LOS ANGELES CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
Call (818) 784-8544 For Immediate Help!
Have You Been Injured in a Los Angeles Car Accident?
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 accident 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. If you or a loved one have been injured in a Los Angeles car accident due to a negligent driver, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus. You can contact us online or by calling (818) 784-8544.
The High Cost of Los Angeles Auto Accidents
A serious car accident can and will have a significant impact on your life. Your life may even be changed forever after a car accident.
Even minor car accidents can seriously shake your life up. You’ll have to deal with the stress of talking to your own insurance company, getting your car repaired, dealing with the opposing insurance company, missing work, and more. And that’s not even dealing with injuries resulting from the car accident.
When car accidents result in serious injuries, the impact is much higher in all areas of your life, including stress, financial burdens, ongoing medical care, and mental anguish.
When it’s bad, a car accident injury will not just result in expensive emergency care or a lengthy hospital stay. It can have tremendous financial and physical impacts.
A serious injury may keep you off work for an extended period of time. Or, it might even make it impossible for you to return to your job.
You may require long term care, such as costly homecare from a professional caregiver or therapist. Further, you may require expensive medical equipment. Finally, you may even suffer a permanent disability, particularly if the accident causes traumatic brain injury or a debilitating spine injury.
In addition, with all the sophisticated equipment on modern cars, a greater percentage of vehicles are being totaled in accidents. Nearly 20% by some estimates. Here, the cost of repairs are more than the vehicles are worth.
As a result, many accident victims can expect to be temporarily without the use of their car. Further, they will have the additional stress of purchasing another one.
Consequently, even car accidents with injuries that you can fully recover from can be financially devastating. And not just to you, but to family members and others that may rely upon your financial support.
Car Accident Injury Statistics in Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Car Accident FAQs
Here are answers to many common questions about Los Angeles car accidents.
In 2019, there were approximately 612,000 car accidents in California. This represents an increase of nearly 7,500 from the previous year.
When calculating these figures on a daily scale, there are about 1676 accidents every single day in California alone.
Let’s look at some other statistics that focus on some specific issues related to Los Angeles car accidents.
Accidents Involving Injuries
According to the most recent data from the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS), there were nearly 97,000 car accidents in 2019 that resulted in injuries in California.
The most common type of accident that caused injuries were rear-end collisions with 19,990 injuries. Rear-end accidents were most common at stop lights or in heavy traffic. The second most common type of injury-causing accident was ‘turning accidents’ with 12,472 injuries. And turning accidents most commonly occurred when a person failed to yield to turn left.
For comparison, there are approximately 3 million people injured in car accidents every year in the United States. Of these injured, about 2 million of those people experienced permanent injuries because of the accident.
Fatal Car Accidents
In the most recent data available for 2019, California had over 3,000 car accident fatalities that year.
These deaths represent over 1% of all traffic accidents that occur. This low percentage is seemingly good news. However, the fact that 3,000 people die in car accidents every year is still devastating.
The majority of fatal crashes in Los Angeles occur on state roads. The second most common is city streets. County roads and interstates made up third and fourth place in terms of road types where fatal accidents occurred, respectively.
Many fatal accidents were caused by a collision with a fixed object, like a tree or guard rail. Cars hitting and killing pedestrians, head-on collisions, and turning accidents are also common reasons.
Accidents Involving Children
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the top causes of death to children in the US.
Each year, around 700 children under the age of 13 die in car accidents. Another 100,000 children are injured.
Of the children who are killed in car accidents, 33% of them were not properly secured in a car seat or wearing a seatbelt. According to studies and tests, had those children been properly secured, they would have had a much better chance of surviving the collision.
A seatbelt reduces a child’s risk of injury or death by 71 to 82 percent. The use of a booster seat can reduce the risk even more. Children ages 4 to 8 who are properly secured in booster seats are 45% less likely to be seriously injured compared to children wearing a seatbelt alone.
Distracted Driving Accidents
10% of drivers in California admitted to using their phones while driving. This includes using their phone at red lights and stop signs, which is still dangerous because it takes away a driver’s attention to the road around them.
As the data above pointed out, distracted driving is a serious issue in the US. In 2018, 2,800 people were killed and over 400,000 were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver.
Distracted Teen Drivers
Distracted driving is even worse for teen drivers.
In a survey of high school students, the Journal of Adolescent Health found that 38% of high school students had texted or emailed while driving at least once in the past 30 days.
They also found that students who used their phones while driving were more likely to not wear a seatbelt, more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking, and more likely to drive after drinking alcohol themselves.
Drunk Driving Accidents
When you look at the data collected about accidents in Illinois from 2018, you can see that drunk driving is a serious problem. Out of the reported 2051 fatal California car accidents, 27% of them involved alcohol.
Drunk drivers are also much more likely to kill another driver in an accident than they are to kill themselves.
What Are Common Causes of Los Angeles Car Accidents?
Car accidents are becoming more frequent and will continue to be a serious problem for everyone. Common causes of auto accidents can include:
- Los Angeles Speeding Accidents: Driving over the speed limit is one of the most common causes of car accidents because speeding drivers have less time to react to changing circumstances. A sudden slow down, pedestrian stepping into the road, or a little bit of black ice can all turn a speeding car into a serious hazard.
- Driving too fast for conditions: Not adapting your speed to changing weather conditions–like rain, snow, and ice–was listed as one of the most common causes of car accidents. In places where the weather can create severe hazards on the roads, it’s important that drivers are cognizant of the road’s condition.
- Los Angeles Heavy traffic: Heavy traffic creates more accidents for obvious reasons. More people on the roads means more opportunities for driver error and negligent driving. People also tend to get bored or aggravated in heavy traffic, which can bring out the worst in drivers.
- Los Angeles Distracted driving: Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds can mean you travel hundreds of feet without realizing it. No matter the reason, distracted driving is always serious and always dangerous. If you need to do something that will just take a few seconds, then you can afford to pull over to complete that quick task.
- Texting while driving in Los Angeles: Texting while driving is probably the most common type of distracted driving. It is a huge problem and causes thousands of accidents in Los Angeles and other parts of California each year.
- Online browsing: Browsing the internet while you’re driving is unsafe and careless. Reading the news or looking up a quick fact takes your eyes and mind off the road, which can easily cause an accident that injures or kills someone.
- GPS: Sometimes, finding a place on your phone’s map app is necessary, but it can also be dangerous. If you need to find the exact location of a place while you are driving, pull over first so that you can arrive at your destination safely.
- Los Angeles Drunk Drivers: Driving while drunk decreases reaction time and increases the likelihood of an accident. Driving while intoxicated is a common cause of car accidents that result in fatal injuries. As we mentioned above, driving drunk is way too common in California and around the country and is something we need to collectively end as a society. Hopefully, the rise and expansion of ride apps and public transportation can help us greatly reduce the problem of drunk driving.
- Los Angeles Drugged drivers: Drugged driving can cause blurred vision, slow reaction times, confusion, and other impairments depending on the drug that’s been consumed. As marijuana becomes more legal, we must be careful as a society to not let drugged driving become as much of a problem as drunk driving.
- Los Angeles Red lights: Drivers may run a red light or stop sign because they think they can get away with it or because they’re in a hurry or are just selfish. As you can probably guess, red light accidents are some of the worst since drivers are moving full speed when they hit another car, bicyclist, or pedestrian.
The fact remains that vehicle accidents are going to continue to occur. They will happen no matter the effort to protect drivers and passengers from accidents and injuries.
Thankfully, most vehicle accidents are relatively harmless, like a fender bender in a parking lot accident. Further, some only cause minor injuries. But at the other extreme are serious accidents that cause catastrophic injuries. And even worse, sometimes bad crashes result in death.
When you are injured, or a family member is killed, it is important to get a Los Angeles car accident lawyer on your side. This, to make sure you can recover fully from your loss.
Causes of Accidents by Percentage
Data on the exact cause of a car accident is not easy to collect. If you ask two people what caused the car accident, you’ll likely get two different answers. However, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) conducted a survey of more than 5,000 collisions over the course of 2.5 years and came up with the best estimates we have for the causes of car accidents. They found that the top reasons for car accidents were:
- Driver’s inattention and distracted driving – 41%
- Driver decision (speeding, illegal maneuver, etc) – 33%
- Overcompensation of the vehicle – 11%
- Fatigued driving – 7%
- Other driver errors – 8%
What should I do after a car accident?
- Call the authorities and make a police report. Do not let the other driver talk you into skipping this important step. It can lead to issues later on.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Take good photos of the other side’s ID and insurance information. Some police departments will not make this information publicly available on the police report. For example, the California Highway Department heavily redact their police reports.
- Take down witness information. Independent witness testimony could be critical to your case.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident and of the damage to your vehicle and to the other vehicles as well.
- Seek medical attention. If you’re injured, go to the emergency room or seek medical care as soon as possible. Your injuries could be more serious than you realize. Further, a long gap between an accident and medical treatment can make it difficult for your lawyer to prove that your injuries are related to the accident.
- Contact an auto accident attorney in Los Angeles ASAP. The sooner you have an attorney, the sooner he or she can start protecting your legal rights. Also, call a Los Angeles car accident lawyer before you talk to any auto insurance carrier. They will often try to take a statement from you, which can be used against you later on.
- Medical Expenses, like hospital visits, doctor appointments, physical therapy, ambulance fees, etc.
- Pain and Suffering, which is the physical and mental anguish for which a person can seek compensation for in a lawsuit.
- Lost Wages from missing work after a serious injury. This can be one of the most financially damaging aspects of a car accident.
What is Included in Pain and Suffering ?
Pain and suffering compensation (and all non-economic compensation) varies greatly depending on the details of your case. To determine this number, your attorney will look at how much your quality of life has changed from before and after your accident. The greater the change, the greater compensation you could receive. For example, if you are no longer able to pick up your grandchild, or to drive your children to school, these would qualify as a change in standard of life. Pain and suffering is often heavily negotiated and can be worth significant money, depending on the severity of your injuries. You can read more about calculating pain and suffering here.
You may be able to recover the damages caused by a car accident. However, in order to ensure you get what you deserve from your injury claim, don’t delay getting help from a legal professional. Get started today by contacting the Los Angeles car accident lawyers at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus.
There are a variety of injuries that can result from auto accidents, such as:
- Broken bone injury accidents. When a fracture is more serious, it could require surgery to repair.
- Back and neck injuries. Most of the time these are soft tissue injuries that resolve with therapy. However, sometimes accident victims sustain herniated discs which may need injections or surgery to resolve.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). This is when the impact to the head disrupts brain activity. TBIs can be mild (like a concussion) or severe, which can require years of medical care. TBI may also cause complications such as brain death, vegetative state, coma, and even death.
- Lacerations. Sometimes accident victims sustain large cuts that require stitches or staples, and often leave disfiguring scars.
- Shoulder injuries, such as a torn rotator cuff or a torn labrum. These injuries often require surgery.
- Burn injuries. This can be a result of fire, but it can also come from airbags. Our office has seen significant scarring from airbag injuries.
- Death. Tragically, hundreds of people die every year in Los Angeles area auto accidents.
How Much Should I Expect from a Car Accident Settlement?
There is no set rule on how money you will receive. However, three factors can typically help determine the value of your car accident case:
- Liability. Which party is at fault for the accident? If the cause of the collision was clearly the negligence of the defendant, this works in your favor.
- Insurance. Good insurance carriers with big policies can be great for your case. But unfortunately, if you have a six-figure injury and the other driver only has $50,000 in insurance coverage, that can limit your recovery. There are big and small insurance policies. There are good and bad insurance carriers. It is often “luck of the draw”.
- Damages. Different injuries have different values, and a good personal injury lawyer will know what to look for. For example, a broken arm with surgery is worth a lot more than a sore wrist. Further, a neck or back injury that leads to surgery is worth a lot more than a soft-tissue injury that resolves with physical therapy.
Contact our law firm if you’d like more information about the possible value of your case.
What Factors Affect My Settlement?
Determining how much compensation you should expect from your settlement can be difficult since the amount depends heavily on the facts of your case. An experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney will be able to help you determine the amount that you should reasonably expect based on your economic and noneconomic damages. They’ll also be able to help you make the right decision on when to settle or whether to take your case to court. It is your attorney’s job to negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf until they obtain a top offer from the insurance carrier. If that offer is fair, you settle, if not, your lawyer can file a lawsuit.
Factors that affect settlement value include:
- The severity of your injuries.
- The amount of insurance coverage available. If the driver has little to no insurance, it’s much harder to receive a high settlement from them. If the driver has no or minimum insurance, the case may have to rely on your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for compensation.
- Whether liability is clear or contested. For example, getting rear-ended is usually undisputed liability, but with a red-light case, there is often a dispute over who is at-fault.
- If your accident had more than one liable party (third-party claims).
- If the at-fault party acted with gross negligence in operating their motor vehicle.
- How much damages you have in medical expenses and other debts, such as missed wages from work.
- Your ability to return to work in the future.
- The change in your quality of life before and after your accident.
- Any out of pocket expenses you may have incurred.
Although many people believe they can rely upon insurers to provide them with adequate compensation, unfortunately, this is not always true. Under California law, a motorist only needs to carry:
- $15,000 of liability insurance for the death or injury of an individual
- $30,000 of liability insurance for death or injury total per accident
- $5,000 of property damage insurance
Many people show more responsibility and purchase insurance coverage above these limits. However, your accident may involve one of the less responsible motorists. If so, the other driver’s insurance company may cover only a very small proportion of your damage claims.
Even worse, despite the mandatory insurance law, some California drivers operate without any car insurance at all. A study undertaken by the Insurance Research Council estimates that 1-in-8 drivers across the nation are uninsured. Similarly, estimates for California have the ratio of drivers without insurance at 15%.
What if I Have an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
Let’s say you are in a car accident. Further, the at-fault driver has minimum or no auto insurance. In this case, there could be too little or no insurance coverage from the at-fault driver to cover the claim.
If you have been wise enough to purchase auto insurance of your own, it should include Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Here, your lawyer can pursue a uninsured motorist claim or an underinsured motorist claim against your own auto policy. These are often referred to as UM and UIM claims.
With this type of claim, your own auto insurance company will step into the shoes of the uninsured or underinsured driver and pay on the claim. And, as many people can attest, recovering from your own insurer can sometimes be as difficult as recovering from another party’s insurer.
On the other hand, UM and UIM claims often settle quickly. Further, you can sometimes collect more money while spending less on costs.
This is where a Los Angeles car accident attorney at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus can help. If you suffer an injury in a car accident as the result of a negligent driver, our attorneys are ready to handle all of your concerns. This includes evaluating and investigating issues such as:
- Who is at fault
- The amount of insurance coverage available to pay on the claim
- Calculating your out-of-pocket expenses, like medical care and lost income
- Determining your non-economic costs and long-term needs
Our car accident lawyers handle UM and UIM claims on a regular basis. They are very common.
Injury attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis. That means there is no fee unless you win your case. You pay no money up front. The lawyer charges a percentage of the amount of money he or she collects from the auto insurance carrier.
Many injury lawyers advance the costs to prosecute a case. Some examples of costs include paying for medical records, court filing fees, court reporters, and expert witnesses. The costs are reimbursed at the time of settlement.
For someone who’s never been involved in a car accident lawsuit before, the process can seem daunting. An experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney will help you to understand the personal injury claim process and will make sure that you’re kept up-to-date on what’s going on with your case.
Immediately after the accident occurs, you should gather as much evidence as you possibly can. This may not be possible if you have to be rushed to the hospital, but if you can have someone you trust come to the accident scene, or gather the evidence yourself. This is very important.
You should collect evidence in the form of pictures (of the scene, your own car, the opposing car, and your injuries), video of the scene of the accident, as well as any contact information of witnesses. You should exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident and call 911 to make a police report and request an ambulance, if necessary.
Receiving medical treatment for your injuries is one of the most important steps after a Los Angeles car accident. Any delay in receiving medical treatment may look suspicious to the court or insurance companies–not to mention further complicate your injuries–so it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible.
Be sure to do what your doctors tell you to do, and follow-up with any recommended specialists. You’ll want to keep a record of any bills you receive for medical treatments.
After the crash, you’ll want to begin looking for an experienced car accident attorney near you. It’s important to find someone who has experience working with your specific type of case, and has experience winning trials and getting high settlements.
Your initial meeting or phone call with a personal injury attorney is a free consultation to go over your case. You won’t be required to pay anything at this time, as most personal injury lawyers are only paid for their services if they win your case.
At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus you pay us NOTHING until your case is won. If there is no monetary recovery, you do not pay us anything!
Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company
Your lawyer will file a claim with your car insurance company so that you can pursue an uninsured, underinsured, medical payment and/or property damage claim, if necessary. Your attorney will later seek compensation for your injuries and damages from the insurance company of the at-fault driver or from your own carrier, depending on the situation at hand.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company may contact you and ask for a statement and a signed waiver in exchange for quick cash. It’s incredibly important that you don’t give them a statement, sign anything, or accept this money without speaking to your attorney first. This applies to both your own insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. Please let your lawyer handle the insurance adjusters.
Once you hire a lawyer, they will begin their own investigation into the case, including looking at liability and your medical records. This process is known as pre-litigation and it is when your attorney will begin reaching out to any healthcare providers to get your medical records or to gather other important documents like the police report. Once your injuries heal (or you reach maximum recovery), your attorney will collect your medical records and bills.
Once all the evidence has been gathered and you have reached maximum recovery, your attorney will submit a settlement demand to the insurance company. The insurance company will hopefully make a first offer within a reasonable amount of time and negotiations will begin. These negotiations will go back and forth until the insurance company refuses to offer a higher amount. If you and your attorney agree on this settlement and accept the offer, your case will settle and stay out of court.
However, if the settlement offer is not sufficient, it will be time to move forward with filing a lawsuit. This decision will be carefully considered between you and your attorney.
Making the decision to settle your case can be a difficult choice, especially if the settlement doesn’t seem fair. Your attorney will be able to help you make this decision and will guide you on what choices you have.
It should be noted that approximately 95% of personal injury cases settle pretrial.
Discovery for Trial
If a lawsuit is filed, a period called discovery begins. During this time, both sides have the opportunity to further investigate the case. The parties may request documents, or ask questions of the opposing side. The attorneys on both sides will want to take depositions. This is where the attorneys ask the other parties or witnesses questions on the record with a court reporter present. Lawyers get the opportunity to ask doctors, police officers, or anyone else involved in the case questions about what occurred. Your car accident attorney will prepare you and be with you at your deposition, and will help you to understand what to expect.
Mediation and Pre-Trial Conferences
Before the trial date, there could be an opportunity for mediation or a pre-trial conference in an attempt to reach a settlement. For example, in mediation a mediator will speak with both parties and attempt to reach an agreement. They have no power to force the parties to settle, but they are incredibly helpful in getting both sides to agree on an outcome. Many cases are often settled during mediation after a lawsuit is filed.
If mediation and all other negotiations are unsuccessful, your case will go to trial. In trial, both sides will have the chance to argue their case with the evidence that they have collected. The judge or jury will then hear both side’s cases and make a decision about how much compensation should be awarded.
How Much Time do I Have to Sue?
In California, the statute of limitations is 2 years in most personal injury cases.
You must file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations. Otherwise, the plaintiff will be time barred from pursuing the case and recovering any damages.
Finally, do not wait until the last minute to try to find an attorney. Most accident attorneys will not take a case that is too close to the statute of limitations.
The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus Has Experience Assisting Car Accident Victims
Bear in mind that obtaining help from a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer may be critical. This is especially true when an injury is serious.
If you delay too long in pursuing your claims, or if you fail to fully understand your damages, important rights may be lost. Further, important evidence may be forgotten, damaged, or destroyed.
We know that when you have serious injuries, it is difficult to carefully and immediately assess the cause of the accident, and to gather information. It is even more difficult to handle the insurance carriers. Your accident attorney can shoulder that burden for you.
Our Accident Attorney Is Here to Help
If you are injured in an auto accident, or someone you love has been injured or killed, let a car accident attorney at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus help you to assess and understand your rights and potential remedies. Further, we can help you to obtain the compensation that you deserve in order to fully recover.
The personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus have experience representing Los Angeles drivers and passengers injured in car accidents. We will independently investigate your accident and do what is necessary to help you recover. This allows you to concentrate on the important and difficult task of healing and getting your life back in order.
Here is a small sample of our case settlements from car accident claims:
- $3,000,000 for a motorist killed by a driver making an illegal u-turn.
- $905,000 for a passenger that sustained neck injuries and had to undergo surgery after a single-car accident.
- $460,000 – Los Angeles Car Accident. A Los Angeles area driver failed to yield coming out of a stop sign, hitting our client’s vehicle. The plaintiff had to undergo surgery to repair a lumbar disc injury.
- $600,000 – Wrongful Death Auto Accident. Insurance policy limits settlement of $500,000, plus $100,000 from our client’s own auto policy due to a second defendant that had no auto insurance.
- $200,000 – Los Angeles Car Crash. Accident settlement for injuries due to a DUI motorist.
- $220,000 – Los Angeles Auto Accident. Policy limits UM claim settlement for two minor children in a car accident.
- $250,000 – California Car Accident. Policy limits settlement for a Los Angeles Area resident. The plaintiff had surgery for a disc injury.
Free Consultation with a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
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Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney
If you suffered a severe injury in a Los Angeles auto accident that wasn’t your fault, your main concern should always be recovering your physical and mental health. If an accident has tragically taken a loved one from you because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, your priority may be grieving for your loss and comforting your family.
Trying to recover after an auto 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 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.
How Our Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys 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. An attorney 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 car accident attorney 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 auto accident lawyers who are committed to working aggressively to recover every cent we believe, based on our analysis and experience, that our client deserves.
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 car accident 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 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.
Tips for the Days (and Weeks) After a Car Accident
The days and weeks after a car accident can bring many difficulties. Even those who escaped the accident without serious physical injuries may feel aches and pains and experience traumatic flashbacks to the fear and confusion of the accident. While most people understandably want to put a car accident behind them as quickly as possible, they should take steps to protect their health and legal rights in most cases. Obviously, car accident victims who sustain serious injuries may not accomplish these tasks all by themselves and may need to delegate them to a spouse or family member.
See Your Doctor
Even if you had an EMT check you out at the accident scene and you did not need an ambulance ride to the emergency department, in the day or two following a car accident you should schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or visit a walk-in urgent care clinic for a check-up. EMTs do the important work of spotting immediate injuries and health complications at an accident scene to ensure that no one in need of critical care goes without it. Emergency responders are not, however, a substitute for a physician who knows you, who can perform a thorough evaluation of your condition with the benefit of your health records as a guide, and who can order testing to follow up on any areas of concern.
Visiting your primary care doctor ensures you protect your health and receive treatment tailored to your health needs. It protects you against seemingly minor injuries from an accident, such as aches and pains that escalate into more serious, potentially life-threatening conditions. It gives you a chance to have a calm discussion about the accident, instead of one influenced by the adrenaline and other stress hormones coursing through your body after an accident. And it creates a thorough, detailed record of your condition post-accident, which can provide evidence of any injuries you sustained and that you took diligent care of yourself. By creating this record, you make it far more difficult for an insurance adjuster to claim you did not suffer an injury in the accident.
Be sure to keep any record of a copay or self-insurance fee you had to pay for this follow-up, as it may count toward economic/special damages you may recover.
Follow Medical Instructions and Take Care of Yourself
Whether you sustained an obvious injury or your doctor found something that wasn’t initially apparent, follow medical advice and do what’s necessary to heal. That may feel difficult if you’re an active person by nature or if you need to return to work to pay bills. But you don’t want to end up in an even worse condition.
Also, insurance adjusters and, if it comes to this, a judge or jury, will hold it against you if you fail to follow medical advice. They may see not following a treatment plan as an indication that you are irresponsible, and could lead people to conclude that you were not so seriously injured.
Call a Lawyer if the Accident Left You Injured or With a Loss
If your accident left you injured, grieving a loss, or dealing with significant property damage, make an appointment to speak with a skilled Los Angeles car accident lawyer. The sooner you bring an attorney onto your team after an accident, the higher the likelihood you will recover the maximum compensation you deserve from the parties at fault. That’s because a lawyer can immediately take charge of dealing with all of the legal and administrative aspects of recovering compensation for you, while you focus on the important task of healing from physical and emotional injury and adapting to life after the accident.
Among other roles an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer can fill, your attorney may:
- Investigate the facts and circumstances of your accident to find evidence of negligence or wrongful conduct on the part of other drivers, government entities, auto manufacturers, or others.
- Collect and preserve evidence, and track down and obtain witness statements, that may help prove other parties’ fault.
- Conduct legal research to identify potential claims you may have the right to make against at-fault parties.
- Determine your current and future economic and non-economic damages, including by reviewing your paperwork and working with expert witnesses.
- Make a demand on at-fault parties and file a lawsuit in the appropriate jurisdiction on your behalf, if necessary.
Even if you suspect a settlement from the other driver’s insurance company may be available to compensate you for your damages, have a lawyer review any settlement offers you receive before you accept them. This is critical for two reasons:
- You may have undervalued your losses—your long-term medical bills may cost you far more than you thought—and may not know if a settlement offer you receive from an insurance company is enough to pay for them.
- Accepting an offer from an insurance company may result in you waiving the right to file a legal claim or to seek additional compensation for your injuries and losses.
An accident attorney can protect your rights by taking over all of your communications and negotiations with insurance companies, helping you to avoid the tricks and traps they may deploy to try to get you to take a lowball, quick money settlement offer in the days and weeks after the accident.
Save Any Doubts About Who Was at Fault for Your Attorney
After an accident, lots of people will ask you what happened. They’ll ask mostly because they care about you. You’ll feel tempted to respond and give them a full account. Try as hard as you can not to, particularly when it comes to talking about whom was at fault. The only person you should share your thoughts with about who was at fault in the accident is your attorney.
Unlike most other conversations in your life, conversations with your attorney about whom you think was at fault in an accident are absolutely confidential. Other people who may have the right to keep what you tell them confidential include your spouse, medical providers, and clergy. But if you want to be absolutely sure that some casual comment you make about who might have been at fault doesn’t come back and bite you, keep all of your thoughts to yourself and mention them only in a setting where it’s just you and your attorney talking.
Stay off of Social Media, Please
The past decade has seen an unprecedented explosion in the amount of information people share online about their lives. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms enable us to open up our lives for public or semi-private consumption. When you are the victim of a car accident, that’s not a good thing.
The problem with social media is that people tend to portray their happiest selves there. It’s very difficult to give an accurate picture of life in short paragraphs and videos. Our natural instinct is to smile in pictures, and now our keyboards even give us the ability to send smiley emojis. We can actually feel radically different from how our life looks on social media.
For accident victims, that tendency to showcase our best selves can cause huge problems in the course of pursuing damages from at-fault parties, because perceptions matter. Even if you keep your social media accounts private, anything you post to them may become available to parties in a lawsuit in which you seek damages for your car accident injuries. (And you can get in trouble for deleting posts, too.) Since social media came onto the scene, car accident lawyers and their clients have learned the hard way that nothing can devastate a claim for pain and suffering damages quicker than a smiling Instagram post or a smiley-emoji-filled Tweet. Judges, insurance adjusters, opposing attorneys, and juries see those “happy” social media posts and think: “That doesn’t look like ‘pain and suffering’ to me.” It might not be fair, but that’s how it is.
So, as tempting as it may feel to share details about your life on social media while you recover from a car accident and seek compensation for damages, please don’t. To borrow a familiar phrase, anything you post can and will be used against you.
File a Written Report With the Police
Many people don’t know this, but California law requires drivers and/or vehicle owners to file a written report with the police within five days of any car accident to which police were not called.
Now, as we’ve written above, it’s a good idea to call emergency responders to any accident scene for lots of reasons, one of which is that the police will investigate and prepare their own written report that can be used as evidence later on. But if, for whatever reason, that did not happen, then within five days of the accident, you must file a written report to the police on your own. The report is confidential and, unlike an official report written by the police who investigate an accident, it cannot be used as evidence.
Need Advice? Call The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus
At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus, we focus on giving the best possible advice to our clients who have suffered injuries and tragic losses in motor vehicle accidents. We have seen it all, so to speak, and always take the time to speak with our clients and address their needs and concerns. Call us today at 818-784-8544 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Types of Car Accidents
Just as our firm handles motor vehicle accidents caused by a wide variety of factors, we also represent clients who sustained their injuries and losses in every conceivable type of car accident. Here are some of the most common types of collisions and wrecks for which our team helps our clients recover compensation.
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of accident and also the most likely to result in an injury to drivers, passengers, or others. Rear-end collisions occur when the front end of one motor vehicle collides with the back end of another motor vehicle.
This type of accident is often referred to as a fender bender, and is generally considered a relatively minor type of auto collision. However, even “minor” low-speed accidents can cause severe injuries to drivers and passengers, particular in the form of back, neck, and brain trauma.
Of course, when rear-end collisions happen at high speeds, far deadlier results can ensue. For instance, if two cars travel at highway speeds of 55 miles per hour or more and one car suddenly slams on its brakes, the rear car may not have time to brake at all before it crashes into the front car. This means that a vehicle driving at fast speeds may hit a completely or nearly stopped car with almost no warning. You can imagine the extent of the damage and injuries this may cause to occupants of both vehicles.
Rear-End Collisions and Commercial Trucks
Rear-end accidents only become more severe when a commercial truck is involved. If a commercial truck collides into the back of a small passenger vehicle, the 80,000-pound truck often has enough weight to simply drive over and crush the small car. This is commonly referred to as an override accident—and it’s usually deadly.
In addition, if a small car collides with the back of a commercial truck, it can get stuck under the back of the trailer. This is referred to as an underride accident, and can instantly kill any motorists in the front of the car if the windshield collides directly with the back of the truck. Though trucks are required to have underride guards to prevent this type of accident, many of these guards are not effective at keeping cars from driving under the trailer.
Angular collisions, such as when one car T-bones another car at an intersection, are considered the most fatal category accident.
Angular crashes are so deadly because they subject human bodies to violent, twisting impacts that cause significant internal trauma and limit the effectiveness of motor vehicle safety systems like airbags and shoulder restraints. Another reason is that angular crashes, particularly 90-degree T-bone collisions, have the potential to crush drivers or passengers sitting nearest to the point of impact.
Unlike in a head-on collision, in which the front end of a car absorbs a significant amount of force by crumpling, doors and windows contain mere inches of material separating drivers and passengers from an outside force. Older vehicles don’t have side airbags to cushion the impact.
Angular crashes may also have a higher likelihood of involving at least one vehicle traveling at high speed, because drivers can turn into the path of oncoming traffic without seeing it.
Head-on crashes represent a relatively rare type of vehicle-on-vehicle accident, but they account for a disproportionately large share of traffic fatalities because the force of a head-on collision is enormous. Two cars traveling at 45 miles per hour colliding head-on impart roughly the same amount of force on each other at impact as a single car driving into a wall at 90 miles per hour.
Fortunately, automakers have designed cars and trucks to withstand head-on collisions for years. The standard safety features of most cars on the road today include front crumple zones, airbags, and seatbelts, all of which are particularly effective in head-on collisions. Unfortunately, because of the massive forces involved in a head-on collision, any failure of these systems can result in catastrophic injuries.
Anyone not wearing a seatbelt in a head-on collision runs a risk of death after ejection from the vehicle or becoming trapped in a life-threatening position inside a mangled wreck. Even when all of the safety systems work perfectly, a head-on collision at highway speed involves such an extreme force that drivers and passengers may not survive the impact.
Although vehicle-on-vehicle collisions like the ones above tend to make up a majority of all accidents, and accidents resulting in non-fatal injuries, they are not typically the most deadly broad category of accidents overall. Instead, the majority of all fatalities on U.S. roads tend to result from accidents involving just one vehicle. Here are the most dangerous types of single-vehicle accidents that we handle here at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus.
Collisions With Fixed Objects
Drivers who lose control and strike a fixed object run a high risk of losing their lives. Many fatal accidents involve vehicles striking fixed features like ditches, trees, telephone poles, bridge abutments, and embankments.
The reason these accidents are so deadly is because with a fixed object, the vehicle and its occupants tend to absorb most of the force of the impact. Fixed-object collisions often happen off of the road surface, increasing the likelihood of an impact at an odd angle or against an object with an unusual shape, reducing the effectiveness of vehicle safety features like airbags and crumple zones.
Although they do not account for a large percentage of total accidents on U.S. roads each year, rollover accidents are some of the deadliest. Rollover accidents happen when something triggers a car or truck to roll onto its side, onto its roof, or even roll several times. During the cause of a rollover accident, all occupants of the vehicle may experience many different points of impact and risk ejection from the vehicle. Despite side airbags, seat belts, and other safety features, victims of rollover accidents often suffer severe injuries.
Cars don’t roll over very often, and when they do, they sustain severe damage. Rollovers may indicate a catastrophic failure of an auto part or of a very unusual road condition. In either case, proving how the rollover occurred and who should bear fault may require significant levels of experience and diligence. Victims of rollover accidents should consult an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney who can investigate and litigate these challenging cases.
Hit and Run Accidents
Under California law, it is illegal for a driver in a car accident resulting in injury, death, or significant vehicle damage to leave the accident scene before law enforcement arrives. It is also illegal for a driver in any other kind of accident to leave the scene before exchanging information and giving necessary aid.
Victims of hit-and-run accidents face what may feel like a hopeless situation: waiting for law enforcement to identify the person who committed the violation and then holding that person accountable for injuries and losses.
Drivers may flee accident scenes because they fear the consequences of their actions. When they do so because they were driving a work vehicle and fear losing a job, the employer may well bear liability to the accident victims. Consult a skilled car accident attorney to help determine who may be responsible for compensating you when you are the victim of a hit-and-run.
Ever since ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft burst onto the scene a few years ago, Californians have embraced the efficiency and convenience of summoning a private car to take them where they need to go. Unfortunately, the advent of ridesharing has also introduced new and tricky problems for victims of accidents involving ridesharing vehicles.
For example, the insurance coverage available to victims of an Uber or Lyft driver’s negligence may depend on whether the driver was transporting a passenger (or on his way to pick one up) at the time of an accident. Many victims of ridesharing accidents also assume that the companies themselves will pay for a driver’s negligence, but because Uber and Lyft treat drivers as independent contractors, that may not happen.
If you sustained injuries in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver, whether as a rideshare passenger, as the driver or passenger in another car, or as a pedestrian or cyclist, hire experienced legal counsel. The laws concerning liability for Uber and Lyft drivers continue to evolve, posing a challenge to victims and their families.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
California law requires auto insurance companies to offer drivers the option of purchasing insurance against uninsured and underinsured motorists. When drivers purchase this insurance, their own policy covers them in the event of an accident in which the other driver is at fault but does not have any or enough insurance to cover the damages the accident caused. This coverage can also protect drivers who sustain injuries and losses in a hit-and-run accident in which the authorities never apprehend the offending driver.
Making an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim against your own insurance policy may require that you take specific steps to preserve your right to compensation, such as by filing a written police report and putting your insurance carrier on notice of the accident. An attorney with experience representing victims of Los Angeles car accidents can help review the fine print of your insurance coverage and ensure you follow the process to the letter. An attorney can also help you identify any other potential sources of recovery.
Call on The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus for All Types of Car Accidents
At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus, clients come to us after all types of car accidents. No matter whether your accident involved one, two, or 10 vehicles, we have the experience and know-how to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Common Injuries in Car Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents exert violent and unnatural forces on the human body, resulting in all manner of injuries and disabilities. The compassionate, skilled team at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus makes it our mission to understand the details of every injury our clients have suffered to ensure that our efforts help them heal to the greatest extent possible. We work with top experts in the medical field to estimate the costs and lifelong burdens associated with our clients’ injuries.
Here are some of the more common injuries from which we help our motor vehicle accident clients recover.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a highly common injury in auto accidents. Many TBI victims will spend time unconscious or in varying states of consciousness due to their injuries.
TBIs occur when a bump, blow, or jolt to the head results in a disruption in normal brain function. In addition, an object that penetrates the skull can result in a traumatic brain injury. The CDC estimates that about 1.7 million people sustain a TBI each year in the United States.
Even minor traumatic brain injuries have the potential to leave victims with significant complications that may keep them from working or affect their quality of life. TBIs can result in serious medical issues, including:
- Problems with speech
- Cognitive problems
- Memory issues
- Difficulty with motor control
- Inability to engage in daily tasks without assistance
The most serious TBIs can cause catastrophic health outcomes for victims and their families. These include:
- Coma and medically induced coma: Coma is perhaps the most commonly known state of unconsciousness. A person in a coma cannot awaken, even from pain or other extreme stimuli. Some people never emerge from a coma and others emerge with serious cognitive impairments. Even if a TBI itself does not cause a coma, doctors may give TBI victims anesthetics to medically induce a coma to limit brain function and reduce life-threatening brain swelling until they stabilize.
- Persistent vegetative state: When a person emerges from a coma, the victim may still remain in a state of limited consciousness. The most severe of these is a persistent vegetative state, where a victim can sleep and wake up, but has no conscious awareness of the world around him. Though his eyes may move and he may appear to jump at a loud noise, he is not able to respond consciously to stimuli in the environment.
- Minimally responsive state: Like the persistent vegetative state, a victim in a minimally responsive state has a sleep-wake cycle. While she still has highly limited awareness of her surroundings and limited ability to respond, she may follow instructions for very simple tasks—to blink or nod, for example. However, she often will not follow commands every time, as her responsiveness level may be inconsistent. She may also appear to cry or smile, but not necessarily in response to anything in the environment.
- Locked-in syndrome: One of the most frightening potential outcomes of brain injury is fortunately rare. A victim with locked-in syndrome has no control over any voluntary muscle movement, including use of the vocal chords, so the victim cannot move or speak apart from being able to move his eyes. He is, however, fully cognitively aware of his self and surroundings, though he cannot independently communicate thoughts or respond. Victims with locked-in syndrome can live for a long time like this, as their organs often continue to function properly. They may require costly equipment and computers to translate eye movements into words if they want to communicate and will require full-time care for their basic needs.
- Brain death: Brain death occurs when all of the brain functioning stops and doctors deem it irreversible. Victims will not regain consciousness and typically are pronounced dead.
Though brain injury victims who are in a coma or another state of unconsciousness may eventually emerge from that state, recovering to a point of full-consciousness and cognitive ability can take a long time—if significant recovery happens at all.
No matter how severe a TBI is, doctors often have difficulty predicting how long a victim’s recovery will take or the best possible outcome. This puts family members in an extremely difficult position, especially if their loved one is in a coma or a persistent vegetative state. They may want to consider taking their loved one off of life support due to her extremely low quality of life for. However, this is a difficult decision to make.
To make matters worse, care for an unconscious loved one can cost millions of dollars. With the help of an experienced auto accident attorney, however, families may obtain sufficient compensation to ensure their loved one has the best possible care and chance of emerging from unconsciousness and recovering as much as possible.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports about 17,700 new cases of spinal cord injuries each year in the United States. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injury in the country, accounting for more than 38 percent of all new cases annually. The lifetime costs of dealing with a spinal cord injury routinely run into the millions of dollars.
Doctors classify spinal cord injuries into two broad categories:
- Incomplete spinal cord injuries. A spinal cord injury is characterized as incomplete when the victim has some feeling or mobility below the site of the injury.
- Complete spinal cord injuries. A spinal cord injury is characterized as complete when the victim has no feeling or mobility below the site of the injury.
The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. As a result, any injury to the spinal cord or damage to the vertebrae that protect the spinal cord can result in serious complications. These may include complete or partial paralysis, loss of feeling, muscle weakness, and loss of full range of motion. People who sustain spinal cord injuries may also suffer from additional complications, including:
- Bladder control problems
- Bowel control problems
- Pressure sores
- Problems with circulation
- Issues with respiration
- Muscle tone problems
- An overall decline in fitness and wellness
- Issues with sexual health
These and other symptoms of a spinal cord injury can substantially diminish a person’s quality of life and may keep them from working for a significant period of time. As a result, people who suspect that they have sustained a spinal cord injury should seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible. In many cases, early intervention can significantly improve the ultimate outcome of a spinal cord injury.
Even when car accident victims escape spinal cord injuries, they may still sustain debilitating damage to their backs in the form of crushed or displaced discs, nerve injury, and muscle and tissue damage. Back injuries are particularly common in rear-end and angular collisions, when drivers and passengers experience an unexpected, sometimes twisting, jolt.
When left untreated, back injuries can become chronic conditions, severely harming victims’ quality of life. Back injuries routinely require multiple surgeries, extensive physical therapy, lengthy limitations on physical activity, and time away from work. Because of these impacts, back injuries impose significant costs on accident victims.
Head and Neck Injuries (or Whiplash)
“Whiplash” is not actually a single injury, but is instead the colloquial term for a range of injuries resulting from a sudden jerking or distortion of the neck, often resembling the cracking of a whip. This sudden motion can cause significant strain on the nerves, muscles, and vertebrae in the neck and back injuries can result in long-lasting damage.
Such injuries may leave a substantial effect on a victim’s life. Some signs and symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck pain
- Unexplained headaches
- Numbness in your arms or hands
- Fatigue or insomnia
- Feeling of pins and needles
- Pain in or around the shoulder blades
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in your ears
- Cognitive difficulties, such as struggling to remember things or concentrate
While some whiplash symptoms make themselves immediately apparent, others may not manifest for several days. You should always visit a doctor as soon as you experience any whiplash symptoms in the days following an accident. Treatment for whiplash commonly involves pain management, including visits to pain specialists, injections, and muscle relaxants, as well as physical therapy techniques like myofascial release, muscle strengthening, and more. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment may last for a long time.
Though whiplash is most often associated with rear-end accidents, this injury can occur in any type of collision. Whiplash can significantly affect your life and may even keep you from working, so never ignore this injury following a car accident.
Few car accident-related injuries inflict more acute suffering than burns. Burns cause extreme pain, not just when they happen but throughout the healing process. They also pose a heightened risk of infection, requiring intensive and diligent care to keep patients free from bacteria.
Even when treated successfully, burns often leave victims permanently scarred and disfigured. Burn victims often must contend with emotional pain and psychological trauma in addition to tending to their physical recovery.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Car accidents frequently leave victims with broken bones and fractures. Crumpling front-ends can leave drivers and front-seat passengers with broken ankles and leg bones. Ribs may fracture from the strain of a safety belt. Vehicle occupants may break their arms, wrists, or collarbones because they braced for an impact. Even facial bones can fracture from the sudden inflation of airbags or from slamming against a seat-back.
Fortunately, bones heal, though sometimes imperfectly and only after multiple surgeries. The violence of the impact of a car accident can cause bones to shatter, requiring complicated orthopedic repairs and surgical implants. Rehabilitation can take months and may prevent victims from returning to work for prolonged periods.
Soft Tissue Injury
Soft tissue injury refers to the range of contusions, sprains, tears, and other damage a car accident can inflict on victims’ muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Soft tissue injury may require orthopedic surgery and physical therapy.
Whatever Your Injury, The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus Helps You Recover
Clients come to The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus in the midst of recovering from a wide range of injuries. No matter how severe or how complicated those injuries are, our team takes the time to understand what our clients need to give them the best chance to heal. Contact The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus today for more information.
Car Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 37,133 people in the United States died in auto accidents in one year. Millions more were injured. Statistics like these demonstrate the risk of accidents and injuries that Americans face every time they climb into a motor vehicle.
As in the rest of America, car accidents are common in California. The California Department of Transportation calculates that more than 128,000 accidents occurred in 2019 on California roads, injuring tens of thousands of drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. About 9 percent of those accidents, and about 8 percent of all traffic-related deaths, occurred in Los Angeles.
If you are lucky, you will walk away from any accident that strikes you with minor injuries. Many Californians, however, are not so lucky. The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus is ready to help them.
Talk to Our Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers Now
Having read through the information above, you no doubt will recognize that investigating, litigating, and recovering damages for injuries sustained in car accidents involves significantly more effort than simply pointing a finger in the other driver’s direction. Not only can it present a challenge to prove that the other driver acted negligently, other parties may also bear some responsibility for your injuries and losses.
That’s why you need to seek the assistance of an experienced auto accident attorney in Los Angeles who knows how to handle the complexities of a motor vehicle accident case. Please contact the dedicated car accident lawyers at The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus today to get help on your case. A consultation is free, and we are ready to answer all your questions.
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