There were over 180,000 car crashes in California in 2019. Many of these incidents involve severe injuries and death. While it may be obvious to work with an attorney in these situations, people often wonder if hiring an attorney for less serious matters is necessary. 

We’ve compiled nine of the most common signs that indicate when to get an attorney for a car accident. If any of the following issues apply to your case, contact us online or call (209) 600-4389 today for a free consultation. We can determine if you are eligible for compensation.

1. You Have Serious Injuries

Those with severe injuries after a car accident need legal representation as soon as possible. Whether it’s fractures, brain trauma, or spinal cord damage, these injuries have lasting effects. 

An experienced lawyer will seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial costs of your injuries. They will show how the accident is the direct cause of your injuries, making the other side liable. Moreover, your lawyer will help calculate long-term medical expenses and negotiate with insurance companies to get the maximum value for your case.

2. There’s Significant Property Damage

Car accidents can leave you with expensive repair bills and make daily life difficult. The crash might total your car, break valuable electronics, or damage other personal belongings like luxury goods. A skilled attorney will help you add up the cost of these property-related losses. They will help you gather evidence to support your claim, such as repair bills or receipts for replacement items. 

3. A Commercial Vehicle Caused the Accident

Collisions with commercial vehicles introduce a range of complexities. Accidents with buses, vans, and trucks can cause extensive injuries. Many parties, such as the driver, their employer, or a vendor who maintains their vehicles can be liable. These cases can take a long time if the involved parties dispute liability.

Since the employer’s insurance company often handles these accidents, you want an attorney who understands California’s vicarious liability laws. With this knowledge, your lawyer can thoroughly investigate the circumstances, identify the at-fault party, and fight for the maximum compensation available. 

4. The At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance

Getting compensation for your injuries is challenging when the driver lacks insurance. Even if you establish liability and win your case, collecting compensation from the driver can be difficult.

An attorney understands the intricacies of uninsured motorist claims and knows how to pursue alternative avenues for compensation. They may work with your insurer to bridge the gap left by the at-fault driver’s lack of insurance. Your lawyer might also locate the assets belonging to the liable driver to help fund your compensation.

5. It’s Unclear Who Is Liable for the Accident

Sometimes, it is difficult to determine who is liable. If another party accuses you of being at fault, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. 

Your lawyer can begin investigating the crash and collecting evidence that helps explain what occurred. Police reports, photos and videos, and eyewitness testimony are helpful. Your lawyer will piece together the sequence of events and use the law and facts to show which party is liable for the crash.

6. Your Insurance Claim Was Denied

Insurance companies are a business, and they want to keep costs as low as possible. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that they deny valid claims after car accidents. 

An attorney can help you challenge your insurer and fight for the compensation you deserve. They can assist you in drafting a new claim that clearly explains why your policy should cover the accident. If your insurer continues to deny coverage, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against the company for violating California’s insurance law

7. You Received a Lowball Settlement Offer

Insurers often try to settle claims for unfairly low amounts. A representative may contact you after a crash and say that this is the best offer you’ll ever get. The offer may sound enticing, but it usually is too low to cover the total cost of your damages. 

If this happens to you, don’t accept the offer. You need to call an attorney for professional advice. Your lawyer will help calculate your damages and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer. 

8. Multiple Parties Are Involved

Multi-vehicle accidents can lead to extensive damages and confusion as to liability. If you’re found responsible for the incident, you may face multiple lawsuits from the other drivers. 

Working with an attorney shortly after the crash can help avoid this confusion and liability. They will quickly get to work reconstructing the accident and identifying who is responsible. Then, your lawyer can file your lawsuit and work with the other plaintiffs to build a strong case against the liable party.

9. You Missed Work Because of the Accident

A crash can leave you unable to get to work due to medical complications and vehicle damage. Many employers are understanding in these situations, but some will refuse to pay you during the time you are unable to work. 

You can seek compensation for these lost paychecks. In addition, your lawyer can seek additional damages if the accident causes you to take a lower-paying job. They can demand the other side compensate you for the difference in income between your old job and the new one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident If I Don’t Have Injuries or Severe Damages?

Many people don’t need a lawyer for minor car accidents. These incidents are relatively routine and easy for insurance companies to handle. However, don’t hesitate to call an attorney if the other side or their insurer doesn’t appear to act in good faith.

Should I Get an Attorney After a Car Accident If I Can’t Pay Upfront Fees?

Our car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. We only charge a fee if you win your case or receive a settlement. We also offer free consultations so we can learn about your case and see if you’re eligible for compensation.

How Long Can I Wait to File a Claim?

California allows you to file a personal injury claim up to two years from the date of your accident. If you file after this deadline, a judge may deny your claim and prevent you from getting compensation. Speaking with a lawyer quickly ensures you file your claim before this deadline.

Will I Have to Go to Court to Get Compensation?

It’s uncommon for a car accident case to go to trial. Many are resolved through negotiations, leading to a private settlement out of court. However, your lawyer will prepare your case for trial if you cannot reach a fair settlement.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Are you asking yourself, Should I get a lawyer for a car accident? If so, call Silva Injury Law. We offer no-cost, no-obligation consultations for all personal injury victims. Our firm prides itself on providing outstanding legal representation and compassionate service. This approach has led to many favorable outcomes and millions of dollars collected for our clients. Contact us today at (209) 600-4389 to schedule your free consultation.