Do Car Accident Victims Need an Attorney for Their Claim?
The average comprehensive cost of a disabling car accident was more than $1.2 million in 2020. Car accident victims deserve compensation.
Do you need a lawyer to get the compensation you deserve?
California law doesn't require you to have a lawyer when you seek compensation after an auto-related accident. However, working with a personal injury attorney can help you get a better settlement. A lawyer can help you navigate the settlement process to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Learn more about how hiring a car accident lawyer can benefit you and your case.
Letting You Focus on Recovery
Car accident victims are dealing with many challenges after an accident. Physical injuries, mental suffering, and damage to your vehicle are just some of the issues you could be facing.
A personal injury attorney can handle the legal aspects of your case. This lets you focus on recovering from the accident. You gain some peace of mind knowing that an experienced lawyer is helping defend your rights.
Evaluating Your Case
A car accident attorney can evaluate your claim to determine the best course of action. Not every case can win compensation. A lawyer can advise you on whether filing a claim is worthwhile.
An attorney can also estimate the value of your claim. Medical expenses and lost wages are only part of the damages you may be entitled to. Pain and suffering is another important component that requires expertise to evaluate.
Having an accurate estimate increases your chances of a successful outcome. It helps ensure you don't have accident-related expenses left to pay out-of-pocket.
Fighting with the Insurance Companies
Notifying your car insurance company is one of the first steps after a car accident. In California, the driver who is at fault in a car accident is responsible for paying any damages. This means you'll be seeking compensation from the other driver's insurance company.
Unfortunately, insurance companies aren't motivated to award the damages you deserve. A personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and get the settlement you're entitled to.
At-Fault Driver Claims
Trying to get compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company can be a challenge. You first have to identify the driver who caused the accident. Then you have to prove the driver was at fault.
When you file a claim with the other driver's insurance company, the company will often try to minimize damages. They may deny that their client was at-fault in the collision.
Uninsured Motorist Claims
If the at-fault driver was uninsured, you can file a claim under your own uninsured motorist coverage. Your insurance company is unlikely to offer a fair settlement, though. Insurance adjusters for both drivers are motivated to minimize insurance liability. They want to reduce the compensation amount to protect their bottom line.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
A car accident lawyer will handle the insurance companies for you. An experienced attorney knows the strategies the insurance companies use. Your lawyer knows how to negotiate with the insurance company to get fair compensation.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
California law gives car accident victims the right to sue the person who caused the crash. Filing a personal injury lawsuit is a complex legal procedure. An experienced lawyer will manage all aspects of the process.
Your attorney will gather and preserve evidence for your case. For example, police reports and witness testimony can help prove your injuries.
Representation in the Courtroom
If the lawsuit goes to trial, your lawyer will represent you.
California uses a pure comparative negligence system. The judge or jury calculates the percentage of fault for each driver to assign liability. This makes proving the other driver's responsibility and the extent of your injuries even more important.
Meeting Legal Deadlines
To successfully sue the other driver after an auto-related accident, you must meet the legal deadlines. You can generally file a personal injury lawsuit up to two years after the date of the accident. Certain exceptions can apply, such as if the insured party is a minor.
If you're suing a government entity, you only have six months after the date of the accident to file an administrative claim.
Once the deadline has passed, you can no longer file a lawsuit. An experienced car accident lawyer will ensure you meet the relevant deadlines.
When Should Car Accident Victims Hire a Lawyer?
You have the right to hire an attorney at any point throughout the process of making an insurance claim or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Involving a lawyer as soon as possible is usually the best strategy, though.
Hire a Lawyer Early in the Process
Your lawyer can help you avoid saying or doing anything that might jeopardize your case. This is especially important when dealing with insurance companies. Insurers are looking for anything they can use to help avoid paying for damages.
Hiring a personal injury attorney early in the process is also beneficial for gathering evidence and building your case. Collecting evidence is easier when the details are still fresh.
Damage Can Worsen Over Time
The extent of an auto accident injury may not be fully apparent right away. You may think you don't need a lawyer because the injury isn't serious or your car didn't suffer major damage.
If you discover later that the consequences of the accident are more serious, you've lost valuable time. You may have missed the deadline to file a lawsuit. You may have underestimated your expenses or how long they would last.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you better estimate the long-term effects of injuries. For example, the effects of whiplash can last for months or years.
An attorney can help you consider all the expenses that could result from the accident. This helps ensure you're asking for a sufficient settlement.
Finding a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Claim
Car accident victims deserve fair compensation for the damages they suffered. A personal injury attorney who specializes in car accident claims can help you get a fair settlement. A lawyer will handle the legal aspects of your case, leaving you to focus on recovering from the crash.
Commonwealth Accident Attorneys has helped thousands of car accident victims in the Fullerton area. We'll evaluate your accident and your injuries so you understand the value of your case. Our award-winning attorneys have a 99% success rate.
We work on a contingency basis, so you don't pay us anything until you get a settlement. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.