It’s a big secret that many lawyers don’t want you to know, but YES, you CAN represent yourself in a car accident claim. While there are certain situations where the experience and knowledge of a successful car accident attorney in the San Fernando Valley is a must, a car accident victim can definitely represent him or herself in some car accident claims. Read on to learn when it is a DIY project or when it is time to hire a lawyer.
Handling Your Own Car Accident Claim
If you are considering representing yourself if a car accident claim, you need to be aware that you will likely need to invest several hours of your time learning the “rules of the road” and insurance law. If studying and/or reading is not your cup of tea, then you might want to think twice before representing yourself. However, if you decide to go for it, we recommend that you start this process by reading Information for the Plaintiff (Small Claims) so that you have a thorough understanding of the small claims process.
Next, you will need to file a claim against the driver who injured you or your loved one or damaged your vehicle (or maybe both!). You can find that form here. You will need to file that form with the clerk of court and serve the other side (the defendant). Proper service of process is crucial.
After the other side has been giving notice of your claim against them, you will need to start to gather the evidence you have collected from the accident (more on what to do immediately following an accident can be found here) so that you can bring it to court and present it to the judge. The more compelling your evidence is (proof of damages, etc…) the more likely you are to recover.
When Is It A Better Idea to Hire a Lawyer?
While representing yourself might be your best option, that is not always the case. For example, if you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in the auto accident that are resulting in long-term medical care or attention, or if the insurance companies are refusing to negotiate with you or settle with you at the amount you feel is appropriate, an experienced personal injury lawyer will be beneficial.
To discuss whether hiring an attorney is necessary in your auto accident, contact attorney Barry P. Goldberg for a free consultation.