ORANGE COUNTY AUTO ACCIDENT INJURIES LAWYERS
If you have lived in Southern California, whether Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino or Riverside County, either you or someone you know or are related to you has been involved in a car accident. You know when a car accident happens, it is a time of stress. You need to worry about properly fixing the damage to your car. More importantly, if you physically hurt and suffered injuries, you need to make sure you take care of yourself. This is especially true because sometimes the injuries and pain from an accident do not manifest themselves right away. Sometimes, it takes a few days after the accident where you feel pain and discomfort.
Below is a list of the different types of compensatory damages we seek for our clients in personal injury cases.
Medical treatment. In every personal injury case, one of the first items of damage that Mazarei Law Group seeks is the cost of medical care for the cost of medical care you have received and you will need in the future because of the accident. The Orange County auto accident injuries attorney, Tawny Mazarei, can help you with all your needs.
Loss of Income. If you have lost income (salary or wage) because you were involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. If you expect to lose income in the future because of an accident, then you may be entitled to additional compensation known as “loss of earning capacity.”
Property loss. Property damage is reimbursement for damage to your property that was involved in the accident. Property damage usually includes damage to your vehicle or any other item that was involved in the accident. The law entitles you to the fair market value of the property that was damaged or lost because of the accident.
Pain and suffering. Typically pain and suffering is the largest aspect of compensatory damages an injured persona can get. Pain and suffering is essentially the value of the pain and serious discomfort you suffered during the accident and in its immediate aftermath.
Loss of enjoyment. When injuries caused by an accident keep you from enjoying day-to-day pursuits like hobbies, exercise, and other recreational activities, you could potentially be entitled to damages for “loss of enjoyment.”
Loss of consortium. “Loss of consortium” damages usually relate to the impact the injuries have on an injured person’s relationship with their spouse. Loss of consortium is essentially for the loss of companionship or the inability to maintain a sexual relationship, for example.
Punitive Damages. In certain rare cases where the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious or outrageously careless, a personal injury plaintiff may receive punitive damages on top of any compensatory damages award. The reason for punitive damages is to punish the defendant for its conduct — to “hit them in the pocketbook,” so to speak — and to act as a deterrent. Since it isn’t unusual for punitive damage awards to top tens of millions of dollars, most states have set some type of cap on punitive damage awards in personal injury cases.
It is extremely important for everyone to know what to do in the event of an auto accident or motor vehicle accident.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU WERE INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
1. Remain at the scene of the accident
If you have been in an auto accident, you must always remain at the scene of the accident. You must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene and contact the police. You must also provide the other party with your proof of insurance as well as your driver’s license. Make sure you obtain the same information from the other drivers involved in the accident.
If you fail to stop your vehicle at the scene and do not provide the other party or parties involved in the accident with your proof of insurance and driver’s license you may be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.
2. Call the Police or Highway Patrol
As soon as you stop the vehicle, you need to contact the police and report the accident so help is dispatched to the scene. This is especially important, if anyone involved in the the accident has sustained serious injuries. If any party involved in the accident is injured and you are trained in providing first aid, you may administer first aid to the injured party. It is also important that you must never move an injured person because moving an injured person may result in further injuries. When initially contacting the police, the police must be notified that the accident involved injuries. The police must also be told the number of injured individuals and the extent of the injuries.
3. Exchange Information
It is also important to provide your information as well as get information from the other party involved in the accident. The information that you provide will be important when filing an insurance claim. The following information that you should obtain and may provide is:
- Name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number.
- If there are witnesses, get their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
- Ask for a business card from the police officer who investigated the traffic scene. Also get the “incident number” so that you can obtain an accident report. Most officers will provide you with the information even if you don’t ask.
- Take note of the location—the road conditions, speed limits, traffic control devices, the weather, and the lighting.
- Take note of how the accident occurred—the direction of travel of the vehicles involved, and what the cars are doing at the time of the accident. It is significant to note that you will be asked to share your notes with the person you are suing or the person who is suing you if the accident may lead to litigation.
- If you carry a camera take pictures of the scenes as well as the property damage to both your vehicle as well as the other party’s vehicle. Additionally, take pictures of the individuals involved in the accident. These pictures are very important in proving or disproving a party’s accounts of the accident.
4. Liability of the accident (Who is at fault)
Many times when you are involved in an auto accident all parties may be distraught and emotional. Especially, if the accident was high-impact and serious, the parties are usually very shook up and even sometimes disoriented. You should always remember that even if you believe that you are at fault for the accident, you should not admit liability for the accident. There may be other factors which you are not aware of that may determine or affect who is at fault for the accident. You should not make any statements on video, tape recordings, or on paper to anybody at the accident scene except for the police. When speaking to the police you should only provide them with facts about how the accident occurred. Allow the police to make their own conclusions from the facts and make the determination of how the accident occurred.
5. Notify your insurance carrier
It is also important that you immediately notify your insurance carrier. You must provide your insurance carrier with the following:
- The date of the accident
- The parties involved in the accident
- The name, driver’s license number, license plate and make and model of the other party’s vehicle.
- The insurance company’s address and phone number for the other driver involved in the accident.
- The police report number.
- Any injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
- Any property damage to your vehicle as well as the other party’s vehicle.
- Facts about how the accident occurred.
If you are ever asked to make a formal statement, you should seek the assistance of an attorney. Attorneys at Mazarei Law Group will assist you in preparing your statement and be present at the time the statement is taken to ensure that appropriate questions are asked and that you are not asked to admit to any liability.
You should never provide a statement to the other’s driver’s insurance company. You should immediately seek the assistance of an attorney and your attorney will advise you when you may give your statement. Although the person you are talking to may seem pleasant and helpful that person and the company to which they work for is not on your side.
6. Seek Medical care
Immediately after an accident you must immediately seek medical attention and see a doctor. If you do not immediately see a doctor, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were not as substantial as you state or the insurance company may argue that the injuries were not related to the accident. Failure to immediately seek medical care may result in a lesser settlement claim.
It is also important to seek medical attention because you may not immediately experience any pain and a physical examination may reveal injuries that you do not immediately know about. It is also important to tell your doctor of all of your symptoms such as pain to your neck, headaches, dizziness, pain to your back or limbs, nausea, confusion and any other unusual physical or mental symptoms you may have.
7. Seek legal advice
If you are involved in an accident that involves serious personal injuries to any parties, you must also immediately seek legal advice from an attorney. An attorney may assist you in the process of communicating with both your insurance company as well as the other party’s insurance company. An attorney may also assist you in the handling of your claim against the other party’s insurance company.
Hiring an experienced and caring personal injury attorney to handle your automobile accident claim may result in a much higher settlement.