Insurance companies pressure car accident victims to quickly settle claims and is why you need a car accident lawyer. They also usually offer far lower awards than the victims deserve or paid to cover associated medical expenses. This doesn’t even account for the pain from injuries or the time they were forced to take off work.
The annual average number of car accidents rises annually in the U.S. In 2018, there were 6.7 million collisions. Across the country, more than 90 fatalities occur each day. And 3 million people are injured in car accidents yearly. Of these, 2 million experience permanent injuries. Crash-related injuries and deaths are expensive and involve medical care costs, personal losses, and a loss in productivity.
Should I Get An Attorney For An Auto Accident?
After a car accident, you may be in emotional shock and may have likely suffered injuries that you need to recover from. There are a few very important steps that you need to take to ensure that you are properly protected and don’t need to face the legal teams of insurance companies on your own.
A car accident lawyer can help you in all situations, even when there have been no injuries. As a citizen, you have rights that you may not be fully aware of. Sometimes a police report may not show an accurate account of the accident, and often the fault of an accident may also be disputable.
In all auto accidents where you or someone else in the vehicle has suffered an injury or a loss, you need to get an accident attorney. This is especially necessary if you have suffered from broken bones or have been hospitalized.
Additionally, if you are having any issues with your insurance company, even for simple claims, contact an attorney. Look out for confusing forms received from insurers, claims from insurance companies that you have not paid a premium, unclear terms on a policy, and any acts of bad faith from them. The insurer might be denying your coverage or refusing to pay out and you may realize they have not even investigated the accident. Sometimes, insurers also offer to pay you far less than what they owe you.
When Should You Hire An Attorney After A Car Accident?
There are a few reasons why you need to hire a car accident lawyer immediately after your car accident. Do not leave it more than a day or two afterward.
Preserving evidence and getting witness accounts
One of the most important reasons for hiring an attorney quickly is the preservation of roadway evidence and witness accounts. Evidence can be found in many places, but the longer you leave it the more likely it is to disappear.
Your car accident attorney will ensure that any evidence at the scene of the accident is preserved. This includes skid marks, debris from the accident, and even evidence from surveillance camera footage. Photographs of the damage to the cars involved are also taken before these can be repaired.
All the evidence can be used if an accident reconstruction expert needs to be called to prove how the accident occurred.
Witnesses are more eager to come forward straight after accidents to give accounts of what they saw. Their memories are also more vivid, whereas over time memories fade and witnesses lose interest. An attorney will take verbal or written accounts of what the witnesses saw and keep them on record.
Meeting legal deadlines
Various deadlines need to be met after road accidents. These may involve the insurers, and “ante litem” deadlines involving government entities or negligent maintenance on roadways.
Every state has a different timeline for when it is legally binding to file a claim for injuries after car accidents. The statute of limitations for collisions in California is two years. If you do not file your claim within that timeframe, the case cannot proceed, and you are not eligible to receive any compensation.
Getting the correct medical treatment
If you are lucky to have medical insurance or a good doctor, you will get excellent medical treatment after a collision. However, if you aren’t insured and need medical treatment, a good attorney can advise you on what direction to take after you have been released from an urgent care clinic or local emergency room.
How To Choose The Best Car Accident Lawyer Near Me In California
Orange County with its beautiful beaches and perfect weather attracts many visitors and it is a congested area. The more congestion, the more likely it is that you could be involved in a collision with another driver, and numbers have been on the rise in the area over the last decade.
Choosing the best car accident attorney near me in the county is vital so that you have the best possible legal representation.
If you have family or friends in the area, you may decide to ask them for recommendations. And it can help you narrow down your list. However, the more experience a law firm has with negotiations and litigation in car accident cases, the better for you.
Lawyers who handle car accident cases should always have an open line of communication with their clients. Look for someone who will take your calls and respond to your emails. It is also vital that the attorney you choose does not constantly send your queries through to paralegals but handles every aspect of your case themselves.
Your car accident attorney needs to be a tough negotiator. You don’t want someone who accepts a settlement just for the sake of settling otherwise you won’t cover your losses. You also need to make sure that you like the person because these cases sometimes take long to settle, and you will be in constant contact.
How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
Your car accident case is worth the maximum amount of compensation your lawyer can negotiate for you. The expenses that they will seek to claim for your damages and losses will likely include:
- Repairs to your vehicle
- Hospitalization costs and visits to doctors, including future medical expenses
- Any rehabilitation you may need
- Compensation for the time missed from work
- Reduced earning capacity if your injuries are serious
- Punitive damages
- Compensation for your pain and suffering
Do I Need An Auto Accident Lawyer If There Is No Injury?
Even if there are no injuries after a collision, you should seek legal advice from an experienced car accident lawyer. An attorney will ensure that no problems arise from your car repairs and insurance company limits.
Some collisions, even minor ones, can result in special circumstances. A car accident attorney will see this immediately and tell you about them.
Steps You Need To Take After A Car Accident
- Stop the car, turn off the engine, get yourself out of traffic if needed.
- Only if the car is not in a safe place, is bothering the flow of traffic, or is placing others in danger, should it be moved.
- Warn oncoming traffic by using your hazard lights, a flashlight, or flares.
- Even if there are no injuries to you or the other driver, call the police. They will decide if they need to come to the scene, or they may recommend that you exchange insurance company information.
- If the police are not coming to the collision scene, make sure you have all the details from the other driver/s. This should include their name, contact information, insurance company information, driver’s license number, and a photograph of their license.
- Tell the police exactly how the accident happened.
- The police will ask you if you were injured and you should refrain from saying an outright “no.” This is because some injuries only appear later.
- Make sure the other party involved also gives an accurate account of the accident to the police. However, don’t start an argument about anything on the scene. Arguments about how the accident occurred and whose fault it was are best left to your attorney.
- Collect as much evidence as you can from the scene by taking photos with a camera or mobile phone. Include photos of all the vehicles involved and any injuries.
- Ask any witnesses for their contact details.
- Once the police finish, they will give you a case number. This grants your attorney invaluable access to the accident report for use by your attorney.
- After all accidents, you should seek medical attention to rule out any injuries. Even minor collisions can cause spinal injuries, brain injuries, concussions, etc.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you felt dazed or lost consciousness even briefly.
- Don’t feel pressured to give your insurer an immediate statement, first seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney.
Causes of car accidents in California
According to data released by Statista, the state of California reported 3,540 fatalities in 2019 from vehicle accidents. The majority of these involve passenger cars. Fatalities from car accidents in Irvine are relatively low compared to Californian statistics.
However, Orange County traffic fatalities have increased by 23% between 2015 and 2019, with 174 deaths recorded last year.
It is a good thing that most accidents in the area do not often involve fatalities, but injuries and damages should be also be compensated correctly. Additionally, people forget that not all car accidents always involve only cars. California is among the 15 top states with pedestrian fatalities.
The leading causes of car accidents in California are:
- Distracted driving is increasingly caused by mobile texting but can also include other distractions like eating, reading, applying make-up, tuning the radio, and taking the eyes of the road.
- Alcohol-impaired driving continues to be a problem on the roads, with many people taking the steering wheel even when they have drunk alcohol over the legal limit. In California, there has been a decrease of 6.8% of alcohol-impaired fatalities of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. However, the numbers in 2018 indicate that these fatalities have decreased from 1,147 in the previous year to 1,069.
- Speeding causes unsafe conditions for drivers and others on the road. It often leads to accidents because drivers easily lose control of their vehicles. Speeding at even 10 mph more than the limit increases a driver’s ability to lose control. Speed limits are set according to the conditions in neighborhoods or roads and are set to allow drivers time to brake and stop when necessary.
- Reckless driving causes many fatalities due to accidents in California, especially at intersections. These drivers often forget the rules of the road and run red lights, stop signs, and are generally uncourteous to others. Reckless drivers also tend to suffer from road rage. They tend to tailgate, make unsafe turns and lane changes, and may even drive up the wrong way. Street racing is also a problem in some areas of Orange County.
- Bad conditions on the road can be caused by weather conditions and bad maintenance. In California, rain, fog, and high winds contribute to quite a few fatalities on its roads. Potholes can also lead to a driver suddenly swerving into on-coming traffic or pedestrians.
- Drug-impaired driving accounted for 42% of drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2018.
- Other causes of car accidents include drowsy drivers and loose objects in a car.
The Insurance Company Is Not On Your Side
It is not uncommon for auto insurance companies to try and do everything in their power to reduce compensation amounts for damages, injuries, and deaths after car accidents. After an accident, you need to take special care in how you approach your insurance company, and how to word your claims for your case.
When negotiating settlements for car accidents with your insurer in Irvine, Orange County, it is best to do it through your attorney. Additionally, remember to avoid making these mistakes at any time after the accident:
- After an accident, never admit to being “fine” because injuries may appear a few hours later. These statements are often twisted by insurance adjusters to make sure that the compensation paid out is to their advantage and not yours.
- Avoid premature declarations about the accident and that you were at fault.
- Don’t start negotiating any part of a settlement with the insurance or accept a smaller amount than the value of your claim. The best way to do this is to ensure that you hire a car accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident to handle your case.
Contact Moet Law Group For A Free Consultation
Moet Law Group is the Irvine personal injury specialist law firm lawyers in Irvine. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation after any accident and before attempting to negotiate with your insurance company. The longer it takes you to come to us, the more difficult it is for us to recover evidence. You may also give information that your insurers may try to use to and cut the compensation due to you.
At Moet Law Group we handle all types of accident claims. Our professional team of attorneys are also car accident lawyers and have expertly handled countless negotiations and litigations. We ensure our clients get the personal attention they deserve, from start to finish. Save yourself time, stress, and money by reaching out to our winning team. We ensure you get the compensation you deserve for damages, injuries, fatalities, and your recovery. At Moet Law Group we only get paid when you get your compensation.