You can get into a car accident at any time. Your skill, caution, and alertness on the road will only take you so far. Unfortunately, you must contend with other drivers who are not so careful and attentive. And it one of them has acted in a rash and reckless way, it may lead to an accident.
If you have been harmed in a collision, you have legal rights. Tort law in the state of California gives every resident the right to sue another for actions that caused them material or financial harm. The best way to get this remedy is to hire a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
The Burden of Accidents and Injury
Being smashed into by another car or run off the road by another person’s wild driving are two of the many ways you can find yourself with a wrecked vehicle and a broken body. If you were seriously injured in a car accident, you will need to undergo emergency medical treatment. You may also need further care through surgery, rehabilitation, and long-term medication. These things cost money, and there will come a point at which you will need to start paying it.
Losing your wages is another burden of being injured in an accident. As long as you are physically incapacitated, you will not be able to go into work. If you are like most Californians, you cannot go much more than a couple of weeks without being paid. Too long a period of going without pay will put you into an impossible financial situation.
When to Contact a Lawyer
After the accident, you should allow yourself time to recover physically and mentally. As you regain your strength and ability to think and speak clearly, you should start looking for the best car accident attorney. You should enlist the help of your family and friends in this process. Indeed, one or two of them may have taken the initiative to contact a lawyer.
Even if someone has found a lawyer for you, it is up to you to ensure they have the competence and qualifications to do the job. The lawyer you hire should specialize in car accidents.
Building Your Case
The first interview with your Los Angeles personal injury attorney will be light and simple enough for you to get through. Such attorneys are used to working with clients who are in poor physical condition. Your attorney will not put you through anything that is beyond your capacity to cope with.
They will need some basic information to begin building a case. If you recall a negligent, lawless, or reckless move by the other driver and a crash afterward, then you should tell your lawyer the story as best as you can remember it. Your recollection will provide the foundation of the legal strategy. Additional work and investigation by your attorney will fill in the gaps.
Even though the other driver may be responsible for the car accident, their insurance company will be on the hook for paying you compensation. Indeed, the other driver’s insurers may reach out to you soon after the accident. They may do so when you are not well enough to speak to them or anyone else aside from your family. You should refuse all such overtures. And you should say nothing to the other driver or their insurance company until you have hired a lawyer.
Your attorney will do all the talking for you. They will take point on all communications with the insurance company. This is the best way to manage things, as it minimizes the risk of confusion and it prevents you from accidently undermining your own case.
If the insurance company makes an offer, your lawyer will review it and determine whether it is adequate. The best car accident attorney will have had many years of experience in dealing with such cases, and they will know a good offer from a bad one.
One of the first things your lawyer will do in developing your case is to come up with a dollar figure for compensation. This number will be based on a review of your past, current, and future medical treatment, extensive interviews with your physicians, discussions with you and your family, and their own knowledge of cases that are comparable to yours. Their aim will be to get a settlement that is as close as possible to this figure.
When You Should Sue
Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company. Depending on the severity and complexity of your injuries, such negotiations can be intense. Insurance companies operate for profit. They are not in business to pay proper compensation to accident victims; they are in business for their shareholders. To this end, they will try to minimize the amount of money they must pay. They will employ a range of tactics to short change you.
One of their most common ploys is to drag out the negotiations. In this instance, the insurance company stalls and delays to pressure you into a settlement. They know that you are desperate to get money—any sum of money—so that you can begin to pay bills and care for your family. They will try to use this fact to make you accept whatever they have offered.
Your lawyer will counter this ploy by employing an equally effective tactic. The last thing the insurance company wants is to take the case to trial. Although a trial will be trying on you as well, juries tend to be sympathetic to accident victims. If the case goes to court, a jury may compel the insurance company to pay a much larger sum of money than what you asked for.
It is your attorney’s job to paint you and your plight in the most sympathetic manner possible. To this end, your lawyer will send their own private investigators to re-interview witness and gather additional facts about the accident. The background of the driver will be looked into, as will their sobriety, physical condition, and state-of-mind at the time of the accident.
Your lawyer will also get testimony from medical experts who can explain how the accident has affected your ability to work. Accident reconstruction experts will also be brought in. They have the ability to construct a computer simulation of the accident based on the forensics left at the scene.
Once your lawyer has established the details of the accident, the person who caused it, how it has affected your healthy, and the obligation of the insurance company to pay, they will be ready to file a lawsuit.
Your lawyer will only advise you to file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith or has offered you a settlement that is well below what you require to pay your bills and re-build your life. In other words, you should sue only as a last resort. Otherwise, you should allow your lawyer to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company of the person who caused the accident.
If you have been harmed in a car crash, you need not resign yourself to a life of helplessness and debt. Contacting a car accident lawyer will help you get the compensation you are entitled to.