crash at busy intersection involving cars and a semi-truckCar accidents are a daily reality for all of us, even those living in usually safe and suburban areas like Lake Forest.

Although the city strives to ensure safety on public roads, our Orange County personal injury attorney says, crashes still occur and can have potentially life-altering consequences.

A Lake Forest car accident lawyer explains some of the common causes behind motor vehicle accidents and how victims can get the compensation they need after a collision.

Where Do Most Lake Forest Crashes Take Place?

Freeways such as I-5 and State Route 241 see many high-speed accidents per year, especially near on- and off-ramps.

However, city streets can also be deadly due to the high population density. Most accidents happen a few short miles from home, making surface streets—especially near neighborhoods where children play—particularly hazardous.

While vehicle collisions can happen anywhere in Mission Viejo, they are statistically more likely in the following locations:

  • I-5. Interstate 5, also known as the Santa Ana Freeway, has one of the highest crash rates and fatalities of highways nationwide. Multiple lanes converge as traffic flows south into Orange County. The intersection of I-5 and the 405, commonly called the El Toro Y, has seen numerous crashes due to confusion and complicated road design.
  • Lake Forest Drive. Lake Forest Drive is a prime option for drivers to get across town, take a shortcut from I-5 to 241, or enjoy the scenery on the way to the canyons.
  • Bake Parkway. The I-5 Bake Parkway interchange is a common crash site due to multiple lanes of vehicles merging on and off the expressway.
  • State Route 241. This highway pairs high speeds with steep drop-offs—two hazards that can be deadly when combined. Even at low speeds, a collision on the ridge can send a car through the guardrail and down into a canyon.
  • Los Alisos Boulevard. Shops and eateries along this route lead to distraction-related crashes, especially at the triangular convergence of Los Alisos, Marguerite, and Santa Margarita Parkway.
  • Santa Margarita Parkway. This roadway becomes winding Portola Parkway, featuring a complicated interchange with 241 before stretching past the canyons into several smaller neighborhoods.
  • El Toro Road. This serpentine route twists from 133 in Laguna Beach across the length of Lake Forest before splitting into Live Oak Canyon Road and Santiago Canyon Road. Parallel to Los Alisos, Alicia Parkway, and Lake Forest Drive, El Toro Road also has its share of car accidents. The combined commercial and residential area at El Toro and Trabuco Road sees several crash injuries yearly, many resulting from drivers ignoring stop signs and speed reduction warnings.
  • Trabuco Road. While it offers a slower route north into Irvine, Trabuco Road's many intersections with parks and residential communities place pedestrians at risk of injuries.
  • Trabuco Canyon Road. While it may seem off the beaten path, Trabuco Canyon Road hosts schools, parks, residences, and high car and truck traffic. Narrow bridges, road works, and winding curves all increase the risk of a severe crash.

What Should I Do After a Car Crash in Lake Forest?

Being in a car accident can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. Knowing what to do after an accident can help you protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

After being involved in an accident in Lake Forest, you should:

  • Assess the situation. The first thing you should do after any collision is to make sure everyone is safe and unharmed. Call 911 immediately to bring the police to the scene. Even if there are no severe injuries, it’s important to contact law enforcement so they can document the scene of the accident and create an official record of what happened.
  • Exchange information with other drivers. You should exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and get details from witnesses at the scene. Try to get everyone’s full name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, insurance company name, policy number, and license plate number. If it’s safe to do so, take pictures of all vehicles involved in the accident that show the position of the cars and the damage on each one.
  • Get medical treatment. After an accident, our adrenaline is rushing, and it's difficult to tell if we suffered any injuries. This is why seeing a doctor following a crash is so important. Going to urgent care, the emergency room, or your regular physician can help identify physical and mental issues that may not have fully manifested themselves. Getting immediate medical attention also creates a record of your health after the crash, making it more difficult for an insurer to claim that you weren’t hurt. Timely intervention also offers the best chance of preventing further damage and ensuring complete recovery from your injuries.
  • Contact the insurance company. Once you have gathered all the necessary information from the other drivers involved in the accident, you will have to file an insurance claim under the at-fault driver's policy. California follows a “fault” system for car accident insurance claims, so you must contact the other driver's insurance provider and give them details about the incident. Unfortunately, insurers use underhanded tactics—such as misleading language and recording your statement—to underpay you for your injuries and property damage.
  • Speak with an attorney. If you’re unsure about what to do next, don't hesitate to ask for help with your auto accident case. An attorney can give you an honest appraisal of your damages and the strength of your case. Even if you were partly to blame for the crash, you could still recover payment under California's pure comparative negligence law.

Let an Experienced Lake Forest Car Accident Lawyer Explain Your Options

Our legal team can protect your rights if you’re having trouble getting fair compensation for injuries or property damage sustained in a crash. We have years of experience handling these cases and will negotiate with the insurer to obtain maximum compensation for your suffering.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law