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Updated by communications-1 on Aug 01, 2019
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10 questions you should always ask a lawyer

If you have been in a car accident, you may be asking yourself whether you need to hire an auto accident attorney. Many accidents are minor property damage only and can be resolved directly between those involved, or through their insurance providers. In very simple cases or those that involve no injuries, it may be faster and more straightforward to resolve the case without the help of personal injury attorneys. Questions you should ask a lawyer before hiring them



Car Accident Lawyer Questions

Car Accident Lawyer Questions
  • Have you handled cases like mine? How many?
  • If I lose, will I be responsible for your firm’s costs?
  • What are your fees?
  • What staffing and financial resources do you have to fight my case?
  • How long have you been handling car accident cases?
  • About how long will it take to resolve my lawsuit?
  • What can be done to improve the chances of a successful outcome?
  • How many cases has your firm won in a jury verdict?
  • How much money were your top 5 jury verdicts?
  • Were those with your in-house lawyers only, or did you need or use outside your firm middle-man lawyers?
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What to do after an accident

What to do after an accident
  • Get to an area of safety and call 911 to report the accident to the proper authorities.
  • Cooperate with the attending officer and provide your version of the facts as best you can.
  • Gather witness information and take pictures of the involved cars and scene if you are able to.
  • If needed, immediate medical attention for evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Engage the services of a powerhouse law firm to handle all aspects of your auto accident case.

Causes of Car Accidents in Los Angeles

Causes of Car Accidents in Los Angeles
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving (texting, eating, talking on phone, and other dangerous distractions)
  • Drowsy, fatigued, or sleepy driving
  • Impaired driving (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol)
  • Reckless driving
  • Following too close
  • Ignoring traffic signals, road signage, and stop signs
  • Vehicle defects or vehicle recalls
  • Roadway design, repair, or maintenance issues
  • Teenage or inexperienced drivers
  • Lane splitting (for motorcyclists)
  • Weather
  • Construction zones

Car Accident Statistics

Car Accident Statistics
  • 3,623 traffic fatalities in 2016
  • 1,059 alcohol impaired driving fatalities in 2016
  • 15 percent of all drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents that tested positive for drugs
  • 548 motorcycle fatalities in 2016
  • 225 teenage driving fatalities in 2016

Overall, in the United States, 37,000 people die in road crashes every year and another 2.35 million are injured or disabled.


The legal process and time frames

The legal process and time frames

Confusion often arises regarding the difference between a car accident lawsuit and a car accident insurance claim. These are two separate claims processes, and confusion likely arises from the fact that both involve a ‘settlement.’ In this section, we will specifically discuss filing a lawsuit.

Lawsuits related to car accident injuries are generally treated as personal injury lawsuits and filed in civil court, where the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) seeks to recover money from the defendant (the person being sued). This type of action occurs independently of the insurance claims process, although the plaintiff may choose to sue the insurance company if they are unsatisfied with the compensation offered.

  • File a complaint.
    The first step in pursuing a car accident lawsuit is to file a complaint (or petition) with the court. This document includes a standardized court form, as well as a detailed narrative laying out what happened, what damages the plaintiff is claiming, and the legal basis for bringing the lawsuit. You must file your complaint within your state’s statute of limitations—in the case of California, within 2 years of the accident that caused your injuries.

  • Serve the complaint on the Defendant.
    After filing your complaint with the court, you must inform the defendant that you have filed a lawsuit against them. This process is formally known as ‘serving the complaint,’ and you must follow strict guidelines in order for the court to consider the document properly served.

  • The Defendant files an answer to your complaint.
    This answer will likely include admission or denial of the factual allegations laid out in your complaint and set forward any legal defenses.

  • Discovery.
    Once the complaint and answer have been filed in court, both parties will request and exchange information. This process is known as discovery. During this phase, you may be asked to produce documents, answer to written questions, or undergo depositions related to the case. The defendant will also have the opportunity to do the same.

  • Trial.
    Once discovery is complete, both sides will compile and present their arguments to a judge or jury. Both the Plaintiff and Defendant will be given the opportunity to present evidence, produce witnesses, cross-examine the witnesses of the opposing party, present experts, etc. Once the trial is closed, the judge or jury will deliberate and issue a verdict in favor of either the Plaintiff or Defendant based on a ‘preponderance of evidence’ supporting their claim, and a judgment will be entered, including an amount in compensation, if any.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit in California may seem simple, but in fact requires a significant amount of skill and experience. Do not expect that you will be able to file a successful lawsuit on your own. Consult with a qualified car accident lawyer, who will guide you through the complex process.