Dec 10, 2020
Each year there are roughly 6 million car accidents reported in the U.S. That’s over 16,400 accidents per day across our nation’s streets, roads, and highways. Motor vehicle collisions can range in severity and type, including minor fender benders, rear-end crashes, rollover accidents, hit-and-runs, and more. Depending on the type of accident, many drivers wonder whether or not to hire a personal injury lawyer to help protect their rights under the law and recover financial damages.
It’s a common question faced by thousands of people each year. So, if you happen to find yourself the victim of a car accident, how do you determine if you should hire a lawyer? Let’s take a look at that question in detail and what potential benefits exist when hiring a lawyer to handle your accident case. We’ll also examine what factors should be considered before making such an important decision.
Serious car accidents take place each day in Los Angeles and throughout California. Just yesterday, a fatal hit-and-run involving a motorcyclist occurred in Echo Park. The LAPD is currently searching for the driver of the van that struck the motorcycle while making an illegal U-turn on Glendale Boulevard. Police described the vehicle as a late 1990s Chevy Astro van, either maroon or red in color.
Last month, another tragic car accident was reported on the 110 Freeway amid heavy fog. Two people were killed and three were hospitalized in critical condition after a car crashed into a barrier on the highway in the Vermont Vista area of Los Angeles. The driver, a 17-year-old boy, was one of the fatalities. The Los Angeles Times reported that an investigation by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) indicated, “the driver drifted to the right and crashed into the attenuator barrels within the gore point… Two victims were ejected from the car.” Witnesses told the CHP the vehicle was traveling at about 70 mph before striking the barrier.
Moreover, last week a fatal pedestrian accident involving an SUV took place in Huntington Beach. The pedestrian was struck and killed while crossing Beach Boulevard on Monday night, according to authorities. Police responded to the incident, which occurred at approximately 6:00 p.m., near Beach Boulevard and Yorktown Avenue. A 59-year-old woman from Corona del Mar was driving a 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander when she struck and killed a 61-year-old unidentified man.
When tragic car accidents like the above examples occur, hiring an attorney to pursue a claim (either wrongful death or personal injury) is an obvious course of action. But what about when you’re the victim of a car accident where only minor or moderate injuries are sustained?
As a general rule, if you’re ever involved in a car accident where an injury occurs, the wisest course of action is to consult with a skilled personal injury attorney immediately after the incident. Before you accept an offer from an insurance company or settle with the at-fault driver, you need to have a complete understanding of not only your rights under the law, but also the extent of any damages that may result from the accident. It’s important to remember that damages (medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, psychological trauma, etc.) often manifest slowly, and the complete picture of what will be required to make a full recovery may not be immediately apparent.
This is one of the reasons why it’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney at Dordulian Law Group immediately after your car accident injury. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and keeping any payouts for claims as low as possible. The moment after you get into a car accident, insurance companies dispatch their teams of lawyers and adjusters to begin thoroughly evaluating your injury claim. Hiring a personal injury lawyer after a car accident is a means of leveling the playing field for victims. Just as the insurance companies have a team of professionals working to protect their multi-billion dollar interests, you should have a team of professionals fighting to ensure your losses are covered and you receive the medical care and attention you deserve.
Pursuing a claim after a car accident without the assistance of an attorney can have significant consequences. You may only collect a fraction of the overall damages you incur. You may rush into an agreement before you have a full understanding of the severity of your injuries. You may be unable to receive the medical care you require because the insurance company will fight to reduce your payout. You may be forced to cover exorbitant expenses out-of-pocket if the insurance company denies your claim. The potential negative consequences for not hiring a personal injury attorney after a car accident are endless. The question you should ask yourself is: if the insurance company has lawyers fighting on their behalf, why shouldn’t I?
Insurance companies spend their days fighting legitimate claims from injured victims, and negotiating without representation tends to have a similar outcome – a minimal payout that leaves you on the hook for mounting expenses.
Insurance companies are notorious for engaging in tactics designed to intimidate or persuade injured car accident victims into settlements that my go against their best interests. At DLG, we’ve seen these tactics firsthand for decades. We know how insurance companies operate, and we are ready and able to fight on behalf of our clients to ensure their rights are preserved and they receive a maximum damages award to cover any losses – both economic and non-economic – resulting from a car accident.
The Fast-Talking Settlement Offer – Insurance companies might try to force you into a quick settlement before you’ve had time to properly assess the full extent of your injuries. It’s common for a car accident victim to receive a call from a claims adjuster shortly after the incident occurs. A standard offer might include, “We’ll cover all your medical bills and throw in $750 for your pain and suffering.” Sadly, many injured victims accept this type of offer and sign a release. It may sound like a fair deal on the surface, but what happens when you develop health complications a few months later? If you don’t have an attorney and you signed a release, you may be out of luck. Many states, including California, allow for releases to be constructed with binding language that makes it almost impossible to recover any ensuing damages that you might not have foreseen. In such cases, victims can be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.
Discouraging Medical Treatment – Insurance company representatives frequently play a lose/lose game of discouraging medical treatment under the pretense that it’s not covered, and then using that instruction against car accident victims who comply. Insurance companies might encourage you to delay medical treatment until they are able to “confirm liability” or “approve coverage,” insinuating that you might be responsible for the costs. They may tell you they need to “gather more information,” and that you should hold off on undergoing certain treatments until further notice. However, when you heed the advice of the insurance company and delay medical care, the company then uses that decision against you with the argument, “If you were really hurt, why did you wait so long to see a doctor?” Sadly, car accident victims fall for this tactic every day, and the negative consequences can be staggering. Injured victims end up putting their health at risk and are then left holding the bag when the insurance company denies their claim for following the very advice they provided. If you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, they will fight to get you the medical care you require without having to worry about the costs involved.
Using Evidence Against You – An insurance representative may contact you and be overly friendly and sympathetic. They’ll ask you how you’re feeling, ostensibly acting as if they’re your friend, and then innocently request that you provide a recorded statement about how the accident happened and what events transpired. The problem is that these trained professionals know how to frame questions so that the answers favor them and not you. The moment you go “on record,” any information you provide will automatically be used against you to reduce the payout or influence the claim in favor of the insurance company. After making a statement on the record it can be extremely difficult to undo any damage that may result (which is the ultimate objective of the insurance company).
Once you realize how insurance companies operate it quickly becomes apparent that hiring a personal injury attorney for your car accident claim is a prudent decision. But how do you find the right attorney for your specific case?
Firstly, it’s imperative to realize that not all personal injury law firms are equal. In fact, many of the mega firms that you see advertised on TV can be considered ‘settlement mills.’ What’s a settlement mill?
A settlement mill is simply a personal injury law firm that relies primarily on advertising as a means of generating business and securing clients. Such firms tend to rush to settle a disproportionate amount of their cases, meaning that their first instinct may be to close a case as soon as possible in order to pay the advertising bills. At DLG, the majority of our clients come through referrals from other satisfied clients and word-of-mouth recommendations. We don’t utilize a ‘mill mentality’ when handling cases, and are never afraid to go to trial if it is in the best interest of the client and the ultimate damages award they receive. That’s not how settlement mill firms operate, however.
Settlement mills are known for frequently leaving money on the table when it comes time to finalize a settlement. This can be due to an overarching concern with closing a certain volume of personal injury cases each month in order to pay their advertising budget. The reason DLG is superior to a settlement mill is the advantage we offer to clients by always potentially forcing insurance carriers to spend money defending a case through litigation. Insurance companies make every effort to save money whenever possible. When a firm like DLG is involved, it forces insurance companies to take notice. Ultimately, this means you can be confident that when you choose DLG to represent you in your car accident case, you will receive the maximum financial compensation possible for your claim.
When searching for a car accident lawyer to handle your claim, there are some standard questions you may want to present during your initial consultation. These include:
Finding an attorney who has successfully handled cases similar to yours helps ensure your claim is handled properly. At DLG, we have over two decades of experience successfully representing injured victims in all types of car accidents, such as head-on collisions, hit-and-runs, rollover crashes, tractor-trailer accidents, and more. We’ve recovered over $100 million for injured victims by aggressively fighting to protect their rights and handling every case with dedication, discretion, professionalism, individualized attention, and care.
Contact us today at 855-804-9636 for a free consultation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by ensuring the insurance company or at-fault party does not take advantage of your rights. You owe it to yourself to take every step towards avoiding financial loss after an unfortunate car accident injury that occurred through no fault of your own. There is no obligation, and we are here to answer any questions you may have 24/7.
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