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Common Car Accident Questions Answered

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Common Car Accident Questions Answered

Common Car Accident Questions Answered

Apr 23, 2021

Car accidents, automobile collisions, traffic crashes, hit-and-runs – whatever term you use to describe these types of incidents, one thing is for sure: they occur each and every day in Los Angeles and throughout California, affecting thousands of people annually.

An accident often denotes multiple layers. But the term ‘car accident‘ can, in many cases, be a bit of a misnomer. ‘Car crash’ is actually more accurate terminology given that one party or the other typically bears responsibility for the incident. Said responsibility can take the form of negligence, recklessness, or violation of traffic laws, to name a few. Nevertheless, the most commonly used reference is “accident,” and in urban communities such as our heavily congested Los Angeles metropolitan area, automobile accidents are a serious concern and pose an everyday risk to you and your family.

Adding to the risk factors when traveling along California’s dangerous roads and highways, a SmartAsset.com study published in 2021 reveals that California residents spend an inordinate amount of their lives in cars combatting extreme traffic. According to the study, “California leads the country as the state with the worst commutes. Eight out of the 11 cities on [the] list are located in the Golden State, averaging 33.6 minutes in travel time to work.” Additionally, KCAL9 recently highlighted a Robert Half survey that ranks the typical Los Angeles commute as “#1 most stressful” in the country. Given the myriad external factors impacting commuters in their travels each day, it is no surprise that car accidents are an unfortunate reality in the greater Los Angeles area.

While one might assume that COVID-19 lockdowns would have resulted in fewer automobile fatalities nationwide, the opposite has actually proved to be true. Dordulian Law Group reviewed the existing data last year in one of our blogs and discovered a jump in speed-related crashes as well as a higher fatality rate per mile traveled. Hence, even empty roads can prove to be deadly under certain circumstances. It’s yet another example of how Californians, and Angelenos in particular, need to be conscious of traffic safety.

If you are the victim of a car accident and have come across our website with questions about how to begin the claims process, how to navigate the task of selecting the best attorney, or what sort of compensation may be available for your injuries, you’ve come to the right place. We have a first-rate team of compassionate and caring car accident attorneys who are highly skilled at pursuing claims on behalf of injured victims. With an exceptional case success rate of over 98% and a history of recovering more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts, Dordulian Law Group is the number one firm for car accident victims like you.

In our more than 40 years of combined experience, we’ve received countless questions from car accident victims and their families. Below we’ll address some of the more common queries, and provide important facts regarding our firm. If we do not answer your specific question, or you’d like additional information, please contact us 24/7 online or by phone at 818-322-4056. If you’d like to submit a question directly to our online interactive question and answer forum, head to the following link and we’ll post your query along with a response from one of our team members as soon as possible.

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

What should I do if I’m involved in a car accident?

The California Department of Insurance provides a consumer guide entitled: So You’ve Had an Accident, What’s Next?. As part of said guide, the state offers the following suggestions:

  • Find a location to stop, but only move your vehicle if you are able to do so safely.
  • Call 911, particularly if anyone appears to be injured.
  • Make a good-faith effort to contact the police.
  • Gather contact information from all involved, including driver’s license numbers if possible.
  • Obtain contact information from other passengers – especially witnesses.
  • Photograph damages to your vehicle and, if applicable, yourself.
  • If you can do so safely, capture images of the accident scene.

Once you’ve completed these important action items in the event of a car accident, call the personal injury attorneys at Dordulian Law Group to ensure your rights as a victim are preserved and protected.

What constitutes a personal injury claim?

After a car accident, a personal injury claim is a civil lawsuit seeking to recover monetary compensation for various types of damages suffered. Victims file personal injury claims to recover such damages, either through the at-fault party (individual or institution) or at-fault party’s insurance company.

In many cases, both the insurance company and at-fault party will be responsible for paying damages through a settlement or verdict. The final amount of a damages award can vary considerably, however, depending on the specific facts of each personal injury case.

If you’ve suffered an injury (which can be physical or psychological) after a car accident and that injury has resulted in financial loss, it is in your best interest to file a personal injury claim in an attempt to recover those losses. The goal of a personal injury claim is to help an injured victim return to a point of being “whole” via financial compensation following an accident or injury.

What damages can be recovered in a car accident claim?

There are a few different types of damages that may be recoverable depending on the circumstances of your car accident. A Glendale, California, personal injury lawyer from DLG will help you determine which damages should be pursued in compliance with California law and according to the facts of the case. Generally, the four types of damages available for car accident claims include:

  • Special
  • General
  • Punitive
  • Wrongful death

Special compensatory damages may be pursued for any economic hardships resulting from a car accident. These types of damages will go towards expenses such as medical bills and the cost of any medical care you may require in the future. Special damages are intended to cover the costs accumulated in cases where the victim is too injured to work. They may also cover any expenses deemed to be a detriment to your economic well-being (e.g. rent, mortgage payments, and even relocation costs or property reconstruction necessitated because of an injury).

General compensatory damages may be pursued for losses of the non-economic variety, including pain and suffering and emotional anguish. These are broad terms that encompass abstract issues like diminished quality of life and even psychological trauma. Although general compensatory damages are quite serious, they are also less tangible, more difficult to prove, and therefore can be harder to litigate. However, having a highly qualified DLG personal injury attorney in your corner can help ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve for any general compensatory damages.

Punitive damages are rare and in a separate class. A California court may find that a car accident victim is owed punitive damages in cases where the at-fault party’s behavior is abhorrent, egregious, or reprehensible, such that they intentionally operated a vehicle in a reckless manner with the intent of causing harm. Though atypical, DLG pursues punitive damages in all eligible cases.

Finally, wrongful death damages apply in scenarios involving a car accident fatality. These specific damages can cover costs ranging from funeral and burial expenses to medical bills incurred before a loved one’s death. Wrongful death damages are intended to compensate the bereaved (specific eligible family members or dependents) after the loss of an important person.

Dordulian Law Group’s team of experienced personal injury lawyers has the knowledge and skill to secure you the damages you deserve after a car accident injury. We will guide you through entire legal process with support and discretion during such difficult circumstances. Our attorneys are experts in the complexities of California personal injury law and uphold a shared commitment to the well-being of each and every client.

What is the statute of limitations (deadline) for filing a personal injury claim as a car accident victim in California?

‘Statute of limitations’ refers to the amount of time following an event that a victim has to legally seek recourse. The statute of limitations or deadline can vary depending on the type of incident in question.

For the purposes of car accident claims, California law distinguishes between those involving injury victims and those involving property damage. Individuals who file claims based on property damage typically have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

For victims who sustain bodily injuries, in the majority of cases there are two years from the time of the incident to file a lawsuit. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as accidents involving children under 18. But for the most part, the standard deadline for filing a car accident claim is two years. To ensure you your claim does not become ineligible due to an expired statute of limitations, it is recommended that car accident victims contact a Dordulian Law Group car accident attorney as soon as possible following an incident.

In the unfortunate instance that the statute of limitations expires before a claim is filed, car accident victims are typically left without legal recourse. Don’t let this happen to you. Remember – if you’ve been injured in a car accident within the past two years, you likely still have time to file a claim.

How is liability determined in a car accident?

When a personal injury victim files a lawsuit, the objective is to prove that the damages resulting from an accident or incident were due to negligence or harm. ‘Negligence’ is a term that, when considering car accident cases, can be anything from reckless driving to texting while driving to simple human error. Based on California law, an individual may be deemed negligent if they violated what is known as a duty of care.

All drivers have a duty of care to their fellow drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. You must drive safely, in accordance with all laws, and operate a vehicle in a manner that will not injure another. Causing an injury to another thereby violates said duty of care. Breaking a duty of care essentially means operating a vehicle in a way that is counter to what would be expected of a reasonably prudent person (including general human error).

One of the biggest causes of accidents in California and across the country is distracted driving. Something as simple as a driver changing the radio station can cause a crash that results in an award of financial damages to the injured or impacted plaintiff. Additional instances of negligence can include driving under the influence of an impairing substance, speeding, or other traffic violations. Furthermore, drivers are not the only ones who must maintain a duty of care.

Failure of a local, state, or federal authority to properly maintain the infrastructure system can constitute negligence. Poorly lit roadways, potholes, or similar deficiencies that may prove hazardous to motorists can be considered breaches of a public entity’s duty of care.

Can I sue to recover financial damages after a car accident?

DLG seeks compensatory and, when applicable, punitive damages on behalf of all car accident victims. The specific damages pursued are determined based on each individual’s case and unique circumstances, and we work to identify all available economic and non-economic losses that may be recovered. As previously referenced, these damages may include: medical bills, property damage, physical injuries, impact to quality of life, emotional distress, as well as loss of consortium (meaning the injured victim can no longer serve in the household role for which their family is accustomed, including as a spouse or parent).

The DLG Advantage for car accident victims

We know the process of filing a civil claim after an unfortunate and untimely car accident can be intimidating. After experiencing this type of trauma, let Dordulian Law Group help navigate your path to economic and emotional recovery.

If you’ve been in a car accident and have suffered injuries – physical or otherwise – our personal injury attorneys are ready to be of service. The legal system can be complex and often confusing for victims, especially after experiencing the trauma of a car accident. The seasoned team within DLG’s elite Car Accident Division is well versed in personal injury litigation. We have decades of experience in fighting for and winning maximum compensation on behalf of our clients. In fact, in addition to having an experienced team of attorneys on your side, DLG utilizes the resources of an in-house investigator who, up until very recently, served honorably as a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective.

Throughout his nearly 30 years in law enforcement – many of which were spent in the premier LAPD Central Traffic Division – Moses Castillo investigated hundreds of car and pedestrian accidents, helping to close some of the city’s most high-profile cases. Detective Castillo has become an invaluable asset to DLG as our Chief Investigator, helping prove negligence and liability in our most complex cases. Utilizing the combination of his skills and the expertise of our compassionate and talented car accident lawyers, we provide an unmatched advantage in always building the strongest personal injury case possible for our clients.

Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert car accident attorneys.

What sets DLG apart from other attorneys in the Los Angeles area?

You deserve to have your case handled by experts in the legal community with decades of proven success. When you sign on as our client, winning on your behalf is our top priority. Let’s be honest – insurance companies are never eager to pay out large sums of money as a result of an accident caused by their at-fault client. Their ultimate goal is saving (and in turn making) money, and they always devote extensive resources like teams of high-powered lawyers to launch a vigorous defense. With the DLG Advantage, our clients are able to successfully counter that defense.

We are a well-established and highly respected law firm with a renowned history of successfully obtaining justice and maximum financial compensation on behalf of accident victims just like you. You can feel confident with our team of trusted legal professionals, our 98% success rate, and our track record of recovering over $100 million for injured clients. Our success and dedication is further evinced through our countless clients who have provided glowing testimonials on our behalf. We’re proud to have served them, and we’re here to serve you in the event that you’re ever in need.

Ready to learn more about how we can work to obtain a maximum damages award on your behalf and help make you whole again following a car accident? Contact us today for a free consultation.

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