Attorneys in California serve as advocates for victims of accidents. Accomplished lawyers ensure their clients receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries, including the damages to their family and their future. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation.
However, before you file your lawsuit or even meet with an attorney, review these facts about the personal injury claim process.
10 Facts to Know as an Accident Victim Filing a Claim
Whether it is a car accident, slip and fall, or another act of negligence that has caused your injury, you have the right to seek compensation against the at-fault party. California statutes protect victims just like you from having to shoulder the financial burden of another person's reckless behavior.
However, to fully exercise that right, you must know how the process works.
Personal Injury Claims Are Not Just Vehicle Accidents: Many victims assume that a claim requires an accident. However, personal injury law covers much more than just motor vehicle collisions. In fact, in California, these claims can include everything from slip and fall incidents, medical errors, and even purposeful acts.
Insurance Settlements Are Not Always Fair: You might hear that you deserve a fair settlement, but that does not mean what insurance companies offer is fair. In fact, the initial offer is typically far from fair. However, insurance companies rely on the fact that you will accept their offer out of desperation or because you do not know the true value of your case.
Working with the Right Attorney Matters: Hiring the first personal injury attorney you find in the phonebook is not the best way to ensure you receive a good settlement or that you even succeed with your case. Instead, you need to consider the caliber of attorney you hire and their experience in your type of injury case.
A Law Firm Might Be Better: You might want to consider a full law firm rather than a single attorney. The more catastrophic the injuries, the more access you need to accountants, medical experts, and a law firm that has access to these professionals can streamline your case.
Compensation Amounts can be Extensive: Compensation in a personal injury can be much more extensive than you realize. Not only do you have medical bills, but you could receive lost wages, pain and suffering, private property repairs, funeral and burial expenses (in a wrongful death), and loss of consortium.
No Two Cases are the Same: No two personal injury cases are the same. While you might be in a similar accident to a friend or coworker, you must also realize that they will have minor details that can make a dramatic difference in the outcome of the case.
Your Case Will Not Settle Overnight: Personal injury claims, even the strongest, take time to resolve. Do not expect that your case will resolve itself overnight, or even a few days after hiring an attorney. Your attorney can use his or her expertise to help determine a time frame, but even then that is merely an estimate based on their experiences in the past.
Your Case Might Settle or Go to Court: Not all personal injury claims see the inside of a courtroom. In fact, most settle out of court. However, if negotiations break down, you may find that your case goes to court.
The Law Limits How Long You Have: All personal injury claims are subject to the statute of limitations. Therefore, the sooner you speak to an attorney, the better the chances are that you will not pass that limitation. If you do, you will be barred from collecting compensation.
Attorney’s Work on a Contingency Fee Basis: Do not let the cost of an attorney hold you back. In fact, you will not have to pay for your lawyer. Instead, your attorney likely works on the contingency fee, which means he or she will receive their payment by taking a percentage of your settlement.
The only way to ensure a better chance at a fair settlement is with an attorney. Therefore, after your serious accident, contact an attorney in California that has vast experience handling personal injury claims just like yours.