Accidents in Los Angeles are unfortunately all too common and can dramatically change your life. A car accident can not only wreck or damage your car but can cause serious and permanent injuries. In addition, if you are in a car accident, often there will be missed time from work due to injuries, and depending on the severity of those injuries and the resulting limitations; earnings may never be what they were before the car accident. You have legal rights to just and fair compensation for current and future needs.
If you have been injured in a car accident call now to get a free consultation with Los Angeles car accident lawyer Allen Vaysberg at 1-800-824-5416.
As my client you will receive personalized attention to your unique situation.
I specialize in Los Angeles car accident cases and have recovered millions in compensation for my clients.
- What to do after a Car accident in Los Angeles
- Selecting a Los Angeles car injury lawyer
- What should you have prepared when you meet with your lawyer?
- Seeking medical treatment after a car accident
- Common worries in the accident claims process
- Paying for the cost of living and medical expenses during a case
- Biggest mistakes people make that hurt their claims
- Likelihood of Settling an accident case
- Accepting offers to settle a car accident case
- California Statute of Limitations
- California’s Comparative Fault
- The most congested roads in Los Angeles where accidents occur
- Common types of car accidents
- Distracted driving car accidents
- Car accident FAQs
- Additional accident resources
- Injured While Visiting Los Angeles
What To Do After A Los Angeles Car Accident
After a car accident, it’s always a good idea to get as much information as possible. Here are some of the things that your injury lawyer will be looking for. Sometimes people don’t have complete information but we always try get as much information as necessary.
- The name, address, and phone number of the other driver.
- Insurance company information for the other driver including the policy number.
- The license plate number of the other car.
- The year, make, model, and color of the other car.
- Photos that are taken of cars involved in an accident are often helpful.
- We also advise that specific information as to the accident itself be conveyed. For example, we ask for the location of the accident including the street, the lane each driver was in, the direction of travel, speed, things like that.
- If there are any witnesses at the scene of an accident, it’s very important to get their names and numbers. Our firm hires investigators to talk to witnesses in various languages if necessary, so it’s very important to get witness information.
- If the police came to the accident scene then it’s important to give us a copy of the police officer’s card and information so we can request and order the police report for our client.
Selecting A Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
Here are some factors to consider when hiring a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles to handle car accident claims:
Talk to a Los Angeles car accident attorney and see if the attorney seems knowledgeable about the area of law the you’re consulting the attorney for. Being comfortable with your attorney is important.
You want to hire an attorney that is responsive and does not disappear once you sign the agreement. We try to return all of our clients’ calls and emails within 24 hours. The goal is to be actively involved and to properly work up a case.
Looking into the background of an attorney is important. You can go on the internet and find out what their experience is, what their professional associations were, what organizations they belong to, are they trying to stay educated and active in this area of law.
Trust is important on both sides in any kind of attorney-client relationship. It is a good idea for a potential client to talk to the attorney and make sure that they feel comfortable with who they’re going to hire.
What Is Unique About Car Accident Lawyer Allen Vaysberg?
I am responsive to our clients so that they’re not always talking to a case manager or a paralegal. I try to have a good relationship with my clients and keep them in the loop. I want to make sure that they understand what’s happening. If they have questions, I’m there to answer them, especially when the car accident claim involves complex motor vehicle accident injuries.
Insurance companies typically are interested in paying as little as possible to the injured party. As a result, it is common for the insurance company of the driver that caused the accident to offer “lowball” settlement offers to victims.
Sometimes these companies extend the offer of quick money to supposedly help with expenses, but after signing documents to receive the money the victim later learns they’ve signed away their right to file a lawsuit and the only money they’ll receive is what they were initially paid.
It is important to protect all your rights by having an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you. The Law Offices of Steers & Associates has the resources and legal expertise to help you deal with all aspects of recovering from an auto accident and personal injury. You can rest assured that we will aggressively fight for you to get the just compensation that you deserve. Unlike some other car accident attorneys, we are committed to providing in-depth support services for a client involved in an auto accident.
What Should You Have Prepared For Your Car Accident Claim?
As soon as we speak on the phone I will send you a list of things to prepare for our free consultation. It is very likely that you will have “some” of the things on the list. When we meet with new clients in our law firm, we want to know where the accident happened. We will basically want the “who, what, where, when, why” of the accident. Some of the questions may be:
- Where did the accident occur?
- Do you have contact information for the other party?
- What street were they driving on and what direction were they going? What lane were they in?
- How fast were they driving and how fast was the other driver going?
- How did the accident occur?
- We also ask for the contact information and liability insurance information of the other driver.
- Did the police come to the scene of the accident? If so, we request a copy of the traffic collision card so that the police report can be ordered.
- We may ask for witness contact information so that we can have an investigator contact any witnesses and take their recorded statements.
- Photographs of the scene of the accident are also asked for if taken.
- We always ask about the person’s injuries. What specifically is bothering the person? If they have visible physical injuries, we recommend that photographs be taken. We obtain the names of any medical facilities or health care providers that the person has seen so that the appropriate medical records can be ordered.
How about treatment? Should people wait and talk to car accident attorneys first or should they immediately get treatment if they feel pain?
If you feel pain, they should get evaluated as soon as possible. If you have a doctor that you see for those things, you can go in for evaluation or check up to see what’s wrong.
If it’s a really serious accident, then sometimes they will be taken by ambulance to a hospital. If an ambulance isn’t called and the person is concerned they have significant or serious pain or they’re worried, they can also go to the hospital after the accident as well.
Then once they talk to their lawyer, if they need further information or guidance, our law firm can certainly try to help them to make sure they’re getting the appropriate medical treatment afterwards.
Common Worries In The Accident Claims Process
Below are some of the most common client stressors and worries in the process in pursuing a car accident claim for injuries resulting from a car accident in the state of California.
Often, with personal injuries involving cars in particular, people are worried about their cars. Of course, they want to make sure that their car will be repaired or paid for or if it’s totaled. They want to make sure they get a rental car if possible.
Of course, the more serious the injuries, the more their injuries take priority. They want to make sure that they can get the most appropriate and best medical treatment that’s possible.
They want to get their injuries looked at and taken care of. They need to get a good treatment plan going so they can try to recover and get back to normal as soon as possible.
Clients may also worry about getting their medical bills paid for and making sure they’re going to be compensated eventually. They worry about whether they will have any permanent effects or lingering pain and suffering for the rest of their lives or into the future and how it will affect them and their families. They are concerned with receiving fair compensation to the greatest extent they can because somebody else caused them to suffer.
Paying For The Cost Of Living And Medical Expenses While Litigating A Car Accident Case
Sometimes people have ongoing medical bills and/or are out of work and are unable to make money while their accident case is ongoing.
That’s a tough spot to be in for someone injured after an accident. They can’t work because of their injuries. That can be devastating to a person’s financial situation and also to their family.
When someone’s injured in an accident, often times, they treat with medical providers on what’s called a lien basis. This means they sign an agreement, with the medical providers, that they are responsible for the bill upon the conclusion of the case. The benefit of that is they don’t have to pay out of pocket cost upfront, especially when they’ve been injured in accident.
Some people have medical insurance and some don’t. If they have insurance but they have minimal type of coverage or are required constantly to be paying deductibles and co-pays, that can be avoided if they treat on a lien basis after an accident.
If they’re missing time from work, hopefully, they’re able to get some kind of relief, maybe disability payments or unemployment if they’re unemployed, some kind of compensation in the meantime. As experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers, our law firm certainly requests that lost earnings and impaired earning capacity, if applicable, be paid by the at-fault party when making a demand for compensation.
Biggest Mistakes People Make That Hurt Their Claims In A Car Accident Case
Some people, that don’t hire experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers initially, give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. The other driver’s insurance may have fault for the accident but then sometimes the injured person is tripped up by what the insurance adjuster is asking them. They may be saying that really it doesn’t hurt that bad and it turns out they have more significant problems than they realized.
People often make the mistake of not getting enough information at the scene of the accident. We have had had clients who hired our firm in Los Angeles, and it turns out they didn’t give us any information about the other driver or their insurance policy so that required additional investigation. Sometimes, certain clients have only liability insurance coverage for their own insurance. So if they are injured by someone else who doesn’t have insurance or minimal insurance, they may be out of luck.
Another issue is when a medical provider recommends treatment and the person doesn’t go or doesn’t follow instructions. Sometimes they may not be able to go for a time due to family obligations or a difficult work situation. If later they come back and say they are still hurting, it makes it harder if they weren’t following their treatment plan.
Likelihood Of Settling A Case With Insurance Companies After Being Involved In A Car Accident
How hard is it to get a settlement in an auto accident case?
The reality is it all depends. Every person’s accident, every person’s right to compensation or damages is different because every person’s body is different and every accident is different. The way an accident happened, the impact, the personal injury, and the susceptibility to an injury can be different for every person.
Sometimes, it goes pretty smoothly. For example, if the other driver has only $15,000 in liability insurance coverage, that’s the minimum required for California law, a minimum of $15,000 per person, $30,000 per occurrence, and my client suffers significant injuries, I’ll write a demand letter once treatment has concluded or developed further. I’ll say, “Look, this is worth more than what you the policy provides for so we’re demanding the insurance policy limits here.”
If it’s clear that a claim is worth more than the insurance policy limits, an insurance company would be wise to pay that. We give them a 30 day deadline. If they don’t pay that, we could argue later on that the policy is now open and we would pursue additional compensation for our client.
Following The Client’s Lead When Accepting Offers To Settle A Case Involving A Car Accident
Ultimately the client is the one that controls whether or not to accept a settlement. If a client tells me that they absolutely insist upon taking a settlement, that the dollar amount is okay, and they want it, I have to listen to that. Usually if someone has significant injuries, they’re not going to just roll over and say they don’t want to go further with a claim or case.
When I’m confident that the top offer was made by the other side, I have a frank conversation with my client and explain to them what they can expect if they take this offer, what we can expect the different medical providers to take, and after the Los Angeles car accident attorneys fees and costs, what the client would get in their pocket. We definitely go with the decision they feel comfortable with.
California Statute Of Limitations For Filing A Lawsuit Involving A Car Accident
The statute of limitations sets forth a deadline to file a lawsuit. In Los Angeles, CA, and the rest of California there is typically a two-year deadline from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for injuries. There are certain exceptions to this rule like medical malpractice claims, claims against government entities, or when minors are injured.
It is important to gather the appropriate evidence as soon as possible. If an injured person has not talked to Los Angeles car accident lawyers and it is getting close to two years, he or she needs to contact one as soon as possible. Also, if a person is injured due to the actions of a governmental entity or employee, that person should consult with Los Angeles car accident attorneys even sooner (before six months are up).
California’s Med Pay/ Medical Payment And Comparative Fault
What would you call it if someone is partially at fault or completely at fault? Is there a term no fault and what does that mean in terms of percentage liability in the accident?
We have a no fault situation in California under what’s called med pay or medical payment coverage. If you have medical payment coverage with your own insurance company, there is a dollar limit for medical bills they’ll cover for reasonable and necessary medical treatment after an accident.
If someone is injured after an accident and they have $5,000 in medical payment coverage with their own insurance company, then their insurance will typically pay up to that limit for their medical bills even if the person was at fault for the accident.
The most congested roads in Los Angeles where car accidents occur:
LA is home to some of the most congested roads in the United States. Car, truck, SUV and motorcycle accidents are common on congested roadways.
Los Angeles CA is home to 7 of the 10 most congested roads in the United States (source). The 7 most congested roads in LA are visible in the map above. Here is a quick breakdown of these roads:
- Harbor Fwy/CA-110 NB The 3.1 miles surrounding this spot is the #1 most congested road in LA (and in the USA).
- Los Angeles — Harbor Fwy/I-110 NB Most Congested Road in LA (and in the USA). The 6.5mi stretch of freeway is from W. Redondo Blvd to W 111th Pl.
- San Diego Fwy/I-405 NB This is the third most congested road in LA. The northbound lane from Santa Fe Ave. to Getty Center Dr.
- San Gabriel River Fwy/I-605 SB The fourth most congested road in LA is the 4.8miles of the San Gabriel River Freeway / Interstate 605 Southbound is LA’s fifth most congested road.
- Santa Monica Fwy/I-10 EB 15 Miles of the Santa Monica Freeway / Interstate 10 Eastbound in LA is Los Angeles’ fifth most congested road.
- Santa Monica Fwy/I-10 WB The Sixth most congested road in Los Angeles is the Westbound lane of the Santa Monica Freeway / Interstate 10.
- Los Angeles — I-110 SB This 2.5mi stretch of Interstate 110 Southbound in LA near 50th St is the 10th most congested road in the USA.
Common Types Of Car Accidents In LA
- Low speed impacts: Car accidents which take place under 10mph are low speed impacts. Injuries such as whiplash can occur no matter what speed a vehicle is going.
- Frontal impacts: Frontal impacts take place when the front of a driver’s vehicle hits something in front of them such as another vehicle, a wall, tree, animal, or other object.
- Rear end collisions: Impacts from the rear are a very common type of car accident. This is when a car, truck, SUV or other automobile hits the rear of your vehicle. Often, the driver who was in the rear is at fault in these accidents. A common cause of rear end collisions is distracted driving. Injuries to people in the impacted car vary drastically.
- Side collisions: Side collisions often results in a driver or passenger’s head hitting the side of the vehicle (door, window, etc). Injuries may include concussion, brain damage, or spinal damage.
- Intersection collisions: Intersection collisions are often very serious accidents. For example, T-Bone accidents happen when drivers run red lights and crash into the side of another driver’s vehicle. Head on collisions happen at intersections as well when a vehicle crosses an opposing lane of traffic to turn left.
Unfortunately, distracted driving accidents are on the rise in Los Angeles. People are watching TV, applying makeup, checking Instagram, looking up things on Google, and unfortunately, texting and driving.
Distracted Driving Law In California
A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving.
– California vehicle code 23123.5
Distracted Driving Statistics
Texting and playing with your phone involves visual, mental, and manual distraction. The numbers speak for themselves:
- The FCC says that nationwide, about 18% of fatal auto accidents are caused by a distracted driver.
- California has 2,758 Traffic fatalities each year – California Highway Patrol.
- The NHTSA informs us that reading a text takes around 4.6 seconds. An automobile traveling at 55MPH covers 80 feet per second. 80 * 4.6 = 368 feet. 1 American football field = 300 feet. Unfortunately, there are people on the road traveling around in a 4,000lb car driving the length of a football field with their eyes off of the road.
Car Accident Legal Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Have To Talk To The Other Party’s Insurance Company?
In California, you are not required to make a statement to the other party’s insurance adjuster after being involved in a car accident.
How Do I Know If I Have A Case After A Car Accident?
Gathering evidence and deciding whether or not you have a viable case after being injured in a car accident is a two-way street between lawyers in Los Angeles and their clients. Our goal is to work on a client’s case efficiently starting with our free consultation. We always try to ensure that our clients cooperate with us.
We ask clients for documents or information to the extent that they can adequately provide them. For car accident situations, it’s important that the injured person try to get as much information and present as much evidence as possible.
Obviously, someone is seriously injured; they can’t do much at the scene of an accident. If you’re not sure if you have a case or not please feel free to call us today for free and friendly advice.
Sometimes people get pressured by the insurance adjusters. We don’t come across that too much because once we are retained, they are supposed to only contact our office. Certainly, we hear stories about insurance companies trying to pressure someone to sign a release, which is essentially a request to waive their legal rights. For example, a release may propose that $500 be paid to settle a bodily injury claim and in exchange, the injured person cannot sue the at fault driver in the future.
In our experience, we find that doesn’t happen too often because once our firm is hired. If the insurance company takes a position that for some reason they don’t want to pay anything out, then we will talk to our client and explain what their options are at that point. We will discuss whether or not they want to proceed further and file a lawsuit.
I would estimate that over 90% of car accident injury claims in Los Angeles are settled but there are some that do go to trial when the other side is just being totally unrealistic and not offering enough money to fairly compensate the injured person. It is important to understand the litigation process and to have the ability to go to trial if that’s what is necessary.
We handle cases involving DUIs and car accidents, or traffic citations and car accidents. A recent client was rear ended by somebody else and that person fled the scene. We obtained the police report to see if the person who caused the accident was arrested or charged with a hit and run. It turns out they were charged for hit and run and for driving under the influence. Often times, the settlement value of a case goes up when the at fault driver was engaging in reckless or criminal conduct.
How fast after an accident will the other party's insurance adjuster call you? Are you obligated to make a statement to them?
In California, you are not obligated to give a statement to the other side’s insurance company. You should give a statement to your own insurance company if they are requesting one because it’s your duty to cooperate with your own insurance company as they investigate a claim. The other side’s insurance may try and say, “Well, we need a statement to accurately evaluate the claim,” but usually if our firm is retained, we can talk to the adjuster and explain why there is enough evidence to show the other side involved is responsible.
An insurance company may start calling an injured person pretty soon after an accident, maybe even the next day. Once our firm is retained, we will get the claim information, the adjuster’s contact information, and we then send over a letter of representation to indicate that we are the attorneys for record. From that point, the other side’s insurance is not supposed to contact our clients directly. This helps protect the interests of our clients.
Can I Represent Myself?
Some people feel they can handle it on their own; they feel that they don’t need an attorney at that point. We had a client that came to us for a free consultation but then he decided he wanted to handle it on his own.
He came back to us a few months later after being unsuccessful with settlement negotiations. We were able to get him a large recovery after a lawsuit was filed and work was done for almost two years.
A lot of times, accident victims trying to get compensation on their own get lowballed by insurance companies. It just depends on what the person’s goals are. We don’t force anybody to hire us and nobody should be forced to hire an attorney. If we think we can help an injured person who’s interested, then we explain to them their options and go from there.
Sometimes a bicyclist’s or pedestrian’s own automobile liability insurance can come into play if they have uninsured or under insured motorist coverage on their own car. Uninsured and under insured motorist coverage can cover bicyclists and pedestrians when they are injured by drivers with no or limited liability insurance coverage. A lot of times injured bike riders and pedestrians don’t realize that.
If someone has minimum coverage, in other words, $15,000 per person, $30,000 per occurrence, and our client is injured sufficiently enough that we think it’s worth $15,000 for a client, we’ll certainly try to pursue that first. We will also want to see if our clients have what’s called underinsured motorist coverage.
In California, if our client’s underinsured motorist coverage limits are greater than the other side’s third party liability coverage, then we could try to pursue the additional amount minus what the other side’s paid out with our client’s own insurance company. For example, if our client has a $30,000 uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage with their own insurance company, that’s $30,000 maximum for any one person minus any offset paid by an fault person’s insurance company. If we get $15,000 for our client from the other side’s insurance company because that’s their policy limit, we could then open an underinsured insurance motorist claim with our client’s own insurance company. This assumes that the client’s injuries support a recovery of over $15,000.
If the other side doesn’t have any insurance, then the question becomes does our client have an uninsured motorist policy where they can recover for their injuries up to the amount limits if the other side, or at fault driver, doesn’t have any insurance at all. We submit forms, the paper to the California Department of Motor Vehicles to verify what insurance the other driver has, or if there’s no insurance. If there is no insurance, we can then open an uninsured motorist claim with our client’s own insurance company, assuming they have uninsured motorist coverage.
If our client doesn’t have uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage and the other driver doesn’t have any insurance, then typically that puts the client in a very tough spot. The only thing they could do is ask the other driver who doesn’t have insurance for compensation directly or sue and try to get a judgment to go after their assets. Usually, a person who doesn’t have insurance on their car doesn’t have a lot of assets or money in their name. Unfortunately, in that scenario, the injured person is out of luck because there’s nothing to recover at that point.
The trauma of litigating a case involving a car accident may be lessened through strong legal representation.
Once a lawsuit is file and the litigation process is started, it is much more involved. There’s something called discovery where each side will likely have their deposition taken. In a deposition, a person must give an oath where they acknowledge that they will answer questions under penalty of perjury just as they would in a courtroom. Our job as attorneys, is to prepare our clients, let them know we are there for them and to help them understand the process.
Discovery also can involve providing responses to questions that are called interrogatories and producing documents that are requested. In addition, medical records probably will be subpoenaed and the other side often looks into an injured person’s past medical history.
In all, it shouldn’t be scary. We tell our clients what the process entails, what to expect, and why new things are being asked and requested. Now, if it gets later in the point of litigation, then sometimes we’ll have to hire and exchange expert witness information with the other side. They will take expert witness depositions as will we. That will involve additional expense and cost but it’s often necessary for the case. If the case does not settle then there’s a lot of work that goes into preparing and making sure the case is ready to go to trial where a jury or judge will decide the outcome.
How Much Does It Cost For An Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer In Los Angeles To Represent You?
We do not get paid upfront as personal injury attorneys. Our retainer agreement provides for a contingency fee, meaning we only get attorney fees if there’s a recovery. We don’t charge anything for the property damage part of the claim.
If our injured client needs compensation for their car if it’s totaled or if money is paid for repairs, we’re not going to get a percentage for that part of the claim or for rental reimbursement.
We do get a percentage for the bodily injury part of a claim including medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings. That’s pretty much the standard in the personal injury field.
Our consultations of course are free.
Often an accident happens because someone is not paying attention, whether they’re just not concentrating, are on their cell phone, or they’re talking to somebody in the car. Inattention does unfortunately at times cause an accident which injures someone else.
When there's an accident, how does California divide up the fault? Is it usually partially placed on both parties, or on one?
In California, imagine looking at percentage on a scale of zero to 100. Say someone determined to be 10% fault for an accident for whatever reason, then their recovery of damages or what they’re entitled to be compensated for, is reduced by their percentage of fault. If they’re 10% at fault then they can recover 90% of their damages. Often times, it’s not their fault at all and they’re entitled to 100% of their damages or compensation.
Unfortunately, that is an all too common scenario in California where someone causes an accident and they don’t have automobile liability insurance. In that situation we would look to see if that person that caused the accident was working for an employer at the time of the accident. This is because then the employer could possibly be held responsible. If that is not the case we would see if the injured person has uninsured motorist coverage with their own insurance company. Their insurance company would step in to provide that coverage even though the other person that caused the accident did not have liability insurance.
In our experience, a majority of times nobody is actually cited or given a ticket from an auto accident. Sometimes, the police don’t even get to the scene of an accident or they’re called but they don’t show up. If the police do arrive after the accident and decided to write a report, then of course we order a copy of that so we can take a look at what the report says. Since the police officer usually doesn’t actually see the accident happen, the police report itself is not necessarily conclusive as far as evidence goes. It can certainly be helpful in trying to help determine the facts, who is at fault, to get witness statements, observations of skid marks, and other physical evidence.
No; with an attorney, most claims are settled with insurance companies out of court before a lawsuit is filed.
An experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney can assist you with any type of automobile accident. Collisions in work zones occur most often between 8AM – 5PM, and around 1,000 Caltrans vehicles are struck each year. There are many factors involved in work zone accidents on LA’s freeways and interstates.
If your insurance lapsed or you were involved in an accident in the Los Angeles area and the accident involved an injury, there are many variables involved. If you were the one injured at the fault of someone else you can be compensated for medical bills and more. Read more about accidents with no insurance here.
If your spouse, husband, or wife was injured of killed in an automobile accident, then yes, you may be able to file a claim. Feel free to read more about loss of consortium here.
What if I am in a Lyft Accident in LA?
Uber and Lyft are examples of a transportation network company (TNC) / ridesharing app rapidly replacing Taxis. Uber and Lyft are popular in LA and other parts of Southern California. Many people arriving in LA and Southern California via airplane use Uber or Lyft as soon as they arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) since allowed beginning December of 2015.
What is a Sigalert?
Unique to Southern California are “Sig-Alerts”, which are named after Loyd Sigmon. Loyd developed a device which LAPD and other authorities used to use to alert the media of catastrophes. Now, Sigalerts are exclusively used for SoCal freeway accidents, specifically, they are used for any wreck or problem which blocks 2 or more lanes of a freeway for 2 or more hours. Sigalerts are issued here by California Highway Patrol (CHP): http://cad.chp.ca.gov/Traffic.aspx.