Should I hire a Glendale car accident lawyer? How can a Glendale car accident attorney help me? Who’s at fault? Who will pay for auto repairs and medical bills? These are only a few of the questions you might ask yourself after being involved in a car accident. We have the answers and the guidance to help you get through this situation.
Read on to learn more about what to do after an accident, whether there are any special rules that apply to this city, and if you should get help from a Glendale car accident lawyer.
Where Do Accidents Typically Happen in Glendale, CA?
Glendale is the fourth largest city in Los Angeles County. It’s a great place to live and work, but as with all big cities, traffic can make it a more dangerous place to drive in.
Some spots are prone to car crashes because they’re arterial roads that most Glendale drivers use. Crashes are also more likely to happen at some intersections due to a lack of visibility or other issues.
LA’s infamous Highway 138, or "Death Road," runs north of Glendale. This highway is known for its often deadly crashes, but it’s not the only dangerous spot in the area. As you get closer to Glendale, I-210, Ventura Freeway and the Arroyo Secco Parkway that connects LA to Pasadena are roads where you should watch out for unsafe drivers.
Within Glendale, the spots that see the most car accidents include Brand Boulevard, a major north-south axis. There are several intersections that are notoriously dangerous along this boulevard, like the intersections with Sanchez Drive, Goode Avenue and Colorado Street.
Colorado Street is an east-west axis that can get busy. Watch out for the intersection with Verdugo Road near the Moyse Baseball Field, another spot where crashes are common.
Other problematic areas include Honolulu Avenue and Lowell Avenue where people get on and off the San Fernando Freeway, as well as the corner of Glendale Avenue and East Broadway near the Glendale Civic Center.
Could Reduced Speed Limits Result in Fewer Crashes?
If you’re visiting Glendale or plan on relocating there, you should know that speed is a common problem. However, local representatives are pushing for lower speed limits to make the roads safer.
During COVID-19, California saw fewer drivers on the roads. Instead of making the driving conditions safer, empty roads encouraged people to speed and resulted in more crashes. In 2020, there were 3,723 motor vehicle deaths in California, a number that went up from 2019.
San Francisco representative Phil Ting and Glendale representative Laura Friedman have introduced a proposal to change the way cities determine speed limits. Currently, cities use speed surveys to calculate the average speed along their different roads and adjust the speed limit accordingly. If motorists tend to speed when driving down a road, the speed limit will eventually go up.
With this new proposal, cities would perform speed surveys less frequently and thus could maintain lower speed limits longer. It’s something that could make Glendale and other nearby cities safer for drivers since speed is a contributing factor in a significant percentage of car crashes. If your accident involved speeding, a Glendale car accident lawyer can help you pursue your case.
Accident Statistics for Glendale, CA
Data collected by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) shows a total of 663 crashes that resulted in deaths or injuries in Glendale in 2018. Despite this substantial number, Glendale ranks 51st for the most motor vehicle crashes out of 59 cities the OTS collects data for.
This data set shows that alcohol contributed to 33 of these crashes and that speed was a factor in 88. A total of 27 crashes involved motorcycles, and pedestrians were hurt in 92 accidents.
Even though these numbers are high, they are an improvement compared to 2017, when there were 755 accidents that caused deaths or injuries in Glendale.
What to Do If You're in an Accident in Glendale, CA
Being in a car crash can be traumatic. Even if you’re not injured, you might feel disoriented and confused. It’s important to know what to prioritize and which steps to take to protect your rights and your health in this situation. Plus, taking these steps will enable your Glendale car accident lawyer to best help your case.
Here's what to do if you've been in a car accident:
A common mistake drivers make is to panic and keep going after hitting something. This happens more often than you may think. In fact, 48 out of the 663 Glendale crashes in 2018 were hit and runs.
Under Section 20002 of the California Vehicle Code, you have to stop if you hit a person, an animal, another vehicle or property in any way.
You also must exchange your information with the other driver and provide assistance if anyone is injured. If you hit a parked vehicle or damaged property, you should look for the owner and leave a note with your contact information if you can’t find them.
Was anyone injured in the crash? If yes, call 911 immediately and get out of the way while you wait for help. The dispatcher will take care of notifying the police and emergency responders.
It’s best to call 911 even if your injuries look minor. You should seek medical assistance just to be safe since some symptoms might not appear directly after the accident. For instance, if you’re experiencing whiplash or a concussion, you may not know that at the moment. Getting prompt medical help will make sure your well-being is taken care of.
Plus, if you don't get medical attention right away, your Glendale car accident lawyer may have a harder time arguing that you should receive compensation for your injuries.
Call the Police
You're legally obligated to call the police to report a motor vehicle accident - in most cases. You can reach the Glendale Police Department at 818-548-4911 or the California Highway Patrol at 800-835-5247. Note that these two phone numbers are non-emergency lines. You should use them only if no one was seriously injured in the crash.
Regardless of what number you use to contact help, you must call the police in the following situations:
- Someone died in the accident.
- Someone was injured, even if the injury is minor.
- The accident caused more than $1,000 in property damage.
An officer will come to the scene and fill out a police report to document the accident. They'll also help with clearing the scene to limit any potential traffic disruptions and keep other drivers safe.
From a legal standpoint, you aren't obligated to call the police if no one was injured and if property damage doesn’t exceed $1,000. However, assessing the extent of the property damage can be hard in a fender bender. So, it’s best to contact the Glendale Police Department or California Highway Patrol to get a police report and be safe. Your Glendale car accident lawyer can then use the police report to support your case.
One of the most important things to do after a car crash is to exchange information with the other parties involved. Getting this information will make it easier for your Glendale car accident lawyer to help your case. Plus, gathering information will help establish what happened and who's liable.
Remember that the law requires you to share your contact and insurance information and that the other driver has to do the same. Here's what you should write down after the accident:
- Record the exact day and time of the accident. Drivers often feel disoriented after a crash, and these details might be hard to recall.
- Ask the other driver for their name, address and phone number. If there are more than two drivers involved, get everyone’s information. If a passenger was injured, get their information as well.
- Write down as many details as possible about the vehicles involved. Record the make, model, year, color and license plate.
- Exchange your insurance information. Write down the name of the insurance company the other driver uses and their policy number. This information should be on their insurance card.
- Use your phone to take some photos. First responders will clean up the accident scene quickly. Photographs can help your Glendale car accident attorney establish what happened. Take pictures of all the vehicles involved from multiple angles. Make sure the photos you take show the damage caused during the accident as well as the entire scene.
- Get witness statements. Did anyone see the accident? If yes, approach them and ask for their name and contact information. Witnesses play an important role if you end up having to go to court to establish who's responsible for the accident.
- Take note of local businesses. Are there any nearby? If yes, write down their names and addresses since they might've caught the crash on their security system.
- When the police show up, write down the name of the officer and ask for their card so you can contact them again if needed. You should also ask for a copy of the police report.
Notify the DMV
California law requires you to notify the DMV of the accident within 10 days. You can do so by filling out form SR 1.
This rule applies if the accident was fatal, caused an injury or resulted in more than $1,000 in property damage. In other words, you don’t need to notify the DMV if the accident only caused minor damages and didn’t result in any injuries.
Note that you don’t need to fill out form SR 1 by yourself either. Your Glendale car accident lawyer can notify the DMV on your behalf.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Reach out to your insurance agent as soon as possible after a car accident. Your agent will walk you through the process of filing a claim. You'll have to provide some of the details listed above, and they'll probably ask you to make a written or recorded statement. Tread carefully here. Insurance companies may try to close claims by giving out the least amount of money possible. So, seek the guidance of your Glendale car accident attorney to ensure you're treated fairly.
Once you file a claim, the insurance company will investigate what happened. They'll likely schedule a car inspection to assess the extent of the damages. A claims adjuster will review the claim and determine who's liable and how much you can receive for your injuries or damages. You’ll have to agree to this settlement to receive the money.
Note that you can choose to contest the insurance company’s decision if you don’t agree with their findings. A Glendale car accident lawyer can help you determine what steps to take in this situation.
Get Additional Evidence
Your insurance company might request more evidence when processing your claim. If you received medical care after the accident, make sure to keep a copy of your medical bills and records. Local hospitals with emergency rooms include the Glendale Memorial Hospital, USC Verdugo Hills and Adventist Health. You can also obtain a copy of the accident report from the Glendale Police Department website.
The takeaway here is to keep any and all documents related to the accident so you have enough evidence to support your claim.
Get Help From a Glendale Car Accident Attorney
If negotiating with your insurance company isn’t an option, your Glendale car accident lawyer may suggest filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf, and they'll represent you during this process. Having a lawyer by your side can improve your chances of getting a settlement that covers all your medical bills and the damages to your vehicle since they can present a compelling case that shows who's liable for the accident.
Look Into Short-Term Disability Benefits
California is one of the states with a short-term disability benefits program. The purpose of this program is to provide you with a temporary wage replacement if you can’t work because of a non-work-related illness or injury. You can claim benefits for up to 52 weeks and can qualify if you have to miss work for eight days or more.
If you sustain injuries during the car accident and can’t work, file a short-term disability benefits claim as soon as possible to make up for any lost wages.
Special Rules for Glendale, CA Drivers
Under California law, drivers need to purchase the following coverage:
- $15,000 for injury or death of a person.
- $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person.
- $5,000 for damage to property.
If medical bills or damage exceed these amounts, the party that's liable for the accident can be sued in a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, the court will seize assets to cover damages and medical bills.
Some drivers have additional Uninsured Motorist Coverage or Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Insurance providers must offer this type of coverage and have you sign a waiver if you decide not to purchase it. If you did decide to buy this type of coverage, your insurance provider will offer a larger settlement in case the other driver can’t cover the damages they caused. Your Glendale car accident lawyer can help you understand the coverage you have.
Another important note to remember: California uses a pure comparative negligence system for car accidents. This means that the financial responsibility of the parties involved is based on the degree to which they're at fault. So, two or more drivers can share liability. There are cases where the accident is the result of both parties engaging in unsafe behaviors on the road. You can also share fault if the accident involved a pedestrian or a bicyclist.
Your level of responsibility will determine the amount of compensation you can receive. For instance, if the claims adjuster determines that you're 30% at fault for the accident, you could get compensation for up to 70% of the damages. With this model, all parties involved can claim compensation regardless of their liability percentage. In other words, a party that is 99% responsible for the accident can still claim compensation for 1% of the damages or medical bills.
If you don’t agree with the fault percentage, you and your Glendale car accident attorney can file a lawsuit and have a judge or jury determine liability for the parties involved.
Get Help From a Glendale Car Accident Lawyer
While some claims can be settled without legal representation, it can be difficult to determine who's at fault for the accident and how the different parties share the responsibility.
It's beneficial to have a legal representative on your side if you were involved in an accident where liability isn’t easy to determine. A Glendale car accident lawyer, or one near you, can help you gather all the evidence you need and negotiate with insurers on your behalf. If you can’t reach a settlement with the insurance companies, your attorney can help you file a lawsuit and will represent you during this process.
Accident.com can help you find an attorney in Glendale, CA. All you have to do is fill out a form to tell us more about your situation, and we'll put you in touch with one of the lawyers from our network for a free initial consultation. Don't delay. Remember that you have to report the accident and file a claim within strict deadlines. Contact Accident.com today to pursue the compensation you need.