Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Can I Get Compensation for my Whiplash Injury?

| Read Time: 2 minutes

There are many different ways a car accident can cause injuries. These include broken bones, cuts, burns, and soft tissue injuries like whiplash. Whiplash refers to any painful neck injury. It can result from stretching and strains to the tendons, ligaments, or muscles in the neck. Whiplash occurs when the head is violently “whipped” forward and back or vice versa. This is where the name whiplash comes from. It is common for car accident victims to suffer whiplash. The injury may be severe enough to seek treatment for the condition. Doctors may treat whiplash among other things with prescription medication, physical therapy, electrical stimulation, or chiropractic manipulations. To limit movements, doctors may order a cervical collar while the patient recovers from whiplash. Yes, If Another Party was At Fault for your Accident You may recover compensation for your medical bills and expenses through a personal injury claim. To do this, you must demonstrate the following: Another party had the duty to take reasonable care to prevent an accident. In a car accident claim, this refers to the duty to obey posted speed limits, traffic signs, and avoid breaking other traffic laws; The party somehow breached his or her duty to prevent an accident. Speeding, driving drunk, following too closely, and texting while driving are examples of this type of breach; By breaching his or her duty to others, the driver caused an accident that resulted in your injuries; and The driver caused injury in terms of medical expenses or loss of earnings. In California, most accidents victims have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. File your personal injury claim ahead of this deadline. Give yourself and your lawyer sufficient time to negotiate an appropriate settlement. Recovering Compensation for your Whiplash Damages You can demonstrate that your injuries and financial damages were the direct result of another party’s negligence by providing evidence showing how the accident occurred and how it caused you to be injured. Evidence you can use to support your claim includes: Photographs of the accident; The official police report for the accident; Eyewitness testimonies of the accident; Documentation showing when you were out of work, what you earn, and the amount of earnings you missed because you were out to recover; Your medical bills; and Commentary from your doctor discussing the injury and your prognosis. Work with an Experienced Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer If an accident that could have been prevented if another party had taken greater care to reduce the likelihood of it happening caused injuries, you can seek compensation for your related monetary damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about your rights, your legal options, and how to move forward with your claim, contact The Beliz Law Firm today to set up your free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. Call us at 562-452-3772.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Auto Accident Laws in California

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Laws vary from state to state. Federal laws are applicable in all 50 states. Laws on employment discrimination and immigration can be both from the federal and state. States are responsible for creating the rules of conduct within the state. These usually include laws about civil conduct and criminal offenses. A person involved in a car accident in California should understand the state’s car accident laws. Some states’ laws are very similar to California’s and others are wildly different. Familiarize yourself with the Golden State’s car accident laws. Then, you’ll know what to do if a driver injures you in an accident. California is an at Fault State for Car Accident Claims A victim can seek compensation for any resulting damages from a car accident. They do this through a personal injury claim against the negligent party. In some states, this is not the case. The victim must use personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for these expenses. When a California driver is negligent, he or she is liable for any damages that result from his or her negligence. In a car accident situation, the victim must be able to prove that the crash was the other driver’s fault. It must be a direct result of another party’s failure to take reasonable care to prevent the accident. Reasonable care to prevent an accident can be as simple as driving the speed limit or coming to a full stop at a red light or to traffic. Negligence can also mean simply acting in an unsafe manner while driving. This includes things such as failure to yield, following too closely, unsafe left-hand turn, text messaging, or driving drunk. Through a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for the following damages: Your medical bills; Your lost wages; and Your pain and suffering damages. Including all noneconomic damages like emotional distress and reduced quality of life. California Automobile Insurance Requirements In California, drivers are required to carry at least the following in car insurance: $15,000 in liability coverage for injury or death to one person; $30,000 in liability coverage for injury or death to multiple people in one incident; and $5,000 in liability coverage for property damage. Drivers can also insure themselves. When a driver shows proof of self-insurance, they can receive a self-insurance certificate. You can find this at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. You can comply with California’s insurance requirements in one of two ways. Either buy a $35,000 surety bond from a party licensed to operate in California or make a $35,000 cash deposit with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in California The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is usually two years from the date of the accident. This applies to private parties only, however. An insurance claim is not a lawsuit. Generally, the preferred course of action is to file a claim and reach a settlement privately. When this does not result in an appropriate settlement for the victim, he or she can file a lawsuit to have the case heard in court. The victim must file this lawsuit within two years of the accident that caused the injury. For this reason, most lawyers advise victims to be proactive. It’s important to start moving on your claim as soon as possible. When the Government is Responsible for your Accident, the Rules are Different The above statute of limitations only applies to claims against private parties. If a government entity’s negligence caused your accident, the statute of limitations for your case is six months. There are a few different ways the government can be the negligent party in your accident. A few examples include: An accident caused by a pothole or another hazard on a public road that the municipal, county, or state government should have removed or repaired; A collision with a public transportation vehicle, such as a bus; and A collision that resulted from a confusing or poorly planned roadway. A road might have an acceleration ramp that is too short or bends in a way that drivers cannot see oncoming traffic. When a roadway’s design makes it dangerous, the government entity charged with maintaining that area of roadway is liable for damages victims suffer as a result. If someone is facing injury because of a government entity’s negligence, he or she needs to file a claim under the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA). The victim must file the claim against the various government agencies that may be negligent. California is a Pure Comparative Negligence State You can still recover compensation for your damages even if you were partially at fault for the collision. If you are negligent and the negligence was a substantial factor to the harm caused to you, then the damages are reduced by the percentage of your responsibility. For example, if you are 10 percent at fault and you received a $100,000 in a jury trial, the amount of compensation you can recover is reduced by 10 percent. In this scenario, you can only recover up to $90,000. If You Do Not Have Auto Insurance You Cannot Recover Compensation for Non-Economic Damages California Law prevents those who do not have insurance from recovering non-economic damages, which are basically your pain and suffering damages. If you are driving a vehicle on California roadways, you want to have automobile insurance. Remember auto insurance gives you the opportunity to collect both economic and non-economic damages. This means you will be able to recover compensation for the entirety of your injuries. While non-economic damages are for your pain and suffering, economic damage includes lost wages and medical bills, in addition to any loss of earnings. No auto insurance means you will be severely limited in your recovery. You will be only able to recover for just economic damages, basically, items that you can prove with a receipt. Work with an Experienced Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer After an injury accident, the person who caused the crash may...

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Dealing with Concussions from Car Accidents

| Read Time: 3 minutes

A concussion, also called a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is one of the more common injuries you may sustain in a car accident. While some concussions are minor and cause relatively few problems, others can be quite debilitating and may cause long-term issues. Concussions, like any head injury, are serious. A doctor should monitor them closely. Signs of a Head Injury After a Car Accident A concussion is a brain injury that can occur any time you hit your head, or even from whiplash. The symptoms of a concussion may be immediate or could develop up to several weeks after your car accident. Seek medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms: Confusion Memory problems Sleepiness Headache Dizziness Blurred or double vision Sensitivity to light and sound Nausea or vomiting Losing consciousness It can be difficult to detect the signs of a concussion in young children because they are not always able to communicate what they are experiencing. See a doctor right away if your child got in a car accident and shows any of the following symptoms: Extreme drowsiness Excessive crying or irritability Slurred speech Strange behavior Vomiting Confusion Vision or balance difficulties Delayed reactions Long-Term Effects of Concussions Most concussion symptoms will dissipate within a few days. However, a serious concussion can hang around for months, continuing to cause headaches, dizziness, and confusion. Some people may suffer long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. Concussions can be particularly dangerous if you have suffered a previous concussion or another head injury. Subsequent concussions are more likely to cause permanent brain damage. Treating and Managing a Concussion There is no cure for a concussion. However, the best medicine for any head injury is rest. Rest is absolutely necessary for your brain to heal, so be careful not to overexert yourself physically or mentally. Reduce lighting and noise in your home while you recover. Although your family and friends may be anxious to visit you after a car accident, keep socializing to a minimum for a few days. A low-stimulus environment is most conducive to MTBI recovery. Acetaminophen may be helpful for lingering concussion headaches but avoid ibuprofen and aspirin. Your doctor may also prescribe other medications for pain and nausea. Do not consume alcohol during your recovery period. As always, follow your doctor’s orders closely and ask before making changes or beginning a new treatment. You will want to avoid activities that involve concentration and problem-solving. For this reason, your doctor may recommend you take time off from work or school. As you recover, you should slowly and gradually increase the amount of “mental work” you are doing. This includes “easy” tasks like reading, texting, and playing games. When you return to work or school, remember to take frequent breaks. Try to find a quiet place to lay your head down and nap if possible. Get in Touch with a Long Beach Personal Injury Attorney If you or a loved faces a head injury after a car accident, contact the Beliz Law Firm in Long Beach, California for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Call us anytime at (562) 452-3772.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Is the Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Claim?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Drunk driving remains a serious public safety problem in California. According to the most recent data from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), more than 1,000 people were killed in DUI crashes in the state in 2017. Many thousands more innocent victims suffered severe, even life-changing injuries in wholly avoidable DUI accidents. When a drunk driver hits you, it is a trying experience, especially if there are serious injuries. As you recover from injuries, it is natural to think about recovering compensation from the drunk driver who hit you. You have to consider medical bills, rehabilitation costs, missed work, and more. This raises an important question: But how much can you expect to recover? The truth is, each drunk driving accident claim is different. In that sense, there is no true ‘average’ drunk driving accident settlement amount. Each case is fact specific. However you deserve the maximum available compensation, to pay for your medical bills, cover for your lost of earnings, and the pains you have suffered. At The Beliz Law Firm, our top-rated Long Beach, CA drunk driving accident lawyer is standing by, ready to fight for your rights. Car accident lawyer Michael Beliz can help you understand what your case is worth. Consultations are always free – reach out today. Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Claim in California After an injury in a car accident, the driver at fault for the accident may be liable for your injuries. In some cases, the person that caused the accident was driving under the influence. If that happens to you, there is a good chance the other driver owes you compensation. An accident involving a drunk driver can often yield a higher settlement or judgment than a case in which the driver at fault was not impaired. However, the value of any personal injury or wrongful death claim depends on the case. Is There a Normal Drunk Driving Personal Injury Settlement? There is no “normal” settlement for car accident injuries caused by a drunk driver. In California, some personal injury awards are more than a million dollars. Other cases settle for under $10,000. The compensation owed in your personal injury case depends on many factors. They include the severity and permanence of your injuries, the economic loss you suffered, and the degree of comparative fault. The defendant’s insurance coverage and ability to pay will also play a large role in the value of a settlement. How Do We Calculate Damages in Personal Injury Cases There are two kinds of damages in personal injury cases: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages compensate an injured person for his loss. We categorize these into economic (special) and non-economic (general) damages. Special damages are those that have a specific dollar amount. These include current and future medical bills and expenses, lost wages or earning capacity, property damages, and anything else that cost the injured person money. General damages do not have a tangible economic cost but still deserve compensation. Non-economic damages compensate for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. There is no formula to use to calculate the amount of general damages. Your injuries and your story determine damages. Punitive damages (also called exemplary damages) punish the defendant for extreme neglect or bad behavior. To award punitive damages, California law requires the defendant must have “willfully and deliberately failed” to avoid the known consequences of his negligence. Not every drunk driving personal injury case will include punitive damages. In some cases, however, juries have awarded millions of dollars in punitive damages to the families of those killed by an intoxicated driver. CALIFORNIA DUI ACCIDENTS: HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR COMPENSATORY DAMAGES Whether you are seeking compensation for direct economic losses — such as medical bills, lost wages, etc — or you are seeking compensation for non-economic damages — such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or emotional distress — it is crucial that your damages are properly documented and effectively presented. Ultimately, compensatory damages must be tied to your losses. To obtain compensation through a settlement or personal injury verdict, your claim should be carefully documented with strong supporting evidence either through receipts, bills, photos, etc. Indeed, the key to obtaining successful results in the personal injury settlement process often lies in the evidence. Notably, the large insurance companies that typically defend DUI accident claims have a well-established reputation for being highly aggressive. It is rare that these insurers will lead with their best and final settlement offer at the beginning of the negotiation process. Their fundamental goal is to settle drunk driving accident claims for the lowest amount possible and as quickly as possible. Insurers train their representatives to look for any information that they can use against plaintiffs in order to reduce a personal injury settlement. For this and other reasons, it is highly recommended that you deal with the insurance company through a top-rated Long Beach car accident attorney. Your attorney will make sure that your interests are protected. WHEN CAN YOU RECOVER PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN A CALIFORNIA DUI ACCIDENT CASE? Punitive damages will only be awarded in cases where there was gross negligence or extraordinarily reckless misconduct by the defendant. In DUI accident cases, California courts are instructed to look to the state’s statutes on punitive/exemplary damages (Civil Code § 3294). What is notable is that California requires plaintiffs to present ‘clear and compelling’ evidence in seeking punitive damages. This is a significantly higher legal threshold than the ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard that is used for compensatory damages. In order to recover punitive damages for a drunk driving accident, you must be able to clearly demonstrate that the defendant (the intoxicated driver) was grossly negligent or willfully reckless. The worse the behavior of the defendant, the more likely punitive damages are to be awarded. An example of willfully reckless behavior is a prior DUI conviction. If you are considering seeking punitive damages in your case, it is imperative that you seek guidance from an experienced Long...

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Serious Car Accident Injuries You May Face After a Crash

| Read Time: 3 minutes

After a car crash, the extent of injuries that you may incur depends on different factors. What position were you in when the crash occurred? How fast were the vehicles traveling at impact? What was the angle and position of the crash? Were you wearing a seatbelt? These factors will impact the extent of your injuries. Serious car accident injuries are most common in head-on collisions, when occupants are not wearing seatbelts, or when vehicles are traveling at high speeds. Some of the most serious car accident injuries include: Spinal Cord Injuries The spinal cord is one of the most important and most delicate systems in the body. It is responsible for transmitting messages between the brain and other systems. It is thanks to your spinal cord that you can walk, pick up a book, or even control when you go to the bathroom. The spinal column protects the spinal cord. It is a collection of vertebrae that form the shape of your spine. While these vertebrae are very strong, an accident can cause serious trauma. Damage to vertebrae can be serious enough to affect the spinal cord. If the accident impacts the spinal cord, the result is permanent partial or complete paralysis. Traumatic Brain Injuries Another type of serious injury that car accident victims may face are traumatic brain injuries or TBIs. There are multiple types of traumatic brain injuries. This type of injury may occur from several types of collisions, including: A hard hit directly to the head Violent shakes or whipping back and forth Oxygen deprivation (less common in car accidents) Cuts or lacerations from contact with sharp objects. Some traumatic brain injuries will heal with time. Others will leave a victim with long-term complications. This may affect cognition, memory, learning, sensation, speech, and emotions. Serious Injuries to Extremities A person may also suffer serious injuries to their extremities as a result of a car accident. Soft tissues injuries, fracture injuries, and amputation injuries can all be very serious, and may permanently impair a person’s mobility. An injury to an extremity may also cause permanent nerve damage, weakening or paralyzing the affected part of the body. Back Injuries One of the most common types of car crashes is to the rear of your vehicle. Rear end car accidents may shake you backward and forwards. This pushes your body against the seat and seatbelt and can injure your back. This forceful movement may cause disc bulges and protrusion to your spinal column. If the bulges and protrusions are too severe for physical therapy, the remedy may be epidural injections or surgery. Psychological Injuries Car accident victims are often very seriously injured, but they may also be psychologically injured too. Psychological injuries can be very challenging to live with. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder can all be as limiting as physical injuries. Our Attorneys Are Here To Help You Seek Compensation A serious injury from a car accident can change your life. We know that nothing can give you back what you have lost. Hopefully, receiving a fair compensation amount can you with a small portion of what you need to improve your future. At the offices of The Beliz Law Firm, our Long Beach car accident attorneys care about you. You can schedule a consultation with our law firm, free of charge, by sending us a message.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Car Accident Injury Symptoms You May Overlook

| Read Time: 2 minutes

Car accidents can lead to traumatic injuries that are easy to detect. For example, a broken leg is not only incredibly painful but may even be evident to the naked eye. Similarly, a puncture wound or laceration is both painful to the victim and obvious for others to see. But not all car accident injuries have such evident symptoms. In fact, there are a handful of car accident injury symptoms that you might overlook. Consider the following injuries and their symptoms, and if you are in a car accident, be sure to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Concussions Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be difficult to diagnose. This is true because they are not painful to the victim. The symptoms can appear mild to both the victim and others. If you or someone you love has any of the following systems following a car accident, it could be a concussion or closed head injury: Headache; Ringing in the ears (tinnitus); Dizziness; Fatigue; Confusion; Nausea or vomiting; Slurred speech; Sensitivity to light; Depression; Crying; Trouble sleeping; and More – you can read a full list of symptoms at MayoClinic.org . Whiplash and Other Soft Tissue Injuries Soft tissue injuries may have few symptoms, especially when they first occur. It may take a day or two for the pain and discomfort of a whiplash injury to really set in. Some signs of a soft tissue injury may demand medical attention, but a car accident victim may dismiss as insignificant, include: Swelling; Bruising; Discoloration of skin at injury site; Muscle spasms; Muscle weakness; Limited mobility; and Pain. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Emotional Disorders If you develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or another emotional disorder following a car accident, it can be easy to dismiss the systems of these as “normal” or as “unrelated” to the crash. For example, feeling stressed about the claims process is standard. Being afraid to ever enter a car again, is not. And scary flashbacks are certainly not normal. You may dismiss symptoms like avoiding people or places, depression, lack of desire to do things you used to love, difficulty sleeping, feeling jumping, and being easily agitated. However, these symptoms could be indicative of something more serious that you should seek professional help for. Contact Our Long Beach Car Accident Attorneys After a Crash After a car crash in Long Beach or elsewhere, the most important thing that you should do is seek medical care. If you develop symptoms of a concussion, a soft tissue injury, or a psychological injury, do not hesitate to meet with a medical professional. Not all injuries are acute, traumatic, and obvious. Some injuries take the time to show themselves, but they are no less serious. At the offices of The Beliz Law Firm, our experienced Long Beach car accident attorneys want to help you recover the compensation award you deserve for all of your injuries. To learn more, contact us for a free consultation today.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

How Do You Handle a Back Injury After a Car Accident?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

One of the most common areas of injury in a car accident is the back. Direct force may cause the injury. Or, the accident may snap the victim’s body in an unnatural position. Either way, the injuries are often serious. How you handle your back injury after a car accident will depend entirely on the extent of the injury. Some injuries may require taking it easier than normal (but never bed rest!) and mobility exercises. Others may require intensive surgeries and have permanent consequences, such as paralysis. In all cases, though, the following are smart steps to take if you have hurt your back in a crash– See a Doctor You should promptly see a doctor. Even if you’re back only hurts when in a certain position, you want to get checked out. Of course, if you need emergency attention, you will see a doctor immediately. Your doctor will diagnose your back injury using a variety of methods. These include physical examinations, x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or other diagnostic tools. Go to Treatment Doctors usually prescribe the most conservative method possible to treat your back injuries. In many incidents, a doctor will first prescribe rest and pain medication. If the pains do not subside, the doctor may then send you to physical therapy or chiropractor. If the pains are more severe, your doctor may refer you out to an orthopedic or neurosurgeon. The specialist may need further diagnostic testing like an MRI of the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spines. The next most conservative treatment is a series of three epidural shots directly into the spine. The final type of treatment is surgery on the back. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders If your doctor recommends that you refrain from lifting heavy things for two weeks, do not go to the gym and attempt to deadlift. They may also suggest that you go to physical therapy twice a week Sign up and actually attend. Your doctor tells you that you can return to your daily activities as normal, but that you should pay attention to things that cause you pain. Follow these instructions closely and go back to the doctor if necessary. Not following your doctor’s orders is a bad idea for two reasons: First, your doctor is an expert. If you do not follow a prescribed treatment plan, your injury may not heal as fast as it would otherwise. Second, it can cause problems with your claim. The adjuster may argue that your injuries have worsened or failed to heal as a result of your own negligence. File a Claim and/or Lawsuit It is important that you notify the other person’s insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. You want to open your claim right away. A demand letter states why you deserve compensation. You need to serve this to the other person’s insurance company. It must include details about your back injury. And medical evidence should support your claim. Many back cases become very litigious due to the dispute of the causation of the injuries. Therefore, you may need to file a lawsuit in the court system so you may receive fair compensation for your injuries and pains. Hire an Attorney Your attorney can help you to gather the evidence that you need for pursuing a successful claim. They can write a demand letter to the insurance company and negotiate for a settlement amount. Working with an attorney improves your chances of recovering your maximum compensation award. At The Beliz Law Firm, our knowledgeable Long Beach car accident attorneys have experience handling back injury claims. We care about helping you to get the money you deserve after a crash. Whether your back injury is severe and expected to affect you for the rest of your life, or just serious enough to cause you pain and impair you from doing household chores for a short amount of time, we can help.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

How To Reject an Insurance Offer for a Car Accident

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Getting help as soon as possible is important after a car crash. Personal injury lawyer Michael Beliz provides free consultations. Reach out today if you need help. Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer? If you have been in a car accident and followed the proper procedures for filing a claim, then the next step is waiting for the car insurance adjuster to offer you a settlement. Settlement offers offer compensation for your injuries and damages. They also “settle” or “end” your claim. By accepting the settlement, you also release the insurer and driver from further liability. Most people assume they have no option but to accept an insurance company’s offer. Even if they think that it is lower than they deserve, they feel pressure to accept. However, this is not the case. In fact, rejecting the first settlement offer almost always happens. Here is what you need to know about how to reject an insurance settlement offer for a car accident– Step One: Determine What Your Accident Is Worth When you make a claim through the other party’s insurance company, you should know the claim’s value. If you have not met with a legal professional who can help you determine the value of your claim, now is the time to do so. You and your attorney should work together to determine the amount of compensation that you are willing to accept. To find this, you should calculate: Past and Future medical expenses; Lost wages and lost of earning capacity; Property damage; and Noneconomic damages (e.g. pain and suffering damages) you have suffered. Step Two: Make a Demand for Compensation in Writing You want to put all the details of the your accident and your losses in a writing. This writing is a Demand Letter, and should include the following: How the accident took occurred; Reason why the insurance driver is negligent for the accident; A summary of your damages; and Your demand amount. In addition to a Demand Letter, you want to put together a Demand Package. A Demand Package consists of documents to make your claim stronger. The documents should include the following: Traffic Collision Report; your medical records and bills; loss of earning receipts; and photos of the accident scene and your injuries. The point of the Demand Letter and Package is to persuade the other person’s insurance company to compensate you for your injuries. Step Three: Negotiate After the insurance adjuster receives your Demand Letter and Demand Package, they will likely contact you by either phone or mail. The insurance adjuster will accept the demand, reject the demand, or offer you a compensation amount lower than your demand amount. This is when the negotiations process begins. This is where you need to understand and know the value of your claim. When negotiating, you will always want to start out high since you will probably have to compromise and lower your demand during talks with the insurance company. You also need to know the minimum amount you will accept. Negotiations may last days, weeks, or even months. It depends upon the nature of your case and how much you are seeking. If you cannot reach a settlement agreement, you may have to engage in mediations with a third party. Finally, you may have to file a lawsuit and take your case to court. Again, you should work with an attorney during the negotiations process. An experienced attorney will bring negotiation skills to the table. They will represent you and speak on your behalf during the process. Our Law Firm Can Help You Reject a Low Settlement Offer It is common to receive a settlement offer that is lower than you expect. But you don’t have to accept that first settlement offer from the insurance company. Our law firm can help you to reject this offer and negotiate for one that matches the extent of your losses. Long Beach car accident lawyer Michael Beliz is ready to talk. Call us today at (562)452-3772 to schedule your free consultation.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

How Does Compensation Work for a Shared Liability Car Accident in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

In California, the at-fault party for an auto accident is responsible for damages. The theory is straightforward in concept. However, it often becomes far more complicated in reality. There are many confounding factors that can make car accident liability difficult to calculate and assign. For example, what happens when two or more drivers share blame for the same crash? Here, our Long Beach car accident lawyers will discuss this issue and explain California’s comparative fault rules. California is a Pure Comparative Negligence State The History Prior to 1975, liability for California car accidents was assigned under an ‘all or nothing’ standard of contributory negligence. If a car accident victim was responsible for even a small part of their own crash, they could not pursue recovery. In the case of Li v. Yellow Cab Co., the Supreme Court of California issued the decision that dropped the ‘all or nothing’ standard. The Court replaced the old rules for pure comparative fault rules. Comparative Negligence Explained Negligence is the failure to take due care in the course of action. A driver can be negligent for many different reasons, from speeding to distraction. If a driver’s negligence contributed to a crash, then that driver is at least partially liable for the resulting damages or injuries. This is where comparative negligence rules come into play. California’s comparative negligence standard states that the percentage of fault defines liability. For example, imagine that two drivers collided in an accident on Interstate 405. In total, the crash caused $100,000 of damage. After assessing the case, a Jury finds one driver at-fault for 90 percent of the accident. The second driver is responsible for the remaining 10 percent. In this circumstance, the first driver would be liable for $90,000 worth of damages. The other driver is responsible for the remaining $10,000. Shared Liability Examples Shared fault in an accident is incredibly common. In fact, it could be argued that most accidents involve some degree of proportional responsibility. Here are some examples of accidents that are caused by the fault of two parties: Four-way stop crash Consider a situation in which two drivers arrive at a four-way stop at the same time. One driver intends to pass straight through the intersection; the other is planning on making a left-hand turn. Rather than waiting to see which driver is going to proceed or yielding the right of way, both drivers immediately proceed through the intersection. Another example is a crash in which both drivers actually signal to the other driver to proceed, and in the confusion, both proceed and hit each other. Distracted driving and speeding crash Consider a crash in which a texting driver fails to signal before changing lanes, side-swiping the vehicle to its right. The driver in the side-swiped vehicle suffers serious injuries. Initially, it would appear that the texting driver is wholly to blame. However, a review of the evidence unveils that the side-swiped driver was traveling much too fast at the time of the accident – 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. As such, both drivers may be found comparatively negligent for the damages that resulted from the crash. Pedestrian and distracted driver crash The notion that the pedestrian ‘always has the right of way’ is untrue; drivers often have the right of way (although most drivers will yield if not doing so means hitting a pedestrian). Consider a situation in which a driver is proceeding through an intersection, and takes a moment to look down at an incoming text. At exactly that moment, the pedestrian may not have the right of way steps off the curb, directly into the driver’s path. Even though the driver had the right of way, they breached their duty to others on the road by driving while distracted, meaning both parties could be to blame. Compensation for a Shared Liability Accident Apportionment of liability becomes extremely important in shared fault auto accident claims. If you are assigned even a few extra percentage points of the blame for a wreck, you could lose thousands of dollar of compensation. Do not let this happen to you. You need to protect yourself and your family. Contact an aggressive car accident attorney after a serious car accident. Especially if the other party disputes liability. Your attorney will review the specific facts of your case. Then they’ll determine what to do to protect you from an unjust share of the blame. What if I Disagree with a Fault Determination in a Shared Liability Car Accident? It’s very possible that the insurance adjuster(s) responsible for investigating your case may reach a conclusion about the fault that you do not agree with and therefore offer you a settlement that is reflective of your supposed proportional fault that you do not think is fair. When this is the case, you have the right to reject a settlement offer and renegotiate your compensation award. You also have the right to reject the settlement and file a lawsuit for compensation. However, keep in mind that if your case goes to trial, you will need strong evidence in your favor in order for a court to side with you to overcome the defense’s point of view based on their investigation. Our law firm strongly urges you to hire an experienced car accident settlements lawyer if you have not already done so at the point in the process when you are considering going to trial. Request Your Free Consultation Now The Beliz Law Firm has experience handling California accident claims. This includes complex cases involving shared liability. If another driver injured you in a crash, you deserve help. Our lawyer will do as much as possible to help you understand what has shared liability and to maximize the amount of compensation you receive by proving the fault of the other party to the greatest degree possible. Please call our Long Beach office today at (562) 452-3772. Schedule your free, no-obligation initial case evaluation.

Continue Reading

Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Can I Expect from a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Before you hire an attorney to represent you for your auto accident claim, you should schedule a free consultation. Nearly all auto accident lawyers offer cost-free consultations, in which you can ask the attorney any questions that you may have about the claim process, as well as his or her experience in car accident law. It is important that you enter your free consultation prepared. Here are a few things that you should expect during your initial meeting– Expect to Talk About the Details of Your Crash and Your Injuries It can be emotional to talk about the details of your crash, your medical treatment, and any injuries from which you are still suffering. However, during a free consultation with a car accident lawyer, talking about the details is critical. You should be prepared to not only talk about the specifics of the collision and your injuries but also to provide documents or evidence related to your case like a traffic collision report, your auto insurance declaration page, medical records and photos of the property damage to your vehicle. Remember, the details of your consultation are completely confidential, and you should feel comfortable relaying facts in your consultation. Expect to Ask Questions Our attorney will provide you with time to ask any questions that you may have. It is important that you ask questions relevant to your case. In addition, you want to get information about the attorney because you want to work with someone who is experienced and successful in his or her profession. Some questions to ask include: How many years have you been practicing car accident law? What percentage of your work is in personal injury law? In auto accident law? What is your educational background? Are you a member of The State Bar of California? How do you charge your clients? How much will I owe you? Do I have to pay for the costs of my case? You should also ask questions that are specific to your case, such as: What are the steps in the claim process? How long will my case take to settle? What is my auto accident claim worth? Can you refer me to medical providers for my injuries? Can you help me resolve the property damage to my car? Why is hiring an attorney in my best interest? Expect to Wait a Few Days Before Making a Decision At the conclusion of your auto accident lawyer free consultation, you are under no obligation to hire the attorney right then, or even at all. In fact, you should take a couple of days to think about what you want to do next, understanding that pursuing a claim is a big commitment. In many cases, the attorney may also want to review the details of your claim before he or she agrees to take it on. If for some reason the attorney is unable to handle your claim, he or she may be able to refer you to another, experienced legal professional. Schedule Your California Auto Accident Lawyer Free Consultation Today At the Beliz Law Firm, our Long Beach auto accident attorneys know that when you are injured in a car crash, you want answers. We provide confidential, free consultations to those in Long Beach, Westminster, and the rest of California.We give you an opportunity to get some of the information you need. If you are ready to learn more, please contact us today. We provide after-hours and weekend consultations and are available to take your call 24 hours a day. Reach us now online or at 562-452-3772.

Continue Reading