3 Reasons You Should Speak with a Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in an auto accident and someone else was at fault, you might be debating whether you should call a personal injury attorney or not. You aren’t alone. Many people think they can keep more of an insurance settlement for themselves if they can avoid paying attorney’s fees.
You should know, however, that there’s a reason there are auto accident attorneys. You should also know there may be some extremely good reasons why you should reach out to one to represent you in a personal injury claim.
If you have been injured in Lakeport or Woodland Hills, Lake County, Colusa County, Yolo County, Ventura County, Los Angeles, or anywhere else in California, G. Aldrich Law can help. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, but we firmly believe in three vital reasons why you ought to speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible:
1. California is an at fault state.
In no-fault auto accident states, your auto insurance covers the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages, unless your injuries rise to a certain level of “seriousness.” There is no need to establish who was at fault for the crash.
California, however, is an at fault state. That means you must prove that the other person was negligent to file a claim and collect compensation for your damages. Moreover, California is a pure comparative fault state, so technically, someone who is 99% at fault could still recover 1% of their damages.
In some crashes, the fault is obvious. In others, you will need to prove that someone else is significantly more to blame than you are. That may require investigation of the crash beyond the law enforcement officer’s crash report, the help of a crash reconstructionist, and the locating and interviewing of witnesses.
In the end, you must prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care, that the driver failed to uphold that duty, and as a result, you sustained injuries and other damages. If any of this sounds confusing or challenging, you can see why you may benefit substantially by having a skilled personal injury lawyer do most of this work for you.
2. Serious injuries require serious experience.
Even the most seemingly minor injuries can become serious later. That is why you should avoid the insurance company’s pressure to settle a claim quickly. It can be tempting to settle because you can use the money the insurer is offering—but once you do, you cannot ask for more.
An experienced personal injury attorney will review your medical records (with your permission, of course) so they know what your injuries are, the recommended treatment for them, and the prognosis for recovery. Your attorney will probably not be a medical professional but will understand medical documentation. Your lawyer will patiently guide you through the process, making sure you know the full extent of your injuries, and will help you document the value of those damages.
The cost of such things as your medical treatment and wages you lose while unable to work are easy to value. However, your attorney will be able to provide evidence of the value of the non-economic damages you incur, such as pain and suffering. You must receive fair compensation.
3. Insurance companies are tough negotiators.
You need to realize that insurance companies rely on denying and undervaluing claims to make a profit. The money they can save in a claim is a far greater motivator than treating their insured’s victim fairly. Your attorney will be your advocate. The insurance adjuster will not.
Insurance adjusters will sound like they are concerned about you, hoping you will believe they will compensate you fairly. You need to work with an attorney who will make them play by the rules. Most adjusters change their approach when victims choose to be represented by an attorney.
Experienced personal injury attorneys tend to be tough negotiators. This may be your first injury claim, but it certainly isn’t your attorney’s. Good personal injury attorneys tend to earn reputations among insurers as relentless advocates for their clients.
Things to Ask a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in an auto accident in Lakeport or Woodland Hills, Lake County, Colusa County, Yolo County, Ventura County, Los Angeles, or anywhere else in California, you should talk to a personal injury attorney. When you do, here are a few questions you should ask to make sure you’re hiring the right one:
How much experience do you have representing auto accident victims in personal injury claims? The more relevant experience they have, the better representation they can provide.
Who will work on my case? Certain tasks may be handled by other staff at a law firm, but the attorney should take the lead and be heavily involved in your case from start to finish.
How much will my settlement be? You can ask this question, but if an attorney gives you a precise answer, beware. Until your injujries are known, your lost wages, and other losses are known, it is very difficult to give an answer that is reliable. Many factors determine damages, and until you can see those factors present themself a reliabilt answer cannot be given. No one knows for sure what your settlement will be; however, your attorney may be able to give you a broad range based on their experience with similar cases.
How much will pursuing a claim cost me? The cost of pursuing a claim will depend on the circumstances of your case but will include attorney’s fees and case expenses. If you file a lawsuit, case expenses will be significantly higher. A better question is who pays these costs. Your attorney should be willing to “front” the case expense and be reimbursed from your settlement. Attorney’s fees should include the representation agreement, so there are no surprises later.
What if the insurance company refuses to settle my claim for a fair amount? If your case is worth more than the insurer will agree to pay, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Although many cases are settled once a lawsuit is filed and the discovery process begins, some will need to go to trial before a jury. You need to make sure your attorney is an experienced trial attorney willing to go the distance.
Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney
The value a seasoned personal injury attorney can bring to your personal injury claim is significant. You will incur case expenses and pay attorney’s fees once you settle a claim, but the investment may be worth it. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, call our team today at G. Aldrich Law to schedule a free one-on-one consultation.