Whether you, a family member, or loved one has been hurt, there is much to be managed, sometimes within just hours of the accident.
n addition to healing from physical or traumatic injuries, injured persons may face ambulance and hospital bills, medical bills, lost wages, transportation issues, child-care issues, and more.
Paying for those bills often means dealing with insurance companies, which can be stressful.
As insurance companies have an interest in settling quickly with as low a number as possible, hiring an attorney is the best way to ensure maximum compensation, especially when conditions can worsen over time and more medical care may be necessary.
“If someone is injured in an auto accident, or through the result of someone’s negligence, they should always contact an attorney,” said Tyrone Maho, founder of local law firm Maho Prentice, LLP. “An attorney, like myself, will be happy to speak with them free of charge to see if retaining an attorney makes sense for them and their case.”
When to call an attorney
After an accident has happened, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney as soon as possible. When it comes to vehicle collisions, because California is an at-fault state, insurance companies will collect information to determine how much fault should be attributed between the drivers, which will determine how much each driver pays for medical bills, repairs, and so on.
Hiring an attorney will help you navigate that confusing process.
“Insurance companies will be calling right away, trying to get recorded statements, propose lowball settlement offers, and can often mislead the injured party as to their own best interest,” Maho said. “A good attorney can also help guide the injured client to consider all the issues that might affect them, including seeing all the right medical specialists, wage loss issues — both past and future — and ensuring proper and maximum compensation for any long-term health effects from a serious and traumatic accident.”
What an attorney does
In a serious accident, an attorney can uncover all the possible ways to pay for expenses connected to medical care, wage losses, post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, and so on.
“We help clients with their injury cases by handling all the paperwork, the insurance issues, the investigation, the claims stage, and sometimes litigation, so our client can just focus on his or her personal medical situation and on getting better,” Maho said.
If the person at fault does not accept responsibility, an attorney can prepare a case, so the other insurance company will be leveraged into a position to settle for a compensation package which is in the best interest of the client. And if the case doesn’t settle, the client’s interest is in making sure the attorney is excellent at trial.
How to choose an attorney
Choosing an attorney who is highly experienced in personal injury law and with whom you feel comfortable with is extremely important, so start by asking for referrals from people you trust.
“Clients usually find us through referrals from local attorneys, former clients, and people who know us in the community,” Maho said. “The practice of law is very focused now, so attorneys in Santa Barbara who do not practice in the area of personal injury will refer us due to our knowledge and experience in this area.”
You can then schedule an initial consultation, where you can share information and ask questions before deciding whether to hire the attorney.
If you have been injured in a vehicle crash, slip or trip and fall, assault, dog bite, or other accident, or a family member was injured or wrongfully killed, the attorneys at Maho Prentice can help. Call 805-962-1930 or visit Maho Prentice, LLP for more information and to schedule a free consultation.