IS IT WORTH GETTING A LAWYER FOR A CAR ACCIDENT IN LOS ANGELES?
A car accident happens in a split second, but it can alter your whole life. Is it worth getting a lawyer for a car accident in Los Angeles?
Unfortunately, there is no reversing an accident. That is why you deserve a fair damage award – both to compensate for your hardship and secure your future.
Unfortunately, when it comes to compensation, insurance companies in Los Angeles are not always so understanding.
That is why it can really help to have a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer by your side to fight for you.
Here are some questions to help you determine if you should get a car accident lawyer.
HOW SERIOUS ARE YOUR DAMAGES?
If you have been severely injured or suffered extensive damages, it is definitely worth seeing how a lawyer can help you.
However, if your damages are below a couple thousand dollars, your case will likely end up in a small claims court. In such cases, a higher payoff may not justify the legal fees.
But think carefully before you accept compensation.
Minor injuries from car crashes often worsen – and if you have already settled, you won’t be able to get the damage award you deserve.
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME TO COLLECT ADEQUATE EVIDENCE?
When it comes to a car accident, gathering evidence can be laborious. You’ll need to:
-Collect witness statements.
-Obtain police reports.
-Collect photographs of the scene.
-Obtain all medical reports.
-Get a quote for motor vehicle repair.
It’s a lot of work to handle, especially if you’re injured. Your attorney can alleviate that stress.
Many car accident attorneys even have reconstructive technology to recreate the accident. Your Los Angeles car accident lawyer will know how to examine evidence to create the most compelling case possible.
DO YOU FEEL UP TO THE TASK OF PROVING THE OTHER DRIVERS LIABILITY?
In a car accident case, proving liability takes four steps.
Duty of Care
When a driver gets behind the wheel, it is their responsibility to follow traffic laws to keep those around them safe. That is their duty of care.
Breach of Duty
The driver failed to do this in some way. Maybe they were texting; maybe they ran a red light. Either way, they have breached their duty of care.
Now it comes to you. Here’s where cause is linked to affect the reason you’re injured is due to this driver’s behavior.
The driver’s negligent behavior on the road has led to suffering on your account either through damage of property, physical injury, or both. In order to prove the defendant liable, all four of these steps need to apply. Your lawyer will constantly keep these conditions in mind as they build evidence for your case.
ARE YOU READY TO NEGOTIATE WITH AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER?
Insurance adjusters are hired by the insurance company, and their job is to make your damage award as low as possible.
They will deliberately try to drag out a settlement to capitalize on your impatience.
Dealing with insurance adjusters can be aggravating. Often, the threat of litigation is enough to make them take your claim more seriously.
DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH YOUR CASE IS WORTH?
Calculating damages in a car accident case can be complicated.
In Los Angeles, you can receive settlement money for all physical damages, but also for emotional damages. Your lawyer will help you calculate a “pain and suffering” factor, which entitles you to a larger settlement.
Remember that most car accident lawyers work on contingency fees, which means they will receive a percentage of your settlement money. The bigger your payoff is, the bigger your lawyer’s is as well. That also means if the case is lost, you will not pay a cent. So when you ask yourself Is it worth getting a lawyer for a car accident in Los Angeles? You have to keep in mind that you risk absolutely NOTHING by calling a car accident attorney.
Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim
Many car accident victims are uncertain what compensation the law owes them following a car accident. They don’t know plaintiffs may collect economic losses, non-economic losses, and punitive damages, depending on numerous factors. While there is no guarantee of a specific dollar amount in any car accident case, as a general rule the more serious the injuries sustained, the higher the settlement or award.
Victims often think they can negotiate a settlement on their own, but this is never a good idea. In some instances, more than one party may cause your car accident injuries. For example, while the driver who operated the vehicle that struck you bears liability for your injuries, others may include a government entity if a poorly maintained road contributed to the accident, or a parts’ manufacturer if a defective part partially caused an accident. An attorney can investigate the accident and determine who may be responsible and make sure they are held accountable.
Victims often think insurance companies are going to treat them fairly. This is always a mistake—insurers have one goal in mind, which is to minimize claims. Most insurance companies have shareholders with a serious profit motive. This means the insurer has a responsibility to increase business and increase profits. Profits increase when an insurer collects premiums and does not pay out claims.
Insurers benefit when you have not hired a lawyer. Period. They know you are out of work recovering and that time off from work is costing you money. Because of this, the insurance company will nearly always offer a fast settlement. Their hope is you will accept that settlement and ignore the fine print in the settlement documents. Victims who accept a settlement shortly after suffering an injury often learn they have forfeited any rights to submit additional claims for unforeseen medical bills, time lost from work, and other financial damages.
The reason is simple: Settlements contain language which protects the insurance company from future claims. Therefore, the sooner they settle, the less they pay!
Regardless of the reason a car accident occurred, the bottom line is you are forced to deal with the fallout. Your injuries need time to heal, you are losing money because you can’t work, and your life may NEVER be the same.
Money cannot restore the time you lost sitting in a hospital or rehab facility. It cannot reunite you with friends and family members, nor can money stop the future pain you may have to endure due to your injuries. Compensation can, however, give you the best odds of a full recovery and a return to normalcy for you and your loved ones.
CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER FEES
After a car accident, we know you’re stressed out. Bills are piling up quickly, with no relief in sight. You want help getting compensation for your medical bills and lost wages, but you don’t want to strain your finances any further to pay for a lawyer.
There’s good news: car accident lawyers understand your situation and want to help. This is why these lawyers use specific fee arrangements that allow you to get legal help without paying anything upfront out-of-pocket.
While lawyers in many practice areas charge by the hour, personal injury lawyers generally charge accident victims in a different way. They use something called a contingency fee. In short, this means a lawyer’s payment is contingent on them successfully winning your case, which means obtaining a settlement or award for your losses. If your lawyer fails to get a settlement or judgment for you, you don’t pay them a cent. Their livelihood depends on yours, giving them all the more motivation to fight for you.
Does this sound too good to be true? It’s not. The legal field understands that every injury victim deserves adequate legal representation, but many people cannot afford hefty retainers or hourly fees. This is why the contingency arrangement exists.
How the Contingency Fee Works
As mentioned above, a contingency fee means that you only pay once you receive your settlement or jury award. But how much will you pay then? It’s not worth it to hire an attorney to get you a settlement if the entire thing will go right back to the attorney! The good news is that this won’t happen, as contingency fees will only be a previously set percentage of your settlement.
Each state has its own specific rules regarding possible percentages for contingency fees. Generally speaking, they range from about 30 to 45 percent, with the standard being right around one-third, or 33% for cases that settle without the necessity of a lawsuit being filed. We frequently find fees for premises liability claims to be higher, because these cases are generally harder to win and take significantly more effort on the part of the attorney and their staff.
Some contingency fee agreements will have different percentages based on how your case gets resolved and the amount of work the case requires. For example, an agreement could include the following:
- 33% if the case settled during the initial process but before a lawsuit is filed
- 40% if you and the attorney agree that it is necessary to file a lawsuit
- 45% in the event of an appeal or second trial
No matter what arrangement a car accident lawyer proposes, you should always ensure that you completely understand it before you sign an agreement. This payment system can confuse people, so clarify any confusion or ask any questions you may have about the payment contract ASAP. The car accident attorney will be happy to fully address your questions or concerns.
Selecting the Right Car Accident Law Firm for You
Fee arrangements should definitely be a factor when you are deciding which car accident lawyer to hire.
Don’t be afraid to ask the following questions as you evaluate each attorney based on the way they want to charge for their services:
- What percentage of your settlement are they asking for?
- Will they require you to pay expenses as you go, or will they cover those costs and deduct them later?
- Did the law firm give you a realistic range of outcomes to expect?
- How much do they estimate they will spend in costs and expenses? Does the number seem realistic based on the complexity of your case?
- Does the law firm seem like they are being realistic and fair, or are they just trying to “sell” you?
Cost should not be the one and only factor in choosing the right attorney. “Budget” lawyers who charge very little may not have the experience, resources, or confidence to handle high-dollar claims and demand standard percentages. However, cost can be part of your decision, especially if different car accident law firms are charging in different ways.
SO, IS IT WORTH IT?
Is it worth getting a lawyer for a car accident in Los Angeles?
If you have suffered extensive damages in a car accident, a lawyer’s skills can help you secure just compensation.
Many Los Angeles law offices offer a free case evaluation, and the lawyer will let you know how they can help you.
With your case in the right hands, you can focus on what is really important – recovering from the shock of the accident, spending time with your loved ones, and returning to a normal way of life.
Learn How Our Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys Will Stand up for Your Rights!
At The Law Offices Of Gerald L. Marcus, we know that car accidents don’t take a day off. That is why there is someone ready to answer your call at any time, any day of the week. If you’re wondering whether to call, remember you have nothing to lose by scheduling your FREE and confidential consultation.
Our team is proud to provide zealous and personalized representation to each and every client. We want the best for you and will fight for the best possible results. Car accidents can disrupt your life, but we can make the aftermath as easy as possible for you. Call us right now at 818-784-8544, or CLICK HERE to contact us and discuss how to move forward today.
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