Nokes and Nokes is a compassionate and trusted personal injury law firm serving car accident victims in Orange County. We help victims get the compensation they deserve to help them cover their accident-related expenses, like their medical treatment or time off from work and emotional distress. We negotiate with the insurance companies for you and fight for you in court so you get the fair compensation and justice you deserve.
Why Choose Nokes & Nokes?
Our attorneys have been practicing personal injury litigation for decades, with particular expertise in the areas of injury product liability, uninsured / underinsured motorist litigation, and auto accidents. Our attorneys have received the highest rating (AV Preeminent) from Martindale-Hubbell and are rated 10 out of 10 on AVVO. Our attorneys are also members of notable and exclusive organizations such as the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and American Association for Justice (AAJ) and the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association. So call us today to schedule your consultation.
Statute of Limitations in California
A statute of limitations is a law that is passed by each state that sets the amount of time after an accident in which legal proceedings can be initiated. Your claim could be time-barred if you do not file suit or settle your claims concerning your accident or injuries within these time restrictions.
In the State of California, you generally have two years from the date of a car accident to settle your claim or file a lawsuit. If you do not do so in that time frame, then your claim will not be heard in court. IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, HOWEVER, THESE LEGAL TIME LIMITS ARE SIGNIFICANTLY SHORTER. For this reason, it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney in Orange County as soon as possible in order to protect your legal rights.
What To Do After An Accident
There are a few things that you need to do after an accident before you call our attorneys.
Move To The Side of the Road
First, you will need to move your car to the side of the road if you are in danger or obstructing traffic. Usually, it’s best to move to the shoulder of the road. Use your best judgment. Next, check yourself and any passengers in your vehicle for injuries. If it’s safe to do so and you’re not too injured to do so, check on the other driver as well as any passengers in their car. You should also check for pedestrians, bicyclists, or any witnesses. Remember that safety is paramount. Don’t exit your vehicle into a busy roadway and don’t try to move any injured parties. If a witness identifies himself or herself to you, get his or her contact information.
Immediately call 911 and let the dispatcher know the current condition of each person involved in the accident. While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, exchange the following information with the other driver:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Car insurance company and policy number
No “Roadside Court”
The side of the road is not the courtroom, and it is not the best place to decide who is at fault, so it is not necessary for you to discuss with the other driver how the accident started, who caused it, or how it could’ve been avoided. The police will take a statement from you, so make sure to only tell them exactly what you remember, not what you think caused the accident or contributed to it. They will write up a police report and give you a copy.
Take pictures of the scene of the accident as well as any road conditions, signs, or obstructions that could have contributed to the accident. It’s important to take wide shots as well as close-ups of the damage to your car, property, and the other vehicle (all four corners of each vehicle involved in the crash.) When you take these photos, take at least two or three with license plates clearly visible so that they can be more helpful in court. It is also important to take photos of any injuries.
Accept medical help if it is offered. Then call us. We have many years of experience fighting for car accident victims so they receive the compensation they deserve including emotional distress damages and money to pay for their medical bills as well as other expenses. If you’re concerned about how your injuries are going to affect your income, credit score, education, ability to get around, and other aspects of your life, then give us a call today.
Common Causes of Injuries
There are different types of car accidents, and each one can impact the body in different ways.
Moving vehicles require distance to decelerate or slow down. Driving too closely behind another vehicle is dangerous. There could be any number of reasons why someone would need to stop suddenly such as avoiding a potential accident or obstruction. When drivers follow other cars too closely, there is frequently not enough time or room for the driver in back to avoid a crash if the vehicle in front needs to slow or stop for any reason.
Even when these accidents are not fatal, victims often develop whiplash due to the sudden forces created by a crash. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck are thrust forward suddenly and then backward, like the motion of a whip being cracked. This pain can appear quickly, but also may not appear for several days.
The best way to avoid rear-end collisions is to leave enough space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. You should also check your brake lights to ensure that they are functioning properly. You can use a heavy book or brick on the brake pad while the car is in “park” if someone else isn’t available to check for you. Another way to avoid rear-end collisions is to brake slowly when approaching a traffic light or stop sign.
The majority of head-on collisions are caused by distracted drivers or drivers who are not adjusting to poor weather conditions and low visibility. Fatigue is another reason why people can get into severe car accidents. Sleep-related car crashes make up a major portion of head-on collisions, which is why it’s important to watch out for signs of fatigue (yawning, missing your street or exit, hitting the rumble strips).
Head-on collisions, unfortunately, are more dangerous and can frequently lead to back and spinal cord injuries, head injuries, brain trauma, whiplash, and wrongful death claims.
Head-on crashes can be avoided in many cases simply by paying attention to the road. Also only drive when you are sober. If you are taking prescription medications then either abstain from driving or talk to your doctor about your risks based on the medications prescribed and follow your doctor’s advice. Never get behind the wheel if you have not had adequate rest.
Rollover accidents occur when a driver loses control of the vehicle and either strikes another car or an obstruction. When a vehicle’s front tire strikes the curb, or dirt on the road’s shoulder, the car’s momentum can cause it to flip over the tire that hit the obstruction. When one vehicle strikes a vehicle traveling in an adjacent lane, the forces involved can push the car off the road or in front of other cars.
Rollover accidents can be very serious and can cause fatalities. Injuries from rollover crashes include:
- Broken arms, legs, and other bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and brain trauma, such as skull fractures and concussions.
- Injuries to the spine
- Bruises to the soft tissues
- Cuts and lacerations
One way to prevent rollover accidents is to be alert and pay attention to the road. Another way to avoid them is to be aware of the blind spots in your car. If you are renting or borrowing a car, get familiar with its blind spots before taking it on the road. Dangerous lane-changing leads to serious consequences, so always double-check before changing lanes.
Orange County Injury Statistics
The California Office of Traffic Safety collects and analyzes data to help local and state agencies reduce fatalities, injuries, and economic losses that result from car accidents in California. This office was opened through a grant made available by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the office, in the year 2017:
- There were 21,969 victims involved in fatal car accidents or car accidents involving injuries.
- Of the accident victims, 665 were between the ages of 21 and 34 and had been drinking, while 96 were under the age of 21 and found to have been drinking.
- Speed was the main factor in 5,432 fatal or injury-producing car crashes.
- 1,032 bicyclists and 994 pedestrians were killed or severely injured in accidents with cars
- 1,272 motorcyclists were also severely injured or killed in car accidents.
- There were 1307 hit-and-run incidents that involved serious or fatal crashes
California Injury Statistics
The office collects information regarding the entire state. In 2018, the office found that 42% of all drivers who were killed in fatal accidents tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs. They found that alcohol-impaired driving fatalities decreased in 2018 from 2017, from 1,147 to 1,069. Unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities also decreased between those same years by 4.3%. However, teen motor vehicle fatalities for drivers ages 16-19 increased by 21.4% in 2018 from the prior year.
What To Expect In A Wrongful Death Action
In a wrongful death action, the recoverable damages are:
- Any financial support each heir has lost by reason of the death; 5 years of tax returns
- Cost of obtaining substitute domestic services (such as any domestic work done by your loved one, i.e. yard work, cleaning, etc.)
- Funeral expenses
- Burial costs
- Moral support
Examples of information which would be very helpful for Nokes & Nokes are listed below:
- Family photos and videos of each and/or with your loved one, especially of during significant events. These show your relationship – condolence letters and cards
- A list of friends or family with whom we may speak regarding your loved one
- Birth certificates for heirs
- Marriage certificate
- Diplomas and/or information regarding your loved one’s work and education
- Phone records showing frequent contact with heirs, if available
- Any other information you feel is relevant or important