If you’ve recently been injured in a car accident, you might be thinking about whether hiring a car accident lawyer is worth the time and money. Car accident injury compensation usually comes through a driver’s insurance policy. Because of that, people often think they can just submit an insurance claim on their own. 

It might surprise you, then, to learn that obtaining the car accident injury compensation you need can be far more complicated than simply filing an insurance claim. Fortunately, having a skilled car accident lawyer on your case means you stand a much better chance of recovering the money you’re eligible to receive.

This might leave you wondering, “What does a car accident lawyer do?” Before you talk to an insurance agent, it’s a good idea to understand how a car accident lawyer can help. 

1. They Help You Understand Your Rights And Represents Your Best Interests

From your initial consultation to the end of your case, a car accident lawyer has one overarching job: to guide you through the process of obtaining the compensation you need. Your car accident lawyer is the one individual on your side. Their job is to explain your options, help you understand your rights, and represent your best interests to insurance companies and courts. 

2. Handles Paperwork And Deadlines

A car accident claim involves a lot of formal documentation. Your case requires collecting, organizing, and interpreting large amounts of evidence, like medical papers and accident reports. These must be interpreted to build your case, establish liability, and prove case value. A car accident claim may also involve multiple rounds of insurance paperwork. All of this must be completed fully, correctly, and on time. 

If you end up needing to file a lawsuit, there’s also an extensive number of legal documents that must be prepared and submitted. A car accident lawyer handles all paperwork on your behalf, ensuring that nothing is missing or late. 

3. Protects You From Insurance Tactics

Insurance companies are notorious for using sneaky tactics to deprive injured individuals of compensation for which they are eligible. Anything you say to an insurance agent can be used against you to diminish your compensation or even deny your claim outright. 

A car accident lawyer handles all communication with the insurance company for you. This helps ensure that you don’t unknowingly fall victim to manipulative insurance tactics. 

4. Investigate The Car Accident And Collect Evidence

Car accident companies don’t just hand out injury compensation. It takes extensive evidence to prove that a particular driver’s actions caused the crash and then demonstrate how much compensation you deserve based on your injuries. 

A car accident attorney conducts an investigation on your behalf. Successfully recovering car accident compensation often requires numerous pieces of evidence from a variety of sources. Your lawyer does the work of tracking this evidence down and using it to build a compelling case.

5. Provides Personalized Advice

Every auto accident is a unique event. The situation that led up to it, the insurance policy limits, driver history, and accident injuries are all factors that impact how a case unfolds. 

Throughout the process, your car accident lawyer works to help you understand your options. They offer personalized advice that takes you, your injuries, and your financial situation into account.  

Car accident lawyers understand that you’re probably dealing with considerable stress in the aftermath of a crash. Most car accident lawyers offer free consultations and affordable fee structures. These make it easier for you to afford the legal representation you need. 

6. Helps Those Who Are Injured Get the Compensation They Are Entitled To

Much of a car accident lawyer’s work can be viewed as preparation. They meet with you, understand the accident, and advise you on your options. If you choose to move forward with a lawyer, they conduct an investigation, collect evidence, complete paperwork, and communicate with the insurance company. 

Once all this preparatory work is done, they can finally get to the crux of the matter: fighting to obtain the compensation you need. Successfully recovering car accident compensation requires work in two key areas — proving your case value and establishing liability. Once a lawyer is successful in these areas, they can move forward with negotiating your settlement.

Calculates Damages

Calculating damages is how your car accident lawyer determines how much money you should recover for your car accident injuries. Case value is different for every accident. It’s made up of a variety of categories. Your lawyer uses the evidence they’ve collected to demonstrate the amount you’re eligible for in each category. Added together, these individual areas form the total of your compensation value. 

Your economic damages determine the majority of your car accident compensation. These are expenses and financial losses that can be demonstrated with evidence like bills, receipts, and pay stubs, including the following examples: 

  • Medical bills
  • Ambulance bills
  • Medical device costs
  • Therapist or specialist costs
  • Attendant care costs
  • Lost wages and benefits 

The other common category for car accident damages is known as non-economic damages. These compensate you for the impacts of the accident that don’t have a dollar value. Non-economic compensation examples include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship or consortium
  • Embarrassment and humiliation

Non-economic damages are more common in car accident cases involving serious or permanent injuries. That is because these accidents are more likely to severely impact your long-term quality of life. 

7. Proves Liability

Proving liability is one of the most important tasks your car accident lawyer must achieve. Before you can obtain compensation through the other driver’s insurance policy, you need to prove that they were at fault for the car accident. 

Your lawyer must show that the other driver’s actions amounted to negligence. This establishes liability and allows you to obtain the compensation you need. 

California uses a pure comparative negligence system. This means that even if you were 99% at fault for the crash, you’re still allowed to recover some form of compensation. The greater the percentage of fault your lawyer can ascribe to the other driver, the more compensation you’re eligible to recover. 

8. Negotiates A Fair Settlement

Once all the other work is done, your lawyer can submit your insurance claim and enter into negotiations with the insurance company. Insurance companies fight hard to keep their payouts small, which is why it’s essential to rely on the representation of an experienced legal professional during the negotiation process. 

If all goes well, your lawyer will successfully negotiate a settlement. In turn, you will receive the compensation for the car accident injury you’ve been waiting for. 

9. Takes Your Case To Trial If A Settlement Can’t Be Reached

In some cases, an insurance company tries to deny your claim despite all your lawyer’s work. In others, they agree to settle but refuse to offer an amount that is fair, given the extent of your injuries. In situations like these, a car accident lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit. That entails taking your case to court, where you’ll receive a verdict from a judge or jury.

Deciding to go to trial can be an effective way of recovering the full compensation value you’re eligible for. During the court case, your lawyer can take additional steps to support your case, such as bringing in an expert witness or an accident reconstruction specialist. 

It’s important to know that you have a limited time to file in court. For example, California only allows two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. It can take considerable time for a lawyer to conduct an investigation, build a case, and attempt negotiations. Waiting to contact a lawyer after your car accident puts you at risk of missing the deadline if a lawsuit becomes necessary.

A Car Accident Lawyer Fights for You

A car accident lawyer works on paperwork at his desk. The focus is on the gavel sitting next to him.

You’re not alone after a Sacramento car accident impacts your finances and physical health. A skilled car accident lawyer offers experience and legal knowledge that can make a life-altering difference in obtaining fair car accident injury compensation. 

Don’t make the mistake of filing an insurance claim and hoping for the best. Instead, call a California car accident lawyer and take the time to learn more about what you stand to gain by allowing a professional to handle your claim. 

If you have been injured in a car accident, let the experts at Sette Law help today.


California Code of Civil Procedure, CCP § 1431.2.

California Code of Civil Procedure, CCP § 335.1.

Li v. Yellow Cab Co., 532 P.2d 1226 (1975).