If you have never hired a lawyer, you might not fully understand the role a lawyer will play in your injury case. You might think that you can handle your case yourself or assume you can wait until you need to file a lawsuit before hiring a lawyer.
But speaking to a lawyer early in your case can make a difference in the outcome. You might receive more money if you can avoid some common mistakes in an injury claim. A lawyer might even turn a claim denial into a substantial settlement or jury verdict.
Here are some services you will receive when you hire a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer for your injury claim.
When to Talk to an Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA
An injury accident can traumatize you. You probably suffered physical and mental trauma if you were hit in a car accident or slipped and fell in a restaurant. You will need medical treatment, but you may not have the physical ability to work.
You have a lot at stake at this critical time in your life. Research suggests that at least 40% of bankruptcies result from unpaid medical bills. Without compensation, you might need to pay high medical bills out of pocket and risk bankruptcy. Or you can forgo medical treatment and suffer from potentially disabling injuries.
Insurers know the desperation accident victims experience. They take advantage of the financial, physical, and emotional pressure you feel after getting injured in an accident.
They may deny your claim on technicalities or offer to settle your case far below its value. Insurers know that unrepresented accident victims might take whatever they offer because they might not know the value of their claim.
You should always prioritize your health after an accident. But you should discuss your case with a lawyer as soon as you feel physically and mentally able to do so.
California’s statute of limitations only gives you two years to pursue a claim for personal injury. And the quicker a lawyer can start the process, the quicker the lawyer can resolve your case and potentially get the compensation you need.
Legal Services Provided by Personal Injury Attorneys
Even though this might be your first accident claim, injury attorneys handle accident claims every day. They have the legal knowledge to assess the merits and value of a case.
They also have experience dealing with insurance companies. An injury attorney will understand insurance claim procedures and California court rules.
Some of the ways an injury lawyer will use these skills in your case include:
Advice and Counsel
Very early in your case, you will need an assessment of your claim. You can only seek injury compensation if you have a solid legal foundation for your claim.
Most cases arise from negligence. You must prove the other party acted negligently in causing your injury. If you cannot prove negligence in these cases, you do not have a legal basis for seeking injury compensation.
A lawyer can assess the circumstances of your accident and determine whether you have a legal claim. The lawyer can also determine whether you have a path other than negligence for a claim. For example, California product liability claims and dog bite cases arise from strict liability rather than negligence.
Equally importantly, an injury lawyer will assess the value of your case. You can seek economic and non-economic damages in an injury claim.
Economic damages include the financial costs of your injuries, such as medical expenses and lost income. Non-economic damages include the diminishment in your quality of life from pain, suffering, and other changes in your life.
An injury lawyer can review your case and provide legal advice about what you can do next. The lawyer can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each legal option to help you choose a path for your claim.
Representation and Advocacy
If you go ahead with your claim, a lawyer represents you in insurance claims and lawsuits stemming from your accident. Representation early in a case can help you avoid mistakes that can impact your compensation.
Most injury cases begin with an insurance claim. This claim will document your losses and explain the legal basis for the insurer’s liability.
A lawyer can:
- Advise you about what you should or should not say to the insurance company
- Investigate your accident
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- Prepare and file the insurance claim
- Respond to communications from the insurer
Many cases settle without filing a lawsuit. Occasionally, you will need to file a lawsuit to maintain pressure on the insurer. If you need to file a lawsuit, the lawyer can prepare and file the lawsuit on your behalf. The lawyer can represent you in court and in any depositions to defend your legal interests.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, only 3% of injury cases reach a jury. Nearly 75% of cases get settled.
This means the most likely outcome for your case is a settlement agreement. The insurers know this. They will often acknowledge liability early in the case and offer a low settlement. But the case will drag on as you and the insurer fight over the value of your claim.
The insurer will try to settle for as little as possible. They might deny coverage for medical treatment they consider unnecessary or unreasonably expensive. They may assert that some of your injuries are pre-existing conditions. The insurer might even try to shift some of the blame for the accident to you.
Injury lawyers negotiate with insurers every day. They can use their negotiating skills and legal knowledge to cut through the insurer’s arguments and fight for a fair settlement.
Choosing a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
You should use your knowledge about an injury lawyer’s role to pick the best lawyer for your case. Choose a lawyer who fits your needs and who you can work with as you pursue your claim.
To discuss what an experienced injury lawyer can do in your case, contact M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers at (877) 300-4535 for a free consultation.