California has more than 27 million licensed drivers (source: Statista.) So having an auto accident in The Golden State isn’t a matter of if, but when. Most people will experience an auto accident at least once in their lives.
An auto accident is a devastating experience. When the dust settles, you’ll be asking yourself questions like:
- What happened?
- Where is my car?
- What about my job?
- How will I get to the doctor?
- Will my insurance policy premiums increase?
- How am I going to pay for all this?
Many accidents include serious injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including TBI
- Spinal and neck injuries
- Burn injuries
- Soft tissue injuries such as whiplash
- Other catastrophic and disabling injuries
- Wrongful death
These injuries can leave you out of work for months, or even permanently, and require extensive, long-term medical treatment.
When you choose us for your auto accident attorney, we will work to obtain the highest level of compensation for your accident. Unlike an insurance adjuster, we work for your best interests to get you the compensation you need for:
- Medical expenses
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages (if applicable)
- Other property damage (i.e., jewelry, glasses, smartphone, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Funeral expenses (if applicable)
An insurance settlement should at least cover your out-of-pocket expenses. The higher your losses, the higher your possible compensation recovery. Don’t let an insurance adjuster talk you into anything less.
Beware Of Insurance Company Tactics
Any insurance company has one goal in mind: to pay little or nothing to you and get your auto accident claim settled quickly. Adjusters do not have your best interests at heart—only the company’s. It may seem tempting to just sign a piece of paper and get a check that “covers everything.” Not so fast—once you sign that paper, there is no more money, because you’ve signed away your rights to the case.
A common tactic is to call the day after your accident, or even the day of, and speak with you about what happened. They will be friendly, polite, and empathetic as they listen to “your side of the story.” They also want to talk to you before you’ve had the chance to speak with an attorney—so they can persuade you not to hire one.
The idea is to catch you off-guard and take advantage of you while you’re still vulnerable from the ordeal. That way, you’ll likely say something to defeat any claims before you’ve had a chance to file. At this point, you may not know the full extent of your injuries—and don’t yet have an attorney. Politely decline the conversation, and do not agree to a recorded statement unless your attorney tells you to do so.
You may be asked to sign a blanket medical authorization. On the surface, it looks like something for them to access your accident-related medical records. But it actually gives them access to any and all of your medical records that are unrelated to your accident at any time. With years of medical information, they will collate their defense to show that your injures were not the result of an accident with their client.
Another common tactic is to “advise” you not to consult with or hire an attorney. Why? Because the attorney you hire will work for your best interest, not theirs. You may be told that an attorney can’t help you or that if you speak with an attorney your claim will be invalidated. Don’t listen. The company knows that once you speak with and hire an attorney, you’ll find out what you are actually entitled to receive.
Stalling and delaying your claim can wear down your resistance and convince you to take the first and lowest settlement. They know that you’re likely not working and need the money, so asking for unnecessary documentation or other delays will drag out your claim for much longer than needed.
Some companies outright deny your claim, citing technical details or claiming that you failed to submit necessary documents.
Why You Need An Auto Accident Attorney
The first reason for hiring an accident attorney is to help defend yourself against the insurance company’s forceful tactics and adjusters who are determined to prove you’re at fault.
Injuries from an accident take time to heal—maybe a long time. Handling your accident claim while trying to recover from your injuries is, at the least, overwhelming. But help is available so you can concentrate on your recovery.
When you work with an auto accident attorney, they can handle all of the legal and administrative aspects of your accident cases so that you can concentrate on healing. An attorney will also negotiate with the insurance companies for you to make sure you get a fair settlement and the compensation you need.
The attorney you hire will handle things like:
- Investigate the facts of your accident to determine fault
- Obtain the police report, pictures, other evidence, and any available video footage
- Interview any eyewitnesses and take statements
- Request copies of medical records and physician statements from your accident
- Review insurance policies to determine the available coverage
- Hire expert witnesses as needed (financial, medical, accident reconstructionist)
- File the insurance claim on your behalf
- Negotiate a fair settlement from the insurer
- File a lawsuit and take the case to trial if negotiations are unsuccessful
Because we do this every day, we know what’s required, what the law says, and how to make sure your case is settled fairly.
California only has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. Even if your case has a good chance of being settled through the insurance process, speak with an auto accident attorney as soon as possible so that you have plenty of time to file a lawsuit if needed.
Don’t let an insurance company bully you into taking the first and last settlement for your case. Our auto accident attorneys are experienced in California personal injury law and know how to deal with insurance companies who refuse to pay.
Call us today or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment and discuss your case with our California auto accident attorneys.