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In an instant, a motor vehicle collision can dramatically change your life. Serious car accidents can result in lasting, sometimes permanent injury, disability, and death. Even somewhat minor crashes can create devastating financial pressures, such as an inability to earn income or staggering bills for medical treatment and hospitalization. At the same time, insurance companies often prey on car accident victims – doing everything in their power to avoid paying claims at a time when policyholders need them most.
While the aftermath of an accident may seem needlessly complicated and full of unanswered questions, you don’t have to face it alone. At Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP, we are here to ease your burden and be the strength by your side. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys focus solely on helping those injured in preventable accidents get the fair compensation they need to move forward and recover from their injuries. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an auto accident in Los Angeles, we can help. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation. We handle all car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we charge no fees unless we win.
Los Angeles Car Accident Resources
- Why Choose Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP for Your Auto Accident Claim?
- Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
- How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
- California Car Accident Statute of Limitations
- Damages in California Car Accident Lawsuits
- Common Car Accident Injuries
- Who Can Be Held Liable for a Car Accident?
- How to Prove Negligence in a Car Accident Claim
- What to Do After a Car Accident
- Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Today
Why Hire Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP for Your Los Angeles Car Accident Claim?
After a car crash, the law firm that you choose to represent you can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. It is extremely important that the lawyer you hire has experience handling car accident cases and a demonstrated history of trial success.
Why is this important?
A car accident lawsuit is about more than what you need right now. Your injuries may impact you for the rest of your life. Your attorney’s job is to properly evaluate how your life is affected in both the short and long term and to fight for everything that you will need moving forward. This requires a deep understanding of the medicine, liability and legal issues, and insurance coverage involved in your case. The opposition, in most cases a motor vehicle insurance company, will be looking for any weaknesses in your case. Their singular goal is to pay as little as possible as a settlement or dismiss your claim entirely. Often, the only way to compel them to treat you fairly is to take them to trial.
At Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys have significant experience handling all manner of motor vehicle collision cases from inception all the way through trial.
- We have the skills, experience, and resources needed to take cases involving motor vehicle accidents where they need to go.
- Our attorneys are ready, willing, and exceptionally able to take cases to trial and win.
- We have a proven track record of winning cases for our clients against large insurance companies, government entities, and even automobile and parts manufacturers.
- We provide the highest quality legal representation on a contingency fee basis, meaning we charge absolutely no fees unless we win.
- We advance all costs associated with any personal injury claim we handle.
- Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys offer a free and confidential case evaluation.
PSBR is Ranked by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® as a “Tier 1” Firm for Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation
We have recovered over one billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients in the past ten years. This includes $36.5 million for a woman seriously injured when her vehicle was struck by a commercial truck, $9 million for a teenager who lost both legs while driving when her vehicle struck a broken highway guardrail, and $7 million for the family of a man who was killed by a wrong-way driver in a Verizon company vehicle.
How Can a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer Help?
While it is possible to handle a car accident case without an attorney, you may put yourself at a distinct disadvantage – especially in complex cases or those involving serious injury. Hiring an experienced attorney to protect your best interests can allow you to focus on your family and your recovery.
When you decide that Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP is the right firm for you, our legal team begins working on your behalf right away, leaving no stone unturned to build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
- We hire investigators to examine the accident scene, find witnesses, and collect other important evidence.
- We bring in medical and scientific experts when necessary and appropriate.
- We handle all communication with the insurance company to prevent them from attempting to devalue your case.
- We also handle all paperwork and case filings to ensure that your case meets all deadlines and is filed within the statute of limitations.
- Our teams look for any and every source of liability and car insurance coverage to maximize compensation.
- We review your medical records and injuries, connect you with experts that can help make sure nothing goes undiagnosed, and properly determine how much your current and future medical needs will require.
- If the insurance companies decide not to treat you fairly, we will take them to court to hold them accountable for the full value of your injuries.
Do I Have a Case? How Much Is My Case Worth?
If you were involved in a motor vehicle collision and suffered any sort of injury, you may have a case. However, it is impossible for any attorney to say for sure without reviewing the facts of your case. There are many, many factors involved in car accident cases, including who is at fault, the extent of the injuries incurred, the presence of and amount of insurance coverage available, the possibility of more than one liable party being involved, and many others. If you think you may have a case or are unsure, we urge you to contact an accident lawyer for a free consultation.
How Long Do I Have To File a Car Accident Claim?
All personal injury cases, car accidents included, are subject to strict time limits known as the statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations for car accident claims is typically two years from the date of the injury as outlined in Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 335.1. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this two-year window, the court will refuse to hear any future case. However, the actual time frame may be shorter or longer depending upon the specific facts of your case.
For example, claims involving governmental entities have a much shorter window of six months. Additionally, there are certain situations that affect when the statute “clock” begins or that might extend the window. If you think you may have a case, it is always advised that you speak with a car accident lawyer to ensure that your case is heard within the statutory window.
Compensation for Car Accidents in California
In California, those injured in motor vehicle collisions may be eligible to recover financial compensation from the legally responsible party for the expenses they incur. These expenses are referred to as damages. Most often, damages are paid via an insurance policy, not out of the other driver’s pocket.
While there are several types of recoverable damages in California personal injury claims, they broadly fit into 3 distinct categories: economic (or special) damages, non-economic (or general), and punitive damages. In cases where someone is killed, their families may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim and survivor action as well.
Economic damages refer to the tangible, financial losses and hardships that accident injury victims suffer. This can include:
Medical Expenses – Serious injuries may result in significant medical costs immediately following the accident as well as long into the future. Past and future medical bills, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, ambulance and emergency medicine fees, medical devices, and accessories, and in-home medical care in the case of temporary or permanent disability are all recoverable damages.
Lost Wages – If the accident or injury has prevented you from returning to work, even for a short time, your lost wages – and resulting financial hardship – such as missed rent or mortgage payments – are also recoverable economic damages. This may include time spent in the hospital, at medical appointments, or while temporarily disabled.
Reduced earning capacity – In cases where the injury affects your future ability to earn income, you may be eligible for compensation based on your past earnings. The amount of future wages awarded may be determined by your age, occupation, experience, skill, and even your life expectancy.
Non-economic damages are awarded for the intangible ways car accident injuries affect your life. Due to the intangible nature of the damages in this category, the amount awarded depends largely on your attorney’s ability to prove the valuation. While some states limit the amount of non-economic damages available, in accordance with Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 3333.4 California does not currently cap them. Non-economic damages can include:
Pain and suffering – California law allows you to place a monetary value on the pain and suffering an injury caused you. Factors involved include the type and severity of the injury, the amount of and length of time the victim suffered pain, and the likelihood the victim would continue to experience pain or suffering in the future.
Disfigurement – Compensation may be available for the mental suffering that accompanies severe scarring or disfigurement in a personal injury case. Physical impairment, inconvenience, loss of companionship, reduced quality of life and many other non-pecuniary damages (damages that can’t be measured in monetary value) are also recoverable.
Punitive damages are reserved for cases involving intentional harm or when the responsible party is especially reckless. Punitive damages typically serve as a punishment for individuals or corporate entities and an example to prevent similar behavior from occurring again.
Our landmark case, Anderson vs. General Motors is, perhaps, one of the greatest examples of punitive damages in action. After the Anderson family’s Chevy Malibu exploded in a crash, we found a series of internal communications proving that General Motors was both aware of the issue and that they decided it was cheaper not to fix it. After a lengthy trial, a California court awarded our clients a 4.9 billion dollar verdict, with $4.8 billion in the form of punitive damages.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Motor vehicle collisions are among the most common causes of serious injury and death in the United States. Common injuries in car crashes include:
- Back, head, and neck injuries such as whiplash
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Injuries to the spinal cord
- Broken bones and internal injuries
- Scrapes and cuts
- Injuries to the extremities
- Mental and emotional injuries such as PTSD
In the U.S., over 3 million people are injured in car accidents annually. Sadly, many injuries go untreated or undiagnosed, leaving the victim to suffer the short and long-term effects on their physical, financial, and emotional health.
Liability in Car Accident Cases
While they are often referred to as car accidents, motor vehicle collisions are usually anything but accidents. In most cases, they are the result of negligence on the part of a driver, manufacturer, or governmental entity and are entirely preventable.
In car accident and personal injury cases, the concept of negligence is key in determining liability for a collision. The legal definition of negligence is loosely: a failure to exercise the level of care that an ordinary person would have exercised under the same circumstances. This failure can occur through both action and omission.
Other drivers have a duty to drive in a way that doesn’t endanger other motorists. This includes obeying traffic safety laws, signs and signals, not operating their vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and refraining from distractions such as cell phone use and texting. Government agencies have a duty to design safe roadways and keep them well maintained to minimize the risk that drivers face while using them. Any defects or poor road designs might lead to an increase in car accidents.
Vehicle and auto parts manufacturers have a legal duty to make sure that their products (vehicles and parts) are safe and do not contain defects. A failure of this duty of care may leave that party legally responsible for any collision and resultant injury. Depending on the specifics of the incident, one or more parties could be held responsible for damages in a car accident.
How Is Negligence Determined?
There are four primary elements that must be present in order to establish negligence in a car accident case:
- The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached that duty
- The plaintiff suffered actual harm or injury
- The defendant’s breach caused the injury
Essentially, to be held legally responsible, the person or entity that caused your accident must have acted or failed to act in a way that caused your injury.
While this is the legal threshold for negligence, California operates under a pure comparative negligence system in car accident cases. This means that you can still recover compensation, even if you are found to be partially at fault for the collision. However, the amount of compensation you can receive will be reduced by the degree you are found to be at fault.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Los Angeles
The actions a car accident victim takes after a crash could play an important role in the outcome of a car accident case. Here are some of the steps you should take after a motor vehicle accident from our car accident lawyers:
- Seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t have any visible injuries, you could have a concussion or other serious injuries that need medical care. Additionally, many injuries do not manifest themselves until days later. So don’t wait on visiting the doctor.
- Contact the police. The police will create an accident report that can help support a car accident claim.
- Gather evidence and contact information. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, gather contact information from the parties involved and any witnesses, ask for the other driver’s driver’s license information, license plate number, and make and model of the vehicle. Take a picture of any property damage.
- Document your injuries. Make sure you save all medical records from your injuries.
- Don’t post on social media. Avoid posting anything related to your accident on social media, even something innocent could be misinterpreted and affect your case.
- Contact a car accident attorney. Call a Los Angeles car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident to discuss your legal options and fight for the fair compensation that you deserve. Your attorney can guide you on the next steps, handle all the interactions with all car insurance companies involved and protect your best interests.
Free Consultation With a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
At Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP, our Los Angeles car accident attorneys are uniquely equipped to handle all types of motor vehicle accident and crash cases, including truck accidents, automotive product defects; pedestrian accidents; and accidents caused by poor roadway planning or maintenance.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident please call our office in Los Angeles today at (877) 800-1700. We offer a free and confidential case evaluation with our experienced car accident attorneys and serve injury crash victims in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and across Southern California.