Newport Beach CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
Newport Beach car accident lawyers see their share of terrible collisions. Southern California is known for its congestion, traffic jams, and aggressive drivers. Newport Beach offers no exception.
Many of our clients have been hit by other motorists who had no business to be driving the way they were. Speeding, improper lane usage, tailgating, and other risky behaviors of negligent drivers sent our clients to the hospital with major injuries. Many found themselves temporarily or permanently disabled.
Despite the clear liability of the defendants, insurance companies still try to turn the tables and claim the plaintiff was at fault. More often than not, they make these claims without evidence using specious reasoning.
But from their perspective, it makes sense to proceed with inane defenses because they can delay the process and try to persuade the plaintiff to take less money to avoid further loss of time.
Nordean Law fights back against such delay tactics in Newport Beach and nearby areas. We build cases that the defense cannot refute and ensure that continued litigation costs the defense and benefits our clients. With leverage on our side, we compel attractive settlements.
Newport Beach Car Accident Statistics
California and the LA region, in particular, have some of the most dangerous roads in America. Consider the following statistics:
- 11% of fatal accidents nationwide occur in California
- Orange County sees over 20,000 vehicle accidents annually
- 80% of Newport Beach accidents result in injuries
Do l I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident Claim in Newport Beach?
Car accident claims without injuries can often be settled without an attorney. The insurers usually make their clients whole and figure out the expense sharing themselves. If the vehicle is totaled, you get book value.
Most injury claims require an attorney to obtain the best results. The exception is small claims court cases, which have a limit of $10,000. California small claims courts bar attorneys from their proceedings.
However, small claims litigants can consult an attorney for advice and counsel.
Larger injury claims require a trained litigator’s expertise, experience, and tenacity. Insurance companies spend a large portion of their budgets on legal defense. Therefore, denying claims or offering inadequate settlements is in their interests.
Without legal counsel, you give them a huge advantage and substantial leverage. By engaging an attorney, you level the playing field and put the odds on your side.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Newport Beach?
If you have an injury, seek medical attention right away. Your priority should always be on your safety and well-being.
Also, seeking medical treatment generates documentation showing the accident occurred and that you sustained injuries because of it.
Without this evidence, the defense may deny that your injury is related to the incident.
If you can, take a video or photographs of the scene with your phone and obtain the contact information of witnesses. The police will generate a report with this information if you are unable.
For non-injury accidents, you still need to report the incident to the police if the amount of damage exceeds $750. As with any accident, take photos or videos and record witness information.
What Are Common Car Accident Injuries in Newport Beach, CA?
Newport Beach car accident injuries range from superficial to life-threatening to fatal. Thankfully, most injuries are treatable, and victims make a full recovery. Nonetheless, even very solvable medical issues lead to outsized expenses. For this reason, insurance companies usually try to reduce payments even when the fault is clearly on their insured’s side.
Common injuries include the following:
- Broken bones
- Eye damage
- Smoke inhalation
- Organ damage
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Wrongful Death Claims
Unfortunately, people lose their lives because of other people’s daily negligent vehicle operations. All drivers have an assumed duty of care toward others on the road, whether their passengers, motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians. When they breach this duty of care and kill someone, the law considers it a wrongful death.
The most common form of wrongful death in car accident cases is negligence. Acts of negligence include traffic infractions that endanger others. For example, speeding, tailgating, or running a red light are all negligent actions. Likewise, hitting another vehicle when it has the right of way constitutes negligence.
Less often but much more troubling are deaths caused by recklessness. Recklessness is different from negligence in that it has more to do with a choice to disregard the safety of others than a misjudgment.
For instance, while a driver may be considered negligent when going a few miles over the speed limit causes an accident, a driver may be considered reckless if traveling twice the speed limit and weaving through traffic.
Intentional actions also result in wrongful death. For instance, the choice to drink and drive or drive high is an intentional action that anyone knows endangers lives. For this reason, when a person causes a wrongful death through drunk or drugged driving, they face major felony charges along with wrongful death civil suits.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Newport Beach
Driver error causes most accidents, though mechanical problems and street repair issues sometimes play a role. The most common causes of accidents include the following:
Following Too Closely
It’s basic physics that the faster a vehicle travels, the longer it stops. However, if you observe California roadways, where vehicles ride bumper to bumper at high speeds, you might think drivers have never considered stopping distance. Unfortunately, this leads to many accidents.
Left Turn Errors
When turning left at an intersection, you must be cautious because the oncoming traffic has the right of way. When people cut it too close, left-turn accidents result.
When you exceed the speed limit, you greatly increase the chance and severity of an accident, as anyone should know.
Many drivers momentarily take their attention off the road to terrible results.
Texting takes people’s eyes off the road for more than a moment, which can lead to severe collisions.
Tired drivers react slowly and only notice the danger once it is too late. In the worst cases, they doze off and crash.
Stressed drivers make rash decisions, often causing dreadful accidents.
Alcohol and Drugs
Despite all the public safety campaigns, people still drive drunk or high.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Proper vehicle maintenance saves lives. Fresh tires and brakes reduce stopping distance, and regular inspections prevent sudden breakdowns.
How Might a Lawyer Be Able to Assist You?
Your personal injury attorney plays an essential role in proving your case, negotiating an equitable settlement, and winning your case before a jury. Here are some of a personal injury attorney’s key duties:
Collect and Analyze Evidence
No personal injury case gets off the ground without evidence. Your attorney knows what courts need to rule in your favor. They collect and analyze witness statements, physical evidence, and documentation that demonstrates your injury resulted from the defendant’s negligence.
Proving you suffered an injury is not enough. To win, you must prove that the defendant breached a legally recognized duty of care and that said breach caused you harm. The defense tries to undermine your case by casting doubt on its culpability for your injury. Your attorney uses her legal knowledge to build a case that gives the defense no wiggle room.
Much of the art of practicing law resides in negotiation skills. Almost all car accident cases settle out of court. Therefore, negotiation skills are exceptionally important. Personal injury attorneys establish leverage by building strong cases that win before juries. Then they can compel the defense to offer a substantial settlement.
Maximizing compensation is the focus of personal injury attorneys. Insurance companies only pay the full amount they owe if they have an alternative. Personal injury attorneys build their cases to eliminate defense options. Facing the prospect of an expensive trial, they pay maximum compensation to spare that expense.
Handle Insurance Companies
Personal injury law firms handle insurance companies every day. They understand how these companies operate, the strategies and tactics employed by the defense, and the pain points that convince them to settle.
Suggest Next Steps
When you consult with a personal injury attorney, he lays out the process and suggests the next steps. As the process continues, he sets realistic expectations and helps you decide when it is worth it to settle and continue litigating.
How Much is Car Accident Case Worth / Compensation For Accident Victims?
Car accident cases can be worth anywhere between a few thousand dollars and seven or eight figures. Small claims may result from cases with property damage and superficial injuries. Any serious injury likely results in hefty medical bills and other life interruptions, resulting in a much more valuable case.
When lifelong disabilities or death result, very large verdicts, and settlements may apply.
California law entitles accident victims to seek economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Lost wages
- Lost business income
- Lost benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages only apply in exceptional cases. The defendant must have acted in an outrageous way that the court wishes to deter.
How to Handle Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists in Newport Beach
Uninsured and underinsured motorists are a fact of life. Some people cannot afford insurance or let their coverage lapse. To protect yourself, you need uninsured and underinsured motorist protection.
Underinsured motorist protection kicks in when the value of your claim exceeds the at-fault party’s insurance limits. Because minimal insurance cannot pay for the costs of a severe injury, this coverage is valuable.
Uninsured motorist protection pays your claim if hit by an uninsured motorist. Because most uninsured motorists have few, if any, assets and low income, an uninsured motorist policy may be the only way to collect.
Contact Top-Rated Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
Nordean Law’s top-rated car accident litigation team handles all types of car accident cases in Newport Beach, CA. Contact Nordean Law for a free consultation.
FAQs About Car Accidents In Newport Beach, CA
In almost all cases, California enforces a two-year statute of limitations for car accident personal injury cases.
However, the two-year “clock” is paused if one of the following four situations apply:
The clock is paused when the plaintiff becomes incapacitated until he gains mental competence. The cause of the incapacitation may be due to the accident or another reason.
In rare cases, the plaintiff discovers an injury long after an accident. When this occurs, the clock remains paused until the day the plaintiff discovers the injury, at which point he has two years to file a claim.
The Defendant Leaves the State
California law requires the defendant to be in the state for the legal service of a lawsuit. Therefore, the law tolls the clock whenever they are out of California.
The Plaintiff Is a Minor
The statute of limitations clock is also tolled until a minor victim’s 18th birthday. At that point, he has two years to file a case.
California law also extends the statute of limitations for personal injury cases that result from certain crimes.
Refer all calls from the opposing insurance company to your lawyer.
Though the vast majority of car accident cases settle, a few go to trial.
If the parties cannot settle the case themselves, a judge may order a settlement conference that brings about a resolution. However, some defendants remain intransigent even then, in which case we take the claim before a jury.
After a jury trial, there is usually an appeal. Cases may also settle during the appeals process. If they do not, the appellate court’s ruling is usually final except in a very rare situation where the California Supreme Court would agree to hear a car accident case.
You may still receive a significant settlement or verdict. California personal injury operates on a pure comparative negligence basis. According to this doctrine, the court can find the defendant 100% at fault, in which case the plaintiff receives 100% of proven damages.
On the other hand, the court can find the plaintiff partially at fault, in which case it reduces the award in proportion to its finding. For instance, if it finds the plaintiff 20% at fault, it reduces the award by 20%.
Seeking medical attention is the number one concern after an injury accident. Firstly, your well-being is at stake, and promptly treated injuries resolve more readily. Secondly, medical records show that your injury was related to the collision.
When injuries are not a concern, you still need to report the incident to the authorities if the property damage exceeds $750. It’s always wise to record witness contact information and take photos and videos of the scene. Additionally, write down what happened while your memory remains fresh.
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