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Automobile accidents are an unfortunate part of life on the road. No matter how safe a driver you may be, crashes can and do happen. Fortunately, California law empowers a person injured in a car accident to seek compensation from those responsible. That starts with consulting a proven Los Angeles car accident lawyer at Banafshe Law Firm, PLC.
At Banafshe Law Firm, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for clients injured in vehicle collisions and a wide variety of other accidents. We combine decades of legal experience to ensure that the people we represent get the maximum compensation available under the circumstances. Our lawyers take pride in guiding clients through the legal process with experience and professionalism. We understand the tactics that insurance companies often use to try to minimize or avoid pay outs and we work aggressively to get you the money you deserve.
We also take pride in assisting our clients with obtaining the medical care they require to treat their injuries and fully heal. Once our office is retained, we assign a team of professionals to guide our clients through the legal process and handle all phases of their case so our clients can focus on obtaining the medical attention their desperately need. We have the knowledge, experience and resources to make sure our clients obtain the compensation they deserve.
Our track record of success speaks for itself. We have helped countless clients get back on their feet after an injury with optimal financial support. That includes six- and seven-figure settlements and judgments for people injured in car crashes. Our firm gives clients the confidence to focus on their physical recuperation with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we are out there fighting for them.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to a crash, from driver error to poor weather conditions. Although the result of the accident may be the same, top-notch Los Angeles car accident attorneys know that identifying the cause of the crash is often a key element to obtaining money damages for your injuries.
Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
Understanding the cause of the crash is just one step on the road to getting compensation for car accident injuries. In some cases, the factors contributing to a collision may not be readily apparent. That’s why it’s vital that a person injured in a crash in Southern California seek the advice and counsel of a seasoned Los Angeles car accident lawyer.
California law is meant to protect people injured in car accidents, but these cases can also come with unnecessary complications for people who are not well versed in the law. Insurance companies often try to take advantage of these situations by aggressively pushing quick settlement for pennies on the dollar. It is vital that you do not accept an insurance settlement without first consulting an experienced car accident attorney. An insurance company is a business just like any other and their adjusters are trained to settle cases early and for as little money as possible in order to increase profits. The insurance company adjuster will be compassionate, caring, and befriend you to carry out this goal. The “final offer” or “maximum offer” an unrepresented accident victim receives is rarely, if ever, the maximum money the insurance company is willing to pay.
Most car accident cases in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California are based on allegations of negligence, which is a legal claim used to hold people and entities liable for the harm that they cause. These claims revolve around what courts and lawyers often refer to as a “duty of care.”
Drivers, for example, owe other people on the road a duty to exercise a reasonable amount of care while behind the wheel. That means complying with traffic laws, obeying traffic signs and maintaining safe speeds. It also means avoiding distractions and risky behavior like texting and driving and getting and staying off of the road if you’re fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A driver who doesn’t live up to the duty of care is likely to be held legally liable for any accidents that happen as a result.
The money damages usually available in California car accident cases are intended to compensate an injured person for the losses related to the crash. That includes compensation for past and future pain and suffering, loss of earnings, medical bills stemming from the injuries sustained in the accident, mental therapy related to the accident and expected future medical treatment. Reimbursement for car and other property damage and missed wages due to time away from the job while the injured person recuperates is also common.
In the tragic situation in which a person is killed in an automobile accident, his or her family has the right to seek similar compensation for wrongful death.
In many cases, an injured person may be partially to blame for the collision. A driver who is speeding when he or she hits a car that changes lanes without signaling, for instance, may be found to share at least some of the blame.
California’s comparative negligence system determines liability based on share of fault for the accident. In other words, a person who is partially to blame for a crash will have his or her potential money damages reduced proportionate to the person’s responsibility for the collision. If this is the case, our car accident attorneys and team of professionals have the experience to reduce the amount of comparative negligence to the lowest possible amount.
Punitive damages are quite a bit different from economic and non-economic damages on a fundamental level. Economic and non-economic damages are “compensatory,” which means they are meant to cover the losses suffered by the plaintiff due to the negligent or wrongful misconduct of the defendant. By contrast, punitive damages are meant as a modifier to the compensatory damages amount, to discourage the defendant (and others who are similarly situated) from engaging in similar misconduct.
Confused? Here’s an example:
Suppose that you are injured in a car accident by a defendant-driver who was going through a fit of “road rage.” Your damages total $100,000. Simply put, the defendant was angered that you did not let them merge into your lane, and as such, they rammed the back of your car, causing you to crash and sustain significant injuries as a result. Under such circumstances, the court might find that the defendant’s conduct was sufficiently willful and malicious to justify an award of punitive damages.
Another example is if a driver who is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causes an accident, their conduct may be regarded as malicious thereby resulting in punitive damages.
The court may exercise their discretion in awarding punitive damages (though they may not award more than seven times the compensatory damages amount). The jury might say that the circumstances are such that a punitive award equivalent to three times the compensatory damages should be imposed. This would give a total of $400,000 in recovery ($100,000 compensatory damages and $300,000 punitive damages).
By creating such an enormous recovery, the court further punishes the “road rage” or drunk driver for their misconduct, and discourages other potential road-ragers from acting in a similar manner and putting others at risk.
It’s worth noting that courts do not often award punitive damages, as the recovery allows plaintiffs to secure a monetary award that is in excess of their actual losses. To secure a punitive damages recovery, you must persuasively argue that the defendant engaged in willful and malicious conduct — even then, however, the court may exercise its discretion in choosing to award punitive damages.
Don’t go it alone. If you have been involved in an accident, contact a Los Angeles car accident lawyer at Banafshe Law Firm as soon as possible for a free initial consultation.
Our office is conveniently located in Beverly Hills and we gladly serve clients throughout greater Los Angeles. Contact us online, call (800) 789-8840 or email us to speak with an car accident attorney today. Any delay might affect the outcome of your settlement and your ability to receive full compensation. Remember, we advance all costs and we don’t charge if we don’t collect money for you.