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  • By: David Kaufman, Esq.
  • Published: February 5, 2024
A man sits at a desk with a lawyer, discussing hiring a California personal injury attorney - Law Offices of David A. Kaufman, APC.

Car accidents are stressful and expensive, especially when you or a loved one have been injured. Fortunately, the personal injury claim system allows you to claim financial compensation to help cover those costs. Unfortunately, the system is complicated and can feel like it is stacked against you, which is where the services of personal injury attorneys come in. This article explains:

    • Why you need a personal injury attorney after being injured in a car accident, even if it was clearly the other driver’s fault.
    • Why, no matter who you are, you will always be able to afford a good personal injury attorney in California.
    • The arguments and tactics insurance companies use to undermine or dismiss your personal injury claim after a car accident.

If The Other Driver Was Clearly At Fault For The Car Accident I Was Injured In, Do I Still Need To Hire A California Personal Injury Attorney?

Someone who knew very little about the world of personal injury law might understandably assume that if the other driver has accepted responsibility for the accident, the rest of the claim process should be a cakewalk. Unfortunately, establishing blame and fault is only the tip of the personal injury compensation iceberg.

The rest of the process involves insurance companies, and nothing is simple when insurance companies get involved. While you would hope they are ready to pay out what they need to, up to the limit of their policy, the truth is they will rarely be so cooperative and may fight you every step of the way. Or worse, smile and say they are helping you and doing more than they need to while cheating you of vital compensation.

Insurance company adjusters do this for a living; they have been doing it for years and have handled enough claims that they no longer see clients as people with problems who need help. They see you as a chance to cut costs and pay out as little as possible – especially if you do not have a lawyer on your side.

Why Is It So Important To Have A Personal Injury Lawyer After A Car Accident Injury?

While you might be tempted to take on the role of self-advocacy to save money after an accident, the truth is you could end up costing yourself a whole lot more.

For one thing, preparing a personal injury claim is a lot of work. It will take a lot of time and effort, especially since you will need to teach yourself what to do in addition to doing the actual work. While you are already busy trying to recover from an injury and keep your life together, an additional burden and responsibility is not what you need.

The absolute last thing you need is to have your case or claim dismissed entirely because you did a bad job preparing it. Just as bad is having a greedy insurance adjuster offer you pennies for every dollar of compensation you deserve.

In the end, while an attorney may cost you some of what you will earn, not having one could cost you all of it. Unfortunately, such mistakes are all too easy to make, even with the help of the latest exploitative technology.

What About An AI Lawyer? Can I Handle My Own Personal Injury Claim With The Help Of A New AI Attorney App?

Having an app walk you through the basic bureaucratic steps of the personal injury process is no doubt helpful, and certainly better than nothing. But an app, no matter how smart it pretends to be, will never be able to deliver the level of personalized, flexible, and experienced care a seasoned attorney will provide.

You should also consider how the app can read the insurance adjuster’s behavior. Will it be able to tell you if their offer is less than you deserve? Will it help you file a lawsuit against the insurance company if their offer is not fair? An app certainly cannot argue your case in front of a jury if you have to go to court.

On a practical level, an app will never come with the same connections and relationships an attorney has been able to build up over the years. If you need a doctor to treat you on lien, or an expert to testify in court on your behalf, it is your attorney who will have their trust and contact information.

No matter how well the technology advances or how much marketing these companies sink into advertising their apps, they will never offer the same services or quality representation a genuine attorney can provide.

How Can I Afford An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney?

While having an attorney is essential, a lot of injured Californians might be worried about their ability to afford one. You may be wondering, “What is this going to cost me?” or “Am I going to have the money for attorney fees after paying my medical bills?”

Fortunately, what you might not realize is that the vast majority of personal injury attorneys (those worth hiring!) work on a contingency basis. This means the attorney’s fees are entirely dependent on obtaining a settlement recovery or positive outcome for your claim. If they do not earn you financial compensation, then they get nothing either.

Even if you have to go to court to pursue the case, there will be litigation costs payable to third parties, such as court filing fees, server fees, court reporters, experts for depositions, or investigators. The attorney usually advances those out of pocket, and then those are also repaid out of the recovery.

By deferring these costs and those required to get a strong attorney until the case resolves, you will end up with a far stronger claim. This means instead of getting 100% of the pennies on the dollar an insurance company will offer, you will get a good payout. Even after reimbursing both costs and fees, you will end up with far more money in your pocket and no out-of-pocket expenses.

Good luck getting an app to do that!

And, unfortunately, given the behavior of insurance companies, you will need a strong attorney on your side.

What Are Common Defenses Used By Insurance Companies To Deny Or Limit California Personal Injury Claim Settlements?

Insurance companies are nominally in the business of collecting your money and paying back what you need in an emergency. Unfortunately, what they are really in the business of doing is taking your money and paying back as little as possible of it. And they have years of experience developing techniques, tactics, and strategies for doing so.

Needlessly Disputing Liability

One strategy for putting you on the back foot or justifying a lower payout is trying to blame you, the victim, for the accident. Sometimes they try this tactic even when it makes no sense.

All it takes is for their client to claim you reversed into them at a stop sign or that you, not they, ran the red light, for you to be stuck disputing liability. This is why what you do at the scene after an accident is so important.

If you have strong evidence, a solid police report, and witness testimony, the opposing insurance will not be able to use such a strategy to try to deny or reduce your settlement.

Pre-Existing Injuries Or Subsequent Accidents

Blame (or, in legalese, liability) is the only tool insurance companies can call on to diminish or deny a personal injury claim. They will also often dispute the causality of your injury.

This means they will argue that the accident caused by their negligent client was not responsible for some or all of your injuries. To do so, they will look at any pre-existing conditions, prior injuries, or even accidents that occurred after the one you are making a claim for. Anything that might let them argue that they should not have to pay you some or all of the money you need.

Disputing Costs And Reduced Settlements

Another common tactic involves more nuanced arguments, going through the line items you are claiming compensation for and arguing each one or nitpicking them on a case-by-case basis.

They will say you exaggerated your wages, did not miss as much work as you are claiming, and paid too much for your doctor or physical therapy treatment. They will point to all of these and more and say that, as a result, they will only offer you some of what you are requesting.

This is especially effective against clients who do not have a good lawyer, as you might not know any better, and their arguments may seem reasonable when they say they have no choice. But an attorney will know better.

We know that the insurance adjusters are being paid to pay out as little as possible; in fact, their pay may even depend on it. Some will be more fair, but plenty of them will dig and dig as much as they can.

How Can A Personal Injury Attorney Help Me Get A Fair Settlement For My Claim?

Insurance companies are out there bringing up any and every argument they can, sometimes going so far as to hire investigators to follow you, looking for the slightest inconsistency in your story. But doing so is also expensive for them; sometimes, the secret to getting a reasonable offer from them is to be reasonable, exact, and relentless in turn.

A responsible attorney will not try to demand more than you need and deserve; they cannot demand a million dollars on every case. A good personal injury attorney will carefully study the insurance policy and even more carefully and accurately document and calculate your expenses.

They will add up your medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages they can back up with evidence. What they can then present to the insurance company is solid, irrefutable, and reasonable. This kind of consistent and persistent approach is your best bet for getting the compensation you need. For more information on Hiring A California Personal Injury Attorney, an initial consultation is your next best step.

Attorney David Kaufman has many areas of proficiency, the first and foremost of which is personal injury representation – where he serves injured accident victims in La Jolla and surrounding areas of California. Attorney Kaufman brings an impressive ease with words to the explanation of a complex and emotionally difficult field, helping accident victims understand how to recover their sanity as well as substantial financial compensation

Connect with the Law Offices of David A Kaufman, APC for keen-minded and easy-to-follow insights on how to navigate the field of personal injury law in California.

Call For A Free Consultation - (619) 612-5554.

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