Do You Need to Contact an Auto Accident Lawyer After a Car Accident?
While it certainly isn’t a requirement to contact an auto accident lawyer after you have been involved in an auto accident, you may find it in your best interest to do so. If another driver was at fault for the incident and their actions caused you to become injured, it is unwise to deal with the insurance company on your own without consulting with an auto accident lawyer first. You may be entitled to file a personal injury claim, and a lawyer can help you through each step of the process involved. Here are five reasons why you should hire a lawyer after experiencing a car accident in California.
1. Protecting Your Rights
For your personal injury claim, you want to make sure that you get everything that you are entitled to receive from the party who is responsible for your injury. Dealing with the insurance company on your own could actually cost you thousands of dollars in the end because you might not claim everything that you are legally eligible to. Additionally, the insurance company may take any statement that you make to them and use it against you to justify reducing or denying your claim altogether. An auto lawyer can defend your rights and help you avoid these and other common mistakes that many drivers make when they file insurance claims without attorney representation.
2. Collecting Evidence
When it comes to personal injury claims, the more evidence you have, the better. However, there may be some evidence from the accident that you are unable to obtain on your own. The good news is that a lawyer can often ask for a court order to access this information. If the other party is disputing responsibility, you will need an established lawyer who knows how to get the information that you need to prove that you weren’t the driver at fault. For example, they may be able to access traffic cameras from the scene of the incident. Other pieces of vital evidence that could help with your case include:
- Photos of the scene as well as accident damage from all involved vehicles
- Statements from any witnesses of the incident
- Police reports from the scene
- Medical bills associated with your injury
- Auto repair estimate
- Proof of missed work hours and lost salary
The insurance company will try to find holes in your story in order to reduce your claim, so it is important to ensure you have a sufficient amount of evidence. Your lawyer will collect any relevant evidence and use it to build the strongest case possible for you.
3. Knowing What to Claim
You should keep in mind that the insurance company’s primary objective will be to pay you as little as possible. This is why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who can help you build a solid case. Most people aren’t sure what to expect from their personal injury claim in terms of compensation. They may think that it is enough for the insurance company to pay for their car repairs and the hospital bills that they incurred immediately after the auto accident. However, in some cases, you may be eligible to receive damages for other unexpected events related to your accident such as:
- Lost wages:Any time that you had to miss from work while you were recovering from your injury should be accounted for in your claim. This may also include any future lost income should your injury be so debilitating that it has affected your ability to return to work in the same manner as before the accident.
- Pain and suffering:Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may also be able to receive compensation for any pain or emotional distress that the accident has caused you.
- Future anticipated medical costs:For severe injuries, you may need ongoing medical care on a short-term or even long-term basis. Your lawyer will work to ensure that you are reasonably compensated by the insurance company for this expected treatment.
A personal injury lawyer can examine the unique details of your case and determine which damages you should include in your claim. They will be able to work with the insurance company and their attorney on your behalf to get you fair compensation for your injuries.
4. Statute of Limitations
In California, personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the accident in question. Working with a an auto accident lawyer right away can ensure that you stay within this statute of limitations. The attorney will be able to file your claim promptly so that you can get the funds that you need to fully recover from your injury.
5. Filing a Lawsuit
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will only pay you up to the policy holder’s limits. This can be minimal if they only have liability insurance. If your damages exceed that limit, you may have to pursue a lawsuit against the individual driver for the additional compensation that you’re seeking. In that case, it is best to work with a qualified personal injury lawyer who can streamline the process for you. The lawyer will be able to estimate the value of your claim, work to negotiate an out-of-court settlement, or file a lawsuit if necessary. The ultimate goal will be to obtain the maximum amount of compensation that you deserve.
Call a Bakersfield Lawyer
Even if your accident wasn’t a major one, it is still a good idea to get in touch with an auto accident lawyer when the other driver is at fault. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your next steps to ensure that you don’t say or do anything that could impact the amount of your claim.
At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we work with car accident victims in Bakersfield and throughout Kern County. When you hire us, we’ll strive to achieve the most compensation you’re entitled to. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.