If you’ve been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall in the parking lot of a local business, or in any other way that involves third party liability, chances are good that the insurance company involved will suggest that you can resolve the issue easily and don’t need a lawyer. The insurance company representative may point out that you’ll get to keep 100% of your settlement if you don’t involve a lawyer, or tell you that you’ll get your money faster if you just sign an agreement and don’t slow down the works with an attorney and complicated legal procedures.
You can, of course, enter into an agreement without a personal injury lawyer. You can even choose to represent yourself if you file a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are things that friendly insurance company representative doesn’t want you to know. In fact, the insurance company itself is one of the many reasons it is to your advantage to work with a knowledgeable advocate.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in California
Securing the compensation you deserve after a serious injury requires significant knowledge of personal injury law, the requirements for establishing liability, the court system, rules of evidence and procedure, and much more. In some cases, such as commercial truck accidents, managing a claim requires an understanding of a variety of state and federal statutes and how they interact, as well as an understanding of the mechanical issues involved.
In other cases, such as medical malpractice claims and work injuries, successful pursuit of compensation requires knowledge of professional standards, and an ability to identify and work with experts to understand and build a case around complex scientific or technical information.
The danger for a personal injury victim who chooses to represent himself or herself isn’t just that this lack of knowledge and experience will impact the outcome of the case. There is a very real possibility that a layperson with no personal injury litigation experience will not even realize that this type of knowledge and experience is relevant, thus falling victim to a false sense of security.
Settlements in Los Angeles County, California
When you enter into a legal agreement to settle a claim, you may be giving up more than you realize.
A Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney can Help You Recover Your Losses
Imagine that you’ve suffered a spinal injury in a car accident and undergone surgery, missing weeks of work. A settlement offer that covers the costs of your surgery, lost income from the time of the accident, and a bit of extra buffer to carry you through until you can return to work may sound fair. In fact, if you’re struggling due to lost work time, it may seem like the answer to a prayer.
However, many people with serious back injuries ultimately require multiple surgeries. If you settle your claim without taking that into account, and without knowing how to project future medical costs or craft an agreement that will ensure coverage, you may find yourself back on the operating table and out of work in a year or two, but without any recourse against the person or company that caused your injuries.
Or, you may pursue a claim against the driver of the vehicle that hit you and receive limited compensation due to his insurance policy limits, but overlook the fact that another party might share liability. In this situation, you might unknowingly cut off your right to recover against a party with far greater resources, such as the driver’s employer, the owner of the vehicle, or a bar that overserved the driver. Or, the driver might point the finger at another party in court, persuading the jury that he wasn’t responsible at all.
An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to work your case from beginning to end, identifying any possible responsible parties, gathering evidence to prove liability, and employing experts to value your claim and ensure that you don’t unwittingly sell yourself short in settlement negotiations.
Personal Injury Insurance Attorneys in California
Insurance company representatives employ a variety of techniques, from being friendly and supportive to using scare tactics to outright deception. It’s important to remember that no matter how friendly and helpful the insurance company representative seems, his or her job is to reduce the amount of money the insurance company has to pay out. That means that what’s good for you isn’t good for the insurance company.
If the insurance company pushes you to move forward without an attorney, it isn’t because you’ll get to keep 100% of your settlement or because that rep is concerned about your mortgage payment and wants to cut you a check as soon as possible. It’s because it’s generally more difficult to push an attorney into a quick settlement that doesn’t fully compensate the injured party. Personal injury lawyers often make claims more expensive for the insurance company by pursuing compensation for things like future medical expenses—losses the company might otherwise have successfully glossed over.
Veteran personal injury attorneys aren’t confused, misled, or intimidated by insurance company tactics, and can help to protect rights you may not even have realized you had.
California Deadlines, Filing, and Procedures in Personal Injury Cases
Unfortunately, securing fair compensation after an injury requires more than just telling your story. Personal injury trials are far more complicated and technical than the trials you see on television. They’re also less interesting, more complicated, more time-consuming, and more expensive than you might realize.
A personal injury case can be seriously damaged, or a claim lost entirely, if the plaintiff is unaware of or does not know how to manage:
• The statute of limitations
• Technical and jurisdictional aspects of the pleadings
• Identification of possible responsible parties
• Location and preparation of witnesses
• Gathering evidence in a manner that protects its admissibility
• Requirements and procedures for disclosing evidence and witnesses in advance of trial
• Authenticating and proving the admissibility of evidence
• Objecting to legally-prohibited or irrelevant evidence submitted by the defense
• Deposing defense witnesses in advance of trial
• Projecting and proving the value of anticipated continuing economic damages
• Valuing intangibles such as pain and suffering
Personal Injury Attorneys Help with Serious Injuries
Most people who have suffered a serious injury struggle to put their lives back together. An injury victim may be simultaneously coping with:
• Serious pain
• Limitations on mobility or other functions
• Loss of income and financial stress
• Career impact
• Emotional and psychological effects
• Significant medical expenses
• Ongoing medical treatment or physical therapy
• Stress on loved ones
The last thing an injured person attempting to heal and rebuild his life needs is the added burden of thoroughly educating himself about complex legal procedures, or the stress associated with managing a personal injury case. Fortunately, there is a better option.
Working with an Experienced L.A. Personal Injury Lawyer
When you retain a veteran personal injury attorney, that person becomes your advocate and representative. The attorney will take on responsibility for managing deadlines, complying with procedural requirements, hiring experts, interviewing witnesses, and otherwise moving the case forward. You can devote your full attention to caring for yourself and your family during a difficult time.
The first step is easy. Just schedule a free consultation to learn more about how an attorney can help.