Who needs a car accident attorney?
Over 2,800 people die in car accidents in California each year. In 2011, one out of every 82 licensed California drivers was involved in a traffic collision involving injuries or a fatality. This does not include fender benders and other incidents where no one was hurt.
These and other traffic safety statistics compiled by the California Office of Traffic Safety indicate that over time, most Californians will be involved in some kind of accident involving a car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle.
All accidents involving injuries of any kind, death, or property damage over $750 must be reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days. Accidents involving injuries or death must be reported to the police or California Highway Patrol within 24 hours of the collision. Reporting an accident includes contacting the drivers’ insurance companies.
Many people think that insurance companies will fairly compensate them for their medical bills and property damage. However, the cost of an accident is usually much greater than the immediate costs. Victims of car accidents often need to take time off from work. They may need to hire someone to care for them or handle household tasks such as cooking, cleaning and yard work. Also, the true extent of car accident injuries is often not known until months after the accident, long after most insurance companies have closed their books on your claim.
If you are injured in an auto accident, being represented by an experienced car accident lawyer greatly increases your chances of receiving full and fair compensation for the harm you have suffered.
What are the most common car accident injuries?
The impact of a car crash, even a slow-speed collision, can cause a variety of injuries. Many injuries do not show up until hours or perhaps days after the accident. Get a medical assessment as soon as possible after an accident and return to the doctor if new symptoms show up.
The most common injuries from car crashes include
- head injuries causing concussions and traumatic brain injury
- impact injuries causing headaches, dizziness, confusion
- connective and soft tissue injuries causing neck and back pain
- spinal disc injuries
- shoulder injuries including sprains and rotator cuff tears
- knee sprains and tears
- broken bones
- cuts and bruises
- premature birth for pregnant women
- anxiety and depression
Even seemingly minor car accident injuries can lead to long-lasting pain and suffering and decreased enjoyment of life. Working with an experienced car accident attorney who has a network of excellent medical providers helps ensure that you receive appropriate care for as long as it is needed.
Do I need to hire a car accident attorney?
When deciding how much they are willing to pay for your injuries, insurance companies consider whether you are represented by a lawyer, the lawyer’s history of settling car accident cases, and the value of those settlements. Claims evaluation software tracks this information, so you want an experienced attorney on your side.
An experienced car accident lawyer understands how insurance companies work. Insurance companies use claims evaluation software such as Colossus to decide how much they are willing to pay for the damage to your car or a specific injury. They use software tools such as DecisionPoint to evaluate your medical bills and make decisions about what claims they will pay.
Experienced car accident attorneys know how to present your case in a way that will result in maximum valuation by the software programs. Experienced car accident attorneys also know the limitations of the software. They fight for you to receive the full value of your case, which may include damages that a computer program cannot fairly evaluate.
Experienced car accident attorneys understand the impact of car crashes on the body. They know how long it takes to properly diagnose injuries and how long it might take for a victim to fully recover from an injury or to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Maximum medical improvement is the point in your recovery when your doctor decides there is nothing more that can be done to improve your condition. Any impairment or injury you have at that point is not expected to get better; it is probably a permanent condition. An experienced car accident attorney is likely to advise you not to settle your case until you have reached maximum medical improvement, because until that point, you really don’t know the extent of your injuries and the impact they will have on your future employability and enjoyment of life.
How will a car accident attorney help me?
An experienced car accident attorney knows how to negotiate with auto insurance companies to get a fair settlement. A car accident can affect your quality of life and your ability to provide for your family. Compensation for the injury can protect both your family and your future.
Common damages that are recoverable in car accident cases include
- Medical care and related expenses
- Lost wages and future loss of earnings
- Property damage
- Emergency services
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Travel expenses
- Legal costs
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Value of household services
The value of damages such as doctor bills and auto repair expenses are straightforward. But there are also damages without an obvious price tag, such as pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, and value of household services. These losses are assigned a dollar value through the claims process.
Pain and suffering damages compensate an injured person for the loss in his or her quality of life. After an injury, you may experience a loss of enjoyment in family, social, professional, and educational experiences, such as when
- a parent can no longer pick up and carry his or her child.
- a devoted recreational runner can no longer run in races.
- a night student no longer has the stamina to work and go to school at the same time.
Unpaid tasks that keep a household running, such as yard work, housecleaning, cooking and shopping, laundry, and some caretaking of children and other family members, are called household services. Injured persons can be compensated for the value of the household services he or she provided before the injury, but can no longer provide. The tasks must still be done so the family might have to pay for outside help, or a family member might take time off from work to keep the household running.
How much does it cost to hire an experienced car accident attorney?
Car accident attorney fees vary by law firm, but in general, the firm receives a percentage of the award or settlement in a car accident case. The lawyers get paid after the case is resolved.
Cerritos Legal Services will provide a free confidential consultation to evaluate your case. Once we take your case, you pay nothing until your case is settled. Our law office provides personalized service including referrals to claims specialists and medical experts. Our team helps you and your family handle your affairs while your case is being resolved. We even work with doctors and specialists who can provide treatment on a lien-basis until your case is resolved.
Contact us today for your free consultation with a car accident attorney at Cerritos Legal: 562-865-9356.