About Irvine Car Accident Lawyers
Car accidents can leave victims with life-altering injuries, disabilities, and substantial debt. Filing a personal injury claim can’t make up for your physical condition, but it can provide an avenue to financial justice. Before you get started on the claims process, it’s important to hire an experienced car accident lawyer. While you can file a claim without legal representation, it’s not recommended. Here are the top seven reasons to hire an Irvine car accident lawyer after sustaining damages in an auto accident.
1. Case Evaluation to Determine Case Legitimacy
Your case will need to be able to meet the standard of proof called the preponderance of the evidence. This means that you will need to prove that your accusations are factual and true.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 470 people were injured or killed in a car accident in Orange County in 2020. Even if car accident victims were not at fault, they must still prove that the other party was.
A car accident lawyer can provide the experience and objectivity needed to determine the potential your case has to win. Unfortunately, depending on the circumstances, if a victim is partially at fault, he or she may not be eligible for compensation. Regardless, consulting with a lawyer before filing your claim can ensure that the claim process is worth the time and energy.
2. Preparation for Discovery Phase
Once you’ve decided to file a car accident claim, it’s time to start collecting the evidence needed to win. The evidence will be presented to the defense for review during what is called the discovery phase.
Valuable evidence will include the police report of the accident, witness statements, medical records and bills, and paystubs establishing lost income. Depending on your case, an Irvine car accident lawyer will confirm what else is needed to prove liability and help you preserve the evidence.
Additionally, an attorney can call upon expert witnesses, like accident reconstructionists and medical specialists, to confirm the extent of damages. Proof from credible sources not only strengthens a car accident claim, but it also increases the chances of recovering a maximized settlement.
3. Establish Negligence to Improve Win Probability
One of the most essential components of a car accident claim is indicating negligence of the defendant. There are four elements that must be established in order to prove negligence:
- Duty of care: the defendant was responsible to provide a reasonable effort to prevent harm (i.e. by following the rules of the road)
- Breach of duty of care: the defendant failed to meet the duty of care through negligent action or inaction (i.e. texting while driving or breaking driving laws)
- Damages: the defendant’s breach of duty of care caused an accident that left you seriously injured and facing substantial financial strain
- Causation: you would not have sustained these damages if not for the defendant’s negligence
An experienced car accident lawyer can conduct the proper investigation and compile compelling evidence to establish negligence.
4. Compile Damages for Maximum Compensation
In a legal context, damages refer to the amount of money you are demanding from the defendant. Financial damages are broken down into two distinct categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
- current and future medical bills
- current and future lost income
- additional property damage (i.e. car maintenance bills)
- pain and suffering
- diminished quality of life
- loss of consortium
- emotional distress
Economic damages are fairly straightforward and can be established by presenting bills and records of pay. Conversely, non-economic damages are not as apparent and are considered intangible losses.
An experienced car accident lawyer can effectively determine how much your non-economic damages are worth based on past cases and settlements.
5. Proper Claim Filing Practices
In order to begin your personal injury claim, you will need to follow specific steps and comply with state laws. The first step is filing the personal injury claim, which will outline the facts of the case and list the damages you are demanding. You will then need to file this at the civil courthouse in Orange County or where the accident occurred.
There is also a limited amount of time to begin this process. Due to the California statute of limitations regarding personal injury laws, you must file your claim within two years of the car accident. Once the claim is filed, you have 60 days to serve the summons, a document informing the defendant that they are being, directly to the defendant.
A car accident lawyer can ensure that all deadlines and protocols are met. Without a lawyer, it can be much harder for injured plaintiffs to accomplish everything on time. Victims also run the risk of error or misfiling important paperwork.
6. Protection from Defense Tactics
While the “defendant” is the driver who is claimed to be at fault for the accident, the “defense” consists of the insurance company and its team of attorneys. Insurance companies work with defense lawyers whose only goal is to lower your settlement as much as possible. They do this, regardless of their client’s role in the car accident.
Defense teams will often resort to tactics that cast doubt on your accusations. For example, they may ask for your entire medical history in order to find evidence of a pre-existing condition on which they’ll blame your current injuries.
A car accident lawyer anticipates these tactics and will monitor all of your communication with the defense. This prevents you from providing information that could harm your case. An attorney will also work as your liaison, remaining cautious of everything that is said. Anything disclosed to the other party can be used against you in a personal injury case.
7. Negotiate for the Highest Possible Settlement
Only 3% of car accident claims and other personal injury cases make it to trial. The vast majority reach a settlement before that time. However, you can only settle once you and the defense come to an agreement about the damages they’ll pay.
Insurance defense lawyers know that you’re suffering and will push for a quick resolution in exchange for a low settlement. Your car accident lawyer can offer expert advice on when to continue pursuing a larger car accident settlement and when it’s time to accept an offer.
An attorney can also litigate a case through the court system if an ideal settlement cannot be met during negotiations. It’s important to work with a car accident lawyer who is confident in their abilities to recover maximum compensation with the best available legal approach.
Hire the Best Irvine Car Accident Lawyer Today
Car accidents are far too common in Irvine and many of them have devastating results. If you’re suffering from injuries and financial debt due to another driver’s negligence, it’s time to hire a lawyer.
If you’re looking for the best car accident lawyer in Irvine, you’re in the right place. Contact Woodbridge Accident Lawyers to schedule your free case consultation.