A serious car accident can happen anywhere in Los Angeles: in a parking lot, on the 405, or even in your own neighborhood. In addition to the pain and suffering of car accident injuries, you may suffer other losses as well. This is especially true if your injuries are serious enough to warrant hospitalization, ongoing care, and time off work.
If you need help recovering compensation after a car accident, motorcycle accident, or semi-truck accident, contact a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles at the Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin at 310-923-7839 to schedule a free case evaluation. We can collect the evidence necessary to prove liability for your accident, calculate the value of your claim, and negotiate a fair settlement for damages and go to trial if necessary.
How does California law address car accident liability?
California, like most other states, holds the driver who caused an accident financially responsible for damages and injuries that occurred because of the crash. California also requires motorists to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. This is to ensure those who suffer injuries can file for compensation to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
To win your case, you must prove another behaved negligently — usually by breaking a traffic law —causing the crash and your injuries. In some cases, both drivers share responsibility for a crash.
In the past, sharing responsibility for a crash meant that you were unable to recover any compensation at all.
Luckily, since the landmark 1975 decision in Li v. Yellow Cab Company of California, California follows a standard known as “pure comparative fault.” This means you can still collect damages even if you contributed to the crash or your injuries. Your damages, however, will decrease based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you were not wearing a seat belt when you were in an accident or were not wearing a helmet in a motorcycle crash, the insurer might try to claim you contributed to the severity of your injuries so it can pay you less.
Speak with a lawyer from the Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin. We can collect evidence to fight allegations of comparative fault so you can recover the compensation you deserve.
What evidence do I need to prove fault?
Evidence is necessary to prove the other driver acted carelessly. Some evidence may be readily available like a police report, photographs from the scene, or getting contact information from eyewitnesses. Other evidence may be more difficult to attain, like video from nearby surveillance cameras or testimony from expert witnesses, which we help our clients obtain.
Some accidents, such as those involving semi-trucks and 18-wheelers, require evidence that may be even more difficult to obtain. If you were in a truck accident, we may send the trucking company a spoliation letter instructing it to preserve evidence such as:
- Driver hour logs
- Drug and alcohol test results
- Data from the truck’s black box
- Maintenance records
- The truck itself
- Any other accident-related evidence in the company’s possession
We will also help you compile evidence to value and prove all your financial and emotional losses stemming from the accident. Your medical records play a central role, but other evidence to prove your damages may include:
- Bills related to medical care
- Pictures of your damaged car or motorcycle
- Any torn or bloody clothing
- A damaged motorcycle helmet
- Pictures of your injuries
- Documentation of lost wages
- Receipts from accident-related out-of-pocket expenses
- A journal documenting the emotional impact of the accident
How can I help protect my rights after a California car crash?
A lot of accident victims believe it is easy to prove a car accident case and recover the compensation they need. However, remember that the insurance company is not on your side. It may use tactics and tricks to pay out as little as possible in your case, and to get you to agree to a settlement quickly before you fully understand all of your long-term damages.
You may not know the extent of your injuries after the initial crash. Serious injuries and even minor injuries can take a long time to heal, require future medical treatment, and cause you future pain and suffering. The insurance companies want to avoid paying you for these future damages. The Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin will hire the right team of medical and other experts to ensure that the responsible driver who hit you pays for your full damages, past and future.
Our team knows the insurance company’s tricks and how to defend against them. Having a lawyer value your claim, defend against tricks, and read over any settlement offers is important in maximizing your payout. Once you agree to a settlement, you lose the right to recover any further compensation in the case.
We will file your claim, represent your best interests, and negotiate a just settlement with the insurance company based on the value of your case. If the insurer refuses, we can and will file a lawsuit and go to trial if necessary.
How can I tell if a car accident settlement offer is fair?
Whether the settlement the insurer offers is fair depends on the specifics of your case. You can recover medical bills (present and future), lost wages (present and future), and emotional damages like pain and suffering. But early settlement offers rarely account for all of the damages you deserve. Before you accept a settlement offer, ask yourself the following questions:
- Has a doctor provided a prognosis for my injury? Unless your doctor has given you a prognosis and explained how long he or she believes the injury will affect you, you should not accept a settlement.
- Have I considered all my injury costs? Make sure you factor in things like vehicle or home renovations necessary to accommodate your injury, transportation costs, and parking fees for appointments.
- Does the settlement cover all my injury costs? This should include past medical bills and any ongoing care you may require in the future.
- How long will my injury keep me out of work? Will my injury take months or years off of my ability to work and earn a living? Your settlement should cover any future lost wages as well as any lost earning capacity. We will hire the right team of medical and economic experts to determine these potential future lost wages.
- Does the settlement cover my emotional injuries? Insurers may not offer compensation for emotional damages. Make sure your settlement covers pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost quality of life.
We will review the settlement offer and ensure it covers everything it should. If not, we will negotiate with the insurer or take the case to court.
How can I get in touch with the Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin?
The Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin works with Los Angeles car accident victims, helping them recover the full amount of compensation they deserve. Call us today at 310-923-7839 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and get started filing your claim.