Our Orange County car accident lawyers understand that a severe injury can have a tremendous impact on your life. California residents who have been killed or injured in a car accident can turn to our firm for representation. Our automobile wreck attorneys work diligently to represent clients when they have sustained severe injuries in a car crash caused by negligent drivers.
Our law firm is sympathetic to the range of impacts a car accident can have on a family, including the emotional, practical, and physical implications. We invite those who have been significantly injured in a car crash to contact our office for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer to discuss avenues of financial recovery and your legal options.
Common Car Accident Causes in California
Safe driving is the responsibility of the driver, even in light of the many technological advances that have allowed us to reduce crashes. Every driver must drive carefully, and failure to do so leaves that driver responsible for any consequences of the resulting accident. If they injure someone, they ought to pay for it.
Despite the risks and even when faced with the possibility of so much loss, people continue to make risky decisions when they get behind the wheel. According to data evaluated by the Insurance Information Institute, the following types of driver behavior are commonly involved in severe car accidents:
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Hit & Run
As many as 28% of traffic fatality accidents involve speeding. (NHTSA, 2014 study)
Distractions, such as cell phones, were responsible for 3,477 traffic fatalities and 391,000 auto injury cases in 2015, according to the NHTSA.
40 % of all traffic-related fatalities were alcohol-related.
An estimated 11,000 people lose their lives annually due to motor vehicle accidents involving aggressive driving, according to the NHTSA.
While it’s difficult to detect due to limited roadside testing abilities, a survey completed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded that more than 10 million people admitted to driving while under the influence of illegal drugs
Teenage drivers consistently have higher accident rates than older drivers. According to the CDC, drivers 16 to 19 years old are three times more likely to die in a car crash compared to a driver over 20.
A 2014 study prepared by AAA concluded that 21% of fatal traffic accidents were related to fatigued drivers.
Hit & Run
Even when the law requires drivers involved in an accident to stay at the scene, an investigation by USA Today found that nearly 1,500 drivers flee the scene of a fatal crash each year.
Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics in California
California Department of Transportation records indicates that 3,680 people were killed in auto accidents throughout the state in 2016. Orange County saw the 10thhighest number of collisions, fatalities, and severe injuries among 58 counties of the state, with 23,103 reported death and injuries, of which 3,223 were deemed significant. Meanwhile, in the same year, more than 40,000 people across the United States were killed in traffic-related incidents. According to assessments made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these accidents amount to a massive $871 billion in damages each year.
Injuries Commonly Sustained in California Auto Crashes
While there can be no denying the impact of the loss of a loved one killed in a car accident, Jimmie Kang Injury Law Firm remains committed to helping individuals who have had their lives impacted by serious injuries from automobile crashes.
According to California Highway Patrol datain 2015, 254,561 people were injured to some extent in a vehicle-related incident, and 11,755 sustained a significant injury that prevented them from participating in the normal day-to-day activities that they enjoyed before the accident. This is categorized as an “A-type” injury crash. Some of these life-changing injuries may include:
Regardless of the scope of your injury, we can help you. Our Orange County based attorneys work with some of the most respected physicians in Southern California, who we retain as consultants and expert witnesses in auto accident cases. We believe that this helps convey the extent of your injury to an insurance adjuster, judge, or jury evaluating your case.
Types of Car Accidents in California
To recover compensation for injuries, you must first establish that the other driver involved caused the crash. Proving fault or negligence can be relatively straightforward or complicated depending upon the details of the collision.
Here are some examples of types of car accident cases where driver negligence may be established based on an accident report or police investigation.
Laws Applicable to People Injured in California Car Accidents
Ignorance of the law can hurt you if you are injured in a car accident in California. While many laws apply to specific situations (and you should speak to an attorney to confirm how the law applies to your case), you should be aware that you must file a lawsuit for personal injuries within two years of the accident. If you do not file a lawsuit for your injuries within the statute of limitations, you will be forever barred from doing so.
Any person involved in a car accident in California would do well to contact an injury lawyer and to review the California Motor Vehicle Code, which enumerates the responsibilities of drivers in California.
You should also know that California has adopted a modified comparative fault doctrine for cases such as auto crashes. When making a car accident injury claim, the damages you are entitled to receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault allocated to you. For instance, if you are deemed to be 20% at fault for a car accident, you can recover 80% of the damages entitled to you. Bear in mind that if you are more than 50% at fault for an accident, you will be completely barred from recovery. Consequently, it is essential to fully evaluate the liability aspects of car accident cases and establish fault early on.
California car accident victims are entitled to recover compensation for the following types of economic and non-economic losses:
Immediate out-of-pocket expenses for charges related to ambulance transport, emergency room care, doctor visits, surgery, medications, hospital care, and physical therapy are all recoverable. When future care is required, these expenses are also recoverable.
When an injury prevents you from working or prohibits you from returning to the job you had before the accident, the law allows you to recover past and future wages and related benefits (health insurance, retirement contributions, etc.).
Pain and Suffering
This type of non-economic damages addresses the pain you experienced as a result of injuries sustained in an accident. In a jury trial, an award would be given based on the testimony of the injured party and their physicians.
When an accident has left a person with scarring or other visible injuries, a claim for disfigurement may be presented.
When a person cannot attend to the activities they were able to before an accident, a claim for disability may be presented.
For the family of a person killed in a car accident, the Illinois Wrongful Death Act allows recovery for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and the loss of consortium (companionship).
This includes damage to the vehicle involved in the collision as well as any personal property damaged in a crash, such as cell phones, computers, or other personal belongings.
Damages may be awarded for feelings of fright, nervousness, and stress following a severe accident.
In cases where the driver was incredibly reckless, a judge may allow punitive damages to be pursued. Unlike compensatory damages, this type of damages is intended to punish the other party. Punitive damages may be awarded in drunk driving cases or different situations involving extreme recklessness.
Why You Need an Experienced Law Firm to Represent Your Interests
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Car insurance companies make money by taking in premiums and paying out as little as possible in claims, and that frequently means that legitimate claims for car accident injuries are drastically minimized in their severity and value. As a person injured in an accident, you need to acknowledge that your interests and those of the insurance company conflict from the start. One of the ways you can ensure that your case is valued fairly is by having a personal injury lawyer experienced with these claims represent you.
At Jimmie Kang Injury Law Firm, we not only have experience negotiating full and fair settlements with insurance companies, but we also have experience in the courtroom. We are not afraid to take insurance companies to court when they are not evaluating our clients’ cases properly. We’ve taken on big insurance companies
Car Accident Settlements
HUGO P, FILE NO. 6100216
JULIE L. FILE NO. 6031811
JUL K. FILE NO. 6260108
JOHN Y, FILE NO. 6181113
MINOR PROPERTY DAMAGE
$ 700 REAR BUMPER DAMAGE
DEFECTIVE ROOF DESIGN LIABILITY PARAPLEGIC CASE
DEFECTIVE TIRE LIABILITY WRONGFUL DEATH CASE
Uninsured Drivers: Against the Law and a Danger to All
By law, all drivers in California are required to carry liability insurance coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, according to the California secretary of state. Despite these requirements, more than 15% of drivers on California roads and highways operate vehicles without any liability insurance, according to data from the Insurance Research Council.
So, what happens if an uninsured driver causes a crash that injures you?
Recognizing how pervasive uninsured drivers are, most automobile insurance companies offer uninsured motorist coverage (usually referred to as UM). In these situations, after it has been established that the at-fault driver did not carry any insurance at the time of a crash, a claim may be presented to the injured party’s insurance company, which essentially stands in the place of the person who caused the accident.
While the logistics of presenting a claim to your auto insurance company for an accident that you did not cause may seem strange, you are entitled to the same types of damages that you would be had the offending driver carried insurance.
On a similar note, when a driver who causes an accident has insufficient liability coverage to compensate an injured party for their injuries, an underinsured motorist claim, or UIM claim, may be made with the insured’s auto insurer.
Preparing Each Case to go the Distance to Trial
Every car accident case that our auto accident lawyers in Orange County take on is prepared as though it is going to trial. While the majority of these cases will be settled outside of court, our auto accident injury lawyers believe that thoroughly preparing car accident cases is in the clients’ best interest. We find that investing the time and resources in cases frequently results in larger settlements and allows us to proceed to litigation with confidence, as we know we have the tools needed to win your case.
Our law firm regularly takes the following steps to investigate and prosecute car accident cases:
- Collects police reports
- Talks to witnesses and secures statements from them
- Photographs the scene of the crash, damage to vehicles, and injuries to people involved
- Orders medical records and bills
- Hires accident investigators to determine how a crash likely occurred
- Meets with treating physicians and has them prepare reports to address causation and permanency of injuries
- Retrieves data from black-box computers
- Communicates directly with insurance companies involved