Why do I need an auto accident attorney?
After a traffic accident, or any other type of accident, seriously injured people can benefit from hiring an attorney who knows how to handle their accident case.
If an automobile accident case is very minor, it actually may not be worth hiring an attorney to fight it for you. Right now, you may be asking yourself these questions:
Is it worth it to hire an attorney or just handle my accident case myself?
Can I get more money for my accident if I hire an attorney?
In more serious cases, it's worth it to hire an attorney, for the reasons discussed below.
RENÉE YVONNE GARDNER
If your or your loved one got injured because of someone else's mistake, and are not sure what to do, I can help. My name is Renée Yvonne Gardner, the attorney and the founder of Gardner Law. Put my experience to work for you.
Will an attorney give me advice about my car accident?
Yes. From the moment of the accident, you will have questions about your case, for example:
- Who will pay for my bill with the ambulance?
- Who will pay my bill with the hospital?
- Who will give me transportation since my car is totaled?
- How can I find a doctor to help me?
- Do I have the right to pursue a personal injury case?
Only by speaking directly with your attorney, who knows what he or she is doing with accidents, will the right advice about your case be given to you.
Will an attorney guide me on what to do about my car accident?
Yes, they will. It's one of the most important responsibilities of an attorney who handles accident cases. Step by step, a good attorney guides their client. Clients must have open and honest client communication with their attorney. But, keep in mind that an attorney cannot properly guide a client who lies or withholds information from his or her attorney.
If I hire an accident attorney, will they do all the talking for me?
Yes in the vast majority of circumstances in your case. At all times, my advice to my clients is not to speak to anyone about their accident unless I give them permission to do so.
When a client hires me, I become their voice with the insurance companies and their attorneys. If there comes a time when it is necessary for my client to speak to an insurance company or their attorney, I will always be there at their side, as their advocate.
Will an accident attorney gather all the evidence for me?
The evidence in the accident case is more than the police report. The other side may even try to hide evidence that could make them look bad. A good attorney will take steps to demand that all evidence be preserved and not altered. This type of evidence may also be necessary for an accident reconstructionist.
There may be some evidence that an attorney will need directly from his or her client. However, the client will not have the headache of figuring out what the requested evidence actually means. That is part of an attorney's job; to analyze all of the evidence in your case. It is the client's job to just cooperate with their attorney and give them the things they request.
Do accident attorneys investigate an accident case?
Yes. An attorney analyzes all the evidence in every case he or she has. Sometimes, there is a question as to who caused an accident. Sometimes, a private investigator must be hired to do an investigation, such as interviewing witnesses. And, accident reconstructionists can also be hired to figure out what really happened in an accident.
Private investigators are licensed by the State of California.
Here's just some of what private investigators do:
- investigate crimes
- investigate the identity, business, occupation, character, etc., of a person,
- investigate the location of lost or stolen property
- investigate the cause of fires, losses, accidents, damage or injury
- secure evidence for use in court.
Other times, a person must be hired to reconstruct the accident. They're called an accident reconstructionist
Here's what accident reconstructionists do:
Accident reconstructionists take scientific approach to try and figure out how an accident happened.
After they reconstruct an accident, they prepare a report that details their findings in a logical and concise order.
They can testify in court about what they wrote.
Accident reconstructionists are privately hired experts with special training and qualifications in:
- traffic accident reconstruction
Accident reconstructionists start out with things that they know, such as:
- All accident scene evidence (report, photos, videos)
- The data in the car's “black box” (like the one on an airplane)
- Where each car got damaged
- Each car's final rest positions
They also need measurements and photos of the scene to get a better picture.
An accident reconstructionist takes what they now know, and make calculations.
The goal is to figure out important aspects of serious personal injury accident, such as:
- How fast were the cars actually going?
- Did anyone brake?
- Did anyone swerve?
- How bad was the crash?
- Was visibility an issue?
- What else were the drivers doing right before the crash happened?
- Could the crash have been avoided?
Will an accident attorney evaluate my case to see how much it's worth?
Yes. Whether you receive a payment and how much it would be depends a lot on your injuries and other factors. It is not uncommon to have the insurance company claim that you could not possibly have suffered the injuries you say you did in an accident. Sometimes they will say that the bills are too high and they won't pay them. Other times they say that you should not have missed so much time from work because the injuries were not that serious.
A good attorney will make your case as strong as possible, under your facts, evaluate the good and bad of your case, and fight to try to get a fair amount from the insurance company.
Will an accident attorney negotiate my settlement?
Yes. In California, most accident cases settle through negotiation before they ever go to jury trial. A good attorney knows how to try and negotiate your case or take other steps before taking it in front of a jury.
In your lifetime, you may have one or just a few accidents. Therefore, you do not have the experience to negotiate your case. It may turn out that you think your case is worth much less or much more than its actual and reasonable value.
If you do not even know the reasonable value of your case, what could result is you receiving very little money, or finding that the insurance does not respond to your efforts to negotiate on your own behalf. With the efforts of a good attorney, you will know that you did everything you could to try and negotiate your case, and avoid the expensive and time-consuming court process.
If my case doesn't settle, will my attorney keep fighting?
Although most accident cases settle without bringing the case in front of a jury, there is always the possibility that a case will not settle. If this happens, you need a good attorney to fight your case in court.
There is no doubt that the insurance company will have an attorney ready to fight on their behalf. That is why every person with a serious injury accident should have a good, reliable attorney who will advocate for them in court if their case is not settled through negotiation or other things called alternative dispute resolution, or ADR for short.
Should I just try to handle my case on my own and if it goes bad, hire an attorney?
Not unless you have a very minor case. If you have a serious case, you really do need an attorney.
You should hire a good attorney in the beginning. A personal injury attorney's fee will not go down if you hire him or her after your failed attempt at being your own attorney. Let a good attorney handle your case as early as possible, from the beginning of your case. If you follow this sound advice, you will have the opportunity to focus on your recovery.