Getting injured in a car accident is a physically and emotionally traumatic experience. In addition to being painful, your injuries can be very debilitating, and the bills can be devastatingly expensive. Insurance companies can be tight-fisted, and they are unlikely to pay the amount of money you need to fully recover.
You are likely to need a personal injury lawyer to assist you in negotiating with the insurance company. There are a few things you should do before you set up your first appointment with an attorney.
What You Should Do at the Scene
When you have an accident, you should pull over to the side of the road, find out if anyone is injured, and call the police. You should never drive away before a law enforcement officer arrives. You should take pictures and get the names of any witnesses who may have seen the collision. You should also exchange information with the other driver.
Be sure to go to the doctor’s office as soon as possible, even if you feel okay. There are some injuries that take a while to become apparent. You should save all of your medical bills as well as those for any physical therapy that you may need. You should also save the receipts for any prescription or non-prescription medicines that you may have had to take.
You should get your employer to write you a letter stating any hours that you have missed from work and the amount of money that you have lost. You should also document the amount of money you had to pay for any help around the house.
Why You Need an Attorney
Insurance is a business like any other. An insurance adjuster’s job is to watch the bottom line. When you call your insurer, they may try to trip you up by asking you confusing questions, and they will ask to tape-record the conversation. Most attorneys would advise you not to let them.
In the state of California, an insurance company has 40 days to accept or deny your claim. In some cases, the price of your medical bills may be very low, and the car repairs may be nominal. In this case, you may decide to take the settlement.
In a case where your bills are for anything more than a few hundred dollars, it is worth it to talk to an attorney to make sure the insurance company is giving you everything you deserve. They should be able to give you a good idea of what you should get when they look over the evidence you have collected.
They will be able to negotiate with the insurance company for you. Insurance companies are staffed with teams of attorneys whose job it is to keep their money in-house. A professional personal injury attorney in California will have years of experience in brokering deals with insurance companies and their attorneys. They will be familiar with the nuances of the law that the average person would not know about.
They Can Represent You in Court
Personal injury cases rarely go to court. In the unlikely case that you are unable to come to a decent settlement, you may have to sue them. You never want to go to court without representation. An attorney is a professional public speaker who will have a good chance of swaying a judge or jury in your favor.
Car accidents can disrupt your life for a long time. A good attorney can help you pick up the pieces and move forward.