It is natural to feel overwhelmed after a car accident. You may have more questions than answers, especially if you are facing serious injuries, the loss of a loved one, or physical and emotional trauma. Fortunately, a Manhattan Beach car accident lawyer can help you navigate what to do and how to seek compensation. For more information about working with a Manhattan Beach attorney, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 223-5115.
Responsibility for Your Accident
No one plans for a car accident, but that does not mean no one is responsible for them when they happen. Drivers who get behind the wheel are agreeing to obey traffic laws and drive with care to avoid hurting themselves or others. Most drivers do not intend to cause a crash, but sometimes they engage in reckless behavior or make bad decisions that result in harm to others.
To win awards for your car accident, you must prove the other driver breached the duty of care they owe others on the road. You must also show their negligence caused your damages. Examples of negligent driving include, but are not limited to:
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Disobeying traffic signs and signals
- Driving drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel
- Using a handheld cell phone or electronic device
- Driving too fast for the speed limit or road conditions
- Crossing into the oncoming lane of traffic
Gathering evidence to prove another party is liable for your crash may seem daunting. Your energies and focus should be on your healing or taking care of your loved one, not on tracking down documents and talking to witnesses. A Manhattan Beach car accident lawyer can assist you with building your case and take care of the legwork when it comes to collecting records and other proof.
Keeping careful records is one way you can help with your case. A lawyer can use your medical bills, patient records, vehicle repair bills, and more to show the expenses you have accrued because of your accident. An attorney may also be able to track down eyewitnesses, crash reconstruction experts, surveillance video, cellphone video, photographs, and other forms of evidence to prove someone else’s negligence caused your crash.
California Vehicle Law (VEH) §20008 states you must report your accident to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) if an officer was not present at the time of your crash. Reporting your accident will ensure there is an official record and that law enforcement conducts an investigation.
Awards for Your Medical Bills, Pain and Suffering, and More
Car accidents can have a significant financial impact. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for every one person killed in a car accident, eight people are hospitalized, and 100 are treated at an emergency department. Each crash-related emergency department visit costs around $3,300, and each hospitalization costs nearly $60,000 over a lifetime. This does not even factor in the additional economic impact of lost wages.
One method for recovering some of your damages is to file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s provider. However, California only requires drivers to carry a minimum of $15,000 for injuries to one person, $30,000 for injuries to two or more people, and $5,000 for property damages.
If you were severely injured, it is very possible the cost of your medical care exceeds these amounts. Even if the other driver involved has optional extra coverage, the settlement offered may not be enough. Insurance companies are typically about making a profit, and keeping payout amounts as low as possible is financially beneficial for them. Working with an attorney could help you secure a better settlement. You also have the option to take your case to court.
In a lawsuit, you can pursue economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include awards for medical bills, household expenses, future necessary medical treatments, and vehicle and property damages. Non-economic damages account for less-concrete losses and are often referred to as damages for pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering damages allow you to seek awards for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, or any other negative emotional or mental consequences arising from your crash. They also compensate you for ways your accident has permanently decreased your ability to enjoy life. For example, if your crash results in the loss of your leg, you could win a sum for no longer being able to participate in hobbies and activities that once made you happy.
For a free legal consultation with a Manhattan Beach Car Accidents Lawyer serving Manhattan, call (800) 223-5115
Statute of Limitations in California
You must file your case in civil court before the statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death claims expire. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1, you have two years from the time of your accident or your loved one’s death to commence legal action.
Contributory negligence may also apply in car accident cases. California follows a system of pure comparative negligence. Pure comparative negligence means that you can seek awards, even if your accident was mostly your fault.
The court will hear your case and assign each party a percentage of fault. Your awards are decreased by this amount. So, if you win $100,000 but are 90% responsible, you can still collect a settlement, but it would be drastically reduced. You would only receive $10,000.
Manhattan Manhattan Beach Car Accidents Lawyer Near Me (800) 223-5115
Legal Help from an Established Firm
In more than 35 years of practice, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has won millions of dollars for our clients. We are proud members of the American Bar Association (ABA), and our team includes award-winning attorneys recognized by The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100.
You can rest assured a Manhattan Beach car accident lawyer will handle your case with professionalism and care. We want to help you through the legal process so that you can worry about healing. To learn more about how we can help, call (800) 223-5115 for a free consultation.