Practice Areas

Auto Accident Cases

Auto accident cases are very common. Insurance companies and their lawyers are trained to be highly cynical, skeptical, and even insulting to you, the victim of auto accidents. The job of a skilled lawyer in such cases is to immediately make sure needed medical care is provided, get the car fixed, and start letting the party who hurt you, or their insurance company, know they’ll need to be fair in settling the case.

All most people want when they’re hurt by someone else in an auto accident is fairness. Yet insurance companies often drag their feet, then come up with every excuse in the book (not all, but far too many) to delay or avoid fair compensation, what we call economic justice, to the victim of their insured’s negligent driving. A good lawyer skilled in auto accident litigation can level the playing field for you, make the insurance company listen and negotiate fairly, and speed the process. A good lawyer takes the stress away from you the moment they are hired, and provides solutions.

The first thing to remember when it comes to finding a good trial lawyer to take your car crash case on a contingency fee is that the accident, and your injuries, better be the kind that a reasonable person would look at the evidence of impact and of medical injuries and say “yeah, I believe that.” In other words, the damage to the car should pass the “squint test” generally if you think it might be worth it to hire a lawyer, handle major medical debt, and take the emotional and financial risk of litigation. By the squint test we mean if you have to squint at a picture to see the damage, not good.

If you’ve been hurt and believe you have a good case, the Cochran Firm is ready to help. We have a skilled intake group who take your call or meet with you, look over the evidence or find out where it might be, and then we evaluate whether we can help you from there. If we can, we jump right into an investigation and preparation to best handle your case. Once we take a case, we follow Johnnie Cochran’s advice of “preparation, preparation, preparation,” ensuring we are thorough and present your case in a way to achieve the maximum fair settlement value, economic justice.

The Cochran Firm is well-respected for its decades of achievements helping people who have been injured or taken advantage of, from celebrities and prominent members of the community to everyday people, everyone is given the same first-class treatment and attention. We have successfully represented thousands of people who have been injured in automobile accidents. The way we do it starts with a through intake, where your case is evaluated by our skilled staff and then by our experienced lawyers. We put the money and resources necessary to achieve success into every case to the extent it makes good sense.

Auto cases, like most negligence cases, have three important elements we consider in assessing the chances for getting you justice. Liability (whose fault was it?), damages (so what happened to the injured person?) and collectibility (what type of insurance or assets does the person or business have that harmed you?)

Collectibility is a big deal. That’s why uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) is a wise investment. California statistics report that close to 25% of all motor vehicles operated in the state do not have insurance. Your liability insurance will cover your damages as well as your passengers. It will also cover any damages to the other party if the accident was your fault. However, if the accident was not your fault and the other party does not have enough insurance to cover your damages (underinsured), or worse has no coverage at all (uninsured), your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will pick up the costs.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident in California, we evaluate whether you are entitled to compensation on many important issues, from getting your car fixed or replaced, getting your medical bills paid, what the future holds for you in terms of medical needs, job loss, or other economic impacts to your life changed by an auto crash. Since we are experts in the field of personal injury, we can get the insurance company to respond immediately, cutting through bureaucracies and barriers to justice. We get the job done, without delay and in an honest, efficient manner.

Your medical care should start as quickly as possible. We often advise people to go to an emergency room for precautionary evaluation if the accident was a big impact. Many significant injuries, like traumatic brain injury, herniated disc injuries, or chronic pain syndromes, begin with the impact but do not become “obvious” to you until days, sometimes weeks, later.

Evidence from the crash is critical, but usually you’re completely unprepared to gather it. We step in and try to reconstruct what we can from you, witnesses, the police report among the sources, but here’s a checklist which can be helpful to recall and go through when talking to us about your case:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the other driver.
  • The other driver’s license number and expiration date.
  • The name of their insurance company and the policy number.
  • The license plate number of every automobile involved in the accident.
  • The type and color of each automobile involved in the accident.
  • The names, addresses, dates of birth and telephone numbers of all passengers in the other automobiles, if any.
  • The names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
  • The name and badge number of the law enforcement officer who comes to the accident scene. Ask the officer where and when you can get a copy of the accident report. They will often give you a little card with the report number on it so you, or your lawyer, can order it later. Don’t minimize or deny you’re hurt to he police or emergency medical personnel. You may be in shock or have injuries that will not be noticed for hours, maybe days, later. Instead, just describe accurately what happened and leave the medical diagnosis to the professionals. And don’t guess at why the accident occurred. Say what you know to the police and leave it at that. Guess and speculation about why other people did what they did are not helpful.
  • Take photos of the accident scene, the other vehicles and the other people. Use your cell phone if necessary to take photos. Many cell phones now are also excellent cameras. Consider keeping a disposable or inexpensive camera in your glovebox for such unexpected use documenting a crash. If you don’t have one, someone else at the scene can likely take helpful photos and e-mail them to you later. Such on-scene photographs can make the case and keep the other party who hurt you from avoiding their responsibility.
  • Do not give a statement to the insurance company for the other driver until you have discussed the case with, and hired, a good auto accident lawyer. If you talk with them, they will likely use whatever details later prove to be inaccurate against you in court. They are building their case against you from the start; fight back, fight for justice and fairness by thoughtfully choosing the firm who knows how to get you what you need without delay. The Cochran Firm-Los Angeles.