Car Accidents


While this area of the law generally needs little explanation, the complications of any accident can be overwhelming for those without the necessary litigation and trial experience. Every person in Orange County, or anywhere else in California for that matter,  who is behind the wheel must use reasonable care in operating their vehicle. Drivers must keep a lookout for pedestrians, bicycles, obstacles, and other vehicles in order to avoid accidents. They must also reasonably control the speed and movement of their cars, trucks, and motorcycles on the road. The failure to use reasonable care while operating a vehicle is negligence.

Once injured in a serious auto collision, it is likely that you are going to need a knowledgeable lawyer who can help you receive the maximum recovery, whether it is by way of settlement, arbitration or trial. You only get one chance to obtain justice for the injuries and damages you sustain so it is important to choose your attorney carefully. If you are in need of expert help with your case, please contact us. Attorney Paul Ralph will personally meet with you,  and your initial consultation is complimentary.


Sometimes the standard for the operation of a motor vehicle is set forth specifically in the Vehicle Code of California, such as the provisions establishing the maximum speeds. Vehicle Code section 22349(a) sets the general maximum speed at 65 miles per hour, and section 22349(b) sets the basic maximum for two-lane, undivided highways at 55 miles per hour. It is presumed that a driver who violates either of these sections was negligent if their excessive speed caused or contributed to an accident. This presumption (called “negligence per se”) applies to a number of Vehicle Code violations and can be used to establish the negligence of an accident-causing driver at the time of trial.

Some common examples of driver negligence include those who make left turns in front of oncoming traffic, car or truck drivers who fail to travel at a speed safe for the conditions, vehicle operators who follow too closely and motorists who make unsafe lane changes. Even in seemingly simple accidents, sometimes accident responsibility and personal injury recoveries depend upon the opinions of experts in auto accident reconstruction and human factors. As a car accident personal injury attorney in Orange County for many years, Mr. Ralph has a great deal of experience at working with such specialists during the hundreds of cases he has handled in the past.


Beyond determining responsibility, insurance-related and DUI-related issues often crop up after an automobile accident.  One of the most important insurance issues to consider is whether you had automobile insurance coverage as of the time of the accident.  If you were not covered, then California law precludes you from recovering “non-economic losses to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement…”  This same preclusion applies if you were driving a vehicle while under the influence and were convicted of that offense.  However, if the negligent driver was convicted of DUI then the injured driver’s insurance and/or impairment status do not prevent him or her from being compensated for the non-economic damages suffered.