Being in a car accident is something most drivers will experience at some point. Unfortunately, even if you drive perfectly, there is no guarantee that everyone else around you on the road will too.
California is a particularly strict state when it comes to traffic law. Fines, fees, penalties and the driver license points system can ensure that even minor fender bender accidents often wind up being expensive, exhausting endeavors.
While in most cases you won’t need to hire an auto injury attorney for a fender bender where there is minimal property damage and no personal injury involved, if your accident is more serious than this, an attorney who specializes in traffic law is frequently recommended and sometimes outright necessary.
Otherwise, since California is a “fault” state when it comes to paying out car insurance claims, it can take significant time to get car accident claims resolved. In this article, learn when you should consider hiring a car accident personal injury lawyer after being involved in a road incident.
8 Compelling Reasons to Hire a Los Angeles Accident Attorney
Anytime you find that the process of resolving your car accident claim seems to have stalled out, this is always a good moment to consider involving an auto injury attorney to get things moving forward again.
However, there are certain situations when you want to do this sooner rather than later. Here are eight examples of situations where you will want to reach out to talk with a car accident attorney right away.
1. Someone was injured.
Whenever there is an injury as a result of your involvement in an auto accident – whether the injury was to you or another party – this is when you want to get a car accident personal injury lawyer involved right away.
Auto accident-related injuries can add layers of complexity to an otherwise fairly straightforward claims process. This is especially true as days pass and deeper injuries begin to show themselves (a great example here is whiplash or lower back injuries that can take hours or days to appear).
2. There was a fatality.
If there was a fatality as a result of the auto accident you were involved in, you should consult with a car accident personal injury attorney before you talk to anyone, even the police. There is no more serious type of auto accident and you will need an expert to guide you through the process.
3. Your insurance company is stalling.
Assuming you have been paying your auto insurance premiums on time and in full, if you detect that your insurer has begun to stall on providing you with benefits under your policy, this is a moment when you need to bring in a Los Angeles accident attorney to get the ball rolling again.
Insurers are often quite reluctant to pay out in California until the matter of which driver is at fault is resolved. However, this can take time to determine. Legally speaking, you are entitled to receive the benefits you have been paying for as outlined in your auto insurance policy even though the case itself is still being processed.
4. You have been declared at fault (partially or fully).
Because California is one of a relatively small number of states nationwide that uses declaration of fault to process auto insurance claims, being declared partially or fully at fault for a car accident can impact not just your immediate circumstances but your driving future as well.
Your insurance premiums may go up or you may even find your insurer drops you from your policy coverage. You may be reclassified as a high risk driver, with the much higher insurance premiums that brings with it. Your insurer may also refuse to provide you with insurance benefits.
This is a time when you absolutely need an experienced auto injury attorney on your team.
5. You risk losing your license.
In California, the points system can cause you to rack up points on your license even after just one auto accident. In some cases, this can put you at risk of limited driving privileges or even loss of driver license.
California is not a state with a comprehensive public transportation system. This means that loss of driving privileges in part or in full can impact your life in many other ways. In some cases it may even impact your ability to remain employed. If your auto accident has put your driver privileges at risk, contacting a knowledgeable car accident attorney may help mitigate your risk.
6. The incident occurred in a construction zone.
Construction zone accidents carry even stiffer penalties than do accidents on unencumbered public roadways. Financial fines, fees and penalties can double or even triple for construction zone accidents.
There is also a risk you may be reclassified as a high risk driver and dropped from your insurance policy. You never want to wait to hire an experienced and knowledgable accident attorney after experiencing an auto accident in a construction zone.
7. The other driver changed their story of what happened.
One of the most concerning and urgent times in any car accident claim is when the other driver suddenly changes their version of events. For example, perhaps initially the other driver said they were fine, but then a few days or weeks later your insurer alerts you that they are filing medical claims.
When this occurs, it is vital not to wait to retain the services of an experienced auto accident attorney. You will need an advocate to review the full details of the accident, including the police accident report and insurance communications to date, to ensure both insurers have the most accurate facts of what occurred.
8. The other driver has limited or no auto insurance.
Finally, if you are in a situation where the other driver has only limited auto insurance or no auto insurance coverage, you do have the option in California of filing a lawsuit against that driver to try to recoup expenses your own insurer will otherwise have to bear on your behalf.
If the other driver has no assets to speak of, it is definitely time to talk to an expert auto insurance attorney, especially if you have sustained injuries as a result of the accident. Otherwise, you are at risk that your own insurer may drop you due to high claims payouts. You are also at risk of financial hardship in your own life for the same reason.
Do You Need a Los Angeles Accident Attorney?
Here at West Coast Trial Lawyers, we specialize in traffic law and traffic law-related cases. California is one of the strictest and most punitive states in the nation when it comes to accident fines, fees, penalties and points. It is expensive to drive here and can be even more expensive if an auto accident happens to you.
Your initial consultation is always free. This is a time when you share what happened and we discuss whether or not you have a case and, if so, how our expert legal team may be able to help.
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