At least five people were hospitalized with moderate-to-critical injuries after a recent Los Angeles car accident. The crash, which happened shortly before 2 AM in West Hollywood, reportedly involved three different cars. While police continue to investigate the crash, the victims are likely investigating the legal options available to them. If the victims decide to file a personal injury claim for damages they may be able to recover much-needed compensation.
Investigating Driver Negligence
A large percentage of Los Angeles car accidents are the result of driver negligence. When you get behind the wheel of a car in LA you assume a legal obligation to drive safely. This means only operating a vehicle with a valid license, obeying the rules of the road, and operating the vehicle in a way that minimizes the odds of harming others. Negligence occurs when a driver breaches his or her obligation. A victim who is injured because of another driver’s negligent conduct can file a personal injury claim to recover compensation from that negligent driver.
When police are investigating the crash they will be looking for any evidence that helps to explain why the accident happened. This includes searching for evidence that the driver(s) were negligent. Police may determine that drivers were negligent by:
- Reviewing video footage from a dashcam, red light camera, or security camera;
- Interviewing occupants of the vehicles, and
- Speaking with eyewitnesses who watched the scene unfold.
If police determine that a particular driver was distracted, fatigued, speeding, or otherwise negligent, the driver will be assigned fault for the accident.
Sometimes there will be more than one person who is responsible for causing an accident. In these situations, victims are entitled to recover compensation from each responsible party. California law explains that liability will be allocated to the degree each party was at-fault. The more responsible you are for causing the accident, the greater your obligation to compensate the victims will be.
Three cars were involved in the West Hollywood crash. Let’s say that the drivers of Car A and Car B are both determined to be partly responsible for causing the accident. The accident victims will be entitled to recover damages from both drivers. If each driver is 50 percent responsible for the crash each driver will be 50 percent responsible for the victims’ injuries. So, if the five accident victims each suffered $20,000 in damages, each would be entitled to recover $10,000 from the driver of Car A and $10,000 from the driver of Car B.
What if the drivers of Car A and Car B also suffered injuries in the crash? In some states, the drivers would be automatically prohibited from recovering any compensation at all. Their own negligence would act as a bar on recovery. In California, however, the drivers will only be prevented from recovering compensation if the accident is determined to be entirely their fault. Since both drivers were determined to be partly at-fault, neither is barred from recovering damages. However, their ability to recover compensation will be limited by their own degree of fault. If both drivers are determined to be 50 percent at fault for the crash, each would be entitled to seek 50 percent of his own damages. The drivers would still also still be on the hook for the damages sustained by other victims.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve After a Los Angeles Car Accident
When you are injured in a Los Angeles car accident you may be entitled to recover compensation from the person (or people) responsible for your crash. Hiring an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney will help to ensure that your claim is filed on time and that you are properly compensated for your injuries. If you have been injured in a crash and want to learn more about the benefits of a car accident lawsuit, do not hesitate to call the personal injury lawyers at Joshua W. Glotzer, APC.