This may sound crazy, but some of us attorneys realize you don’t want to hire one! We get it, a car accident upends your daily schedule. Not just doctor’s appointments, but the pain, injuries, missed work. All of it. And having to hire a lawyer is one more headache.
Many times, it’s a person’s first accident and they’re not sure where to turn. So many questions arise. Do I need to get medical treatment after a car accident? (Yes!) Can I receive care if I don’t have insurance? (Yes!) Do car insurance companies really try to use tricks to deny your claim? (Yes, yes, and yes!) What is the average settlement in a San Diego car accident?
Unfortunately, insurance companies and their trained adjusters know all too well how to work your injury claim to their advantage. It’s all designed to pay you less than the value or nothing at all.
Is there a time limit on when I can hire an attorney?
It is recommended to speak with a lawyer right after your car accident if you can. This is for several reasons.
If you weren’t at fault, the other driver’s insurance will probably try to get in contact with you right away. The first thing they may try to do is take a recorded statement. We recommend speaking with an attorney before giving a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance. You’re under no obligation to do so and this can be used against you down the road. These are a tactic designed to lock you into a story to say you aren’t that injured and deny your claim. You have to remember—the other side’s insurance isn’t on your team.
In California, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This is called the Statute of Limitations. If you wait to file even a day after this, you will waive your right to the claim and not be able to seek damages.
While two years seems like a lot of time, insurance companies will delay the processing of your claim to wear you down to accept less. They will ask for information they’re not entitled to and make it appear they’re working with you so you don’t hire an attorney. It’s all designed to keep money in their pocket. If you wait too long an attorney may not want to take your case because it’s too close to the statute of limitations.
When you get in contact with a car accident attorney, make sure you’re honest, up front, and provide all requested information. Include your recollection of what happened, contact information of the other driver and witnesses, police report, and medical records and bills. This will help your lawyer evaluate your claim. If you choose to hire the lawyer, they will immediately become the point of contact for the insurance company. By law, the insurance company won’t be allowed to contact you without authorization.
Although the law allows for a lawsuit to be brought within two years of an accident, there are many important things that need to happen well before then. The first 30 days of any car accident claim are the most critical. Getting immediate medical attention is the first priority. From there, you should speak with a car accident lawyer to get an idea of your options.
My name is Daniel Hanecak and I am a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer. I know from personal experience how stressful and time consuming a car accident can be. When you call Hanecak Law Inc., you will speak with me directly. It is my aim to provide you with free and friendly advice. Call me today at (858) 206-4326 for a free case evaluation.
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