Hundreds of thousands of people are injured in car accidents each year throughout the state of California. When these accidents are caused by the negligence of another party, victims are often able to recover compensation for their losses by filing a California personal injury claim. Unfortunately, the compensation to which people are entitled is not issued automatically. Victims are often required to engage in significant negotiation and legal action in order to get the compensation they deserve.
As in most court matters, you have the right to file a legal claim and represent yourself throughout your car accident case. While it is possible to handle a car accident case by yourself, it’s advisable to have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney. Personal injury attorneys almost invariably take their cases on a contingency fee basis; this means clients do not pay anything for legal representation unless their lawyer recovers on their behalf.
As a result, personal injury attorneys almost always offer a free consultation during which they will evaluate the strength of a potential client’s case and either offer to represent the client or decline to take the case. Car accident victims have nothing to lose by having an attorney review their claims.
In some situations it is extremely important for a car accident victim to retain an attorney, a few of which are discussed below. For more information about your specific case, call our office today to speak with one of our highly experienced California car accident lawyers.
Retain an Attorney if the Other Party is Denying Fault
Fault and legal liability are conceded in many car accident cases. For example, it would not be worth anyone’s time for an insurance company to contest a claim from an accident in which a customer ran a stop light or one in which a drunk driver caused a serious accident. There are cases, however, in which liability is not so clear. When this occurs, the party seeking to recover compensation needs to establish the legal negligence of the other party.
In the context of California tort law, “negligence” has a very specific meaning –generally, negligence occurs when a person fails to conduct himself or herself with the degree of care that would ordinarily be exercised by a person in the same or similar circumstances. Examples of driver conduct that could constitute negligence include the following:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Following too closely
- Failure to properly maintain a vehicle
- Driving under the influence
- Fatigued driving
- Aggressive driving
- Improper passing
- Failure to follow traffic signals
If fault is contested, it is important to have the assistance of an attorney who knows how to investigate, gather evidence, and prove negligence to help you establish fault and recover.
Handle Compensation Disputes with the Help of an Attorney
Another situation in which a car accident victim should retain an attorney is when the amount of compensation offered is in dispute. It is extremely difficult for individuals without legal training to accurately determine the value of a car accident claim.
The nature of a person’s injuries will have a significant impact on how much compensation a victim will receive. Some circumstances in which determining compensation can be particularly complicated include the following:
- Catastrophic injuries – Catastrophic injuries are those that will have a permanent and significant impact on a victim’s life. Examples of injuries that are often considered catastrophic include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries (SCIs), amputations, and injuries that affect a person’s sensory perception. Because these injuries can affect victims for decades and often keep them from working, the compensation they receive should reflect years of medical care, lost income, in-home care, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.
- The Loss of Unique Property – In some cases, individuals who are involved in a car accident will incur damage to or the loss of unique property, the value of which is difficult to ascertain. In these instances, an attorney familiar with representing car accident victims can be of significant help in ensuring that victims obtain the compensation they deserve.
- Permanent disabilities — Some accident victims will sustain injuries that cause permanent disabilities. Others may suffer an impairment that permanently prevents them from working or causes a significant impact on their quality of life. Calculating lifelong impairments, lost income for the rest of a victim’s work-life expectancy, and quantifying intangible lost enjoyment of life can be subjective and difficult to prove. In such cases, you should not delay in contacting an attorney.
Contact a California Car Accident Attorney Today to Discuss Your Legal Options
If you have been involved in a car accident, it is usually a good idea to talk to an attorney regarding your case. Even in the event that you do not ultimately have a case or the attorney you speak with advises you to simply make a claim on your own, at least you can be sure you have fully explored your legal options. Often, you will not have spent anything but a few minutes of your time.
At GJEL Accident Attorneys, our car accident lawyers are committed to helping the victims of negligence recover for their injuries and have recovered more than $950 million on behalf of our clients. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one our California auto accident lawyers, call our office today at 866-218-3776.