The number of traffic-related fatalities in California jumped 17% in 2021.
Thankfully, the majority of car accidents don’t involve fatalities. However, even a “minor” collision can result in injuries that affect your long-term health.
This is just one of many reasons why hiring a car accident lawyer is so important. If you were recently involved in a traffic accident, you may have a valid personal injury lawsuit on your hands.
Keep reading to learn why you should seek legal representation after an accident.
1. Injury Attorneys Understand the Law
Unless you’re a former law student, chances are you’re not too familiar with personal injury laws in your state. It’s completely understandable to feel confused or even helpless as you struggle to understand your rights.
In fact, insurance companies are skilled at making people believe they have little choice or no power over how their case goes.
An experienced lawyer for car accidents can be your lifeline during this difficult time. They’ve spent years studying the law and they have hands-on, real-world experience with car accident claims. A lawyer can review the details of your case and advise you on how best to proceed.
2. Receive Sound Legal Advice
You visit one website that says one thing, then you read a legal blog that says something totally different.
Meanwhile, concerned friends and family members are providing their input on what you should do next. While they mean well, they probably don’t have any more knowledge of the law than you do.
A car accident lawyer has all of the knowledge, experience, and guidance you need. He or she will explain your rights, how you can legally protect yourself, and how you can improve your chances of receiving a fair settlement.
3. Gather Evidence of Liability
California is an at-fault insurance state. This means that each driver’s insurance company pays for damages based on each driver’s percentage of fault.
For example, if the court determines that you’re 30% responsible for the accident, your settlement will be reduced by 30% based on your percentage of fault. To maximize your settlement amount, it’s vital to build a strong case that proves the other driver’s fault.
A lawyer will help you obtain all the evidence you need to prove liability for the accident. This includes reviewing photos and videos of the scene, reading police reports and testimonies, and speaking to officers and witnesses.
They’ll leave no stone unturned in their investigation of the accident. Often a lawyer can uncover important details you may have overlooked, especially if you were injured and unable to think clearly.
4. Gather Evidence of Damages
You should always get checked out by a medical professional after an accident, even if you feel fine or the crash seemed minor. Some injuries can take days, weeks, or even longer before symptoms begin to show.
Assuming you visited your doctor or a hospital after the accident, it should be easy to get all your medical records, right?
Not exactly. Small medical clinics don’t always have the time or staffing to respond to requests for records. Meanwhile, large hospitals may have long, detailed procedures they have to follow before they can send patient records.
Even if you do manage to get what you need, the doctor may not have included important details about causation, prognosis, or disability in their notes.
Again, legal representation is your ticket through these bureaucratic obstacles. Every lawyer for car accidents knows exactly what to request and which procedures to follow to obtain your medical records. Specifically, they’ll ask for a special letter where the doctor gives their opinion that the accident caused your current injuries or disabilities.
5. Assess the Full Extent of Your Injuries
Without the help of an accident lawyer, you’re likely to receive a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company. If you’re lucky, it might cover the costs of repairing your car as well as the medical bills you’ve accumulated — so far.
What these initial offers fail to include are any long-term effects of your injuries.
For example, did you miss time at work? Are you receiving ongoing physical therapy? Might you need to have surgery at some point? Is there a chance you could end up with a partial or permanent disability?
Injury attorneys don’t just look at your past medical bills. They’ll also consider how much treatment you’ll need in the future, as well as the impact your injuries may have on your ability to work and take care of your family. With these details, they’ll help you negotiate a settlement that includes all of these factors.
6. Expert Negotiation Skills
You may have been on the debate team in high school, but chances are you don’t have the negotiation skills of an experienced attorney. These skills become invaluable as your attorney works hard to build a strong case for you.
A lawyer for car accidents will speak directly with insurance companies, defendants, and other attorneys. They understand how much your case is worth — likely much more than the initial offer you received — and they’ll do their best to negotiate a fair settlement.
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. They’ll handle each step of the pretrial process and represent you in court if your case goes to trial.
Hire the Best Lawyer for Car Accidents
It’s normal to feel confused or stressed after a car accident — especially if you suffered injuries. This is why it’s so important to have professional legal representation on your side.
Injury attorneys understand the ins and outs of the law. They know how to build a strong case that maximizes your chances of receiving a good settlement.
Don’t leave your future to chance. If you were involved in a crash in Orange, California, you’ll find the best lawyer for car accidents at Santiago Accident Lawyers.
Contact our law office today to schedule your free, no-commitment consultation.