Automotive safety technology has advanced rapidly over recent years, yet collisions remain one of the leading causes of serious injury and death in California. If you were hurt or lost someone close to you in a crash that another person caused, you may be entitled to compensation for all resulting medical bills, lost income, and other damages. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys can help you fight for the highest possible settlement.
We’ve represented thousands of accident victims and have won more than $300,000,000 for our clients. Our goal will be to get you fairly compensated as soon as possible, but we’re not afraid to go to trial if the insurance company refuses to cooperate. For a free consultation, contact us today at 1-800-GO-HARRIS.
Types of Car Accident Cases Our Los Angeles Accident Attorneys Handle:
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Distracted Driving Accidents
- Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions
- Multi-Vehicle Pileup Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Scooter Accidents
- Rideshare Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Accidents Resulting in Catastrophic Injury
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Accidents Caused by Defective Auto Parts
- Wrongful Death Car Accidents
- Other Car Accident Cases
What If the At-Fault Driver Was Uninsured?
One of our seasoned car accident lawyers can investigate your case to identify all potential sources of compensation. Even if the at-fault party was uninsured, it may still be possible to recover damages.
If you carry uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage, for example, your policy should pay out benefits if you suffered an injury in a crash that an uninsured driver caused. If you carry uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage, this policy should help pay for repairing or replacing your vehicle.
If you purchased collision coverage, this is yet another option for covering the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. If you don’t have any of these policies or if your coverage limits aren’t sufficient, your attorney may advise you to bring a claim directly against the at-fault party. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t have the financial means to pay for the medical bills, lost income, and other damages suffered by accident victims, so filing a lawsuit might not be worth your time. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers can help you make informed decisions given the specific facts of your case.
How Can Passengers Recover Damages After a Car Accident?
Just like drivers who are injured in collisions, passengers may also be entitled to compensation for any damages they incur. If you were hurt as a passenger, you might have grounds for a claim against both the driver of your vehicle and any other parties who contributed to the crash.
The state of California has a joint and several liability law, which means the defendants in a personal injury case can be held jointly liable for the economic damages suffered by the claimant. As such, it’s important that you name all potentially liable parties in your claim because this may increase your chances of recovering compensation for 100 percent of your economic damages. At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we have extensive experience handling car accident cases that involve shared liability, and we know the best strategies for pursuing the full compensation our clients deserve.
Another potential option for injured passengers is to file a medical payments coverage (MedPay) claim. If you purchased a MedPay policy, it might help cover your immediate medical care. And if the driver who caused the crash was uninsured or underinsured, you may be able to recover benefits from your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
What Factors Could Impact the Value of My Claim?
The weeks and months that follow a serious accident are often replete with financial concerns. Even with health insurance, you may still have to cover a steep deductible and copays. And if your injury prevents you from working, the loss of income can add up quickly.
If your bills are mounting, you’re probably eager to know how much money your claim might be worth. This is a question your attorney will only be able to answer after conducting a thorough investigation. Your Los Angeles car accident lawyer can help you approximate a fair settlement figure based on a number of factors, which may include:
- The Cost of Medical Care: The cost of ambulance transport, emergency care, your hospital stay, prescription meds, rehabilitation, surgeries, and any other reasonable and necessary medical expenses might be recoverable.
- The Amount of Income You Missed: Did you have to miss work due to your injuries? You can seek compensation for lost income including wages you are reasonably certain to lose in the future as a result of the accident.
- Other Economic Damages: The cost to repair or replace your vehicle can be included in the settlement calculations. It may also be possible to obtain compensation for child care, transportation to medical appointments, and other necessary services.
- Non-Economic Damages: Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages might be recoverable in addition to the economic damages listed above.
- Whether Punitive Damages Are Warranted: Punitive damages may be available if the defendant’s conduct involved malice, oppression, or fraud.
- Your Own Role in the Accident: If you were partially at-fault for the crash, it might not be possible to obtain compensation for 100 percent of your damages. Unlike many other states, California has a pure comparative negligence law, which means that even if you were more at-fault than the defendant, you would not be barred from pursuing damages.
- Whether You’ve Made Any Mistakes: Even if you have compelling evidence to support your claim, a small mistake could seriously jeopardize your case. Posting about the accident on social media, for example, might bring liability into question. Publishing a picture of you out with friends might be interpreted by the insurance company as a failure to mitigate damages. Giving a recorded statement to the claims adjuster could also harm your case, so you should let your Los Angeles car accident attorney handle all such dialogue.
What If the Insurance Company Refuses to Pay a Fair Settlement?
Most personal injury claims are brought against the insurance company of the liable party, though there are some exceptions. If you intend to bring a third-party liability insurance claim, your attorney will attempt to negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement.
Unfortunately, insurance carriers have incentive to deny and undervalue claims. If your attorney believes the insurance company is being unreasonable, and your case would yield greater compensation if you proceeded to litigation, your lawyer could help you file a lawsuit.
The first stage of litigation is called “discovery.” The legal teams on either side will learn the facts pertaining to the lawsuit. Documents will be exchanged, and requests for evidence might be made. This is also a time when expert and percipient witnesses can be deposed.
Hopefully a settlement will be reached as a result of the discovery process. At the very least, discovery can help resolve certain matters of contention before the case proceeds to the latter stages of litigation.
Discovery is often followed by alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation, arbitration, and settlement conferences are three examples of ADR. Whether your case goes to ADR and the type of ADR you enter will depend on the circumstances. If no settlement is reached as a result of alternative dispute resolution, the case would proceed to trial.
At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we have extensive experience in every stage of litigation. We always strive to win a fair settlement without even having to file suit; however, if the opposing party refuses to cooperate, we are not afraid to enter litigation. This separates us from other lawyers who are reluctant to enter litigation because it is time-consuming. You can rest assured that our attorneys will provide you with honest legal guidance and tenacious representation through every stage of the proceedings.
When Are Punitive Damages Recoverable in a Car Accident Case?
Any successful car accident claim will yield compensatory damages, which are intended to make the claimant “whole” again. Examples include medical bills, property repairs, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages, however, are awarded to punish the defendant and to prevent similar misconduct in the future.
Punitive damages might be available if the defendant acted with malice, fraud, or oppression. In car accident cases, the most common basis for awarding punitive damages is malice. To prove malice, your Los Angeles car accident lawyer will have to show that the defendant acted with an intent to cause harm, or with despicable conduct that demonstrated a willful or conscious disregard for the rights and safety of other people.
A common example of malice is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person of ordinary prudence would know that drunk and drugged drivers threaten the safety of everyone on the road around them, so ignoring that risk often constitutes willful disregard.
Fleeing the scene of a crash might also constitute malice. When a person suffers an injury in a car accident, their life could depend on getting prompt medical care. When someone causes an accident and flees rather than contacting the police, they are willfully disregarding the safety of the injured person.
Under some circumstances, a car accident victim might be awarded punitive damages on the basis of fraud. This might happen, for example, if you were hit by a commercial truck driver and their employer decided to alter driving logs to cover up negligence.
At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we can review the facts of your case to determine the kinds of damages that might be recoverable. We have extensive experience helping accident victims pursue punitive damages.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
If your medical bills are adding up and you’ve had to miss work due to your injuries, you might be hesitant to hire a car accident lawyer. Fortunately, most attorneys handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t have to pay any attorney’s fees unless you win a settlement or verdict. At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we can evaluate your case for free, explain what we can do to help you fight for the highest compensation possible, and handle your case on a contingency fee contract.
Speak with a Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles Today: Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS
If your life and future plans have been disrupted due to a serious collision, turn to Harris Personal Injury Lawyers for guidance. One mistake early in the proceedings could be the difference between winning a fair settlement and walking away with nothing. Our attorneys can help you avoid costly errors and make sure you are treated fairly by the insurance company through every stage of the proceedings.
Auto insurance carriers throughout California know that our law firm provides aggressive representation, and we don’t settle for anything less than our clients deserve. To speak with a member of our team in a free case review, call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or send us a message on our contact page.