Orange County Car Accident Attorney
Everything You Need to Know About Auto Accidents
Most of us drive around Orange County every day—to work, to run errands, and to spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, because most of us drive on a regular basis, we do not often consider all the risks it involves until we or a loved one is involved in a car crash. In fact, did you know that more than two million people are injured in car accidents every year? No matter how safe you are on the roads, the odds are high that a car accident will one day happen to you.
If you have been in an accident, you are all too familiar with this. Whether your accident was a result of drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, or another situation, you are likely overwhelmed and confused about what should happen next. It can even feel like your own insurance company is working against you to prevent you from getting the money that is rightfully yours. That is why it is important to get a car accident attorney in Costa Mesa that will fight for you every step of the way.
At The Soliman Firm, PLC, our Orange County car accident attorneys can help you secure medical treatment, file your personal injury claim, represent you throughout your case, and provide guidance and support when needed. If you are looking for a local, caring, and experienced car accident lawyer, reach out to us right away.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?
In California, personal injury victims have up to two years from the date of their accident to file a claim. In the days following your accident there may be documents or evidence that can be helpful in your case. By enlisting the expertise of a skilled car accident attorney, you will have a team to help you by compiling important and helpful documents. Working with an attorney has many benefits and ultimately can allow you to focus on recovery while we focus on getting you the compensation you deserve.
Types of Injuries from Car Accidents
Due to the unpredictable nature of impact, car accidents can cause a variety of injuries. Because some injuries can take days to develop, it is important to get medical attention as quickly as possible following an accident instead of “waiting to see” and hoping for the best.
Below are just some of the injuries that can develop after a car accident:
- Head & Neck Injuries: The impact of a car accident can cause the driver’s and passengers’ heads and necks to move in unnatural and painful ways. Furthermore, it is common for a person’s head to make impact with surfaces such as the steering wheel, windows, or side panels of a vehicle in a crash. Whiplash, often a result of rear-end collisions, is a common neck injury that involves deep muscle pain, neck stiffness, and severe headaches. Whiplash can take as long as several days to show symptoms, which is why immediate medical treatment after a car accident is always advised.
- Back Injuries: Back injuries are quite common following car accidents because the human back is not made to withstand much trauma or impact. Though the car’s backrest provides support during daily driving, it cannot protect from more dramatic impacts such as from a T-bone or rollover accident. Deep tissue damage can occur around the shoulders and lumbar region, causing symptoms from minor soreness to long-term mobility issues if left untreated.
- Brain Injuries: Brain injuries, such as concussions or traumatic brain injuries, can have lifelong repercussions. If left untreated, brain injuries can lead to extreme alterations in memory and consciousness that can hinder sufferers’ quality of life, independence, and ability to recover properly from the accident. If you believe you have suffered a concussion or other brain-related injury, it is essential to see a doctor immediately to keep the problem from worsening.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: The human spine is a fragile unit, and because of all the nerves and tissues the spinal cord contains, serious injury or paralysis can follow a car accident depending on the impact that occurred. Slipped or herniated disks, which occur when one or more vertebrae in the spine are shifted, are quite common, often feel like routine back pain in the early stages, and require an X-ray or MRI to be properly diagnosed. More severe damages, like an impact or severance of the spinal cord, can cause loss of feeling, mobility, and even permanent paralysis following a car accident.
- Burns: Burns can happen if a vehicle catches fire after an accident, or if the skin comes into contact with hot surfaces, roadways, or certain chemicals within the car. Severe burns may require skin grafting and surgery to be repaired and can lead to patients spending weeks or months in recovery to regain mobility.
- Chest Injuries: It is common for drivers in a car accident to experience chest injuries due to the impact against the steering wheel, but cross-body seatbelts can lock up and injure passengers as well. Any type of crash where those in the car are thrown forward, whether against the steering wheel, seat belt, or the back of the seat in front of them is likely to cause chest injuries. These injuries can range from bruising and scrapes to broken ribs and internal bleeding, making medical attention a necessity for treatment.
- Arm & Leg Injuries: Just as the head can move unpredictably during a car crash, so can the arms, hands, legs, and feet. A side impact might throw a driver’s arm against the door, or a passenger’s knees could hit the dash after a rear-end collision. Arm and leg injuries can be as simple as scrapes or sprains but could involve broken bones and amputation in extreme cases.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Following a car accident, there are more than just physical effects to contend with. Emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, is common in car accident victims and can make driving difficult as you recover from the accident. This mental trauma can hinder you from activities like going to work, running errands, or any other event where you would typically drive or ride in a car.
- Wrongful Death: Unfortunately, it is not uncommon in California for car accidents to lead to a person’s death. When these sad incidents occur, the family or heirs of the victim can pursue compensation for the wrongful death or their family member or loved one from the liable party. Finding a compassionate lawyer familiar with how to pursue these often complicated situations in Orange County won’t bring your loved one back, but hopefully, it can help you gain some closure through an incredibly difficult time.
Between physical injuries and emotional stress, the moments after a car accident are fraught with confusion and indecision. However, when you are dealing with insurance companies that are hoping to lessen your payout, the actions you take in the moments after an accident can make all the difference.
If you are mobile and able to fully assess the situation, here are seven things you must do following a car accident:
- Make sure the scene is safe. If it is appropriate, move the cars to the side of the road and away from the flow of traffic. Turn on your car’s hazard lights and set up cones if you have them on hand.
- Check for injuries. Check yourself and any passengers for injuries and check in with the other vehicle as well. Always call an ambulance if there is any room for doubt.
- Call the authorities. Get in touch with the police as soon as possible. They will assist in directing traffic around the accident, as well as filing a police report so the incident is documented. Ensure that the officer takes down your information and side of the story for the report and avoid making statements that could be construed as apologizing or taking the blame.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Get their name and contact information, vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers, insurance company numbers, eyewitness information, and the name and badge number of the officer who is filing the report.
- Take extensive photos. Photograph both cars in their entirety, including the collision point and all damages. Also photograph any tire marks on the road, road conditions, and anything else that could be relevant in determining accident fault.
- Schedule immediate medical care. Even if you did not need of ambulance transportation away from the scene, it is a good idea to schedule an urgent appointment with your regular care provider to be assessed for underlying injuries. Waiting too long to seek medical treatment can hinder your opportunity to receive fair compensation should an injury arise, so it is better to proactively seek out your doctor’s expertise.
- Call us. Because our car accident attorneys offer free consultations for those who have been in a crash, give us a call as quickly as possible following your collision to determine if you have a claim.
Types of Car Accidents
There are many nuances for car accidents and not every collision will fit in with a defined category. However, knowing the types of crashes can help you as you navigate your claim alongside your car accident attorney.
- Rear-End Crashes: Rear-end crashes are when a car’s front end makes contact with the back end of another vehicle. These are often a result of distracted driving, unsafe following distances, poor road conditions, or panicked stops, and the car that performed the rear-ending is almost always considered at fault. Because of the nature of the impact, rear-end crashes are the types of accidents that cause whiplash the most frequently.
- Head-On Collisions: When two cars going opposite directions collide, that is referred to as a head-on collision. Because head-on collisions often involve drivers veering into other lanes, these crashes typically happen at or beyond safe speeds, making them one of the more dangerous crashes. Air bags are almost always deployed, which can lead to whiplash and other neck and back problems following impact.
- Rollover: Any type of car can be involved in a rollover accident, but SUVs and other tall car models carry the most risks because of their elevated center of gravity. Rollovers are often caused when drivers must turn too quickly and lose control of the vehicle as a result, often due to road conditions or because another driver has run them off the road. A rollover can either refer to a car flipping over or coming to rest on its side after the crash.
- Single Car: As implied, a single car accident involves only one car. Often these occur when a car strikes an object, such as a guard rail, light pole, or other obstacle that is not a vehicle. However, even with a single car accident, another vehicle may be at fault. Having to run off the road to avoid a reckless driver or unsafe situation might mean the other person is still considered at fault.
- Side-Impact Collision: The damage from a side-impact collision (more commonly known as a T-bone or broadside) depends heavily on the make of the vehicles, the speed that the striking vehicle was traveling at, and where exactly on the side of the car the impact occurred. Because most modern cars are equipped with side-facing air bags, these are not as dangerous as they once were, but they do still tend to produce more severe injuries than other styles of crashes.
It is a fact of life that “accidents happen,” but when dealing with car accidents, your well-being is on the line. It is important to know what the risks are when you are behind the wheel, so you can be safer as you drive each day.
Below are some of the most common causes of accidents in Orange County:
- Orange County Drunk Drivers: In California, fatal accidents involving drunk drivers are on the rise according to The Orange County Register. The sad truth is that even the safest driver can suffer serious or fatal injuries after an intoxicated person makes the decision to get behind the wheel. The property damages from a drunk driving car accident can be costly, in addition to the extensive medical bills and unpaid wages that can be accrued.
- Texting & Driving: Cell phones have made many aspects of life easier, but they also cause a large number of car accidents each year. Though Costa Mesa has strict laws about phone use while driving, even a driver looking at their phone for a split second can make the difference between a car crash and a safe trip home.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is one of the most widespread dangers facing motorists today. Looking around in rush hour traffic, you can often spot people eating, reading the paper, or even shaving from the driver’s seat of their car. This kind of inattention commonly leads to rear-end collisions which can be harmful even at low speeds.
- Speeding: Speeding is dangerous on its own, but it can also make any auto accident have higher stakes than one that occurs at a reasonable speed. Speeding drivers do not have as much reaction time, cannot properly assess for roadway hazards, and can easily cause a collision with another car no matter how defensively the other party is driving.
- Reckless Driving: A serious offense, reckless driving in Orange County is an all too common occurrence. Driving recklessly puts the driver, passengers, others on the road, and pedestrians in danger. While motorists might think they will get where they are headed faster if they drive in a reckless manner, it is simply not worth the risk.
- Drowsy Driving: Many people do not consider driving drowsy to be driving dangerously, but it can be hazardous or even fatal. Drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 car accidents in 2013, and the CDC believes that is a conservative estimate. Drowsy drivers have a slower reaction time and may even find themselves “nodding off” when they are behind the wheel, endangering every other car on the road.
- Weather: While Costa Mesa and Orange County enjoy temperate weather most of the year, the weather we do experience can cause hazards on the roads. Even a small amount of rain or moisture can make roads slick with oil, and heavy winds can lead to cars swaying unpredictably on the road.
Why Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Unfortunately for motorists, insurance companies will not always have your best interests in mind after receiving an accident claim. Because medical bills, car repair damages, and ongoing injury rehabilitation can be expensive, it is not uncommon for insurers to try to cut costs when they can—oftentimes at the driver’s expense. Hiring a car accident lawyer can help you navigate the tricky legal issues that follow a car accident while giving you time to focus on healing and recuperating, the most important thing. A car accident attorney will not only handle the details and paperwork for your claim, but they will also be able to talk to the insurance company and pursue funds for more than just vehicular damage. You may have a right to recoup lost wages, medical fees, and other unexpected expenditures that came along as a result of the accident, but accessing these funds is nearly impossible without a car accident attorney on your side. By having someone that is committed to helping you, you can ensure that you can get the money you have a right to from your insurance company. The Soliman Firm also provides free car accident consultation, so you can learn exactly what the process entails at no expense to you.
How Much Will a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Many people assume that hiring a car accident lawyer will be too expensive and complicated to be of much benefit. However, the unfortunate truth is that drivers involved in accidents often receive much less than they deserve from insurance companies when they do not have legal representation. To help with this, The Soliman Firm provides free car accident claim consultation and only charges if you win your case, so there is no risk in exploring your options when it comes to filing a car accident claim. Because it is not uncommon for insurance companies to make every attempt to reduce their bottom line when it comes to car accident payouts, we can help Costa Mesa residents find out if they may be entitled to more money with no risk to them.
When Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Any time you are injured in a car accident—no matter how minor—you should immediately seek to hire a car accident attorney before speaking with the insurance companies! Not only do medical treatment expenses continue to rise, but many people miss work, accrue additional expenses, and have to pay many out of pocket fees as a result of a car accident. Because insurance companies make pursuing your personal and property claims a complicated process, many people resort to taking the first payout they are offered. However, insurance companies often will not include the full coverage of expenses in their initial payout and instead attempt to give you the bare minimum to simply cover property damage. By hiring an Orange County car accident attorney to fight for you, we will ensure that you get all the compensation you are entitled to, as opposed to just taking the bare minimum that insurance is willing to pay out.
What happens if I'm involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist?
There are many drivers on the road who drive despite not having any or adequate insurance coverage, which puts insured drivers at a disadvantage despite having proper coverage themselves. More unique car accidents such as cases of hit and runs or single car accidents where the driver was run off the road might be processed as an uninsured motorist claim as well if the other party cannot be found. While some insurance companies offer the chance to purchase coverage against uninsured motorists, if you are injured by a driver who does not have insurance, you may have to fight and jump through many hoops to get the money you are entitled to. Finding a lawyer familiar with the nuances of how these types of cases are handled in Orange County will put you at an advantage to get the money you are entitled to.
What happens if I'm involved in an Uber, Lyft, & other rideshare service accident?
While rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have brought a new wave of convenience to residents of Orange County, they have also brought a new wave of complications with insurance coverage pertaining to car accidents with rideshare drivers. Because these companies consider their drivers to be independent contractors, the insurance nuances can change based on whether they are waiting for a new ride, on their way to pick up a rider, or currently carrying a passenger in their car. The laws regarding rideshare car accidents in Orange County are continually changing, having experienced legal counsel on your side to help take on these tech industry giants can be invaluable to your claim.
If you have been in a car wreck in Costa Mesa or Orange County, all of the facts and information can be quite overwhelming. At The Soliman Firm, we will provide you with a free consultation regarding your accident so you can get the answers you need and fully understand what pursuing your car accident claim would entail. Get in touch with us today to speak with an experienced car accident attorney about your options following a car wreck.
Contact us online or call (714) 970-4770 to get in touch.
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