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A Personal Injury Primer

If someone injured you through their negligence in driving a vehicle, you may have rights under the law. You want to protect those rights so you don’t end up paying for someone else’s careless driving. Read the top 10 reasons why hiring an experienced attorney will help protect your rights.

  1. You have only a limited time to sue: In California, the statute of limitations for filing an accident claim is limited. If you don’t sue within a specific time, you give up your right to sue forever.
  2. You will need to comply with certain rules to sue: An experienced attorney who handles personal injury matters will be familiar with the laws and can help you make sure you don’t do anything that jeopardizes your rights.
  3. Your insurance company may have a different agenda:  Generally insurance companies aim to protect their insured and to compensate fairly for damages. However, insurance companies also aim to keep expenses down. Since your agenda and your insurance companies agenda may not align; hiring an attorney can be the best way to insure you have an advocate on your side.
  4. You may not fully understand all of your potential damages: There are various potential damages available when injured in a car accident. In addition to medical bills, you may be able to recover for lost wages, pain/suffering, emotional distress and possibly for your spouse or family members.
  5. Proving liability can be complex: Even with favorable witnesses and a police report; proving there was negligence and a legal duty of care was breached still may be difficult. There are many elements that go into winning a personal injury lawsuit, you should hire an attorney who understands the law and can support your position with proper case law and citations.
  6. The laws differ from state to state: Auto insurance and auto accident rules are decided by each individual jurisdiction. An experienced attorney in California can explain the nuances of the laws here, so you will understand your rights.
  7. You need to understand settlement options: Most cases settle out of court, which means the defendant or his insurance company is likely to make you an offer. Your attorney can help you understand the implications of accepting the offer; because once you settle, you give up your right to sue forever.
  8. Filing a lawsuit requires adhering to complex rules: If you decide to sue, you will have to file the correct papers in the right court. This is not simple; complex rules exist on everything from the font size of the brief to how legal precedent is cited and what evidence is admissible.
  9. Proving your case is even more complex: Just as filing your case is complex, proving your case is more difficult. You may be permitted to “discover” certain information from the other side through a detailed process and set of rules, and you may be limited in the types of witnesses and evidence you present. There are even restrictions on the kind of questions and phrasing of questions you may ask in court. Furthermore, extensive legal research is often required to prove your case.
  10. If you don’t hire an attorney, you could be faced with financial loss: If you don’t sue in time or if you don’t sue for the right damages or sue the wrong defendants or if you lose your case you will be barred from ever suing again. This means you will have eliminated your only chance for recovery and you may be stuck with all the costs and bills as a result of the accident that someone else carelessly caused.

Please note: the information provided herein is general and not to be relied upon for your circumstance or case.

Written by Morton J. Grabel

For more information or to discuss your case please call the Law Offices of Morton J. Grabel, here in Temecula at (951) 695-7700. Mort is a graduate from an ABA & AALS Law School and has been an active member of the Bar of California for more than 20 years. He is presently the President of the Mt. San Jacinto/Hemet Bar Association.

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