When do I have to get an attorney for a car accident?


    The state of California does not go easy on drivers who get involved in a car accident.

    As one of just a handful of states in the nation that settles car insurance claims on a “fault” basis, you won’t find a tougher state to resolve car insurance claims than California.

    Because California is a driver fault state, this also means that the potential fallout from unsatisfactory auto insurance claims resolution can haunt you for months or years to come. You risk stiff fees and fines, loss of driver privilege and even jail time in some cases.

    While it is not a legal requirement to hire a car accident attorney in Los Angeles, this can be a smart move if your accident is anything other than a simple fender bender. Read on to learn when you should consider hiring an auto injury lawyer to resolve your car accident claim.

    How Can a Traffic Law Attorney Help With Car Accident Claims?

    Every day, someone in California gets behind the wheel of a car and winds up being involved in an auto accident. In many cases, it is that driver’s very first time going through the process of resolving an auto insurance claim in California.

    Even for drivers that have had prior accidents, it is still guaranteed to be a stressful process. In many cases, because auto insurance providers will fight tooth and nail over which driver was at fault, it can also be a long, drawn-out and deeply unsatisfactory process when the payout finally arrives.

    California traffic law itself is strict and complex. The fees, fines and points penalties are among the harshest in the country. Even the best personal injury lawyer can learn something new every day about California traffic law, as it too is evolving every year.

    But there is one thing you can know for sure: you are not an expert on California traffic law or how to apply it to auto accident cases and claims settlements. This is the primary way a car accident attorney in Los Angeles can help you after you have been involved in an auto accident.

    Six Times You Want to Get an Auto Injury Lawyer ASAP

    There will be times when you will be on the fence about whether involving an auto accident attorney is the right next step to resolve your claim. Typically, this happens when the accident itself was minor, no one was hurt and the property damage was minimal.

    But when the accident was more serious than what we just described, it is time to start thinking seriously about inviting the best personal injury lawyer to join your team.

    Here are six scenarios when you want to act quickly to retain an experienced traffic law attorney to act on your behalf to settle your claim.

    1. Someone is seriously injured.

    If anyone – you, a passenger, a bystander, another driver – is injured as a result of an auto accident you are involved in, you want to contact a personal injury lawyer right away to represent you.

    Personal injury auto accident claims can get expensive quickly. Auto insurance companies do not like expensive claims settlements and will do their best to stall, negotiate lower payouts, work with adjusters to get their clients declared not at fault and more, all at your expense.

    You may only go through the process of settling a car accident claim a couple of times in your life, but insurance company legal teams do it every day. You really want another professional negotiating on your behalf to ensure your settlement is fair.

    2. Someone is killed.

    When you are involved in an auto accident that included a fatality, you really don’t want to talk with anyone at all before you talk with your lawyer.

    3. You were in a construction zone or driving under the influence.

    If you think the state of California already imposes harsh fines and penalties to drivers involved in an auto accident, your eyes will pop when you see what happens to drivers who get into accidents in a construction zone or after drinking/using and driving.

    This is another situation where you don’t want to talk with anyone at all until you have retained the services of an auto injury lawyer who will be representing you.

    4. The other driver was under-insured or un-insured.

    Even minor fender bender accidents can wind up being expensive. If the other driver has no auto insurance or only minimal coverage, they can be very expensive indeed. More serious accidents or accidents involving medical need can be cost-prohibitive in this type of situation.

    These case can be particularly difficult since often a driver with incomplete or no insurance is also indigent. Hiring an auto insurance attorney may be the right course of action to negotiate with your insurer on your behalf so you don’t personally end up bearing the brunt of expenses to settle the accident claims.

    5. If the other driver suddenly recants their earlier testimony.

    Auto injury accidents are the hardest to resolve in the state of California. They are the most complicated in most cases and that complication just increases due to delays while the insurance companies decide which driver was at fault.

    When another driver involved in the auto accident suddenly changes their version of what happened or recants their earlier testimony, this is the right time to realize you need professional legal guidance.

    The same holds true if the other driver suddenly develops medical issues that were not initially reported in the accident report or initial supporting claims statements.

    6. You are offered a very low insurance settlement payout.

    In nearly every case, clients we work with are not aware that they have the right to negotiate with their insurance provider on accident settlement payouts. Insurers, however, do know this, and many will offer a very low amount as a payout settlement in hopes the insured will just take it and close the claim.

    This is very unfair to you but it happens every day. When you have an experienced auto attorney advocating for you, the insurer is less likely to try this tactic and very unlikely to get away with it.

    Your auto injury attorney can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf to get you a settlement payout that is fair.

    Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles? Give Us a Call

    Here at West Coast Trial Lawyers, we specialize in California traffic law as it relates to auto accident and personal injury claims and cases. This is what we do, all day every day and we are very, very good at it.

    When you have been involved in a car accident, it is normal to feel nervous, scared and stressed. You need help and you don’t know where to turn. That is where we come in. The first step is to meet for an initial free consultation so we can hear the details of your situation and determine if we can do something to help. Give us a call to schedule your initial free consultation.