Los Angeles is known for its busy freeways and heavy traffic; it’s no surprise that it is also home to some of the highest motor vehicle accident rates in the country. Every year, tens of thousands of Angelinos are involved in traffic accidents, thousands of whom are injured and hundreds more of whom are killed. Even with a reduced number of people on the road during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, traffic deaths remained steady in L.A. County throughout 2020, thanks in large part to increased instances of speeding.
If you were injured or if someone you love was tragically killed due to a careless or reckless driver, Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard can help. Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers bring decades of combined experience to their practice, as well as a long history of success in complex motor vehicle accident cases. We recognize that this is an incredibly stressful and overwhelming time in your life, which is why we provide compassionate, personalized legal services tailored to your unique needs.
When you have been injured, you don't just need an attorney. You need an advocate.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in L.A.?
Most car accidents are the result of negligence. Motorists have a responsibility to follow the law and drive cautiously. When they fail to do so, whether accidentally or intentionally, they can cause devastating collisions, serious bodily injury, and even loss of life.
Some of the most common causes of car accidents in Los Angeles include:
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Inexperienced and teenaged drivers
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Running red lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices
- Speeding, including driving too fast for current conditions
- Driving too fast in construction/work zones
- Making dangerous or illegal turns
- Passing unsafely or unlawfully
- Fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel
While most car accidents can be attributed to motorist neglect, some are the result of other outside factors. Dangerous roadways, poor weather conditions, and defective vehicles can all contribute to or cause a crash.
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we investigate motor vehicle accidents with the help of accident reconstructionists and expert witnesses to determine exactly what happened and, importantly, who is to blame. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys are here to help you get back on your feet; we will deal with the insurance company so that you don’t have to.
Who Is Responsible for Your Damages After an Accident?
Because California follows a traditional fault-based (or “tort”) system when it comes to car accidents, victims will typically need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You could be eligible for compensation from your own auto insurance provider depending on the type of policy you have, but most often, you must seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. This involves proving fault, meaning you will need to prove that the other driver was to blame for the accident.
Under the state’s pure comparative negligence rule, you don’t have to prove that the other driver was entirely at fault—or even mostly at fault—just that they share some portion of the blame. If you were partly at fault for the crash, you can still file a claim and seek compensation, but your total recovery will be reduced by your at-fault percentage. For example, if you were hit by someone who was texting and driving, but you rolled through a stop sign just before the accident occurred, the court might rule that you were 40% at fault. If your total damages amount to $100,000, you would only be able to recover up to 60% of that amount, or $60,000.
After an accident, the insurance adjuster is the one responsible for deciding what happened and who was at fault. Often, insurance companies will assign greater degrees of blame to victims in an attempt to limit payouts and reduce costs. At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we know how to fight back against these and other insurance company tactics and are ready to protect you and your rights.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Los Angeles
If you were recently involved in a car accident in L.A. County, there are several things you should do to protect yourself, your rights, and your recovery.
First, if you have not received medical attention, see a doctor right away. Even if you believe you were not seriously injured or that your injuries will heal on their own, you should always seek medical treatment after a motor vehicle accident. Not only could you have underlying injuries that require professional care but seeing a doctor also establishes proof of your injuries for your personal injury claim.
Next, be sure to do the following (if possible):
- Obtain and preserve all available evidence, including the other driver’s name and contact information, their insurance information, pictures from the accident, pictures of your injuries, statements from any witnesses, copies of your medical records, and quotes from auto repair shops
- If the police did not come to the scene, fill out an official police report providing details of the crash and other available information, such as the names and contact information of the other involved parties
- Report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days if the collision resulted in any bodily injury (no matter how minor or severe), death, or property damage in excess of $1,000
- Notify your own auto insurance provider of the accident as soon as possible; depending on the specific language of your insurance policy, you may be required to report the accident within several days to a few weeks
- Avoid talking to anyone from the other person’s insurance company, and never make any official statements or sign anything without first speaking to an attorney
Lastly, you should contact an attorney with experience in car accident cases. Although you are not required to hire a lawyer, numerous studies have shown that people who hire personal injury lawyers almost always receive higher settlements than those who attempt to handle their cases alone.
How Can A Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles Help You?
Having a car accident attorney by your side is important for ensuring that you have all of the support and guidance that you need during this difficult time.
A car accident lawyer will be able to help you in the following ways:
Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Handle The Paperwork
There is an extensive amount of paperwork involved with filing a car accident claim. Your car accident attorney will handle all of the paperwork for you, and ensure that everything is completed on time. Your attorney will also be responsible for communicating with your health care provider and will be able to gather missing records that you need to fill out your paperwork.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Provide You With Legal Advice
Your car accident lawyer will be able to provide you with objective legal guidance. Objective legal advice is important for ensuring that you know your situation as well as all of the available options to you. Your lawyer will be able to answer any questions that you may have and will be there to guide and support you through each step of the process.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Save You Time and Money
Were you aware that a single mistake on your paperwork may prolong the process of you receiving the compensation that you deserve? Having a car accident lawyer handle all of the paperwork for you will help to prevent you from making costly mistakes. Your lawyer will ensure that everything is completed accurately and that it gets to the appropriate parties at the appropriate time.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Effectively Negotiate on Your Behalf
Negotiating with insurance companies can be complicated and extremely challenging. Your car accident lawyer will have worked with many other individuals facing a similar struggle to you and will have the skills and experience that are needed to effectively negotiate on your behalf and fight for a favorable settlement.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Maximize Compensation
Without a lawyer, you may be risking the maximum compensation that you are rightfully eligible for. Your attorney will be able to negotiate for a favorable settlement and help to ensure that you receive the compensation that you rightfully deserve.
Reach Out to Our Car Accident Lawyers Today
At Ayala, Morgan & Buzzard, we assist victims of all types of motor vehicle accidents, including collisions involving passenger vehicles, motorcycles, large commercial trucks, pedestrians, and bicyclists. We have helped severely injured victims facing significant damages and have successfully recovered favorable settlements and verdicts on their behalf.
Our team offers compassionate representation and personal attention throughout the legal process. There are absolutely zero upfront or out-of-pocket costs for you when you work with our firm. Instead, we only collect legal fees if/when we secure compensation for you.
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