Orange County is one of the most desirable locations in all of Southern California to call home with such diverse attractions as cruising the harbor of Newport Beach, walking the shoreline of Huntington Beach or trekking to Anaheim to share time with your children at Disneyland. Although Orange County has many features that make it attractive to residents and tourists who are sightseeing, it is also the location of serious car accidents. When you are injured in a car accident, it can be a stressful time filled with the full spectrum of emotions including fear, anxiety, guilt and even anger. Conflicting emotions, physical pain and the chaos that frequently accompanies a serious Orange County car accident can impair your judgment and decision making.
Improperly Dealing with an Insurance Company Can Damage Your Orange County Car Accident Claim
An experienced Orange County car accident lawyer speaks to many car accident victims throughout Orange County, including those in Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana who compromise their Orange County car accident claim during the stress and confusion following a collision. Common mistakes include a wide range of actions, include the following:
- Failing to secure contact information for potential witnesses
- Not seeking prompt medical treatment because you have only minor symptoms
- Admitting fault or making damaging statements at the accident scene
- Agreeing not to summon law enforcement and have an accident report prepared
When an Orange County car accident victim does not obtain prompt legal advice, these missteps at the scene of a collision can be compounded by others. Insurance adjusters handle thousands of car accident claims but know that they have a distinct advantage if they can settle a claim directly with an accident victim before the car crash victim can seek legal advice or obtain a full medical evaluation. Many debilitating injuries do not immediately manifest themselves so it is important to obtain the full course of medical treatment and comprehensive diagnosis before settling an Orange County car accident claim.
Sometimes the insurance company adjuster for the other driver will request that you give a recorded statement or sign a release of confidentiality so that it can obtain medical or employment records. While the insurance adjuster may seem amicable and claim that these items are needed to evaluate and settle your claim, the real purpose is to seek out information that can be used to deny or minimize your claim. The other driver’s insurance company may even send you a check and ask you to sign a form. This form is a General Release of Liability and may waive all legal claims even those you do not know exist.
YOU SHOULD NEVER SIGN ANYTHING OR COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THE OTHER DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY WITHOUT OBTAINING LEGAL ADVICE FROM AN EXPERIENCED ORANGE COUNTY CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER.
Issues of Fault in Orange County Car Accident Lawsuits
The issue of fault in a car accident usually revolves around the legal principle of negligence. Negligence in the context of an auto collision effectively refers to the failure of drivers to take reasonable care to avoid foreseeable harm to others with whom they share the road. While fault in an Orange County car accident will frequently be placed on one of the drivers in the accident, this is not always the case. Sometimes both drivers will be found to have some degree of fault in causing the injuries suffered by one of the drivers. When this situation occurs, the damages awarded to an injury victim may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff in an Orange County car accident lawsuit. There are also cases where other parties may share fault for causing an Orange County auto accident including the following:
- Public entities who fail to maintain safe roadways
- Employers, family members and car owners who entrust their vehicles to unsafe drivers
- Manufacturers of defective motor vehicles and faulty components or systems
- Other motorists whose conduct contributes to a collision
An experienced Orange County car accident attorney will have the skill and resources to handle many types of motor vehicle collisions involving many types of vehicles and forms of negligence including:
- High impact head-on collisions
- SUV or 15-passenger van rollover accidents
- Crashes caused by distracted drivers
- Drivers committing DUI/DWI
- Sideswipe collisions caused by unsafe lane changes
- Rear-end collisions caused by drivers speeding, following to close or failing to pay attention
- T-Bone intersection crashes involving drivers who run traffic signals or ignore right or way rules
- Aggressive drivers who weave through traffic, speed and tailgate because they are rushing
- Accidents involving motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians
- Fatigued drivers operating tractor-trailers or other motor vehicles
- Drivers who fail to comply with the California Rules of the Road
While the issue of liability is sometimes obvious like when a drunk driver slams into another vehicle when traveling the wrong way on the roadway, the issue of fault can be far more complicated in many Orange County auto collisions. An Orange County car accident lawyer can investigate the accident, speak with witnesses, analyze the law enforcement accident report, retain accident reconstruction experts and employ other strategies to build an effective Orange County car crash accident claim.
Rebuilding for the Future: Compensation for Serious Orange County Auto Accident Injuries
The shear force involved in the impact of a motor vehicle accident in Orange County often causes devastating life-altering injuries that can rob an accident victim of his or her physical and mental abilities. Some of the serious injuries experienced in Orange County car accidents include traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries resulting in partial or complete paralysis, broken bones, whiplash, burns requiring skin grafts and even wrongful death. When one’s mental and physical functioning is impaired, it can make it difficult for one to provide for one’s family or even to provide for one’s own basic needs. The compensation obtained in an Orange County auto accident can provide the basis for securing the highest quality medical care, standard of living and financial resources for one’s family. The damages that may be available in an Orange County personal injury lawsuit may include:
- Damages to replace lost wages, salary or commission
- Medical costs resulting from one’s injuries
- Damages for non-economic loss like pain and suffering, diminished enjoyment of life and mental anguish
- Compensation for wrongful death expenses
- Impact on marital relations including loss of services or companionship of a spouse
- Disability from future employment
- Punitive damages in certain cases
If you or someone you love suffers severe injury or a loved one dies in an Orange County car accident, it is important to seek prompt legal advice. An Orange County car accident lawyer can preserve critical evidence, avoid litigation pitfalls and ensure that you comply with the statute of limitations. Strict deadlines apply when pursuing an Orange County car accident claim, which can be as short as a few months if a public entity contributed to your injuries.
A dedicated and experienced Orange County car accident law firm may be able to assist you with any type of motor vehicle collision in the following geographic areas throughout Orange County: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda and all smaller, less populated and unincorporated areas in the vicinity.