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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.

Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen, and Who’s To Blame?

Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen, and Who's To Blame?

When it comes to car accidents, rear-end collisions are some of the most frequent crashes in California and throughout the nation. 

Statistically, roughly a third of all crashes nationwide are classified as rear-end collisions. Sadly, these crashes have also proven fatal, and figures show that over 1,700 motorists die each year from injuries sustained in rear-end-related wrecks.

If you drive in Los Angeles traffic, you’re likely at risk of a rear-end collision. As such, you should know how these accidents occur and how you can recover your losses.

Rear-End Collisions Explained

One significant contributing factor in car crashes is negligence by one or more drivers. Negligence can occur in many ways, and the results can be devastating. Some of the most everyday examples of driver negligence in rear-end collisions include the following:

Driver safety is vital in preventing traffic accidents. Accidents are more likely to occur whenever a motorist engages in neglectful behaviors. Because read-end crashes generally occur whenever drivers are close to each other, any distraction can turn into a serious wreck.

Determining Fault in a Rear-End Collision

Under California law, you’ll need to provide evidence that the driver engaged in negligent behavior that resulted in a rear-end collision.

Because every car crash is unique, evidence can vary greatly depending on the circumstances. Some of the most common evidence used to prove negligence and determine fault include:

  • Police reports 
  • Video evidence of the crash
  • Witness statements
  • Testimony from traffic experts

The evidence in a car crash claim will also need to meet California’s threshold for common-law negligence, including the following elements:

  • The at-fault driver did not engage in a duty of care
  • Their breach of duty directly resulted in the accident
  • Damages ensued as a result of the crash

If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, a seasoned car crash attorney can review the facts in your case to determine the best course of action.

Typical Scenarios for Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision is defined as any accident where one vehicle’s front end collides with another vehicle’s rear end. Typically, these crashes occur when two cars drive in the same lane, one behind the other.

The most typical rear-end collisions involve two drivers, although multiple-car pile-ups are also common. Whenever one driver comes to a sudden stop, the tailing vehicle is more likely to crash into the rear. Alternatively, a tailing vehicle may accelerate excessively and crash into the back of the car in front.

Comparative Negligence in California

Unlike other states, California law allows for fault to be shared between two or more motorists responsible for a rear-end crash. This is known as comparative negligence. 

Typically, a jury will determine each party’s responsibility in the crash. As such, any financial compensation will directly reflect the percentage of fault. In many cases, one party will be responsible for 100% of the crash. In other cases, responsibility may be reduced to the applicable percentage whenever it’s determined that the other party engaged in negligence or violated a traffic law.

Damages You Can Recover from a Rear-End Collision 

Although many think rear-end collisions are low-impact fender benders, these crashes can severely damage vehicles, property, and individuals.

If you’ve sustained losses after a rear-end crash, you can seek compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Physical therapy
  • Loss of income
  • Emotional suffering
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Vehicle repair costs
  • Reduced quality of life

An experienced car accident lawyer can file a personal injury claim on your behalf, negotiate settlement options, go to trial, and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

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.