Thousands of car accidents occur in California every single year, and each one is unique. Not every auto accident is the same, and they shouldn't be treated as such. Car accidents range in severity and can impact your life forever in just a matter of seconds.

Since 1982, innumerable clients from all walks of life have placed their trust in Steinberg Injury Lawyers' team for representation in personal injury claims. We know your case is not like everyone else's, which is why we fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve

Do I Need a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer?

There are many reasons why you may consider hiring a car accident lawyer, including claims involving minor to severe injuries, multiple involved-parties, or complex negotiations. While it’s best to hire an attorney early in the process to avoid costly mistakes, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers can help at any point.

Here are a few signs you need to hire a lawyer for your car accident:

  • You suffered severe, long-term or permanent injuries.
  • You’re missing work, school or other major life events.
  • You’re getting nowhere with the insurance company.
  • The at-fault driver is involved in a criminal investigation, including a DUI.
  • The other driver was uninsured or underinsured, so you have to use your own insurance policy.
  • A manufacturer defect caused the accident or injury.
  • You’re considering filing a lawsuit.

Hiring a car accident attorney allows us to take on the stress of going back and forth with the insurance company while you focus on your recovery. Your time is precious, and it shouldn’t be wasted fighting with your insurance company.

Our knowledgeable car accident lawyers use our tough negotiation skills and history of working in personal injury claims to get you the highest settlement possible. We also help in proving your innocence if the other insurance company refuses to pay.

If you were in an accident, you shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket due to another driver’s mistakes, nor should you suffer while the insurance company takes forever to make determinations on your case.  

Car Accident Costs 

Car accidents can be expensive and result in damaged property, high medical bills, loss of income and other hidden expenses. Various factors may impact the overall cost of your accident, including;

  • Severity
  • Location
  • Number of vehicles involved
  • Number of passengers involved
  • Value of your property
  • Types of injuries sustained

Here are the costs you can expect to see after a car accident:

Property Damage 

The costs of a car accident start piling up on day one. The moment your vehicle is towed from the scene, it could start costing you time and money. Property damage costs may include:

  • Towing Fees - If your vehicle is non-driveable, it will most likely get moved to a tow yard. Eventually, you may need to transfer your car to a body shop, your home, or even to a salvage yard - sometimes racking up three to four tow bills.
  • Storage Fees - When your vehicle sits at a yard or body shop, especially while waiting for an inspection from the insurance company, it’s probably accruing daily storage costs. Yards may also tack on extra fees. Storage costs are especially high in Los Angeles, and an attorney can help negotiate some of these costs.
  • Rental Car - You need compensation for a rental car after an accident when your vehicle is getting inspected, repaired, or replaced. An attorney can also help get you paid for loss of use, if you were unable to drive due to your injuries or if you were denied a rental vehicle while waiting for the other insurance company to accept responsibility.
  • Repair Costs - You may get multiple estimates, shops may wait on parts, or the shop might find more damage after starting repairs. It’s critical for the insurance company to pay enough to repair your vehicle fully.
  • Replacement Vehicle - If your vehicle is declared a total loss, a car accident attorney can look over the report and features of your car to ensure you’re getting an accurate value to replace your vehicle.
  • Personal Property - Sometimes items inside your vehicle get damaged, from small, everyday items such as cell phones to expensive and necessary ones such as handicap vehicle lifts, it’s important to get compensated for your damaged property.

Medical Bills

These include ambulance and emergency room bills, doctor visits and check-ups, chiropractic visits, physical therapy, ongoing treatment, and more. In some cases, they may be nothing more than minor scrapes and bruises, while some accidents result in life-long debilitating injuries. 

Here are the most common types of car accident injuries

  • Neck injuries – Such as whiplash.
  • Brain and head injuries – Such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Back injuries – Such as disc injuries.
  • Facial injuries – Such as lacerations, bruises, and fractures.
  • Psychological and emotional injuries – Such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Loss of Income 

If you can't work due to an accident injury, there will be lost wages and productivity. A personal injury lawyer will determine how much money you are out and help you get compensated for missing work. Nobody plans on having a car accident, and if you are injured, you may not have the option to continue working.

You should not be responsible for the lost wages during your recovery, or while you are unable to work, even if your situation becomes permanent.

Permanent Disability 

If you are involved in an auto accident that leaves you permanently disabled, it may affect your ability to work, earn income, and enjoy personal activities. A severe car accident resulting in permanent disability is not something to take lightly.

Pain and Suffering 

Physical injury isn't the only cost associated with an accident. Often, along with a physical injury is the actual pain and emotional stress that can cause undue suffering for the victim. This pain and emotional stress can also impact your ability to work and your quality of life. Pain and suffering is another burden which may have hidden or unexpected costs. 

Wrongful Death 

Every death is unfortunate, but wrongful death is the legal term for when a person is killed due to the negligence of another individual. When this happens, loved ones of the deceased can seek financial compensation. This compensation is viewed as a way to hold the liable party accountable and in a way, serve as punishment or a deterrent to the responsible party. If the other driver was intoxicated or driving recklessly, and resulted in the death of your loved one, they could be held accountable for causing a wrongful death. 

What Factors Into Your Car Accident Claim?

Many factors impact your car accident claim, such as the type of insurance involved, as well as the severity and cause of the accident.

Not all car accidents are clear cut, and unfortunately, it's not uncommon for disputes to arise during the claim process. From determining who's at fault to calculating the value of your damages, hiring the right car accident lawyer can be the difference of receiving a full settlement payout versus paying thousands of dollars out of pocket. 

At Steinberg Injury Lawyers, we have seen it all and have represented clients in a wide range of car accidents, including:

  • Drunk/Drugged Accidents

  • Distracted/Drowsy Driving

  • Multi-Vehicle Accidents

  • Rideshare Accidents

  • Motorcycle Accidents

  • Scooter/Bike/Pedestrian Accidents

  • Accidents Resulting in Wrongful Death

Car Accident Contributors: What Leads to Car Accidents in Southern California?

Many factors contribute to accidents in Southern California

When determining fault, it's often important to ask what happened leading up to the accident. From bad-driving behaviors to disobeying rules of the road to poorly designed intersections, here's what often causes car accidents: 

Aggressive Driving 

  • This occurs when someone is driving in a hostile manner with little regard to other drivers on the road. This often leads to tailgating, unsafe lane changes, failing to yield or signal, speeding, and general disregard for traffic regulations.

Complicated Roadways

  • These are roads with unusual features, such as unexpected curves, narrow lanes, missing or damaged road signs, and challenging to navigate roadways.

Distracted Driving 

  • Distracted driving happens when the driver is not paying attention or takes their eyes off the road, even if for a second. This can happen when the driver tries to change the radio, is eating, texting, or talking on the phone.

Drowsy Driving 

  • If you are driving while cognitively impaired due to being sleep deprived, you are considered to be driving while drowsy.

Drugged Driving 

  • Drugged driving happens when you are driving the influence of recent drug use. This can include both legal and illegal substances.

Drunk Driving 

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol can increase your chances of being in an accident. If you are driving while intoxicated, even if you are under the legal limits, your judgment and response time can be impaired.

Elderly Drivers 

  • Elderly drivers often have slower reactions times to situations, and it takes longer to break or look for oncoming traffic.

Teen Drivers 

  • Teen drivers are inexperienced behind the wheel as they are still often learning the laws and developing correct reflexes needed to stay safe on the road.

Reckless Driving 

  • Reckless driving occurs when the driver has little to no regard for traffic laws or others on the road.

Most Common Types of Car Accident Collisions

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Car accidents can be a confusing and scary experience that may leave injured victims unsure of the next steps. While these feelings are normal and understandable, mistakes that happen in the time following an accident can harm the outcome of your case.

Following these steps after an auto accident can help both you and the car accident lawyer strengthen your case.

  • Don't leave the accident scene, no matter how minor injuries or damages seem.
  • Make sure everyone is okay, and call for an ambulance or medics if needed.
  • Report the accident to the local authorities or police. Based on where in California the accident occurred, this would be the police or CHP (California Highway Patrol). Once the police make the report, be sure to ask for a copy. You will need to provide a copy to your attorney, insurance company, and your own personal records.
  • Take photos or videos of the accident. This documentation will showcase the conditions of the roads, the locations of the cars involved, and all visible injuries or property damage.
  • Exchange insurance and contact information with the driver(s) of the other vehicle(s). You should also get the contact information of witnesses and any passengers involved.
  • Give your insurance company a call right away to notify them of the accident. If you don’t do this or fail to work with them during the investigation, it could result in a claim denial. 
  • Don’t state what you think caused the incident or give a recorded statement before speaking with an attorney. By accepting or placing blame, including levying accusations or by apologizing, you could be hurting your case.
  • Seek immediate medical attention, even if the injuries don't seem to be bad. Injuries from an automobile accident are not always felt immediately, and if you delay seeking treatment, the attorney for the other driver may try to say that your injuries are unrelated to the crash. By being seen by a medical professional who is qualified, your injuries will be documented and treated, and your case can only be strengthened.
  • Seek out an automobile attorney or personal injury lawyer to represent you.

How Car Accident Settlements Work

The process of settling an injury claim can be complicated and lengthy, and most car accident victims greatly benefit from legal representation from an accident attorney who is familiar with the process of claims and California state laws.

Your settlement process starts at the scene of your accident, and the moment you begin to gather information. From taking photos of your vehicle damages and injuries, to keeping a personal injury journal to document your treatment process, all this evidence can be used to support a greater payout of your personal injury claim. 

What Compensation Can I Seek Out?

After you are fully finished treating for your injuries, the next step of the settlement process is to have an attorney prepare a demand. This includes the way the accident has affected your life and the dollar amount you would accept to settle. This settlement demand gets sent to the insurance company who will evaluate and negotiate your claim. An experienced car accident lawyer will work to make sure you get a fair settlement and if necessary, take the case to trial.

Your settlement process does not end until you receive a check compensating you for your current and anticipated needs. 

Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in California

Don’t wait to file a lawsuit because time may not be on your side. California’s statute of limitations restricts the amount of time the plaintiff has to file their lawsuit to just two years from the date of the accident. However, if you were not injured and only want to pursue compensation for the damage to your property, this time restriction extends to three years.

Allowing time to run out on your claim may forfeit your right to pursue a legal remedy.

Hire a Southern California Car Accident Lawyer

Hiring the right personal injury or car accident attorney to provide legal representation after your accident can be a crucial decision. The car accident attorney you choose may determine the result of your case, so it is vital to select an attorney who is highly skilled, knowledgeable and someone who you can trust.

At Steinberg Injury Lawyers, our established attorneys have extensive experience handling a variety of car accident cases. Contact us for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your accident case to discuss how we can help.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982