What Can a Car Accident Attorney Do for Me?
If you have been injured in a car accident, an Escondido car accident attorney may be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries and get your life back. That said, you must make a phone call the soonest possible as, under California law, you can only sue for injuries from a car accident within six months of that accident. Furthermore, you have three years to file for property damage. Take note also that this time limit applies to lawsuits that are filed after the accident – not after the filing of the actual insurance claim.
Car accidents are no joke. The number of car-related accidents continues to grow each year in Escondido. It pays to be familiar with the local laws and know the right course of action if in case you are caught in such a situation.
Filing a Lawsuit
Who should you file your suit against? It might sound like a simple question, but it can turn tricky. Here is why: While the driver of the other car is the obvious choice, things can be more complicated than that. What if the driver was not working at the time of the accident? Can his or her employer be held liable then? Which and whose insurance company – or companies – should be added? A highly-qualified car accident attorney can help you answer these questions and properly file your suit.
If you fail to file a lawsuit against the right defendant, that party can ask the court to dismiss it entirely. If the court throws your case out, you have to start again from the top. And, depending on how long the court takes to review that request, you may be racing against the statute of limitations constraint. Therefore, filing your suit, on time, against the proper party is crucial. If you fail on that, you lose before you even get started.
Here is the thing about personal injury cases – they can be resolved even before they reach the courtroom. You can do that through negotiations. A highly reputable negotiator may be able to convince the other party and his or her insurance company (insurance companies are almost always involved) to settle for an amount you are comfortable with or getting reasonable compensation. Settlement through negotiations provides you an opportunity to get the compensation you deserve, and an experienced attorney can help you realize that.
Conduct a Jury Trial
While many personal injury cases are resolved without going to trial, yours may end up in a courtroom if you do not receive a settlement off you’re satisfied with. Legal proceedings require a set of skills that not all attorneys possess. Learning techniques on how to select and speak effectively to jurors; knowing when to push a witness and when to back off; having a rock-solid understanding of the law about your case; understanding the rules of evidence and procedure – these are skills that are refined by experience. Indeed, what you need is someone who has been there and done that, and who is not afraid of the courtroom.
Attorneys do not wait in the courtroom for their moment to ask a gotcha question to a surprise witness that leaves all those people present gasping and clutching their pearls. Contrary to what TV and movies may have led you to believe, it takes months of preparation, consultation with experts (and maybe having them testify) and countless hours pouring over the facts of your case, including going through your medical records, the police reports, and the other party’s court filings.
Here’s the drill once in trial: Your attorney and the other party’s attorney will choose a jury. That’s followed by an opening statement by each side. This is when your attorney tells the jury your story without presenting evidence – the time to get them on your side. The attorney tells them what they are going to be hearing during the trial, and reminds them that they will be asked to rule in your favor once they have heard all the evidence.
Then, your attorney will present your case with evidence and witnesses. After that, the defendant can present his or her evidence and witnesses. Once both sides have done that, they will each give a closing argument. Your attorney will sum up your case, remind jurors of the evidence and make a final request that they return a verdict for you.
The jurors will then have time to deliberate and reach a verdict on fault. The judge will ask them to award damages if they find in your favor. The jury foreman will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict. They will return to the courtroom where the judge will read the verdict, and the compensation for damages (if there is any).
How Should I Choose An Escondido Car Accident Attorney?
How do you know which attorney is right for you? Look at their experience. How many similar cases have they handled? How many cases ruled in their favor? Do they know how to take a case from filing a claim to a jury trial, if necessary? Read what their former clients are saying; read reviews or feedback for both the attorney and the firm. This information is pretty easy to find with the abundance of information on the internet.
And, to emphasize the point, you should look for someone who specializes in personal injury and specifically car accident law. Just as you would not go to a heart surgeon for a brain tumor operation, you want to pick an attorney who knows the law in relation to your case and who has experience practicing in that field.
Look at the team they have put together. It takes more than a great attorney to handle complex personal injury cases. It requires investigators, expert witnesses (in many cases), paralegals, legal assistants, and others who will work on your case to handle the various tasks associated with it.