Helping car accident victims since 1979

Our attorneys have been assisting the Orange County and Southern California communities for over 40 years.

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Orange County Car Accident Attorney

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As a popular vacation destination with beautiful beaches and sunny weather, there are many drivers in Orange County who are unfamiliar with the area. Unfortunately, this combination of factors can lead to an increased number of car accidents and fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control, car accidents are among the leading causes of death and injury for people aged 1 to 54. Especially in Orange County, where there are few options for public transportation.

If you or a loved one were recently involved in a car accident, you need the help of an Orange County car accident lawyer. Dealing with the insurance company, filing a claim, and more can cause headaches while you’re trying to recover. Contact an Orange County car accident attorney at the Law Offices of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo for help today.

Meet Our Expert Attorneys

National Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyers

For decades, the attorneys of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo have been successfully handling car accident cases in Orange County. Having witnessed firsthand the tactics employed by insurance companies, it’s clear that their priorities don’t align with the best interests of accident victims. This is where our expertise comes in. We know how to navigate the system and fight for our clients’ rights.

Partners John A. Montevideo, Jess J. Araujo, and Anthony Modarelli – and their team of attorneys – are ready to take on your case and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

  • DAM Firm is AV Rated – the highest rating attorneys can have for ethical standards and legal ability voted by other lawyers and judges in the legal community.
  • DAM Firm has been selected as Preeminent Lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell (less than 5% of all attorneys in the United States are selected).

Client Testimonial: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Best firm I’ve ever used. Amalio is an awesome help, as well as Mr. Montevideo. They helped me through my case and I was completely satasfied.” – T.G.F.

DAM Firm Partners

Why Do I Need an Orange County Car Accident Attorney?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you are probably feeling overwhelmed by insurance claims, medical bills, and unanswered questions. Being involved in an auto accident leads you to experience many emotions at once: anger at the responsible parties, anxiety about recovery, and pain from the injuries you’ve sustained. These are powerful feelings, and you shouldn’t have to bear them alone. An experienced law firm can help accident victims deal with the stresses involved in filing a lawsuit.

An Orange County auto accident attorney can help you through every step of the process, including:

Speak with the Other Driver’s Insurer

Arguing with an insurance company can be an exercise in futility if you lack the experience. Fortunately, the car accident lawyers at our law firm have 40 years of experience dealing with insurance companies. The claims adjuster is the one who carries the purse strings, and we know how to communicate with them to get the settlement that you deserve.

Gather Evidence of Liability

Personal injury claims rely on the establishment of negligence. To prove that the other party committed negligence, we need to find them responsible for the accident. We open our own investigation of the case, talking to witnesses, taking pictures, and poring over police reports. We gather all the necessary evidence to build a strong case for your car accident claim.

Put Together a Picture of Damages

Using the evidence we gather from the scene, we put together a scenario that outlines the number of damages you sustained in the accident. Another important aspect of this is accessing your medical records and putting a tag on your pain and suffering.

Doctor’s offices often don’t attribute your injuries to a specific cause; they just outline it and treat it as necessary. An Orange County car crash lawyer can request a special note from your doctor establishing that your injuries were a direct result of the accident. This is an essential step in winning your personal injury case.

Enter Negotiations

Negotiation is a finely honed art, one that our law firm has been practicing for decades. Leave it to us to speak with the insurance adjuster, doctors, guilty parties, and lien holders. We’ll only settle for a claim that’s fair and one that accounts for all of your physical and emotional symptoms.

Orange County Car Accident Lawyers

Orange County Car Accident Resources

How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost in Orange County?

While some law firms charge you a retainer fee, plus a bill of however many hours they worked on your case — we do not. Our law offices work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, you pay nothing if we do not win your case. A contingency fee system allows our clients to feel confident in our services. With nothing to lose (except your time), there is no risk in hiring our legal representation.

Compensation Available After an Orange County Car Accident

No two car accidents are the same. Not only can car crashes cause serious injuries and property damage in the short term, but they can also cause a lifetime of pain and suffering. Whether the driver or passenger was injured, the car was totaled, or the victim has to miss work (and therefore lost wages) during recovery, car accident damages can come in many forms. In the aftermath of an Orange County car accident case, our car accident attorneys regularly help clients recover both economic and non-economic compensation.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are awarded to compensate car accident victims for losses that are relatively easy to calculate. This is done by gathering proof of the loss, such as medical expenses, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, proof of repairs for vehicles, etc. Economic compensation is typically awarded to cover accident victims:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Property damage expenses
  • Out-of-pocket costs

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages are a bit harder to calculate because there are not necessarily any bills or receipts that can be provided to prove them. Generally, this type of compensation is awarded to cover the unseen losses that an injury victim sustains. This can include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium for a spouse

Punitive Damages

In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to a victim in the aftermath of an Orange County car accident case. Punitive damages are typically reserved for instances where the negligent party’s behavior was particularly egregious, grossly negligent, or intentional.

When working to calculate compensation for these cases, an accident victim and their attorney will gather all proof of losses. For economic damages, this will include any medical bills, all receipts, and proof of lost wages. Non-economic damages will usually be calculated using a multiplier method. This means that a personal injury victim or their attorney will add up all of the economic damages and then multiply that total by a set number (usually 1.5 to 5). Then, both the economic compensation amount and the non-economic compensation amount will be added together to reach the overall total.

Is There a Time Limit to File a Car Accident Claim?

Orange County car accident victims should be aware that there is a time limit to file a lawsuit and recover compensation for their losses. The personal injury statute of limitations in California is two years from the day the injury occurs. This gives car accident injury victims a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit in order to recover compensation. Failing to file a lawsuit within this time frame will result in the victim being unable to recover the compensation they need.

That is why it is crucial to have a skilled Orange County car accident lawyer by your side who understands all deadlines in your case. This includes remembering that the statute of limitations for personal injury cases has nothing to do with any deadlines put in place by insurance carriers in these cases. An attorney will get to work filing your insurance claim, negotiating with aggressive insurance carriers, and helping you secure the compensation you need.

car crash liability

How Is Liability Determined in a Car Accident Case?

Determining liability in the aftermath of a car accident in Orange County is crucial for securing compensation. However, it is strongly advised that car accident injury victims work with a skilled attorney who can help with this process. The process of determining liability begins at the scene of the crash. If a crash victim is able to do so safely, and if they do not need emergency medical care, they can begin gathering evidence that could help their case.

We have to take a moment to discuss shared fault. It is not uncommon for more than one driver to have some responsibility for a crash. The good news is that, even if a driver is partially responsible for the incident, they could still recover compensation for their losses. California operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that an injury victim can receive compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for the incident. However, the total amount of compensation they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

The process of determining liability can be complicated, and a crash injury victim should work with a skilled injury attorney in Orange County as soon as possible. While it may seem cut and dry that another driver caused a crash, an injury victim could be in for a rude awakening if other parties try to place blame on them for the incident. Not only does car accident victim often find themselves struggling to recover from injuries, but they may also find that they are locked in a battle to prove they were not liable for the crash. A car accident attorney will be a crash victim’s advocate in these situations.

What is My Case Worth?

There is no set amount of compensation paid to a car accident victim in Orange County. Rather, there are several factors that can affect how much compensation a person gets from an insurance settlement or as a result of a personal injury jury verdict. Some of these factors include the following:

  • Injury severity. The severity of any injury will certainly determine how much compensation a person receives from a negligent party. Individuals who sustain relatively minor injuries will not receive as much as individuals who sustain severe or permanent injuries.
  • Recovery time. The length of the recovery time will affect compensation amounts. The longer it takes for a person to recover, the more medical treatment they will need. Medical care tends to be the guiding force when it comes to compensation after an injury.
  • Shared fault. If there was any shared fault for the incident, this can certainly affect compensation amounts. California operates under a pure comparative negligence system, which means individuals will receive reduced compensation if they are partially responsible for causing their own injuries.
  • Amount of pain and suffering. Individuals are often able to recover physical, emotional, and psychological pain and suffering damages after an injury occurs. There are various accepted calculation methods for determining the amount of these damages, but individuals will have to show how the injury has affected them physically and mentally in order to recover compensation.

Total injury payouts can range from a few thousand dollars to more than $1 million. We strongly encourage you to have an open conversation with your Orange County car accident lawyer about how much compensation you can expect for your particular situation.

How Long Will My Settlement Take?

There is no specific time frame for how long it takes for an Orange County car accident claim to resolve. There are several factors that can affect the time frame related to these types of cases. One of these factors includes whether or not the case is going through only the insurance carriers or if you have to file a personal injury lawsuit against an alleged negligent party. Other factors that can affect the time frame for these cases include how clear liability is, whether or not there was any shared fault, and the general willingness of either side to agree on a settlement.

Most car accident cases in Orange County are resolved through insurance settlements, and sometimes a case could be resolved within a month after the incident occurs. However, if there is any dispute over liability or compensation amounts, negotiations can drag on for months or even up to a year or more. In the event the insurance carrier or at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.

If a lawsuit does become necessary, this will begin with the discovery process, where both sides will exchange evidence with one another. Some investigations will likely continue, and it may be necessary to obtain depositions from witnesses. There may be continued negotiations as the discovery process moves forward, and the case could have eventually settled before a trial becomes necessary. This can all take quite some time, possibly even up to a year or more.

12 Steps to Follow After a Car Accident

What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Orange County?

  2. If possible and safe to do so, move vehicles and persons involved to the side of the road, out of traffic’s way.
  3. Help injured persons.
  4. Notify police and medical personnel.
  5. Obtain names, addresses, and phone numbers of other drivers, passengers and witnesses involved.
  6. Write down the make, model, and license number of all vehicles involved.
  7. Draw a diagram of the accident scene, indicating the direction of involved vehicles and/or persons, and any important information.
  8. Take pictures of the accident scene, damages to vehicles, and injuries.
  9. Use our helpful accident report guide to document all of the necessary information.
  10. Do not accept fault or settlement at the scene.
  11. Keep calm and remain courteous.
  12. Notify your insurance company.

The Importance of Medical Care After an Orange County Vehicle Accident

It is crucial for individuals to seek medical care immediately after a vehicle accident occurs in Orange County. This is important for a few reasons. 

First, the well-being of the drivers and passengers involved is of the utmost importance. Prompt medical treatment can help uncover any hidden injuries that may have occurred so treatment can begin quickly. Additionally, the sooner a person has documentation related to injuries sustained in the incident, the better period this lets insurance carriers look at the direct link between the incident and the injuries. Any delay gives the insurance carrier the ammunition needed to place doubt on how the injuries actually occurred.

We also encourage individuals to continue all medical treatments recommended by their healthcare professionals. It is not uncommon for those involved in accidents to want to discontinue care when they feel better, but a doctor or other medical professional may not feel like a person should discontinue care yet. Discontinuing care before a doctor recommends doing so could jeopardize the overall insurance claim.

Be Wary of Social Media

It is not uncommon for individuals to want to post about their vehicle accident on social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok. However, doing so could place the claim in jeopardy. Insurance carriers and attorneys often monitor social media feeds of claimants, looking for information that could help them deny the claim or pay less compensation. Posting information about day-to-day activities could give the insurance carriers or attorneys room to argue that an individual has not sustained as severe an injury as initially claimed.

If you have any questions about the steps you should take after an accident occurs, we encourage you to speak to your Orange County car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Dealing with the Insurance Company

Dealing with insurance carriers after a car accident occurs can seem incredibly challenging. The reality is that insurance carriers have a vested interest in paying as little as possible for any claim. The more insurance carriers pay for a claim, the less profit they receive.

We strongly encourage individuals who sustain injuries or property damage in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver in Orange County to reach out to a skilled attorney immediately. A lawyer can begin an investigation into the case, and they will take over all communication with other parties, including insurance carriers. It is very easy for a claimant to slip up and say something to an insurance claims adjuster that could lessen the value of their claim or even get the claim denied altogether. An attorney will handle the communication with the insurance carriers, including any negotiations for a fair settlement.

Insurance carriers play hardball, and they typically offer incredibly low settlements to begin with. The attorney will handle writing the demand letter and any back and forth with the insurance carrier, but they will also fully prepare the case for trial if necessary.

What Evidence Do I Need to Prove My Car Accident Case?

As we mentioned above, evidence gathering can begin as soon as a crash scene is safe. Crash victims can begin gathering as much evidence as possible that may be able to help their claim. This can include:

  • Using a cell phone or another device to take photographs of vehicle damage, debris, traffic conditions, weather conditions, injuries, etc.
  • Gathering contact information of any eyewitnesses to the crash
  • Obtaining the names, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information of any other driver

However, evidence gathered at the scene and the police report should not be the end-all be-all, as this may not tell the whole story. A skilled Orange County car accident lawyer will be able to use their resources to obtain any additional evidence they could prove liability. Often, this includes obtaining video surveillance footage from nearby buildings or any additional evidence used in a criminal case against an at-fault driver (field sobriety test results, blood alcohol content test results, traffic citations, etc.). An attorney may also need to obtain vehicle “black box” data and cell phone data records of the alleged negligent driver.

common injuries from car accidents

Common Injuries From Car Accidents

While many car accidents produce only minor injuries, some can cause catastrophic (and even fatal) injuries. Some of the most common injuries in Orange County auto accidents include:

Even with the absolute best medical care, these injuries can be excruciating and cause an unimaginable amount of stress. And in the event of wrongful death, we know the pain associated with the loss of a loved one. With the legal advice of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, we can fight for justice and work to earn maximum compensation while you or a loved one recover.

What About On-The-Job Car Accidents?

Vehicle accidents can certainly affect individuals in the workplace. This includes those whose primary responsibilities revolve around operating a vehicle as well as those who may have been in a vehicle while on duty at any type of job. For example, an office worker running errands in a company vehicle for their boss, even if that is not their typical duties, would most likely be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are involved in a vehicle accident while carrying out job-related duties.

If you have been in a vehicle accident while handling work-related duties, you may have a few options to recover compensation. We encourage you to speak to an attorney with experience handling vehicle accidents and work injury claims. Your lawyer will thoroughly examine the facts of your case and help you determine the best steps toward recovering compensation, whether that is through a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury lawsuit against another party involved, or both.

Rideshare Accidents in Orange County

Rideshare services have become immensely popular in Orange County and throughout California. The two most popular rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, have a strong foothold in our county, but there are other smaller rideshare companies as well.

Unfortunately, rideshare accidents do occur. Just like any other driver and vehicle on the roadway, rideshare drivers are prone to the same mistakes that any other driver is, and they can be affected by other driver’s negligence, just like you and me.

But how do injury or property damage victims recover compensation after a rideshare accident?

Like most vehicle accidents, incidents involving rideshare vehicles are often resolved with insurance settlements. However, rideshare incidents are more complicated when it comes to insurance claims. Understanding which insurance policy to file a claim against is confusing because sometimes a claim gets filed against the rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance carrier. In other situations, the claim gets filed against the policy provided by the rideshare company.

With Uber and Lyft, it all depends on the work status of the driver at the time the incident occurred. For example, if a driver does not have a passenger or is not on the way to pick one up but is still logged in to the app to work, Uber and Lyft have supplemental insurance available, but it only kicks in if the driver’s personal insurance carrier does not cover all the expenses. However, if an Uber or Lyft driver is on the way to pick a passenger up or has one already, then both rideshare companies have $1 million liability insurance policies.

If you have any questions about what you should do after an Uber accident or a Lyft accident in Orange County, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney who can help you determine your next steps.

Do You Have to Report Your Car Accident?

Nearly every vehicle accident that occurs in Orange County or throughout California must be reported. Information presented by the California Department of Motor Vehicles states that a vehicle accident must be reported to the DMV within 10 days if there was an injury (no matter how minor or severe), fatality, or property damage of more than $1,000. The SR-1 report required should be submitted in addition to any other report submitted by the police or the insurance carrier. Driving privileges could be suspended if those involved in the incident do not complete the SR-1 report.

What About Delayed Car Accident Injuries?

Delayed injuries following a car accident are injuries that do not present immediate symptoms and may not become apparent until days, weeks, or even months after the incident. Common examples of delayed vehicle accident injuries include whiplash, soft tissue damage, emotional and psychological trauma, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Symptoms such as headaches, tingling, numbness, dizziness, neck pain, back pain, and soreness can indicate more serious conditions, making it crucial to seek medical attention promptly after an accident, even if no injuries are apparent initially. Early medical assessment not only ensures appropriate treatment but also plays a vital role in documenting injuries for insurance claims and legal purposes.

Delayed injuries can significantly affect a vehicle accident settlement. Failing to seek immediate medical attention can make it challenging to prove that the injuries were a direct result of the accident, potentially affecting the compensation received. Insurance companies may argue that the delay in medical care indicates the injuries were not related to the accident or were pre-existing. Thus, documenting medical visits and treatments immediately after the accident is essential for supporting a claim and ensuring fair compensation.

Understanding the settlement process, including the factors that influence settlement amounts, such as the severity of injuries, liability determination, and insurance policy limits, is critical. Your Orange County car accident attorney can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of car accident claims, ensuring that all damages, especially those related to delayed injuries, are adequately addressed and compensated.

Will Your Orange County Car Accident Claim Go to Court?

When most people think of “going to court,” they think of sitting in a courtroom in front of a jury. While that may ultimately be where your case ends up, the vast majority of accident claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. In many cases, a claim is resolved before a lawsuit even gets filed, meaning the case never actually reaches the civil court system. However, in the event the insurance carrier or another party involved in the claim refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may become necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Even after filing a lawsuit in civil court, the case does not go directly to a jury. This starts the discovery process, which is when evidence and information get exchanged by both sides, and attorneys for either party can take depositions of potential witnesses. It is not uncommon for a claim to get settled during this process as additional evidence comes to light, but in the event the other party refuses to settle, the claim will need to go to trial.

Causes & Types of Car Accidents in California

California car accidents occur in a wide variety of ways, and it is important to examine data and statistics in order to remain safe on the roadway. 

Common Causes of Car Accidents

During the most recent reporting year of data on file presented by the California Office of Traffic Safety, we can see that there were approximately 225,000 total motor vehicle injuries across the state. Out of these incidents, more than 15,000 injuries were considered severe, and 3,847 individuals lost their lives.

Vehicle accidents almost always occur as a result of the careless or negligent actions of one or more drivers on the roadway. Two of the most common causes of fatal and injury accidents in California include the following:

  • Alcohol or drug-impaired driving – responsible for 1,159 fatal accidents in 2021
  • Speeding or driving too fast for conditions – responsible for 1,228 fatal accidents in 2021

In addition to these two major causes of injury and fatal accidents, there are many other ways that collisions occur. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Distracted driving. This can include distractions caused by cell phones, pets, eating or drinking in the vehicle, reaching for objects in the vehicle, and more.
  • Failing to stop at stop signs or stop lights. Individuals must stop at appropriate signals in order to ensure safety for others around them.
  • Failing to yield the right of way. All drivers must yield the right of way according to California traffic law. This can include yielding when there is a yield sign or yielding to traffic, pedestrians, or bicyclists as required by law.

Common Types of Car Accidents

There are various types of collisions that can affect drivers in Orange County. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions occur when a rear driver fails to stop before colliding with a vehicle in front of it. These incidents can lead to major injuries, including whiplash, bruising and contusions, traumatic brain injuries, etc.
  • Head-on collisions. Head-on collisions often occur when individuals travel down the wrong side of a roadway or fail to yield the right of way at an intersection. Head-on collisions can occur at higher speeds, and this often results in major injuries and property damage.
  • T-bone collisions. T-bone collisions are more common around intersections, and they are often more severe than other types of incidents. Even though newer vehicles have enhanced safety features, the reality is that the sides of a vehicle have less impact resistance than the front and rear.
  • Rollover accidents. Rollover accidents can occur in the event of a high-speed collision, when individuals drive off the roadway, or as a result of overcorrection. These types of collisions increase the chances that a person will sustain severe injuries or even become ejected from the vehicle.

DAM firm legal team

Contact Our Orange County Car Accident Lawyers Today For a Free Consultation

When you’ve been injured in a car accident in Orange County, you need the help and expertise of an experienced law firm. At the Law Offices of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, our car accident attorneys in Orange County know all the tricks that insurance companies and opposing counsel will try to use in order to give you less than what you deserve. From negotiations and communication to securing you the best offer, we will handle your auto accident case with accuracy and aggression.

Most of our cases are settled out of court, but we’re not afraid to take a case to trial if it results in a better outcome for you. If you want to pursue a personal injury claim from a car accident, get in touch with our law office today. We offer a risk-free case evaluation, so we can review the specifics of your situation and advise you how to best proceed. To get started on your free initial consultation today, please contact our legal team at (714) 783-2205 or online today.

Client Testimonial: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“I came to DIMARCO | ARAUJO | MONTEVIDEO firm during the worst time in my life. The law firm was very professional but also kind and caring to my family. They made us feel like family and like they care about us and they knew and felt the pain we were going through. They listened to our concerns and took a lot of a ton of stress off our shoulders when they handled our case. We didn’t have to worry about anything. The staff was always friendly, courteous, very helpful, punctual in returning calls and addressing concerns. I thank God because they handled our case and I will never be able to THANK them enough. DIMARCO | ARAUJO | MONTEVIDEO will always receive high recommendations from us and our experience in the future.” – Erik A.

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