Encino & Van Nuys, CA Car Accident Lawyer

Our car accident lawyer is based in Encino, CA

Being involved in a serious car accident can be one of the most physically and emotionally traumatizing events of your lifetime. You're driving in your car, and suddenly, your vehicle is struck without warning. And if you're injured in a car accident, your physical, emotional, and financial recovery can involve months of appointments and treatments. A Hollywood car accident lawyer can help you identify those responsible for your injuries and hold them accountable.

Hollywood Car Accidents by the Numbers

The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) compiles an annual report for each county in the state of California. The OTS doesn't break down the data by neighborhoods, so the individual statistics for Hollywood aren't available, but they do list the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths for Hollywood's municipality, Los Angeles. In 2015 (the most recent year reported), 40,000 of L.A.'s 4 million residents were injured or killed in accidents. That's approximately 1% of all residents injured in car crashes in a single year. With those odds, the likelihood that you'll be injured in a car accident is probably much higher than you think.

What to do After a Car Accident

At some point in your life, you probably studied the California Driver Handbook in preparation for getting your license. But other than to point out that you should contact 911 and that all accidents with injuries have to be reported by law, the handbook doesn't really explain what you should do if you're injured in an accident. There are crucial steps you should take to ensure your safety and to assist in your physical and financial recovery.

  • Your safety is first - Remain in your vehicle unless you have reason to think that you're in greater danger by remaining there. (i.e. fire, gas spills, precarious location, et cetera)
  • Call 911 - In serious accidents, both police and fire rescue will respond, but request both.
  • Check on the status of other passengers in your car - You are probably not the only one who's been affected by the crash. Check on your passengers, but avoid moving anyone unless it's absolutely necessary.
  • Avoid Moving around the scene - Not only can you upset the physical evidence on scene, but you could put yourself in danger of being struck by passing vehicles.
  • Allow paramedics to examine you - Even if you feel fine at the time of the accident, you could be in shock or have latent injuries. Allow the EMTs to do their jobs.
  • Don't refuse an ambulance ride - If first responders are suggesting that you go to the hospital, take their advice. They won't recommend it unless they have a concern about your health.
  • Follow up with your doctor - Even if you are cleared from the scene and you have no visible injuries, you could have broken bones, internal bleeding, or other injuries that require a full examination in order to detect. This can also establish a medical baseline for your injuries.
  • Don't sign a waiver - In some cases, the responsible insurer will offer you an immediate settlement to pay for your medical bills, but as we'll examine in the next section, the costs associated with a car accident injury can be exorbitant.
  • Contact a car accident attorney in Hollywood - Personal injury lawyers who focus on car accidents can review your case and determine what you need for a full physical recovery. Your car accident lawyer will represent you with insurance companies and act as an intermediary for other responsible parties.

The True Cost of a Car Accident Injury

If you've been injured in a car collision, you may already realize that you're going to be facing some immediate costs that will have to come out of pocket before you receive a settlement. Here are some of the expenses that you may or may not have included in your assessment:

  • Ambulance ride
  • Emergency room visit
  • Tests (X-rays, MRIs, bloodwork)
  • Hospital stay
  • Specialist consultations
  • Physical therapy
  • Mental-health counseling
  • Medication
  • Follow-up appointments
  • Lost wages
  • Damage to your vehicle and property
  • Towing and impound fees

These costs can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars and they don't include the less-tangible, but very real, damages that you may experience, such as diminished work capacity, reduced quality of life, and pain and suffering. A car accident lawyer is familiar with the case law that often dictates how intangible costs are dictated. A car accident attorney can fight for a full and fair settlement for all of your damages, not just the ones associated with the day of the accident.

What are my Insurance Company's Responsibilities?

Unlike some of the other states, California is a fault or tort state. What that means is that if you've been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another driver, you have to get compensation from that party and their insurer. Your insurance company isn't responsible for paying your claim. The minimum insurance coverage required by California law is:

  • $15,000 for an injured party or deceased party who's not at fault
  • $30,000 for the injury or death of two or more people
  • $5,000 for property damage
When you consider the costs of an accident with injuries, these amounts are somewhat minuscule, which means you may require the services of a Hollywood car accident attorney to fight for your full financial recovery. As you can see, the determination of fault by the police is a significant factor in determining which party is responsible for paying damages. Even if the police found you at fault, however, you should still contact a car accident lawyer to review your case. Police officers often make mistakes and may not properly explain the context of the crash.

Drunk and Intoxicated Drivers

In 2015, Los Angeles recorded 7,031 DUI arrests related to collisions. When an individual consumes alcohol or drives under the influence of prescription or illicit drugs, they're more likely to drive faster and are less attentive to other motorists. In many DUI-related accidents, the officers will not only charge the driver with the accident, but will also arrest them for the criminal charge of DUI. California courts usually lift the damages cap when drunk driving is a factor. If you've been in a DUI-related accident, your lawyer can pull police reports, depose witnesses, and subpoena medical records so that you can receive a settlement that's commensurate with your injuries.

Commercial Trucks, Motorcycles, and Special Purpose Vehicles

Because of the relative mass differences, when motorcycles or commercial trucks are involved in collisions, the injuries tend to be much more severe.

Motorcycles are light, fast, and offer no protection. When a 400 lb. motorcycle is struck by a two-ton car, even at low speeds, the motorcyclist is in grave danger. In addition to the initial impact, the driver is usually thrown forward into the ground, another vehicle, or whatever else stops their forward momentum.

Commercial trucks, on the other hand, weigh several times more than most of the other vehicles on the roadway and can cause substantially more damage than one experiences in a car-on-car accident. Because the state of California and the Federal Government both recognize the increased risks associated with large trucks, commercial vehicles and their drivers are heavily regulated. That can help your case if the driver or truck is found not to be in compliance.

Motorcycles, trucks, buses, boats, and other non-conventional vehicles present unique challenges when it comes to assessing proper damage amounts. Choose an experienced personal injury lawyer with an extensive background in all manners of motor vehicle accidents to represent you.

A Comprehensive Approach to Recovery

Depending on the severity, type, and number of injuries that you sustained, recovering from a car accident may require a team of doctors and specialists. A car accident lawyer will work with you to make certain that you are able to get the best doctors and medical treatment for both your recovery and your injury claim. Bringing legal counsel in early in your recovery period allows your attorney to coordinate with your doctors to give you a stronger position in the event that your case goes to trial. Additionally, your car accident lawyer can help guide you in your search for the top medical care in the Hollywood area.

Hollywood Car Accident Lawyers

If you've been injured in a car accident, you don't have to go through your recovery period on your own. The Hollywood car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Rosenstock and Azran can assist you in recovering damages from the party responsible for your injuries. Our veteran accident attorneys work on a contingency basis and your initial consultation is free. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.