Serving People Hurt in Car Accidents Throughout Orange County
It happened. You weren’t expecting it, and you didn’t deserve it. But, someone hit you, and now you are left to deal with the consequences…
Neale & Fhima represents car accident victims in Orange County to ensure they receive compensation for pain, suffering, and financial losses. After four decades in this business, we still believe clients should interact personally with their attorney – an approach that sets us apart from other firms. The results speak for themselves.
We have a 99 percent success rate and more than $50 million in verdicts and settlements. If you are suffering because of someone else’s careless driving, we are here to help.
Types of Car Accidents We Handle
There are approximately 30,000 collisions in Orange County each year, and no two of them are the same. Part of our job as personal injury lawyers is to illustrate the unique aspects of every case to explain why the amount of compensation we are demanding for our client is reasonable. In broad terms, though, traffic accidents fall into one of several categories. The categories are based on the positions of the vehicles relative to each other at the time of impact:
These accidents occur when a vehicle fails to decelerate in time to avoid contact with another vehicle that has stopped or slowed in front of it. The front of the first vehicle strikes the rear of the second vehicle. When the vehicle gets struck from behind, the force of the impact may push it forward into the rear of a third vehicle, or worse, out into cross traffic at an intersection.
These accidents occur when two vehicles collide while traveling in opposite directions on the same roadway. One of the vehicles may have drifted across the center median, attempted an unsafe pass on a two-lane highway, mistakenly entered the freeway on an exit ramp, driven the wrong way on a one-way street, or swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid colliding with an object in its own lane of travel. Injuries are usually catastrophic.
Also known as “T-bone” accidents, these occur when a vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle at a perpendicular angle. They often result when a driver tries to make a permissive left turn through a gap in oncoming traffic at an intersection. In this situation, right-side passengers of that vehicle are put in extreme peril, since there is little structural protection to absorb the impact caused by the front of the oncoming car.
These accidents occur when the side of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle traveling in the same direction. The first vehicle is said to have “clipped” the second vehicle. Changing lanes or merging without checking the blind spot is a common cause. While the initial impact may be modest, surprised drivers can overcorrect, leading to serious multi-vehicle accidents.
As the name indicates, rollovers occur when a vehicle flips or rolls during a crash. The vehicle may come to rest on its side or its roof, or it may return to an upright position after one or more full rotations. Rollovers typically involve a single vehicle. Of these, 95 percent are tripped rollovers, meaning the car loses traction, goes into a lateral slide, and then encounters a low-profile object (like a curb) that triggers the rotation.
These occur when a traffic incident starts a chain reaction of collisions. Poor visibility is almost always a contributing factor. For example, a dust storm in 1991 caused one of the worst wrecks in our state’s history. Here in the coastal areas of Orange County, morning fog is more likely to be the culprit. Of course, poor visibility is not directly responsible for pile-up accidents – the real cause is vehicles traveling too fast for conditions.
Not every car accident will fit into one of the categories above. Our law firm is prepared to handle any type of vehicle accident involving serious physical injuries.
10 Common Causes of Traffic Collisions
Determining the cause of an accident is the first step toward collecting damages from the other party. When the cause is unclear, the team at Neale & Fhima will gather information from the parties, witnesses, law enforcement, and our own investigators in order to piece together what happened.
We also make a practice of analyzing data from government agencies to stay abreast of the latest trends in driver negligence. For 2015, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports that 13,204 collisions involving injuries occurred in Orange County. Excluding pedestrian-related causes, here are the ten most frequent causes of those accidents:
|Cause of collision
|Percentage of all injury
collisions in Orange Co.
|1. Speeding or driving too fast for conditions||34%|
|2. Failing to yield to another vehicle||18%|
|3. Improper turns||10%|
|4. Failing to obey traffic control signs and signals||10%|
|5. Alcohol or drug impairment (DUI)||7%|
|6. Improper lane changes||4%|
|7. Driving on wrong sideb of the roadway||2%|
|8. Unsafe starting or backing||1%|
|9. Following too close||1%|
|10. Equipment failures (including defective auto parts)||<1%|
Notably absent from this list is texting behind the wheel and other forms of distracted driving. Despite all the efforts to reduce distracted driving, it remains an ever-present danger on the streets of Southern California. Given how many of the causes listed above are attributable to driver error, however, it is safe to assume that distracted driving plays a role in many of them.
The Danger of Accepting an Early Settlement Offer
Immediately following a serious car accident, you may look at your smashed vehicle and assume that auto repair bills will be your biggest expense. This is rarely the case. Physical and emotional damages can exceed the amount of property loss many times over. Economic damages, such as lost wages, can also be substantial.
These losses begin to accumulate immediately (an ambulance ride in Orange County may alone cost $1,000 or more) and they continue to grow as time goes on. Insurance companies know this. Adjusters will contact injury victims soon after an accident and try to settle quickly, before the full extent of their losses is known.
It is important to understand that a car accident settlement is a two-way agreement. The insurance company agrees to pay a certain amount of compensation, and in return the accident victim must sign a release of liability.
After signing a release, the victim can never seek additional compensation from that party, even if there are future expenses resulting from the accident.
If you were recently injured in a car accident and the adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company wants to discuss settlement, you should politely refuse, and then contact an attorney immediately. At Neale & Fhima, we have evaluated thousands of car accident claims. A brief discussion with one of our attorneys will put you in a much better position to make decisions about your case and avoid agreeing to an early settlement you will later regret.
Physical Injuries from Automobile Collisions
Safety features on modern automobiles go far beyond seatbelts and airbags. But even with the newest protective technologies, the human body is vulnerable to all types of acute injuries during a car crash. These include:
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Severe cuts or bruises
- Sprains, strains, or tears
- Spinal cord injuries
Soft-tissue injuries (damage to muscles and connective tissues) are among the most common injuries suffered by car accident victims. Unfortunately, insurance companies will try to avoid paying fair compensation for such injuries, apparently believing they should only pay for injuries that show up on an X-ray. We do not accept such nonsense. Our firm negotiates full compensation for all of our clients’ injuries. And if the other side refuses, we take them to court.
We Go After Each and Every Responsible Party
Multiple parties may be liable for your injuries. This can come as a surprise to injured motorists, especially when only two cars were involved in the accident. But even then, you may be able to collect from the driver, the owner of the driver’s car, an employer of the driver, a government entity, a road construction or maintenance company, a vehicle manufacturer, a bar or restaurant owner, or your own insurance company. Determining which parties are liable – and the degree to which each of them is at fault – is a crucial service our firm provides in every case.
Contact Neale & Fhima for a Free Consultation
Too many people accept whatever dollar amount the insurance company offers, without the benefit of sound legal advice. Do not be one of those people. At Neale & Fhima, we offer free consultations and we do not charge for our services unless you win your claim. To speak directly with one of our Orange County car accident attorneys, call (888) 559-4904 or request your free consultation online.