One California man is dead and another is reportedly fighting for his life after a car accident on June 8th in the Glen Valley area of Los Angeles. A waste management truck reportedly ran a red light and struck a pickup truck, killing its driver. The force of the collision sent it into a third car. Two passengers in the third vehicle were trapped in the “twisted wreck.” The driver of the car is in critical condition and his passenger is reporting chest pains and other accident-related injuries. The family of the pickup truck driver and the occupants of the third car may be able to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
How a Personal Injury Claim for Damages Can Help Car Accident Victims
Car accidents, especially those that cause significant injuries, can be incredibly expensive. One study found that the average cost of a bodily injury claim was over $15,000. Most Americans do not have savings sufficient to take care of one $500 emergency, let alone a $15,000 injury. If injuries sustained in an accident are serious and require extensive medical care, these costs can cost victims tens of thousands more.
Fortunately, car accident victims (and families of those who are killed in car accidents) may file a claim for damages from at-fault parties. Damages recovered through a personal injury lawsuit can help to pay for unexpected medical costs, rehabilitation, nursing care, property damage, and compensate for lost wages.
Why Should I Hire a California Personal Injury Attorney?
Immediately after an accident, you may be contacted by insurance companies who represent other drivers who were involved. It is important that you do not speak with them without consulting a personal injury lawyer. These insurance companies will try to take advantage of your confusion during this overwhelming and stressful time. They will take advantage of your lack of specialized legal knowledge and will likely try to convince you to agree to a small settlement. Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out on each and every claim that is submitted. It is in their best interest – and not yours – to pay as little as possible.
An experienced California car accident attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and that you are able to recover the compensation you desperately need after your accident. Insurance companies will fight you each step of the way. Hiring an attorney can be incredibly important, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal processes and laws involved. In fighting to recover compensation on your behalf, an attorney may:
- Conduct an independent investigation of the accident that caused your injuries;
- Review the details provided in the police report;
- Find and interview witnesses;
- Contact and hire expert witnesses;
- Determine potential liability;
- Research accident statistics; and
- Communicate and negotiate with other parties, including insurance companies.
Attorneys are experienced negotiators who understand the nuances of the law. Your chances of maximizing your recovery increase when you hire a California car accident attorney.
Many Car Accident Personal Injury Claims Based on Negligence
Many California car accident claims are based on the argument that (at least) one party was negligent, and that this negligence caused your injuries. Negligence occurs when you have a responsibility to act in a certain way and fail to fulfill that responsibility. The success of your claim will be based on your attorney’s ability to prove the negligence of another party. Negligence can be broken down into different elements. Your attorney must prove each element to be successful. A successful negligence claim for damages will show that:
- The defendant had a duty (responsibility);
- The defendant breached this duty;
- This breach caused your injuries; and
- You suffered damages as a result.
What is a ‘duty’ that a California driver may have? All drivers on California roads have a duty to “use reasonable care” when operating a vehicle. According to California law, basic standards of care that must be kept include “keep[ing] a lookout for pedestrians, obstacles, and other vehicles” and “control[ling] the speed and movement of their vehicles.” In California, a failure to exercise reasonable care is considered negligence.
So, in the case of the accident we discussed above, let’s say that the driver of the third vehicle decided he wanted to pursue compensation from the driver of the garbage truck. A successful claim would require him to prove (1) the truck driver had a duty to follow traffic laws, including traffic signals; (2) the truck driver did not follow traffic laws and signals; (3) running the red light caused an accident involving your vehicle, in which you were injured; and (4) you suffered financial damage (medical bills, property damage) and/or other damages such as pain and suffering.
Claims based on the negligence of another person can become complicated. This is especially true when getting down to the nuances of actual and proximate causation. These theories of causation can be difficult to prove and are best handled by an experienced California car accident attorney.
Contact an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you know has been injured in a California car accident you may be entitled to recover compensation from an at-fault party. An experienced California car accident attorney can help to maximize the compensation you receive. Contact our Los Angeles office today to tell us about your accident and learn about your legal options.