Knowledge is Power

Why do I Need an Attorney After a Car Accident?

It’s Monday morning and you are running late. It is 7:30 in the morning and the sun is just rising over the hills making it difficult to see out the windshield.  Traffic is just beginning to get moving when all of a sudden “BAM” you feel the impact coming from the rear and your head forcibly whips back and then forward striking your steering wheel.  Your seatbelts did their job but your chest hurts.  Oh, what pain you feel throughout your body and there you are on a Monday morning stuck in the fast lane trying to make sense of what to do next.


            Someone called 911 and you hear the sirens as they approach your location.  The other party is at your window apologizing and asking that you do not involve the police.  He states he doe not have his driver’s license and that he is on probation.  Do you feel sorry for him and not involve the police?  NO.  You need to make sure that law enforcement does their job and makes a report of the accident.  The officer may state that all you need to do is exchange information and get off the fast lane.  The officer states that you are not bleeding or that you do not appear to be hurt.  The officer is not a doctor nor is he an expert at making a medical evaluation.  This is done by the emergency personnel that will show up to examine you.  So, you want a report.  This report will come in handy when you make a claim to the at fault party’s insurance company. 

It will contain identifying information of the parties involved, statements the parties and witnesses (if any) made, insurance information, and the investigating officer’s opinion as to who caused the collision.  This is very important because it is a starting point for the investigation made by the insurance claims adjusters.  They will still take the statement of their insured before making a decision on who was at fault. 


            At the scene of the collision if the emergency personnel ask if you want to be transported to a nearby hospital emergency room, please take that ride.  You will be compensated for it later.  You may not have health insurance but they will still treat you and bill you later.  At the emergency room tell the attending doctor everywhere it hurts and also ask that x-rays be taken.  This helps document your bodily injury claim.  Once you are released with instructions from the ER doctor, please follow up and make an appointment with your primary physician and make sure you take your medications. 


            The next day all of your symptoms may reveal themselves.  You will be in a lot of pain.  Now is the time to contact an attorney that handles auto accident cases and has been doing so for many years.  Once you hire that attorney he will handle all aspects of your case, including property damage, medical attention, and most importantly protecting you from any further communications with the at fault party’s insurance company claims personnel.  Remember, talk to your own insurance company and report the accident as soon as you can,  that is permissible.  Do not talk to the other party’s insurance company representatives.  Tell them your attorney told  you not to discuss the accident with anybody.


            Once you hire your auto accident attorney he will notify all interested parties and all communications will channel through your attorney.  He will be responsible for making sure you have a rental vehicle while your vehicle is repaired or evaluated as a total loss.  If you do not have a doctor to treat you after the accident, your attorney will find one for you.  If you need a specialist, or a physical therapist, he or she will find one for you.  If you have no private health insurance or government insurance like medi-cal, medicaid, or medicare, no need to worry because your attorney will find a doctor that works on a lien.  This means that the doctor will await payment until the conclusion of your case.  That is how your attorney works as well.  It is called a contingency arrangement.  Your attorney does the best he can to assure you compensation and then at the conclusion he is paid a percentage according to the contract you and your attorney have.  The standard percentage of most accident attorneys is one-third of the recovery.  There are many aspects to an auto accident case.  One can stumble in many ways.  It is wise to have an experienced auto accident attorney handling your case for you. 


            If you decide not to hire an attorney you may give up damages that you were not aware of and that the insurance company representatives did not tell you about.  For example, if you are offered $500.00 to settle your claim right away, like a week after the accident, you will be signing what is called a Release.  This is a binding contract and will forever bar you from recovering any additional compensation should your injuries continue to plague you.  You are entitled to compensation for your medical and hospital expenses, property damage and incidental expenses like the loss of use of your automobile while it is being repaired or evaluated, loss of earnings or earning opportunities, and most important last but not least, damages for you inconvenience, annoyance, humiliation, embarrassment, pain, also called pain and suffering.

Do not give up any damages that your are entitled to, so hire a seasoned auto accident attorney as soon after your accident as reasonably convenient, I’m ready to serve you. 

This should not be considered legal advice and is intended for educational purposes only.

Dylan Beltran