Car accidents continue to rank among the top causes of accidental injuries and deaths throughout the United States year after year. Despite innovations in vehicle safety technology and less commuting due to the recent shift toward working from home, car accidents continue to occur in Orange County for myriad reasons, and accident rates have increased in California significantly over the past few years.
Even the most experienced and cautious motorists must know the risks they face on the road and the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents. While it may be impossible to always anticipate the actions of other drivers, knowing the greatest risk factors you face on the road can reduce your chances of causing a motor vehicle accident and incurring liability for the resulting damages. However, when an accident does occur due to another party’s negligence or misconduct, it’s crucial to know how you can recover and the value of having trustworthy legal counsel.
Zwick Law provides compassionate and meticulous legal counsel to the victims of auto accidents in Orange County. Our attorneys have more than 60 combined years of professional legal experience, and we leverage this experience on behalf of every client we represent. Rest assured that when you pick our firm to handle your car accident claim, we will do everything we can to help you reach the most optimal outcome for your situation.
The Zwick Law team can help you determine which recovery options will work for your situation after you have experienced a car accident due to the actions of another party. We know that the initial aftermath of any motor vehicle accident can be difficult to navigate and highly distressing, which is why we aim to help each client approach their recovery with greater confidence and peace of mind. Instead of attempting to handle your legal affairs while simultaneously struggling with your medical recovery, have our team provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need to recover as fully as the law allows.
When one driver hits another driver and causes damages, the injured driver has the right to seek accountability for their losses, and they may do so in several ways. For example, your recovery from a recent car accident in Rancho Santa Margarita is likely to involve an auto insurance claim followed by a personal injury suit against the driver responsible for causing the crash. In both of these legal endeavors, you are likely to have an easier time with your proceedings and maximize your results when you have the right Rancho Santa Margarita car accident attorney representing you.
When you pick Zwick Law to help you recover from a car accident, our team will carefully assess the details of your case, helping you make informed decisions about your recovery. We know that the aftermath of your accident can be difficult to assess accurately at first, and there is a good chance that if you suffered severe injuries, you could face various long-term complications from the accident. We’ll listen to your story and help you discern your next steps. Our aim is to ensure you receive fair compensation after an injury.
The first thing you must do to recover from any motor vehicle accident in Rancho Santa Margarita is to prove how the accident happened, and you must also identify the driver or drivers responsible for causing it. Car accidents happen in many ways, including:
These are just a few examples of the various ways that serious motor vehicle accidents may happen in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. However, no matter how your recent accident occurred, the first steps you take immediately following the incident can have a tremendous influence on your recovery from your damages.
California law requires drivers to call 911 to report car accidents, so make sure to do this after a collision if you are able to do so. While you wait for first responders, take photos of the vehicles involved in the accident and the immediate vicinity. Be sure to take photos of the damage to your vehicle, skid marks on the road surface, and your injuries. These photos could bolster the credibility of your auto insurance claim, and you may need them as evidence in a subsequent personal injury suit.
Once you receive medical attention for your injuries, you should consult a Rancho Santa Margarita car accident attorney as soon as possible. Do not discuss a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company, and do not attempt to negotiate a private settlement with the at-fault driver. If you reach the time limit for filing your insurance claim, notify the insurer of your intent to file a claim, but inform them that you cannot discuss a settlement until you consult with your legal counsel.
Every driver needs to have auto insurance that meets the state’s basic coverage requirements. These include at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person, and the policy must increase this bodily injury liability coverage to at least $30,000 for all persons injured in a single crash. Additionally, insurance must provide at least $5,000 in liability coverage for property damage to cover a victim’s vehicle repair bills and other property losses.
After you receive medical attention for your injuries and have an attorney representing you, they can help you file your claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. Your Rancho Santa Margarita car accident attorney can assist you in gathering any evidence and documentation you must submit with your claim and handle interactions with the insurance company on your behalf. Every insurer has the right and the responsibility to investigate claims for coverage, and your attorney can ensure the carrier does not attempt any bad faith handling of your claim.
Ideally, you should receive your settlement check from the other driver’s insurance company within a few weeks of filing your claim. A good attorney can streamline this process and speed up your recovery. However, the settlement you receive may not fully cover all the damages you may have experienced. Your Rancho Santa Margarita car accident attorney will then become an invaluable asset as you build your personal injury case against the other driver.
Whenever your losses exceed the extent of the defendant’s insurance coverage after a car accident in Rancho Santa Margarita, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against them to recover the outstanding balance. While an auto insurance policy can provide coverage for property damage and some of your medical expenses for your bodily injury, California’s personal injury laws allow you to claim various other forms of compensation, including:
Once your Rancho Santa Margarita car accident attorney has helped you calculate the full range of economic losses you can seek from the defendant, you can still receive compensation for your non-economic damages as well. Specifically, state law enables you to hold the defendant accountable for physical pain, psychological distress, and trauma you suffered from their actions.
This may sound difficult to quantify with monetary value, but an experienced attorney can determine a fair amount based on the severity of your damages. So, if you suffered injuries expected to heal completely in a relatively short time, your attorney might seek a per diem pain and suffering settlement, awarding compensation for each day you spend recovering. Alternatively, if you suffered a catastrophic injury, they would be more inclined to use the multiplier method, seeking a lump sum on your behalf that reflects the severity of your condition after the accident.
After calculating your immediate and future economic damages and arriving at a suitable figure for your pain and suffering, you might be surprised to discover that your car accident claim is worth much more than you expected. However, while it is crucial to know the variables that can enhance your recovery, it is just as important to know the issues that might diminish it. One such issue would be any shared liability you hold for causing the accident.
While some car accidents happen due to the actions of a single driver, other accidents happen because all drivers involved acted inappropriately in some way. When multiple parties share fault for a car accident or any other personal injury, the state’s pure comparative negligence law comes into play. Each party will have a fault percentage assigned by the judge overseeing the case. When a plaintiff bears fault, their fault percentage is deducted from their final award.
So, if a judge determines that the defendant in a Rancho Santa Margarita car accident case is 80% at fault and the plaintiff bears 20% fault, the plaintiff will lose 20% of the compensation obtained from the defendant. It’s quite common for at-fault drivers to attempt to assert comparative negligence in their efforts to avoid facing full liability for the damages they caused. If you are worried about bearing partial liability for your recent car accident in Rancho Santa Margarita, your attorney can provide all the support and guidance needed to minimize any fault percentage assigned to you and preserve your case award as much as possible.
In California, a driver will only face criminal prosecution for causing an accident if they caused the accident through some kind of illegal misconduct. DUI, reckless driving, or intentionally causing an accident for any reason are a few possible examples. If your car accident happened because of intentional misconduct of any kind, your Rancho Santa Margarita car accident attorney can advise you as to how this could influence your recovery.
The total potential value of your car accident case hinges on the severity of your damages. State law allows you to seek full repayment of all the economic losses you suffered because of the defendant’s actions, and this includes both immediate and long-term damages. However, you also have the right to claim pain and suffering compensation that reflects the severity of your experience. Your Rancho Santa Margarita car accident attorney can provide an accurate evaluation of the total damages you could secure from the defendant who injured you.
The statute of limitations or time limit for filing personal injury claims in California is two years, starting on the date an injury occurs. However, you have a much shorter window of time in which to file an auto insurance claim against the driver responsible for causing your accident. Therefore, it is important to secure legal counsel as soon as possible after receiving medical treatment for your injuries. Any delay could mean losing your chance to recover as fully as state law allows.
It’s natural to worry about legal fees after a serious car accident. However, Zwick Law takes personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that when you select our firm, you pay nothing upfront and will only pay a fee after we win your case. Additionally, the fee you pay is a percentage of the compensation we secure on your behalf. This ensures you receive the recovery you legally deserve after a serious car accident in Rancho Santa Margarita.
The team at Zwick Law has successfully helped many Rancho Santa Margarita clients recover from their car accidents, and we understand the legal challenges you face as you seek compensation for the losses you recently suffered. If you are ready to learn what a Rancho Santa Margarita attorney can do for you in your recovery efforts, contact us today and schedule a consultation with a legal team you can trust with your car accident case.