Representing Car Accident Victims in Irvine, CA
Car accidents continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental deaths and injuries throughout the United States. Each year, millions of accidents occur, leaving many victims severely injured, some fatally so. If you or a loved one recently experienced a car accident in Irvine, CA, it is natural to feel lost when it comes to determining your best available options for securing compensation for your damages. However, a car accident can be life-changing, and reliable legal representation from a trustworthy Irvine car accident attorney is invaluable when you want to secure as much compensation as possible for your losses.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have more than a century of combined legal experience handling personal injury claims, including car accident claims for clients in Irvine, CA, and surrounding areas. We can put this experience to work for you and help you maximize your recovery after another driver has injured you in a car crash and caused severe economic damages to you and your family. We understand the uncertainty and distress that often follow the experience of an Irvine auto accident. Our goal is to help you approach your case with peace of mind and confidence. We will guide you through every phase of your legal proceedings until you reach a satisfactory result and secure the compensation you and your loved ones need to recover as completely as possible from your car accident.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Many people make the mistake of believing that they can recover from their accidents simply by filing insurance claims or that they can manage personal injury lawsuits on their own. The reality is that dealing with insurance carriers is rarely pleasant or straightforward, and navigating any personal injury claim without an attorney to assist you carries a high risk of frustration and failure. The average person with no legal training can easily make mistakes that jeopardize their claims, including procedural errors such as missed court filing deadlines. They may also overlook some of their claimable damages and unintentionally lowball their own recoveries.
Working with an experienced Irvine car accident attorney is the best way to ensure you maximize your compensation after a car accident. Whether you think you can settle your case with just an insurance claim or if you need to pursue further legal action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will make your legal proceedings much easier to face and help you approach the situation with greater confidence.
If you are concerned about the cost of legal fees, you do not need to worry when you choose Easton & Easton to represent you. We understand that the average person does not have the financial flexibility to afford an attorney at an hourly rate, so we use a contingency fee billing system that ensures we only collect legal fees when we win. In addition, your legal fees come as a percentage of your overall case award, ensuring you receive appropriate compensation for your losses at no risk. Ultimately, hiring a reliable and experienced Irvine car accident attorney to represent your claim not only increases the chances of succeeding with your recovery but is also likely to lead to more compensation than you could have secured on your own.
How to Find the Right Car Accident Attorney for Your Collision Case
If you intend to hire an attorney to help you recover after a car accident in the Irvine, CA area, it’s essential to know what you should expect from a qualified legal representative. Take your time researching local options, and consider asking friends, family, and neighbors for their recommendations if they have recently hired legal counsel for car accident claims. If you narrow your options to a few local attorneys, take advantage of consultation offers and ask them several important questions to determine which attorney is right for you:
- “How long have you practiced law?” When you need an attorney, there is no substitute for professional experience.
- “How many cases have you handled that were similar to mine?” When evaluating a potential attorney’s experience, make sure they have a positive record of handling cases similar to yours.
- “Do you notice anything unique about my case?” No two car accident claims are exactly alike. A capable attorney should be able to quickly and accurately identify any challenges or opportunities your case presents.
- “How long do you think my case will last?” A good attorney should be able to provide a potential client with a relatively accurate estimate of the time their case will require before reaching a conclusion.
- “How much compensation do you think I can secure?” An attorney should be realistic and clear about the client’s ability to recover compensation.
- “Will you settle my case or take it to court?” The vast majority of personal injury claims filed in California settle outside of court. If the attorney believes there is a possibility of you facing litigation, they should let you know.
These fundamental questions can help you determine whether an attorney is the right fit for your case, but you should also develop additional questions that are more specific to your situation. Once you find the right Irvine car accident attorney to represent you, you should be able to approach your case with confidence and peace of mind.
What Can a Car Accident Lawyer Do for Me?
An experienced Irvine personal injury attorney can provide many valuable legal services after you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident. First and foremost, your attorney will help you determine who is to blame for the accident and help you decide the best way to hold them accountable. California upholds a fault rule for car accidents, meaning an injured driver has the right to file an insurance claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Beyond insurance coverage, an injured driver can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver for additional compensation, and your attorney can help you construct the framework of your lawsuit.
Depending on the nature of your claim and how your legal proceedings unfold, you can rely on your attorney for several other valuable legal services. They can not only represent your interests in an insurance claim but also help you manage the procedural requirements of a personal injury case. Should your case require it, they can arrange for expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. For example, if you need to prove exactly how an accident happened to hold the at-fault driver accountable, your attorney may consult an accident reconstruction expert or mechanical engineer. If you need to prove pain and suffering from your injuries, they may consult a medical professional to help the court understand the full scope of your injuries and their potential long-term effects.
Most Common Causes of Irvine, CA, Car Accidents
Car accidents happen in California for many reasons. However, some of the most commonly reported causes of accidents in the Irvinearea include:
- Distracted driving. This is the leading cause of car accidents throughout the United States. Even momentary distractions can cause devastating accidents. For example, cell phone use, eating behind the wheel, adjusting the car stereo, or having a conversation with a passenger can be distracting enough for a driver to cause a serious accident.
- Driving under the influence (DUI). All drivers must refrain from operating vehicles after consuming alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs that may impair fine motor skills, awareness, or reaction time. If a driver causes an accident due to intoxication behind the wheel, they can face criminal prosecution from the state as well as civil liability for victims’ damages.
- Speeding. All drivers have a duty of care to adhere to posted speed limits. Speeding can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, and accidents at high speeds are more likely to cause severe injuries or fatalities.
- Mechanical failures. All drivers are responsible for addressing known mechanical issues with their vehicles as soon as they discover them. If a driver knew about a mechanical issue but failed to address it, this can easily cause an accident.
- Defective vehicles and parts. An accident can occur due to a vehicle defect or a defective part recently installed on the vehicle. In this situation, the fault may rest with the manufacturer instead of the driver, and the case would fall under the purview of product liability law.
- Poor road conditions. If a car accident occurs due to poor road conditions, the government agency responsible for maintaining the road may incur liability for the accident. However, the victim must understand that filing a civil claim against a government agency is very different from a claim filed against another private driver, and it is very difficult to succeed with such claims without the help of an experienced attorney.
- Poor visibility. Drivers should use extra caution when driving at night or during severe weather. When visibility is limited in any way, an inattentive or reckless driver can easily cause a devastating accident.
These are just a few examples of how negligence and recklessness can cause car accidents in Irvine, CA, and surrounding areas. If you believe another driver is responsible for your recent accident, it is crucial to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Proving Fault for a Car Accident in Orange County
Negligence is a central legal concept in any personal injury case, including car accident claims. If you believe another driver caused your accident, you will need the help of an Irvine car accident attorney to prove their negligence and hold them accountable for your losses. There are four elements of negligence you must establish to succeed with a car accident lawsuit in California:
- Duty of care. First, you must prove that the defendant named in your claim owed you a duty of care in the situation in question. For example, this could be a duty of care to drive attentively or refrain from drinking alcohol before driving.
- Breach. Next, you and your attorney must prove how the defendant failed to uphold their duty of care. For example, drinking and driving is illegal, dangerous, and clearly violates a driver’s duty of care.
- Damage. You only have grounds for a personal injury claim if you suffered a measurable or tangible loss from the accident in question. Your attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to prove the full range of your claimable damages.
- Causation. Finally, it’s vital to prove that your damages were the results of the defendant’s negligence. If other factors come into play, the defendant may point to these to limit their own liability.
Your Irvine car accident lawyer can guide you through the process of establishing these four elements of negligence.
Dealing With Insurance Companies After a Car Accident
Almost every car accident will lead to an insurance claim. California and many other states enforce a fault rule when it comes to accidents, meaning the driver who causes an accident is responsible for paying for the resulting damages. The injured driver files an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, and the insurance carrier investigates the claim. Once approved, the claimant receives a claim payout based on the at-fault driver’s available coverage.
California state law requires all drivers to purchase auto insurance that contains the state’s minimum coverage requirements. These requirements pertain to bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. A minimum coverage policy must include $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person and $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single accident. The policy must also provide at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage. Although not strictly required, California strongly recommends that drivers also purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. California has the highest number of uninsured drivers in the country, and this coverage applies when an uninsured or underinsured driver causes an accident with the policyholder.
Depending on how your accident occurred and the insurance status of the at-fault driver, you may need to file a claim against their insurance policy or your own. Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult and stressful. Insurance carriers lose profits when they must pay out on claims, so it’s common for insurance claim adjusters to look for any reasons they can find to deny or reduce a claim. Hiring an attorney is the best way to prevent this from happening. Having an attorney file a demand letter on your behalf and handle correspondence with claim investigators will significantly reduce the chance of encountering pushback against your claim.
Most Common Injuries From Car Accidents
Regardless of whether you have an easy or difficult time securing an insurance claim payout after your accident, the amount you receive may not be enough to fully cover your losses. In this situation, you need an experienced attorney to help you explore further legal options. This is particularly crucial if you or a loved one suffered severe injuries from the accident. For example, some of the most commonly reported car accident injuries include:
- Broken bones. Some bone fractures will requireonly a few weeks or months to heal, while others can cause lasting damage. In addition, some broken bones may need surgery to repair and can cause nerve damage.
- Brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury can be devastating for the victim, potentially resulting in long-term or permanent medical complications. A brain injury such as a concussion may heal on its own, but it can be challenging to determine the full scope of the injury’s effects until months or years after the accident.
- Spine injuries. The human spinal cord is one of the most critical parts of the body. This bundle of nerves rests inside the spinal column and carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body.
- Internal organ damage. Crash impact forces can damage internal organs, sometimes causing life-threatening bleeding.
- Soft tissue injuries. Whiplash and damage to tendons, ligaments, and muscles are common from car accidents. Some of these injuries will heal with minimal treatment, while others may require surgery and lengthy recovery time.
- Fatal injuries. Unfortunately, not every car accident victim survives their crash. If you have lost a loved one due to another driver’s negligence, you would need to pursue a wrongful death claim instead of a personal injury claim.
It should be easy to see how damaging a car accident can be. Additionally, your injuries from an accident may not cause immediately noticeable symptoms. Experiencing a car accident will cause a surge of adrenaline from the flight-or-fight response, and adrenaline dulls pain for several hours. It’s common for people to walk away from car accidents feeling as though they are uninjured and then feel incapable of getting out of bed the next day due to widespread pain throughout their bodies. It’s essential to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you think your injuries were minor.
What Damages Can I Claim in a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Vehicle Collision?
California state law allows car accident victims to claim several types of damages in their lawsuits. Your Irvine car accident attorney can help you determine which damages you can secure in your own claim, which may include:
- Immediate and future medical expenses. You have the right to claim compensation for all medical expenses resulting from your accident, including those you incur immediately following the incident and the cost of any long-term treatments you require.
- Lost income and lost earning potential. If your accident forces you to miss work while recovering, you can claim your lost wages in your personal injury lawsuit. In addition, if you developed a permanent disability from your injuries that prevents you from working at all in the future, your attorney could help you prove the full extent of your lost earning potential in your lawsuit.
- Property damage. Car accident claimants can secure compensation for vehicle repair or replacement costs. They may also obtain compensation if the accident damaged or destroyed any personal property in their vehicle when the accident occurred.
- Pain and suffering. Your attorney can help you determine an appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation to claim in your personal injury lawsuit, which will typically be a multiple of your medical expenses based on the severity of your injuries. For example, if your injuries required $50,000 in medical treatment and resulted in a permanent disability, your attorney may seek $150,000 or even $200,000 to compensate for the physical pain and psychological trauma you experienced from the accident.
It’s common for car accident victims to discover their claims are worth much more than they initially expected. This is why it is so crucial to speak with an experienced Irvine car accident attorney as soon as possible after a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence. Your attorney can help you calculate all your claimable damages and guide you through the personal injury claim process.
Comparative Negligence in California Personal Injury Claims
If you intend to file a car accident lawsuit in California, knowing how the state’s pure comparative negligence statute functions is vital. This law states that a personal injury plaintiff can still recover damages even if they are partially responsible for causing their damages. The plaintiff will receive a fault percentage based on their actions leading up to the accident, and the court will reduce their case award by this percentage to reflect their comparative negligence. For example, if you seek $200,000 in damages for a car accident, but the court determines you were 25% responsible for causing the accident, you will lose 25% of your case award and receive $150,000 instead.
If you are concerned about pure comparative negligence in your case, consult your Irvine car accident attorney. They can help you determine whether comparative negligence is a concern and if so, they may coordinate expert witness testimony to counter any claims of comparative negligence from the defendant.
Talk to an Irvine Car Accident Attorney for Legal Counsel Now
Facing a car accident claim can be an incredibly stressful situation. Car accidents cause injuries and property damage, leading to medical bills and repair costs that can easily cause severe financial problems for the victim and their family. Unfortunately, this financial pressure compels many accident victims to accept lowball insurance settlement offers in the interest of expediency, and some may agree to one-sided personal injury settlements if they do not have reliable legal counsel on their side.
If another driver caused an accident due to negligence, recklessness, or criminal behavior, there is no reason you should bear the cost of their actions on your own. The right attorney can help you hold them accountable and maximize your recovery to the fullest extent possible under California state law. Irvine car accident attorneys at Easton & Easton are ready to put our experience and resources at your disposal as we help you navigate your car accident claim. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced and compassionate Irvine car accident attorney you can trust.