FAQs: When To Get a California Lawyer for a Car Accident
Do you need a lawyer to help with your car insurance claim in California? Keep reading to learn when to get a California lawyer for a car accident.
If you have been injured in a California car accident, you are right to be thinking about hiring a lawyer to represent you. Filing a successful auto insurance claim is not easy, and hiring a lawyer is the only practical way to make sure you receive the maximum compensation that is available. Are you wondering when to get a California lawyer for a car accident? If so, this page explains everything you need to know.
When To Get a Lawyer for a California Car Accident: 10 Reasons Why You Should Always Talk to a Lawyer about Your Insurance Claim in California
Regardless of how badly you were injured, who was at fault in your California car accident, and what type(s) of auto insurance claim(s) you can file, it is important to hire a lawyer to help you. Here are 10 reasons why you should hire a California car accident lawyer to help you protect and assert your legal rights:
Reason #1: Your Losses are Probably Greater Than You Think
First, and perhaps most importantly, your losses are probably greater than you think. In fact, you may be entitled to recover significantly more than you are currently thinking. Most people settle their California car accident claims far too soon, and they do so because they do not have a clear understanding of the full amount they are entitled to recover.
Depending on (i) who caused your accident, and (ii) what types of insurance coverage are available to you, you may be able to recover compensation for all of your current and future financial and non-financial losses. If you have been seriously injured, you could very easily be entitled to a six-figure settlement. For more information about how much a lawyer may be able to help you recover, you can read:
- FAQs: Does Car Insurance Cover Medical Bills?
- FAQs: Does Car Insurance Cover Lost Wages?
- FAQs: Does Car Insurance Cover Pain and Suffering?
Reason #2: Your Lawyer Can Deal with the Insurance Companies for You
Among the many ways that a lawyer can help with your California car accident claim, the most immediate and most straightforward way is that your lawyer can communicate with your insurance company for you. If you dread dealing with the insurance companies, you are not alone. Not only can your lawyer take this burden off of your shoulders, but he or she can also take a strategic approach designed to make sure you receive maximum compensation.
Too often, California car accident victims lose out on potential settlement money because they make mistakes when dealing with their insurance adjusters. Indeed, there are many mistakes that can jeopardize your insurance claim, and the best way to avoid these mistakes is to get a California car accident lawyer to deal with the insurance companies on your behalf.
Reason #3: The Insurance Companies Treat You Differently When You Get a Lawyer
An important fact about how California car accident claims work is that the insurance companies treat you differently when you get a lawyer. Simply put, if you do not have a lawyer, the insurance companies will try to take advantage of you. They will try to take advantage of the fact that you do not know all of the ins and outs of insurance claims, and they will try to take advantage of the fact that you do not know the full amount you are entitled to recover.
When you get a lawyer to represent you, the insurance companies know that they cannot get away with these tactics—and they will handle your claim differently as a result. They will be much more likely to engage in reasonable and good-faith settlement negotiations, and there is a much greater chance that you will be able to secure a fair settlement.
Reason #4: You Will Need to Prove Fault in Order to Fully Recover Your Losses
There are numerous steps involved in filing an insurance claim after a California car accident, and you can take some of these steps on your own. However, many of them require the advice and representation of an experienced attorney. In terms of when to get a lawyer for a California car accident, this is yet another reason to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
One of the steps that requires legal representation is proving who was at fault in your accident. While personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments (MedPay) insurance provide “no fault” coverage, (i) not everyone has PIP or MedPay, and (ii) these policies will only cover a fraction of your losses if you suffered serious traumatic injuries. In order to secure additional compensation through a bodily injury liability (BIL), uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM), and/or “third party” claim, you will need to hire a lawyer to prove who was at fault in your collision.
Reason #5: Proving Fault Requires Evidence that Is Admissible in Court
Proving fault requires evidence. In order to gather this evidence, it will be necessary to conduct a thorough investigation. This will involve utilizing forensic techniques at the scene of the accident, and it may also involve gathering evidence (i.e. surveillance camera footage or phone records) from other sources.
But, not only do you need evidence to prove your claim, you need evidence that is admissible in court. If the insurance companies know you don’t stand a chance of winning at trial, this will impact how much they offer in settlement. So, not only do you need a lawyer to collect evidence of fault, but you need a lawyer to make sure the evidence is admissible in court as well.
Reason #6: The Statistics on Car Insurance Settlements are Misleading
You may have heard that the vast majority of car insurance claims settle. You may have also read that the settlement rate is something like 95 percent. While this may technically be true, it is also misleading in one very important way.
While it is true that most California car accident claims settle, it is also true that most settlements are only for a fraction of the amount owed. This is due to the large number of California car accident victims who try to handle their insurance claims without the help of a California car accident lawyer. Receiving a settlement does not necessarily mean receiving a fair settlement. In order to make sure you receive just compensation, you need an experienced California car accident lawyer on your side. Again, in terms of when to get a lawyer for a California car accident, you should contact a lawyer as soon after your accident as possible.
Reason #7: You Will Need a Lawyer to Accurately Calculate Your Losses
Calculating California car accident compensation is far more complicated than most people realize. If you do not know how to calculate your losses, you have no way of knowing what constitutes just compensation for your accident-related injuries.
As we mentioned above, losses resulting from a California car accident can include both financial and non-financial losses. They can include losses that you incur both before and after the date of your settlement. Do you know how to calculate just compensation for your future medical needs and lost earnings? Do you know how to place a dollar amount on your pain and suffering? If you are like most California car accident victims, your answer is, “No,” and this means that you need to get a California car accident lawyer to determine how much you are entitled to recover.
Reason #8: You Will Need a Lawyer to Negotiate a Fair Settlement
We touched on this already, but it bears repeating: If you do not have a lawyer representing you, your chances of negotiating a fair car insurance settlement are next to none. Not only will the insurance companies use your lack of legal representation against you, but they will also take advantage of the fact that you don’t know how much you are entitled to recover.
A lawyer can help you avoid settling too soon, and a lawyer can make sure you do not settle for less than you deserve. Your lawyer can also protect you against the insurance companies’ attempts to make you feel pressured to settle quickly and help you secure short-term financial help (i.e. grace periods or pre-settlement funding) if necessary.
Reason #9: Hiring a Lawyer Shows that You are Prepared to Fight
When you file a car insurance claim, liability and damages are not the only factors the insurance companies consider when deciding how much to offer in settlement. They also consider the likelihood that you will take your case to court if a fair settlement isn’t on the table.
Hiring a lawyer shows that you are prepared to fight—and this matters. If the insurance companies know that you are ready and willing to go to court, this can have a drastic impact on how they handle your settlement negotiations.
Reason #10: You Only Get One Chance to Secure Just Compensation for Your California Car Accident
Finally, as a California car accident victim, you only get one chance to secure just compensation. This is your one insurance claim, and it is your one opportunity to make sure you will have the financial resources you need in the future. If you are wondering when to get a lawyer for a California car accident, the answer is clear: You need to get a lawyer now—your future could depend on it.
Once you accept an insurance settlement, your claim is over. When you accept, you will be required to sign a waiver that prevents you from seeking additional compensation. These waivers are fully enforceable, and they apply regardless of whether or not the insurance company paid the full compensation you deserve.
FAQs: Important Answers about Why and When to Get a Car Accident Lawyer in California
So, now you know why you need a California car accident lawyer, let’s get into some specifics. When is the right time to call a lawyer? What are the risks if you wait too long? How do you find the right car accident lawyer for you? Here are answers to some important questions about getting a lawyer to help with your California car accident insurance claim:
Q: Should you call a lawyer before you report your California car accident to your insurance company?
Yes, if it’s not too late, you should talk to a lawyer before you report your accident to your insurance company. If you have already filed a claim, that’s okay – it’s good to be prompt – but you will want to consult with an attorney for California car accidents to make sure you haven’t made (and don’t make) any mistakes that may need to be corrected. If you contact a lawyer before you file, your lawyer can tell you what mistakes to avoid, and your lawyer can even file your claim on your behalf.
Q: Is it too late to call a lawyer if you have already filed your insurance claim?
No. However, you should schedule a free consultation promptly. Your lawyer will need to conduct an investigation in order to determine who was at fault in your accident, and he or she will want to start communicating with your adjuster as soon as possible.
Q: Is it too late to call a lawyer if your insurance claim has been denied?
No. Even if your insurance company has denied your claim, you should still consult with a lawyer. It may be possible to challenge your denial—which may or may not involve taking your claim to court. Here too, you should schedule a free consultation promptly, and you should be prepared to provide your lawyer will copies of all records and communications you have regarding your insurance claim.
Q: When is the best time to get a California car accident lawyer on your side?
The best time to get a California car accident lawyer is as soon after your accident as possible. There is no reason to wait, and waiting can potentially make it more difficult to recover your losses. However, regardless of whether it has been hours, days or weeks since your accident, the most important thing is simply that you seek advice from an experienced car accident lawyer who can help make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
In terms of when to get a lawyer for a California car accident, it is never too early, but it can be too late.
Q: What are the risks if you don’t get a lawyer for your California car accident claim?
If you do not hire a California car accident lawyer to represent you, the risks are: (i) you might not (and probably won’t) receive the full compensation you deserve; and, (ii) the insurance company may deny your claim even though you are entitled to just compensation. If you are like most California car accident victims, these are risks you cannot afford. Since it costs nothing out-of-pocket to hire a lawyer, there is no reason to face these risks, and there is no reason to put your recovery in jeopardy.
Q: How can you find a good California car accident lawyer near you?
In addition to knowing when to get a lawyer for a California car accident, you also need to know how to find a good lawyer. You can find a good California car accident lawyer near you by clicking the button below. Once you submit your information, you will be put in touch with an experienced lawyer in your town or city as long as it appears that you may have a valid insurance claim. Again, it costs nothing out-of-pocket, so this is completely risk-free for you.
5 More Important Facts about Why, How, and When to Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident in California
Here is what you can expect when you contact a lawyer about your California car accident insurance claim:
1. You Can Contact a Lawyer 24/7
When it comes to what to do after a car accident, there are two steps that absolutely cannot wait. These are: (i) seeing a doctor for diagnosis and treatment, and (ii) consulting with a lawyer about your legal rights. You can contact a lawyer 24/7 by clicking the button below.
2. Your Lawyer Will Cover the Costs of Your Claim
As we said above, it costs nothing out-of-pocket to hire a California car accident lawyer for your insurance claim. Your lawyer will cover all of the costs involved; and, if your claim is successful, then these costs will simply be deducted from your award.
3. You Only Pay Legal Fees if Your Win
Since California car accident lawyers handle insurance claims on a contingency-fee basis, you only pay legal fees if you win. For this reason, most California car accident lawyers only take cases they believe they can win. If you receive a settlement (or court verdict), then your legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of your award.
4. Your Lawyer Can Help You Decide When (and If) to Settle
When should you settle your car insurance claim? After a serious accident, this is one of the most important (and most difficult) questions you need to answer. Your lawyer can help you make an informed decision, and he or she can help make sure you do not settle for less than you deserve.
5. Your Car Insurance Claim is Too Important to Take Unnecessary Risks
Above all, if you have been seriously injured in a California car accident, you cannot afford to take unnecessary risks. This is the single most-important reason why you should get a lawyer for your California car accident insurance claim. Hiring a lawyer is a no-risk proposition, and it ensures that you will have the best chance to recover full compensation for your accident-related losses.