Do I Need an Attorney to File an Auto Accident Claim in California?

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Many auto accident victims in California wonder whether they need to work with an attorney to recover compensation. While California does not require victims to work with a lawyer, doing so often results in a more favorable outcome.

No one expects to find themselves in an auto accident. We take to the roads every day, rarely thinking that we’ll suffer an injury that can derail our life. However, even the most cautious drivers may be struck by another vehicle. As you focus on your physical recovery, financial woes, and other costs associated with your injuries, you may wonder about your options for obtaining compensation. Can you go through the auto accident claims process on your own, or do you need an attorney to guide you? Here’s what you need to know about the auto accident claims process in Riverside County.

Essential Steps to Take Following an Auto Accident

The strength of your auto accident claim relies on several factors, many of which stem from the actions you took immediately after the accident. First, you should assess yourself and others at the scene for any injuries requiring medical attention. Call an ambulance if necessary. Exchange information with the other driver and gather the contact information of any witnesses who may offer insight into the series of events leading up to the accident. You should also call the police so a responding officer can compile an accident report. Take photographs of the scene if you can. Essentially, the more thorough you are in documenting the scene, the more information you will have when you move forward with your auto accident claim.

Notifying the Auto Insurance Company

You’ll need to notify your auto insurance company about the accident as soon as possible, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. As a comparative negligence state, California allows individuals to recover compensation even if they were partially responsible for the accident. When you file a claim with your auto insurance company, an insurance adjuster will contact you within 15 days and investigate the circumstances of the accident. It’s important to remember that auto insurance companies have a bottom line to protect, so insurance adjusters will attempt to offer you as little compensation as possible.

Why Working With a Temecula Attorney is Beneficial

While some auto accident claims are pretty straightforward, auto accident victims who enlist the guidance of a trusted auto accident lawyer tend to recover more equitable settlements. When insurance companies make an initial settlement offer, they will try to pay as little as possible in the hopes that you’ll accept the offer out of desperation and a desire to conclude the whole process. However, an attorney can step in to negotiate the settlement offer and push for a more equitable amount of compensation. While California does not require you to work with an attorney to recover auto accident compensation, doing so often results in a more favorable outcome.


If you need help pursuing compensation following an auto accident in Temecula or Murrieta, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, today at (951) 489-3320 to speak with a knowledgeable auto accident lawyer.

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