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Should I Get a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident in California?

should i get a lawyer for a minor car accident

In many cases, hiring a lawyer for a minor car accident can help you navigate insurance claims and ensure fair compensation. Even if the accident seems minor, complications can arise with medical bills, vehicle repairs, and determining fault.

Insurance companies often aim to settle claims quickly and for as little as possible, which might not cover all your expenses. By having a lawyer, you can better understand your rights and avoid potential pitfalls. They can negotiate on your behalf, making sure that all aspects of the accident are adequately addressed.

Minor injuries can sometimes have long-term impacts, and a lawyer can help you get the compensation needed for future medical costs. Your well-being and peace of mind are worth the consultation with an attorney.

Why hiring a small accident lawyer is a good idea

If you aren’t sure as to whether hiring an experienced car accident is a good idea even after a minor collision, work through these benefits:

Protection against insurance tactics

Insurance companies often try to minimize the amount they pay out for claims. They might offer quick settlements that are lower than what you deserve. A small accident lawyer understands these tactics and can protect you from being taken advantage of.

We can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. This ensures you receive a fair settlement. Without a lawyer, you might miss out on compensation for medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other expenses.

Understanding complex legal procedures

The legal system can be confusing, especially if you don’t have experience with it. Our small accident lawyers are knowledgeable about the laws and regulations in California. They can guide you through the legal process, making it less stressful for you.

We also handle filing paperwork, meeting deadlines, and other procedural requirements. This reduces the risk of errors that could negatively impact your case. Having a lawyer ensures that everything is done correctly and on time.

The importance of timely action

Acting quickly after a car accident is pivotal. Evidence can disappear, and witnesses’ memories can fade. A small accident lawyer will start working on your case right away. They will gather and preserve evidence to support your claim.

Timely action also means meeting legal deadlines. In California, there are strict deadlines for filing claims and lawsuits. Missing these deadlines can result in losing the right to seek compensation. Your lawyer will ensure that all deadlines are met.

For instance, the deadline for filing a lawsuit for a car accident claim is two years from the date of the accident. This deadline is known as the California car accident statute of limitations. Miss this deadline and you’ll miss your opportunity to seek compensation.

Ensuring fair compensation

Calculating the true value of your claim can be challenging. You might overlook certain damages, like pain and suffering or future medical expenses. A small accident lawyer knows how to assess the full extent of your losses.

We will fight for compensation that covers all your damages, not just the immediate ones. Our goal is to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries, property damage, and any other losses you have suffered.

Handling the paperwork and negotiations

Car accident claims involve a lot of paperwork. There are forms to fill out, documents to gather, and letters to write. A small accident lawyer will handle all the paperwork for you. This ensures that everything is filled out correctly and submitted on time.

Negotiations with the insurance company can be stressful. Your lawyer will take over the negotiations, using their expertise to get you the best possible settlement. This allows you to focus on your recovery without the added stress of dealing with the insurance company.

Come and find out how a free case evaluation with a San Bernardino car accident lawyer can help you understand your next steps

should i get a lawyer for a minor car accident


How does a minor accident differ from a major one?

Here are the key ways in which a minor accident differs from something more major:

  • Damage: In a minor accident, you might see small dents or scratches on your car. Major accidents often result in significant damage like crushed frames or broken windows.
  • Injuries: Minor accidents usually involve little to no physical injury to you or your passengers. Major accidents can cause serious injuries such as broken bones or head trauma.
  • Speed: Minor accidents often occur at low speeds, such as in parking lots or during stop-and-go traffic. Major accidents typically happen at higher speeds, like on highways.
  • Costs: Repair costs for minor accidents are generally lower because the damage is less severe. Major accidents can lead to costly repairs and medical bills.
  • Legal Implications: Smaller accidents less frequently lead to legal actions or extensive insurance claims. Major accidents are more likely to involve lawsuits and complex insurance processes.
  • Response Time: Emergency services may not always be required for minor accidents. In major accidents, they are usually called immediately.
  • Documentation: You might only need to exchange basic information and take a few pictures in a minor accident. Major accidents often require intensive documentation, including police reports and detailed insurance claims.
  • Impact on Life: A minor accident is often a mere inconvenience that disrupts your day. A major accident can have long-term effects on your health, finances, and daily routine.

Common scenarios where having a minor car accident attorney is important

In some situations, it’s in your best interest to seek legal help:

Disagreement on fault

Determining who is at fault in a car accident can be challenging. If you and the other driver disagree about who caused the accident, having a lawyer can help you gather evidence such as witness statements, police reports, or camera footage. This is important for protecting your rights and ensuring you aren’t wrongfully blamed.

Legal representation can also help you navigate conversations with insurance companies, which can be complicated when fault is in question.

Serious injuries requiring long-term care

Even minor accidents can result in serious injuries. If you suffer injuries that need long-term care, a lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve. Medical bills can add up quickly, and you might need funds for ongoing treatments or therapy.

Attorneys can work with medical experts to evaluate the full extent of your injuries and ensure that all future medical needs are considered in your claim. This helps you avoid out-of-pocket expenses down the line.

Steps to take following a minor car accident

Even though you just want to get home as soon as possible, these steps mirror the general steps on what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault:

  1. First, ensure safety. Move your car to a safe location if possible. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
  2. Next, check for injuries. Even in minor accidents, ensure everyone is okay. If someone is injured, call 911 immediately.
  3. You should exchange information with the other driver. Share names, contact details, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers. Note the make, model, and license plate of the vehicles involved.
  4. Document the scene. Take photos of the damage, location, and any relevant details. This will help in case there are disputes later.
  5. Gather witness statements. If there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information and a brief statement about what they saw.
  6. Report the accident. In California, you’re required to report any accident causing injury or significant damage to the DMV within ten days. Contact your insurance company to file a claim promptly.
  7. Obtain a police report. If police were called, get a copy of the report. It can be useful for insurance claims and any possible legal actions.
  8. Seek medical attention. Visit a doctor even if you feel fine. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
Lawyer for a minor car accident


Choosing the right lawyer for a minor car accident

When choosing a lawyer for a minor car accident, it’s important to consider several key factors to ensure you get the best representation:

  • Experience and Specialization Look for a lawyer with experience in car accident cases, specifically in California. Specialized knowledge in auto accident law can make a difference in the outcome of your case.
  • Local Knowledge: Choose a lawyer familiar with California laws and local court procedures. This local knowledge can be advantageous in efficiently handling your case.
  • Reputation Research the lawyer’s reputation. You can do this by checking online reviews and ratings. A lawyer who is well-regarded by former clients is often a good choice.
  • Communication: Select a lawyer who communicates clearly and promptly. You should feel comfortable asking questions and expect straightforward answers. Good communication can help you stay informed throughout the process.
  • Fees and Costs: Understand the fee structure before hiring a lawyer. Many car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win. Ensure there are no hidden costs.
  • Initial Consultation: Schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case. This meeting can help you gauge the lawyer’s expertise and whether they are a good fit for your needs.

Feher Law’s client testimonials

These are just some of the kind words our clients have to say about the team here at Feher Law:

Professional and straightforward

“Great place to go to if you’re ever in an accident or need assistance in anything. Very professional and are straightforward team. Since the first call with this firm, it was welcoming and easy! I recommend to anyone. Thank you Feher Law Firm!”

– Review from GM

Highly Recommend

“Feher law firm, they are Knowledgeable Professional experts. I would highly recommend inquiring about them to represent you if you have attained a personal injury through no fault of your own. A+ law firm highly recommend.”

– Review from John Soto

Special to our Hearts

“This firm is so special to our hearts. They kept us updated on our case and were so supportive to our situation. We recommend this firm. We really appreciate all the hard work they did for us!!!”

– Review from Sandra Castillo

 

To find out more about how our team can help you seek damages from a car accident settlement, contact us today!

The process when you hire a car accident lawyer

  1. Initial Consultation: You will have a first meeting with your attorney. Discuss the details of your accident. Share any documents or evidence you have.
  2. Case Evaluation: Your attorney will assess the strength of your case. They may ask for more information. Expect to discuss possible compensation.
  3. Agreement Signing: Sign a contract with your attorney. Understand the fee structure. Get clarity on the percentage of any compensation they will take.
  4. Investigation: Your attorney gathers evidence. They might speak to witnesses. Review police and medical reports.
  5. Filing a Claim: Your attorney will file your claim. This might involve sending a demand letter to the other party. Your lawyer will handle communication with insurance companies.
  6. Negotiation: Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf. You will be kept updated on settlement offers. Decide whether to accept, reject, or counter an offer.
  7. Preparing for Trial (if needed): If no settlement is reached, prepare for trial. Your lawyer will gather more evidence. Witnesses may be scheduled to testify.
  8. Trial: Attend court with your attorney. They will represent you and present your case. The judge or jury will make a decision.

Common misconceptions about hiring a lawyer

Myth 1: Lawyers are too expensive. Many people believe that hiring a lawyer will cost a fortune. In reality, many lawyers work on a contingency fee basis for car accident cases. This means you only pay if you win your case. This makes legal help more accessible.

Myth 2: Lawyers are not necessary for minor accidents. You might think you don’t need a lawyer for a minor accident. Even minor accidents can have hidden costs and complications. A lawyer can help ensure you get fair compensation and handle insurance negotiations.

Myth 3: Lawyers only complicate things. Some believe that hiring a lawyer makes the process more complex. A good lawyer simplifies the process by dealing with paperwork and legal requirements. They guide you through each step.

Myth 4: You can handle everything yourself. Handling a claim on your own is possible. However, without legal expertise, you risk missing out on compensation or making mistakes. A lawyer understands the law and can maximize your settlement.

Myth 5: It takes too long for lawyers to resolve cases. Another misconception is that lawyers drag out cases. A skilled lawyer works efficiently to resolve your case promptly. They aim to settle quickly while ensuring the best outcome for you.

back of white car with minor damages


California car accident laws you need to know

California’s car accident laws are designed to identify who is at fault and set deadlines for filing claims. Knowing these laws helps to protect your rights and ensure you meet all necessary legal requirements.

The role of fault in car accidents

California follows a “fault” system for car accidents. The person responsible for the accident is liable for the damages. This means that if another driver caused the accident, their insurance should cover your medical expenses, car repairs, and other associated costs.

California also uses a comparative negligence rule. This allows you to recover damages even if you are partially at fault. Your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 20% at fault, you will receive 80% of the damages.

To prove fault, you need evidence like police reports, witness statements, and photos of the accident scene. It is crucial to gather as much evidence as possible to strengthen your case.

Statute of limitations for filing a claim

In California, you have a specific time frame to file a car accident claim. This is known as the statute of limitations. For personal injury claims, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

For property damage claims, the statute of limitations is three years. If you miss these deadlines, you may lose your right to seek compensation.

It is advisable to file your claim as soon as possible. This ensures that evidence is still fresh and witnesses are easier to contact. Late filing can result in the dismissal of your case.

Need a minor car accident lawyer in California?

Have you been in a minor car accident in California and aren’t sure if you need a lawyer? Even minor accidents can lead to headaches and challenges with insurance claims.

Our expert team will help you with:

  • Navigating Insurance: Insurance companies may offer you a settlement that is lower than what you deserve.
  • Legal Advice: We will help you understand your rights and options as well as guidance on your next steps
  • Peace of Mind: Having a professional handle the details can relieve stress and let you focus on recovering from your injuries.
  • Medical Expenses: We ensure that all medical costs are covered.
  • Vehicle Repairs: Getting fair compensation for damages to your car.
  • Lost Wages: Reclaiming income lost due to time off work.

Free consultation

Feher Law, APC offers a free consultation to discuss your case. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions and understand your options without any financial commitment. During this consultation, you can:

  • Evaluate Your Case: Understand the strength of your case.
  • Get Expert Advice: Receive guidance from experienced personal injury lawyers.
  • Plan Next Steps: Decide the best course of action moving forward.

Contact Feher Law, APC today to schedule your free consultation and get the help you need to navigate your minor car accident case.

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