When you’ve been hurt in an accident in California, the best way to recover physically and financially varies from person to person. You may be wondering how soon should you hire a personal injury attorney, and the answer is as soon as you can. Your pain is unique to your situation. The quicker we can assess the case, the more likely it will reach a favorable outcome.
Without any experience with recovering after an accident, it can be hard to know what your best options are. That’s why you need the support of a San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer.
If you’ve been injured in the San Luis Obispo area and you’re not sure where to turn, The Ernst Law Group is here to help you. Even if you’re not sure if your case warrants legal action, speaking with us can put your mind at ease and help you make it to the next stage of your recovery with confidence.
We offer free consultations, so there’s no risk to you. Give us a call at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online and we can schedule a meeting to go over the details of your injury case. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner you can be on the path to a full recovery.
To know if you need an experienced personal injury attorney in San Luis Obispo, look to the following factors.
The Severity of Your Damages
Damages are an effort to translate the injuries or losses you suffered into a monetary value. Many injuries and losses are hard to put a price on. But money recovered for losses and justice served to negligent parties are essentially the only ways one has to recover after an injury caused by another person or organization.
For this reason, you can be compensated for every aspect of your damages, from property loss and medical costs to pain and suffering and missed work.
Minor fender benders where no one is injured and property damages are less than $1,000 are unlikely to necessitate legal counsel on either side. This is because insurers and defendants are not likely to contest a minor claim since it is simply not worth the effort in most cases.
On the other hand, if you have a catastrophic injury that requires surgery and an extended hospital stay to treat, your damages are going to be much more significant. In this case, insurers are much more likely to rigorously investigate your claim and look for any opportunities to reduce or deny coverage.
One critical factor to consider is that some “minor” injuries can result in higher losses than expected over the long run. Consider this example: a fender bender results in less than $1,000 in property damages, but the victim has progressive neck pain they only notice after a week.
The neck pain leads to regular doctor visits, time away from work, X-rays, other tests, and therapy. This scenario is a great example of why even a seemingly simple accident case could benefit from the assistance of a San Luis Obispo personal injury attorney.
See a Doctor Immediately After Any Accident
There is no way to recover damages from an injury if the injury is not documented by medical professionals. One of the first things you need to do is see a doctor within 48 hours of the accident. A proper check-up will ensure any injuries are documented and a treatment plan is prescribed.
In some cases, it can be hard to know how severe your injuries are until weeks or even months after an accident. Seeing a doctor early sets you up for recurring visits when pain or other symptoms show up over time.
Many other situations would warrant legal protection as well, and most of them have to do with the obvious financial impact of an injury. If you find yourself out of work, with expensive medical and therapy bills, local legal representation could help you recover the maximum damages possible.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies have teams of lawyers. They will use them to ensure as little money goes out as possible. The more damages you plan on claiming, the more likely these companies are to use every trick they have to reduce the amount they have to pay out. If you know your injuries are worth a lot, you can expect a tough battle.
One of the most likely tactics insurance companies will engage in is the low-ball early offer to settle. They are hoping you’ll accept their first offer, thus excluding you from seeking the full value of your damages at a later date.
If you’re aware of this tactic and deny their initial offer, you can expect the cold shoulder from that point on. They will likely only respond to your communications when they’re legally obligated to.
The insurance company may also attempt to take advantage of California’s comparative negligence statute. That means they will attempt to pin as much responsibility on you as possible. Since the amount of damages you’re eligible to recover is directly reduced by the percentage of fault a court assigns you, you could quickly see a black-and-white case turn murky gray, as the insurance company’s legal team gets to work on nit-picking every detail possible – moving blame away from their policyholder.
Without understanding the California legal system the way a seasoned personal injury attorney does, your chances of recovering damages go down.
You could try to learn everything you can about insurance companies, California negligence laws, and negotiating settlements – all while recovering from your injuries. But in the end, it is easier to hire an experienced personal injury attorney.
An Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney to Fight For the Maximum
If you’re not sure if your personal injury case needs a lawyer, you can easily schedule a no-risk, free consultation at a time that suits you. At Ernst Law Group, we want to arm you with the right information and the right people to make sure you come out on top of this troubling time. Call us at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online, and we can get started on your personal injury case today.