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How an Injury Attorney Can Protect Your Rights After an Accident

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When you are involved in an automobile collision, you probably think all you have to do is report it to your insurance company, provide the at-fault driver's information, and then magically everything will be taken care of for you. If only things were that simple. Though you pay your insurance company hundreds of dollars a year, maybe even thousands (the average yearly cost stands at approximately $1,900 to $2,200), it's not the best bet to rely on these corporations to protect your legal rights. Because these companies are in business to make a profit, they'll only put in as little effort as they can because it costs them money to pursue a claim. 

When you are involved in an automobile collision, you probably think all you have to do is report it to your insurance company, provide the at-fault driver's information, and then magically everything will be taken care of for you. If only things were that simple. Though you pay your insurance company hundreds of dollars a year, maybe even thousands (the average yearly cost stands at approximately $1,900 to $2,200), it's not the best bet to rely on these corporations to protect your legal rights. Because these companies are in business to make a profit, they'll only put in as little effort as they can because it costs them money to pursue a claim.

How an Injury Attorney Can Protect Your Rights After an Accident

If you hire a personal injury lawyer, you won't be at the mercy of an insurance company. Instead, you'll have someone in your corner to speak with about your case. An attorney will not only know the law, but how to make it work for you. This is a huge benefit because your claim won't just be resigned to a file number. There are several ways an attorney can protect you and your case.

A statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit. Most lawsuits MUST be filed within a certain amount of time. In general, once the statute of limitations on a case "runs out," any legal claim has no value and cannot be filed. The period of time during which you can file a lawsuit varies depending on the type of legal claim and state in which you live. - California Courts, The Judicial Branch of California

It is imperative you protect your rights after an accident. The statute of limitations sets a deadline. Should you fail to file a lawsuit timely, you could possibly lose any standing you might have and forfeit your case. In California personal injury cases, Personal injury: Two years from the injury. If the injury was not discovered right away, then it is 1 year from the date the injury was discovered. When you sue a government agency, you first have to file a special claim (called an "administrative claim") with the government office or agency before you file in court. For personal injury or personal property damage, you must file your administrative claim within 6 months of the date of the injury.

Protecting your statute is just one of several ways an attorney can protect your rights after an accident.

An attorney knows the law. Anyone who has looked at California's statutes or read civil case law knows how complicated they can be. A lawyer not only has years of specialized education about the law, but also has experience with practicing law. There simply is no substitute for experience and success.

You'll have an experienced professional to carry the burden of dealing with the insurance company. The negative reputation insurance companies have among consumers comes from their very own practices. One such practice is to stall while another is to negotiate. Both are intended to protect their interests, not the consumers, and minimize the dollar output and close the case. If you aren't represented by a lawyer, the insurance company will likely do their best to take advantage of you.

A lawyer understands and knows how to prove liability. You might be able to recall details from your accident, but this isn't sufficient to prove liability of the person(s) who caused you harm. In order to win a lawsuit the suing party (plaintiff) must prove liability, or responsibility, of the defendant who caused the accident if the plaintiff's claims are shown to be proven. An attorney knows how to gather the necessary evidence, find the right witnesses, perform in-depth legal research, and much more. All of these things are necessary for a case to be successful.

You'll have someone that can explain your options. The costs of an auto accident can be steep and you may have lost wages, medical bills, repairs, and more. Because California is a comparative negligence state, you might be assigned a percentage of the blame. A personal injury case is complex and you need an experienced attorney to help you through the process. You'll be informed about your options and which ones are the best for you.

Maybe the most important way an attorney can protect you is to advise you about the rules which must be followed during your case. It's what you don't know that can have the biggest impact on your case. For instance, you might have a limited time to file a particular motion or response and if you don't know this and don't proceed accordingly, you could easily harm your case and worsen and already bad situation. It's entirely up to you, but you should consider doing yourself a favor and speak with an experienced attorney following an accident.

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