You may think settling an injury claim for compensation following a San Diego car accident will be easy, and that you can negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company on your own. However, even if your claim appears cut and dried, an insurance adjuster could look for reasons to deny your claim or pay less than you are owed in a settlement. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is essential if you want to receive proper compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages related to your accident.
After receiving prompt medical attention for your injuries, the next step should be to research and select an attorney to negotiate your settlement. Here are five ways hiring a lawyer can help.
#1: Understanding of California Law
Your regular family lawyer probably doesn't specialize in auto accident claims. An attorney with a history of handling these cases understands the complicated laws relevant in these circumstances. This includes the statute of limitations—or deadline to file your lawsuit—California negligence and comparative fault laws, and procedures you must follow if you file a lawsuit.
#2: Thorough Investigation of Your Collision
Your lawyer will conduct an extensive investigation into the cause of your car accident and collect crucial evidence to prove the other driver was at fault. Determining the reason for the crash and identifying all of the liable parties are two crucial factors that help you receive the maximum recovery you deserve.
#3: Calculation of Your Damages
Under California law, you're entitled to be compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It's often challenging to determine the value of your claim, especially if you'll incur medical expenses and be off work in the future or become permanently disabled. Placing a monetary value on the pain and suffering you endured can also be difficult. An attorney who has settled and litigated many of these claims can accurately determine how much your case is worth.
#4: Negotiation of Your Settlement
A lawyer will file your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company and negotiate a settlement with it. He understands bad faith insurance tactics and arguments an insurance adjuster might use in your case. He'll also have strategies to defeat them—this knowledge helps secure a much larger settlement than you could alone.
#5: Litigation of Your Case
If an insurance company doesn't offer a fair settlement, you need a lawyer to file a lawsuit on your behalf. He can aggressively litigate your case so the insurance company either offers you the compensation you deserve or you win the case at a jury trial.
What You Should Look for When Selecting a Lawyer
If you're like most car accident victims, you may have never needed to hire an attorney in the past. It's often helpful to get referrals from friends and family, and if you find attorneys online, take advantage of any free case evaluations they offer to learn more about what can be done.
Research and interview your top selections. To make your final choice, here's what you should look for:
- Experience. You want an attorney who has extensive experience handling car accident cases and has a large portion of his practice devoted to these cases.
- Record of success. In addition to expertise, your lawyer should have a successful track record settling claims, including litigated cases found in favor of his clients' best interests.
- Communication. An attorney needs to answer your questions promptly and keep you updated on the status of your case. In addition, he should have good communication skills and explain matters relating to your case in a way you understand.