Over 60 million automobile accidents happen that result in 5000 fatalities every year. According to research, accident victims who hire an injury lawyer get a larger settlement.
If you or your loved one has been in an accident caused by the negligence of another person, it’s time to ask yourself whether it’s worth getting an injury lawyer on the accident case.
This article will explore what car accident cases are when to hire an accident lawyer and what to expect from an accident case proceeding.
What Is a Car Accident Case?
Car accidents are among the many kinds of personal injury cases because they result in injuries from other people’s negligent acts. Accidents can involve motorcycles, trucks, cars, heavy vehicles, public transportation, and even aviation and boating accidents.
Car accidents are top of the list for personal injury cases, particularly in high-traffic areas like California. These auto-accidents result in a wide range of injuries: fender benders, soft tissue injuries, sprains, fractures, dislocated spinal discs, internal wounds, head injuries, burns, loss of limbs, and sometimes even death.
Filing an auto accident case means filing to recover the medical, financial, and emotional damages caused by the accident.
Why Is Having a Personal Injury Lawyer Important in San Francisco?
Several reasons make it essential to have a personal injury lawyer. But simply put, you’re going to get better results. One study found that in 85 percent of cases where an insurance company does settle an injury claim, the injured party had hired an attorney.
It’s vital to hire the right help. For starters, you’re ensuring that all your documents are in check. Additionally, you’re asking a professional to help you determine the case’s value and engage in negotiations on your behalf.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer after an accident has occurred will help you assuredly.
1. They Help You Determine How Much Your Case is Worth
Personal injury attorneys know how to calculate your pain and suffering accurately. Some of the factors that they take into account include
- The medical bills
- Past and future income loss
- Property damaged
- Recklessness or intentions of the Defendant
- Plaintiff’s role
- The severity and long-term effects of the physical injury
- The strength of the evidence
Your attorney puts up a precise amount to the court, the defendant, or insurance companies. This amount depends on the factors mentioned above and determines the exact value of your case. Any negotiations of the case are then based on the figure calculated by your injury attorney.
2. They Help You Determine Liabilities in the Accident
Sometimes, it’s self-evident who was at fault – anyone who breaks the road rules is held responsible. Other times, especially when the evidence is weak, it’s not as clear. In that event, the injured person has to prove the following things
- That there was a reasonable standard of care that the at-fault party owed
- That the standard of reasonable care was breached – whether deliberately or by negligence
Many states like California are the Pure Comparative Fault States, where the at-fault person can still claim some level of damages from the other parties if he was injured. An injury attorney in California will be able to determine the liabilities keeping all of that in mind.
3. They Advise You on When to Settle and When to File a Suit
One of the many concerns you’ll have when filing an accident case will be whether you should settle or file a suit.
Usually, an injury lawyer will try to settle the case without filing a lawsuit because settlements are quick, easy, and inexpensive. However, if the other party is being unfair, you might need to file a suit before the court in the end.
Determining what is and isn’t fair is the injury attorney’s job, which is why it’s crucial to have an experienced one on your side.
4. Personal Injury Lawyers Know Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance companies will do their best to intimidate you and get you to reduce your claim – that’s a part of their job description.
They might tell you things like that are untrue:
- They might blame you for the accident
- They might challenge the credibility of the doctor’s reports
- They might diminish the pain and suffering that has been caused to you.
- They might prologue the negotiation process
When insurance companies prolong the negotiation process, you’re willing to settle for a smaller amount than what you deserve because there are urgent expenses that need to be paid.
Injury lawyers know all these tactics and more. They’re willing to take on your fight, represent you in the negotiations, and ensure that you’re getting the amount you deserve.
5. They Can Negotiate a Fair Settlement for You
The negotiation stages are challenging in accident cases; the insurance companies try to intimidate you, and the at-fault person usually refuses to take responsibility.
Accident attorneys know all the laws applicable to your case, the insurance company’s policies, and the rights you have and can defend your claim from a legal standpoint.
They regularly handle negotiation processes and are well equipped to get you a fair settlement.
6. They Can Explain the Laws and Regulations that Apply to Your Claim
Many laws apply to an accident case
- The California Civil Code
- The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act
- The California Vehicle Code
- The Statute of Limitations
- The insurance policies of your company
An experienced injury lawyer knows all the details and loopholes in these laws and can apply them to your case to ensure you get maximum benefit while you focus on recovering.
7. You Can Focus on Recovering From Your Injuries
When you’ve been in an accident, you’ll need to focus on doctor’s appointments, managing your fiancés, and taking time out to recover from a traumatic event.
You don’t need the added burden of claiming insurance, requesting medical records, reviewing police reports, and communicating back and forth with the parties at fault.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you delegate your workload so you can focus on getting better and spending time with your loved ones during this challenging event.
What to Expect in a Typical Personal Injury Case?
If you’re thinking of filing an accident case, you probably have a lot of questions. What are your chances of getting fair compensation for your medical bills? How long will the process take? How much compensation can you expect to receive? What affects the outcome of the personal injury claim?
Here is the step-by-step legality of an accident case
1. You Get Medical Treatment
If you’ve been in an accident, get medical help immediately. Do so even when you suffer no apparent injuries – many wounds resulting from car accidents are internal.
This is an essential legal step as well. If you don’t immediately visit the doctor, the court or insurance company will likely use that to establish that your injuries were not serious.
Be sure to keep a record of your hospital visits, the doctor’s reports, and the prescriptions you’re taking. They might come in handy during the negotiation stages and determining the value of the case
2. You Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
At this stage, you might need to consult a lawyer, especially if you have a significant injury. In general, if the following situations have happened because of the accident, ring up an injury attorney
- You’ve broken a bone
- Your medical bill is more than a thousand dollars
- The insurance companies or the at-fault party is non-compliant
3. The Lawyer Investigates the Claims and Reviews Medical Records
If you’ve decided to contact a lawyer, here are a few things you need to be prepared for
- Your lawyer will interview you
- You’ll have to show your lawyer the relevant documents
During the interview with your lawyer, tell them everything about the accident – especially the parts where you look bad. Make sure your lawyer is entirely in-the-know so that they’re able to protect your interests altogether.
Relevant documents that you have to show the lawyer include the medical records, the insurance details, police reports, witness statements, or any evidence you may have gathered at the time of the accident.
4. The Lawyer Demands and Negotiates
After the lawyer has gone through your case, they calculate the ‘pain and suffering’ caused. This figure depends upon medical expenses, income loss, property damage, the Defendant’s role, the severity of the injuries, and more.
After determining this figure, the lawyer presents it to the insurance companies or the at-fault party; the negotiation process starts.
However, you should know that the negotiation and demand process does not start until you’ve finished your medical treatments. This is because of two reasons
- The lawyer does not know how much the case is worth until the treatments have ended
- The plaintiff goes to trial before he has recovered, the jury might undervalue his case.
A good lawyer knows this and won’t start the case until the injured party has recovered. When that happens, lawyers attempt to settle the case.
5. When Negotiations Fail, a Lawsuit Is Filed
Trials can get very time-consuming, so most parties prefer to settle beforehand. However, if the parties cannot come to a mutual decision or engage in unnecessary delays, the lawyers are prepared to take the matter to trial.
Following things that happen in a trial
- Your lawyer files court documents
- There is a discovery stage and a pretrial hearing stage
- Settlement negotiations may happen
- Trial starts
- Judgment is given
- Post-trial motions may be filed
There are many legalities involved in a court case, and the lawyer handles that for you when initiating a suit.
After initial documents have been filed, the representatives of both parties might communicate back and forth to ensure that they’re all on the same page about the facts of the case. At this stage, your lawyer may compel the other party to provide evidence, dispute claims, request documents or statements, and so on.
After the final evidence has been exchanged, both the parties attempt another negotiation phase before going into trial. During the trial, the jury first determines who was at-fault and afterward fixes the amount of damages.
A judge enters judgment to be collected by your lawyer and which can be contested by the other party.
When to Contact a Car Accident Attorney?
It’s always in your best interest to get a lawyer as soon as you can post-accident, and particularly in the following cases:
- You’ve suffered major, permanent or long term injuries in the accident
- The other party refuses to take accountability
- The insurance company refuses to pay or offers a lower settlement
- You’re asked to provide your medical records or statements
Finding the Right Lawyer
Now that you’ve done your homework on what to expect in an accident case and why you will need an accident attorney, here are some tips on helping you find the right one
- Ask the lawyer what kind of cases do they handle regularly
- Be aware that some lawyers may not charge a consultation fee
- Ask the lawyer for their experience in handling personal injury cases
- Ask the lawyer if they are litigants or solicitors or both
- Check their reputation online
Car accident cases are relatively simple and don’t require a lot of hands-on-deck – so finding a reputable attorney for your accident case shouldn’t be very difficult.
Injured in an Auto Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in California, you might want to get in touch with our injury attorney to help you with your case.
Our injury attorney will help you
- Determine the value of your case
- Gather and compile the necessary documents
- Negotiate with Defendant and the insurance companies
- Send demand letters
- Prepare written and oral arguments for the court
It’s essential to have someone on your side that has the knowledge and experience to represent your accident case to ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact Anh Phoong for a free consultation today.