Orange County Car Accident Lawyer
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
Orange County Car Accident Lawyer
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
- Georgia Cunradi
- D. Franklin Welch
- J. Weber
Download our free personal injury book.
Learn the things you should and shouldn't be doing during your personal injury case. Submit your information below to receive your free book.
Orange County Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are a common enough type of accident that most people consider them an occasional and unfortunate reality of life. If you’ve been in one, however, you know there’s nothing “common” about it.
A car accident is a traumatic event that can instantly cleave your life into “before” and “after,” especially if the accident was caused by negligence.
If you’re reading this, you may have been severely injured in a car accident. You may still be in pain. You’ve probably missed work and will be missing more. You’re probably worried about how you’re going to pay the bills. And you may be stressed out looking for the right person to help you with a car accident claim.
We are here to help. Our firm offers free legal consultations. Call our Orange County car accident lawyer today.
Don’t worry about needing money to pay for answers to your claim questions upfront. Give us a call as soon as you’re able and schedule a free legal consultation.
The information on this page will provide an overview of your car accident claim. We’ll start with the many ways you can damage your claim without even realizing it. Next, we’ll share a client story to give you answers to additional questions you may have. Make sure to read to the end to learn as much as you can.
What Do I Do if I Have Been in a Huntington Beach Car Accident?
One of the first steps you should take after a Huntington Beach car accident is to check if there are severe injuries to the drivers and passengers involved. If anyone has suffered a serious injury, call the Huntington Beach Police Department immediately and do not move the injured parties. Moving an injured person can make their injuries worse.
If you have been involved in an auto wreck, you should also consider going to the emergency room for an examination from a medical professional. Some injuries, like whiplash or organ damage, may not be immediately apparent right after a car crash, especially if you’re experiencing shock.
Steps you should take after any vehicle accidents:
Gather evidence: This is a critical step after any incident, particularly if you have been seriously injured and plan to file a personal injury claim. You must collect the at-fault driver’s name, number, insurance policy number, license plate, etc. You should also take pictures of your vehicle, their vehicle, your injuries, and the general area surrounding the car wreck.
File a personal injury claim: After a collision, you should contact your insurance company to file a claim and let them know your side of the story. Your insurance claims specialist will assign a claim number to you and reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance.
It’s always recommended that you reach out to a car accident lawyer for your benefit. Insurance companies will always try to save money, so it’s not unheard of for them to either undervalue your claim or even deny it outright. If their first offer seems low, it likely is. Remember, if you have suffered a car accident injury, financial compensation covers medical costs, lost wages, medical treatment, and more.
The personal injury law firm of Timothy J. Ryan & Associates has many years of experience dealing with insurance providers and happily represents Huntington Beach residents and residents in the rest of Orange County.
When you connect with our Huntington Beach car accident lawyer, we will give you a free case estimate and go over your claim to help you determine the value of your compensation.
Infographic via CDC
Your Huntington Beach Car Accident Claims Process
The at-fault driver’s insurance claims adjuster is responsible for thoroughly investigating any damages and injuries that resulted from the car accident.
They may assess witness statements or the police report. Once they have gone through all the evidence in the claim, they will make a settlement offer.
Personal injury claims are often worth more than the claims adjuster offers—but you can dispute this claim with your Huntington Beach car accident lawyer.
According to the state of California, you have two years to dispute their offer.
Common Huntington Beach Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
Opening a personal injury case allows you to fight for fair compensation for any catastrophic injuries, physical pain, medical care, and more.
After a Newport Beach crash, your next step depends on how severe your injuries are. If you were severely hurt in a high-speed collision, you might need to seek a medical professional. Even minor injuries still require medical examination and treatment—all of which can be costly.
Some common injuries after a motor vehicle accident include:
- Whiplash: This happens when you jerk your head back and forth in a sudden motion, like when your car stops suddenly. You may not initially be aware of the symptoms of whiplash, which can include dizziness, blurred vision, numbness, or nausea. You should see a medical professional right away and document your symptoms as evidence in your insurance claim.
- Head injuries: There are many types of head injuries, including fractures, concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and more. Traumatic brain injuries can be life-threatening or can debilitate you for the rest of your life. Even if you don’t feel any symptoms following a car wreck, that doesn’t mean you won’t feel them later. Even a minor auto accident can result in severe brain injuries.
- Broken bones and fractures: Car accidents are a leading cause of broken bones since the force exerted on your bones is sometimes stronger than they can handle. High-impact car accidents cause your body to absorb a large amount of force. Fractures and broken bones can take months to heal and may require physical therapy. If the spinal cord is critically damaged, it could result in complete or partial paralyzation.
- Sprains: Persons involved in a Huntington Beach car accident may suffer from multiple sprains, which means torn or stretched ligaments. The healing process depends on the damage level, but it can typically take three to six weeks for a sprain to heal. There are three classifications of ligament sprains—Grade One, Grade Two, and Grade Three.
- Herniated discs: Your spinal column is a highly vulnerable area that can be impacted after a car vehicle collision. One common injury involves a herniated or bulging disc. Bulging discs include minor damage to the spine but do not harm the whole disc. A herniated disc is generally more severe because it can damage the entire disc. Your doctor may need to order a series of x-rays to determine if your discs have been injured after a car accident.
Establishing Negligence in Your Huntington Beach Claim
In legal terms, negligence refers to any person or company who fails to perform their reasonable duty of care, resulting in you or your loved one experiencing severe emotional and physical injuries along with property damages. The law in California means that the negligent driver must compensate you for the damages and pain they have inflicted.
You and your experienced attorney must prove that any distracted drivers have a duty of care to you, that they breached that duty, and that breach resulted in serious injuries or even wrongful death.
Some examples of negligence and recklessness in a Huntington Beach car accident often involve drivers who:
- Are intoxicated while operating a car
- Do not obey traffic signals and red lights
- Exceed the speed limit
- Drive while distracted
Financial Damages You Can Recover
Not all car accidents are awarded the same amount. In fact, there is no standard amount. Many variables and factors need to be considered, which will contribute to the amount of financial compensation you can win in a personal injury lawsuit.
For example, the exact dollar amount of your property damage and medical expenses are all considered.
Victims can also consider lost wages from not being able to work, currently and in the future. Even towing expenses can be reimbursed.
Most car accident lawyers will tell you not to settle your car accident claim without speaking with an experienced car accident attorney. They are well aware that most insurance providers won’t voluntarily offer adequate monetary compensation unless you fight for it. This is because insurance adjusters, investigators, and lawyers are constantly under pressure to keep costs low. In other words, they will try to get you to agree to the lowest possible compensation for your pain and suffering.
Common Car Accident Claim Mistakes
It’s unfortunate that there are many ways to damage the value of your car accident claim. Please review the mistakes below to help you avoid making these same errors yourself.
Not Going to the Hospital After the Accident
Sometimes after a car accident, car accident victims will wrongly believe they have escaped injury. What’s more likely is that the stress hormones triggered during traumatic events are masking pain while also providing a boost of energy and strength.
Though temporary, the effects of these hormones can last for as long as 18 hours. That’s long enough to endanger your claim.
Not only are you putting your health in jeopardy by putting off a visit to the doctor, you are giving the insurance company a chance to pay you less than you deserve. If you don’t go to the doctor on the day of the accident, the insurance company can challenge whether you were even injured in the accident in the first place.
They can suggest that if you’d been seriously injured in the accident, you would have gone to the doctor.
Don’t help the insurance company devalue your claim, get a medical exam right after the accident. The less of a time and date gap between the accident event and your visit, the stronger the proof of how and when you were injured.
Not Following the Doctor’s Treatment Plan
It’s not uncommon for people to forget about their treatment plan after leaving the exam room. They may skip doses of medication, forget to do stretching exercises, or pull a “no-show” at physical therapy appointments.
Not only can disregarding your treatment plan endanger your recovery, it can again endanger your claim. The insurance company will be looking for signs you aren’t following instructions, so make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. This includes doing recommended activities and refraining from activities too taxing until you’ve recovered.
If the insurance company finds out you’re not doing everything you can to assist in your own recovery, they will try to blame any difficulties you encounter during your recovery on you. If they succeed, the value of your claim will be lowered.
Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. Carefully follow your doctor’s treatment plan.
Allowing the Insurance Company to Recorded Your Statement
Many people think that when the insurance company calls after the accident, they are required to take the call. They assume declining will endanger their claim. But the truth is just the opposite.
You are not required to speak to the insurance company, and you can, and should decline that call. What the insurance company is looking for is not to your benefit, but theirs. They are trying to record you saying something they can use to deflect responsibility for your claim. If they succeed, your compensation will be lowered or eliminated, saving them money.
You are well within your rights to decline the call from the insurance company. In fact, this is an ideal task for your Orange County car accident lawyer to take on in your stead.
Not Hiring a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
There are a few reasons you may put off hiring a lawyer after a car accident. The most obvious is you’re overwhelmed by your injuries and simply can’t deal with it right now. This is understandable, but remember that the longer you wait, the less evidence you are likely to find to support your claim.
When you hire an Orange County car accident lawyer, all you have to focus on is recovery. We handle the rest.
Some people wait to hire an attorney because they hope to save money by handling their claim themselves. This is not your best option when injured and vulnerable. Remember, the insurance company is going to be doing everything they can to pay as little as possible. They have been perfecting their tactics and wielding them successfully for years.
Without a lawyer, you are statistically likely to get many times less compensation that someone who has a lawyer.
For one thing, you’re far less likely to reach a fair settlement on your own. The insurance company knows you’re not likely to fight their lawyers in court. They can deny claims and delay paperwork until you give up. They can wear you down until you’re afraid to turn down the first lowball offer they toss at you.
Conversely, a qualified car accident trial lawyer will be able to accurately assess the value of your claim and what you deserve. Having this person at your side often gives the insurance company an incentive to agree to a fair settlement to avoid a court battle.
A final reason you may have delayed calling a lawyer is you think the state’s statute of limitations gives you plenty of time to file a claim. Remember, however, that the amount of available evidence will go down as more time passes. Evidence may also be lost over time, and witnesses’ memories of the accident may fade.
In the long run, having a qualified personal injury lawyer by your side ensures that whether your claim is resolved through negotiation or in the courtroom, you’ve got it covered.
Get your Orange County car accident trial lawyer started on your case as soon as possible to preserve the value of your claim.
Hiring the Wrong Car Accident Attorney
Hiring an attorney without regard to whether the person is the best match for your type of claim is a mistake. Like doctors, lawyers have many practice areas they can specialize in. You wouldn’t choose a surgeon who lacks experience in the procedure you need. Make sure you hire a lawyer with successful personal injury experience for your claim.
Car Accident FAQs for Huntington Beach
According to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, ten deaths and over 1,000 injuries occur annually within this community.
Additionally, five pedestrians were killed, and 44 were injured in automobile accidents. Car accidents also injured 82 bicyclists and 46 motorcyclists.
Even with stringent laws and regulations, drunk driving motor vehicle accidents continue to rise every year.
It is clear that car crashes occur all the time, but you can protect yourself with an experienced car accident attorney.
What Should I Do After an Auto Accident?
Car accidents in Orange County can be stressful and confusing, especially if you have been injured. However, there are a few steps you can take after any collision:
- Seek medical attention: Even if you feel fine, it’s always a good idea to go straight to the Emergency Room. Not all injuries are immediately apparent, especially if adrenaline is coursing through your system. Plus, you then have a record of your injuries as evidence for your claim.
- Get witness information: Having an outside perspective can help you determine the nature of the wreck, and witness statements can help determine who is responsible. Try to get witnesses’ names, phone numbers, and emails if your Huntington Beach accident attorney needs to contact them.
- Contact a professional car accident attorney: It’s in your best interest to call a car accident lawyer before the insurance company tries to get you to agree to low compensation. Try not to speak to anyone else regarding the car accident once you have found experienced car accident attorneys that you can trust.
Why Do Car Accidents Happen?
There are so many elements that can contribute to a severe car accident in Huntington Beach, but a few common ones include:
- Factory defects: We hold car manufacturers to very high standards—as we should! After all, any time a car part fails, cars can crash and cause severe, even life-threatening injuries.
- Distracted driving: All it takes is one moment of distraction—changing the music, texting, or even talking to passengers in the car could all lead to a car wreck.
- Poor road conditions: We want well-kept roads for many reasons. At the bare minimum, elements like deep potholes, missing signs, or damaged guardrails could contribute to drivers losing control of their cars and crashing.
Orange County Car Accident Lawyer Client Story
The story that follows is intended to provide you with additional insights into your car accident claim. We’ve edited names and details to protect the privacy of our client, but the value of the information remains. Please read to the end to learn as much as possible about your car accident claim. When you’re finished, please give us a call to set up a free legal consultation. We’d love to answer questions about your specific claim.
On a chilly morning in December not so long ago, 67-year-old Kaia Māhoe hummed “Hula Lula” to herself as she made her granddaughter “smiley face” pancakes in their small but cozy apartment. As always, the smell of breakfast woke nine-year-old Leilani; no alarm clock or nagging necessary.
The girl bounced into the room wearing a ruffled purple tunic, leggings wrapped in a small floral and vine print, and her favorite purple cowboy boots.
Kaia laughed as her granddaughter spun twice in the open area beside the dining table. She had to admit, the girl had style.
“Don’t you look like a princess!” Kaia declared. “And those are my favorite boots!”
“No, Tutu, they’re my favorite boots!” Leilani giggled, “They wouldn’t fit a grownup.”
Leilani had been with Kaia for two years now, since her mother, Alana died of breast cancer. The little girl’s father died when she was too young to recall his face. When Makani was lost to the sea, they were all living in Honolulu. He’d kissed Alana and his baby daughter goodbye and splashed into the surf as he always did. But all that came back was a broken surfboard.
A move to the mainland eased some of the financial strain of raising the little girl without her dad. Alana had gotten a good job working as an EMT on an ambulance crew, and Kaia took care of the Leilani when her mother was on night shift. Things had been looking up until Alana got sick.
These days, Kaia liked to say that like her name, Leilani was her guiding star. She’d been as lost as her granddaughter when Alana was taken from them. Together, they’d forged a strong bond and helped each other to heal.
Leilani set the table and set out glasses of orange juice as Kaia slid a pile of scrambled eggs onto a serving dish, still humming.
Picking up on the song, Leilani hopped into the kitchen and joined the song, singing out the words. Turning off the stove, Kaia joined her granddaughter, dancing the hula on the small parquet floor as they sang,
“Have happy days, in Hawaii
Aloha! to me, Aloha! to you
Everybody say Aloha!
Hula Lula shake your hips
Hula Lula Lee”
Both ladies dissolved into a fit of laughter at the end and Kaia gave her granddaughter a bear hug before joining her at the table for breakfast.
Half an hour later, Kaia dropped Leilani at school and began her eastward trek on Bolsa Ave. for her volunteer shift at the food bank. She thought about her granddaughter as she drove, imagining what it would take to make a trip to Hawaii together. She still held onto the hope that somehow, she’d be able to make it there to spread Alana’s ashes on the waves Makani had loved so much.
Kaia turned left, heading south on Springdale. Traffic was light and she seemed to be catching all the green lights. She sailed into the intersection at Edinger, thinking thoughts of her family when a dark blue minivan ran the light and plowed into her small Toyota.
Kaia woke in the hospital confused and in pain. A nurse entered her room and calmed her. Kaia learned that she’d been in a car accident and broken her left hip.
Realization dawning, she panicked and frantically begged the nurse to find her granddaughter. The nurse assured Kaia that granddaughter was fine. The emergency contact listed with her school, Mrs. Mendez, had picked the girl up and taken her home, across the hall from their apartment.
As the nurse turned to leave, she stopped and asked, “If your granddaughter is Leilani, then who is Alana?” When Kaia told her, she nodded, “Well, that makes sense. You were smiling your sleep and mumbling to ‘Alana.’”
Later that day, the doctor checked in and told Kaia she’d begin physical therapy the next morning. With luck, she’d be able to leave the hospital within a week. If she made enough progress using a walker in physical therapy, she wouldn’t need to go to rehabilitation before being allowed to return home.
That afternoon, Mrs. Mendez brought Leilani to visit. The girl listened somberly to Kaia’s explanation of what had happened and what to expect. She put on a brave face, but concern was etched on her small features.
“But you can come home soon, right?” Leilani asked, tears welling in her soft brown eyes as her lip trembled.
“Yes, honey. I’m going to practice walking every day so I can come home to you as soon as possible. I need you to go with Mrs. Mendez now. Mind her well and make sure you get our homework done before bed, okay?” Kaia asked, choking back tears herself.
She and Leilani hadn’t been apart since Alana’s death. Despite the tough act, Kaia knew Leilani was terrified she’d lose Kaia, too.
By Friday, Kaia had made progress using the walker and was hopeful she’d be allowed to return home in another day or two. Even so, she worried about getting around with a walker, especially in an apartment building without an elevator. She worried about replacing her totaled car. She worried about getting Leilani to and from school. She worried about medical expenses. She worried…
Kaia returned from her physical therapy that morning to discover a stately gentleman in his fifties waiting for her beside a cheery bouquet of mums and daisies. He wore a gray plaid tweed jacket and black horn-rimmed glasses. He was about as old as Alana would have been, had she lived. The overhead lights reflected off the dome of his dark, bald head. He stood up as she was wheeled in.
“Reverend Banks,” she smiled. He returned her smile with a super-charged grin and took her hand between both of his.
“The congregation has been worried about you,” reverend Banks said. “I’m here to convey their well-wishes. We want you to know we’re praying for a speedy recovery, and our small community is keeping a collective eye on your granddaughter. She seems to be doing fine with Mrs. Mendez at the moment, though she misses you.”
The reverend spent an hour filling Kaia in on the goings-on in the community and at the food bank. Her presence was sorely missed.
“You are a bright light in this community, Kaia,” Reverend Banks said. Before he left that day, he pulled a stack of “get well” cards from the congregation out of his leather case and gave them to her.
Kaia took her time reading through the lovely well wishes. As she opened the last message, a business card fell to the hospital tray.
“This community needs more big-hearted people like you, Kaia. Please consider giving these people a call. Their experience and guidance made a huge difference when Lou hurt his back last spring. With love and prayers, Delia Watson.”
The idea of calling a lawyer seemed overwhelming to Kaia. She decided to sleep on it and see what she thought of the idea in the morning.
We met Kaia the next afternoon in her hospital room. She’d called after waking up and realizing she needed to be strong for Leilani. She needed information. When she made the appointment for a free legal consultation, she said she needed to know how much it would cost to hire our firm, what her case was worth, and how long it would take.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?
When we sat down in Kaia’s room, she wanted to know right away what we charge to handle car accident claims. Our lawyer, Timothy J. Ryan told her that there was no upfront charge.
“We work on a contingency fee basis. Our firm covers all case expenses. We’ll investigate your accident and build your claim as though we’re going all the way to court.”
“What if it does? How much does that cost?” Kaia asked.
“Our firm covers all expenses for a trial as well, should it be necessary,” the lawyer answered. “We only get paid when we bring a successful resolution to your car accident claim.”
Kaia nodded. “Well, that certainly is helpful,” she said, making a note on the pad in her lap.
How much is my car accident case worth?
“Can you tell me what my claim is worth?” She asked next.
Attorney Ryan told her it’s impossible to give an accurate estimate upfront without conducting an accident investigation and understanding a person’s damages.
“We can jump on the investigation right away, Kaia, speaking to witnesses and gathering evidence. But we’ll need your participation to get a solid idea of your damages.
“We are going to need you to recover to the point of what is called, ‘maximum medical improvement.’ This means recovering to a ‘back to normal’ level. Should this not be possible, given your injuries, then we need you to recover well enough that your doctors declare you to have reached a ‘new normal’ baseline for optimal health.
“Arriving at maximum medical improvement means being finished with surgeries. It also means the doctors have a good grasp of what, if any future care you’ll need for your accident injuries.
“When you reach this point, we’ll have a true idea of your damages. That’s when we can give you a reliable estimate of your claim’s value,” said Attorney Ryan.
Kaia again nodded as she made additional notes before looking up.
“Your honesty is refreshing,” she said after she’d laid down her pen.
“It’s also necessary. Whoever you consider hiring, Kaia, we caution you to be very wary of any lawyer who tosses you a dollar amount upfront. It’s irresponsible for a lawyer to do that without having details about your specific case and a clear assessment of your damages.”
How long will my car accident case take?
“So, if you can’t know my damages until I reach…” Kaia consulted her notepad, “maximum medical improvement, then am I correct that my claim’s timeline will depend on how long it takes for me to get there?”
“That’s exactly right, Kaia. Your case can’t move any quicker than your recovery, because we need to have an accurate idea of your economic and non-economic damages before we can request compensation from the insurance company.
“Once you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll know your damages and send a demand letter to the insurance company. From that point on, the length of your case is going to depend on whether the insurance company is willing to work with us. If they are open to providing you with fair compensation, we can wrap up your claim.
“If the insurance company refuses to settle, however, we’ll take them to court,” said the lawyer, adding, “But please don’t let the possibility of a trial alarm you. Our firm has a long and successful record of resolving car accident cases, both via settlement and in the courtroom.
“The other driver’s insurance company has probably heard of us,” Attorney Ryan continued, “and it’s possible they’ll consider a reasonable settlement so they don’t have to face us in front of a jury.
“Either way, we’re ready to work aggressively to get you the best possible outcome. That’s why no matter whom you choose to hire, Kaia, I recommend you make sure you select a personal injury trial attorney with a successful record resolving car accident claims.”
Kaia was satisfied with the answers she received during her free consultation. She retained our firm, and we can happily say that we got her eight times the amount the insurance company initially offered.
Call Our Orange County Car Accident Lawyer Today
We hope the information above has answered some of your questions about your car accident claim. Since no two cases are identical, we invite you to give us a call as soon as you’re able and schedule your free legal consultation. You’re not alone in this; let us guide you through.
Tim Ryan took my small personal injury case and turned it into a “win” for me. I appreciate his time, patience, and professional expertise in resolving this neighborhood dog injury issue for me. I feel safer because of Tim Ryan. Thank you!