What steps should I take on my own to receive a settlement for a car accident?

I was in a auto accident and I was 100% not at fault; I was a passenger on a commercial vehicle with other people. I am injured now due to this accident. I really don’t want to hire a lawyer because the ones I have spoken with already lied to me a few times and I feel as if they are seriously money driven with little or no regard to me. What should I do? What are the steps of doing this on my own? Am I better off going with a personal injury lawyer? In Sacramento County, CA.

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

They key issue in deciding what to do is to evalute what your case might be worth. You can potentially collect medical costs (current and projected future); lost wages or diminished earning capacity (current and projected future); and pain and suffering, for long lasting or significant impairment, inability to do the normal things of life, scarring, or pain which impacts quality of life. If you have a significant injury, pain and suffering might be from 1 - 3 times the cost of the medical treament (VERY rough rule of thumb).

If the total of the above is more than, say, $2,000, you are better off going to a personal injury attorney. Yes, they may be money driven, but if they work on contingency (i.e. they get a piece of the recovery), to make more money, they have to make *you* more money. For a potential recovery less than $2k, it's not likely an attorney would be interested anyway...in that case, contact the company, explain your injuries, cost, the accident, etc., and request compensation. If they don't offer you something you find acceptable, then consider whether you are willing to file a lawsuit yourself.

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