The Best Car Accident Lawyer Advice Ever
Car Accident Lawyer Basics
There are particular things to remember about a car accident lawyer. Let’s say that you have no injuries and you have only minor property damage to your vehicle. Oftentimes, you can resolve that yourself.
Otherwise, you would need to look into whether the insurance company is undervaluing your vehicle. Say that your car is a total loss, but they want to pay you five grand instead of $6,500. In that case, you need to do your homework. Look for vehicles that are the same make and model, close to the same mileage. And with Google or other online services, you can find a car anywhere.
Look in Your Local Area
You want to look in your locale, whether it’s Southern California or Southern Nevada or anywhere else. Find out what the value of your vehicle is based on local sales. Have that information ready when you get an offer. If the offer is low, then you negotiate with them. You then don’t need a car accident lawyer in those situations. Where you would need a lawyer is if you have a very expensive car, perhaps a classic car. This is because in California they have to pay the cost of repair or the cost to replace, whichever is cheaper.
Diminution in Value
So, take for example that you have a classic car that’s worth $50,000. And that they want to pay five grand to fix it, and that might be the cost of fixing it. But what they don’t tell you is you can also get what’s called diminution in value. They put the car back together and it looks like it wasn’t in a crash. But when you want to resell it at what the value of that classic car now is, the value of that has gone down.
There’s an option if you can prove that your car is now worthless because it was in a car wreck. You can recover what again is called diminution in value. You have to hire an expert that knows the values of cars, that knows what the car’s worth now since it’s been in a car wreck. And we’ve had cases with classic cars, with Teslas, with very expensive vehicles.
When you’re going to resell it, they’re going to find out that the car’s been in a wreck. Or, if you trade it in, they’re going to find out the car’s been in a wreck. Then you’re not going to get the value of the vehicle that you would have had that car not been in the wreck.
Every Consultation is Free
Hiring a car accident lawyer is an intimidating process. We understand that. But at my office, every consultation that we give is free. So, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask questions. I’ll spend half an hour or an hour with you going through your case. Even if you don’t think the case is that serious, it doesn’t hurt to talk to a lawyer and figure out what not to do in a case. If there is physical injury, I generally think that hiring a lawyer is in your best interest.
I can generally recover more for my clients, even with my fees and costs, than they could without having a lawyer. The insurance industry gives lawyers a different treatment than they do normal consumers. You don’t know the buzz words, but they know the buzz words. They know all the legalities behind it. They’ve trained their insurance adjusters on minimizing the exposure for the insurance company. They have their in-house lawyers to talk to, to figure out what we should do on this claim.
Huge Disadvantages Without a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’re going against the insurance company without a lawyer in a case, you’re at a huge disadvantage. With that said, there are property damage only cases where it’s probable that you don’t need a lawyer. Still, it doesn’t hurt to talk to a car accident lawyer. At my office, we offer a free consultation on any case. If you called me, you’d be on the phone with myself or one of my attorneys to talk about your case. We would figure out a game plan and move forward from that.
I often give clients, or potential clients, the information they need to do it themselves. If the case is less than $10,000 and it’s property damage only, I’ll send them to small claims court if that’s the case. We’re in it to help our clients, or potential clients, get the fair result from the insurance company. It’s not what the insurance company tells you your case is worth but the true value of your case. Insurance companies are not looking out for your best interest. They’re looking to cut corners every way they can. Regardless of whether it’s your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company.
Insurance Adjusters: What You Need to Know
There’s something to keep in mind about a lot of insurance adjusters that handle the claims. They get their bonuses and payment based on the amount that they pay on claims. So, if they can pay $500 less on your claim or $1000 less on your claim. That’s good for them, even if it’s your own insurance company. And I see this all the time of them nickel-and-diming case after case. If you do the math in one of these big insurance companies is doing it on one thousand cases, that’s a lot of money.
These insurance companies are publicly-traded companies. They have to answer to shareholders. So, they’re in it to make a profit. Where they make a profit is by undercutting meritorious claims. If you don’t have experience doing it, how do you know your claim isn’t worth $20,000 when they’re offering you $12,000. So, you need to look into the entire scope of your damages. That being your property damage, your lost earnings, and your pain and suffering. It includes any other lines of damages that go with that.
A Car Accident Lawyer Keeps Your Interest in Mind
The insurance company is not looking out for your best interest. They are looking to nickel-and-dime and cut corners on every claim they handle. I’ve seen it in my clients’ cases against their own insurance company on property damage issues.
I’ve also seen it with uninsured motorist issues, on what’s called Med-Pay. Medical payment coverage on your insurance is very valuable coverage to have. Again it’s not required in the state of California, but often times it’s two, five, or $10,000 in medical payments coverage. This will be no-fault coverage. This means you can tap into that coverage to get your medical treatment on any case. This is regardless if it’s your fault, and regardless if it’s the defendant’s fault.
Your Bills Must Be Covered
The insurance companies have to pay your bills. They have to pay your hospital bills and your physician bills. They should pay your chiropractic bills, your therapy bills. What I see a lot of times on these cases is your own insurance company will drag their feet on paying it. They’ll delay, they’ll say we don’t have to pay this, they’ll drag it out when in reality it’s no-fault coverage. It helps you pay expenses, so you don’t have to come out of your own pocket. Med-Pay is valuable coverage that you should think about having, and when you have it, you should use it.