and the legal basis for bringing the lawsuit.  You must file your complaint within your state’s statute of limitations—in the case of California, within 2 years of the accident that caused your injuries.
  2. Serve the Complaint on the Defendant.
    After filing your complaint with the court, you must inform the defendant that you have filed a lawsuit against them.  This process is formally known as ‘serving the complaint,’ and you must follow strict guidelines in order for the court to consider the document properly served.
  3. The Defendant files an answer to your complaint.
    This answer will likely include admission or denial of the factual allegations laid out in your complaint and set forward any legal defenses.
  4. Discovery.
    Once the complaint and answer have been filed in court, both parties will set about requesting and exchanging evidence—known as ‘discovery.’  During this phase, you may be requested to produce documents, answers to written questions, or depositions related to the case, as well as have the opportunity to request the same from the Defendant.
  5. Trial.
    Once discovery is complete, both sides will compile and present their arguments to a judge or jury.  Both the Plaintiff and Defendant will be given the opportunity to present evidence, produce witnesses, cross-examine the witnesses of the opposing party, present experts, etc.  Once the trial is closed, the judge or jury will deliberate and issue a verdict in favor of either the Plaintiff or Defendant based on a ‘preponderance of evidence’ supporting their claim, and a judgment will be entered, including an amount in compensation.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit in California may seem simple, but in fact requires an incredible amount of skill and experience. Do not expect that you will be able to file a successful lawsuit on your own.  Consult with a qualified car accident attorney, who will guide you through the complex process.

What types of compensation am I entitled to?

  • Medical expenses. You are entitled to compensation for medical expenses related to your injury, either through your own insurance company or that of the other party(s) to the accident, depending on who is at fault.  Medical expenses can include, among others:
    • Hospital bills
    • Ambulance bills
    • Physical therapy
    • Consultations with specialists
    • In-home care services
    • Psychiatric counseling
  • Property damage. If the other party to the accident is at fault, you are entitled to compensation for damage to your property—in most cases, the cost of repairing or replacing your car.
  • Pain and suffering. Also known as ‘non-economic damages,’ pain and suffering are damages related to the invisible impacts of the accident on your quality of life.  These damages are meant to compensate for physical and mental distress resulting from the accident, such as anxiety or PTSD.  Under the guidance of an experience car accident lawyer, these more difficult to quantify damages can account for a sizeable portion of accident compensation.
  • Lost wages. If your injuries have impacted your ability to work, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages.  Your employer will need to provide a letter stating your salary and the hours you have missed.

Other Important Questions To Consider:

What are the different types of car accidents, causes, and related statistics?

Car accidents come in all shapes, sizes, and situations.  Some of the more common car accidents include:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Left-turn collisions
  • Side-swipe collisions
  • T-bone collisions
  • Merging collisions
  • Failure to yield right of way collisions

These accidents can include any of the following types of vehicles:

  • Passenger vehicles (4-door, 2-door, hatchback)
  • Mini-vans
  • Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs)
  • Pick-up trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Light utility trucks
  • Box trucks
  • Large commercial trucks (aka as big rigs, 18-wheelers, or tractor-trailers)

Causes of car accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving (texting, eating, talking on phone, and other dangerous distractions)
  • Drowsy, fatigued, or sleepy driving
  • Impaired driving (drunk driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
  • Reckless driving
  • Following too close
  • Ignoring traffic signals, road signage, and stop signs
  • Vehicle defects or vehicle recalls
  • Roadway design, repair, or maintenance issues
  • Teenage or inexperienced drivers
  • Lane splitting (for motorcyclists)
  • Weather
  • Construction zones

According to the most recent data compiled by the California Office of Traffic Safety (https://www.ots.ca.gov/OTS_and_Traffic_Safety/Score_Card.asp.), fatality statistics related to car accidents include:

  • 3,623 traffic fatalities in 2016
  • 1,059 alcohol impaired driving fatalities in 2016
  • 15 percent of all drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents that tested positive for drugs
  • 548 motorcycle fatalities in 2016
  • 225 teenage driving fatalities in 2016

Overall, in the United States, 37,000 people die in road crashes every year and another 2.35 million are injured or disabled.  (See https://www.asirt.org/road-safety-facts/.)

I’m undocumented, can you still take my case?

Yes and yes.  In California, it is against the rules in any civil case, including a car accident lawsuit, to use someone’s immigration status against them.  In other words, when someone is negligent and causes you injury, it is irrelevant what, how, or why you are here.  To this end and to be on the safe side, we always issue privacy objections to stop any line of questioning meant to elicit this type of information.

While English is the language spoken in the courtroom, it is common for non-English speakers to utilize licensed interpreters.  Our attorneys work with some of the best interpreters that can help be your voice, often matching your dialect, tone, and intonations, to ensure the translation and interpretation is spot on and conveys your story and emotions.

Can I recover for an auto accident if I am partly to blame or contributed to the accident?

Yes.  California is a “comparative fault” state, which means your total recovery will be reduced by the percentage you are deemed to have contributed to the accident occurring.  For example, if you’re total recovery is $1,000,000 and your actions were deemed to have contributed 25 percent to the accident, then your recovery is $750,000.  You can recover even if you are deemed 99 percent at-fault.

What if I was working or I was on-the-clock at the time of my accident?

Depending on the specific facts of your case, you may be able to make a workers’ compensation claim and file a lawsuit in civil court against at-fault third parties (non-employer).  Fortunately, we have you covered as we also have a workers’ compensation department with extensive experience and success handling all types of workers’ comp cases.  For more information on workers’ compensation department, please click here.

How our expert auto accident attorneys can help you

In addition to everything discussed above, our core values focus on the dignity of the individual, excellence, and service.  Our personal injury lawyers take a client-first approach and aim to give you the best, most personable service possible.  We keep you informed, answer your questions, and never make any important decisions without first informing and consulting with you.

Attorney Juan J. DominguezResults also matter and with over $500,000,000 recovered for our injured clients, we are an industry-leader and champion of rights.  Our team of award-winning accident lawyers, including a specialized trial team, has won a $28 million verdict and several settlements in excess of $10 million.  We hold accountable the parties responsible and make them pay for the losses and injuries they caused.  Period.

When you want the most beneficial result possible and to maximize your recovery, having a powerhouse law firm with a dedicated car accident lawyer, staff, and resources to go toe-to-toe against large insurance companies and corporations in your corner is your greatest asset.

Call us today for a free consultation about your case at 800-818-1818, and as always, if you don’t win you pay no costs and no fees.  There is no obligation and our friendly staff and attorneys stand at the ready to champion your case.

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