If you are making a personal injury claim after a car accident, at some point, you will need to contact the insurance company representing the person you are suing. You either have to hire an experienced lawyer to do the work or attempt to do it yourself. Negotiating a personal injury claim can be very time consuming and difficult, especially when your injuries are severe and longlasting. Nonetheless, whether you attempt to settle the claim yourself or through a qualified and experienced attorney, you need to be aware of the process.
Should You Hire a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney?
If injured in a car accident, you should consider calling a car accident lawyer. An experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can have a significant impact on how much compensation you receive. When selecting a personal injury lawyer, keep in mind that the level of skill and experience varies significantly from one lawyer to another. You want to hire a lawyer with the expertise and resources to handle your case correctly. While vetting lawyers, ask them the following questions.
- Do You Prefer Going To Trial or Settling Out-of-Court? – Many Los Angeles personal injury attorneys prefer to take small cases, so they don’t have to argue the cases in front of a judge and jury. You want an attorney who has a reputation for taking cases to court. You want to hire a lawyer that other attornies know is fearless in court.
- Who Will Be Handling My Case? – Many law firms have their paralegals do most of the work, and the lawyers have very little involvement in the cases. Other law firms have junior partners handling their cases. Paralegals and junior partners are essential members, and their work in invaluable, but you don’t want them working solely on a highly complex case that an experienced and knowledgeable attorney should be handling.
- What Percentage of Your Cases are Strictly Personal Injury? – You want an experienced LA personal injury lawyer who handles mostly personal injury cases, not a lawyer who also frequently handles wills, estates, bankruptcy, real estate, etc. Lawyers who often work other areas of law generally don’t have the extensive personal injury experience and resources needed to win your case and get you the highest compensation.
When you have extensive personal injuries, you should consult with a Los Angeles Personal Injury law firm before talking with anyone. A skilled personal injury lawyer will provide legal advice to prevent you from compromising your case and will steer you in the right direction. But, if your injuries are minor and you plan on handling your injury case without a lawyer’s help, the following tips will come in handy.
- Preserve Evidence – The burden of proof in personal injury cases is on the plaintiff. To win a personal injury lawsuit, you have to show that the defendant caused your injuries. Ideally, it would help if you started preserving evidence as soon as possible. Photographs and video recordings of the accident scene and the surrounding area, including street signs and landmarks, location of the accident, the vehicles involved, injuries sustained, etc. Don’t forget witness contact information and testimony, an accurate police report, and recording video while at the accident scene.
- Medical Documentation and Treatment – To prove you have injuries from the car accident, you have to seek ongoing medical treatment from one or more doctors. You must tell your doctors about every medical problem related to the accident, and how it has affected your life. If you don’t, you won’t have an accurate account of your injuries. Be sure to follow your doctor’s medical advice, fill and take prescribed medications, see referral doctors, go to physical therapy, etc.
- Be Honest About Your Accident Injuries and Prior Health Problems – If you exaggerate or lie about current or past injuries or medical conditions, your credibility may come into question. It’s always better, to be honest. The other driver’s insurance company will thoroughly investigate your medical history and will know about your prior medical history and will try to catch you lying.
- Stay off of Social Media – Technology has made people’s lives more comfortable and more difficult. If you have injuries from a car accident, do not go on social media and talk about or post pictures or videos of your life. Everything you say and do in public becomes a tool that insurance companies use to deny or reduce compensation. Don’t use social media until after your case is settled.
Decide On a Specific Settlement Amount
Before you can decide on a settlement figure, you need to calculate the extent of your injuries and the length of time it will take for your wounds to heal completely. You’ll also need to calculate your total cash outlay for medical expenses and lost income, and how much your pain and suffering is worth. If you underestimate the total, you will be cheating yourself. If you overestimate, the claim will take longer to settle. You can always contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury law firm to help with your personal injury claim.
Highlight The Damages You Suffered
During the settlement process, the negligent driver’s insurance company will be contacting you to settle the case. Your ultimate goal is to convince the insurance adjuster that the damages you suffered justify the settlement amount you are requesting. The following are some examples of the information you should submit to the adjuster in writing.
- Provide photos and videos of the accident scene and the damage to your car and personal property.
- Explain your inability to work or take care of and play with your children.
- Tell them that their driver was drunk, or on drugs, and lost control of their vehicle.
- Provide a breakdown of your current and projected medical bills.
- Explain how long your doctor expects you to be out of work.
- Describe the pain and suffering you have endured, and how much longer that pain will probably last.
If the adjuster refuses to make a fair settlement offer, you may have to hire a Los Angeles personal injury law firm for help.
Don’t Settle Too Early
Most insurance company adjusters will offer much less than they are willing to pay. It is a ploy to see if you know what your claim is worth and a way to find out if you are impatient and ready to settle for less. If the first offer is close to the settlement you want, you may wish to counteroffer above that amount. Be patient; it can take a year or more to settle a personal injury claim, especially if you are still receiving aggressive medical care and don’t know when or if you will be able to go back to work. It would be best if you never told the insurance adjustor the amount for which you are willing to settle. If the adjuster knows that amount, they can manipulate you into taking less than they are willing to pay.
Get The Settlement In Writing
Once you agree on a settlement, send a letter to the adjuster with the terms you discussed. When you receive the settlement agreement, please read it carefully before cashing the check, to make sure it is accurate.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Firm
M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers is one of the highest-rated Los Angeles personal injury law firms in Southern California. Our firm successfully litigates and settles personal injury claims for car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, and bicycle accidents, among others. Call us for a free consultation: (818) 714-8756.