Do I Need a Lawyer if I Didn't Take Photos at the Scene of the Accident?
There are virtually dozens of articles outlining what to do after an auto accident and taking photos or video of the scene is always one of the top pieces of advice. If you are not seriously injured, and have a smartphone, camera or tablet with you, it’s always wise to snap pictures of the vehicles, injuries, property damage and surroundings. But what if – amid the confusion and mayhem – you forgot or were unable to document the accident scene? Do you need to hire a lawyer?
There are many benefits of retaining an experienced personal injury attorney after a car crash, regardless if you got photos of the accident scene or not. Ellis Injury Law has more than 25 years of experience representing truck and car accident victims throughout California and leverage the resources and legal savvy to ensure justice is served. Without photos of the accident scene and resulting injuries, proving liability or fault in a crash can be even more difficult, especially in California which has comparative negligence laws.
If you suffered harm, your vehicle is wrecked, and you want to explore your options for holding the at-fault motorist(s) accountable for your losses, a qualified attorney will protect your rights of recovery. Seeking compensation in a car accident claim entails much more than filing paperwork with insurance companies, especially when liability is unclear or contested. This holds especially true in accidents involving multiple vehicles – a common occurrence in the Los Angeles metro area.
Preservation of evidence after a car accident
While some car accidents have plenty of bystanders or other motorists who can provide credible eyewitness testimony as to what precipitated the crash and who is to blame, there are countless others that do not. If you know you weren’t at fault for the collision, you need hard evidence to prove it, and without photos of the accident scene, your attorney will take immediate measures to gather viable proof that bolsters your allegations and claim for compensation.
Preservation of vital evidence is a top priority after an auto accident, which means you must have a completed police report, medical records, out-of-pocket expense receipts, relevant testimony, and documentation of the scene. Skilled attorneys will have their investigators revisit the accident scene as soon as possible, taking numerous photos (both up-close and distant) from various angles and viewpoints that document road signs, skid marks, potholes, damaged guardrails and other relevant items that can help establish a sequence of events and potential liability.
In addition to capturing photos and video of the accident scene, your attorney will look for other possible sources of evidence, perhaps taken by a nearby surveillance camera or a bystander’s smartphone.
California statute of limitations
California law allows parties to file claims up to two years after suffering a car accident-related personal injury. Once this time period runs out, you no longer have a valid claim for damages. Having an established attorney in your corner will ensure that evidence is preserved, documents are promptly filed, and deadlines are met. With proper legal representation, your chances of achieving maximum compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering are increased substantially compared to going it alone with insurance companies.
Insurance adjustors may attempt to get a written statement or release from you that undermines your credibility or reduces your chances of obtaining fair reparations. Your lawyer will handle all insurance negotiations and prepare a solid case that is supported by evidence, be it written statements, sworn expert testimony or video footage.
Finding an attorney experienced in car accident litigation
If the accident resulted in serious bodily injury and extensive hospital expenses, insurance companies have more to lose and will fight even harder to decrease the value of your claim. In situations such as these, the most suitable advocate is an attorney with a proven track record of winning car accident cases in Los Angeles and the surrounding communities. One who knows the best strategies for negotiating out-of-court settlements that truly reflect the entirety of your losses. Besides expertise in car accident claims, your attorney must be a veteran litigator, with years of experience taking complex cases to trial and winning.
One of our knowledgeable Los Angeles car accident attorneys will outline the merits of your claim and determine if filing a lawsuit is the best course of action.
If you lost or didn’t take photos of the accident scene and need a Los Angeles personal injury lawyers you can rely on, Ellis Injury Law stands ready to fight for your rights. Take advantage of a free, no-obligation consultation in any one of our 20 California office locations.