With auto accidents a rising concern throughout the state, especially in urban areas, drivers should understand what steps to take if caught in a car accident. This includes reaching out to Kuzyk Law, your Antelope Valley car accident lawyer.
Between 2014 and 2018, the number of auto accident deaths in California rose by nearly 20 percent. Drivers in the Los Angeles area alone travel, on average, 23 miles per day, ranking 21st among cities. When influxes of millions of tourists from outside the region add their vehicles to the mix, driving conditions grow even less safe. Stop-and-go driving, racing speeders, and difficult-to-control tractor-trailers can all contribute to rising accident rates.
If you or a loved one have been in a motor vehicle crash recently, you probably know how difficult life can be afterward. That’s why many people turn to a car accident lawyer. Without professional help, it can be difficult or impossible to get the insurance settlement or legal damages to which you are entitled. The pain and hassle can drag on for years and completely disrupt your life.
Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk of a Motor Vehicle Accident
Since we know what some of the major contributors to car accidents are, you can take steps to reduce your risk of being in a crash.
- Always assume other drivers will make a mistake or even disobey the law. Before proceeding into an intersection at a four-way stop, for example, make sure other motorists are yielding to you as they should. When a light turns green, check to see that perpendicular traffic has come to a complete stop before accelerating forward.
- Never drive distracted or under the influence.
- Obey speed limits. It’s okay to drive below the speed limit in bad weather or in conditions where the roads are slippery or visibility is poor.
- Don’t drive when tired. Ask someone else to drive, pull over to the side to rest, or use a rideshare instead.
- Know the rules of the road and follow them. Don’t tailgate other drivers, be patient in heavy traffic, and use your directional signals to let other motorists know your intentions in advance.
If you’ve been in a car accident and need legal assistance getting the compensation you deserve, call Kuzyk Law 24/7 at 661-945-6969, or reach out online to set up a free consultation right away.
Advice From Your Trusted Antelope Valley Auto Accident Lawyer
Our Antelope Valley auto accident attorneys handle auto accident cases throughout California. Thousands of cars, motorcycles, truck and automobile accidents happen every day. We have handled tens of thousands of cases including car accidents (such as rollovers, rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, broadside collisions), motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, semi-truck collisions, tractor-trailer accidents, MTA accidents, Bus related accidents, and wrongful death arising from accidents.
People who are victims in a car accident, motorcycle accident or hit and run need a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer that understands all aspects of injury law, insurance companies, and local courts so we can make sure you get financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Car Accidents Are Often Caused by the Same Things
The same things that typically cause vehicle fatalities also result in crashes where people don’t die but are seriously injured or experience heavy property loss. At our law office, we see many clients who have been in accidents because of other parties’ poor driving:
- Distracted driving – using a cell phone while driving or being distracted by children or unrestrained pets
- Driving under the influence – driving after consuming alcohol, recreational drugs, or sedating prescription drugs
- Speeding – going over the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions, such as wet pavement during a rainstorm
- Driving while fatigued – driving when tired, which can be as bad as driving under the influence when it comes to reflexes and reactions
Violating the CA Vehicle Code Rules of the Road – no following traffic laws, such as yielding, obeying traffic signals, or maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles
Know What to Do If You Are in an Auto Accident
If you’re in an auto accident, there are certain steps you should take to protect your safety, your rights, and your ability to obtain future compensation. Follow these instructions:
- Always make safety your number one priority. While you may want to keep your car in the position it wound up after the accident, it may be safer to move to the side of the road if your vehicle is drivable. If you have to move out of heavy traffic, try to photograph the accident scene first, as long as it’s safe to do so.
- Call 911 for police assistance, as well as for fire or EMS if you need them. Even if it’s just a little “fender bender,” it’s better to have law enforcement decide who is at fault (they will tell you to self-report if they cannot come to the scene). You might have auto damage you don’t catch right away or delayed pain days after your accident. In those instances, you want to know who is responsible for paying.
- Get medical treatment if you feel you need it or if others at the scene of the accident insist. You might be in shock and not realize you need medical attention. And you know yourself well enough to recognize when something’s not right. Going to the hospital means you’ll get checked out and your injuries will be documented.
- Exchange information with other parties involved. You need to get names, insurance carriers, contact details, and license plate numbers.
- Never say anything to law enforcement or other parties indicating you were at fault. Let officials draw their own conclusions.
- Call your insurance company to report the accident. You also have to report it to the CA DMV.
Gather These Documents For Your Initial Consultation
Your attorney will need to gather the best possible picture of both you and the event itself when considering if and how to pursue your case. Make sure to get as much of this information together as you can quickly, including.
- Medical bills, including emergency room
- Medical records, including ER
- Contact information on other driver or drivers
- Insurance information for all parties involved
- Photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and vehicles involved
- Witness contact information
- Police and other reports from the scene, if possible
- Information on additional related costs, such as lost salary, etc.
Assemble these and any other information that you or your attorney think are relevant. He or she can use years or even decades of knowledge and experience to build a case that provides the best chance of getting the justice you deserve.
Statistics Show Serious Accidents Are Worrisome
While some car accident statistics have gone down over the last few years, government statistics show that serious accidents are still a major concern. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released estimates last fall on nationwide traffic fatalities for 2020, based on data collected during the first part of the year.
While 8,870 people died in traffic accidents in the second quarter of 2020, a decrease of 3.3 percent from the same quarter in 2019, these statistics are somewhat misleading. Since traffic volume overall was down 16 percent due to coronavirus restrictions, the number of fatalities per 100 million VMT (vehicle miles traveled) actually increased.
So, even though fewer people were on the road, the number of deaths for every mile people traveled was higher than in the year before. With roughly 30 million vehicles on the road in California, that means bad crashes are bound to happen.
Auto Accident Law In California
In over four decades of specializing in personal injury law, auto accidents are by far the most common. We’ve dealt with every kind of auto accident and every size of the insurance company.
Drunk driving accidents are especially tough on victims because in every single case, the accident could have been avoided altogether. And time and time again, we see insurance companies try to pay out the very minimum they can get away with to cover damages to the victim’s vehicle, medical bills, therapy – not to mention the debilitating mental stress brought on by being hit by someone who should not have been driving in the first place.
Don’t settle for the bare minimum from insurance companies.
Let Kuzyk Law’s Antelope Valley auto accident lawyers help you get the maximum payout you are owed. We will fight for you, as we have fought for hundreds of drunk driving accident victims just like you. We will make sure the responsible parties pay you what they owe.
Understand Comparative Negligence and Statute of Limitations
One key reason why we urge accident victims not to discuss fault is California’s comparative negligence laws.
Comparative negligence refers to the ability of the court or lawyers at settlement to establishing percentages of fault. For example, if the court finds that evidence shows that you had 35 percent of the fault, you will receive 65 percent of the expected award. Admitting fault, even when not accurate, can push the comparative fault needle against your interests.
Also, be aware of the statute of limitations laws. You should reach out to a car accident lawyer immediately after the accident for these reasons:
- A case can begin while evidence, including eyewitness accounts, are still fresh
- An auto accident lawyer can get to work immediately to secure justice for those affected
- Provides as much time as possible for the car accident lawyer to beat the statute of limitations issues
Although you have two years to file, consider that each case brings to the fore complex issues of fact and law. Your attorney needs time to prepare the case for filing. While you can file on the last possible day, your lawyer may be limited in what he or she can do after so much time has passed.
What is “defensive driving?”
Defensive driving means operating your vehicle under the assumption that other people will make mistakes and that you should always be alert. You can take classes in defensive driving to learn how to be safer on the road.
What if I feel okay after a car accident? Should I still go to the doctor?
If you don’t have any signs of injuries, and if first responders on the scene don’t recommend going to the hospital, you probably don’t have to go to the hospital. However, it’s still wise to make an appointment with your regular healthcare provider as soon as possible to get checked out. And if any symptoms come up later, you should definitely go to the ER. You could have an undiagnosed head, spine, or internal injury, all of which can exhibit signs hours or even days after an accident.
What if the other party in the accident flees the scene?
If someone tries to flee the scene without stopping and exchanging information, it can be considered a hit and run. Try to write down or snap a photo of the make, model, and color of the car and the license plate number if you can get it.
If I think I’m at fault, shouldn’t I say something to the police?
No, never say anything about being at fault to the police at an accident scene. You may not be correct in thinking you’re at fault, and your judgment may be affected by shock after the accident.
Is there a time limit to sue after a car accident?
Yes, car accident litigation has a time limit (AKA statute of limitations). You don’t want to wait to consult an attorney if you think you might have a court case.
Contact The Antelope Valley Car Accident Lawyers Today!
Another call you may want to make is to a car accident lawyer. You can call an attorney at any time after an accident, even if some time has passed. It’s typical for another driver’s insurance company to try to pay the smallest amount possible in compensation, even if you think you should get more.
A car accident lawyer can also help you recover money for medical bills, lost wages, long-term care, disability, or other damages to which you’re entitled. This can be a time-consuming, document-intensive process, but at Kuzyk Law, we have the resources to assist with this, so you can recover and get back to your life. Our successes speak for themselves.
If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident in Lancaster or the Antelope Valley, we’re here to help you navigate the post-accident process. Call Kuzyk Law today at 661-945-6969, or use our convenient online message form to reach out and schedule a free consultation.