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Santa Ana Car Accident Lawyer

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Victims of vehicle accidents are often left wondering where to turn to ensure that they secure the compensation they are entitled to. At DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, we are here to help if you need a Santa Ana car accident lawyer by your side. We understand crash victims have to deal with tremendous expenses, including those related to their injuries and property damage. Our attorneys have the resources necessary to fully investigate these claims, determine liability, and help victims recover the compensation they are entitled to.

Why Choose DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo For Your Car Accident Attorney?

  • At DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, our attorneys have more than three decades of legal experience under our belts, and we have the resources necessary to fully investigate your vehicle accident claim.
  • We have secured significant multimillion-dollar settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of clients in the Santa Ana area and throughout California.
  • Every client that we take receives a personalized approach to their case. We take the time to get to know the clients that come through our door so we can understand their goals and needs moving forward.
  • We will come to you if you cannot come to us due to your injuries or disability. We believe in providing service to our clients no matter their situation or circumstance.

Santa Ana Car Accident Quick Links

Why Hire a Santa Ana Car Accident Attorney?

There will be various types of evidence used by insurance carriers and attorneys in these cases. Some of the evidence used can be gathered at the scene of the crash, while other types of evidence may not be available until days after the incident occurs. When we work to determine liability for these incidents, some of the evidence that our Santa Ana car accident attorneys use includes the following:

  • Photographs that were taken at the scene of the crash by those involved
  • Statements from eyewitnesses at the accident scene
  • Statements from all drivers and passengers involved
  • Video surveillance from cameras on nearby homes or businesses
  • The police or accident reports
  • Any citations that were issued by law enforcement
  • Vehicle “black box” data
  • Mobile device data of those involved

Factors That Contribute to Car Accidents in Santa Ana

If we turn to data available from the California Office of Traffic Safety, we can see that there were more than 3,600 total vehicle accident fatalities across the state during the latest reporting year of data. During that same year, we also see that there were more than 268,000 total injuries. When our Santa Ana vehicle accident lawyers investigate these cases, we regularly determine that there are several common themes when it comes to determining the causes of these incidents:

  • Speeding. When drivers operate too fast for conditions, they create dangerous situations for themselves and others around them. According to the California OTS, there were more than 87,000 crash injuries caused by speeding during the latest reporting year across the state. It is important to know that drivers can still be operating too fast for conditions even if they drive at or below the speed limit, particularly if roadway conditions are hazardous.
  • Distracted driving actions. Distracted driving is a leading cause of vehicle accidents in California. Any type of driving behavior that takes a person’s mind off of driving takes their eyes off the roadway, or takes their hands off the wheel is a distraction. This can include texting and driving, browsing social media or the Internet, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, reaching for items in the vehicle, and more.
  • Drivers failing to yield the right of way. The roadways are filled with situations where drivers have to yield the right of way to other vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists. Unfortunately, when drivers fail to yield the right of way, this can lead to deadly accidents.
  • Alcohol- or drug-impaired driving. Drivers who operate impaired were responsible for more than 26% of all traffic fatalities during the latest reporting year in California. When a person operates a vehicle after consuming a mind-altering substance, they significantly increase the danger to others around them.
  • Aggressive driving. Aggressive driving behaviors are not uncommon in and around Santa Ana. This can include operating a vehicle at high rates of speed, reckless passing of other vehicles, road rage behavior, and more.

Is California a No-Fault State?

California is not a “no-fault” state when it comes to vehicle accidents or any other type of personal injury. This state operates on a “fault-based” system in these situations. This means that the individual or entity who causes an injury to others will be responsible for paying compensation to the victim.

Some states around the country are indeed “no-fault” when it comes to vehicle accidents. In these cases, individuals turn to their own insurance carrier for coverage of their medical bills and property damage expenses, regardless of who caused the accident.

Because California is a fault-based state for vehicle accident claims, it is crucial to work with a skilled attorney who can examine the situation, gather evidence, and determine fault.

What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered Following an Auto Accident in Santa Ana?

There may be various types of compensation available to victims of car accidents in the Santa Ana area. In general, our attorneys strive to recover both economic and non-economic damages on behalf of our clients.

  • Economic damages are also referred to as special damages, and they deal with the type of compensation that is relatively easy to calculate. In general, these damages can be calculated by adding up various bills and receipts that are sent to a client. Some of the most common economic damages that we help clients recover include the following:
    • All medical expenses related to the injury
    • Lost income if a victim cannot work
    • Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
    • Prescription medication and medical devices
    • General household out-of-pocket expenses
    • Property damage expenses
  • Non-economic damages are also referred to as general damages, and they deal with compensation that is harder to calculate in the aftermath of a serious injury occurring. These damages usually do not have bills or receipts that can be added up, and often include a victim’s:
    • Physical pain and suffering losses
    • Emotional distress
    • Scarring and disfigurement damages
    • Loss of quality of life damages
    • Loss of consortium the images for a spouse

How Much Is My Santa Ana Car Accident Case Worth?

There is no set value assigned to car accident claims in Santa Ana or in California. There are various factors that go into determining how much each particular vehicle accident claim is worth. Some of the factors that can affect the total amount of compensation awarded to victims include the severity of the injuries, the length of the recovery time, the level of the victim’s pain and suffering, and whether or not there was any shared fault for the incident.

When working to come up with a total damage amount, a personal injury attorney in Santa Ana will gather up all of the bills and receipts the client has accumulated since their injury occurred. Adding these up will typically produce the total amount of economic damages that will be presented to the insurance carrier for payment.

However, reaching a total for the non-economic damages that we mentioned above is more challenging. Since there are no actual bills or receipts that can show the injury victim’s level of pain and suffering, accident attorneys usually rely on a “multiplier method.” This means that an attorney will take the total that they reached for the economic damages and then multiply that by a set number (usually a number ranging from 1.5 to 5) to reach the total for non-economic damages.

For example, if a spinal cord injury victim’s total economic damages ended up being $500,000, an attorney may use a multiplier of three to reach a non-economic damage total of $1,500,000. In total, the attorney will seek $2 million on behalf of their client.

Insurance Requirements

Like every other state in the country, California sets certain minimums when it comes to vehicle insurance for drivers. This includes the following:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident minimum
  • Property damage liability coverage: $5,000 minimum

California does not require individuals to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Drivers may choose to purchase higher insurance coverage amounts, but this does result in higher premiums as well. However, having higher insurance limits as well as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage helps protect drivers.

What are the Elements of Negligence?

Part of recovering compensation after a vehicle accident is proving the negligence of the other driver, but what is “negligence” in these situations? Typically, we look at four elements to determine whether or not a driver was negligent:

  1. Duty. Every driver on the roadway owes a duty to others around them. This means that drivers have to operate their vehicles safely in order to ensure that others do not sustain injuries or property damage as a result of their actions. This duty involves following all traffic laws. 
  2. Breach. It must be shown that one driver breached the duty of care they owed to others. A breach of duty can occur in a variety of ways. For example, drivers can breach their duty by operating while impaired or distracted. A breach of duty can occur if a driver fails to use their turn signal or operates at a high rate of speed. When a driver makes a mistake or operates a vehicle recklessly, they will likely have breached their duty of care owed to other drivers. 
  3. Causation. After showing that a breach of duty has occurred, it needs to be proven that the breach directly caused the accident and injuries in question.
  4. Damages. Finally, it must be shown that the person filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit suffered some sort of monetary loss. This can include medical bills, property damage expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering losses, and more.

Determining these four elements of negligence can be challenging, and we strongly encourage you to work with a skilled Santa Ana car accident attorney for help with your case. An attorney can gather all of the evidence needed to prove liability and present these four elements of negligence to the insurance carrier or to a personal injury jury.

California Statute of Limitations For Car Accidents

Yes, victims of motor vehicle accidents in Santa Ana need to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in their case. The California Personal Injury Statute of Limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that car accident victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent driver in their case, or they will lose the ability to recover the compensation they are entitled to.

It is important to point out that most insurance companies require that vehicle crashes be reported within a day or two after the incident occurs. Failing to comply with insurance carrier deadlines could result in the claim being delayed or denied.

How Is Fault Proven in a Car Accident?

Determining fault in the aftermath of a vehicle crash is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to recovering compensation. After all, insurance carriers are not going to pay for a claim if it cannot be shown that their policyholder was to blame for the crash.

In the aftermath of a vehicle accident in Santa Ana, insurance carriers and attorneys for any party involved will conduct a complete investigation into the claim in order to determine liability. To make this determination, an injury attorney in Orange County will:

  • Analyze all of the evidence that has been obtained by law enforcement officials or other parties
  • Interview all of the drivers and passengers involved in the accident
  • Speak to any eyewitnesses who saw what happened
  • Personally inspect the damaged vehicles
  • Employ assistance from accident reconstruction experts if necessary

Am I Required to Go to Court If I File a Claim?

The vast majority of Santa Ana vehicle accident cases are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. In these cases, crash victims will not have to go to court in order to receive the settlement that they need. However, if an insurance carrier or at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary for a crash victim to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Just because a personal injury lawsuit is filed does not necessarily mean that the parties involved will end up in a courtroom. The reality is that, even after a lawsuit is filed, most car accident claims are resolved before a trial becomes necessary. That being said, if a fair negotiated settlement cannot be reached between the parties involved, it will ultimately be necessary for the parties involved to go to court to have their case heard in front of a jury.

How Long Does It Take To Reach a Settlement?

It can be very difficult to put a definitive time frame on how long it takes for Santa in a vehicle accident case to be resolved through a settlement. In the event the claim is relatively straightforward and there are no disputes over liability or how much compensation should be paid, it may be possible to receive an insurance settlement within a few weeks to a month after the crash occurs. However, if there is any dispute over who caused the crash or how much money should be paid out to a victim, the insurance settlement process could drag out four months or even more than a year.

If the insurance carrier or at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement and those involved are forced to file a personal injury lawsuit, a settlement may not be forthcoming for quite some time. When a personal injury lawsuit is filed, this starts the discovery phase of the process where both sides will gather and exchange information with one another. This investigative phase can take months or years, particularly when we factor in any motions or continuances that may be filed in the case, as well as the process of giving and taking depositions.

Negotiations between both parties will continue during the discovery phase, and it may be possible to reach a fair settlement at any point along the way. However, there is no guarantee that will happen, and a settlement may not come through for years.

Call a Santa Ana Car Accident Attorney Today For a Free Case Evaluation

If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a vehicle accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver in the Santa Ana area, reach out to the team at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo for help as soon as possible. Our Orange County car crash lawyers have decades of experience handling complex vehicle accident claims throughout California, and we understand what it takes to ensure that clients recover the compensation they are entitled to. We have the resources necessary to fully investigate every personal injury claim that we take, and we refuse to back down from aggressive insurance carriers or at-fault parties. When you need a Santa Ana accident lawyer, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at (714) 783-2205.

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