PAYMENT YOU CAN CLAIM AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT IN ORANGE COUNTY, CA
Many of our clients in Orange County are initially unaware of the full scope of damages they are legally entitled to claim from a defendant. When another party has injured you in an accident, your insurance claim may only cover a portion of these losses. Our team will not only streamline the insurance claim process on your behalf, but we will also help you uncover every channel of recovery available in a subsequent personal injury case. We will assist you in seeking appropriate compensation for your:
One of the biggest and most stressful questions car accident victims have is simply this: “How am I going to cover my hospital bills?” Let us worry about recovering the money you need. You focus on getting better.
PAIN AND SUFFERING
Pain and suffering aren’t quite as easy to measure as, say, medical bills and property damage. However, they’re extremely important factors to take into consideration in a personal injury case. You deserve to be compensated for the mental and emotional trauma you’ve been through.
Since auto accidents often lead to serious injuries, it’s not at all uncommon for our clients to miss out on weeks or even months of work. Fortunately, it’s possible to get compensated for these lost wages.
ONGOING MEDICAL CARE
While we sincerely hope your injuries aren’t serious enough to require ongoing medical care, we’re more than prepared to fight for a bigger payout for you if that’s the case. If it appears you (or a loved one) will require physical therapy, caretaker fees, or similar expenses, we’ll push for more.
VEHICLE OR PROPERTY DAMAGE
Although issues like a dented car or a razed mailbox pale in comparison to physical injuries, vehicle and property damage are among the costs that can be covered from a successful auto accident claim.
FUNERAL & BURIAL COSTS
In the event that your loved one was killed in an auto accident, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today. We understand how difficult this time is for you and your family, and we want to not only help you cover your immediate financial obligations but also honor your loved one’s memory.
Zwick Law aims for maximum client recovery in every car accident case we accept. As a result, many of our Orange County clients are surprised to learn they can claim far more in compensation than they initially expected. We know the legal challenges you are likely to face in your impending car accident claim and want to help you recover as fully as possible. The first step in securing the recovery you deserve is proving exactly how your car accident happened. Our team can help you gather physical evidence, digital evidence, witness testimony, and even expert witness insights to help you prove exactly how your accident happened.
HOW TO ESTABLISH LIABILITY FOR A CAR ACCIDENT IN ORANGE COUNTY, CA
Car accidents happen in various ways, and even the most experienced and careful drivers cannot always anticipate how other drivers nearby will behave in certain situations. A few of the most commonly reported causes of car accidents throughout Orange County include:
Distracted driving, which consistently accounts for most of the vehicle accidents reported in the United States each year. Any level of inattention is dangerous behind the wheel. Your Orange County car accident attorney will assist you in gathering the evidence needed to prove the other driver was not paying attention.
Speeding, which not only increases the chances of an accident happening but also the severity of the resulting damages. Our team can collect vehicle computer data and other evidence to help you prove an at-fault driver was exceeding the speed limit when your accident occurred.
Intentional recklessness behind the wheel. Unfortunately, some drivers demonstrate a willful disregard for the safety of others while driving. When any type of reckless driving results in a collision, the at-fault driver faces criminal prosecution from the state along with a civil claim from the driver they injured.
Driving under the influence (DUI). This is a serious crime, and the penalties for a DUI conviction in Orange County can include fines, a driver’s license suspension, and jail time. These penalties are automatically increased whenever DUI leads to bodily injury or death, and the at-fault driver may face felony prosecution for severe DUI.
Vehicle malfunctions. If your recent accident happened because of a defect in your vehicle, this could form grounds for a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Moving violations. Traffic signals and road signs exist to help drivers anticipate the actions of other drivers and maintain a safe flow of traffic. When a driver commits a moving violation, they put themselves and others around them at risk. Performing illegal turns and lane changes, running red lights and stop signs, and failing to navigate busy intersections correctly can all lead to serious accidents.
The immediate aftermath of any car accident can be traumatic and difficult to navigate, but when you know another driver is responsible for your accident, the first steps you take toward recovery have a tremendous impact on the overall quality of your final recovery. When you pick Zwick Law as your legal representation, we will immediately get to work reviewing the police report of your accident, the physical and digital evidence available that may help you establish fault, and interviewing eyewitnesses who saw the accident happen in real time. Whatever your case requires, you can rest assured that our team will be ready to assist you in ensuring full accountability for the driver responsible for causing the accident.
FIRST STEPS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT IN ORANGE COUNTY, CA
If you are in a car accident and suffer severe injuries, remain where you are and wait for paramedics to arrive. Do not move around and risk making your injuries worse. However, if you believe you only suffered minor injuries and feel well enough to move around, do so carefully and try to gather as much evidence as you can from the scene of the accident.
Call 911 to report the accident if no one else has already done so, and wait for the police to arrive. While you wait, take photos of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the positions of the vehicles involved in the crash in the road. These photos could later prove invaluable when it comes to filing your auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver and building a personal injury case.
When the police arrive, answer their questions honestly and concisely, but choose your words carefully and do not admit fault for the accident in any way. Even saying something as seemingly innocent as “I’m sorry” could be used against you later, so it is never worth the risk of saying anything the police might misconstrue as an admission of guilt. After the police interview the people involved in the accident and the witnesses who saw the accident happen, they will allow you to leave, order a cleanup of the accident site, and create a police report of the accident.
At this point, you should seek medical care immediately, even if you think your injuries are mild. The adrenaline in your system from the accident will start to dissipate over the next several hours, and your injuries are likely to be far more painful the next day than they were immediately following the crash. Seeking medical care immediately not only helps to ensure any injuries you suffer will not worsen but also creates a formal medical record showing that you sought care as soon as possible.
FILING AN AUTO INSURANCE CLAIM IN ORANGE COUNTY, CA
Every driver in the state must have auto insurance that includes bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. At a minimum, a policy must provide at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for each person injured in a single accident, and the policy must extend to at least $30,000 in total accident liability coverage for multiple persons injured in a single accident. Additionally, the policy must provide at least $5,000 in liability coverage for property damage, which can cover a victim’s vehicle repair costs and other lost personal property.
While California law does not strictly require drivers to purchase uninsured/underinsured driver coverage, this coverage option can be incredibly helpful if an uninsured driver causes an accident and injures you. The state has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country, so there is no guarantee that the driver responsible for your accident will have insurance at all. Uninsured/underinsured driver coverage allows you to file a claim against your own insurance policy after an accident you did not cause. This can be a valuable source of initial compensation, and since you did not cause the accident, your premium should not increase.
You have a very limited time in which to file an auto insurance claim, typically only a few days. It is never wise to discuss a settlement with an insurance company representative without an attorney, but you must report your intention to file a claim within the applicable time limit. It’s a good idea to contact the other driver’s insurance company and notify them of your intent to file a claim but politely refuse to discuss any type of settlement terms and notify them that you must consult your legal counsel. Once you have an Orange County car accident attorney representing you, they can assist you with filing your auto insurance claim against the other driver.
Remember that an insurance company has no incentive to help you. In fact, most insurance companies train their employees to look for any reasons they can find to reduce settlement offers to claimants or to justify immediate denials of claims. When you have an experienced legal representative assisting you, you are far less likely to encounter this type of mistreatment from the insurer. Once their representative sees that you have legal counsel advising you, they will be more inclined to process your claim swiftly and in good faith.
HOW TO BUILD A PERSONAL INJURY SUIT IN ORANGE COUNTY, CA
Unfortunately, even if you manage to secure the most compensation possible through your insurance claim, this may not be enough to fully compensate for the damages you suffered from your accident. In this situation, you must file a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for your accident to recover the rest of your damages.
It’s possible for negligence or intentional misconduct to generate a personal injury. For example, when the at-fault driver responsible for causing your accident was negligent behind the wheel or lacked reasonable care in any manner resulting in the accident, you must be ready to prove that they owed you a duty of care they failed to uphold and then prove that this failure directly resulted in your claimed damages. Under state law, you have the right to claim compensation for any and all damages directly resulting from the defendant’s negligence, but you must be ready to prove that your damages are entirely due to the defendant’s actions and not something else.
In the event that your car accident resulted from intentional and/or illegal behavior, the at-fault driver will face criminal charges from the state along with your civil claim. Your Orange County car accident attorney can explain how a criminal case from the state filed against the defendant could impact your recovery. For example, a judge handling your civil case may award you punitive damages to reflect the defendant’s bad behavior, or the judge handling their criminal sentencing could include restitution to the victim as part of their punishment.
Ultimately, many factors can influence the final outcome of any personal injury case in Orange County, and when you pick Zwick Law to handle your case, we will help you understand every facet of the impending proceedings ahead of you. Our team can assist you in gathering witness statements from those who saw your accident happen, physical evidence from the scene of the crash, and digital evidence like cell phone records and vehicle computer data.
MAXIMIZING YOUR COMPENSATION FOR AN ORANGE COUNTY CAR ACCIDENT
When you have Zwick Law representing you in any kind of personal injury case, our goal is to help you recover as much compensation as possible under California law. You have the right to claim compensation for economic and non-economic damages resulting from the accident, and this includes anticipated future damages alongside those you can calculate immediately following the accident.
Some damages, like vehicle repair costs and hospital bills, are straightforward, and you must simply provide the appropriate documentation to prove the full extent of these damages. Your Orange County car accident attorney can help you secure the documentation necessary for proving all immediately assessable losses, and they will be invaluable when it comes to accurately calculating long-term damages resulting from your accident.
For example, if you suffered any catastrophic injury from the accident, you are not only likely to face substantial immediate economic damages but also a severe long-term impact in the form of ongoing medical expenses and inability to work and earn income. Your legal team can consult your medical care team, securing a report of your injuries and your doctor’s prognosis for potential long-term medical effects from the accident. If you are going to require extensive rehabilitative care, multiple surgeries, and face ongoing medical costs in the form of medical devices and prescription medications, the defendant is liable for all these immediate and future medical expenses.
Calculating lost future earning capacity can be more difficult. Under state law, you have the right to claim compensation for the future income you are no longer able to earn because of the defendant’s actions. Your Orange County car accident attorney will help you calculate how much you would have reasonably expected to earn in the future had your accident not occurred, accounting for the time you would have been able to work until retirement as well as the cost of living increases in the future.
After your legal team has helped you assess the full scope of immediate and future economic damages resulting from your car accident, they can help you determine fair pain and suffering compensation to enhance your recovery further. Under California law, there is no limit on pain and suffering damages in a car accident case. Therefore, your attorney may use one of two possible methods to calculate appropriate pain and suffering compensation to seek from the defendant:
Your Orange County car accident attorney is likely to use the per diem method to calculate reasonable pain and suffering compensation if your injuries are expected to fully recover in the near future. This format entails paying the plaintiff a set amount of compensation each day until they reach maximum medical recovery from their injury.
If you suffered a severe catastrophic injury, your attorney would be more likely to use the multiplier method to calculate appropriate pain and suffering compensation. This entails adding up the total of your economic damages and then multiplying the total by a factor of one to five, reflecting the severity of your condition. For example, if you are claiming $500,000 in economic damages for an accident that caused a catastrophic injury, a good attorney may help you secure several times this amount in pain and suffering compensation.
Many personal injury plaintiffs in Orange County are surprised to learn the true values of their claims once they secure experienced legal representation. Zwick Law aims to help each client secure as much as possible through a swift insurance claim process. When we must file personal injury claims on behalf of our clients, we always seek maximum compensation.
SETTLING VS LITIGATION
The majority of car accident claims and other personal injury claims filed end with privately negotiated settlements. As long as all parties involved in the case agree to compromise, the settlement process enables all parties to save time and money they would otherwise spend in litigation. If the defendant’s fault is clear beyond any doubt, it benefits them to seek a swift settlement, avoiding incurring further losses in the form of legal fees when they would be sure to lose in court.
If settlement is not possible for any reason, the claim will need to be resolved in litigation. During litigation, both parties must exchange their evidence during the discovery process, and both parties will have the right to file preliminary motions before trial proceedings begin. If you settle your car accident claim, you and the defendant will negotiate terms for a mutually acceptable solution to the claim. If you take your case to court, the judge handling the case will have the final say when it comes to liability for your damages and your total case award.
Zwick Law aims to settle our clients’ cases as efficiently as possible. We’ll help you prepare a compelling initial complaint that leaves little room for the defendant to argue that they are not responsible for the damages you suffered. However, If we must take your case to litigation, we are fully prepared to represent you through every stage of the trial and ensure the judge delivers a fair and reasonable decision with regard to your compensation.
COMPARATIVE FAULT IN ORANGE COUNTY CAR ACCIDENT CASES
While many factors specific to your case may enhance your total recovery, there are also variables that can diminish it. One of which is the state’s pure comparative negligence statute. This law applies in any civil claim for damages in which the plaintiff shares fault with the defendant. Under the pure comparative negligence statute, the plaintiff will have a fault percentage assigned by the judge handling their case. This percentage is then deducted from their final compensation.
Your Orange County car accident attorney can help you minimize any comparative fault you may bear for your claimed damages. It’s relatively common for defendants in personal injury claims to assert comparative fault, claiming the plaintiffs they injured are actually responsible for their damages. When you have Zwick Law representing you, we will help you assess any shared fault you hold for causing your damages and assist you in maximizing your total compensation however possible.
VISIT ANY OF OUR 5 LOCATIONS
With offices located in Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Hills, and Aliso Viejo, we’re proud to work with families throughout Orange County and beyond. If a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident is plaguing your everyday life, please give us a call and let us help you through the personal injury claims process.
Time is a critical concern for anyone recovering from damages someone else caused in Orange County. The sooner you hire legal counsel you can trust, the quicker you can start working toward the compensation you legally deserve. Zwick Law has the experience and professional resources you want on your side for your impending case. If you’re ready to learn how our team can assist you, contact us today and schedule a consultation with an Orange County car accident attorney.