Westminster Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents happen every day. Sometimes, you manage to walk away uninjured. Others, your entire life changes in an instant. You can become permanently disabled, lose a loved one, or rack up medical debt that would take you a lifetime to pay off. If that sounds like you, you have options.
If you need a Westminster car accident attorney, contact the Beliz Law Firm today. Our firm opened in 2011, but our attorney, Michael A. Beliz, has been practicing personal injury law since 2006. We have the experience to guide you and the tenacity to fight to get what you need.
Case Spotlight$6,015,000 Settlement amount
Case type: Motorcycle vs. Truck Accident
The Beliz Law Firm settled a case for a client that was involved with a motorcycle versus truck accident. The client was riding as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle. The motorcycle rider and the client were traveling along a single lane roadway in Orange County, California.
They entered a right turn lane when a driver in a work truck took a right turn through the turn lane from the single lane roadway and crashed into the motorcycle. The client suffered major physical body injuries that included fractures to the client’s ribs, shoulder, back, hip and ankle. The initial traffic collision report by law enforcement stated that the cause of the collision was due to the negligence of the motorcyclist.
The Beliz Law Firm was retained days after the collision. Investigators and experts were hired to determine the speed of the motorcycle and the positioning of the vehicles on the roadway. The Beliz Law Firm retained an orthopedic surgeon, a neurosurgeon, a plastic surgeon and a pain management doctor to deal with the client’s physical injuries and pains. After leaving the hospital, an in-home physical therapist was brought in to start the client’s road to recovery.
Eventually, the client gained the strength to present to an outpatient physical therapy program. The lawsuit against the truck company and motorcyclist was filed within ninety days of the collision. Depositions of the truck driver, motorcyclist, and witnesses showed negligence on the part of the trucking company. An animation video was produced that detailed how the collision took place. A Power Point presentation was made that showed every injury and surgery that the client received.
The case marched towards a trial date. Expert depositions were taken that revealed to the truck company the scope of the current and future medical needs of the client. The truck company requested mediation. After a full day of negotiating, all parties came to an agreement.
The Beliz Law Firm settled the client’s case for $6,015,000.00.
How Do You Build a Case?
When you get into a car accident, your number one priority is the health and safety of yourself and anyone with you. After the initial shock, you may begin to wonder whether you have a legal claim. An experienced auto accident lawyer like Michael Beliz can guide you through deciding whether you have a claim and how to build your case.
The first step in any car accident case is to gather evidence about the accident and the harm done to you. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If you have to miss work, keep track of absences. The sooner you contact an attorney who can help you focus on the most important pieces of evidence for your case, the better. That said, you can certainly get started before you meet with us for the first time.
Crafting a Legal Theory
After you have a good idea of what happened and evidence to prove it, you need to develop a legal theory for the case. In other words, you need to put together an argument for why you should recover compensation after your accident.
Naturally, your lawyer will do the heavy lifting at this stage. As they work on their theory of the case, they should regularly check in with you. A good lawyer applies their knowledge and experience to advise you but, ultimately, keeps you in the driver’s seat.
Many personal injury cases involve negligence. In legalese, to show negligence, you have to prove four elements:
1. Duty — the other person, the defendant, had a legal duty towards you, the plaintiff;
2. Breach — the defendant breached their duty through action or inaction;
3. Causation — as a result of the breach, the defendant actually and proximately caused you to be injured; and
4. Damages — you were harmed or injured by the other person.
To win a legal claim and recover compensation based on someone else’s negligence, you have to convince a judge or jury that:
- You suffered tangible harm;
- Someone else caused your harm by doing or failing to do something;
- The injury would not have happened if they had behaved differently;
- That person was under a legal obligation to act carefully toward you; and
- The person failed to act with appropriate care.
Legally, many negligence cases focus on causation and breach. The defendant often argues they were acting carefully or they did not cause your injury based on statutes and past cases. Factually, the extent of the harm done to you is often hotly contested.
The defendant might try to convince the judge or jury that you were responsible for your own injury. Even if they do, California is what we call a “comparative fault” state. Even if the judge or jury concludes you were 99% responsible for your own injury, you can still recover compensation equal to 1% of the harm you experienced.
Other legal theories
Although negligence is the most common legal claim in personal injury lawsuits, you may sometimes have other claims. Particularly, if the defendant hurt you on purpose or because they were behaving flippantly toward the risk of harm to others, you might have a claim of gross negligence.
Filing a Lawsuit
You have to file a lawsuit within two years of the date of your injury. Depending on the timing and the defendant’s behavior, you might try to negotiate a settlement before filing anything in court. However, officially filing a lawsuit can be the spark to light the fire to encourage negotiation.
When you file, your lawyer will again do the heavy lifting. But we run what we file before you first to ensure everything is accurate and consistent with how you want the case to go.
What Can You Recover?
When you sue, what you can recover is based primarily on what the harm you experienced adds up to. In other words, how much compensation you can expect to get depends on how much your injury has cost you. Your lawyer can help you determine how much to request and what you can reasonably expect to receive based on the unique circumstances.
We call your compensation “damages” and split it into two categories: economic and noneconomic. To the extent money can, damages are meant to right the wrong done to you. Economic damages include provable monetary losses, like:
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages, and
- Property repairs.
Noneconomic damages are more subjective losses, like:
- Pain and suffering,
- Inconvenience, and
- Loss of companionship.
In situations involving gross negligence or criminal misconduct, you may also be able to recover punitive or exemplary damages. These damages are designed to punish and make an example of people who behave badly.
Most cases that enter litigation resolve before going to trial. Although we do not shy away from trial when necessary, securing a settlement for our clients is often at the top of our, and their, priority list. Having an experienced Westminster car accident lawyer is invaluable in settlement negotiations. We can help you decide what to ask for, tell you when an insurance company is trying to lowball you, and help you get the best deal you can.
Talk to a Westminster Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents are an extraordinarily common event that can result in devastatingly serious consequences. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you may be lost, trying to focus on recovery while bills pile up. Reach out to the Beliz Law Firm to learn more about your options and get a free case review from a car accident lawyer in Westminster.
What Else Should You Look For Westminster Car Accident Lawyer
When you’re looking for the best legal representation for your personal injury case, you want to find someone you can trust.