Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer

Long Beach Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents happen every day in Long Beach and across California for a wide variety of reasons. Whenever these incidents occur, those involved can experience severe injuries, face difficult questions regarding liability, and wonder how they will recover their losses. If you or a family member recently suffered harm in a car accident caused by another driver, it is imperative to know your options for legal recourse against the at-fault driver and what you can expect when it comes to recovering your damages.

Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer

Legal Counsel You Can Trust for a Car Accident Claim in Long Beach, CA

McLachlan Law, APC, has years of professional experience handling personal injury claims in Long Beach and representing car accident victims in surrounding areas. We take time to learn as much as possible about every client we represent, creating individually tailored legal solutions for each case. Our firm has the resources, experience, and skills needed to confront the most complex car accident cases, including those that involve life-changing injuries and extensive economic losses for those involved.

Time is a crucial consideration for any car accident victim. If you are hurt in an accident that someone else caused, you have a limited time in which to file an auto insurance claim to recover your losses. When insurance isn’t available for an at-fault driver who does not have enough coverage to fully compensate you for your damages, you need to file a personal injury claim against them within the two-year statute of limitations. While this may seem like enough time in which to file your case, the reality is that the sooner you file your claim, the more likely you are to maximize your total compensation.

Benefits of Hiring a Long Beach Car Accident Attorney

It is technically possible for you to manage your recovery efforts on your own, and there is no requirement for you to hire an attorney to help you recover from a recent car accident. However, you would face the challenge of meeting strict legal deadlines while managing your medical needs. If you suffered severe injuries, this would be very difficult, and even if you feel confident in handling your case on your own, even slight errors in the early stages of your proceedings could have disastrous effects on your recovery efforts.

You could overlook important details and struggle to prove liability for the accident, or you may miss court filing deadlines or other procedural obligations with the insurance claim process that jeopardize your ability to claim compensation. Even if you technically manage to succeed with your insurance claim and/or a civil suit, you risk settling for less than you legally deserve.

Hiring an experienced Long Beach car accident attorney helps you avoid these risks and significantly increases the chances of securing as much compensation as state law allows for your damages. While you rest and recover with peace of mind, your legal team can handle your auto insurance claim on your behalf, resolving disputes that may arise with the insurance carrier.

If you must file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, your attorney will guide you through each phase of the process and assist you in maximizing your total compensation. Ultimately, the chances of success with all your recovery efforts are much better with an attorney’s assistance, and your chances of success securing the maximum possible amount of compensation for your damages increase as well.

Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Long Beach

Car accidents can happen for many reasons, and most of the car accidents reported in Long Beach each year are the result of negligence behind the wheel. Some of the most common examples of negligent causes of car accidents include:

  • Moving violations. Whenever a driver fails to navigate an intersection correctly, performs an illegal turn or lane change, or fails to stop for a red light or a stop sign, they put themselves and others nearby at risk. Moving violations can disrupt the flow of traffic and are especially dangerous in busy intersections.
  • Speeding. If a driver exceeds the posted speed limit, they inherently increase their risk of causing an accident. Speeding reduces how much time and distance they have to slow down or stop to avoid a collision, and accidents that happen at higher speeds have a greater chance of causing catastrophic or fatal injuries.
  • Distracted driving. This is the most commonly cited cause of all vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Cell phone use behind the wheel and other distracting actions that divert a driver’s attention away from the safe operation of their vehicle can easily cause a devastating crash.
  • Vehicle malfunctions. Drivers are required to maintain their vehicles and promptly address any mechanical issues they notice. If a driver knows of a mechanical problem with their vehicle but fails to address it in time, they can face liability if the problem causes an accident that injures another driver.

If your recent car accident happened because of negligence, you need to identify the driver responsible for the crash and prove they violated a duty of care in the situation. Alternatively, you may need to prove that intentional misconduct behind the wheel caused your accident. Reckless driving and driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol are the most common examples of intentional misconduct responsible for car accidents in the Long Beach area.

Whenever illegal misconduct causes a crash, the at-fault driver will face criminal charges and liability for damages they inflict on others. When a driver has broken the law, the penalties they face can automatically increase if they cause bodily harm or death. For example, a DUI conviction can lead to a driver’s license suspension, heavy fines, and jail time, but these penalties will automatically increase if the DUI driver hurts or kills someone in an accident they caused.

Your Long Beach car accident attorney can help gather the evidence to prove the exact cause of your recent accident. It’s necessary to obtain a copy of the police report from the accident, and your attorney can help gather any other evidence to establish fault. Once you have firmly established liability for the accident, you can proceed with seeking compensation for your losses.

Understanding the Auto Insurance Claim Filing Process in Long Beach

California law requires all drivers to have auto insurance. At a minimum, a personal auto insurance policy must provide at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person, at least $30,000 in total accident liability coverage for bodily injuries to multiple persons, and at least $5,000 to cover property damage. Once you have proven fault for your accident, you can proceed with filing an auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver. However, their insurance may not be enough to fully compensate for your damages. You could also encounter unexpected pushback from their insurance carrier, or they may not have insurance at all.

Drivers are strongly encouraged, but not legally required, to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage option would allow a driver to file a claim against their own auto insurance policy if an uninsured driver caused an accident with them. The state has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country, so adding this coverage option to your policy can be tremendously beneficial if an uninsured driver injures you in Long Beach.

When you are able to file an auto insurance claim, it is important to remember that the insurance company is not on your side. Insurance companies’ profits diminish whenever they must pay out on claims, so they generally look for all the ways they can to avoid paying settlements. Some even engage in bad faith tactics, attempting to capitalize on the average claimant’s desperation and lack of awareness of their rights. When you have a Long Beach car accident attorney representing you, they can make sure the insurance company handles your claim in good faith. An insurance company representative is less likely to attempt any bad faith handling of a claim if it notices the claimant has legal representation.

After the insurance company reviews the claim, it will issue a settlement offer. At this point, the case can end there if the insurance settlement includes enough to fully compensate the claimant’s losses. If insurance isn’t available or the settlement does not fully cover the victim’s damages, they will need to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.

Recovering Compensation With a Personal Injury Claim in Long Beach

Whether you cannot fully recover your damages through insurance alone or the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you must file a personal injury claim against them to recover your outstanding damages. Under the state’s personal injury laws, the party responsible for your accident is liable for the following:

  • Medical costs. If you suffered physical injuries due to the defendant’s actions, they are responsible for the cost of any medical care you need to fully recover. This includes immediate healthcare expenses as well as long-term treatment costs if you need ongoing rehabilitative care. For example, the defendant may be not only liable for your hospital bills but also the cost of future physical therapy and other treatments you need to reach maximum medical improvement from your injuries.
  • Lost income. Many people injured in car accidents are unable to work as they recover from their injuries. If this applies in your case, you have the right to hold the at-fault driver accountable for the income you are unable to earn in recovery. They are not only responsible for lost wages immediately following the accident but also for the income you cannot earn in the future due to severe injuries that have permanently disabled you or limited your earning capacity.
  • Property losses. You can hold the defendant accountable for vehicle repair costs or the total cash value of your vehicle if it was damaged beyond repair. You may recover some of these losses with your auto insurance claim, but any remainder can be included in your personal injury suit.

When you have an experienced Long Beach car accident attorney helping you with your case, you are more likely to secure full repayment of both immediate and future economic losses resulting from the accident.

It’s possible for the defendant in your claim to dispute the damages you are seeking, and it will be vital to prove the causation between the defendant’s actions and your claimed losses. In other words, you must be prepared to prove that your damages did not result from anything other than the defendant’s negligence or misconduct. Your Long Beach car accident attorney may consult expert witnesses to help with this, such as accident reconstruction experts who can help prove exactly how your accident happened, eliminating any room for the defendant to argue against your claim for compensation.

You may be surprised to discover the true value of your claimable economic damages once your Long Beach car accident attorney helps you accurately calculate the full long-term impact of the defendant’s actions. However, your recovery will not end with just recovering your financial losses. In addition to these economic damages, you can also seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress you experienced.

Calculating Pain and Suffering and Maximizing Compensation in a Long Beach Car Accident Case

California law does not place a cap or limit on pain and suffering damages in motor vehicle accident claims. The plaintiff has the right to claim as much as they believe to be reasonable to reflect the seriousness of their experience. Because the average person will likely find it difficult to translate their physical pain and other intangible damages into monetary terms, an experienced Long Beach car accident attorney is an invaluable asset in this situation.

Most personal injury attorneys will seek either a large lump sum of pain and suffering compensation for their client or a settlement based on the time it takes their client to fully recover. The former method is more commonly used for plaintiffs who have suffered life-changing injuries, calculated by multiplying their total financial losses by a number that represents the seriousness of their condition. The latter is more often used when a plaintiff is expected to make a full recovery, and the amount of pain and suffering compensation they receive is based on the number of days it takes them to fully recover.

Other variables may also influence the final outcome of a personal injury case. For example, if the plaintiff shares fault with the defendant, it could diminish their total case award under the state’s pure comparative fault rule. Conversely, if the defendant caused the accident through any illegal misconduct, this would likely enhance the plaintiff’s recovery in the form of punitive damages and/or restitution.

Finalizing Your Car Accident Claim in Long Beach

After securing as much compensation as possible through auto insurance, your personal injury claim against the at-fault driver is likely to end with a privately negotiated settlement. As long as the defendant accepts responsibility for their actions and the plaintiff has reliable legal counsel on their side, the settlement process offers both parties an easier method of resolving their case than litigation could provide. However, a settlement requires the willingness of both parties to negotiate. If a private settlement cannot be reached for any reason, the case will need to go to trial, and a judge will have the final say on the outcome of the case.

Your Long Beach car accident attorney is the most valuable asset you have when it comes to finalizing your personal injury claim for a car accident. Your attorney can help draft a compelling initial complaint that leaves the defendant minimal room to argue against their liability for your damages. Once you have submitted your complaint, your attorney can prepare you for settlement negotiations or help you understand what to expect in litigation.

The team at McLachlan Law, APC, typically seeks to settle our clients’ cases as quickly as possible, shortening the time it takes for them to receive the compensation they need to recover. However, we have years of experience in court and are fully prepared to represent you in litigation should the situation require it. We take time to address each client’s unique needs and always aim for maximum client recovery in every case we accept. When you choose our firm to handle your case, you are investing in years of professional experience and a dedicated legal advocate you can trust with your recovery efforts.

Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer FAQs

Q: Is Hiring an Attorney Required After a Car Accident in Long Beach?

A: There is no law that states you must have legal representation after a car accident. You can try to manage your auto insurance claim and a subsequent personal injury case on your own, and it’s even possible to succeed without hiring an attorney. However, having legal counsel on your side will make all your recovery efforts easier to manage, and you will be far more likely to maximize your recovery. Your attorney will know all the various forms of compensation available to you to enhance your case award, and they can streamline these proceedings to shorten the time it takes for you to receive compensation.

Q: How Do I Prove Fault for My Recent Car Accident?

A: California’s fault rule requires you to prove the exact cause of your accident before you can recover compensation. You must identify the driver who caused the accident and then show that their negligence or intentional misconduct behind the wheel directly caused your damages. Your Long Beach car accident attorney can help accomplish this by gathering evidence such as traffic camera recordings, cell phone records, eyewitness statements, and even insights from expert witnesses.

Q: Can I Still Recover Damages if I Was Partially Responsible for Causing an Accident?

A: Yes, you can bear partial liability for your recent car accident and still recover compensation. However, the pure comparative fault rule states that you will lose a percentage of your final case award equal to your percentage of fault in causing the accident. An experienced Long Beach car accident attorney is the ideal resource to consult if you have concerns about how partial liability may impact your recovery efforts after an accident.

Q: Will I Win a Larger Settlement if I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

A: Hiring experienced legal counsel is the optimal way to enhance your recovery from a car accident as much as state law allows. Your attorney can manage your car insurance claim and verify that the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier has handled your claim appropriately. When you have grounds for a personal injury suit, your attorney can help you by uncovering all available channels of compensation, enhancing the total case award you win.

Q: How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Long Beach Car Accident Attorney?

A: When you choose McLachlan Law, APC, as your legal counsel for a car accident case in Long Beach, you will only pay a legal fee if and when we win compensation for your damages. There are no upfront or ongoing attorneys’ fees with our contingency fee policy, and you pay nothing at all if our team is unable to secure compensation on your behalf for any reason. When we win a case award for a client, they only part with a percentage of the total amount recovered as their fee. This billing policy ensures that the legal counsel you need is accessible when you need it most.

McLachlan Law, APC, knows how stressful and frustrating the aftermath of any car accident can be, especially when you know the incident happened because of another driver’s negligence or intentional misconduct behind the wheel. When you choose our firm to represent you in your recovery efforts, you will have instant access to a reliable legal advocate who can address any concerns as they arise throughout your case. If you are ready to explore your options for legal recourse with the help of a seasoned Long Beach car accident attorney, contact us today and schedule a consultation with our team.

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