If you’ve been injured in a collision, you should hire a car accident lawyer to represent you. You’ve probably heard this already, but do you know why? What does a car accident lawyer do? More specifically, what does a car accident lawyer do that you can’t do on your own?
While filing an insurance claim after a car accident might seem like a fairly straightforward process, there are a lot of steps involved in recovering the compensation you deserve. Here are seven examples of what a Bakersfield car accident lawyer can do to help you:
1. Making Sure You Report Your Accident and File Your Claim(s) On Time
Regardless of who was at fault and how much you are entitled to recover, you have an obligation to report your car accident under California law. Almost all accidents need to be reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV); and, if anyone was injured, you must separately report the accident to the California Highway Patrol (CHP or the local police.
You also need to report the accident to your insurance company.
All of these reporting obligations have deadlines. If you have a claim for financial compensation, you have a deadline to file this claim as well. When you hire a car accident lawyer, your lawyer will help make sure you do everything you need to do on time.
2. Collecting Key Evidence Before It Disappears
Recovering financial compensation for a car accident requires evidence of liability. Much of this evidence – such as skid marks, vehicle damage, and damage to guardrails or signs – can disappear if it isn’t preserved. When you hire a car accident lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will quickly send an investigator to collect as much evidence as possible (as long as it isn’t already too late).
3. Calculating the Full Costs of Your Accident-Related Trauma
Car accidents can be incredibly expensive. From medical bills to lost earnings, your financial losses could quickly climb into the tens of thousands of dollars. If you will need ongoing treatment or will be unable to work for an extended period of time, these losses could be far greater.
California law entitles car accident victims to just compensation for their non-financial losses as well. This includes losses such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. A car accident lawyer can accurately calculate your financial and non-financial losses so you don’t settle for less than you deserve.
4. Negotiating with the Insurance Companies
Speaking of settlement, a car accident lawyer can negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. It is one thing to accept a settlement. It is another thing to negotiate a settlement for the compensation you deserve. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to use the evidence of liability (who was at fault) and damages (how much you are entitled to recover) to seek a settlement that fairly compensates you for your accident-related losses.
5. Helping You Make Informed Decisions
From reporting your accident on time to accepting (or rejecting) a settlement offer, you need to make informed decisions. A car accident lawyer can help you every step of the way. Your lawyer will tell you what you need to do, what you need to avoid doing, and what factors you need to consider when deciding how and when to resolve your case.
6. Helping You Manage Your Expenses While Your Case is Pending
If you are like most people, you cannot afford to pay a mountain of unexpected medical bills. You also cannot afford to miss weeks or months from work, and you cannot afford to pay the other costs involved in pursuing a car accident case. Fortunately, a car accident lawyer can help you manage your expenses while your case is pending. For example, in addition to dealing with the auto insurance companies, a car accident lawyer can also:
- Deal with your medical providers to delay collection while your case is pending;
- Help you consider your options for obtaining a lawsuit loan or pre-settlement funding; and,
- Advance the costs of pursuing your case—which your lawyer will only recoup if your case is successful.
7. Taking Your Car Accident Case to Court if Necessary
Finally, while most cases settle, a car accident lawyer can take your case to court if necessary. If the insurance companies refuse to make a fair settlement offer, going to court may be your only option. While your lawyer is working to negotiate a settlement, he or she will also be preparing your case for trial; and, if necessary, your lawyer will fight for just compensation in the courtroom.
For more information and personalized legal advice, schedule a free initial consultation at The Law Offices of Mickey Fine. You can reach us 24/7, so call (661) 333-3333 or contact us online now.