When Should You Get an Attorney For a Car Accident?
If you’re involved in an auto collision in California, one of the first questions to cross your mind will be whether you need a lawyer. It’s true that not every motor vehicle crash requires you to run out and hire legal representation.
However, there are many situations where an advocate can help by answering your questions and providing guidance.
In some cases, especially when you need to file a property damage or injury claim, you’ll find that retaining a California car accident attorney can take the legal burden off your shoulders.
An overview on when to get an attorney for a car accident can help with your decision, so it’s important to check out a few important points.
Someone Was Injured or Killed
If you or a loved one was hurt in an auto crash, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages from the responsible driver. Compensation is available to cover such losses as:
- Medical treatment, including emergency care, surgery, physical therapy, and other care;
- Your lost wages, if your injuries prevent you from working;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement; Losses based upon your personal relationships; and,
- Many other types of damages.
In the event of a tragic accident that took the life of a family member, you may have similar rights to recover
compensation through a wrongful death claim. The basis of the case is slightly different and very complex, so you should trust an auto collision lawyer for assistance.
Fault is a Key Issue
Whether you’re alleging that the other driver was at fault or you’re being blamed for the crash, it’s essential to have an attorney represent your interests. These cases are usually based upon negligence, so fault is a key element of your claim. A lawyer knows how negligence-based cases work, and can make sure fault doesn’t work against you.
Others Have Retained Legal Counsel
Another crucial factor on when to hire an attorney after a car accident is whether other parties have consulted with lawyers. You’re at a great disadvantage if you don’t have a legal background. You’ll be working with others that have extensive experience and knowledge about the laws that affect your claim. You put your rights at risk if you don’t have legal counsel to put your needs first.
Potential Criminal Activity
Some car accidents may touch on criminal acts, such as excessive speeding, drunk or drugged driving, or reckless driving. The stakes are higher in these cases, especially since the results in a criminal case can have an impact on an insurance claim or civil lawsuit in court.
Problems with Your Own Insurance Company
In some cases, you must seek compensation from your own insurer under the terms of your policy. For instance, you may be filing a first-party insurance claim if:
- The other driver was uninsured or underinsured;
- The responsible driver fled the scene of the accident;
- You were at fault in the accident and seek coverage under a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) option, otherwise known as “Med Pay” in California; or,
- You’re seeking compensation for damage to your vehicle under collision or comprehensive insurance coverage.
You might expect the claims process to be easier because you’re dealing with your own insurance company. You pay your premiums for exactly this type of coverage. However, insurers don’t make money by paying out large sums for claims – even those filed by their own insureds. The claims adjuster may refuse to pay compensation on a rightful, legitimate claim for unlawful reasons.
When they engage in bad faith, California law protects your interests. You may have rights against your insurance company as a policyholder. Some signs that your insurer is not upholding its end of the bargain include:
- Excessive delays in responding to your calls or messages;
- Failing to investigate your claim;
- Rejecting your claim without reason or justification;
- Handing off your file to multiple claims adjusters; and,
- Other signs that indicate deception, misconduct, or other sketchy acts.
Talk to a Knowledgeable California Auto Accidents Lawyer
Now that you know when to get an attorney for a car accident, you should reach out right away to discuss your situation. In the above situations, and many more, it’s essential to have legal counsel looking out for your rights. For more information, please contact Levinson Law Group.
We can schedule a consultation with a skilled lawyer, who will review your circumstances and explain your legal remedies. Our team provides legal services to clients throughout the San Diego area from our offices in Carlsbad and Oceanside, CA, and we look forward to hearing from you.