In 2020, the average auto liability claim for bodily injury came in at over $20,000. Meanwhile, property damage averages over $4,000. In California, the average car accident settlement comes in around $21,000. Whether this is fair or not is determined by a variety of factors.
Hiring an auto accident lawyer can help you win a settlement that offsets costs associated with an accident. Keep reading to learn why choosing an auto accident lawyer to fight for your rights is one of the best steps you can take after an accident.
Prevent Making Damaging Statements
The insurance company of the other driver does not want to pay for damages. In order to avoid paying, they will try to gather the information that can hurt your case. A common way to do this is to ask you for a written or recorded statement about the accident.
While it may seem innocent, they may ask trick questions or even take what you say out of context. It’s not uncommon to accidentally say something that you shouldn’t during a discussion like this.
Before you talk to the insurance company, you should always speak with a lawyer. Auto accident lawyers can help make sure that you share necessary information without saying something that could hurt your case.
Help You Overcome Scare or Strong-Arm Tactics
If you’ve sustained injuries you may be in pain or on medications that could make it hard to think clearly. You may also be vulnerable and scared of the situation. Unfortunately, this recovery time is also when insurance adjusters may contact you and utilize strong-arm tactics.
They may try to get in your head with an insurance adjuster pressuring you to settle. They could even threaten to go after you, legally or financially. These conversations can be overwhelming and scary. However, partnering with a lawyer can restore confidence in your case so that you don’t give in to these tactics.
Determine Fault in the Auto Accident
Determining fault in an auto accident can greatly affect whether you can collect compensation.
One way to prove that the other driver was negligent under the rules of common law is to show that the other driver had a duty of care. This means they are under obligation to operate their vehicle with sufficient care.
You also need to show that there was a breach of this duty, meaning they did not operate the vehicle with reasonable care. This breach of duty needs to be shown as the direct cause of the accident and that it caused you to sustain physical or mental injuries or financial loss.
In order to prove common-law negligence, you’ll need to have evidence including police reports and witness statements. Sometimes, it can be easier to prove statutory negligence as a way to prove fault. This means that you show that the other driver violated either the California Vehicle Code or some other statute.
If the driver was found in violation and it is stated on the police report, they will be presumed negligent. If this happens, it’s up to the other driver to prove that they were not negligent, and therefore at fault.
Gathering and interpreting the information regarding fault can be confusing and overwhelming for the average person. An auto accident attorney has the knowledge and experience needed to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support your claim and the best way to present this information.
Avoid Settling Too Early
If you’re in an auto accident, you probably want to get back to your normal life as quickly as possible. After all, going through a legal battle is overwhelming. Insurance companies also want to take care of the issue as soon as possible, before you have an attorney to advise you. In addition, they also want to give you the smallest settlement possible.
Because of this, many people hear an insurance offer and take it right away. Unfortunately, this is a critical error. Once you accept a settlement, you no longer have any rights for additional money. It’s not uncommon for the full impact of the accident on your health, work, and life to become apparent until a while after the accident. There could be additional costs that will develop.
Waiting to settle can earn you maximum compensation. Your lawyer will be able to help you determine if the offer is fair and takes into account money you could need in the future for various medical treatments and other necessities.
Calculate Possible Compensation
Compensation after a car accident can be difficult to determine if you’ve never been involved in the award process. Compensation is determined by what kind of damages occurred and how much of those damages the liable party’s insurance will pay back. For example, you may collect damages to cover your current and future medical costs. However, the insurance company will not agree to the supposed pain and suffering a victim claims to be experiencing.
If you missed work due to recovery, you may be eligible for compensation to cover your lost wages. If the at-fault driver was grossly negligent in their behavior, they may even be liable for extra damages. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to tally up the compensation you deserve. The best auto accident lawyer has the experience necessary to determine what a fair settlement amount would be.
Protect Yourself by Hiring an Auto Accident Lawyer
If you hire an auto accident lawyer, you can protect yourself, get the compensation you deserve, and make the process go much smoother. Contact the team at Belmont Accident Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.