Southern Californians Turn to Neale & Fhima After Serious Accidents Involving Any Type of Motor Vehicle

Four decades of experience litigating vehicle accidents. More than $50 million   collected on behalf of the injured. We are fierce advocates for our clients and we do not stop until justice is done. If you have been hurt in a collision in or around Orange County, your first call should be to the attorneys at Neale & Fhima.

When someone acts carelessly in the vicinity of others, there is always the possibility of an innocent victim’s getting hurt. But when the carelessness occurs at the controls of a motor vehicle, the threat is much greater. Why? Because vehicles magnify the consequences of human error. The weight of vehicles and the speed at which they travel mean that even momentary lapses in judgment can have deadly consequences.

Our law firm is prepared to go to work immediately to protect your rights as an accident victim. Contact us now to find out how we can help.

Vehicle Accidents that Can Result from Negligence

Negligence is the legal basis for most personal injury claims. It occurs when the responsible party fails to act reasonably, leading to an incident in which the victim suffers physical harm. Here is a description of the types of vehicle accidents that often result in negligence liability:

Car accidents

Ideally, drivers would always obey the speed limit, follow the rules of the road, and avoid distractions like talking on the phone. The reality of the situation is much different. More than 3,000 people per year are killed in automobile accidents in our state. With 60 percent of the state’s population living in Southern California, the majority of these tragedies happen right here on our streets.

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California Personal Injury AttorneyTruck accidents

A fully-loaded tractor trailer is 20 times heavier than the typical passenger vehicle. These two kinds of vehicles should not even share the same roadway from a safety perspective. Unfortunately, they do, and when collisions occur, the sheer size of commercial trucks makes passenger vehicles and the people inside them vulnerable.

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Motorcycle accidents

Of all the excuses we hear from people who have caused accidents, the ones we find most objectionable usually come in motorcycle cases. Failing to “see” a motorcycle is not a defense to liability. There is also a popular misconception that motorcycle riders are reckless by nature. In our experience, the opposite is true – motorcyclists tend to be the most cautious and attentive motorists on the road.

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All-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents

Southern California is home to sand dunes, mountain trails, and desert roads. Not surprisingly, ATVs are extremely popular among the outdoor recreation crowd. Today’s ATVs are more stable than their 3-wheeled predecessors, but accidents are still frequent. Even if no other vehicles or riders are involved, our attorneys can investigate sources of compensation such as homeowners’ policies and manufacturer liability.
California Boating Accident Attorney

Boating accidents

According to S. Coast Guard records for 2015, the top three causes of boating accidents are: 1) operator inattention; 2) operator inexperience; and 3) improper lookout. These factors often go hand in hand. Any one of them will give rise to negligence liability when someone gets hurt on the water.

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Recreational vehicle (RV) accidents

Did you know that California law allows people to drive an RV (up to 40 feet long) with a regular Class C license? No special training or education is required. Negligent RV drivers can cause accidents by misjudging a turn radius, failing to account for overhead objects, failing to perform maintenance, and more.

Airplane accidents

You have probably heard the adage claiming you are more likely to crash in a car on the way to the airport than you are on a plane. This is true of commercial jetliners, but it is certainly not true of small single-engine aircraft. We are prepared to handle personal and charter airplane accidents.

Bus accidents

One of the most challenging aspects of a bus accident claim is identifying all responsible parties and bringing them to justice. As a plaintiff, you may be able to seek compensation from the bus driver, the driver’s employer, the bus line or charter service, a tour company, and/or the government.

Train accidents

Passenger trains play an important role in moving people into, out of, and around our community. In Orange County alone there are Amtrak and Metrolink, and the OC Streetcar light rail system is on its way. An incredible amount of freight is also transported by rail every day. Conductor negligence, mechanical problems, and dangerous infrastructure can all lead to accidents.

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California Personal Injury AttorneyPedestrian accidents

Pedestrians are far more likely to be killed as the result of a collision compared to people inside a vehicle at the time of the crash. Consider the following CHP data for the Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego tri-county area in 2015:

  • Victims killed in vehicle/vehicle collisions = 390
  • Total number of vehicle/vehicle collisions = 126,657
  • Victims killed in pedestrian/vehicle collisions = 341
  • Total number of pedestrian/vehicle collisions = 7,179
  • These figures indicate that a victim was killed in 1 out of every 325 collisions involving vehicles only. When a pedestrian is involved, the fatality rate increases to 1 out of every 21 collisions.

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Bicycle accidents

Plenty of sunshine and little rain makes our part of the state perfect for bicycle riding. Whether you cycle for exercise, for the environment, or just for fun, a multitude of hazards exist all around you on the street. Our law firm can reconstruct bicycle accidents to determine who was at fault for your injury.

Wrongful death accidents

Heirs may be entitled to compensation when a victim is killed by the wrongful or negligent act of another. Unlike other personal injury claims, wrongful death cases are governed entirely by statute (California Code of Civil Procedure §377.60). A separate but related claim called a survival action may be available when the victim does not immediately succumb to his or her injuries.

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Injuries Commonly Suffered During Vehicle Accidents

The plaintiff in a personal injury case has the burden of proving all the necessary elements of the claim. For example, the plaintiff must prove “fault” (the defendant is to blame for the accident) and “causation” (a direct link exists between the accident and the harm to the plaintiff). Of everything the plaintiff must prove, though, the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries is the only issue guaranteed to be contested in every case. That is to say, no matter how badly you are hurt, the defense will always try to downplay your suffering.

At Neale & Fhima, we work with accident victims and their doctors to gather evidence showing the full extent of every injury. Vehicle accident injuries typically fall into one of these five categories:

  • Soft tissue injuries. These affect the tissues that support and hold together other parts of the body. Whiplash is perhaps the most recognized of these injuries, but they can affect any of the victim’s muscles, tendons, or ligaments.
  • Hard injuries. In the narrowest sense, this term refers to damage to the body’s hard tissues. Broken bones, in other words. But hard injuries also include severe cuts and bruises and, in extreme cases, loss of limbs.
  • Internal injuries. This category includes abdominal injuries, internal bleeding, and damage to organs like the kidney, spleen, or liver. Brain injuries are the most serious of all. They can occur in even minor accidents involving a blow to the head.
  • Nerve damage. These injuries disrupt the relay of information between the brain and the body. Victims can experience numbness or pain, including the “pins and needles” sensation associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
  • Spinal cord injuries. Trauma to the spine can produce injuries involving several of the other categories above. Examples include: back sprain (soft tissue); ruptured disk (hard injury); and pinching or severance of the spinal cord (nerve damage).

Damages in a Vehicle Accident Case

The purpose of awarding damages in a personal injury case is to put the victim back in the position he or she was in prior to the accident – to make the victim “whole again,” as the saying goes.

On one hand, this is an impossible task. There is nothing that can be included in a settlement or jury award to make victims forget the painful ordeal they endured. On the other hand, we can at least force wrongdoers to pay for all damages than can be calculated or estimated in financial terms.

In addition to property damage, compensation for vehicle accidents may include: medical bills (current and future), lost wages, reduced earning capacity, diminished quality of life, loss of consortium, and punitive damages.

How, Where, and Why Collisions Happen

Careless operation of a vehicle is sure to result in a collision sooner or later. By definition, however, accidents are unexpected events. They can happen anyplace in Southern California – from the PCH to the Angel Crest Highway – and under a variety of circumstances. Here are some common examples:

  • Hit and run
  • Interstate accidents
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Railroad accidents
  • Parking lot accidents
  • Side-impact accidents
  • Failure to yield
  • Crossover wrecks
  • Reckless driving and street racing.
  • Dangerous roads
  • Automobile defects and defective tires
  • Speeding accidents
  • Vehicle entrapment or submersion
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving and drug-impaired driving
  • Driver drowsiness/fatigue accidents
  • Road and railing defects

Featured Article

Some Accidents Are More Common Than Others
For many Some of the most devastating injuries that find their way into the emergency room come from auto accidents. And, unfortunately, they are far from uncommon. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 6,296,000 traffic crashes reported in the United States last year, 32,166 fatal.

While some by their nature — including head-on accidents and roll-overs — have a higher chance for damage and injuries, all accidents have the potential for catastrophe. For example, a sidesweep in most cases causes little more than a scratch; but under the right circumstances, it could contribute to driving a car off the road and into a ditch, causing major damage and serious injuries.

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Ready for the First Step? Get to Know Your Lawyer

Winning a personal injury case requires a great deal of coordination between the client and attorney. With this in mind, we invite you to get acquainted with Matt Neale and Aaron Fhima. They have been in this business a long time, and chances are they have handled a vehicle accident case similar to yours in the past. You can speak with them personally, ask questions, gain insight, and begin to forge a relationship that will help you through the difficult weeks and months ahead.