Every day, thousands of residents and tourists drive along the roads and highways of Orange County, CA to reach their destinations. The daily commuter, the soccer mom driving to practice, the senior citizen going to the grocery store, and the teenager out with friends –all share one thing in common: they are susceptible to experiencing a car accident. Busy traffic, reckless driving habits, or simply an out-of-the-ordinary event can quickly turn a routine drive into a nightmare. And when an Orange County accident happens, the results can be devastating in physical, emotional, and financial ways. In just seconds, your life can be turned upside down. This life-changing event requires the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Orange County car accident lawyer.
Representing Orange County, CA Personal Injury Cases
At U.S. Law Center, our personal injury lawyers aggressively represent the rights of those who have been injured in car accidents. We have a thorough understanding of car accident laws. If you have been involved in an Orange County accident, we can fight to get you the maximum financial compensation, according to the damages you may be able to claim. We understand how car accidents may become a traumatizing experience, so we make it our goal to take the legal burden off your plate. This way, you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. The process from day one to the eventual outcome of your case can be handled by one of our experienced lawyers. Connect with us to see why locals in Orange County have trusted us with their personal injury cases for years.
What Causes Traffic Accidents in Orange County?
Even the most careful Orange County drivers can get impacted in a car accident. In some cases, the other driver may be entirely at fault. However, many factors contribute to car accidents, and sometimes both parties may share some responsibility. Identifying the cause is essential to understanding who may be held liable for damages.
Several common causes include:
- Reckless driving. Tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, and running red lights or stop signs are all examples of reckless driving. This type of behavior puts other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists at unnecessary risk.
- Distracted driving. With the advent of smartphones, there has been a significant increase in distracted driving accidents. Whether the driver is texting, in a phone call, eating, drinking, changing the music, or taking their eyes off the road for any reason, distracted driving significantly increases the chances of being involved in an accident. This is especially true if an unexpected event occurs on the road and the driver does not have time to react because they were not paying attention.
- Driving under the influence. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol significantly impairs your ability to operate a vehicle safely. For example, alcohol slows down your reaction time and compromises your ability to make sound decisions. Driving under the influence is illegal, and it puts other people’s lives at risk.
- Fatigued driving. Driver fatigue is a significant problem, especially for those who have to drive long distances for work. The results can be catastrophic when someone falls asleep at the wheel. In the few seconds they spend dozing off, they can travel the length of a football field while also having no control of the steering wheel. This gives very little time to react to an unexpected event, like a pedestrian or another vehicle, for example.
- Defective car parts. In some cases, an accident may be caused by a defective car part. For example, if the brakes start to fail or the tires blow out, it can lead to an accident. If this is determined as the cause of the accident, the manufacturer of the defective part may be held liable.
- Poorly maintained roads. Potholes, missing road signs, and obstructed views are just a few examples of poorly maintained roads. When the road is not maintained correctly, it increases the probability of an accident occurring. In some cases, the entity responsible for maintaining the road may be held liable for any accidents that occur.
These are only a portion of the many causes of car accidents that can occur in Orange County. The only way to narrow down the specific cause of your accident is to consult with Orange County car accident attorneys who can investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident. They can also determine who may be held liable for your damages.
What Are the Most Common Injuries in Orange County Car Accidents?
The severity of the injuries that can occur in car accidents is wide-ranging. Some people may only suffer minor injuries, including cuts and bruises, while others may suffer life-threatening or even fatal injuries. Common injuries that can occur in car accidents include:
- Head injuries. These can be some of the most serious injuries that occur in car accidents. They range from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can lead to other long-term effects, such as memory loss, cognitive impairment, and personality changes.
- Neck injuries. Whiplash is one of the most common types of neck injuries that occur in car accidents. It is often caused by the sudden and unexpected jerking of the head, which can damage the neck’s muscles, ligaments, and discs. Whiplash leads to long-term pain and stiffness in the neck.
- Back injuries. Back injuries are also common in Orange County car accidents. They range from herniated discs to spinal cord injuries. They can be extremely painful and may require long-term or even lifelong treatment, including surgery.
- Broken bones. Broken bones are a common type of injury in car accidents. They can vary from simple fractures to compound fractures. Broken bones can take weeks or even months to heal properly, and they may require surgery to repair.
- Internal injuries: Internal injuries can include bruising and organ damage. They can be severe and may require immediate medical attention. They are often not apparent right after an accident and may only become evident hours or even days later.
Consulting with an emergency medical professional as soon as possible following an accident is the best way to ensure that all the injuries you have sustained are properly diagnosed and treated. This activity doubles as evidence for your personal injury claim, making it an essential step, even if you feel fine.
What Should I Do After an Orange County Car Accident?
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatizing experience. Stay as calm as possible and take the following steps:
- Check for injuries. The first step is to check for any injuries. This involves a thorough check of yourself as well as any passengers in your vehicle. If anyone has sustained injuries, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Move someplace safe. Once you have determined that everyone is okay, the next step is to move to a safer area. This involves getting your vehicle off of the road if possible and out of the path of oncoming traffic. Do not move any injured passengers unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Call the police. The police will come to the scene of the accident to create a report. This report can be a part of the evidence gathered for your personal injury claim.
- Exchange information. While waiting for the police to arrive, you should exchange information with the other driver. This includes your name, contact information, insurance information, and license plate number. You should also collect the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Take pictures. It is a good idea to take pictures of the accident scene. This includes pictures of the damage to your vehicle as well as any visible injuries that you or your passengers have sustained.
- Get medical attention. Even if you don’t suspect you have been injured, it is important to get medical attention fast. Some injuries may not be immediately visible or apparent. A medical professional will properly diagnose and treat any injuries you have sustained.
- Call an attorney. The final step is to call a professional Orange County car accident attorney. An Orange County auto accident attorney can review your case and help you understand your legal options. They can also negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf and fight for the compensation you deserve.
These steps highlight the important chain of events that should occur after a car accident. Keep in mind that each case is unique, and the specific steps you take may vary depending on the circumstances. The best way to validate the actions you should take is to consult with a proficient Orange County car accident attorney. If you have already gone through the accident, an attorney can help you understand the procedures that follow.
How Can I Prove the Other Driver Was at Fault in a Collision?
To recover compensation after a car accident, you will need to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. There are different pieces of evidence to do this, including:
- The police report. The police report will contain information about the accident, including any citations that were issued. Within the report, the officer will also include their opinion as to who was at fault for the accident. While this opinion is not officially binding, it can help prove fault as an essential consideration for the insurance company and other legal stakeholders.
- Witness statements. Witness statements can be very helpful in proving who was at fault for the accident. They often provide an unbiased account of what happened and can help to corroborate other evidence. Some important things to consider when taking witness statements are to take notes of their names, contact information, and a description of what they saw.
- Photographic evidence. Photographic evidence, including pictures of the accident scene or damage to your vehicle, can be used to communicate the accident’s extent and help prove fault.
- Surveillance footage. If the accident occurred near a business with surveillance cameras, this footage can be obtained and used as evidence. This can be some of the most powerful forms of evidence as it provides an unbiased account of the accident and a thorough look at what occurred. Because no one assessing the footage can interpret it subjectively, this type of evidence can be determinant in proving your case.
- Your recollection. Your recollection of the accident can also help prove who was at fault. While the average person is not always the best judge of fault, your recollection can help to provide context for other pieces of evidence.
- The insurance company’s investigation. The insurance company may also conduct its own investigation into the accident. This can include interviewing witnesses, reviewing the police report, and inspecting the damage to the vehicles. The insurance company may also tap for the assistance of accident reconstruction experts to help determine who was at fault.
Determining fault in the case of a car accident can be a complex process, but any combination of these pieces of evidence can prove who was at fault. Gathering your own independent evidence coupled with a seasoned attorney’s help can give you the best chance at proving the negligence and recovering the compensation you deserve. An experienced Orange County car accident injury attorney can gather and present the evidence needed to prove the other driver was at fault.
What Qualities Make the Best Orange County Car Accident Attorney?
There are a few qualities that you should look for when choosing an Orange County car accident attorney, including:
- Experience. When it comes to winning car accident cases, experience is key. An experienced attorney should know the ins and outs of the legal process, making them better equipped to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
- Reputation. You should also look for an attorney with a good reputation. A good reputation indicates that the attorney is respected by their peers and is known for their results. The best way to assess an attorney’s reputation is to ask around or look for online reviews.
- Communication. Effective communication is critical in the relationship between a lawyer and their client. You should look for an attorney who is responsive to your calls and emails and who keeps you updated every day on the status of your case.
- Compassion. Car accident cases can be emotionally charged. It is best to find an attorney who is compassionate and understanding. An attorney who possesses these qualities can make you feel comfortable, and they will be more likely to understand how to fight for the best possible outcome in your case while remaining sensitive to your needs.
- Negotiation. To recover the maximum compensation, you need an attorney who is a skilled negotiator. A good negotiator talks to the insurance company and persuades them to a fair car accident settlement using effective tactics.
- Trial. If your case does not settle, you will need an attorney who is prepared to take it to trial. A good trial attorney can persuasively present your case and fight for the best possible outcome.
Tips For Moving Forward and Healing After a Car Accident
If you were in an Orange County car crash, it is important to take the time to heal both physically and emotionally. Consider the following advice:
- Seek medical attention. Even if you feel healthy and normal, it is important to seek medical attention as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. This also includes proper follow-ups with your doctor or specialist to verify that you are healing as expected.
- Take time off. If your injuries allow, take some time off from work or other obligations to focus on your recovery. This can look different for everyone, but make sure to remain observant of your physical needs.
- Stay active. Exercise can help improve your mood and promote healing. However, it is important to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you are still recovering from injuries. Understand your body, and do what feels best for you to ensure you can benefit from staying active.
- Connect with loved ones. Spend time with family and close friends who can provide support during this difficult time. This can help you feel more connected, and it provides a distraction from your injuries, helping you release stress.
- Seek professional help. If you are struggling to cope with the aftermath of the accident, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. For many people, talking about their experiences and feelings can be helpful in the healing process. But topics related to mental health may still be stigmatized. It is important to understand that mental and emotional health is of equal priority as physical health.
By following these steps, you can begin to heal after a car accident. However, it is important to understand that everyone heals at their own pace, and there is no right or wrong way to heal. Some people may find that they recover quickly, while others may need more time. Listen to your body, and do what you need to in order to heal physically and emotionally. If you need additional recommendations, contacting an Orange County car accident lawyer can point you in the right direction.
FAQs About Orange County, CA Car Accident Laws
Is it worth getting an Orange County personal injury attorney for my car accident?
Yes. A personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages for your injuries and any other losses as a result of the accident. The lawyer can also handle all the paperwork and negotiations with the insurance companies on your behalf. The average person is not necessarily experienced in legal procedures to handle these responsibilities on their own, but an experienced car accident lawyer can easily take them on.
What percentage of the settlement can a personal injury lawyer take?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid when concluding your case. The typical contingency fee is 33.3% of the full settlement or verdict, but it can vary depending on the specifics of your case. Some factors that can affect contingency fees include the severity of your injuries, the number of damages you seek, and your case’s complexity.
When should I hire a motor vehicle accident lawyer?
It is generally advisable to hire a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. This will allow the lawyer to investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim. The sooner you hire a motor vehicle accident lawyer, the better chance you have of recovering the full amount of damages you are entitled to.
What is the average settlement for car crashes?
The average settlement in car accident claims is approximately $21,000. However, this number can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances of your case. This number may be lower in situations where there is a clear liability on the other driver or if there are no serious injuries involved. In more serious cases, where there are significant injuries or damages, the settlement can be much higher.
Do I need Orange County car accident attorneys if I have insurance?
Even if you have insurance, you may still need to hire a car accident lawyer. This is because the insurance companies are not always willing to pay out the full amount of damages you are entitled to. An experienced car accident lawyer should know how to negotiate with the insurance companies to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Contact U.S. Law Center Today
If you or someone close has been in a car accident, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible to resolve your case, and in this way, you can maximize your time available for rest. The lawyers at U.S. Law Center have extensive experience handling car accident cases, and they can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. From the initial consultation to reaching a settlement or hearing the final verdict, our team can accompany you every step of the way. Contact our law firm today for a consultation and learn how we could help you get your life back on track.