Auto Accidents


Every time you get into a car, your life is at risk. Car accidents have the highest rate of annual fatalities (35,292) and injuries (2.05 million) of any type of traffic accident.  Whether a passenger or driver, if you sustained injuries, an auto accident lawyer can help you recover compensation.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Besides human error, car accidents can be caused by other reasons such as the following:

  • Unsafe road and/or weather conditions, such as wet, slick, or icy road conditions, dense fog, heavy rain or snow
  • Unsafe roadways littered with debris or potholes on an unsafe roadway design
  • Failure to properly maintain the vehicle


The average person cannot usually determine if they have a personal injury claim as a result of the above unless they consult a seasoned car accident lawyer. Defective auto parts could also cause car accidents or compound your injuries in a car accident.  In such cases, the manufacturer or distributor of the vehicle or defective parts could be held responsible for your injuries.

For instance, an accident could occur when the brakes of your vehicle malfunction or your seat back falling.  In a different scenario, your side airbags failed to deploy during an accident, causing you to hit your head against the side window. Due to this hard contact, you suffered a severe brain injury. The last traumatic brain injury case we took to verdict the jury gave our deserving client $16,000,000. The defective side airbag caused your injuries to be worse than had the airbag deployed as intended. In both cases, the court could hold the manufacturer and/or distributor strictly liable for your injuries under the theory of product liability.

What if my negligence contributed to the car accident or my injury severity?

Common law (old English law) followed the contributory negligent standard, which bars plaintiffs from recovering any damages if the plaintiff is even one percent at fault.  The California Supreme Court abolished the contributory negligence standard in Li v. Yellow Cab Co. of CA, 13 Cal.3d 804, 810 (1975), favoring instead “a rule which assesses liability in proportion to fault,” which is now known as the pure comparative fault rule.  The California legislature then enacted Civ. Code §1714(a), which allows injured parties to be compensated consistent with their percentage of fault. In other words, even if you are partially at fault for an accident you can still receive compensation.

What monetary compensation am I entitled to?

If someone else’s conduct caused or contributed to the accident and/or your resulting injuries, then you are entitled to both “economic” and “non-economic” damages.  Pursuant to Civ. Code §1431.2(b)(1), economic damages are those calculable expenses, such as:

  • Past, present, and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
  • Burial costs
  • Loss of use of property
  • Costs of repair or replacement
  • Past and future substitute domestic services
  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of business or employment opportunities

Pursuant to Civ. Code §1431.2(b)(2), non-economic damages are intangible harms, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Injury to reputation
  • Humiliation

Speak to an Auto Accident Lawyer at Russell & Lazarus

Before speaking to anyone, especially the insurance adjuster, contact an experienced Southern California auto accident lawyer with Russell & Lazarus regarding your accident, injuries, and other losses.

Insurance companies are not your friends, no matter how friendly the adjuster may seem.  What you say to the insurance adjuster could then be used against you should your case move on to litigation. Never give an insurance adjuster a recorded statement without an attorney present. More good claims have failed because of victims giving recorded or written statements to insurance companies than anything the insurance industry does to try and turn good claims into bad claims.  Thus, it’s critical to first speak to a knowledgeable attorney who can properly assess your case and provide recommendations.

Don’t wait too long!  Not only does evidence disappear, but also you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in California.  Some shorter deadlines can also apply (as little as 6 months!) so don’t delay in speaking to us immediately with a free consultation here at Russell & Lazarus APC, your Southern California auto accident lawyer.

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