Pasadena Car Accident Attorney
Injured in a Car Accident in Pasadena, CA? Let Us Help You!
Suffering a serious injury in a car accident can be a devastating and traumatic experience. Not only do you have to miss work in order to make the best possible recovery from injury, but the at-fault party or their insurance company may blame you for causing the crash. Rather than handling this stressful situation on your own, you should let an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney protect your rights and best interests on your behalf.
How Our Pasadena Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Pasadena, look no further than the Law Offices of Paul P. Cheng & Associates. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, our legal team can investigate the accident, collect and analyze evidence, negotiate with insurance adjusters, and maximize your entitled compensation. We provide our clients with compassionate and personalized legal representation inside and outside the courtroom.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Millions of car accidents happen every year – many resulting serious injuries and death. Most collisions are caused by human error. Being aware of the common causes of car accidents could help you avoid such behavior and being involved in a car crash.
Common causes of car accidents in California include:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving (aka road rage)
- Fatigued driving
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Improper turns
- Wrong-way driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Inclement weather
- Poor road conditions
- Defective auto parts
What Injuries Can You Suffer in a Car Accident?
Car accidents can result in a range of injuries, varying from mild to severe. The impact of a collision can lead to trauma affecting different parts of the body. Understanding the common injuries that may occur in a car accident is crucial for both prevention and prompt medical attention.
- Whiplash: One of the most common injuries in car accidents is whiplash. It happens when the head is forcefully jerked back and forth, causing strain on the neck muscles and ligaments. Symptoms may include neck pain, stiffness, and headaches.
- Fractures: The force of a car crash can cause bone fractures, especially in areas like the arms, legs, and ribs. The severity of fractures can vary, from hairline fractures to more complex breaks requiring surgical intervention.
- Concussions: Head injuries, including concussions, are prevalent in car accidents. The sudden impact can lead to the brain hitting the skull, resulting in symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, and headaches. It's crucial to seek medical attention promptly for proper diagnosis and management.
- Cuts and Bruises: Flying debris, shattered glass, or impact with various surfaces can cause cuts and bruises. While these injuries may seem minor, they can still require medical attention to prevent infections and ensure proper healing.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Severe car accidents can lead to spinal cord injuries, impacting the nerves and potentially causing paralysis. Prompt medical care is essential to minimize long-term damage and improve the chances of recovery.
- Internal Injuries: The force of a collision can cause damage to internal organs, such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys. Internal injuries may not be immediately apparent, highlighting the importance of thorough medical examinations after an accident.
- Knee Injuries: The impact of a car accident can result in knee injuries, including damage to ligaments or fractures. These injuries may require rehabilitation and, in some cases, surgical intervention for optimal recovery.
- Psychological Trauma: In addition to physical injuries, car accidents can also lead to psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. Seeking mental health support is crucial for overall well-being.
Car Accident Laws in California
If a car accident in California resulted in an injury or death, drivers must report the crash to the local police or the California Highway Patrol. A law enforcement official will arrive at the scene of the accident and prepare a written report of the accident on behalf of the agency, so drivers do not have to file their own reports.
If you do not contact law enforcement officials, you must report the crash to the DMV within 10 days. This applies to minor injuries, deaths, and property damage worth more than $1,000.
California is considered a “fault-based” car accident state, which means a driver who is at fault for causing a collision is also financially liable for all losses associated with the incident. On the other hand, a “no-fault” system is when drivers involved in an accident must rely on their own auto insurance policy to cover medical expenses and lost income.
The following are three ways car accident victims in California can recover financial compensation:
- File a claim with your own insurance carrier
- File a third-party claim through the liable driver’s insurer
- File a personal injury lawsuit directly against the liable driver
If an accident victim shares part of the blame for causing the crash, he/she can still recover compensation. However, the victim’s compensation will be reduced by his/her percentage of fault.
For example, let’s say you were deemed to be 20 percent liable for the collision, while the other driver is 80 percent to blame. Your total damages are $100,000, which includes medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, etc. Under the state’s comparative negligence law, you are only entitled to recover $80,000 (or 80 percent) of the damages.
Proving Fault in a Car Accident
A car accident involving at least two vehicles generally falls under the legal theory of negligence, which is defined as careless conduct that results in causing harm to someone else. When it comes to car accidents, a driver must exercise reasonable care to avoid injuring others on or near the roadway.
The following are the four elements you must establish to prove a driver’s negligence:
- The at-fault driver had a duty to operate his/her vehicle in a safe manner and follow all traffic rules
- The at-fault driver breached his/her duty by driving in a negligent manner or violated a law
- The at-fault driver’s negligent actions caused the accident and the victim’s injuries
- The victim suffered an injury or monetary losses
How Much is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
As we have mentioned before, a car accident can result in injuries, medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and emotional trauma. In order to obtain a settlement to pay for all these losses, you must calculate your damages.
There are two main types of damages: economic (special) and non-economic (general) damages. Economic damages consist of monetary losses suffered from the accident, such as past and future medical bills, property damage costs, lost income, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Calculating special damages means adding all the amounts documented on related bills and recipients, as well as determine the value of lost wages and earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses, including pain and suffering, emotional anguish, disfigurement, scarring, or loss of ability to enjoy life. To calculate general damages, you must determine how much the accident impacts your quality of life and lifestyle.
Common factors that affect the amount of a car accident settlement include:
- The type and severity of the injuries (i.e., the more serious the injury, the higher the award)
- Total amount of special and general damages
- The amount of liability insurance coverage of all parties involved
- Percentage of each driver’s liability
Schedule a Free Personal Injury Consultation!
Car accident claims and lawsuits can be complicated and time-consuming. Let our firm guide you through the complexities of the process and ensure you get the most favorable outcome inside or outside the courtroom.
Even if you are involved in a minor car accident, we can maximize the settlement the insurance company can offer for the property damage to your vehicle. Do not hesitate to let our experienced and award-winning legal team handle every aspect of your case.
Our team strives to provide focused and driven action in order to give your case the focus that it deserves. We are proud to offer each potential client a free consultation. Contact the Law Offices of Paul P. Cheng & Associates today to find out how we can help you achieve the resolution you need.