Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles, and How Can They Help Me?633 West Fifth Street, Suite 2200
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Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles, and How Can They Help Me?
Whether it is the culmination of a bad day or the incident that ruins a good one, getting involved in a car accident represents one of life’s most unpleasant events. After the initial shock wears off, you should follow a series of steps that set you up for success when the time comes to file an insurance claim. The first item on your to-do list after a motor vehicle collision involves calling 911. Unless you get involved in a minor fender bender, you should call 911 to activate the local emergency response system. The responding law enforcement officers secure the accident scene, as well as conduct a detailed investigation that leads to the submission of the official police report.
If you sustain one or more serious injuries as a result of a car accident in Los Angeles, the responding emergency medical team takes you to the nearest hospital to receive immediate care. Even if you feel healthy enough to remain at the scene, you should eventually receive medical care to generate the paper trail you need to file a persuasive insurance claim and perhaps a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Remaining at the scene of an auto crash allows you to take photographs and obtain the names and contact information of witnesses.
The next step answers the question, “Should I hire a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles?” The answer in a vast majority of cases is yes for several reasons. Los Angeles car accident victims filing an insurance claim without the legal support of a car accident lawyer might have to deal with an insurance company that takes advantage of them. Without the help of an experienced car accident lawyer, the insurance company handling your case might deny a valid claim or approve a claim for a value worth much less than what you deserve in compensation.
For more than 35 years, Morgan and Morgan has represented clients that required legal support for car accident cases. Since 1988, we have recovered more than $15 billion in compensation for our clients. Our team of car accident lawyers understands the emotional roller coaster ride clients go through while trying to recover the financial losses associated with a motor vehicle collision. The most important reason why you should hire a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles concerns getting the compensation that you deserve.
Take action today by scheduling a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles from Morgan and Morgan.
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How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
One of the common reasons why car accident victims do not retain legal representation after an auto crash concerns the cost of legal fees. Morgan and Morgan operates on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge upfront legal fees. Our personal injury attorneys get paid when their clients receive compensation.
With legal fees a non-factor, let’s see how a car accident lawyer can help you.
Every car accident case starts at the same point: Trying to determine the cause of the motor vehicle collision. Once your car accident lawyer establishes cause, your attorney can decide whether another party committed one or more acts of negligence.
Reckless driving represents the most common cause of auto crashes. Speeding, ignoring traffic signs and signals, and failing to yield to oncoming traffic can cause car accidents that result in one or more victims sustaining serious injuries. Distractions such as texting and driving can put other motorists in harm’s way. Just a moment of distraction can cause your vehicle to drift into another lane and run another vehicle off the road. Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol dramatically slows down reaction times, as well as causes impaired drivers to make poor operating decisions.
If your car accident lawyer determines one of these three common causes of car accidents is the culprit behind your collision, the next step in the investigation process is to gather physical evidence.
Gather and Organize Physical Evidence
The official police report contains a thorough explanation of what transpired before, during, and after the car accident. It also should include references to the physical evidence collected at the scene by the responding law enforcement officers. However, your car accident lawyer conducts a separate investigation to gather more persuasive physical evidence, such as the footage captured by a traffic or security camera. Video footage is especially helpful physical evidence for cases involving reckless driving. Your personal injury attorney also interviews every witness to provide legal support for the physical evidence acquired at the scene of the auto crash.
At Morgan and Morgan, we assign a properly credentialed investigator to work with your car accident lawyer during an investigation.
Calculate a Reasonable Value for Compensation
One of the most frequent reasons why insurance companies deny claims concerns the filing of an unreasonable value for compensation. An experienced car accident lawyer knows how to calculate a fair value for compensation, which starts by adding up all the tangible costs. Medical bills, which consist of diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and physical therapy sessions, represent the costliest type of tangible expenses. You also can pursue compensation for prescription medications and the use of an assistive device such as a motor cart.
After adding up tangible expenses, your car accident lawyer tries to place a value on pain and suffering. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering cover the costs associated with emotional distress issues like depression and acute anxiety. A serious motor vehicle collision can trigger the emotional distress issues associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Your car accident lawyer calculates a reasonable value for non-economic damages by using a formula that factors in the value of tangible expenses.
Interacts With the Insurance Adjuster
When the insurance company handling your case starts to process your claim, you can expect the adjuster to contact you several times to ask questions and get clarification on a few of the issues surrounding the car accident. Interacting with an insurance adjuster requires you to devote a considerable amount of time. It also can quickly ramp up your stress and frustration levels. By hiring an experienced car accident lawyer in Los Angeles, you delegate the responsibility of interacting with the insurance adjuster to your attorney. Your car accident lawyer acts as a buffer between you and the insurance adjuster, which allows you to focus on other issues, such as recovering from your injuries.
In addition to preventing the insurance adjuster from denying a valid claim or approving a claim for a value far below what it is worth, your car accident lawyer also closely monitors the progress of your claim to ensure it receives the attention it deserves.
Negotiate a Settlement
Most personal injury lawsuits never reach the trial phase of the litigation process. Instead, both parties try to reach a settlement. Negotiations start when your car accident lawyer submits an offer, which the other party either accepts or rejects. If the other party rejects the initial offer, you might receive a counteroffer or a letter demanding the end of negotiations. Several rounds of counteroffers can follow the initial offer until both parties agree on a settlement or decide to take your case to trial.
Your personal injury attorney also can negotiate a settlement with the insurance adjuster processing your claim.
To win a legal judgment, your attorney must prove the presence of the four elements that constitute negligence. As the first and easiest element to prove, your car accident lawyer shows the judge or jury hearing your case that the other party owed you a duty of care. For car accident cases, the duty of care doctrine states that the operators of motor vehicles must safely operate their cars to prevent harm to other motorists. The next element to prove involves demonstrating the other party committed one or more acts that violated the duty of care doctrine. This is the element that requires your personal injury attorney to submit physical evidence, as well as the statements provided by witnesses.
Your car accident lawyer then has to prove the car accident caused you to sustain one or more injuries. The other party’s attorney might claim you sustained your injuries as the result of another incident. Finally, the injuries you sustained must have generated financial losses.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Before the Deadline
One of the less cited but just as important reasons to hire a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles concerns the deadline for filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Each state has established a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, with most states setting the deadline between two and four years. California gives plaintiffs two years to take legal action, with the clock starting to tick for filing a personal injury lawsuit on the date of the car accident. However, you might receive an extension if you sustained one or more injuries that developed delayed symptoms.
You should file a personal injury lawsuit as quickly as possible for two reasons. First, your car accident lawyer wants to speak with witnesses as soon as possible after a motor vehicle collision. Witnesses tend to provide accurate accounts when they share information with an attorney right after an auto crash. Second, taking swift action helps you recover financial losses. Unless you establish a medical lien arrangement with your healthcare providers, you can expect to receive bills shortly after receiving medical care.
What Factors Should I Consider Before Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
You have decided to hire a car accident lawyer, and now the question revolves around the factors that define an outstanding attorney.
Experience matters, but only if experience means years of helping clients receive compensation. Your attorney should provide you with evidence proving a record of success in getting insurance claims approved and winning favorable legal judgments. Responsive communication is another key factor that defines the best car accident lawyers. You should receive responses to all forms of communications within the same business day, and if that is not possible, the first thing the following day.
Working with a personal injury attorney who specializes in handling car accident cases is important because car accident cases involve different legal issues than the legal issues involved in other types of personal injury cases. Make sure you hire a car accident lawyer who represents you during every step of the insurance claim and personal injury lawsuit process. To verify the professional credentials of a car accident lawyer, read the reviews left by clients on sites such as Yelp and Google.
Schedule a free case evaluation to discover how a Morgan and Morgan Los Angeles car accident lawyer can help you.