How to value a California car accident claim – and when you should call a lawyer.
After a car wreck, you’re going to have a lot to deal with. Between your medical treatment, the loss of your vehicle, repairs, and your recovery, the little details and many next steps may start to blur due to the overwhelming nature of such an unexpected occurrence.
It may be hard for you to decide whether to handle the claim yourself, learn how to negotiate with the insurance company or go to small claims (California small claims courts are empowered to hear and award claims up to $10,000, without a lawyer.) But what should you do if you expect that your injuries rise above the $10,000 limit of small claims court? What options do you have if you believe that insurance is giving you the run-around or not giving you a fair offer?
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer will help you tell your story about how the accident has impacted your life. This may be done through before and after photos or a “day in the life” type of videos.
Sometimes, as we get older, you’ll start to notice that you aren’t able to do things you used to enjoy as easily as you used to do. It’s natural to experience a decline in our lifestyle as we age, but if you feel that you aren’t healing as quickly as you expected to after a car accident then you’ve probably thought about hiring a California lawyer to handle your accident and deal with the insurance carriers.
How to Handle Insurance Reps
Insurance representatives may seem eager to help you and open about the fact that their insured is responsible. However, you may have found them to be evasive in giving you a hard number to settle at a price that you think is fair to compensate you for your injuries. That is by design. Unfortunately, as the days and weeks begin to pass you may start to wonder why it is taking so long to get your medical records or how the claims adjuster seems interested in how you feel — maybe hoping to get a casual “I’m fine.” But be wary: that may be a trap to get you to admit that your injury was only temporary and that you have completely “healed.”
When to Seek a Lawyer
You may have been raised in a hardworking family where you were taught to work hard and “tough it out.” That can sometimes lead us to become resistant to admit when we are in pain. We don’t want to seem weak or frail to others, so we tend to keep a “stiff upper lip.” You may start to ask yourself why you’re unable to get out a chair without cringing, or maybe that golf swing has developed a hitch. It’s perfectly fine to begin to question whether your pain and suffering is the result of just getting older of whether you really are badly injured.
You may ask yourself how much an attorney will cost — or whether your case is too small to handle because it is only a minor car wreck. The truth is that it is relatively easy to speak with a lawyer and determine how to get your medical records and a police report from local law enforcement or the California Highway Patrol.
Prerequisites for a Successful Claim
Among the best ways to handle your personal injury claim in California is to make sure to do the following: (1) make sure to obtain the name of the other party involved in your accident and take a picture of their photo I.D.; (2) keep a document of all the doctors and hospitals that you visited and when and where, including the specific doctors that treated you; (3) take photographs with a written explanation of what the photos show and when they were taken; (4) keep a diary or a log of your ongoing symptoms and any limitations you have had in carrying out daily activities, any pain or discomfort you experienced; (5) try your best not to discuss your injury or how it occurred with anyone until after you’ve resolved your case due to the pending claim.
Finally, call a lawyer today. We are available during most times (even Saturdays or after hours and before work) at (858) 926-5797. We are happy to give you a free case evaluation, let you know about your rights and answer any questions you have.