What Types of Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident in Los Angeles?633 West Fifth Street, Suite 2200
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What Types of Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident in Los Angeles?
If you have driven around Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, or Southern California for that matter, you understand that traffic jams are as much of a part of a native’s life as sun-drenched beaches and blockbuster Hollywood movies. More than 500,000 commutes enter LA County every workday from locations as far away as the Inland Empire. The 500,000 commuters add more vehicles to the already large number of registered vehicles, exceeding 7.5 million in Los Angeles County. Because of the traffic congestion that can develop around the clock, far too many motorists take risks, such as driving over the speed limit in a carpool lane or erratically moving in and out of traffic to make up for lost time.
Reckless driving is just one example of the type of behavior that leads to motor vehicle collisions in Los Angeles. Regardless of the cause of an auto crash, victims have the right to recover the financial losses associated with medical expenses, repairs to property damage, and lost wages. These types of expenses are referred to as economic damages, which represent tangible expenses that come with some form of documentation. Victims of car accidents also can qualify for non-economic damages, which consist of the costs linked to pain and suffering issues. Punitive and wrongful damages round out the types of car accident damages awarded by judges and juries hearing personal injury lawsuits.
If you sustained one or more injuries as the result of a motor vehicle collision, you might have a strong enough case to seek car accident damages. The key to receiving compensation is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles who specializes in handling car accident cases. An experienced lawyer conducts a thorough investigation that includes gathering and organizing physical evidence, as well as interviewing witnesses that describe what unfolded before, during, and after the motor vehicle collision. Your attorney also helps you file a persuasive insurance claim and a civil lawsuit that seeks car accident damages.
For more than 35 years, Morgan and Morgan has helped clients from Los Angeles recover the financial losses associated with personal injury incidents. Since we opened our first office in 1988, Morgan and Morgan has recovered more than $15 billion in compensation for our clients, with a substantial percentage of the money coming from car accident damages. From negotiating favorable settlements to winning legal judgments, the personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan get our clients the compensation they deserve.
Find out more about the types of car accident damages you might receive by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan.
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What Are the Types of Car Accident Damages?
When you meet with a personal injury lawyer from Morgan and Morgan for a free case evaluation, the attorney reviews your case to determine the cause of the car accident. After determining the cause of the motor vehicle collision, your attorney decides if another party committed one or more acts of negligence. If another party committed at least one act of negligence, you might qualify for one or more of the following car accident damages.
Medical expenses represent the costliest type of car accident damages, as medical bills can rapidly run into thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars. When you receive medical care after an auto crash, you typically have to pay for the costs associated with diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and physical therapy sessions. You also have the right to seek compensation to cover the costs of prescription medications and the use of an assistive device such as a wheelchair. Your personal injury attorney calculates a value for future medical expenses, which can be financially crippling if you sustain one or more injuries that require years of treatment and rehabilitation.
As usually the second most costly type of car accident damages, repairs to property damage done to your car can reach a level that makes your vehicle lose all of its value. For example, if you sustained $15,000 in property damage to your car and the vehicle retains a value of $12,000, you have gotten involved in a motor vehicle collision that has totaled your car. Some of the most expensive types of property damage include repairing the engine, transmission, and suspension system. Even a minor fender bender can generate significant damage to your automobile.
If you sustained one or more serious injuries as the result of the negligence of another driver, and the injuries forced you out of work, you have the right to request car accident damages to cover the value of lost wages. Your personal injury attorney also might file a request for another party to foot the bill for future lost wages. To receive car accident damages for lost wages, you have to submit copies of bank statements and timekeeping records. A written statement submitted by your employer that verifies your absence from work because of the injuries sustained as the result of an auto crash also helps you build a strong enough case to receive compensation for lost wages.
Pain and Suffering
Now, we move to the car accident damages category called non-economic damages, which do not come with a price tag. Instead, non-economic damages consist of the costs associated with the development of emotional distress issues. Many car accident victims develop the symptoms associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can include fear, depression, and acute anxiety. Pain and suffering issues can significantly diminish the quality of your life, as well as make it difficult to maintain personal and professional relationships.
Your personal injury attorney calculates a fair value for pain and suffering by using a formula that factors in the value of economic damages such as medical expenses.
Judges and juries hearing civil cases do not award punitive damages to plaintiffs to pay off economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages punish a defendant for committing one or more acts of negligence. This type of compensation also acts as a deterrent to prevent future acts of negligence. If a judge or jury determines the defendant committed one or more acts of intentional negligence while operating a motor vehicle, the value of punitive damages can exceed the combined value of economic and non-economic damages.
Wrongful death damages pay for economic and non-economic damages. The tangible expenses associated with a wrongful death lawsuit include burial and funeral costs. Although a loved one might have purchased an insurance policy that covers most burial and funeral costs, you might have to pay a few bills not covered by your loved one’s insurance policy. Wrongful death damages also include the costs associated with pain and suffering, such as loss of companionship.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Auto Crashes?
With more than three decades of experience getting our clients compensation to cover the costs associated with car accident damages, our personal injury attorneys have come up with a list of the three most common causes of car accidents.
Many of the state highways and federal interstates that traverse through Los Angeles include one lane dedicated to drivers that have at least two passengers in their vehicles. Referred to as carpool lanes, many of the lanes remain mostly empty, even though they provide motorists with a way to avoid getting stuck in traffic. Far too many motorists driving solo illegally use the carpool lanes to avoid traffic jams. The problem is many of the same drivers take risks such as cutting in and out of traffic to reach the carpool lanes.
Other types of reckless driving that contribute to the awarding of car accident damages include speeding and tailgating, as well as ignoring stop signs and traffic signals.
Driving While Intoxicated
California has implemented some of the most aggressive public policy initiatives to reduce the number of motor vehicle collisions caused by intoxicated drivers. Unfortunately, the public policy initiatives do not seem to be working, as the number of DUI-related car accidents has remained about the same according to the past 10 years of auto crash statistics. Motorists under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol often make poor operating decisions, as well as experience much slower reaction times to changes in road and traffic conditions.
When motorists get stuck in traffic, they can become bored enough to stop paying attention to their surroundings. A motorist moving eyes off the road for just a split second can lead to making a desperate maneuver to correct a driving mistake. The types of distractions for motorists include eating, adjusting a radio dial, and reaching for an electronic device located in the glove compartment. California has banned the use of handheld electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle, but the anti-texting and driving law has not reduced the number of car accidents that result from the actions taken by distracted drivers.
Learn More About How to Recover Car Accident Damages
You have a limited amount of time to file a civil lawsuit that seeks car accident damages. Most states have set a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit between two and four years. California has established a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit at two years, with the clock usually starting to tick on taking legal action on the date of the motor vehicle collision. However, the court might grant you an extension if you can prove that you have sustained one or more injuries that developed delayed symptoms.
You should act with a sense of urgency when recovering car accident damages. If you wait too long to take legal action, you might fall into a deep financial hole because of the rapidly mounting medical bills combined with lost wages. Your attorney needs you to take swift legal action to submit the most reliable witness accounts. Witness statements tend to lose credibility the longer they are given after the date of a car accident.
Car accident damages can quickly put you in a deep financial hole. Learn more about how to recover monetary damages by scheduling a free case evaluation today with Morgan and Morgan. We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not get paid until you receive compensation for car accident damages.