You were minding your own business when a car came out of nowhere. The accident was so jarring that you felt fear, panic, and confusion. By the time the dust settled, you may have totaled your vehicle or ended up in the hospital. You likely have bills piling up and, to make matters even worse, you may be out of work, unable to pay those rising health care expenses.
It’s times like these when a personal injury lawyer can stand by your side to help you make sense of your current situation.
When deciding to hire a personal injury lawyer, there are some misconceptions. Many suspect that hiring a lawyer automatically means the case will be going to court. The fact is, most personal injury claims settle out of court without the need to file a lawsuit.
What follows is a little more insight into the process of hiring a personal injury lawyer and what that professional can do for you following your life-changing vehicle accident.
Do You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
The short answer is no, but it’s a good idea. Hiring a personal injury attorney after a car accident allows you to discuss the matter with a proven professional. You will be able to comprehend the way California State Law applies to your car accident and your rights as a personal injury victim. Most of all, your personal injury lawyer can help you gather evidence, speak to witnesses, deal with the insurance companies, and do all the leg work that relates to getting you the best settlement possible.
The alternative is to go it alone. Unless you have experience negotiating with insurance companies, tracking down eyewitnesses, and filing the proper motions to seek a settlement of any magnitude, you may have little to no chance of getting compensated for all that you lost due to the accident that someone else caused.
When should you hire an attorney for a car accident?
The first phone call you should make following a car accident of any consequence is 911. Emergency personnel need to be notified so that the injured can be tended to and so that the police or the CHP can investigate how the accident happened and who caused the accident. The next phone call should be to a personal injury attorney.
Don’t have a personal injury attorney? Call the Accident Injury Law Center. Call us now to discuss your case.
An attorney will be able to guide you regarding what to do after your accident, which may include obtaining statements from onlookers and getting assessed by medical professionals to determine if you were injured. All of this is essential to evidence building, which will be used to help you and your attorney form the best case for a settlement.
What do lawyers do after a car accident?
Your attorney first needs to understand your claim. The first step is the initial consultation, where you learn about your rights and how they apply under California personal injury law. The next step is to gather as much evidence about the accident and your injuries as possible, such as witness statements and official reports.
Photographs may also be taken to document unsafe road conditions or to prove that the car involved in the accident was unlawfully on the road.
While this evidence gathering is ongoing, your attorney will be focused on establishing who was at fault for your accident.
Your attorney will typically gather the information needed to prepare a demand for settlement once you have been released by your doctor and your physical condition has stabilized. When this occurs, your attorney will gather medical records, doctor reports, and medical bills. If necessary, your personal injury attorney may also collect employment reports and other items that are necessary to document the losses you have suffered because of the vehicle accident.
When this aspect of the case is finished, your personal injury lawyer will contact the insurance company for the other driver to attempt to negotiate a settlement of your personal injury claim. For the untrained individual, this step can be nerve-wracking, as the insurance company may not be as responsive to your calls as they will be to a lawyer representing you.
Furthermore, insurance companies are notorious for offering low-ball settlement offers. An experienced personal injury attorney can increase your chances of receiving the reasonable settlement you deserve from the insurance company.
Is it worth it to hire a personal injury lawyer?
The quick answer is absolutely. If you attempted to do all of the above on your own, your case may take years to come to completion. You may receive less than you expected, or you may receive nothing at all if you do not settle your claim in a timely manner and the statute of limitations expires.
A personal injury attorney, if a settlement cannot be reached, will take your case into the courtroom. As your advocate, your lawyer will stand by your side, explain your rights, and fight aggressively for the best possible outcome. A lawyer cannot represent clients in small claims court, but if the claim goes to small claims court, your personal injury attorney will prepare your court documents so you are better equipped to represent yourself in small claims court.
Ideally, you will want to recover your medical bills and loss of income. However, there are some losses that are not immediately apparent, such as loss of future income, PTSD following a car accident, and future pain and suffering.
The fact is, only a personal injury attorney has the skills and experience to be the rock you need to lean on as you heal and recover from your recent car wreck.
Do I really need a personal injury attorney?
If you have been involved in a vehicle accident and you don’t know where to turn, call the Accident Injury Law Center to discuss your claim. We have vast experience working with car accident victims just like you. Call now to discuss your case and get the best possible outcome to cover your losses.