According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are between 5 to 6 million police-reported car accidents annually in the US. About 43% of car accidents result in injuries which can lead to additional damages including lost income, financial strain, mental distress, and pain and suffering.
If you were injured in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. While it’s not mandatory to hire legal representation after a car accident, certain circumstances make hiring a personal injury lawyer invaluable. Here are reasons why you might need to hire a car accident attorney after a crash.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help Your Car Accident Claim
- Navigating a personal injury claim can be complex and overwhelming. An experienced attorney will protect your rights and guide you throughout the entire claims process.
- Insurance companies are motivated by their bottom line and may try to minimize payouts. An auto accident attorney will negotiate with insurers on your behalf to recover the maximum compensation available.
- In cases where the fault is disputed, a personal injury attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to establish liability and gather compelling evidence to support your claim.
- An experienced car accident lawyer will help you determine the full extent of your damages. This can include medical treatment costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- A personal injury lawyer will ensure all paperwork is filled out accurately and that all legal deadlines are met.
10 Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident
Navigating the aftermath of a serious car accident can be very overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. Car accident lawyers will protect your rights and help you avoid the following common car accident mistakes:
1. Admitting Fault
Avoid admitting fault, apologizing, or making statements that may be seen as an admission of guilt.
2. Delaying Medical Attention
Seek medical attention promptly, even if your injuries seem minor. Injuries that are left untreated can worsen significantly overtime. Delaying medical care can jeopardize your health and weaken your personal injury claim.
3. Neglecting to Call the Police
Always call the police to the accident scene. Ensure you obtain a copy of the police report which provides an official record of the incident.
4. Failing to Gather Evidence
Collect evidence at the scene, including photographs, witness contact information, and the other driver’s contact and insurance details. This documentation can help strengthen your case significantly.
5. Giving a Recorded Statement Without Legal Advice
Avoid providing recorded statements to insurance companies without consulting a personal injury attorney. What you say to the insurance company can be used against you to minimize your claim.
6. Settling Too Quickly
Resist the urge to settle quickly. Some injuries and damages may not manifest immediately, and accepting a settlement too soon may result in insufficient compensation for your damages.
7. Not Following Your Prescribed Treatment Plan
Follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. It is crucial for your recovery and strengthens your claim by demonstrating the seriousness of your injuries.
8. Not Accounting for Future Damages
Consider the long-term impact of injuries when assessing damages. Failure to account for future medical expenses and ongoing treatment can leave you under-compensated. A personal injury attorney will help you calculate your current and future damages and pursue just compensation.
9. Ignoring the Statute of Limitations
Failing to file within the specified timeframe for a personal injury claim can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation.
10. Going Without Legal Representation
Seeking the advice of a qualified personal injury attorney is essential after an auto accident. Personal injury attorneys will negotiate with insurance companies, protect your interests throughout the process, and fight to recover the maximum compensation available.
Common Car Accident Injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Soft-tissue damage
- Broken bones and fractures
- Burns and lacerations
- Neck injuries
- Facial injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Whiplash injury
A Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights After a Car Crash
Following a car crash, understanding your rights and taking the necessary steps to protect them is crucial. Hiring a lawyer can play a significant role in safeguarding your rights throughout the legal process.
Investigating and Establishing Fault – A lawyer can conduct a meticulous investigation into the circumstances of the accident, gathering evidence to establish fault and liability.
Dealing with Insurance Companies – Insurance companies often try to pay out less than a claim is worth. An attorney will negotiate with insurers on your behalf to ensure you recover fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Assessing Damages – Calculating the full extent of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, requires legal expertise. A lawyer ensures no aspect of your losses is overlooked.
Adhering to Legal Procedures – Navigating the legal system can be complex. A lawyer understands the necessary procedures, deadlines, and paperwork, ensuring you meet all legal requirements.
Protecting Your Rights – The opposing party may use tactics to undermine your insurance claim. A lawyer can anticipate and counter such tactics, safeguarding your rights and best interests.
Representing You in Court – In cases where the other driver’s insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair settlement, a lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit and represent you in court.
By hiring an experienced car accident attorney, you not only enhance the likelihood of a favorable outcome but also ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. Personal injury attorneys typically recover settlements 3.5 times larger compared to people who represent themselves.
How to Find an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in California
Finding an experienced California car accident lawyer is crucial for obtaining a favorable outcome in your case. Here are some ways you can find the best car accident attorney for your case:
- Conduct thorough online research to identify reputable car accident lawyers in California. Seek recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who may have had positive experiences with personal injury attorneys.
- Ensure the potential attorneys you are reviewing are licensed to practice law in California and have a focus on personal injury cases, particularly car accidents.
- Read client testimonials and reviews to gauge the satisfaction levels of past clients.
- Schedule free initial consultations with potential lawyers. This meeting allows you to discuss your case, evaluate the attorney’s expertise, and determine if you feel comfortable working with them.
- Inquire about the attorney’s experience specifically in handling car accident cases.
- Verify the attorney’s standing with the State Bar of California. This ensures they have a good professional standing and haven’t faced disciplinary actions.
Finding the right car accident lawyer in California involves a combination of thorough research, personal recommendations, and careful evaluation. Taking the time to choose the right attorney for your case can significantly impact the outcome.
Statute of Limitations for Filing A Car Accident Claim
In California, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is generally two years from the date of the accident. However, there may be some exceptions.
Discovery Rule – If injuries are not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations may begin when the injury is discovered or should have been reasonably discovered.
Minor Plaintiffs – If the accident involves a minor, the statute of limitations may be tolled or extended. Therefore, the statute of limitations would start after they turn 18.
Government Claims – When filing a claim against a government entity, different rules and timelines may apply.
Failing to file a car accident claim within the specified time frame can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. It’s crucial to take prompt action to protect your legal rights. If you’re uncertain about the statute of limitations or whether you can still file a claim, consulting with a car accident attorney is advisable.
Contingency Fees Mean No Risk to You
One of the significant advantages of hiring a car accident attorney in California is contingency fee arrangements. With a contingency fee arrangement, you don’t pay any upfront costs or hourly fees to the attorney. This allows individuals, regardless of financial means, to access premium legal representation.
The attorney’s fees are contingent on the success of your case. Therefore, if your attorney doesn’t win your case, you don’t pay any lawyer fees. The lawyer fees are typically a percentage of the car accident settlement or court-awarded damages.
Consult with the Best Car Accident Attorneys in California
If you were injured in a car crash caused by another person’s actions, you may be able to recover compensation. At South Bay Accident Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping car accident victims obtain justice for their injuries and losses. Our experienced car accident attorneys maintain a 99% success rate and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Call our personal injury law firm today to schedule a no-risk, free consultation.