Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident Settlement?

A woman calling a lawyer on her phone after an accident with another vehicle.

Imagine going about your day to complete some errands, where out of nowhere, another driver crashes into you, causing injuries that take weeks, if not months, to recover from.

Then, to make matters even more difficult, when you file a claim with evidence to an insurer, they are willing to pay significantly less than what was requested, and it is not enough to cover your losses.

Car accidents can happen to anyone and anywhere. And the circumstances are never really easy or simple.

While there is no law requiring you to be legally represented in a car accident case, it is usually in the victim’s best interest to work with a qualified lawyer, even if the case will not head to trial.

Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law have years of combined experience helping clients with their car accident claims to insurance companies. Give us a call today to learn more about our process and how we can help with your case.

All of our consultations are free, confidential, and with no obligation to work with us further. Schedule your free case review when you call (559) 878-4958 or complete our form online today.

How to Sue an Insurance Company Without a Lawyer?

It is legal to file a lawsuit against another party without legal representation. In fact, many people choose to negotiate compensation without the help of lawyers when the damage to their property and sustained injuries are minor.

The United States District Court provides online instructions on how a plaintiff can represent themselves, so long as they comply with the court’s requirements to file an official complaint. These plaintiffs are referred to as Pro Se.

To begin their claim, they must take the following steps:

  1. Drafting a complaint, petition, or motion.
  2. Filing a complaint, petition, or motion with the court system and paying any applicable fees.
  3. Keeping an address and notifying of any changes immediately to the court system.

Pro Se representatives are responsible for gathering the needed information and evidence to support their case. This includes making time, having the energy, and the ability to negotiate and gather evidence if they wish to be successful in their car accident claim.

Filing a Complain, Petition, or Motion

Plaintiffs will begin by drafting their complaint, petition, or motion. This document must meet all requirements, including any formatting requirements.

Any documents must abide by the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. Any filed complaints must be in English and on a standard 8 ½ by 11-inch paper.

The document must include the following:

  • A caption with the court’s name.
  • “Complaint” written as the title within the caption.
  • Statement of jurisdiction.
  • A list of all claims in numbered paragraphs.
  • The compensation or “relief” sought.
  • The words “Jury Trial Demanded” if the type of case requires a jury present.
  • Plaintiff’s signature and contact information, including email, phone number, and physical address.

Filing a Complaint, Petition, or Motion With the Court System

Plaintiffs representing themselves must submit their drafted complaint in person or via mail to the Pro Se Intake Unit. No complaints will move forward if there are any unpaid dues.

Pro Se Plaintiffs in California can find forms online to prepare their claim on the United States District Court’s Website.

Pro Se representatives are responsible for gathering the needed information and evidence to support their case. This includes making time, having the energy, and the ability to negotiate and gather evidence if they wish to be successful in their car accident claim. 

Notifying the Court System of Changes to Contact Information

It is the policy that all litigants, including those representing themselves, keep contact details updated with the court system. In attempts to make sure that all documents are going to the right place, any changes to contact information must be made in writing.

Why Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Is the Better Option

Car accidents often lead to serious injuries, including those that require more care than initially thought. Some injuries will present themselves weeks after a car accident and will significantly affect someone’s quality of life.

Worst of all, the other party’s insurer will do whatever it takes to minimize their responsibility to pay, attempting to convince the claimant to settle for less.  

In the United States, no law forces plaintiffs to have legal representation. However, that does not mean that it is not recommended.

Car accidents not only lead to physical property damage but also can have a high chance of serious injuries, even fatalities. Escalating medical bills, lost wages, and the need for future care can all compound, all while deadlines for filing correctly linger.

These circumstances can make it very difficult to handle a car accident settlement alone. Handling pain, doctor’s appointments, and acclimating to changes in the normal routine takes time and effort.

An attorney is not just someone who will handle your case; they have experience handling insurance companies and going through the courts, and they are willing to use their knowledge to fight for you.

Plus, insurers are notorious for doing whatever is possible to limit their exposure to liability. Cases handled by experienced attorneys tend to be awarded more compensation than those that are not.

A victim without expert legal representation may consent to receive calls on a recorded line from the other party’s insurer, who will ask leading questions in hopes that they will say the wrong thing and admit to fault.

The insurer will also say things in a way that will make it sound like the negligent driver is not at fault, removing their liability simultaneously. 

When working with an attorney, victims are able to make the attorney their main point of contact. Instead of the victim receiving calls, they will be able to direct insurers to talk to their attorney as their representative.

These redirections reduce the stress and effort the injured party has to put into their claim while also preventing situations that could hurt their ability to claim compensation.

What if I Received a Denial After Reporting a Claim to an Insurance Company?

Not everyone is willing to or wants to, have their case end up at trial. Often, the injured choose to reach out to the opposite party’s insurer to file a claim instead of speaking to an attorney first, presuming that getting an attorney automatically means a suit needs to be filed. 

In filing a claim, the injured will provide all documentation showing the other party’s negligence, including photos and police reports. They will also provide any medical bills and expenses they wish to include in their claim.

Depending on their insurer, you may file a claim online through their website or call directly. Insurance companies must then review and respond to the compensation amount claimed for any property damage and injuries.

The injured often fail to document all relevant expenses, including future damages they are likely to suffer, such as medical care. They may take statements made by the insurer at face value, such as denials of specific medical costs because of a lack of coverage.

Not knowing the true value of their case or what the policy in question truly covers, many injured claimants are willing to settle for far less than their case is worth.

Many of these challenges can be avoided when working with an attorney from the onset of the claim or the first signs that an insurer is trying to avoid the actual costs of the claim.

An attorney understands what is needed to create a strong claim, preserve evidence, and negotiate aggressively, using an accurate interpretation of the policy language in question.

If you find yourself facing a claim denial or a severely “lowballed” settlement offer, it is not too late to seek legal representation. Remember that insurance companies hire experts to alleviate them from paying damages. You should have an expert representing you, too. 

A Car Accident Lawyer Understands California Law

Car accidents fall under the category of Personal Injury, and claims are bound by the Statute of Limitations. 

In California, the injured have two years to file a claim after an event. When they are working with a legal team who has their back, they will be able to meet all deadlines. 

An injured party’s Fresno car accident lawyer will provide the following services:

  • Provide legal representation and resources
  • Provide legal guidance and strategy
  • Calculate medical costs due to injuries related to the event of the accident
  • Calculate future medical costs and treatments because of injuries acquired during the accident
  • Calculate loss of wages because of time taken off work due to pain or medical needs
  • Assess fair compensation for pain and suffering, involving both physical and emotional suffering
  • Determining if it’s appropriate to seek punitive damages, where there is extreme negligence and reckless behavior
  • Administering the case from start to finish, preventing common reasons for delays or dismissal

Ready to See How a California Car Accident Lawyer Can Help?

Navigating the insurance claims and/or court system can be intimidating and difficult to understand, particularly when dealing with technical aspects that are not common knowledge.

While no law states that plaintiffs must file through legal representation, there are often so many other factors happening simultaneously that it helps to move responsibilities to someone whose profession means that they know how to perform them as a matter of course.

Further, your attorney is someone who knows what tactics increase the chances of successful damages recovery, including how to hold insurers accountable to the letter of their own policies.

There is never a bad time to seek legal representation when involved in a car accident insurance claim.

We handle car accident cases daily and have proven results. We know how to analyze accident details, review evidence, and build strong legal cases to assert our clients’ right to compensation.

Our preparedness has helped many car accident victims get the settlement or court award they need to fully cover their losses.

Were you hurt in a car accident? Looking to settle but don’t want to do it alone?

Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law are here to help you. Give us a call today for a confidential case review with no obligation.

Call us at (559) 878-4958 or through our online form to schedule a time that works best for you. At the end of the day, car accidents are complicated and can quickly dampen someone’s day, but we are here for you every step of the way.