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Call a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer Today

Car accidents are traumatic events with long-lasting repercussions. Insurance companies will try to downplay your suffering. At The Ernst Law Group, we know that you deserve better. Our business is built around helping clients like you collect the damages they’re owed so they can focus on healing.

los angeles car accident lawyerWhat To Do After a Car Crash

After a car accident, it may be difficult to think of the next steps. Your mind will be overwhelmed with adrenaline and anxiety. However, the next steps are crucial to ensuring your physical wellbeing and your ability to file a claim in the future.

Assess yourself first. 

Before doing anything else after a car crash, take inventory of your injuries. You may not be able to feel them all yet, but any that you can identify will need to be considered going forward.

Call the police. 

In California, you are required to call the police to the scene of a car accident. They can assist in securing the scene, gathering evidence, and collecting witness statements. Their police report will be vital for your future claim for damages.

Collect evidence. 

If your injuries are not life-threatening, in which case you will be immediately taken to the hospital, you should collect information from everyone at the scene. Collect names of witnesses and police, get license plate numbers, take photos, exchange information, and create your own evidence list for future reference.

Seek medical attention. 

Even if you aren’t sure that you are injured, get checked out by a medical professional. Keep all receipts for future reference. 

Submit your claim to your insurance company. 

Your insurance company needs to be made aware of your claim as early as possible. They may have restrictions that you need to be aware of.

Call an expert Los Angeles car accident lawyer. 

Hire a lawyer as soon as possible. The earlier you bring on a lawyer, the more assistance they can provide you in gathering evidence.

How We Can Help

Maximum Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries

The Ernst Law Group has worked for over 35 years getting our clients the maximum compensation available for their suffering.

In a landmark case, we won our client over $10 million in damages for a truck accident in California. This is just one instance where we were integral in our clients recovering the maximum damages. 

The Difference Between a Settlement and a Verdict

Settlements and verdicts are two ways to collect damages after a car accident. A settlement is the first course of an insurance company trying to protect their bank account over your wellbeing. 

Settlements can be much lower than what you can collect from a verdict. Most car accident lawyers will persuade their clients to accept settlements for less than they deserve. The Ernst Law Group is not satisfied with anything less than getting you the maximum compensation. That means we prepare every case for trial.

When should I get a lawyer for my car accident?

An expert Los Angeles car accident lawyer can do the most for your case when you bring them on as early as possible. After you have sought medical advice and contacted your insurance company, contact a car accident attorney. Hiring a lawyer when the accident is fresh in your mind will allow them to collect evidence for you to assist your case.

patient stressed, los angeles car accident lawyerWhat types of damages can I recover from my car accident?

Economic Damages

After a car accident, there are a lot of financial costs. You will need to pay to have your vehicle towed and repaired. You may even require a temporary vehicle while yours is in the shop. On top of your property damage, there are medical expenses. You will have to cover your bills, prescriptions, and rehabilitation costs.

While your insurance will likely cover part of these economic damages, car accident victims quickly exceed their insurance’s limit.

To cover these expenses, you can file a claim for economic damages. These cover anything that you have to pay for with your finances, including any lost pay due to time off work for your recovery.

Non-Economic Damages

Car accidents aren’t just physically damaging. They can wreak havoc on every aspect of your life. The courts recognize that and award non-economic damages to help you recover from the emotional toll of the accident.

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, anxiety or depression, loss of quality of life, permanent disfigurement or scarring due to injury, and anguish.

Although these don’t have a financial burden in the same way that medical costs and vehicle repairs do, our expert LA car accident lawyers know that they can be even more damaging. That’s why we fight to get car accident victims the maximum compensation, including non-economic damages. 

Punitive Damages

If a driver is found to be criminally negligent, the courts may award punitive damages. This is a penalty meant to deter drivers from becoming repeat offenders of criminally negligent driving habits, such as driving while under the influence.

Although punitive damages do not reflect the victim’s suffering, they are awarded to the victim as part of the at-fault party’s required damages. 

How much can I expect to recover for my car accident?

There is no exact number that can be quoted for any victim of a car accident. There are many factors that contribute to how much you can expect to recover from your accident. To get an estimate of how much your claim is worth, contact The Ernst Group to speak to one of our expert Los Angeles car accident lawyers.

What is the comparative negligence law in California?

Comparative negligence law, also known as comparative fault law, allows a person injured in an accident to collect damages even if they are partially responsible for the accident. Comparative negligence applies to most personal injury cases in California, including all types of automobile accidents.

The way comparative negligence works is that a court determines the percentage of fault for each party involved in the accident. They then reduce the victim’s awarded damages by the amount that they were found to be at fault. For example, a $100,000 verdict for an LA car accident claim would be reduced to $70,000 if the victim was found to be 30% liable. 

California is a pure comparative fault state. Victims can recover damages if their liability ranges from one to 99 percent. 

Why do traffic accidents happen in LA?

There are many theories as to why traffic accidents occur in LA. Some cite the issues with road repairs on many of the major freeways. Others look to the police officers’ focus on violent crime, leading to less time monitoring roadways.

While speeding is the primary factor in over 6,400 accidents in 2016 in LA, there are many other causes as well. Drivers need to be aware of these leading causes to know what to avoid and when to be more vigilant. Some reasons for accidents in LA are:

  • Speeding – Speeding is the leading cause of automobile accidents in Los Angeles. It reduces the driver’s reaction time and makes them incapable of acting to avoid a crash.
  • Driving too closely behind another vehicle – Driving too closely, especially during times of peak traffic, can lead to rear-end collisions when the primary driver stops suddenly. Leave plenty of room to ensure that you can brake in time.
  • Failing to merge properly – Los Angeles freeways often feature merging lanes to exit and enter, as well as to avoid traffic congestion. Always signal appropriately, wait for ample room, and do not cut off other drivers.
  • Texting while driving – Distracted driving is a major issue in LA with modern technology. Texting and driving is the most severe form of this, as the driver’s eyes are off the road entirely. Put your phone away and focus on driving safely while you’re on the road.
  • Drinking and driving – Alcohol accounts for a large number of accidents every year. If you are planning to drink, arrange a ride home so you do not endanger yourself and others on the roads.
  • Aggressive driving practices – Aggressive or reckless driving and exhibiting road rage put you at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. If you are agitated, you are likely to take more risks and be less cautious. Always focus on breathing deeply and calming yourself in situations that make you irritated. Focus on driving well so you get home safely.
  • Driving at night – Driving at night is more dangerous than during the day. You’re likely to be more tired and have limited visibility. Avoid driving at night when possible.
  • Poor road conditions – Rough roadways can impair your ability to drive. Be mindful of potholes and cracked roadways to avoid bursting a tire. 

los angeles car accident lawyerCommon Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents are so common that it is likely that you or someone close to you will be involved in a serious accident at some point in your life. It is important to know the common injuries that can occur. These injuries can be mild or have lasting repercussions that change your life for years. 

Some injuries that seem minor, like whiplash, can lead to life-long muscle tension that impacts your ability to work as you did before the accident.

  • Neck injuries, including whiplash
  • Back injuries, especially of the lower back
  • Spinal cord injuries, from bruising to paralysis
  • Chest injuries, including seat belt impact injuries
  • Lacerations, contusions, and fractures
  • Shoulder injuries, such as torn ligaments
  • Concussions
  • Traumatic brain injuries, such as hemorrhage 
  • Internal injuries or bleeding
  • Psychological trauma or PTSD

Although it is impossible to avoid these injuries altogether, there are some things that you can do to prevent severe injuries due to a car accident:

  • Wear your seatbelt
  • Drive the speed limit
  • Maintain your car’s engine and mechanics
  • Avoid driving when tired or impaired
  • Follow traffic signs
  • Seek medical treatment after an accident to ensure injuries aren’t exacerbated

Common Types of Car Accidents

Rear-end Collision

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions account for 29% of all car accidents in the United States. That makes them the most common type of car accident in the country. 

These crashes occur when drivers are tailgating or driving too closely to the car in front of them. They are unable to brake in time, causing the collision. Typically, this occurs due to aggressive drivers.

Rear-end collisions also occur when distracted drivers are following too closely and fail to notice that traffic has slowed or stopped. They don’t have enough time to react and end up hitting the car in front of them. 

Rear-end collisions can be extremely dangerous. If a car rear-ends another at an intersection, they risk pushing that car into the way of oncoming traffic. This can create a multi-vehicle collision resulting in more severe injuries and greater property damage.

These collisions are mostly avoidable. If drivers did not drive recklessly or while distracted, and obeyed the rules of the road by leaving adequate space between vehicles, rear-end collisions could quickly become less of an issue in the United States.

If you are being tailgated by another car, attempt to switch lanes. This removes you from potential danger, and puts more distance between your car and an aggressive driver.

Sideswipe Accident

Sideswipe accidents are a high risk when merging onto a highway. When two lanes of traffic merge like this, one car can sideswipe another. This type of collision isn’t as severe as a side-impact or T-bone accident, where the full force of a vehicle impacts the side of another.

Avoid a sideswipe accident by checking your blindspot and signaling appropriately before merging. 

T-Bone Accident

Side-impact collisions or T-bone accidents occur when one vehicle crashes into the side of the other. This typically occurs at intersections, where one car is passing through the intersection illegally. For example, T-bone accidents occur when one car runs a red light and hits a car passing through the intersection on a green light. This perpendicular crash creates a “T” shape. 

These accidents are incredibly dangerous, as cars are outfitted with the bulk of their safety equipment at the front and rear bumpers. The side doors are all that stand between the passengers of the car and the oncoming vehicle. These doors have to absorb the impact and protect their passengers, with far less space to do so than the front or bumper.

Although these accidents are usually the fault of a negligent driver, you can prevent them by looking both ways for oncoming traffic. Do so even when you have right of way, as other vehicles may not be obeying the rules of the road.

Head-On Collision

Head-on collisions are often fatal. They occur when the front of two vehicles collide while moving. This means that the impact is doubled, turning even a low-speed accident into a severe case. Although the airbag, car’s hood, and seat belt are in place to reduce injury, they cannot fully protect a person from this type of impact. If an individual is not wearing a seat belt, they can be thrown from the car, resulting in death.

Head-on collisions typically occur when a driver drifts out of their lane into traffic going in the opposite direction. This can be due to them falling asleep at the wheel, being distracted by their phone, or driving while impaired.

Improve your chances of not getting in a head-on collision by obeying the rules of the road and driving sober. Do not speed, drive recklessly, or use your phone while at the wheel. Be aware of the road to give yourself more reaction time if you notice another driver drifting into your lane. 

Chain Reaction Accidents

Chain-reaction accidents involve three or more cars. They tend to occur on busy roads, such as highways, where vehicles can’t avoid an accident due to their high speed.

In a chain-reaction accident, a car can receive multiple impacts from different angles, making it difficult to absorb the impact. Any car will use the bulk of its safety features upon the first impact, increasing the risk of severe injury with each additional impact. 

These accidents are difficult to avoid. They can be the result of getting caught between multiple negligent drivers or poor road conditions. Remain alert and exercise additional caution on busy roadways. If you notice that another driver seems distracted, try to move away from them. 

discussion with a los angeles car accident lawyerCall a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer Today

Our team specializes in Los Angeles traffic issues. We know that safer roadways start with holding drivers accountable. We have decades of

 experience handling complex personal injury claims in the city and won’t back down from a fight. Whether you just want to know your next legal steps or want to understand whether you have a case or not, our firm isn’t afraid to fight for your rights. 

Car Accident Questions and Answers

Why Should I Hire A Car Accident Lawyer In Los Angeles?

You should hire a car accident lawyer for your case in Los Angeles to ease your burden and increase your potential damages. Cases tried with an attorney earn 300% more compensation on average than cases tried by the victim.

A car accident lawyer knows the complexities of the law in Los Angeles. Don’t add stress while you’re trying to heal. Let an experienced attorney protect your rights and get you the maximum damages.

What Should I Tell Insurance After A Car Accident?

You will need to submit a claim to your insurance company following a car accident. Although you will also collect damages from the other driver’s insurance through a lawsuit, the initial costs will come out of your own policy. Most car accident policies cover a set amount of damages and personal injury. To collect this money, you will need to call your insurance company after the accident and file a report.

Your insurance company is meant to be on your side; however, they only care about their bottom line. To ensure you don’t accidentally give them a reason to withhold your payments, only tell them the following:

  • Provide them with photographic evidence of all damage and personal injury.
  • Provide receipts from any medical visits, prescriptions, or mechanics.
  • Provide the police report.
  • Give them the other driver’s information and insurance company.
  • Describe your injuries without downplaying their severity. Use the same terms that your doctor did. Be wary of saying “I’m fine” or “I’m good”, as this can convey that you aren’t injured in the way that you say you are.
  • Provide a recap of the accident in your own words. Focus on the facts rather than feelings or emotions. Don’t make assumptions.
  • Once you have hired a Los Angeles car accident lawyer, provide them with the contact information of your attorney.

What Should I Tell The Police On The Scene Of A Car Accident?

It is legally required to call the police to the scene of a car accident. When they arrive, cooperate with them. They are on the scene to help all involved. At the same time, you need to protect your best interests.

A police report can be used to counter your claims for damages. Ensure that you provide accurate, honest information. Avoid guessing or making assumptions of any events that occurred or of your own wellbeing. Do not state that you have no injuries until a medical professional clears you. Ensure that you provide accurate information to the police about your license number, the damage to your vehicle, and your insurance.

Providing accurate information to the police is one step towards supporting your future claim for damages.

I Don’t Feel Injured. Should I Still Seek Medical Attention?

Yes. Always seek medical attention after you’ve been involved in a car accident. The trauma of the event can send your system into shock. You won’t be able to feel the pain of your injuries until the shock and adrenaline wear off. This can be hours or even a day later. In that time, you can easily jar an injury and create a life-long impairment.

For example, if you have whiplash that you cannot feel, you may move your neck in an odd way and cause further problems with the tendon.

The Ernst Law Group recommends that all of our clients seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident in Los Angeles. Whether they go to the emergency room or see their family doctor, their diagnosis can change a victim’s life and their claim.

Remember to keep all bills involved in your medical treatment, as you can recover the fees through suing for economic damages.

The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Has Contacted Me. What Do I Say?

The other driver’s insurance company may contact you for many reasons. It is important to remember that they are looking to minimize the amount that they have to pay you for the damage their client inflicted.

Often, insurance companies will make calls to fish for conflicting claims. They will try to catch you in a lie so they can minimize your injuries. Even answering “I’m fine” can result in you losing your fair claim for damages when the claim is taken to court.

If the other driver’s insurance company calls you, we recommend telling them you have legal representation and will connect with them once you have consulted with your attorney. You can say this even if you haven’t hired a car accident lawyer yet. Once you hang up, immediately contact a lawyer so you are prepared for when they contact you again.

If you have a lawyer, ensure that you discuss speaking points with them. Get their advice on how to convey your side of the story without risking your claim. Always follow your attorney’s advice when it comes to dealing with insurance companies. Your car accident lawyer has experience dealing with their underhanded techniques to rob you of your right to damages.

How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?

California’s statute of limitations for car accident claims requires that all cases involving personal injury, including car accidents, be filed within two years. This means that you have two years from the date that the accident occurred to seek damages for your medical bills, suffering, and emotional distress.

If you are filing a claim for property damage to repair your vehicle, you have three years under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 338.

Many LA car accident claims process property and personal injury damages through a single claim against the defendant. This requires that the case be filed within the shorter of the two statutes of limitations.

If you file your claim after the statute has expired, you are unlikely to have your case processed. You lose your ability to recover damages, forcing you to pay out of pocket for your care.

What Are Some Common Car Accident Laws In California?

Understanding state car accident laws helps prevent mistakes that cost you your right to compensation. It is always in your best interest to hire an LA car accident lawyer to ensure that you are adhering to local laws and operating with best practices while you file your claim.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

This is the deadline by which you have to file your claim. It is extremely important to file your claim before this lapses so you can seek damages. In California, victims have two years from the date of the accident to seek personal injury claims. They have three years for property damage claims. There are rarely exceptions to this rule.

FAULT-BASED CAR INSURANCE

All California drivers must have vehicle insurance. This includes bodily injury coverage of at least $15,000 per person and property damage liability of $5,000. After an accident, the victim can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance to recover damages. However, the victim may be entitled to file a legal claim instead of an insurance claim.

Contact a car accident lawyer to find out if this is the case in your lawsuit.

LIABILITY LAWS

California is a comparative negligence state. This means that victims can file lawsuits for damages even if they are partially responsible for the accident. The comparative negligence laws will reduce their compensation by their fault. For example, a person may be found to be 40% at fault for an accident. They could then only collect 60% of the awarded damages.

Don’t let your claim expire while you wait for the right time to go to court. Hire an expert car accident lawyer to assist you in preparing your case for trial and getting you the maximum compensation.

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How Can Ernst Law Group Help?

Ernst Law Group custom tailors our representation to you. Our San Luis Obispo personal injury attorneys have been named Super Lawyers and Top Trial Attorneys by numerous organizations including the highest possible rating for ethics and skill. We have developed our negotiation and litigation expertise by successfully taking on the tough cases and fighting against the biggest corporations and insurance companies. We will put our decades of collective expertise to work when representing you in court if you’ve been harmed or a loved one lost his life due to negligence.

Schedule your free consultation by calling 805-541-0300 or contact us online to learn about the legal services we can offer you.

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