Can I Take on the Insurance Company by Myself after a Car Accident?
If you were recently injured in a motor vehicle crash, you might be wondering how to get medical care for your injuries. You might ask yourself if you can afford medical care. You should also be considering when to hire an attorney after a car accident. Insurance companies have teams of professional attorneys who work full time to keep their billion-dollar employers satisfied. Do you want to face them alone? You certainly can, but it is generally not wise.
You are at their mercy, and they are fully aware of it. They might offer you a few hundred dollars or even a few thousand for your damages after a car accident, but only because they are contractually obligated to do so. If you aren’t so lucky, they might deny your claim.
They probably don’t think you know what legal rights you have, or they don’t care. Their only goal is to spend their time-fighting claims for insurance companies. These attorneys are extremely well-versed, and facing them on your own with no legal help or experience has only one outcome.
Watch Out for Settlement Mills
Take note that not all personal injury law firms are the same. Sometimes firms with the most aggressively advertising campaigns are nothing more than settlement mills. These firms rely mostly on advertising and are only willing to take a disproportionate amount of their cases to trial. There is a mill mentality when handling their claims, and their clients suffer because of it. With no referrals from previous customers, they turn to extensive marketing efforts to gain clients.
Unfortunately, these settlement mills are known for leaving money on the table for injured victims when it comes time to settle. After all, the more cases they can quickly settle, the better they are funding their expensive advertising campaigns. Even an average trial lawyer is better than a settlement mill as the insurance company is forced to spend money settling or litigating the case. Remember that insurance companies like to save money. Running up these costs can sometimes help get their immediate attention, providing a higher and quicker settlement for the injured party.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
In some car accident cases, the amount of compensation you could recover is so little that having an attorney will not make much difference. You may not need a lawyer after your car accident if:
- Your injury caused only minor pain and discomfort such as mild whiplash
- Your injury did not require treatment from a specialty physician or expensive testing
- You have recovered entirely from your injury after only a few chiropractic sessions
This type of claim will likely recoup the cost of your medical bills and maybe an extra couple thousand dollars. An experienced lawyer could probably negotiate this amount slightly but not enough to make it worth your time or theirs.
However, even for a mild injury or a minor car accident, it never hurts to get the opinion of a seasoned California car accident attorney. Without legal knowledge and expertise, it can be hard to determine if you have a valid claim. Leave this determination to the legal experts, and they can tell you when to get an attorney for a car accident. Even small things needed after a minor injury can significantly increase a claim’s value, such as requiring an epidural or physical therapy.
When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident
Most motor vehicle accidents are inherently expensive, time-consuming, and severe. You may be unsure, especially at the beginning of your claim, if you should get a lawyer or not. More often than not, it is always best to check with a California car accident attorney who offers free no-obligation consultations. You pay nothing for your consultation to find out if you have a valid legal claim or not. There is no risk involved.
During this consultation, the attorney will learn more about your car accident and your injuries and determine if they are willing to represent you. They want to know if you have a claim worth pursuing before committing to providing you their services. If you do have a claim, they can give you an estimate of what they think might be worth it.
When You Do Not Need a California Accident Attorney
Generally, getting a free consultation is the best approach to any car accident case. Although, legal representation from an experienced California car accident lawyer is necessary in some cases more than others. It is probably not worth your time and effort to hire a personal injury lawyer in the following situations:
You Didn’t Have Injuries
Some car accidents are so minor that they do not cause injuries. You might feel taken aback, surprised, shook up, or even very angry but not be physically injured. You might even feel sore, but it resolves within a few days. Oftentimes, accidents that happen at low speeds result in little or no injuries to all involved parties. These accidents may only require a property damage claim for damage done to your vehicle, bicycle, or other personal belongings.
If you weren’t hurt, more than likely, you do not need a California car accident attorney to represent you. If you were seen by the doctor and required some pain killers and rest, there isn’t much an attorney can do for you. If you need to file a property damage claim only, it can usually be handled between you and the appropriate insurance company. Hiring a lawyer for these types of situations is certainly your right, but the additional cost a lawyer might garner in your claim will be used to cover their services. Without an injury, there is little no benefit in hiring a lawyer.
You Don’t Care About Getting Paid for Your Losses
You’ve heard the adage “let bygones be bygones” applied in different types of situations. Some people apply this to car accidents. A fender bender accident occurs, the drivers get out, calmly speak to each other, wave goodbye, and go on their way. If you weren’t injured in the accident or had little to no property damage, this is a reasonably easy attitude to take. You may even take on that attitude if you have minor injuries. However, if your injuries are substantial and causing you ongoing problems, you need to take a different attitude, or you will be left covering the expenses on your own. If you genuinely believe that the accident and damages are no big deal, don’t waste your time or an attorney’s time seeking compensation from the at-fault driver.
You’re Insurance Savvy
Buying an insurance policy is relatively easy. Get online, give the company your personal and vehicle information, receive a quote, accept the policy, and then make your premium payments. Of course, this is a good life skill to have, but very few people know how to actually use their insurance policy. They are not aware of what their policy covers, how the claims process works, and what the provisions in their insurance contract mean. Even fewer people understand how different types of insurance policies like health and auto policies coordinate coverage. What makes these issues even more confusing is that insurance policies can vary from one state to the next based on each state’s laws.
If you are savvy with insurance, not just buying a policy but know how your policy applies to your accident, you might take on your claim. Many injury claims are resolved through a settlement and without litigation. If you aren’t a lawyer but you are well-versed in all things insurance-related, you likely can represent yourself.
You Have Free Time to Pursue Your Claim
Even if you sustained significant injuries, you could represent yourself if you are willing to put in the time. California car accident attorneys are not rocket scientists or brain surgeons; other people can do what they do. However, their expertise and experience allow them to do their job better and more efficiently. If you are a do-it-yourself type of person, you can likely learn enough to represent yourself against the at-fault party. All you need to do is learn the steps of the process through research and study. The primary tasks involved are making phone calls, gathering relevant documents, following up on minor details, and being assertive enough to show the insurance company you are not a pushover.
If you have this much extra time, probably tens of hours each week, over the next year, or possibly even two, then you are a great candidate to take on your claim. If you like new projects that are time-intensive and require extensive knowledge about California insurance laws, this could be the job for you.
You are At Fault for the Accident
Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that was my fault? If the car accident was your fault, you likely do not need a personal injury attorney. If you caused the accident and suffered injuries, your claim will not be against anyone else. In this case, your insurance company is responsible for providing you with an attorney and defending you. You will not be charged for this service as it is a benefit of carrying insurance. However, it is common for your carrier to raise your rates after a claim.
However, sometimes more than one party can be at fault for an accident. This concept is referred to as comparative negligence. In California, multiple parties can be held financially liable. For example, if you were speeding and hit a car making an illegal U-turn, both of you would likely be at fault. The court will apportion a percentage of fault to each party. If you are 40 percent at fault and your claim is worth $100,000, you can still receive $60,000 in compensation.
Should I get a Lawyer for a Car Accident that Wasn’t My Fault?
Hiring a California car accident lawyer can maximize your compensation. An attorney can ensure that you receive fair compensation by taking on several actions, including:
- Arranging assessments with medical experts
- Researching case law regarding your injuries
- Determining your financial losses such as lost income
You should hire a car accident attorney in California if:
- You sustained a severe injury — the more severe your injury, the more financial burdens you will have. The more the insurance company will fight paying what your claim is worth. Severe injuries do not necessarily mean you were hospitalized or had surgery. Broken bones, joint injuries, or anything else causing pain or long-term treatment are severe injuries.
- You don’t know how serious your injury is — You might find that your pain is not getting better after your accident. The initial treatments you completed are not working. You might even start to wonder if this is now your life. If this sounds familiar, you need an attorney who will help you get the appropriate medical care you need and hold the insurance company accountable for paying for your injuries’ long-term costs—not only injuries that have already been diagnosed or treated.
- You are worried about paying your medical bills — With car accidents comes financial stress. If you are worried about how you will pay for your medical bills, you need to be sure you are receiving maximum compensation for your injuries. Your attorney might also be able to help you with medical liens. These types of liens allow you to get the medical care you need when you need it. The provider agrees to get paid from the proceeds of your settlement or court award when you receive it.
- You missed hours at work — You need and deserve fair compensation for any time you missed from work due to your injuries or medical appointments. Insurance companies have a reputation for undervaluing lost wages. A lawyer can help ensure that you are paid fairly for your missed work hours.
- The insurance company is placing the blame on you — This unfortunate but common insurance company strategy can take on many forms. The insurance company might try to say that you did not report your injuries soon enough or did something to make it worse, like not seeking treatment. They don’t want to pay, and you need an attorney who will show them that they need to.
- The insurance company is not taking your injury seriously — Insurance companies are not out to serve your best interests. They want to help their bottom lines, which is done by paying you the least amount possible for your claim. They put a price tag on your diagnosis and don’t care how the treatment worked or if you are getting better. You need someone on your side who does care and who will represent your interests. Hiring an attorney can show them you take your claim seriously even if they don’t take your injuries seriously.
How do I Find the Right Attorney?
You could undoubtedly hire an attorney, but not just any attorney will give you the results that you deserve. It’s crucial to the success of your claim to hire someone with experience and knowledge. It should not be difficult to talk to them about the specifics of your case. Look for these points when hiring a California car accident attorney:
- Most or nearly all of the clients they represent are personal injury clients, especially car accident clients
- They have a minimum of 10 years experience in personal injury law
- They offer free consultations at their office or a location that is convenient for you
- They listen to you, recall the details you give them, and pay attention to you when you talk
- They understand the type of injuries you sustained
- They take your case seriously and care about your pain, it is not just about the money for them
Injured in an Auto Accident? Arash Law Can Help
At Arash Law, our successful and compassionate California personal injury lawyers have recovered $200 Million in compensation for previous personal injury clients. Many of those clients are car accident victims just like you. For two decades, car accident clients have entrusted us to maximize their claims and get their lives back on track. We serve clients in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks, and California. Our multi-lingual staff can help even if you do not speak English.
Call Arash Law today at (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to receive your free car accident case consultation. Our No Win, No Fee Guarantee allows you to receive a free consultation. You pay us nothing unless we settle your case, or you receive a court award at trial. You have nothing to lose by scheduling your consultation today.