You may have heard that you should get a lawyer after a car accident or other personal injury scenario. That, or you know from pop culture that you can “lawyer up” any time you’ve sustained an injury caused by someone else’s mistakes.
But why do you need a personal injury lawyer in these situations? More to the point, what does a personal injury lawyer do for you that aids your goal of seeking compensation?
The simplest answer to, “What does a personal injury lawyer do?” is this: they use their knowledge of the law and insurance companies to maximize your chances of obtaining all the compensation you need to recover from your injury.
We’ll break down that definition into all its smaller parts below, but know that this information is designed to inform a broad audience with a hypothetical injury scenario.
If you are injured, the best way to find out what a San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer can do for your case is to talk to one during a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Call the Ernst Law Group today at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online to discuss your case details and find out exactly how we can help you get compensation.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Uses Their Expert Knowledge to Prevent Insurers From Taking Advantage of You
The biggest role a personal injury lawyer in San Luis Obispo can fill is keeping you informed of your legal rights during every step of the claims or recovery process.
Most personal injury cases start as an insurance claim. The claim is filed against the liability insurance policy held by whatever party is allegedly at fault.
Since insurance companies are for-profit businesses, the company will say and do anything it can to reduce the value of your claim or deny it altogether. Common tactics used by insurance companies include:
- Telling you something isn’t covered when it really is
- Asking leading questions trying to get you to admit fault
- Working to uncover an alleged pre-existing condition
- Claiming that the policy only covers some of the damages when more coverage is available
- Purporting that the injury victim or some outside third-party is really at fault
- Offering an inadequate settlement after weeks of non-response
- Intimidating claimants into thinking they are being fraudulent or asking for coverage that is unobtainable
- Avoiding offering coverage for areas that should be rightfully covered, like pain and suffering
Most of these tactics are engaged through the guise of good faith. That means the insurance company can argue that they genuinely thought they were fulfilling their contract or obeying policy language. In reality, the insurer is simply using any tool at their disposal to reduce the chance they will owe you money for damages.
Having a personal injury lawyer by your side reduces the risk that these tactics will succeed. Your lawyer can carefully read the applicable policy, understand what coverage should be available, and prove your damages should fall under the policy’s requirements.
Sometimes, just the act of hiring an attorney can encourage insurers to treat the claim more seriously and offer a more reasonable settlement.
Other times, the insurer will think they can use technicalities or unclear matters of fact to insist that a claim does not have the value the victim thinks it does. In the latter scenario, your personal injury lawyer will file a complaint (lawsuit) and litigate your claim to maximize your chances of recovering the compensation you need.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Uncovers Evidence And Proves Negligence
Another key role your personal injury lawyer fulfills is that of a private investigator. Proving that someone was negligent often involves not just knowing laws or policies but also uncovering evidence that someone violated either or both.
For example, if a truck driver was fatigued at the time of the accident, the carrier company could attempt to avoid liability by claiming the driver was a contractor who was responsible for his own poor decisions. However, a personal injury lawyer might be able to determine that the contracted driver was given an unreasonable time frame to complete a route.
After a subpoena of internal documents, they may also determine that the carrier routinely violated or ignored hours of service rules with both contractors and employees. Or, the attorney may be able to establish that the driver was not an independent contractor but an employee based on prior court rulings.
Gathering Evidence to Prove the Full Extent of Your Financial and Personal Losses
Evidence matters when it comes to proving damages as well as fault. The full cost of treating some medical conditions may be difficult to quantify, especially when it comes to future rehabilitation and follow-up appointments.
In some cases, you may need to work closely with doctors to establish that the injuries were fully caused by the accident. If you are accused of having a pre-existing condition, your attorney can work with you and your providers to prove that this isn’t the case. Or, if you did legitimately have one, they’ll help prove that the accident made the condition worse.
Your personal injury attorney can also help you establish other categories of damages. For instance, proving lost wages is not so easy when you’re a contractor or someone who earns irregular income. You and your attorney can work together to piece together your average income over the past several months and compare it to your income since the accident.
If you want to prove future lost wages, you can seek out testimony from economics professionals to obtain an accurate estimate of the full projected cost of all lost wages.
Hire a San Luis Obispo Personal Injury Lawyer and Focus On Recovering
A personal injury attorney can perform all of the above duties, but perhaps the most important is saving you time and effort. After all, when you have been hurt, you want to focus on healing, not fighting with insurers or filling out paperwork.
Find out what a personal injury lawyer can do for your case during a free, no-risk case evaluation with a proven San Luis Obispo personal injury team. We have represented hundreds of clients just like you, and have a track record of winning large settlements for major cases.
Call (805) 541-0300 or contact us online to schedule your free appointment today!