You’ve been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident where someone else is at fault. The medical bills are piling up; and because of your injuries, you can’t work, so you can’t earn the money to pay your bills.
In California, you have a right to seek compensation for the pain, suffering and financial losses resulting from your car accident. The big question for most accident victims is: “Will I be able to get enough compensation for my injury to cover my current and future expenses?”
A Car Accident Attorney Can Help Prove Fault
In California, you must prove the other driver in the accident was at fault in order to seek compensation for an insurance claim. The best way to do this would be to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Manhattan Beach who has extensive experience with auto accident claims. A good car accident attorney knows how to gather and present the evidence to establish fault. They have the knowledge, expertise and resources to successfully negotiate with the insurance companies to get you the compensation you require for your pain and suffering.
California law also allows a judge and/or jury to apply what is called “comparative negligence” when awarding damages. This means that the court can apply a certain percentage of fault to each party, and the damages you can recover are proportional to the degree of fault (if any) you had in the accident.
For example, if you suffer $10,000 worth of damages, but the court finds you to be 10 percent responsible for the accident, then your recovery will be limited to only $9,000.
Remember, insurance companies are in business to make a profit. They aren’t interested in a “fair” settlement; they want to pay as little as possible to protect their bottom line. It’s important to have someone protect your interests, too.
Compensatory Damages for Auto Accidents in California
The term “damages” refers to the compensation you seek for your injuries from a car accident. Compensatory damages fall into two categories: special damages and general damages.
Special damages are economic losses to which you can assign a specific dollar amount, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Car rentals
- Property damage
General damages include noneconomic damages such as:
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress
Calculating Your Pain and Suffering – the Multiplier and Per Diem Methods
There are two ways to help you calculate the amount of damages you should receive: the multiplier method and per diem method.
Juries, attorneys and insurance adjusters frequently rely on the multiplier method to calculate the amount of reimbursement a person should receive for their pain and suffering. The multiplier method takes the total amount of your special damages and multiplies them from anywhere between 1 to 5 times, depending on the severity of your injuries.
The per diem (per day) method determines your pain and suffering by assigning a per day dollar rate to calculate your damages.
Frequently Asked Questions About California Car Accident Claims
Yes. In California, you generally have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit, or else you could risk losing your right to pursue compensation for your injuries. It’s important to speak with an attorney as soon
Yes. It is important to call the police after being involved in a car accident so that an official record of the incident is created. The police report can help your attorney obtain evidence and establish fault in the accident.
Most personal injury attorneys in Manhattan Beach offer a free consultation to discuss your case. Generally, car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you don’t have to pay any upfront legal fees, and your attorney will be paid a percentage of the compensation you recover.
Get Help From Manhattan Beach Auto Accident Lawyers
How much compensation you receive for your pain and suffering as a result of an auto accident depends upon a lot of factors. The facts in every case are different. One thing is for sure: you have a better chance of getting the compensation you deserve with the help of an experienced auto accident lawyer.
The Law Offices of Scott Dinsmore, APC has been serving the residents of Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Lawndale for over 30 years. Our car accident attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering and financial losses. We handle all car, truck and motorcycle accident cases on a contingency basis, so there are no up-front costs to you and we only collect our fee after you’ve won your case.
Recent Auto Accident Case Result
Over the years, we have helped many accident victims maximize their recoveries in even the most complex auto injury claims. In one recent case, our client’s car was side-swiped in an intersection when another driver ran a red light, then proceeded to flee the scene. Five years before the accident, our client had a spinal fusion that caused minor continuing weakness in the right upper arm. The car accident resulted in a new injury in an area of the spine made vulnerable by the prior disc fusion. Our client had to have another surgery for this new injury.
The hit-and-run driver was eventually picked up by the police. His insurance company and their defense lawyers fought the claim for compensatory damages extremely hard, hiring an expert to testify that all of our client’s injuries were pre-existing. Scott Dinsmore also asserted a claim for punitive damages based on other the driver’s apparent intoxication (he claimed he did not even know he was in an accident) and failure to stop. The driver was convicted of felony failure to stop and render aid and driving on a suspended license for prior DUIs.
The negligent driver ultimately paid $25,000 of his own money, and the insurance company paid an additional $375,000 to settle the case.
We can’t promise you a multi-million dollar settlement. What we can promise is that we will fight to get you the best settlement possible for your case. Call us today at (310) 318-1220 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our Manhattan Beach car accident attorneys. The sooner you speak with us, the sooner our team can go to work for you.