Have you recently experienced a car accident that left you needing medical attention? If so, it pays to have a qualified legal team on your side. Yet, when you're in the throes of recovery, it can be difficult to know when and how to contact one.
That's why we're here.
Today, we're sharing a few ways you can discern whether or not you need a Los Angeles car accident lawyer to help you fight for your rights and receive the compensation you deserve.
Ready to learn more? Let's dive in.
Steps to Take Right After an Accident
Although it can be difficult, it's important to remain as calm and clear-headed as possible directly following a car accident. Here are a few of the most important steps to take, in sequential order.
Contact Authorities and Exchange Information
Before you contact anyone else, you'll need to call the authorities to report what just occurred. A police report gives validity to your claims and can serve as valuable documentation down the road.
Once they're called, you should exchange contact information with the other driver, as well as with any other parties that were involved in or witnessed the accident. Keep this conversation brief and do not discuss the accident, as anything you say could be used against you in court.
Before you leave the scene of the accident, try to take pictures of the area, if possible. This can help provide photographic evidence of any property damage and injuries you sustained. In addition, it can also reveal stop signs, traffic signals, intersections and other key traffic patterns that the at-fault driver might have missed, leading to the accident.
Remember: While you might know for a fact that you weren't the driver who caused the accident, it will be your word against the defendant's in court. Any tangible proof of your innocence that you can provide, including pictures, can help strengthen your case.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don't believe your injuries are serious, or you don't see any visible signs of impact, it's still wise to have a physician check you out. There could be an underlying issue, such as a concussion, that you can't see but still requires quick attention.
From the first initial visit to any ongoing medical treatments required for your condition, it's important to keep all related documentation. In the event that your case goes to court, you'll need documents including medical bills, prescriptions, appointment calendars and more to prove that you've taken the steps necessary to seek treatment.
One more tip? Be sure to follow your doctor's orders completely.
This includes taking all of your prescribed medications, attending rehabilitation and physical therapy appointments, performing at-home exercises, and more. If you neglect to do any of these actions or believe you don't need to do them, the court can capitalize on that negligence. They can claim that your injuries aren't as serious as you're explaining because you didn't adhere to your doctor's recommended treatment plan.
When Do You Need a Car Accident LAWYER?
It was just a little bump-up. Should you still call a lawyer? It can be confusing to know how to tell, and you understandably don't want to make the wrong move. Here are a few ways to discern your next steps.
The most effective way to gauge whether or not your accident requires an attorney is to determine if there was a serious injury involved. It's one thing to visit the doctor after an accident just to be safe and receive a clean bill of health.
On the other hand, if your injury requires follow-up treatment of any kind due to the negligence of someone else, that's an extra expense coming out of your pocket. Your lawyer can try to help you recoup those losses by filing a personal injury claim.
If the car accident in question resulted in the fatality of anyone, you'll absolutely need a car accident attorney on your side.
Inaccurate Police Report
Did you read the police report concerning your accident and furrow your brow the entire time? If there's incorrect data on the form, or if the form lists you as the at-fault driver when you know that you weren't the one responsible, it's time to call the best car accident lawyer you know.
An experienced attorney can help you gather the resources required to help prove your case.
You can attempt to handle the settlement process on your own. Yet, you might find that you soon run into a major roadblock: the insurance company. If you're struggling to get what you deserve from the agency, a lawyer can take over where you left off and handle the remainder of the negotiations on your behalf.
While this can be a great way to turn a difficult issue around, it's in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as the accident happens rather than waiting until you bristle with the insurance agent. The longer you try to handle the issue on your own, the greater the risk that you might say something incriminating.
The bottom line? If you're on the fence at all over whether or not to call a car accident attorney, go ahead and pick up the phone. Los Angeles car accident lawyer attorney Mauro Fiore and his legal team have won more than $100 Million for clients who were injured by others. Our experienced law office will listen to your recap and help guide you on whether or not you have enough of a case to file a personal injury claim.
When Should You Make the Call?
It's smart to go ahead and call a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident occurs.
Why the rush?
The at-fault driver is likely taking an equally fast-paced stance. His first step is to call his insurance company, triggering agents to then call you to get your side of the story. If you don't have representation by the time they reach out, you'll likely misspeak.
This is important because you want to present your case as strongly as possible to the agents. They aren't there to be sentimental or concerned with your medical expenses. The only thing they want is to encourage you to accept a low-ball offer.
To this end, a car accident attorney can step in and deal with the insurance company for you, ensuring that your communications remain professional and efficient. This way, you don't have to take the first number they throw out, and you don't have to worry about saying the wrong thing.
Statute of Limitations in California
While you might have a million things on your mind following a car accident, keep in mind that most states have a statute of limitations on filing personal injury claims. This means that after a certain amount of time, you won't be able to file a claim in an attempt to receive compensation for your injuries.
In Calfornia, you can sue for personal injuries related to a car accident up to two years after it occurs. If you're filing for property damage only, you have three years to do so.
While this might seem like a long time, it can pass quickly, especially if you're busy recovering. Find a local attorney, such as a Monrovia accident lawyer, to help you gather your documents as soon as possible to ensure this timeline doesn't run out.
What Does My Attorney Need?
Once you've partnered with a car accident attorney, you'll need to bring in all the documentation that you've collected concerning the accident. This will include:
- Your personal recollection of the events
- The contact information of all involved parties
- A copy of the police report
- All medication documentation of your injuries and treatment
Referencing this data, your attorney can help calculate the value of your claim. The next step will be to negotiate with the insurance agency. If they can't reach an agreement, your case will go to trial and your lawyer will represent you there.
Reach Out for the Legal Help You Need
Have you or a loved one recently been injured in a car accident? If so, you should be able to focus on getting better, rather than dealing with the complicated legal proceedings that follow.
Finding a reputable and reliable car accident attorney should be at the top of your list as you seek to recover from any injuries sustained. That's where we come in.
We're a team of expert lawyers well-versed in personal injury claims across the state of California. Reach out to us today for a free consultation. Our client-focused attorneys are experienced, skilled and ready to take on your case. We'll even go ahead and set up a same-day appointment to have your injuries evaluated and treated!
Don't suffer in silence any longer. Let's connect and take this next step together.