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In California, traffic-related fatalities in the first half of 2015 increased 20 percent over 2014, with more than 1,550 deaths, reports the National Safety Council. Los Angeles continues to lead the state in traffic deaths and injuries, making its roads and highways some of the most dangerous in the United States.
Pedestrian knock-downs and motor vehicle collisions result in hundreds of deaths in LA every year, many of which are entirely preventable. In an effort to combat this senseless loss of life, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has embraced Vision Zero, an international initiative that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in Los Angeles over the next decade.
Those who do survive a serious truck or car accident are often left with debilitating injuries capable of upending their lives and financial security. Catastrophic crashes such as head-on collisions and rollovers may culminate in insurmountable medical debts, lost wages and physical impairments that can render victims unable to hold a job, much less provide for a family.
Why hire a car accident lawyer?
If you were harmed or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another, the Salamati Law Firm is here to protect your legal rights. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys represent victims of traffic and auto accidents and offer free consultations to discuss your claim. We approach every new case with the same level of compassion and dedication to securing full compensation for losses sustained.
Retaining a reputable car accident lawyer can make the difference between a large monetary award and a paltry insurance settlement – or recovering nothing at all. Any type of car accident that results in physical injury, emotional trauma and property damage warrants the guidance and knowledge of an experienced attorney. With expert legal representation, you won’t have to worry about dealing with unscrupulous adjustors, understanding state traffic laws, liability issues or California’s “fault” insurance.
As a skilled litigator, attorney Sean F. Salamati knows how to efficiently prepare a solid case, document injuries and financial losses, and work toward a settlement or verdict that justly compensates his clients.
The firm has ample experience with injured victims of:
- Rear-end collisions
- Drunk driving accidents
- SUV rollovers
- Distracted driving
- High speed collisions
- Head-on collisions
- T-bone accidents
- Defective tires
- Hazardous road conditions
Consulting a car accident lawyer is highly recommended if:
- You or family members suffered physical injury resulting in substantial medical bills
- Your injuries may lead to future disability and lost earnings
- You were injured by a driver with no insurance
- Liability is uncertain or being disputed
- You are uncertain as to the total worth of your claim
- An insurance company is asking for your medical records
- The accident warrants more thorough investigation
Even the most clear-cut car accidents may prove difficult to resolve without the benefit of an accomplished legal advocate. After a car accident, always speak to a car accident attorney before talking to insurance adjusters. This will help preserve the integrity of your claim and prevent you from making statements that could damage your chances of financial recovery.
Common car accident injuries
Serious truck and automobile accidents can leave victims with permanent disabilities that require costly long-term medical treatment and rehabilitation. Victims may also be struggling with the psychological effects and anxiety that can haunt car crash survivors. In some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), flashbacks and emotional trauma can be just as devastating as physical injuries.
The Salamati Law Firm is devoted to assisting clients in their recovery from car accident injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord trauma
- Whiplash injuries
- Head, neck and back injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Facial fractures
- Lacerations and contusions
- Broken bones
- Acute burns
California car accident law and comparative fault
Whether your accident involved another’s property, a moving vehicle, a pedestrian, a cyclist or a parked car, California law mandates that you must stop and notify the local police or California Highway Patrol. If you leave the scene of the accident, you may face charges of hit-and-run, which can result in steep penalties and the possibility of jail time.
If you believe that the accident was your fault, or you may have been partially to blame, do not volunteer such information without first speaking to an attorney. Any statements made to the LAPD or other motorists involved can be used against you later.
Even if you were partially responsible for your own injuries in a collision, it may be possible to recover damages. In court proceedings, a percentage of fault will be assigned to each driver. If it is determined, for example, that you were 20 percent responsible for the incident, you may be able to receive up to 80 percent of the total damages. However, it is incumbent upon you to present the evidence in a persuasive and appropriate manner – yet another compelling reason to obtain legal representation from a trusted car accident lawyer.
Deadlines and car accident insurance claims
If you decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in California, you have two years from the date of the accident to file your initial complaint. This time limit does not apply to car accident insurance claims, which should still be filed in a timely manner in case settlement negotiations reach a dead end.
Since California operates under a “fault” insurance system, the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver is under obligation to cover damages related to the accident.
Under California law, motorists are required to carry minimum liability coverage that includes:
- $15,000 for injury or death to an individual
- $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person
- $5,000 for property damage
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is not required in California. Having your own UIM policy will help you recover damages from your own insurance company in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.
Driving behaviors and errors that cause accidents
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there are six common driving errors that cause or contribute to accidents:
- Unsafe speed – driving faster than weather and road conditions permit; exceeding speed limit
- Right-of-way violations – motorist does not give the right-of-way to the proper vehicle
- Improper turns – creates hazard for all vehicles in proximity
- Ignoring stop sign and traffic light – a primary cause of fatal accidents
- Improper lane change – creates a high probability of crash
- Driving on the wrong side of the road – a primary cause of head-on collisions
In addition, distracted driving caused by cell phone use has become a state-wide and national epidemic of huge concern.
Los Angeles car accident attorney
The Salamati Law Firm takes accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay any legal fees unless we successfully resolve your case. You may be eligible to recover compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering and more. If a spouse, child or parent lost their life, damages can be sought in a wrongful death claim.
Call our Los Angeles office today at 1-800-957-9898 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options with an experienced car accident attorney.
Los Angeles Car Accident Resources:
- Los Angeles Times, Here’s why more U.S. drivers are dying in crashes this year http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-car-crash-spike-20150910-story.html
- Southern California Public Radio, LA’s focus on reducing traffic deaths running into ‘road diet’ congestion concerns http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/10/01/54721/la-plans-to-reduce-traffic-deaths-to-zero-running/
- California Rains Cause Surge in LA County Car Crashes http://www.salamatilaw.com/california-rains-cause-surge-la-county-car-crashes/