One of the biggest questions we hear is when should you get a lawyer for a car accident in Los Angeles?
Insurance company attorneys and claims adjusters begin working on claims right away after an accident.
In accidents where their insured may have been liable, they may try to shift that liability onto the other driver to minimize their own financial exposure.
WHEN SHOULD YOU GET A LAWYER FOR A CAR ACCIDENT IN LOS ANGELES?
Speaking to an attorney AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after an accident offers you answers to your legal questions and guidance in dealing with the insurance representatives who may contact you.
YOU SHOULD HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT YOU AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT IN THESE SITUATIONS:
-You suffered serious injuries. If you were involved in a minor fender-bender that did not cause serious injuries, you may not need the assistance of a car accident injury attorney. But in all other circumstances, speaking with an experienced car accident injury attorney is the BEST way to protect your legal rights to recover compensation.
-It is obvious, or even just possible, that someone else’s actions contributed to causing the accident. Speak with an attorney about any car accident in which someone else’s actions may have played a role, including any accident involving more than one vehicle, and any accident involving a sudden, unexpected loss of control of your car.
-You have been offered a low-ball settlement by the other driver’s insurance carrier. It is important to speak to an attorney before ever agreeing to a settlement or making an official statement to a third-party insurance provider. Early after an accident, it is difficult, if not impossible, for you to have a clear and thorough understanding of the costs accident injuries might inflict on your life.
Until an experienced attorney has helped you analyze the extent of the damages you have sustained, you risk accepting a settlement in your case that is much too low and will not FULLY cover the expenses you face now and in the future. Once you have accepted a settlement, you generally will NOT have the opportunity to go back and ask for more money.
-Your injuries are severe and permanent. Permanent injuries inflict a lifetime of expenses, including future surgeries, hospitalizations for complications, modifications to your home, and a decline in your earning capacity. Let an attorney help you obtain the money you need to pay for them.
-A loved one died from injuries sustained in the accident. If you lost a loved one due to an accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, you may have the right to obtain compensation through a wrongful death claim. If you need more information about who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim, an attorney can give you the details about this process and may be able to assist you in recovering damages caused by the loss.
CAN YOU SEEK COMPENSATION FOR DAMAGES CAUSED BY A CAR ACCIDENT ON YOUR OWN?
In theory, yes. In reality, NO WAY!
Los Angeles car accident lawyers spend their days helping car accident victims recover compensation from at-fault parties. It takes YEARS of training and experience to learn the ins-and-outs of obtaining maximum payouts from insurance companies and top-dollar awards from California juries.
In short, car accident lawyers know how to get you ALL of the money you deserve. You, in all likelihood, don’t have the experience or resources to seek compensation, especially if you’re having trouble physically recovering from the accident.
So when should you hire a lawyer for a car accident in Los Angeles? The answer is NOW! You have NOTHING to lose! You pay NOTHING up-front!
WHAT CAN LOS ANGELES CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS DO FOR YOU THAT YOU ALMOST CERTAINLY CANNOT DO ON YOUR OWN?
-Plan a legal strategy for obtaining maximum compensation. There are lots of laws and rules that can affect when, how, and against whom you can take legal action for damages after a car accident, and whether and how much money someone might have to pay. Lawyers know how to navigate those laws and rules to your advantage. You do not.
-Identify all parties with potential legal liability to you. Lawyers with experience representing car accident victims know where to look and what to look for to identify all parties who have potential legal liability to you for damages. The more parties they identify who have the resources to pay a claim to you, the better your chances of recovering the money you deserve.
-Determine the value of your claim. Putting a dollar value on the harm you sustained in a car accident is not always a straightforward process. It entails not just adding up the out-of-pocket costs you have already incurred as a result of the accident, but also estimating those costs into the future.
Additionally, it requires placing a value on the harm you suffered that does not come with a price tag, such as your pain and suffering, and damage done to your personal relationships. Car accident lawyers have YEARS of experience accurately valuing those items of damages. If you try to tally them up on your own, you will likely leave money on the table.
-Assemble the evidence you need to prove your claim. Experienced car accident lawyers have training in gathering together diverse pieces of evidence about your accident and in compiling them into a clear and compelling narrative to prove someone has legal liability to you for damages. This is a skill that most people do not have. It is what sets lawyers apart.
-Negotiate with insurance carriers. Most lawsuits arising from car accidents settle out of court. Typically, the insurance company for the party with legal liability pays money to the injured party in exchange for the injured party giving up a legal claim.
Just because lawsuits normally settle, however, does NOT mean that it is easy to achieve the largest settlement available. Only a skilled lawyer with years of experience interacting with insurance adjusters can navigate the give-and-take of a settlement negotiation to a client’s maximum advantage.
Non-lawyers who attempt to negotiate their own claims with insurance companies virtually always end up getting steamrolled.
-File and litigate a lawsuit. Yes, it is possible to file a lawsuit for damages arising from a car accident on your own (known as filing pro se), but it is ALWAYS, (we repeat) always, a terrible idea.
Acting as your own lawyer is a fool’s errand. No one will take your legal claim seriously, in or out of court. No opposing attorney or insurance adjuster will negotiate with you on-the-level. You will, without a doubt, make basic mistakes that shoot your own claim in the foot.
If you manage to make it to a trial, the jury will dismiss you quickly. Trust a lawyer to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Never attempt it on your own!
-Collect the money owed to you. Even when a legal claim for damages arising from a car accident settles or results in a jury award, it is not over until the money is in your bank account. Do you know how to collect an award when the party with liability fails to step up and write a check? Lawyers do!
We do not mean to sound harsh, but the fact of the matter is, injured car accident victims should NEVER, EVER, try to pursue legal claims for damages on their own. The only way to protect and enforce your legal rights, and to obtain the compensation you deserve, is to put your case in the hands of an experienced car accident attorney.
How Long After an Accident Can You Claim an Injury?
So when should you get a lawyer for a car accident in Los Angeles? Suffering from an injury is always traumatic, regardless of how the injury occurred. Injuries can range anywhere from a broken bone to a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury. These injuries can change a person’s life forever, damaging not only their bodies but their finances and their emotional wellbeing as well. What many people do not know is failing to file a claim in a timely manner can prevent them from getting compensation for their injuries. How long after an accident can you claim an injury? The answer is simple: the sooner you take action, the better.
The Statute of Limitations on Filing Injury Claims Is Already Running
Like many legal undertakings, injury claims have time limits. The standard time limitation on filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the incident which caused the injury. However, you need to know when this “clock” starts running so you know what’s at stake. Because legal cases take time to put together, it is best to speak with an attorney as soon after an accident as possible. Set your case up for success from the start!
Insurance Company Adjusters and Statutes of Limitations
There’s a reason it’s hard to get in touch with insurance adjusters. Insurance companies are well aware of the statutes of limitations that apply to personal injury lawsuits. They know the longer they can stretch out negotiations between victims and insurance companies, the easier it is for them to pay a lower settlement amount. Remember, the insurance company will use every legal means to ensure they pay as little as possible to settle a lawsuit, even when they know their client is liable for the injuries! How can you get through to them? Filing a lawsuit changes the calculations for an insurer.
In some instances of an injury, the victim may not even realize what’s happened to them. The immediate aftermath of an accident is chaotic, and victims are often flooded with adrenaline that dulls or masks their pain. This is why many statutes of limitations include language which states “ …from the date it was discovered, or the date on which it would have been discovered with reasonable efforts.” If you were injured several months ago and are only now learning about adverse effects, it is not too late for you to file a claim. Still, before you contact the insurance company, you should speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer. Know your right, and know your options!
Working With An Accident Attorney
Finding the right accident attorney extremely is important. During this stressful time, you need an ally and an advocate who will fight for you. Your car accident lawyer will work hard to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
A skilled attorney can help in the following ways:
- Filing insurance claims for you – The claims process can be difficult. The forms can be confusing, and if a mistake occurs, the process has to be started all over again. Turn this over to your lawyer and let them take care of it—they have extensive experience filing claims.
- Conducting negotiations with insurance adjusters – While you’re recovering from your injury, the last thing you want to do is deal with insurance adjusters. Not only will your lawyer handle negotiations on your behalf, but they will also handle all other communication and keep you up to date.
- Ensuring your settlement is sufficient – In addition to calculating how much compensation you should pursue, your lawyer can fight hard to make sure the insurance company understands you will not settle for less than you deserve for your injuries.
- Taking the issue to court if needed – Even as your attorney works hard to get a settlement from an insurer, they will prepare to litigate on your behalf in court. If your attorney cannot negotiate successfully with an insurer, have confidence that they can immediately file a lawsuit and fight for a settlement in court.
If you still have questions, an accident attorney near you can answer them and evaluate your claim to see whether you have a good case.
THE LAW OFFICES OF GERALD L. MARCUS HAS OVER 34 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WINNING CAR ACCIDENT CLAIMS IN LOS ANGELES
Our skilled legal team knows how to FIGHT the insurance company and the process that is involved.
We have former insurance adjusters ON STAFF who know exactly what the other side is thinking and will do to minimize your claim!
This gives us a HUGE advantage and sets us apart from other attorneys!
So when should you get a lawyer for a car accident in Los Angeles?
Contact our law firm IMMEDIATELY at 818-784-8544 and we will help you through this difficult time.
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