car accident lawyer in Long Beach, CA

Car Accident Lawyer in Long Beach: Why Having the Right One Matters

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 10 minutes

Car Accident Lawyer in Long Beach: Why Having the Right One Matters

If you’ve been injured in a Long Beach car accident, in California, or anywhere else, then you could be entitled to compensation. Given the high incidence of traffic accidents in Long Beach and the complexities, they add to legal cases, consulting a car accident attorney is crucial as they provide specialized legal representation and support for individuals involved in car accidents in Long Beach, guiding them through the complexities of the legal system. Pursuing a legal remedy can be overwhelming, however, and it can be especially confusing for first-time plaintiffs who aren’t sure about how the litigation process works. It’s critical that you consult with an experienced car accident law firm or lawyer to guide you as you move forward with this process.

But how do you choose the right lawyer? Before you can decide on the right lawyer, you have to understand what a lawyer can do for you, why you need them, and how much they cost, among other things.

Let’s take a closer look.

Do I need a lawyer for my car accident in California?

The law does not require that you use an attorney to litigate your car accident dispute.  That being said, the courts highly encourage you to do so, and it is widely considered a poor strategic move to attempt to handle your dispute on your own — even if you were a qualified attorney yourself (this may come as a surprise, but most attorneys hire other attorneys to represent them in their disputes).

Litigation is complex, and there are numerous procedural, substantive legal, and strategic issues that are likely to come up over the course of the litigation process.  At baseline, it’s important to have an advocate who understands these issues at a fundamental level, and who can help you navigate them effectively.

Generally speaking, having an attorney representing you pressures defendants, and especially the insurance companies, to put forth more favorable settlement offers. They understand that by hiring an attorney, you have now better-equipped yourself to navigate the litigation process, engage in effective negotiations with the insurance company, and potentially cause them problems.

It’s also worth noting that the courts not only encourage you to hire an attorney, but they may have a bias against you if you choose to represent yourself.  That’s because courts are overwhelmed with a heavy caseload, and they will not look fondly at someone who is “wasting their valuable time” by choosing to represent themselves and making the entire process much clunkier for all parties involved.

What can a personal injury lawyer do for me?

Lawyers take on a variety of roles.  They’re not just courtroom advocates.  An experienced car accident lawyer in Long Beach can and should handle the following tasks:

  • Identifying, gathering, and preserving evidence
  • Investigating the accident scene with the help of key experts
  • Handling all communication with opposing counsel and third parties, such as insurance companies and insurance adjusters
  • Working with witnesses to develop supportive testimony
  • Developing a comprehensive and persuasive legal argument
  • Negotiating a potential settlement with the defendants and/or insurance carriers
  • Navigating pre-trial court hearings
  • Pushing through to trial litigation if a fair settlement compromise is not possible
  • Securing the compensation payout for their client in personal injury claims, particularly in car accident cases, emphasizing the critical role of auto liability insurance in protecting against such claims
  • And more

These tasks are complicated and highly specialized, and the failure to adequately address each one (in a timely manner) could undermine your overall personal injury lawsuit — for example, if you disclose certain sensitive information to insurance adjusters.  As such, it’s important to work with a qualified personal injury lawyer as early as possible. Additionally, a dedicated lawyer plays a crucial role in advocating for the rights and compensation of accident victims, ensuring they receive the support they need to recover from their injuries.

What factors should I consider when choosing a lawyer?

It’s not always an easy task to figure out how best to select a lawyer.  Here are some factors to consider:

  • Specific experience.  You don’t just want to work with a personal injury attorney with experience — you want them to have specifically litigated cases that are similar to yours so that they more deeply understand the strategic issues and how to overcome them.
  • Client-focused approach.  Many car accident lawyers are focused on handling a high volume of cases, and quickly resolving each case.  This might be efficient, but it’s not necessarily effective if your case has to be “worked up” to show a higher damage potential.  Some attorneys have a client-focused approach and are willing to dive deeper into your case.  These attorneys may be worth working with over others if you feel that there is an opportunity for substantial compensation.
  • Local networks.  Attorneys who have local experience (navigating California law, developing a working relationship with local judges and opposing counsel, etc.) are likely to have an advantage when litigating your case.
  • Proven success.  Attorneys who have won cases like yours are worth working with.  Though they cannot go into identifying details about those cases, they will be able to talk about their proven successes using anonymized language, giving you a sense of what they’re capable of — and what sort of potential they could unlock for your case.
  • In good standing.  Make sure that your attorney is qualified to practice with their Bar association, and is in good standing.  This is important to ensure that your attorney is legally qualified to represent you in your case.  Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, all the attorneys in our network are qualified in this regard.

How much financial compensation am I entitled to?

Compensation in a car accident dispute must account for all the damages you sustained as a consequence of the defendant’s (i.e., the other driver, the City, or some other responsible party) negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior. These damages may include a variety of different losses, such as financial compensation for:

  • Wage loss and lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property loss
  • Medical expenses (i.e., medical bills for your medical care)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • And more

It’s worth noting that the same car accident scenario can result in two entirely different damage claims, depending on the circumstances of the injured party. For example, if you have a pre-existing spinal condition, then you might suffer more significant injuries (and pain) than a healthy person, despite being in the same accident. As such, you’d likely have a larger damages claim.

How much do car accident lawyers in Long Beach charge?

On the plaintiffs’ side, California accident attorneys often work for their injured clients on a contingency basis.  This pay dynamic operates quite differently than the hourly pay rates that defense attorneys typically charge their clients.

How does it work?

Basically, the injury attorney takes a percentage cut of the total compensation, but only if they successfully secure compensation on your behalf.  That means that they don’t get paid unless and until you get paid.  If they don’t secure compensation for you, then you don’t have to pay them anything.

There are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs when working with an injury lawyer on a contingency basis, so it lowers the financial barrier to seeking a legal remedy.  No matter how little money you have on-hand, you can obtain experienced legal assistance and pursue your claims through the litigation process.

One of the benefits of contingency fee arrangements is that they create an incentive for personal injury lawyers to be efficient and to try to maximize the compensation for their injured clients.  After all, the more you get paid, the more they get paid — so it’s a win-win situation!

What percentage do most lawyers take as a contingency fee?

Most plaintiffs’ lawyers who work on contingency offer to do so on a sliding scale.  This can range anywhere from 25 percent at the low end to 40 percent or more at the high end, depending on a number of factors (such as “when” the case was resolved).

For example, if your case had to go all the way through trial, then the contingency fee structure may give your attorney a 40 percent cut.  If the case was resolved early, in the settlement, then your attorney may take only a 30 percent cut.

These fees can be negotiated, so if you’d like to discuss alternative rate structures, make sure to talk to the attorney about these possibilities during your initial consultation.

How long after an accident can you sue in California?

In California, the deadline for filing a “standard” personal injury claim is two years from the date of injury. This deadline period, known as the statute of limitations, is crucial for those seeking compensation for injuries sustained. If you fail to file your personal injury claim within this timeframe, California courts can automatically dismiss your case — your claim will be deemed relinquished under the law, preventing any and all financial recovery through the legal process.

Given the critical importance of the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim, it’s essential that you consult an experienced car accident lawyer in Long Beach as soon as possible after your accident. They will be able to develop your claims and help you pursue those claims promptly, ensuring you meet the legal deadlines.

Attorneys have a legal responsibility to handle your case in a timely manner — thus, once you engage an attorney, you can rest easy and focus on getting your life back on track on the personal front.

It is worth noting: that even if you wait too long, there may be a legal exception to the statute of limitations that applies to your personal injury claim, giving you more time. So don’t assume that you are left without options. Before you resign yourself to a no-lawsuit decision, talk to an attorney at a Long Beach personal injury law firm about whether your claim can be salvaged.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Long Beach (or anywhere else in California) due to someone else’s negligence, then you could be entitled to sue for damages under the law. The attorneys in our legal network handle a wide range of personal injury cases, ensuring that you receive comprehensive legal support regardless of the complexity of your situation.

That being said, navigating the legal process can be confusing and intimidating for first-time plaintiffs who have been in a serious accident. Auto insurance issues, handling hospital bills, the possibility of future medical bills — these all add up to a complex and overwhelming situation. That’s why it’s so important to consult with an experienced Long Beach accident attorney for guidance on how best to move forward with your claims.

Doing so is important early on in your case, even soon after you’ve had the accident. That’s because tasks like obtaining a police report are crucial in building a strong car accident case (as it documents the details of the crash and can be persuasive evidence in proving liability).

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free initial consultation with a qualified personal injury lawyer in our network. During this consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your case details further and get professional advice on next steps (as well as your strategic options). There’s no obligation to continue if you decide against it, so there’s no downside to picking up the phone and getting started!

We look forward to assisting you.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

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