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Lake Elsinore Car Accident Lawyer

Lake Elsinore Car Accident Lawyer

Lake Elsinore, CA Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents can happen unexpectedly for countless reasons, and unfortunately, some of these incidents are life-changing experiences for those involved. Resolving any accident can be very difficult, especially when liability is unclear, or the drivers involved disagree as to how the accident happened. California upholds the fault rule when it comes to resolving these disputes, so it’s necessary for the parties involved to determine fault before they can settle any resulting claims for damages.

Compassionate Legal Counsel for Car Accident Cases in Lake Elsinore, CA

If you or a family member recently experienced a car accident due to the actions of another driver, you have the right to seek accountability for the damages you suffered. Your efforts to secure compensation for these damages are likely to include an auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver along with a personal injury case. While it’s possible to attempt these recovery efforts on your own, you have a much better chance of securing optimal results when you have an experienced Lake Elsinore car accident attorney handling your legal affairs on your behalf.

The team at Karlin & Karlin can provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need to approach your recovery efforts after a car accident with confidence and peace of mind. Throughout the years of our firm’s operation in the Lake Elsinore area, we have successfully represented many past clients in a wide range of civil claims, including those arising from unexpected car accidents. Time is a critical concern for anyone who intends to file a personal injury claim for any reason in the Lake Elsinore area, so it’s ideal to consult legal counsel you can trust as soon as possible after an accident and preserve your right to claim compensation from the at-fault driver.

How to Prove Liability for Your Car Accident in Lake Elsinore, CA

The fault rule requires proving liability for a car accident before an injured driver can secure any type of compensation for their losses. The exact method of proving fault for your accident will depend on the nature of the accident you experienced. Most claimants will require a combination of material evidence, witness testimony, and input from expert witnesses. A few of the most commonly cited causes of car accidents that lead to complex legal proceedings in the Lake Elsinore area include:

  • Distraction behind the wheel. Distracted driving is the leading cause of car crashes throughout the United States each year. Cell phone use behind the wheel has been banned in the state, yet this behavior continues to be the most commonly reported form of distracted driving that causes accidents throughout the state. Your Lake Elsinore car accident attorney can help obtain the at-fault driver’s cell phone records and other evidence needed to prove that they were not paying attention behind the wheel when they caused your accident.
  • Speeding. Any time a driver exceeds the speed limit, they inherently increase their risk of causing an accident due to reducing the time and space they have to slow down or stop in time to avoid a crash. Excessive speeding can potentially lead to reckless driving charges for the at-fault driver along with their civil liability for any damages inflicted on others. Speeding also increases the chance of an accident causing catastrophic or fatal injuries.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. This is illegal, punishable by fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. Additionally, penalties for DUI in Lake Elsinore automatically increase when a defendant has injured or killed someone in a DUI accident.
  • Moving violations. Whenever drivers fail to follow traffic signals or navigate busy intersections correctly, they can easily cause accidents. A few examples of moving violations that may cause collisions include failure to yield the right-of-way, running a red light or stop sign, or performing an illegal turn.
  • Reckless driving. Some drivers engage in intentionally dangerous behavior behind the wheel, either out of intentional desire to scare other drivers or inflict harm, or simply due to disregard for the safety of others. Reckless driving can lead to criminal charges, and like DUI, penalties increase automatically when a driver has injured or killed someone with their behavior.

Proving negligence in any civil claim for damages requires evidence that the defendant had a duty of care they failed to uphold and consequently caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages. In addition, the plaintiff must provide evidence to show that their damages did not occur from any other cause. If a car accident results from illegal misconduct like DUI or reckless driving, the defendant is likely to face criminal prosecution. If this applies to your case, your Lake Elsinore car accident attorney can helpyou understand the legal mechanisms that may apply to your recovery efforts and how the criminal proceedings against the defendant could influence your compensation.

Evidence you may require for proving fault for your car accident may include the computer data from the vehicles involved in the accident, digital evidence such as drivers’ cell phone records, recordings from nearby traffic cameras that caught the accident as it occurred, and statements from any witnesses who saw the accident happen. Ultimately, every car accident victim will face different challenges when it comes to proving fault for these incidents, and your attorney can provide the comprehensive legal guidance you are likely to need for proving fault in your case.

Filing Your Auto Insurance Claim in Lake Elsinore, CA

California law dictates that every driver must have auto insurance, and driving without insurance can lead to various penalties. Additionally, if a driver causes an accident without insurance, they face sole liability for all the damages they cause. At minimum, a personal auto insurance policy must provide at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person, and this must increase to at least $30,000 in total accident liability coverage for all persons injured in an accident caused by the policyholder. Additionally, insurance must include at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage.

You have a very limited time in which to notify an at-fault driver’s insurance carrier that you intend to file a claim, and failure to file your claim within this timeframe could lead to a denial of coverage. However, you should not discuss a settlement with an insurance company representative without legal counsel. Contact the insurer within the applicable timeframe to notify them of the accident and your intent to file a claim, but state that you must consult with your legal representative before discussing a settlement.

Once you file your insurance claim, the insurer is legally required to investigate the claim to determine whether it is legitimate, and they will deliver their claim determination once they complete this review process. Unfortunately, many insurance companies tend to look for reasons to deny claims or justify the lowest possible settlement offers, but having an experienced Lake Elsinore car accident attorney representing you can discourage them from attempting any such bad faith handling of your claim. Once you have received your insurance settlement, you may have outstanding damages that the at-fault driver’s insurance won’t cover. In this case, you must file a personal injury claim to recover the remainder of your claimable losses.

Claimable Damages in a Lake Elsinore Personal Injury Suit

Under California law, the plaintiff in a civil claim for damages has the right to claim full repayment of all the economic losses they suffered because of a defendant’s actions. This includes both immediate and long-term financial losses, and an experienced attorney can be a crucial asset for accurately calculating your claim’s total potential value. Unfortunately, while the average person should be able to assess immediately recognizable losses, they are likely to struggle when it comes to calculating the full long-term impact of their damages.

Your personal injury case may seek compensation for economic damages, including:

  • Medical treatment costs. The defendant is liable for the cost of any and all medical care you require to reach maximum medical improvement from the injuries you suffered in the accident. This includes both immediate and future medical expenses when a plaintiff has suffered severe injuries that demand extensive ongoing care.
  • Lost income. The victim of a car accident may be unable to work while they recover from their injuries. If this applies to your case, the defendant is responsible for the income you are unable to earn during your recovery period.
  • Lost future wages. Unfortunately, severe injuries may leave a plaintiff with disabilities that prevent them from working in the future or earning as much income as they did prior to their accident. If this applies to your situation, the defendant is liable for your lost future earning potential, and your Lake Elsinore car accident attorney can help accurately calculate the total amount of future income you are now unable to earn due to the defendant’s negligence or misconduct.
  • Property losses. The at-fault driver’s insurance may cover some of your vehicle repairs, but if your property damages exceed the scope of their insurance coverage, you can add any remainder to your personal injury case as economic damages.

Once you assess the full range of immediate and future economic losses you can include in your personal injury case, you might be surprised to discover your claim is worth much more than you initially expected. However, you can further enhance your recovery by claiming pain and suffering compensation from the defendant.

Under California law, the plaintiff in a personal injury case has the right to seek accountability for the physical pain and psychological distress they experienced because of the defendant’s actions. Many car accident victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological conditions from the trauma of their accidents. Their physical injuries can also be extremely painful and entail very challenging recovery procedures. There is no limit to the amount of pain and suffering compensation you can seek in a car accident claim, and your Lake Elsinore car accident attorney can provide valuable guidance when it comes to determining a suitable amount to seek with your claim.

Pure Comparative Fault in Car Accident Claims

If you have any reason to suspect that you are partially responsible for causing your recent car accident, it is understandable to worry that this may negatively impact your claim for compensation. However, the state follows the pure comparative negligence rule. This means that even if you do bear partial liability for your recent accident, you can still claim compensation from the defendant.

Under the pure comparative negligence rule, a plaintiff found partially at fault for causing their damages cited in a personal injury claim can still seek compensation for their losses. However, a judge will assign them a fault percentage that reflects their level of liability, and this percentage is then subtracted from the total compensation won from the case. For example, if you are filing a personal injury claim seeking $300,000 in damages from the defendant but a judge finds you 10% at fault, you would lose $30,000 or 10% of the final case award to reflect your comparative fault.

Working with a seasoned Lake Elsinore car accident attorney is not only the optimal way to enhance your recovery but also to reduce any potential comparative fault you absorb for the accident. Car accidents can happen very quickly in countless ways and liability isn’t always immediately clear. Every car accident victim will face unique challenges as they seek compensation for their losses, but one constant for every driver in this position is the value of having legal counsel they can trust as they seek compensation for their damages.

FAQs About Lake Elsinore, CA Auto Accident Laws

How Long Do I Have to File an Auto Insurance Claim for an Accident in Lake Elsinore?

It’s vital to file an auto insurance claim against an at-fault driver as soon as possible, usually within the first few days of the accident occurring. You must at least notify the other driver’s insurance carrier that you intend to file a claim within the applicable time limit, but you should not discuss a settlement without an experienced Lake Elsinore car accident attorney advising you. Notify the insurer of your accident and intent to file a claim, but kindly inform them you must consult your attorney before discussing terms for your settlement.

When Should I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Car Accident?

If your accident was caused by an uninsured driver, or if their insurance cannot fully compensate your damages, you must file a personal injury claim to recover your outstanding losses. Consult your Lake Elsinore car accident attorney so they can help start the insurance claim filing process as soon as possible after your accident. They can assist you in calculating the total amount of damages you can claim from the defendant and guide you through the personal injury claim filing process.

How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth for a Car Accident in Lake Elsinore?

The total potential value of any personal injury claim hinges on the scope and severity of the damages the plaintiff suffered. State law allows the plaintiff in a personal injury claim to seek full repayment of all their economic losses, which are likely to include immediate and future medical care for their injuries, vehicle repair costs, and lost income when they are unable to work after their accidents. They may also claim compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced, and there are no limits on pain and suffering damages in car accident claims.

Do I Really Need to Hire a Lake Elsinore Car Accident Attorney?

Technically, no, there is no law that requires the victim of a car accident to hire legal representation to help them recover from their accident. However, legal counsel you can trust is an invaluable asset for both an auto insurance claim and a subsequent personal injury claim. Instead of attempting to handle your medical issues and your legal proceedings all at once on your own, you can focus on your recovery while your legal team manages your case on your behalf.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire Legal Counsel for a Car Accident Case?

It’s understandable to have concerns about the potential cost of legal counsel for an impending car accident case, but when you choose Karlin & Karlin, you only pay a legal fee if we win. After we obtain a case award for your damages, our fee is a percentage of the total amount recovered. This ensures you do not pay more for legal counsel than you secure in compensation. If, for any reason, our team is unable to secure compensation on your behalf, there is no fee for our legal representation.

Contact Our Lake Elsinore Auto Accident Lawyers Today

The attorneys at Karlin & Karlin aim to provide compassionate, responsive, and effective legal counsel in every case we accept. Our team has years of professional experience handling a variety of civil claims on behalf of clients in the Lake Elsinore area and surrounding communities, and we are ready to put this experience to work for you in your recovery efforts. So, get in touch with us today and schedule a case review with our team to learn more about the legal services we offer and how we can assist you with your recovery.

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