Severe car crashes and the steps to recovery

New Yorkers have their Metro Cards. Denizens of Los Angeles have their cars. But while New Yorkers have other means of transportation, many Angelenos would be lost without their wheels, given the sprawl of their city and limited public transportation options.

It’s no surprise that in a city known for its endless traffic jams, car accidents — and injuries — are inevitable. But what stands out about one accident recently reported in a local college newspaper is the seriousness of the injuries sustained a freshman business major in a car crash on Interstate-5.

Student sustained serious head injuries in a car accident

The young woman was a passenger in a car that overturned several times on the highway. She suffered injuries to the left side of her head, and a fractured skull. Additionally, she sustained injuries to her spine, elbow and left hand. After undergoing surgery at the University of Southern California Medical Center, the student has been able to open one eye and is out of the coma, although she has not fully regained consciousness.

Important evidence in the case of a severe injury

The injury to this student puts emphasis on the severity of highway accidents which can be the result of careless or distracted driving. A person who is injured will want to first address any immediate medical issues. This may result in loss of work and trauma, as well as financial and emotional hardship to their family. A person injured in a crash may be entitled to receive from the insurance company and the negligent driver, compensation for medical expenses, lost wage benefits, payment for pain and suffering  and more.

Medical care after a crash

Medical records are an important aspect of any personal injury case. With medical records, an attorney can get an idea of the extent of injuries and how long it can take for recovery. The police accident report also plays an important part in identifying fault and holding a negligent driver accountable.  Police officers who come to an accident scene draft accident reports, which include diagrams, police officers’ names, vehicle information such as license plate numbers and other driver and witness information. The parties can obtain an accident report at a local police record office.

The role of traffic tickets and photographs at the scene of a crash

Traffic tickets are another important element of a personal injury case. Although not a definitive indicator of fault, a traffic ticket can be used as one piece of evidence that helps to assign blame for an accident in a civil case.

It can also be important for to take photographs of the damages and the scene of the accident. A person in an accident should not rely on the police or a witness to take photographs or provide the best description of the events. Photographs can help to show the extent of damage, the surrounding roads, the weather and the overall conditions at the time of the accident. Once an injured person is receiving treatment for the injury, it’s suggested to follow medical advice and any medical referrals. Due to the extent of some traffic injuries, a person will want to document any time off of work or other expenses related to the injury or the accident.

Holding negligent drivers accountable

Drivers have a responsibility for the safety of others and an overall duty of care when operating a motor vehicle on the public roads or the highway. Negligent drivers are often distracted or driving aggressively at the time of the accident. If you have been the victim of a car accident, an experienced car accident attorney can work with insurance companies to help obtain the compensation that you deserve.

Advancing technology may help crash investigations

Car accidents are never expected. They interrupt an individual’s life and can often result in a great deal of stress and pain. When a car accident happens, an investigation usually takes place, and insurance companies ask questions relating to who is at fault for the accident and why it occurred.

A local accident

Recently in Los Angeles, a person was killed in an accident between a pickup truck and a sedan. Officials arrived about 15 minutes after the accident occurred and found one victim dead at the scene. No other details have been released, but the investigation continues.

Black box technology

A proposed idea that would help investigators of accidents determine what happened moments before the accident is the installation of black boxes in all vehicles. The idea is making its way through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and black boxes may be required in all vehicles within the next few years.

A black box collects data for the 30 seconds that lead up to a crash. No other live data is recorded on the box. Information recorded can include the speed of the vehicle, use of a seat belt  air bag deployment and use of breaks. Other sources for data can be recorded depending on the particulars of the individual device. Many people are supportive of the idea and believe that the devices will create safer vehicles that can give feedback to manufacturers and consumers alike.

The main issue opponents of the devices have with the black boxes is their violation on privacy. Some worry that mandated devices would infringe on a driver’s expectation of privacy and that police could eventually abuse the devices, using them as a monitoring tool. Such a tool would make it possible for police to know when an individual was speeding or not wearing a seat belt, making it fairly easy for them to issue tickets.

Wrongful death

No matter the safety precautions in place, accidents will continue to happen. Sometimes accidents are the fault of a negligent party who does not comply withgive the duty of care expected from that party while on the road. When an injured party involved in an accident dies, the family left behind is changed forever. Legal options exist for family members of those killed by another’s negligence in order for them to obtain peace and compensation for their loss.

Wrongful death lawsuits provide families with the opportunity to obtain compensation for several different expenses including pain and suffering, funeral expenses, loss of companionship and medical expenses that were a result of the accident. No amount of compensation can make up for the loss of a loved one, but speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney about the accident can provide an opportunity for the family to be supported financially during this difficult time.

Hit and runs on the rise in Los Angeles

Recent data suggests that hit-and-run vehicle accidents are increasing in Los Angeles, California. In these crashes, drivers hit another car or a pedestrian and then quickly flee the scene. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, there are approximately 20,000 hit-and-runs in Los Angeles each year. If you have been injured as a result of a hit and run accident it is important to contact a Los Angeles car accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.

A growing problem

Hit-and-run crashes seem to be an epidemic in Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, hit-and-run crashes amounted for an outstanding 48 percent of collisions in 2009. This number is even more shocking when compared with the national average; only 11 percent of collisions are hit-and-run accidents in the United States as a whole. Additionally, it is estimated that approximately 4,000 of the hit-and-run crashes in Los Angeles in 2009 resulted in injury or death.

According to new data, there were more than 18,800 hit-and-run accidents in Los Angeles in 2011. Of the crashes, 514 involved cyclists being hit and 759 involved pedestrians.

Hit-and-run drivers may escape justice

Unfortunately, hit-and-run drivers are not always brought to justice. If no one sees the vehicle’s license plate, the driver may never be caught. These drivers will often get their car repaired quickly so that there is no sign of the collision. Many victims and their families never see the perpetrator of a hit-and-run brought to justice.

Insurance policies can protect against hit-and-run drivers

Victims and the families of victims of hit-and-run collisions may benefit from certain insurance policies.

A bodily injury liability policy means that the insurance company of the person that caused the accident will pay damages to people who are injured or killed as a result. However, in hit-and-run cases, the person at fault is not always found. That is why it is helpful to have a personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy as well. This type of policy protects an insured person when he or she is injured regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident.

Additionally, having an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy can be helpful under these circumstances. With these policies, the insurer will pay damages to the insured person if the person at fault for the accident is uninsured or underinsured, or if the person at fault was a hit-and-run driver. Victims who have this policy can still receive the help they need even if the hit-and-run driver is never found.

Seeking help, Speak With a Local Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney

If you or a family member has been a victim of a hit-and-run crash, you may need to seek legal advice from a Los Angeles car accident attorney. Insurance companies may be reluctant to pay you the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured in a car accident, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.