When Should I Hire A Car Accident Lawyer?
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Getting into a car accident can cause you serious problems. If it was serious enough, you will need to spend considerable time in the hospital. Another ruinous aspect of a car wreck is the money it will cost you to recover from it. Not only will you need to pay medical bills, but you will also have to find some way to make up for the wages you will lose as you heal and recover.
This can all be overwhelming, but you need not go through it alone, especially if the accident was not your fault. If the accident was caused by a negligent, careless, inattentive, or reckless driver, then you can hold them to account. The laws of California give you the right to compensation. And you will need to hire a Los Angeles personal injury attorney to act on that right.
When You Should Call A Lawyer
You will need some time to rest and recuperate, to heal and convalesce. When you start to regain your strength and can think clearly again, you should start talking to a car accident lawyer. Such lawyers have handled many cases like yours, and they understand that you may still be in a fragile state in the first meeting. The car accident lawyer who comes to see you will try not to overwhelm you with too many questions. However, they will need to gather some basic information so that they can start developing the case against the person who hit you.
How To Choose A Lawyer
It is important to choose the right lawyer for your case. Here are some of the things you want to look at before settling on the person you want to represent you:
Do not assume that everyone who claims to be a lawyer is registered with the Bar Association. There has been an unfortunate rise in the number of people practicing law without a license. Such persons do not have the credentials to argue before a court, and if they are found out by the people you are going up against it can throw your case into upheaval.
If you have narrowed your prospective attorneys down to 2 or 3 choices, you should call the state or local Bar association to verify their membership and their status - they should be in good standing.
The lawyer you hire must also have a solid reputation in the legal community. Having the respect of colleagues and a good working relationship with them is no minor thing. Lawyers must often reach out to colleagues to get help with a case. If a case takes a turn that requires specialized knowledge in an area of law your attorney knows little about, they will need to bring in someone who does. Having a solid reputation makes this easier to do.
3. Settlement Total
You don’t want to look at the number of courtrooms wins to determine the efficacy of a personal injury lawyer. You should instead look at the amount of money they have gotten for their clients. Most personal injury cases are not resolved in a courtroom; they are resolved through investigation and negotiation outside of a courtroom. The effectiveness of a personal injury attorney is best measured by their settlement total.
Determining The Party Responsible For Compensation
One of the first things your car accident lawyer will determine is the party responsible for paying you compensation. In most instances, it will be the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident. Going up against insurance companies is not easy. Officially, insurance companies exist to cover the financial losses and expenses of their policyholders. In reality, they exist to make a profit and protect the interests of their investors. The insurance company of the driver who hit you will do all that it can to minimize the amount of money it must payout.
In fact, company representatives may reach out to you early to offer you a settlement. If it has been determined that the other driver caused the accident and is therefore liable for your injuries, their insurance company may offer you a low-dollar figure in compensation. This offer will be contingent on your agreement not to make any further claims against them. This is a common insurance company ploy. They know that most people, in the course of their lives, do not see the kind of lump-sum payment they are prepared to make and that you will take the money and pursue the matter no further.
You should not accept any settlement without first consulting with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney. Based on their insight and experience, your lawyer will know whether the amount of money offered by the insurance company is fair and adequate. If your injuries are extensive and have forced you to remain in the hospital for months, then you will probably need more money than that initially offered by the insurer.
Getting Your Money
Your lawyer will consider the various factors of your condition. They will consult with your physician and speak with you about the prospects for your health and recovery. If the accident was especially bad and has required you to undergo numerous expensive procedures, you will eventually need to settle the bill for them. You will also need to make up for the money you have lost from being out of work. All these financial factors will go into calculating a dollar figure that your lawyer will present to the insurance company. The goal is to get them to make an offer as close to that figure as possible.
If the injuries caused by the accident have permanently disabled you, then the figure will be much higher. A permanent disability may force you to give up your livelihood. You may also need to hire an in-home care professional, and you will need money to buy prescription medicine to help you deal with any residual pain or discomfort.
You need not file a lawsuit straight away to get the sum of money that your attorney deems fair and adequate. Indeed, the insurance company will want to avoid such a suit. And they will certainly want to keep the case out of court. Your attorney can leverage these facts for your benefit. They will gather as much evidence as they can to demonstrate the recklessness of the driver who hit you and the responsibility of the insurance company to pay up.
Your attorney will send their own private investigators to interview witnesses and review the evidence gathered by the police. This often results in new insights and fresh discoveries that can help your cause. Your attorney will also employ accident reconstruction experts who can construct a simulation of the accident based on the available evidence. Such simulations are accepted by judges, and if they clearly show that the accident was caused by the other driver it will only put more pressure on the insurance company.
A car accident attorney will know how to put together a case that links your injuries to the recklessness of the person who hit you. This is the best way of getting the money you need to get on with your life.