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About Los Angeles Accident Center

Los Angeles Accident Center was created to provide useful information for anyone who has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California. Author and attorney Sherwin Arzani and his team have over 17 years of personal injury experience. If you have been injured in accident, you will find useful information to assist you during this difficult time.


Car Accidents Return as Los Angeles Eases COVID-19 Restrictions

If you are a resident of Los Angeles, you probably know that there was a significant decline in traffic during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, there were fewer traffic accidents and car crashes. However, note that after a considerable drop in fatalities during the last 2 weeks of March, when the city’s stay-at-home order was implemented, the LA Police Department is reporting an alarming increase in traffic death on city streets.

Emptier Roads Pose a Greater Danger in Los Angeles

Although because of the novel coronavirus, more people are staying at home and also driving less, keep in mind that new data reveals that emptier roads can actually be more dangerous. According to the preliminary data from the National Safety Council, the death rates per mile driven significantly increased by 14 percent nationally in March compared to the previous year. 

You may be surprised to know that the sudden increase in deaths is linked with a surge of speeding on LA streets that are emptier than usual. And this is a cause of concern for the traffic and law enforcement authorities in the city. According to the LAPD, the increase in fatality rates can also be attributed to a higher number of people walking as well as biking in their neighborhoods. And in the first half of May, 21 people died in auto accidents, including 3 people who died in an unfortunate high-speed car crash on Imperial Highway in Willowbrook.

A Deadly Combination

The combination of activities curtailed, schools closed, summer jobs canceled, and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions could prove deadly. This is especially true as teenagers take to the road this summer. According to AAA, now is an excellent time for parents to not only model safe driving behaviors but also help ensure that their teenagers practice them, as well.

Did you know that as coronavirus stay at home orders were lifted, “total loss” car crashes increased 2% nationwide? This shows the importance of road safety and vigilance. These car crashes are so severe that the relevant insurance company will deem the vehicle a total loss rather than spending money in order to fix it.

Teen Drivers Pose a Higher Risk

Also, it is worth noting that a total of 159 individuals were killed in car crashes involving teenage drivers in Arizona in the last 10 years during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Across the nation, more than 8,300 individuals lost their lives in teen-related summertime automobile crashes between 2008 and 2020. And that is more than 7 people per day each summer as compared to the rest of the year, representing 6 people per day.

City Officials are turning to Technology to Reduce the Risk of Accidents 

Did you know that speed levels are up by as much as 30 percent on some streets in Los Angeles?  This is why Los Angeles officials and law enforcement personnel have turned to technology to help curb speeding. The officials are also trying to prevent residents from tinkering with various pedestrian walk signals. They also decided to leave a majority of LA’s 5,000 traffic lights on nighttime settings. 

Note that the traffic lights in Los Angeles are usually synchronized so that drivers can easily get the green light at multiple intersections in a row. However, at night, when speeding is more common as streets are emptier, each traffic light works as a separate unit. And this means that drivers are considerably less likely to encounter a wave of green lights, and, hence, will be compelled to stop. 

And that is not all; the city has also deactivated pedestrian push buttons at many crosswalks so that people don’t have to risk contagion by pushing these buttons. Also, note that the slightly longer light cycles will force more drivers to stop.

The aftermath of a Los Angeles car accident can be a confusing and anxiety-ridden time. You might be in shock and extremely shaken from the accident itself, and might have sustained grave bodily injuries as the result of another person’s negligence.  Depending on the specific circumstances of your car accident, you may be eligible for damages or compensation. 

How a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney can help you

If you are involved in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you may experience physical, mental, and financial harm. If you were seriously injured in a car crash, you might not be able to work while seeing your medical expenses, as well as regular bills, mount alarmingly. If you have sustained an injury or loss because of reckless driving in Los Angeles, you should discuss the circumstances of your personal injury with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney. 

How to Find the Best Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

Have you recently suffered an injury in an accident? You may be able to recover much-needed compensation by filing a personal injury claim for damages. The chances of being fairly compensated for your accident-related injuries increase when you hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you.

There are thousands of personal injury attorneys in the L.A. area; how can you decide which one is best suited to handle your case? The attorneys at the Los Angeles Accident Center have created a list of suggestions to consider when you are searching for a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles.

Do an Online Search

The internet can be a wealth of information for accident victims. There are hundreds of different sites that offer information about local personal injury lawyers. While many of these websites can be great, some can prove to be more confusing than helpful. Try to stick to search engines, legal directories, and the California State Bar website when narrowing down your choice of attorney.

Search Engines

Search engines like Google and Yahoo can be a great way to learn about personal injury attorneys in your neighborhood. Use a search engine to conduct a broad search for terms like “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer,” “good personal injury lawyer near me,” or simply “Los Angeles accident lawyer.”

For even better results, try including the type of accident you were involved in and your personal neighborhood. If you were in a car accident in Glendale, try “Glendale car accident attorney.” If you were injured on the job in Ventura, try “Ventura worker’s compensation attorney.” The more specifics you include in your search, the more relevant the results will be.

Legal Directories

Legal directories are great, because they are generally easy to navigate and contain a lot of information about attorneys, including education, experience, publications, and contact information. Many of these directories have incorporated rating systems, which allow you to get a sense of what prior clients think about an attorney.

Take the time to read these reviews, they can provide a lot of information that will be extremely helpful in narrowing down your search. You may feel great about an attorney’s background and education, only to find out that prior clients have been disappointed with his/her representation. Great legal directories for finding a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer include:

Los Angeles County Bar Association

The Los Angeles County Bar Association website can be great if you need help finding an attorney. The website has a referral system to match clients with prescreened and qualified attorneys. The process, which is fairly easy to use, requires you to:

  • Choose the type of attorney you need to hire;
  • Indicate your preferred language;
  • Provide contact information; and
  • Explain your legal issue.

The referral service will then match you to relevant attorneys in your area.

California State Bar

Always check the California State Bar website for information about an attorney you’re thinking about hiring. This is where you can find official information about an attorney’s education, experience, and areas of specialization.

Request a Free Consultation

Most Los Angeles personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation for prospective clients. Once you have narrowed your search for an attorney down to a few you should ask to meet with them in person.

During a free consultation, the attorney will begin by giving you an overview of their experience and try to explain why they are well-suited to represent you. You will have an opportunity to explain why you want to pursue a legal claim and listen to their candid thoughts about your case.

Prepare For Your Free Consultation

Don’t walk into a free consultation without doing a little bit of homework. This includes checking out the attorney online and reading up about your type of accident injury case. The more information you have walking into the consultation, the better equipped you will be to have a frank conversation about your legal needs.

Ask Questions to Learn More

During your free consultation, you will have the opportunity to ask the attorney you are meeting with a series of questions. The questions you ask should help you to determine if you would be comfortable and confident hiring that attorney.

Questions that you should be prepared to ask during a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney include:

  • How long have you been practicing as a personal injury attorney?
  • Do you practice personal injury law exclusively?
  • Have you ever been disciplined by the California State Bar?
  • Have you handled other cases like mine?
  • How many jury trials have you handled?
  • Are you confident in the courtroom or do you prefer to negotiate cases before trial?
  • What verdicts and settlements have you recovered in the past?
  • How much do you think my case is worth?
  • How much are your legal fees?

Consider What is Important to You

What is the most important characteristic of the attorney you hire to handle your Los Angeles personal injury claim? Is there a specific factor that will lead to you hire one attorney over another?

There are many things to consider when you are hiring a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, and you will have to decide which are most important to you. This answer will help you decide which attorney is best-suited to handle your case.

Personality

You don’t have to be best friends with your attorney, but you do have to trust them. It is important to choose an attorney who you would feel comfortable confiding in. Details can make or break a case, so it is important to be as detailed as possible when discussing your case with your attorney.

When you are meeting with an attorney during your free consultation try to assess whether you feel comfortable and confident when speaking with them.

Cost

Most Los Angeles personal injury lawyers will take your case in exchange for a percentage of any compensation you recover. However, this is not always the case. Even when it is, this percentage will vary from case-to-case. Many times, this percentage can range anywhere from 25 percent to 40 percent of your compensation.

A personal injury attorney will consider the type of case, the complexity of the case, and value of the case when deciding the percentage they will take in any given case. Ask the attorney you meet with to give you a firm offer and to disclose any hidden fees (e.g., court costs, deposition fees, etc.) that may be linked to your case.

Experience

Some Los Angeles personal injury attorneys have decades of experience under their belt. They have handled thousands of cases and know the Los Angeles court system like the back of their hand. Maybe they’ve been practicing for so long that they have earned a reputation with local insurance companies and judges. This can be of great value to you when you hire that attorney to represent you.

However, this experience may also come at a cost. Established attorneys may charge more than attorneys with less experience. Just because an attorney does not have a significant amount of experience does not mean that they are not qualified to handle your case or that they will be any less effective. You will have to weigh the importance of experience when deciding which attorney is best for you.

Contact the Los Angeles Accident Center

Have you been injured in an accident in Los Angeles? Contact the Los Angeles Accident Center today to find out if you have a viable legal claim for damages. We will review your case, explain your rights, and answer any questions you have. You have a limited amount of time to act after an accident, so do not hesitate to call us today.

How to Handle Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Los Angeles, CA

Incurring thousands of dollars in medical bills because of a car crash can be stressful and frightening. Paying those bills can seem impossible and overwhelming. Learning how to handle medical bills from a Los Angeles car accident attorney can help relieve some stress.

After a car wreck in LA, you can expect big medical bills. The first ones come from the ambulance service and emergency room, followed by the hospital, radiologists, physicians, and labs. You might also incur costs related to chiropractic care, in-home nursing or personal care, and physical therapy. Read on to learn more about how to deal with this.

Who Is Responsible for Paying Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

Ultimately, you are responsible for the medical bills you incur after a car wreck. However, California is an at-fault state for car accident claims. Therefore, if another person caused the car crash, that person can be held financially liable for your medical bills and other damages.

Medical bills are economic damages. The person who causes a car accident is responsible for reimbursing the accident victim for their economic damages. These damages also include out-of-pocket expenses and loss of income

Additionally, the at-fault party is liable for non-economic damages. Damages include pain and suffering as well as permanent impairments and diminished quality of life. 

How Are My Medical Bills Paid After a Car Accident in Los Angeles?

California requires all drivers to provide proof of financial responsibility to register a vehicle. Acceptable forms of financial responsibility are:

  • Automobile liability insurance policy
  • A surety bond of $35,000
  • Cash deposit with the DMV of $35,000
  • Self-insurance certificate from the DMV

Most drivers choose liability insurance. Liability insurance compensates an accident victim when the insured driver causes a motor vehicle accident. 

California drivers must have a minimum of $15,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death of one person ($30,000 per accident). The driver must also have $5,000 of insurance for property damage

A driver may purchase optional insurance coverage, including collision and comprehensive insurance. These coverages pay for property damage to the person’s vehicle from a crash they caused or other covered causes.

A person may purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay coverage. These no-fault insurance policies pay medical expenses regardless of fault.

When Does an Insurance Company Pay My Medical Bills After a Car Crash?

No-fault insurance coverage pays medical bills even if you cause the accident. You do not need to prove fault to obtain benefits. Therefore, if you have PIP or MedPay insurance, you can quickly receive compensation for medical bills after a car wreck.

However, you must prove the other driver caused the accident to receive compensation from a liability insurance company. 

There must be evidence showing that the other driver’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of the collision. Without that evidence, the driver nor their insurance provider is liable for your medical bills and other damages.

The claims process could take months to resolve. The liability insurance provider does not cut you a check until you sign a settlement agreement. 

Once you sign the settlement agreement, you cannot sue the other driver or demand more money. Therefore, you do not want to settle the claim until your doctor releases you from treatment and you know the full extent of your injuries and damages.

How Can I Pay for My Medical Bills Until My Car Accident Claim Settles?

Health insurance coverage generally pays medical bills from a car accident. However, payment is subject to the terms and conditions of your health insurance policy. For example, you would be responsible for co-payments and deductibles.

Health insurance companies might file a subrogation claim against your settlement proceeds. A subrogation claim allows the health insurance company to recover the money they paid for medical bills related to the car crash from your settlement proceeds.

You can file claims with your car insurance company if you have no-fault insurance. However, most no-fault insurance policies limit the amount they pay for medical costs after a car accident. 

Some physicians and medical providers may agree to provide care if you sign a medical lien. A medical lien states you agree to pay outstanding medical bills from your personal injury settlement before you receive any funds. 

A personal injury lawyer works to negotiate subrogation claims and medical liens to lower the amount you must pay from your settlement proceeds. Negotiating settlements for subrogation claims and medical liens will help keep as much money in your pocket as possible. Insurance claims can be confusing and frustrating. Insurance adjusters work to lower the amount of money you receive for your medical bills and other damages. The best way to protect your right to fair compensation is to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a Los Angeles car accident.

4 Reasons Why a Personal Injury Lawyer Will Not Take Your Case

When an individual suffers an injury due to negligence, such as in a car accident, finding solid legal representation is important. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can provide the expertise needed to secure the compensation a client seeks during this difficult time. 

However, a preferred lawyer may not be able to accept the case because of certain legal circumstances. Fortunately, there are steps a person can take to hire the right lawyer, beginning with understanding common reasons for case rejections.

Constraints on Legal Representation

It’s helpful to keep in mind that a lawyer is not obligated to accept every case presented to them. According to the American Bar Association, “a lawyer should not accept representation in a matter unless it can be performed competently, promptly, without improper conflict of interest, and to completion.” 

A lawyer owes a professional duty to each of the following:

  • The legal profession
  • The courts
  • Their clients (current and prospective)
  • Their firm

Common reasons attorneys decline cases include:

1. The Statute of Limitations Has Expired

A statute of limitations refers to the deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed. The intent of the statute is to guarantee lawsuits are dealt with promptly. 

When a plaintiff is contemplating filing a lawsuit against another party for an injury or claim, it should be filed as soon as reasonably possible. If a lawsuit is filed after the deadline, a judge must dismiss the case.

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is, in most cases, two years from the date the injury occurred. Once the statute of limitations has run out, a person cannot file a legal action for compensatory damages, punitive damages, or other relief.

2. Proof of Liability

In order to file a personal injury case, an attorney must have a reasonable legal recourse as to why the other party is liable for their client’s injuries. In most cases, the plaintiff must prove the other party’s negligence. If the client cannot produce the necessary evidence, the lawyer may decline the case.

3. Insufficient Compensation 

A personal injury lawyer is typically compensated through a contingency fee — a percentage of the settlement or damages awarded to their client. If the client doesn’t receive a payment award, the attorney will not be compensated.

There are several factors an attorney must consider when trying to determine how much money their client should receive. The financial settlement may have to account for medical costs, trauma, and punitive damages. 

If a case involves an insurance company, the lawyer will likely not need to worry about getting paid. However, if the case does not involve an insurer, a lawyer will have to examine whether the other party has the assets to pay out the damages awarded. If the other party cannot pay, the lawyer might decline the case.  

4. A Conflict of Interest

Attorneys are prohibited from taking cases that may create a conflict of interest. If a lawyer’s duties might be compromised in any way, they have a legal and ethical obligation to decline the case. 

Examples of legal or ethical reasons to decline a case include:

  • Contractual or legal obligations
  • Nepotism
  • Professional duties
  • Business interests

Another example would be if an individual was involved in a car accident and reached out to hire a personal injury lawyer. If the prospective lawyer was representing the other driver in a separate medical malpractice case, the lawyer must decline the case. 

How to Find Alternate Representation

Every lawyer has their own situations to consider when deciding whether to accept a case, including existing caseloads, resources, and other considerations. 

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to seek a second or third opinion if the first attorney you talk to will not take your case. A more skillful lawyer may be able to go around any perceived obstacles and accept the case.

 

How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

After an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, you might be able to seek injury compensation. It might be appropriate to seek compensation from the at-fault person or business for your economic and non-economic losses.

The common term for non-economic loss is “pain and suffering.” These damages arise from how your personal injury affects the quality of your life.

Here is an overview of pain and suffering damages and how they are calculated in California.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are also known as general damages or pain and suffering damages. To understand non-economic damages, you must first understand economic damages.

Economic damages include all of the ways your injuries affect your finances. Non-economic damages regard how your injuries affect your quality and enjoyment of life. Some common forms of non-economic damage include:

Physical Pain

Physical pain diminishes your enjoyment of life. It can also limit your mobility and activities. Pain can also harm your mental and emotional health.

Mental Suffering

Mental suffering, also called mental anguish, can arise from negative emotions you might suffer after an accident injures you, including:

  • Fear about your finances and the extent of your injuries
  • Anger over your accident or your limitations
  • Grief about your losses from the accident
  • Sadness over your inability to do the things you enjoy

Mental suffering does not necessarily equate to mental illness or emotional disorders. But if you do show symptoms of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

Inconvenience

You might experience many inconveniences from your injuries. If you cannot drive, you might need to arrange for transportation. You might need help cooking, cleaning, and shopping. If you suffer severe injuries, you may even need a caretaker to help you with your mobility and daily needs.

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium happens when you suffer from an injury that deprives you of the ability to have sexual relations. The injury could be physical or mental.

Proving Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are called general damages because the law presumes these damages happen in every case. As a result, you do not need to:

  • Prove any extraordinary losses or injuries
  • Allege the value of your non-economic losses

Instead, the jurors will use their discretion and common sense to arrive at a fair damage award based on the evidence. Evidence that shows the impact of your injuries could include:

  • Medical records
  • Pain medication prescriptions
  • Mental health therapy and counseling records
  • Your testimony
  • Testimony from family, friends, and co-workers

The jury will use this evidence to assess the severity and duration of your injuries. The severity and duration will help the jury determine how the injuries impacted your quality and enjoyment of life.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

California does not prescribe how the jury should calculate non-economic damages. But you can hire an expert witness to give the jurors options. Two models used to calculate pain and suffering include:

Multiplier Model

In the multiplier model, the jury picks a factor between 1.5 and 5.0 based on the severity and duration of your injuries. More severe injuries get a higher factor.

The jury calculates your total damage award by multiplying the factor by your economic damages. Suppose that you had $20,000 in economic damages, and the jury picked a factor of 2.0. Your total damage award would be $40,000.

Per Diem Model

In the per diem model, the jury picks a daily value based on the severity of your injuries. The jury multiplies the daily value by the number of days your injuries lasted. Thus, a daily value of $200 for injuries suffered for 180 days will give you non-economic damages of $36,000.

Getting a Fair Damage Award

You need to present enough evidence to help the jurors or claims adjuster understand your pain and suffering. You could get a fair pain and suffering damages award if you are successful in that effort.