LOS ANGELES CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
Call (818) 784-8544 For Immediate Help!
A Los Angeles car accident lawyer from The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus can help you fight for justice after a serious accident that was not your fault.
Trying to recover after an car accident can seem impossible and overwhelming, that’s why the aggressive, skilled, caring experienced Los Angeles car accidents lawyers at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus are here to help.
You may be entitled to significant amounts of compensation if you act quickly and carefully. Call us today at (818) 784-8544 or toll-free at (800) 905-8777, or contact or chat with us online, to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.
You should never have to worry about how you will manage financially or deal with the legal and administrative burdens that a car accident has forced on your shoulders. The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus’ top priority is to carry that heavy load. We deal with insurance adjusters and the legal process for our Los Angeles-area clients, so that you can focus on your personal recovery from injury and tragedy.
In this post we will talk about:
- The Two General Categories of Damages
- Proof of Economic/Special Damages
- Proof of Non-Economic/General Damages
- What to Expect in a Car Accident Lawsuit
- The Importance of Fault in a Car Accident
- Proving Negligence
- Cases Not Involving Negligence
- How Insurance Companies Dispute Liability in Los Angeles Car Accident Cases
- Understanding the Basics of Insurance Companies
- When Insurance Companies Act in Bad Faith
- When Multiple Insurance Companies Are Involved
- What to Do After a Car Accident
- Tips for Before Emergency Responders Arrive
- The Benefits of Calling the Police
- Tips for the Days (and Weeks) After a Car Accident
- Causes of Car Accidents
- Car Accident Prevention Safety Tips
- Car Accident Statistics
- Talk to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Now
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Los Angeles, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to win these types of accident cases. At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus, we have helped thousands of injured victims recover compensation for their injuries after a car accident in Los Angeles.
How Our Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You
Car accidents cause more than just physical and emotional pain. They also rob individuals and families of much-needed income while burdening them with unexpected expenses. A Los Angeles car accident lawyer can help victims of Los Angeles motor vehicle accidents demand compensation to help make up for those lost wages and pay for medical and other bills that pile up.
When traffic accidents leave Los Angeles-area residents mourning a loved one or struggling to recover from debilitating injuries, the skilled attorneys at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus are here to lend them support:
- To identify the maximum compensation our car accident victim clients should receive, the experienced team at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus gets to know clients on a personal level. We learn about our clients’ lives before and after a car accident. We listen for what they hope to achieve by seeking legal advice. Then, we aim to help them meet the needs they feel are most important to recovering from losses and injuries.
- Our skilled legal team investigates the facts of our clients’ cases in detail to identify exactly what happened and who is to blame. We use our extensive resources and deep base of legal knowledge to investigate all of the circumstances surrounding our clients’ accidents. We aim to ensure that we have identified all of the parties from whom they may be entitled to recover damages, and we seek the maximum compensation allowable under the law.
- If the driver who caused the accident and our client’s injuries does not have adequate insurance, the team at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus also knows what it takes to seek compensation from our client’s own insurance company for an uninsured or underinsured claim. If our client lacks that insurance coverage, we also know how to investigate a matter to uncover other potential sources of recovery for our clients. We understand that many accidents do not have only one cause, and we work hard to identify parties whose negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions led to our client’s suffering.
- We frequently employ expert analysis or the services of accident reconstruction specialists to help guide our investigation. If our client lacks that insurance coverage, we also know how to investigate a matter to uncover other potential sources of recovery for our clients. We also may work with experts to help us calculate the size of the financial impact of a car accident on our clients’ lives. We have worked, for example, with economists who can calculate the income an accident victim would have earned had tragedy not cut her life or career short. We have also sought the assistance of medical experts to estimate the future costs of care and therapy for victims whose injuries caused permanent disabilities.
- We begin helping clients right away by communicating with insurance companies on their behalf. At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus, our qualified lawyers are skilled negotiators who understand how to argue for the maximum possible insurance settlement, and how to protect clients against the techniques insurance adjusters may try to use to shift blame onto our clients to save the insurance company money. If possible, we will work with insurance adjusters to recover the full amount of compensation our client deserves.
- Although many cases can be resolved out of court via a car accident settlement with liable parties and their insurance companies, sometimes we advise our clients that the best course of action is to take a claim to court and let a judge and jury decide. We are trial lawyers through and through and are always prepared to argue our clients’ cases to a jury of their peers.
The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus represents clients injured in car accidents and the families of those tragically killed in car accidents. We are a full-service personal injury law firm. From the moment a client walks through our doors, our goal is to serve the client’s needs by recovering the maximum possible compensation for their injuries and losses. Every representation starts with our team getting to know all about our clients and their auto accident. Contact us now for a free consultation.
How Much Is a Car Accident Case Worth in Los Angeles?
There is no single answer to how much a car accident case is worth. Every car accident is different. At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus, we aim to help our clients recover the maximum amount of compensation to which they may be entitled. In some cases, that can total millions of dollars. In others, it may be tens of thousands. Whatever our clients’ circumstances, our goal is to ensure they are not left to suffer financially from a car accident that was not their fault.
The amount of damages a car accident victim may be entitled to recover will depend on:
- The severity of the victim’s injuries and/or whether the victim died
- The victim’s age and health condition at the time of the accident
- The victim’s life circumstances, such as whether the victim:
- Had a job or career
- Supported or cared for family members
- Was active in the community
- How the accident happened and who was at fault
- The potential difficulty and expense of proving the victim’s case
- The availability of insurance to cover the victim’s losses
At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus, we understand that money cannot solve all of the problems that a car accident creates. It doesn’t bring back loved ones who were taken from us before their time. It doesn’t take away the physical pain of a back injury or the emotional difficulty of brain damage. However, money can help victims of car accidents and their families find stability after tragedy. It can eliminate the mountains of bills that pile up, and it can pay for medical treatments and services that give victims a chance to adjust to a “new normal.”
Damages You Can Recover After a Los Angeles Car Accident
Car accident victims often suffer serious injuries that have a lasting effect on their lives. When motor vehicle accidents cause fatalities, the victims’ families and loved ones suffer. In both cases, victims and/or their families may be entitled to seek money damages to compensate for the physical, emotional, and financial pain inflicted on them by someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions.
The Two General Categories of Damages
There are two broad categories of damages the victim may generally be able to recover from those responsible for causing a motor vehicle accident (subject to the insurance rules we cover below).
- The first is called economic or special damages. These damages aim to compensate for all of the costs an accident inflicts on the victim and/or the victim’s family. Medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and lost future income all fall into the category of special damages that a victim or a victim’s family may be able to recover.
- The second category is called non-economic or general damages. These damages compensate the victim and/or the victim’s family for the harm that is harder to put into numbers. Pain and suffering is the most common type of non-economic damages. It places a dollar value on how much the victim and/or the victim’s family have suffered as a result of the car accident. Other categories of general damages include loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and loss of life enjoyment, all of which try to put a value on a tragic loss or on the victim’s inability to live life the same way after the accident.
You may have also heard of a category of damages called punitive damages. These damages punish the person or entity that caused the victim’s injuries and help ensure the conduct that led to the accident never happens again. In California, punitive damages are available only when the wrongdoers’ actions were extreme, outrageous, or intentional. It is not enough for the liable party to have been grossly negligent. Punitive damages are reserved only for the worst of the worst behavior under California law.
The Challenges of Proving Damages
In a lawsuit, the victim has the responsibility to prove the existence and amount of damages. That is not always a straightforward task. You need an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer on your side to make sure you have assembled and presented the right evidence to ensure you have the best chance at recovering the maximum award.
Proof of Economic/Special Damages
- Lawyers often rely on documentation to prove these damages, such as medical bills that show how much money an injury has cost or pay stubs from the victim’s job to show what the victim was able to earn before the accident left him or her with a disability.
- An experienced lawyer may also find it necessary to consult an expert, such as an accountant or financial planner, to figure out the present value of any costs the victim reasonably expects to bear in the future, such as wages the victim can no longer hope to earn, or the expense of long-term therapies and treatments. (Present value represents the amount of money you’d need to put into an interest-bearing account today to be sure you’d have enough money, after earning interest, to cover those future expenses and losses when they arise later.)
- When it comes to proving medical damages, a doctor, specialist, or other healthcare provider oftentimes must offer expert medical testimony at a deposition or trial to prove the existence and extent of injuries. An expert medical provider may testify about the accident victim’s medical treatment, the permanent nature of the injuries sustained, and objective findings generated from medical observations and permanency evaluations. All of this expert medical testimony can potentially increase the amount of compensation an accident victim might receive.
- The injured accident victim also has the burden of connecting injuries and damages to the car accident. In other words, the injured plaintiff must show that the injuries and damages sustained would not have occurred but for the accident. That generally requires testimony from an expert medical provider, such as a treating doctor or medical specialist.
Proof of Non-Economic/General Damages
- Proving these damages can be even more complicated. How do you put a number on pain and suffering or on the difficulty of facing life without the companionship of a beloved family member who died tragically, or on the trauma of losing an arm, or the use of one’s legs? There is no easy answer.
- It will depend on factors that might even seem cold and uncaring to the victim: the victim’s age and activity level, the type of injury, how difficult life is going to be after the accident. As with economic damages, lawyers may rely on experts to help explain these damages. However, ultimately, general damages often come down to a subjective determination of how bad the accident, injury, or loss was.
- The experienced team at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus has represented enough clients in auto accident cases to make reasonable estimates of general damages. Our attorneys’ extensive knowledge is essential to ensure a client’s claim seeks the right amount of money and to decide whether a settlement offer is fair.
What to Expect in a Car Accident Lawsuit
We recognize that litigation can create stress for our clients. That is why we pride ourselves at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus on maintaining clear and frequent communication with our clients about exactly how their case is going. We guide our clients through every stage of the process of pursuing a claim in court, including:
- Preparing and filing a complaint that explains how our client was injured and who we believe was responsible
- Pursuing discovery, in which we seek disclosure of information from the other parties and respond to their requests
- Researching and drafting pretrial motions that ask the court to rule on critical issues before trial
- Presenting our client’s case to a jury
At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus, we focus on doing our best to meet our clients’ needs for recovering from injuries and loss, and that means going to trial if necessary. Contact our Los Angeles car accident lawyers who are committed to working aggressively to recover every cent we believe, based on our analysis and experience, that our client deserves.
The Importance in Proving Fault in an Accident
Lawyers who represent victims of car accidents spend a lot of time and energy thinking about fault, and for good reason.
Under California law, who was at fault in a motor vehicle accident determines who owes damages to the victim and how much the victim should recover. An experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer will usually focus on identifying who was at fault in a car accident as soon as possible.
It All Usually Comes Down to Negligence
In the most basic sense, the person at fault for an accident is the one whose actions caused it to happen.
Under California law, the person or entity at fault for an accident will be on the hook for paying damages to those injured only if that person or entity’s actions were wrongful. Now, most of the time, people don’t try to cause a car accident. (Obviously, if they do, they’ll be held liable.) Instead, legal liability for a car accident usually boils down to whether the person or entity at fault acted negligently in causing a motor vehicle accident.
Though most people have heard lawyers use the word negligent, many may not fully understand what the term really means. To prove someone was negligent in their actions, under California law, you must typically show that a person or entity:
- Had a duty of care to behave or act responsibly
- Breached that duty of care by acting in a way that a reasonable person would expect to cause the victim harm
- Harmed the victim through those actions
- Caused the victim to suffer damages as a result of that harm
All drivers on California roads owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road, including other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. That duty requires drivers to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner that will avoid accidents and injuries to others.
Examples Of Negligent Behavior
The California laws and regulations that make up the “rules of the road” that every driver must follow provide guidelines for what constitutes that duty of care. When a driver breaks those rules and gets into an accident, that violation is evidence that he or she was “negligent” behind the wheel. For example, it may be a sign a driver was negligent if at the time of an accident he or she was:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
- Driving distracted
- Driving aggressively or unpredictably
- Failing to obey traffic signals
- Drowsy driving
- Driving without a license
- Road Rage
To prove negligence, lawyers often need to gather independent evidence – something other than their client’s “say-so” – to show the other driver was at fault. For example, it may not be enough for the victim to testify she saw the other driver texting just before the accident happened.
Instead, the victim’s lawyer may need to obtain the other driver’s cellphone records to show the exact moment the driver sent or received a text, or track down other witnesses who saw the driver texting.
An experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer understands the kind of evidence necessary in California courts to demonstrate that the other driver’s negligent actions caused an accident. Some types of evidence that may be used in a car accident claim include:
- Photos from the crash scene showing the positioning of the vehicles, skid marks, damage, traffic signals, etc.
- Statements from witnesses
- Surveillance video from traffic cameras or nearby businesses
- Driving records
- Cellphone records
- Analysis from accident reconstruction experts
At the beginning of a legal representation, an experienced car accident lawyer will usually try to identify all of the people or entities whose actions may have caused the accident and the client’s injuries.
Of course, “the other driver” isn’t always the only person or entity that might have acted in a way that caused a motor vehicle accident. For instance:
- A government agency responsible for designing or maintaining roads could act “negligent” by building a road poorly or leaving it in a condition that makes it likely accidents would happen on it.
- An accident could be caused by someone who influenced a driver’s control over his vehicle, such as when a shipping company fails to balance the load in a tractor-trailer, putting it at risk of tipping over.
The more potential “defendants” a lawyer can find, the more options the client may have to recover compensation.
Cases Not Involving Negligence
Not all legal actions seeking damages arising out of a car accident require the victim to show negligence, however. Under California law, there are circumstances when someone might be held “strictly liable” for causing harm, even if that person didn’t act in a negligent manner.
- Manufacturers of defective products: Manufacturers of cars and car parts may be held strictly liable if they sell a defective product that fails, causing an accident. A product can be considered “defective” in its design, in how it was manufactured, or if it doesn’t come with warnings about how it should be used. When any one of these defects exists and causes an accident, under California law it may not matter if the manufacturer was negligent in allowing that defect to occur.
- Bars or restaurants serving alcohol: Under California Law, a bar or restaurant can be held legally liable for damages that a drunk driver causes in an accident. It is illegal for a restaurant or bar in California to sell alcohol to someone who is “visibly intoxicated.” If the visibly intoxicated person whom a restaurant or bar sold alcohol to gets into an accident on the way home, the restaurant or bar runs the risk of having liability to the drunk driver’s victims. An experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney can help accident victims determine whether one of these “strict liability” claims may apply in their case.
How Insurance Companies Dispute Liability In Los Angeles Car Accident Cases
Because most drivers on California roads carry auto insurance, insurance companies tend to play a huge role in car accident cases in which a victim seeks damages from another driver who was at fault. Typically, a victim who gets injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver will look to that other driver’s insurance to pay for damages, and the other driver’s insurance company will often pay for that other driver’s defense lawyer.
The victim’s lawyer’s job frequently involves negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company, either directly with an insurance company employee or indirectly with a lawyer who specializes in representing insured, at-fault drivers (known as an insurance defense lawyer).
Understanding the Basics of Insurance Companies
Generally speaking, it’s a good thing that insurance companies are there to help compensate victims of auto accidents. That’s one of the major purposes of buying insurance, after all—to protect yourself against being personally liable to someone you hurt through negligence. However, because insurance companies are essentially huge reserves of money that may be tapped to pay for a car accident victim’s injuries, they are not easy targets.
Insurance companies, obviously, are in the business of making money. In the most basic sense, they make a profit by collecting more money in premiums from policyholders than they pay out in benefits to people covered by their policies. No matter what they say in their television commercials, insurance companies are never excited to pay money to injured people, especially when the injured person isn’t their customer but instead is a victim of their customer’s negligence or wrongful actions.
Insurance companies’ business depends on limiting the number of people they must pay benefits to and the amount of those benefits. They do that by trying to pick apart the insurance claims that injured people make.
Insurance adjusters are the insurance company employees who investigate insurance claims and decide whether and how much to pay out on a claim. Many insurance adjusters only investigate car accidents and have lots of experience in spotting ways to minimize how much money the insurance company has to pay.
Insurance Adjuster Tactics
Victims seeking compensation from someone else who is covered by an insurance policy need have a lawyer on their side to interact with these adjusters, so that the adjusters do not take advantage. Some typical tactics insurance adjusters use to limit the insurance company’s exposure include:
- Offering quick, low settlements in exchange for a liability waiver, hoping the victim will not yet have a lawyer and is in financial distress. Insurance adjusters know that fast money can feel attractive to people who are strapped for cash and grieving or struggling to come to terms with a life-changing injury. If insurance adjusters see a chance to take advantage of that vulnerability to limit the insurance company’s financial exposure, then they will. If an insurance adjuster for the other driver or someone else’s insurance company calls offering quick money, that’s most likely a sign that you have a claim worth significantly more than what they’re putting on the table. Tempting as it might feel to take the money and put the whole car accident behind you, don’t. That money comes with strings that may tie up your ability to recover additional money later. Politely decline the offer and refer the insurance adjuster to your attorney. The adjuster has no obligation whatsoever to act in your best interests. Your lawyer does.
- Questioning the extent of the victim’s injuries and/or whether the victim is trying to recover damages for an injury that the car accident didn’t actually cause (for example, a preexisting back injury). If an insurance company can show that the victim is making the injury sound worse than it actually is, or that the victim didn’t sustain the injury in the accident but instead got hurt somewhere else or for some other reason, then the insurance company may try to escape liability for paying for the costs and pain and suffering of the injury.
- Trying to pin the fault for the accident on the victim. California’s modified comparative negligence rules give insurance companies a large financial incentive to blame the victim for an accident, and they’ll do everything in their power to find ways to do so. At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus, we know those tricks and how to fight back against them.
Do Not Give an Insurance Adjuster a Recorded Statement
Insurance adjusters are not your friends. Their mission is to limit the financial exposure of their insurance company. They’ve spoken with thousands of people just like you. They don’t want to pay you. They will use techniques they’ve honed to try to get you to admit you were at least partially at fault for the accident.
An insurance adjuster will try to get you to give a recorded statement. Do not agree to one. Recorded conversations with insurance adjusters are an ambush, and you’re the target. Politely decline to give a recorded statement and refer the insurance adjuster to your lawyer. Stick to your guns, even if the adjuster tries to bully you by telling you that you have a legal obligation to give a recorded statement or by trying to make you feel guilty for declining the conversation.
It is absolutely reasonable and responsible for you to ask for the opportunity to review their request with your lawyer first. Your attorney will advise you whether you have any obligation to speak with the adjuster. In our experience, most of the time that obligation doesn’t exist.
These are just a few of the techniques insurance adjusters may use against vulnerable accident victims. The best defense against these tactics is to have a lawyer on your side right away after you sustain injuries in a car accident, so that you have an experienced negotiator to handle discussions with the insurance adjuster or insurance defense attorney from the get-go.
When Insurance Companies Act in Bad Faith
Not only will a skilled car accident attorney know how to avoid the tricks and pitfalls that insurance adjusters try to use to minimize damages, but the attorney will also spot when an insurance company is acting in bad faith and hold them to account, if need be.
Under California law, an insurance company that acts in bad faith toward an insured party (including a victim of a policyholder’s negligence) may be liable to the victim for additional damages, including punitive damages and attorney fees. Examples of bad faith can include purposefully ignoring evidence of a covered claim or delaying payment on a valid claim.
When Multiple Insurance Companies Are Involved
Sometimes, it’s not just the other driver’s insurance company that a car accident victim and his lawyer may have to contend with.
In cases like the ones mentioned above where a non-driver is at fault for causing an accident, an insurance company representing the non-driver (such as an insurer for an auto parts company, or the property liability insurance carrier for a restaurant) may also come into the picture. Oftentimes, these insurance companies will fight doubly hard because their customers’ (and their own) liability exposure may be far larger than to a single car accident victim.
Insurance Companies Are Never On Your Side
In short, in car accident cases, insurance exists to help pay damages to victims of someone’s negligence. But don’t be fooled. The at-fault party’s insurance company is never on your side. Insurance adjusters will do everything in their power to deny or limit the benefits they must pay.
When it comes to proving the existence and severity of personal injuries, and in particular, catastrophic injuries and damages, the accident victim has the burden of proof, and insurance adjusters will use this burden to their advantage. Whenever an accident victim seeks compensation for serious injuries and damages, the insurance company will likely downplay the seriousness and extent of the injuries and will look for other possible causes of the injuries or impairments.
Call The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus When a Car Accident Devastates Your Life
From connecting with a client’s personal tragedy to identifying the at-fault parties in an accident, from gathering evidence to proving negligence or strict liability and negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers, The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus is a Los Angeles-area law firm committed to serving the needs of motor vehicle accident victims and their families. We have years of experience and a track record of results, having recovered millions of dollars for our car accident clients.
If a motor vehicle accident has devastated your life, either by leaving you with a serious injury or by tragically taking a loved one from you, our team of skilled, compassionate attorneys is here to help. Call us today at (818) 784-8544 or toll-free at (800) 905-8777, or contact or chat with us online, to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team and discuss whether we can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
See What Our Clients Have to Say About Us!
“I was in a serious collision in which a driver slammed into the back of my vehicle driving about 40 miles per hour and my wife and I had serious whiplash. It was a rainy day and a Friday and the lady driving was on her cell phone not paying any attention. We were in shock. Your staff and the doctors that we worked with were amazing. I felt taken care of from the minute we worked with you. I sent my sister to you who was hit from behind in Los Angeles from a driver who had no insurance and no driver’s license. You have taken wonderful care of her as well. My wife and I consider you to be like family and we are honored to work with you.”
– David H.
GET PAID FOR YOUR INJURIES
“Thank you for the compassion & great professional service that I received from your office. If the need arises I will refer anyone who needs representation to your office. Sincerely”
– Linda S. Barrett
“When he told me the settlement on my case I started to cry I was so taken back. I wrote my first yelp review this morning on your company. I’m still in awe. This is my first accident I’ve ever been in …”
– Debbie R
“You did exactly what you said you would do and always kept us in the loop and treated him with the utmost respect.”
– Marilyn and Jack B.
What Sets Us Apart?
We Are Successful In More Than 95% Of Our Cases & Have Recovered More Than $250 MILLION
IN SETTLEMENTS, VERDICTS, & AWARDS FOR OUR CLIENTS
Settlement During Trial
Settlement During Trial
Struck by a Car