A car accident is undoubtedly a traumatic event, especially if it resulted in injuries or worse, fatalities. An auto accident can shake you to the core and leave you dazed and confused about what steps to take next. Regardless of whether or not you were at fault for a car accident, the steps you take and the decisions you make after a car accident have the potential to alter your personal and financial future.
When you know for certain that you were not at fault for your car accident, you may have a number of questions, particularly with regard to retaining the services of an experienced car accident lawyer. You may be wondering if you actually need a lawyer because you may believe it's a slam-dunk case and you should be able to receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
The short answer to that question is "yes." But there are a number of important reasons why it's important that you have a lawyer on your side even if you believe or if it has been established that the car accident was not your fault. Here are some of those reasons.
Injuries Have Been Sustained
If you or your loved ones have sustained serious injuries or any injuries that required medical attention, care, hospitalization, surgeries, etc., it may be in your best interest to seek the counsel of a personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will be able to gather all the necessary evidence to bolster your case and prepare the necessary paperwork to file your claim.
You should not have to pay for medical expenses or bear expenses for other losses that stem from a car accident that wasn't your fault. The at-fault party or his or her auto insurance company should compensate you for that. You don't want to deal with other parties or insurance companies on your own without the support of a lawyer. It can get particularly complicated if you were involved in a multi-vehicle crash. This means there are a number of parties, attorneys and insurance companies involved.
Your lawyer will also be aware of the statute of limitations for your case. This is essentially the deadline by which you need to file your claim. Since filing a personal injury claim and the process can be intimidating and complex, it is best to retain a lawyer who will help fight for your rights every step of the way.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
This is one of the most challenging aspects for auto accident victims. It can be intimidating to speak to an insurance adjuster, particularly if you've never been in a car accident before. Insurance adjusters are seasoned professionals who have been trained in the art of conversing and getting crucial information out of you that will put the insurance company at an advantage. Their goal is to minimize the payout for the insurance company. They are not looking out for your best interests.
So, even in a car accident case where you were not at fault, the insurance company will try to provide a quick settlement to make the case go away and pay as little as possible. It is highly advisable to have your attorney communicate and negotiate with your insurance company. Our car accident attorneys advise clients not to rush into a settlement with the insurance company.
This is because it takes a while to establish the losses you have suffered in a car accident. Once you sign the dotted line, it is not possible to go back and ask for more compensation. We have seen this in cases where injured victims need ongoing treatment or have to undergo costly surgeries due to injuries sustained in the accident, but are unable to do so because they already accepted a settlement. Talk to your attorney before you sign any type of agreement with your insurance company. Better yet, let your lawyer take care of the negotiation process. Insurance companies like to play hardball. An attorney who has a reputation of standing up to insurance companies can help you win maximum compensation in your case.
Gathering the Evidence
Evidence can make or break a car accident claim. A knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer will know exactly what type of evidence is required to strengthen your case and maximizing your chances of getting the best possible settlement in your case. Your attorney can also help correct any errors in public records. Sometimes, police records may not have the right details or may have left out critical eyewitness testimony. Your attorney can help clear any misunderstanding or inconsistencies in the records. Because attorneys have the knowledge, skill and expertise when it comes to the law and evidence, they can help present the truth and establish that the accident was not your fault.
What Steps Do You Need to Take?
If you have been injured in a car accident, the first thing to remember is to not panic. Get prompt medical attention, treatment and care for your injuries. At the accident scene, cooperate with the authorities, but do not admit fault. It is difficult to determine who was at fault for the accident without piecing together all the evidence, testimony and facts. Also, you may be dazed and disoriented after a crash, which does not put you in the best position to make such a complex determination.
It is extremely important that you get an attorney on your case as soon as possible so they get an early start on the investigation and evidence-gathering process. Make sure you keep all documents and receipts carefully. Do not post any information about your car accident on social media sites even if you believe and it has been established that you are not at fault. What you say on social media can and often will be used against you.
The experienced Orange County car accident lawyers at Timothy Ryan & Associates have helped injured clients seek and obtain maximum compensation for their injuries, damages and losses. Call us at 714) 898-4444 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.