Car accidents are one of the leading causes of serious injury and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2020 alone almost 41,000 people were killed in car crashes which is more than 110 deaths per day. Another 2.1 million people were treated in emergency rooms following collisions. Los Angeles County can be particularly dangerous for drivers and pedestrians alike. Los Angeles Police Department data has revealed that 312 people were killed in 2022, which is a 5% increase from the previous year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that car accidents cost an estimated $340 billion per year in medical costs and lost productivity. Many victims of car accidents are burdened twice over by the collision. Accident victims may have high medical costs and extensive lost wages. Any person that is injured in a car accident may be able to get support through a legal claim. Our team of Pasadena car accident attorneys at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP are here for you. We can investigate the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know if you have a claim that can be pursued. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.
Common Injuries Associated With Car Accidents
Car accidents can produce a wide variety of different injuries. Most of these injuries are not visible and referred to as soft tissue damage. The sudden deceleration that a person experiences in a crash can damage the neck, hands, feet and joints. Most of these injuries will heal with time and physical therapy. But many injuries that people experience are more extensive and may require one or more surgeries.
- Broken Bones: Bone breaks and fractures are typically associated with higher speed impacts. These injuries may not be easily detectable at the time of a collision. There are many different kinds of fractures including closed fractures, displaced fractures, stress fractures and partial fractures.
- Brain Injuries: Even with the advent of airbags, concussions are a common injury in car accidents. Even a mild traumatic brain injury can lead to chemical changes in the brain and damage to brain cells. More severe brain injuries can lead to bruising and internal bleeding inside the brain.
- Burn Injuries: It is common for vehicles to ignite after collisions. This is often due to punctures to a vehicle’s gas tank. Hot engines can also spray liquids that result in first, second and third degree burns.
- Back Injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can be one of the most serious types of injuries that a person can experience after a car accident. These injuries may lead to ruptured discs, herniated discs and pinched nerves. Back injuries will typically limit a person’s mobility and are usually treated with surgery.
Even after a person’s physical injuries have healed, those injured in car accidents can still suffer from the psychological trauma of the experience. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Individuals who experience a serious motor vehicle accident (MVA) are at increased risk for psychological problems, particularly Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” Common symptoms of PTSD may include intrusive thoughts about the collision, distressing dreams, numbing of emotional responses and refusing to drive.
What Kinds of Claims Can A Car Accident Attorney Help With?
Motor vehicle collisions cover a wide range of different accident types. By far, the most common accident that a person will be involved in is a rear-end collision involving two passenger vehicles. These types of collisions are nearly always preventable and typically involve a driver that was traveling too fast for the prevailing conditions, following the lead vehicle too closely or simply not paying adequate attention to the road. What follows below are some other common collisions that a car accident attorney can help you with.
- Police Vehicle Accidents: Police officers often respond to emergency situations. This may require them to speed, go through red lights or break other traffic rules. It is therefore not surprising that many officers are involved in collisions. When a police officer is not responding to an emergency with their lights and sirens on, they must obey the rules of the road like every other driver.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrians have a small profile and lack the protection of enclosed vehicles. Drivers are supposed to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at designated crossings, but this does not always happen.
- Bicycle Accidents: Our cities and roadways were not designed with pedestrians and bicyclists in mind. This is particularly true for Los Angeles County. It is common for distracted drivers to hit bicyclists in bicycle lanes.
- Truck Accidents: Semi-trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs and are substantially more dangerous than passenger vehicles. A fully loaded semi-truck traveling at 65 mph can take the length of two football fields to come to a stop.
- Bus Accidents: The Los Angeles Metro bus system has the third largest fleet of buses in North America. These vehicles have large blind spots and a wide turning radius. This can make collisions more likely especially along narrow roads.
- Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcyclists account for a relatively small number of the total vehicles on the road, but they are involved in a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries. According to Forbes, “August is the most dangerous month for motorcyclists, with 14% of all fatal motorcycle crashes occurring over this month.”
A motor vehicle crash can occur at any time of the night or day. These incidents often take place at the worst possible moments of a person’s life. They can affect someone’s ability to keep their job and thus provide a stable life for their family. For any person to be successful in a car accident claim, it must first be established that the other party that hit them was negligent.
Demonstrating Liability For A Car Accident
In short, negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that someone with ordinary prudence would have were they in a similar situation. Negligence usually consists of certain actions, but it may also be the result of omissions when a person owes a duty of care. There are four elements that must be demonstrated in a negligence claim. (1) The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. (2) The defendant breached that duty. (3) The plaintiff suffered an injury. (4) The defendant’s breach was the proximate cause of the injury. What follows are some of the ways that a person or entity could be liable for a collision.
- Speeding: Pursuant to California Vehicle Code 22350, no person shall drive a motor vehicle at a speed greater than would be reasonable or prudent given the prevailing conditions of the road. If a driver was speeding prior to an accident, they will likely be held at fault.
- Follow Distance: According to California Vehicle Code 21703, no person shall follow another vehicle more closely than would be reasonable or prudent for traffic conditions. There is a rebuttable presumption of negligence on the part of any driver that rear-ends another vehicle in their own lane.
- Driver Intoxication: As outlined in California Vehicle Code 23152, it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Vicarious Liability: A private company or a municipal entity like a city could potentially be liable for a motor vehicle collision. In general, employers are liable for the wrongful acts or omissions or their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties.
Many people will not pursue personal injury claims because they believe they were partially or mostly at fault for a collision. But this is a mistake. California is one of a handful of states that adjudicates personal injury claims under a pure comparative negligence standard. Even if a person is partially at fault for any collision, they are still able to pursue damages through a civil claim. Any awarded damages are reduced proportionately by a plaintiff’s own comparative negligence.
What You Should Do After A Car Accident
Car accidents are typically very complex events. They happen quickly and can be completely disorienting. If you are involved in a car accident, there are a number of actions that you should take. Taking these four actions will help protect your legal rights. They can also improve your chances of being fairly compensated if you were injured.
- Obtain Contact Information: It is extremely important to get the contact information from all of the other drivers involved in any collision. You should also try to get the contact information from any potential witnesses. It is best to avoid speaking with any insurance company until you’ve had time to talk with an attorney about your case.
- Get Medical Attention: No matter how you feel immediately after a collision, it is important to get a thorough evaluation by medical professionals. It is common for accident victims to not realize the full extent of their injuries for several weeks or months after they were injured. Moreover, insurance companies will often try to downplay the extent of your injuries if you fail to get timely treatment.
- Document All Relevant Evidence: It is important that all relevant evidence is preserved after any car accident. This can include pictures of the accident site and the police report that was created. You should also document all medical bills accrued as a result of your injury. Keeping track of any lost wages is likewise very important.
- Contact the Carrillo Law Firm: It is wise to seek legal advice as early as possible if you’ve been involved in a collision. Our team of Pasadena car accident attorneys at the Carrillo Law Firm can help ensure that your rights are being protected. We will do everything we can to help build a strong personal injury claim on your behalf so that you can be fairly compensated.
There are a number of key advantages that come with hiring our legal team. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping accident victims. We have successfully resolved thousands of claims and have achieved record breaking settlements for our deserving clients. It does not cost anything to hire our attorneys. We work entirely off of a contingency fee basis and only get paid from the opposing party if we are able to win or settle your legal claim.
Getting Legal Help After A Los Angeles County Car Accident
A skilled legal team can often mean the difference between winning or losing your car accident case. At the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP, we understand that winning on your behalf matters more than anything else. Our team of skilled litigators will fight for you and make sure that your interests are kept at the forefront throughout every step of the legal process. We are also not afraid to take your case to trial if need be in order to get you the best result possible.
Have you or someone that you care about been injured in a car accident? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of experienced Pasadena car accident attorneys are here to help you in any way that we can. We are committed to getting accident victims the medical and financial support that they need in order to recover. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.
How much does it cost to hire a car accident attorney? It does not cost anything upfront to hire a car accident attorney. They work entirely off of a contingency fee basis.
What kind of claims can a car accident attorney help me with? A car accident attorney can help you with many different types of claims including those involving buses, trucks, motorcycles as well as pedestrian collisions.
Can I pursue a civil claim if I was partially at fault for a collision? Yes, you can pursue a civil claim even if you were partially at fault for a car accident.
What kinds of injuries are associated with car accidents? Car accidents are associated with many different kinds of injuries including broken bones, head injuries, burn injuries and back injuries.
Can multiple parties be liable for a car accident? Numerous parties could be liable for a collision, especially if the at fault driver was working when they crashed.