Estimates of around 3 million people are injured in car accidents every year. Insurance companies handle millions of car accident compensation claims annually in the aftermath of these accidents. While some accident victims would prefer to file and negotiate their claims themselves, the majority choose to use the services of a Sacramento car accident lawyer.
The days following a roadside accident can be distressing for most people. Still, it’s essential to stay focused on the things you’ll need to do to ensure you’re adequately compensated for losses incurred due to the incident. A Sacramento car accident lawyer can help you complete the tenuous process of filing claims and negotiating with insurance companies.
What Occurs in the Days Following a Car Accident?
It’s necessary to seek medical attention for any injuries you may have sustained during the accident before doing anything else. It’s always best if you see a doctor to find out the full extent of any injuries you’ve sustained.
In the days following a car accident, you may be required to file a claim with your insurance company as well as the insurance provider of the other party. Your insurance company will then estimate the value of damages, or they may choose to deny your claim.
Your insurance company may ask you to provide details surrounding the incident, such as:
- The date of the accident
- The location of the accident
- Which persons or parties were involved
- Whether you or other parties sustained any injuries, along with details of the damages.
- How the accident took place and who you suspect was at fault.
- Whether or not you filed a police report.
Some insurance companies require you to file a police report within 24 hours of the incident as per their insurance agreement.
If you were injured, your insurance company may ask for a copy of your medical records and driving history. It may not be easy to know which documents you are required, and which records the insurance company wants so they can justify denying your claim.
Sometimes an insurance company will ask you to sign a “medical release” to gain permission to view your complete medical record. This should be avoided at all costs.
You should submit only those medical records directly related to the injuries you received during the accident, and documents such as X-rays that provide proof of your damages. You should also provide documents associated with any medical treatment you may have received (or are waiting to receive) following the accident.
A Sacramento car accident lawyer knows which medical records are relevant to your case and can guide you through the process of providing the right ones to insurance companies.
What is a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer?
A Sacramento car accident lawyer is a type of personal injury lawyer that specializes in car accidents. Their goal is to help you succeed in your damages claim and receive the compensation you deserve following an accident.
Personal injury lawyers typically do not charge for consultations and receive payment only if you win your claim. They accept a certain percentage of your winnings in the event of a payout as payment. This is referred to as a contingency fee.
The average contingency fee for Sacramento car accident lawyers is around 33 1/3%. It can hover between 25% to 40% depending on the size of the claim’s potential payout, the odds of winning, and how far the case has to proceed before a settlement is reached.
Car accident lawyers may ask for a higher contingency fee for riskier cases where they believe their clients are likely to have their claims rejected by insurance companies.
When Should I Hire A Car Accident Lawyer?
You might need to hire a car accident lawyer if the damages incurred during the accident were significant. This can include cases where:
- Injuries were sustained that required medical attention costing several thousand dollars
- You experienced emotional suffering and trauma from the accident.
- You missed multiple work/school days were following the accident.
- Multiple people were injured in the incident.
- It is unclear who was at fault for the accident.
- Meetings with the insurance company are going poorly.
- You are having trouble understanding the complicated legal and medical paperwork.
You should seek to hire a car accident lawyer immediately following your accident if an injury has taken place. The reason for this being that insurance companies start evaluating your injury claim as soon as they’re aware an accident has occurred.
The goal of insurance companies is to pay you as little as possible to maximize their profits. They generally have their own team of lawyers who go through records and driving history, looking for leverage against you to deny claims or reduce the payout.
Hiring a car accident lawyer is essential to level the playing field, especially in the aftermath of a harrowing incident such as a car accident.
Insurance companies will often ask you to provide a recorded statement of the incident as soon as possible; however this is usually an attempt to gather evidence from a claimant who may not be fully aware of the relevant details surrounding an incident that they should or shouldn’t disclose.
Insurance companies can then use this evidence against you when you attempt to file for a better compensation package than the one initially offered to you.
When Can I Do Without A Car Accident Lawyer?
You may not require the services of a car accident lawyer in situations where no injury has occurred, and the only damages sustained were to the vehicle or property. However, it’s best to see a doctor to assess the full extent of any injuries that may not be obvious.
Cases, where the possible compensation amount for your claim is small, may not require the services of a car accident lawyer either. An accident involving an old vehicle that was poorly maintained and offered low resale value before the accident isn’t likely to yield a generous compensation payout.
How Can a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
One of the duties of a car accident lawyer is to prove you have suffered damages as a result of the accident. They examine areas you may have overlooked, such as loss of enjoyment of life, reduced earning capacity, and potentially long-term future medical costs. You are likely to receive a more substantial compensation amount if your lawyer can establish that the damages incurred to your life are significant.
After hiring a car accident lawyer, you will no longer be required to talk to insurance companies directly. Any future requests from insurance companies will be filtered through your lawyer so that only essential information and offers are forwarded to you.
The Sacramento car accident lawyer primarily functions as a middle-man between you and insurance companies. They know which details to disclose to insurance companies regarding the accident, to help you build the most robust case for compensation.
Surveys have found that people who hire car accident lawyers are generally more successful at winning accident claims and receive higher payouts from insurance companies than people who do not use car accident lawyers.
What Should I Know Before Hiring One?
It would be best if you opted to hire a car accident lawyer that is experienced and has a proven track record of winning cases that are similar to yours. It helps if you also familiarize yourself with their fee structure.
A personal injury lawyer’s contingency fee is usually determined through a “sliding scale” that depends on how far the case proceeds before it is settled. Typical contingency fees for each situation are as follows (but not all):
- 33 1/3% Pre-litigation Settles anytime before a lawsuit is filed
- 40% Typically after lawsuit has been filed
If you’re the defendant who is considered at-fault for the accident, you may be required to pay your hourly lawyer fees for their services.
The assistance of a car accident lawyer could be the critical factor that enables you to win your claim with insurance companies. People who hire car accident lawyers are, on average, more likely to be satisfied with the outcome of their case than those who chose to represent themselves in accident claims.
There is also evidence to suggest that people who hire car accident lawyers receive more massive personal injury payouts from insurance companies.
Car accidents commonly leave people shaken up. Fighting for compensation while in such a state can be time-consuming as well as mentally taxing for those who may already have other responsibilities to manage.
So why not hire a professional to handle things for you so that you can spend the duration of your recovery without unnecessary worries and frustrations. Just remember it’s better to hire a Sacramento car accident lawyer sooner than later to maximize your odds of winning compensation.