What do I need to know about personal injury claims after a car accident? Do I need a lawyer’s help?
Personal injury claims after a car accident can get complicated quickly, as the circumstances of every accident are different. Cohn & Swartzon, a firm in Southern California with decades of combined experience representing car accident victims, can help by taking the legal responsibilities off of your plate so that you can focus on recovery.
Filing Your Personal Injury Claim
Car accidents can have life-changing ramifications, and the injuries and damages inflicted by another driver’s negligence may create considerable challenges as you put your life back together.
In these circumstances, a personal injury claim – filed on your behalf by your legal representative – is often the only way to recover the compensation you’re entitled to.
It’s important to procure legal support as you proceed so that you don’t miss your opportunity to secure compensation. Generally speaking, you have two years from the date of the car accident to file a personal injury claim for the damages you have suffered. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, and your attorney can help you understand how California’s statutes impact, or forever bar, your claim.
On that note, there are two types of damages that you can claim as related to your personal injury: compensatory and punitive.
In a personal injury claim, compensatory damages (or “actual damages”) are intended to help the victim pay for current and potential future costs incurred by the accident, including both economic and non-economic damages.
After a car accident, common compensatory components can include:
- Property damage
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Recovery efforts related to trauma or mental health challenges, i.e. ‘pain and suffering’
A personal injury attorney will help by gathering evidence to support your claim and negotiating with the insurance companies and their legal representatives on your behalf.
Unlike compensatory damages, which are intended to help the victim of a car accident in this case, punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for reckless behavior.
For example, if a drunk driver is at fault for your accident, a judge or jury may award punitive damages, in addition to compensatory damages as an enhanced punishment for the reckless behavior that led to the accident.
Your Personal Injury Claim Settlement
For the reasons above and more, pursuing a personal injury claim after a car accident can be a complicated process. And when you’re dealing with the personal aftermath of an accident, you should be more focused on your own recovery than dealing with insurance company claims – which is why you’ll need legal representation.
This stage of the claims process also highlights another important reason to work with an attorney. Don’t sign anything before you seek a legal opinion.. You’ll need someone who understands the legal language in the settlement to ensure that you’re getting what you’re entitled to.
Without a lawyer’s review, you may sign your name to a binding agreement that doesn’t even cover your current medical costs, let alone costs that may occur in the future. If the insurance company or their legal team isn’t willing to settle, you may have no choice but to proceed with litigation.
Litigating Your Personal Injury Claim
If the settlement that the at-fault party’s insurance offers – or that your insurance offers in the case of an uninsured driver accident – is insufficient and they aren’t willing to negotiate, you and your legal representative may have to proceed with litigation.
In these circumstances, your attorney will file a lawsuit and seek to secure the compensation you’re entitled to through the court system.
How Cohn & Swartzon Can Help With Your Personal Injury Claim
As we’ve alluded to above, the right personal injury attorney will play an essential role in helping you receive compensation for a car accident claim.
With Cohn & Swartzon on your side, for example, our first and most important responsibility is to protect your rights, which includes negotiating as your representative. Many people think that this is their insurance company’s job after an accident, only to find out too late that that isn’t the case.
“After a car accident which involved numerous injuries, I couldn’t handle the stress of dealing with the insurance companies. [Cohn & Swartzon] completely took over for me. They negotiated with the insurance companies and as a result of their determination, I received a very fast and fair settlement.”
Simply put, your best chance at a successful personal injury claim after a car accident will require experienced and effective representation. Instead of taking on the insurance companies alone, choose the Cohn & Swartzon team to advocate on your behalf.
Request a consultation to learn more about how Cohn & Swartzon can help you with a personal injury claim.