Burbank Car Accident Lawyer

Burbank Car Accident Lawyer

Burbank Car Accident Attorney

When someone causes a car accident that you’re injured in, there are so many costs that we don’t even typically realize we are going to have to deal with. Depending on how severe the injury is, you may have expensive medical bills that could even extend far into the future if they require ongoing care. Because of this, a Burbank car accident attorney should be one of your first calls.

After an injury, there are also costs from missing work and wages. That, too, may lead to long-term financial impacts if the injury means a loss in future earning capacity. Sometimes, in light of the physical injuries, the damage to the vehicle can seem small, but it’s still a cost that matters. There are also the non-financial costs from the pain, suffering, and disruption in an accident victim’s life.

In these circumstances, the victim of the accident is due to receive recovery and damages from whoever caused the accident. Usually, that money is supposed to be paid out by the insurance of whoever caused the accident. The insurance companies, though, will try to minimize the amount they will pay. To get what you deserve, you must fight for it. Fortunately, that’s not something you’ll need to do alone. The Law Office of Nabil Chelico is ready to stand in for you and advocate on your behalf.

When to Call a Burbank Car Accident Attorney After a Personal Injury

Seeking recovery for a car accident falls under California’s personal injury law. The process for seeking recovery is set by that law. Before a claim is even filed, your lawyer can investigate the particulars of your case. They can also put together an assessment of the damages that you may be owed. Depending on the circumstances, they may negotiate first with the insurance companies to see if a settlement can be reached to avoid a lengthy court battle. There are times when a settlement can be preferable, as it avoids the lengthy court process and can get you your damages sooner. However, if they refuse to settle for the amount that you need, then your lawyer can help file your claim and present your case in court.

How Negligence Works in a Personal Injury Claim

If you are seeking to be compensated by someone who injured you, then the most important thing that your lawyer must do is prove that the defendant is, in fact, liable. An experienced Burbank personal injury attorney can help with this. In personal injury law, which governs car accident injuries, that means proving something called negligence. Negligence consists of three components, each of which must be true for the defendant to be found liable, allowing you to seek damages. Those three components are:

  • A Duty to Care – The first thing that must be established in any personal liability case is that the defendant had a duty to care. This means that there was a reasonable expectation for them to behave in a certain manner that acknowledges and respects those who might be around them. In the case of a car accident, it is widely accepted that other drivers have a duty to care for the other cars on the road with them.
  • A Breach of Duty – The second thing that your lawyer must be able to show is that the defendant failed to live up to the duty that they had. In general, this means that they failed to behave as a reasonably careful person would. In the case of a car accident, a breach of duty is commonly shown by a failure to follow the rules and expectations of the road. If it can be proven that a driver was breaking a traffic law, driving erratically, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then a breach of duty is pretty clear.
  • Causation – The final thing necessary for proving negligence is to prove that the breach of duty was the direct cause of the injury. It may seem like it’s obvious that a breach of duty in a car accident must be the cause of your injury. However, that is not always the case. Just consider the possibility of a driver who is above the legal alcohol limit and sitting at a red light. If another driver fails to properly control their vehicle and slams into the drunk driver, we have an accident where the drunk driver is not at fault. It is true that the drunk driver had a duty to care, and it is true that there was a breach of duty. Still, the drunk driver was not at fault. A good lawyer needs to make that final connection of showing that the beach caused the accident, and it also must be shown that the injuries in question are the direct result of that accident.

Types of Damages in a Car Accident

The final step in a car accident claim, or personal liability, is for your lawyer to be able to argue for damages to cover the costs incurred because of the injury. Everything that the damages cover must be able to be tied directly back to the injury that was caused by the defendant’s negligence. The damages that you could receive in a car accident case will most likely fall into two categories. These two categories of damages are:

  • Economic Damages – These are damages that cover expenses that are, more or less, quantifiable. It may be things that you have a receipt for, such as medical bills or property damage. It might be something that could be calculated by considering past finances, like lost wages. It may also be something that requires a future estimate and calculation, like future medical expenses related to the injury or even lost earning capacity if the injury has inhibited your ability to work to the same level or extent as you could prior to the injury.
  • Non-Economic Damages – These damages cover losses that are primarily unquantifiable. Things like pain and suffering or mental anguish don’t have a monetary value. That’s because money can’t really fix those things. The non-economic damages aren’t meant to fix them. They are meant to ease the injured person’s burdens elsewhere so that they can work on those things in different ways. Therefore, part of your lawyer’s job is to put together an estimate for the value of these things in your case, usually building off some level of precedence. They must then make the case to the court for those damages.

There is another kind of damages that can be involved in personal injury law, but they rarely come up in car accident cases. Punitive damages are a special kind of damages that are meant to be a kind of punishment for a particular behavior. These are only awarded if the defendant can be shown to have acted out of oppressive or malicious intent. Typically, this is not the case in car accidents. However, if it could be shown that the other driver was attempting to use their vehicle as a weapon against you, then it is possible that punitive damages may also be awarded.

Modified Negligence in Limiting Damages

One way in which your potential damage payout could be limited is because of California’s system of modified comparative negligence. What this means is that, even though the defendant may be largely responsible for the accident, there is a possibility that you may be found partially responsible. For instance, if a drunk driver swerved into your lane and hit you, it’s likely that the drunk driver will be found at fault. However, if you were speeding at the time, it’s possible that you might be found to be at least partially responsible for the accident.

The court will assign a percentage of fault to all parties involved. You are only able to collect damages commensurate with the defendant’s share of the blame. You will not be able to collect a percentage of the damages equal to your share of the blame.

Therefore, if you were found to be 15% to blame for an accident, then you can only receive 85% of the damages award. This is part of why it is important to be careful about what you say to any insurance agents involved with your case. They may attempt to use something you say as grounds for partial fault and a way to save themselves some money.

Part of what your lawyer will do is to not only prove negligence on the part of the defendant but also defend you against allegations of negligence. Their investigation will involve looking for anything the defendant’s lawyers may use and preparing to challenge those accusations.

The defendant’s lawyers will have the burden of proof for proving the elements of negligence. This is important to remember because even if you were committing something that could be considered a breach of duty, they will have to show that your breach led to the accident. Even if you know that you were doing something like speeding or committing another breach at the time of the accident, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be found at fault.

California Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

In most personal liability cases, including car accidents, the statute of limitations is two years from when the injury occurred. This means that a claim must be filed within two years of the accident.

An exception to this may be if the injury was discovered later. In that case, there are two years to file from when the injury should have reasonably been discovered. If it truly was a later-manifesting injury that can be traced back to the accident, then you would have two years from that discovery to file.

With such a short time frame, it’s important to realize that the insurance company may attempt to stall until after this time limit without paying you everything that you’re owed. This is one reason to contact our office as soon as you can. The sooner we can start our investigation, the better, and we can also manage the insurance companies on your behalf.

What to Do After a Car Accident in Burbank, CA

Some of the most important moments for a car accident claim are those immediately following the accident. This is not to say that all cases are won and lost in those moments; it’s just to say that some things that may be very beneficial can be done right away. With that in mind, even before you’ve been in a car accident, it’s a good idea to understand some basic principles of what you should try to do right after a car accident.

  • Call 911 – The most important thing after an accident is not gathering evidence, it’s not setting up your claim, and it’s not getting the other driver’s pertinent information. The most important thing after a car accident is making sure that anyone severely injured gets treatment quickly. However, calling emergency services will have some benefit to your case. First, the paramedics will check to see if you have any evident traumatic injuries. Second, the police will investigate and put together a report on the accident. That report will be a solid starting place for investigating the claim. This does not, though, mean that the police report is the final say on fault and liability. It’s understood that their original investigation is not as thorough as it could be because they are rushed. While it’s helpful, more evidence will have to be considered beyond the police report.
  • Be Cautious – Use extreme caution when talking about the case with anyone. In general, it is not useful to discuss the accident with other drivers, as there is a chance that they could try to use something you say as a confession of blame. Similarly, be very careful when you communicate with insurance companies. They may try to get you to say something that could be used to commit you to at least partial responsibility for the accident. It would be wise to talk to your attorney before participating in these kinds of conversations.
  • Take Pictures – If at all possible, try to get pictures and videos of the scene of the accident. Even if you are too injured to do it yourself directly, it can still be valuable to have someone else capable of capturing this kind of evidence do so. It can be very helpful for putting together a persuasive argument.

Some of the pictures that you may want include:

  • All vehicles involved
  • Any damage to vehicles
  • Any injuries
  • Any relevant road signs
  • A wide shot showing the full accident, including any skid marks if there are some
  • Anything else you think might be relevant to the case
  • Continue to Document – As the case moves forward, make sure that you continue to document anything related to the case, particularly any conversations with insurance companies and doctors, along with any bills that are related.
  • Get Contact Information – As with the pictures, even if you are unable to collect contact information yourself, having someone else do so may be just as good. You will obviously want the contact information of any other drivers involved. Also, you will want to get contact information for any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Their testimony may prove valuable in your case.
  • Go for a Medical Assessment – As soon as you can manage after the accident, get a full medical examination. The paramedics at the scene of the accident may have been helpful, but there are a couple of reasons why you want more than their assessment. First, paramedics are trained to look for traumatic injuries. This means that they could miss injuries that are only going to be seen by a doctor looking beyond the immediately evident. Secondly, there is the possibility that some injuries may take a little bit of time to emerge and be recognized, particularly in the adrenaline-fueled haze immediately after the accident. A full medical workup can catch these kinds of concerns. Any delay in getting this kind of assessment can be used against you. It could be argued that, if your injuries were serious, you would have gone sooner. The defendant could even claim that the injuries happened elsewhere.
  • Go for Property Damage Assessment – It’s likely that your vehicle was damaged in the accident and will need repairs and maybe even replacement. The insurance company may choose to have its own evaluator take a look, but getting another opinion may be worth the effort to ensure that you’re being treated fairly.
  • Contact The Law Office of Nabil Chelico – After your accident, contact us as soon as you can. We can help with many different aspects of the early aftermath and also help you understand the next steps in managing your case. The sooner that you reach out to us, the sooner we can start an investigation of your case and negotiate with the insurance companies. We can see your case through from start to finish, whether that be a settlement or a full-on liability trial.

Contact Our Burbank Auto Accident Lawyers Today

A car accident happens in just a moment, but the consequences extend in every direction, sometimes in significant ways. Injuries, financial concerns, and even just basic logistics requiring a functioning car can be very stressful. When someone else causes the accident, you’re owed recovery for the challenges that you face.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay what you’re owed. They’re a business, and every dollar they pay to you is a dollar taken away from their bottom line.

The bottom line for you is that you’re going to have to fight for what is yours, but you don’t have to do it alone. At The Law Office of Nabil Chelico, we can fight for you. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and need someone to help you get what you’re owed, contact our office today.

Contact us To Schedule A Consultation

To learn more about the services offered by The Law Office of Attorney Nabil E. Chelico, call our
firm or send us an email. We have offices in Burbank and Irvine.

confidential consultation 213-234-9592