Many car accident victims believe they can handle their claims without the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. And sometimes, that may be true. If your collision caused minor or no injuries, you can likely file a claim yourself and recover the compensation you need for property damage and any other minimal losses.
However, if you choose to deal with a car accident claim without legal representation, you should do your research and ensure you understand your rights.
Below, we discuss some tips on recovering compensation from a car accident without an attorney. But first, we explain how a car accident lawyer may be able to assist you after a collision in Los Angeles, California. If you have questions or want to determine whether you require legal assistance, contact or call M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at (877) 300-4535.
How Can a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Help You With Your Claim?
Many people who are unfamiliar with personal injury law don’t understand when they should hire an accident lawyer and how an accident lawyer can help you with your claim.
The legal team at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers has over 100 years of combined experience and has recovered more than $400 million for accident victims throughout Southern California.
Our Los Angeles auto accident lawyers can help by doing the following:
- Investigating the circumstances of your crash, including how it occurred and who may share liability
- Gathering evidence proving every element of your case
- Calculating the full extent of your damages, including any future losses
- Negotiating on your behalf and ensuring the opposing party doesn’t take advantage of you by employing tactics that undervalue your claim
- Representing you at trial if we fail to reach a fair settlement agreement on your behalf
If you run into roadblocks while handling your claim or have questions regarding whether an offer is fair, contact our Los Angeles, CA law office to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
How To Recover Compensation After a Car Accident Without a Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA
Here are some tips on how to proceed without an attorney after a car accident.
Understand the Types of Damages You Can Seek
Many people don’t know the extent of damages they’re entitled to under California personal injury laws, meaning they leave money on the table.
For example, even after a minor car accident, you may suffer from anxiety anytime you drive. It may be so crippling that it’s classified as vehophobia, making it impossible for you to get behind the wheel. You may be entitled to seek compensation for your therapy and other expenses.
Be sure to understand the types of damages you can seek after a car accident, including economic and non-economic damages.
Know the Scope of Your Injuries and the Value of Your Claim Before Negotiating
Another common mistake is failing to know the value of the claim before starting the negotiating process. People can suffer injuries in minor collisions. And those injuries may not immediately manifest symptoms. Common injuries include neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and more.
You should visit your doctor after the wreck to determine if you sustained any injuries. If you did – no matter how minor – ensure that you reach maximum medical improvement before negotiations. If you accept a settlement offer and later discover a latent injury, you’ll be out of luck.
Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
Insurance adjusters oftentimes send a quick settlement offer that is egregiously lower than the true value of your claim. They do this because they’re counting on you to be unaware of the compensation you can recover.
Once you sign a settlement agreement, you release the insurance company or at-fault party from any further liability. That’s why it’s important to know the value of your claim and be aware when you’re being lowballed.
Never Give a Recorded Statement
An insurance adjuster may ask you for a recorded or written statement. It’s okay to speak to your own insurance company and explain what happened, but preferably not while being recorded. If your policy requires it, prepare ahead and consider talking to an attorney for help.
If you’re dealing with another driver’s insurance company and they ask to record the conversation, politely decline. Adjusters frequently try to find inconsistencies in what you say or use your words against you. Even simple statements like “I’m doing well” could be taken to mean that you aren’t injured and don’t deserve any compensation. Insurance companies will use this information against you and deny your claim.
Beware of Other Insurance Adjuster Tactics
Insurance adjusters often know what kinds of questions to ask to confuse you or catch you off guard. They aim to pay as little as possible for your claim. Never overexplain any answers or give them information they didn’t request.
Here are some other things to watch out for when dealing with an insurance company after a collision:
- Beware of what you post on social media – the insurance company can use pictures, check-ins, and statements against you.
- Never discuss fault with the adjuster – provide basic facts about the car accident, but don’t say whether you or the other driver share responsibility.
- Don’t discuss your injuries too early in the claims process – many injuries take weeks or months to manifest symptoms, so wait for your doctor’s clearance before giving statements.
- Don’t consent to give the insurance company access to your medical records – they’ll look for pre-existing conditions to use against you.
- Don’t sign anything until you fully understand the implications and what it means for your car accident claim.
Follow your instincts when dealing with your claim. If something feels wrong, schedule a free case assessment with an attorney to discuss the situation and protect yourself.
Monitor the California Statute of Limitations
You have two years from the date of your car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit pursuant to the California statute of limitations. Keep this deadline in mind at all times. If you miss it, you’ll lose your right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
For more information, visit our car accident FAQ.
If you encounter any problems while settling your car accident claim or have questions, we’re available 24/7 to discuss your case and give honest legal advice. Our Los Angeles car accident law firm handles all types of car accident cases including:
Don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation with the Los Angeles car accident attorneys at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers.
Additional Car Accident Resources