Are You the Victim of a Car Accident?
If you have been in a car accident, whether you are injured or not, and whether you were at fault or not, it is in your best interest to be represented by a San Francisco lawyer specializing in car accident law. Now is not the time to handle things on your own.
Car Accident Legal Issues
You may have heard that the driver who runs into the back of another vehicle is at fault. That is not always true. For example, if the car in front abruptly stops and you do not have time to stop, you may not be at fault unless you were following too closely or speeding.
In a serious collision that involves injury or death, determining what happened is crucial in order to win your case in civil court. If you think you were not hurt, think again. Injury to the neck and back, commonly known as whiplash, may not be immediately noticeable. It could be days or even months before you feel pain. It is best to keep a diary regularly detailing how you feel to help prove your injury.
What should you do after a car accident?After a car accident, you should call the police to give a statement and file a report. You should always get checked by a doctor or by first responders at the accident scene. Adrenaline may mask the pain of injuries right after your accident, and having documentation will help your claim. If you are able, you should also take pictures of the accident scene.
How much can you get in a car accident settlement?Your settlement will depend on the seriousness of your injuries and what kind of financial damage those injuries cause. If you require extensive medical care and miss a lot of time from work, your claim will likely be more valuable. It will also depend on what the defense offers and what they feel they can prove if a case goes to trial. An attorney can help make a reasonable estimate of current and future losses.
How long do you have to make a car accident claim?All states have statutes of limitations for filing personal injury and car accident claims. In many states, there is either a limit of two or three years to file a claim. It is important to talk with an attorney to make sure you do not miss any deadlines for taking action.
Can you get money without a lawyer?In many car accident claims, the negligent driver’s insurance company may make you a quick settlement offer. In all likelihood, this settlement offer may not be enough for any financial losses that you have yet to consider, such as ongoing medical needs. So while it is possible to collect compensation without an attorney’s help, having a skilled car accident attorney evaluate your case and negotiate on your behalf could increase your chances of recovering more than that initial settlement offer.
Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney
- How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
- How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
- What is the likely outcome for my case?
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation
- Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
- Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
- Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
- Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.
How much does it cost to hire an attorney?
In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.
Common legal terms explained
Affidavit – A sworn written statement made under oath. An affidavit is meant to be a supporting document to the court assisting in the verification of certain facts. An affidavit may or may not require notarization.