Car accidents are serious business. To you, as a driver, passenger or bystander, they can be serious emotionally, physically and mentally, not to mention financially.
But to auto insurance companies, car accidents are serious in only one way: they mean insurance payouts. This is something all auto insurance providers want to avoid.
The state of California is a “fault” state when it comes to how auto insurance claims are processed following car accidents. What this means is that the insurance provider for the driver deemed partially or fully at fault will be on the hook to pay out all claims arising from that accident.
So you can bet insurance companies with big car insurance quotes have huge legal teams designed to ensure they pay out as little as possible so they can stay as profitable and competitive as possible. So when you are facing a stalled auto insurance claims process, should you hire a car accident lawyer? And if you do, will any lawyer do? Let’s find out!
Choosing the Right Car Accident Lawyer for Your Accident Case
It is true that you may feel so overwhelmed and exhausted after the experience of going through a car accident that even the thought of having to choose a lawyer to represent your case feels literally impossible.
So the first suggestion that comes your way – for example, hearing that your mom’s uncle’s brother knows an attorney who might be able to help – probably sounds good to you. You are tempted to just pull the trigger, hire any attorney that anyone you know knows and get on with the business at hand of closing your auto insurance claim.
But can just any attorney help you with a California car accident case? Unfortunately, hiring a general practice or even an other-specialty attorney to handle your California car accident claim is not going to serve either you or the attorney well.
This is true in every state nationwide, but especially in the state of California. Because California is a “fault” state, and because California is one of the strictest states in the nation as far as traffic law, a general practice or different-specialty attorney is highly unlikely to be able to successfully resolve your case in your favor.
California just isn’t like most other states and the attorneys that are successful in litigating auto insurance claims specialize in auto insurance cases. They have to – only daily immersion in the details of California traffic law can give an attorney the knowledge required to successfully go head-to-head with the big bucks insurance company legal teams.
What to Look For In a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
We realize this probably just made you even more anxious and stressed out. If your mother’s cousin’s sister’s aunt can’t help you find an attorney, who can?
You! You may be feeling overwhelmed, but we promise if you just follow these simple steps, you can find a great Los Angeles personal trial lawyer to help you get your auto insurance case back on track and closed quickly.
1. Verify the attorney has passed the California state bar and is certified to practice in this state.
This is an easy one – just visit the state bar of California website, type in the attorney’s name and verify their status. Use the “Look Up a Lawyer” feature (bottom page right) to do this.
2. Verify the attorney specializes in California traffic law cases and claims.
This is also easy. All you have to do is look on the attorney’s own website and verify that the majority of their cases relate in some way to auto accidents and traffic law.
3. Verify that the majority of the attorney’s reviews are positive.
For this one, you want to look in two places: on the attorney’s own website and also at independent third-party review sites like Glassdoor and Yelp. Just type in the attorney’s name and the word “reviews” and read what comes up.
A negative review or two is normal for a thriving, successful practice, so just look to see that the vast majority of past client’s state that they are happy with the outcome of their case.
4. Verify that the attorney offers a free initial consultation to all prospective clients.
Here is another easy one: the attorney’s website should specify right on the home page or contact page that all prospective clients will receive a free initial consultation.
This is one-to-one time in person (or on the phone if you can’t get to the office in person) to discuss your case and your claim and determine if you have a case the attorney can help you with.
Offering an initial free consultation is industry standard in the legal field. It saves you and the attorney time and money. Never pay for an initial consultation with an attorney.
5. Schedule your initial free consultation and decide for yourself.
Once you have completed the four prior steps, you are probably feeling a lot more confident that you have found a reputable, responsible Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who can represent you.
So now it is time to schedule your own free initial consultation. Here, evaluate everything about the experience: how easy is it to get an appointment, how responsive the attorney’s office staff is to helping you, how convenient and welcoming the office is, how comfortable you feel talking to the attorney and whether you feel in your gut that you have found the right lawyer to represent you.
You also want to be sure the attorney will make themselves available to you outside of normal business hours since this is often when issues arise in an ongoing auto insurance case.
6. Make your decision and retain the services of your chosen attorney.
You may go through this process with two or even three attorneys who seem like they have the right background, credentials and expertise to help you successfully resolve your case.
And then it will be time to choose your new car accident lawyer. If you are a visual person, it can help here to make a list of pros and cons of each so you can see on paper which attorney offers the most to expedite your claims processing and your case.
Also be sure the attorney you select is someone you truly feel “gets” you and understands the difficulties you have endured as a result of being involved in the auto accident.
After all, this is the individual who will be representing you and your interests – you will be trusting them to help you close this chapter of your life so you can move on.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney? West Coast Trial Lawyers Can Help!
Being involved in an auto collision is hands-down one of the most stressful experiences in life. Even a minor fender-bender can create long-lasting negative memories – how much more so an auto insurance claim that refuses to be settled.
Have you been in a car crash and can’t seem to get the claims process moving so you can get on with your life? Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for additional information and to schedule your free initial consultation.