How to Maximize Your Los Angeles Car Accident Compensation

The Car Accident Compensation You're Entitled to After a Crash Is Difficult to Calculate

Your car accident was a very personal trauma. Nobody can understand exactly what you went through or what you're still going through today. The pain, the frustration, the confusion—it can all be too much to handle. It seems cruel or insensitive to put a dollar amount on all of it. But that's exactly what needs to be done in every single Los Angeles car accident compensation claim. Without that dollar figure, there's no way for you to be reimbursed for your losses or compensated for your suffering.

Most people don't understand the complexities of car accident compensation in California. You might even be assuming that all you need to do is submit your hospital bills and a car repair estimate from a garage. Nothing could be further from the truth. (And if you've been injured in an Uber of Lyft accident there are even more layers to unraveling the puzzle.)

In many cases, you can seek reimbursement for:

  • Lost wages (including future earnings)
  • Pain and suffering (this includes physical pain but also depression, grief, anxiety)
  • Loss of ability to do your household chores and responsibilities
  • Even the stress an accident places on your marriage

To make things even more complicated, in California there are no hard and fast rules for calculating compensation for pain and suffering after a car accident. That's why accident claims can get so messy so quickly. Many times it's necessary to hire a car accident attorney in order to maximize your Los Angeles car accident compensation.

Important Information About Your Los Angeles Car Accident Compensation Claim

When it comes to getting the money you deserve after being injured in a car crash, you don't have to struggle alone. At Sally Morin Law we're here to help, every step of the way. We've created this online resource to help you understand your rights and obligations after a car accident in Los Angeles. 

Here are a few important things you must keep in mind.

  • California law only allows victims two years to file a claim for financial compensation after an accident. You have even less time if you are seeking car accident compensation from a governmental entity or organization. This is the statute of limitations of your case.
  • You can handle all the aspects of your claim yourself . . . but doing so may not always be your best option.
  • You may be entitled to compensation even if your actions contributed to the accident.
  • Insurance payouts represent only a portion of the car accident compensation you may be entitled to.
  • The things you do and say immediately after your accident (and in the days and weeks that follow) can dramatically reduce the total compensation package you're offered.

Let's dig into Los Angeles car accident compensation a little deeper so you have all the information you need to decide what your next step should be.

You Need Evidence to Support Your Claim

The best way to be successful in pursuing a claim for damages after a car accident is to have a mountain of evidence in your favor. You can collect evidence at the scene of the crash and in the days and weeks afterwards yourself. Alternatively, your Los Angeles car accident attorney employs a team of investigators who know exactly what you need and how to get it to maximize your Los Angeles car accident compensation.

Document everything to maximize your car accident compensation!

Evidence for Los Angeles Car Accident Compensation

The evidence you should collect after a crash includes:

  • Police accident report(s)
  • Emergency room or doctors' documentation (x-rays, ultrasounds, etc.)
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Photos taken of the accident scene
  • Photos taken of your injuries immediately after the accident and as your injuries heal.
  • Contact info for any and all other parties involved (name, phone number, insurance company)
  • Employment records documenting your absences and the wages you would have earned had you been at work

Keep in mind, your first priority should always be your health. Never put off medical treatment because you think you can't afford it. You can collect all the evidence you need after you're on the road to recovery. Or, you can hire an experienced car accident lawyer who can do it for you while you recover. 

What Damages Are You Entitled To?

What sort of damages can you include in a Los Angeles car accident compensation claim? We already mentioned the "Big Three" types of damages mentioned above (medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering damages). Additional financial damages you may be able to collect from insurers (yours and the other driver's), at fault parties, or even government entities (such as the DOT, or the City of Los Angeles) may include:

  • The cost of repairing or replacing your car
  • The cost of repairing or replacing any other personal property damaged in the crash (cellphones, sunglasses, clothing, even pets)
  • Car rental fees (if not covered by your own insurance policy)
  • Out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the accident (such as Uber or Lyft rides to the police station or towing charges)

Keep in mind, claims seeking these sorts of damages are generally processed quickly, without the need for legal assistance. Insurance companies will typically investigate the crash and cut a check within days.

You can likely handle your own small fender bender, injury-free accident without a lawyer and still get decent car accident compensation claim. However, complex crashes require complex solutions. If you've been seriously injured or if the amount offered to you isn't enough, you may need to take things to the next level.

(The amount you may actually be entitled to may shock you. Sally Morin and her team of experts recently secured a car accident compensation settlement in excess of $57 thousand for an individual who suffered soft tissue injuries and a dislocated joint.)

Understanding Your Car Accident Compensation

The total financial award offered to accident victims is often divided into two parts:  Compensatory Damages and General Damages. Let's look at each of these components of your Los Angeles car accident compensation package.

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    Compensatory Damages: In short, these damages reimburse you for the direct monetary costs associated with your accident. These costs could be those incurred at the moment (such as the bill for repairing your car) or they could be long-term financial effects (like ongoing physical therapy).  You may collect compensatory damages for:
    • Past, present and future hospital bills
    • Any other medical expense incurred because of the crash
    • Property losses
    You could also be entitled to compensation for lost wages after a car accident. But that amount isn't limited to just the actual dollar figure you're shorted due to missed days. In fact, California law allows victims to seek reimbursement for financial impact on all future earnings as well. (For example, if a musician injures their hand in a car crash, they risk decreased future earnings because of their inability to play.)
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    General Damages: "General Damages" is a blanket term that encompasses what most people know as "pain and suffering." These actual costs are much harder to assess and are necessarily calculated on a case-by-case basis. Under California law victims can seek compensation for:
    • Physical pain (now and in the future)
    • Mental anguish
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • The mental impact of bodily disfigurement
    • Physical impairment (not necessary directly caused by injuries)
    • The inconvenience imposed upon them
    • Strain on spousal relationships
    • Emotional distress  (grief, anxiety, humiliation)
    (Please note:  in order to maximize "intangible" expenses integrated into your total car accident compensation, it may be necessary to call in expert witnesses (like medical and mental health professionals) to examine you and verify the long-term effects of your physical and emotional trauma.)

Sometimes Insurance Settlements Aren't Enough

Sometimes the limit caps of car insurance policies aren't high enough to adequately compensate accident victims for all of the hardship (physical, emotional, and financial) that they've suffered. In these cases victims can seek compensation in other forms from other parties.

For example, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation from:

  • Negligent drivers (in addition to their insurance companies)
  • The owner of the vehicle involved in the crash (if not the driver)
  • At fault drivers' employers (who may be liable for employee’s actions)
  • Mechanics (usually only if the accident was caused at least in part by faulty workmanship)
  • Government entities (such as The City of Los Angeles) responsible for negligently repairing, failing to fix or creating road hazards
  • Auto manufacturers (in cases of defective parts or recalls)
  • Your insurance policy's uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage

Things that Can Negatively Affect Your Compensation Claim

There are number of things that can reduce the total car accident compensation you may be entitled to. These include:

  • Pre-existing injuries/conditions (if you're claiming they worsened as a result of the crash, you are only entitled to the amount they were worsened, and will need medical experts to help prove this)
  • DUI/DWI charges or other citations issued to you
  • Statements you made to other involved parties (including insurance adjusters)
  • Insurance policy limits (check out this short discussion of what you need to do if the insurance limits aren't enough to cover your damages)

How Much Will Your Los Angeles Car Accident Compensation Package Be?

Los Angeles Car accident compensation payouts range from a few hundred dollars to multi-million dollar settlements.  The sad part is that the vast majority of victims settle for a lot less than they could potentially have been awarded simply because they don't hire the right Los Angeles personal injury attorney to fight for their rights.

The total amount you're likely to be awarded depends greatly on the particulars of your car accident but the skill of your car accident attorney comes into play here as well. As a California personal injury attorney, Sally Morin has been looking out for the best interests of her clients for over twenty years. That experience allows her to assess the "true cost" associated with your car accident and maximize your Los Angeles car accident compensation.

Contact Sally Morin Law and get your FREE online case evaluation now.