Consulting an Attorney Early Can Maximize Your Ability to Secure Damages

If you've been looking online for assistance on litigating injury claims, chances are that you've come across recommendations that you seek the guidance of a qualified attorney "as soon as possible." This sort of language can come across as somewhat inauthentic, or even give the impression of a salesman-type mentality - the simple truth, however, is that it is actually good advice!

Consulting an attorney early on in the litigation process is important, and for a number of different reasons. Why? Well, let's clarify by exploring some convincing arguments in favor of doing so.

Statute of Limitations Concerns

Civil injury claims do not last forever - they are affected by the applicable statute of limitations for such claims. In California (and all other jurisdictions), the statute of limitations is essentially a deadline by which you must bring an action for damages, or potentially lose your right to recover in a court of law.

For example, if you have a car accident claim, then the applicable statute of limitations deadline in California is two years from the date of injury. Waiting to file your claim after the deadline will result in automatic dismissal.

Statute of limitations deadlines can be unforgiving. As such, it's absolutely critical that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after you have suffered an injury - your attorney will work quickly to ensure that your claims are thoroughly evaluated and filed before the deadline passes.

Of course, if you have waited too long, there are certain limited circumstances under which you may be able to extend the deadline and thus "save" your claim. For example, application of the California discovery rule allows for the limitations period to be suspended until the date that you reasonably discover that you have been injured (or should have discovered the injury). This is quite important in cases where you have sustained micro-injuries that later develop into severe conditions.

Early and Aggressive Negotiation Can Lead to a Favorable Settlement

Once you have retained an attorney, he or she will begin the evidence-gathering process and will engage with opposing counsel as soon as it is strategically beneficial to do so. Generally speaking, your attorney will make a settlement demand early on that involves your ideal expectation for recovery. Depending on the strength of your claim, these early demands could lead to a more extensive negotiation and eventual, favorable settlement.

Early settlement is usually favored over drawn-out litigation, as litigation can be emotionally demanding, time-consuming, and uncertain. For example, if you have a 50 percent chance of success at trial, then you may prefer to avoid "gambling" and secure a favorable, negotiated settlement that suffices as adequate compensation.

When negotiating a settlement, it's important to note that the stronger your claim (and the evidence in support of your claim for damages), the more favorable the settlement, as the defendant cannot rely on "winning" at trial. In some cases, in fact, the defendant's liability may already be certain (they may even admit liability), but the uncertainty may hover around the question of damages. The sooner you retain an attorney, the more time they will have to gather the necessary evidence in support of your claim.

Miscellaneous Evidentiary Concerns

Injury litigation can be complicated, and plaintiffs may not be fully aware of the various ways in which their claim can be undermined. California implements the doctrine of comparative negligence, for example, which reduces the total damages recoverable by the contributed fault of the plaintiff. If you are deemed 30 percent at-fault for your own injuries, then your total damages would be reduced by 30 percent.

This - and other legal mechanisms - means that the defendant is always on the lookout for ways in which to shift fault to you (the plaintiff). With the aid of an experienced San Jose personal injury attorney, however, you will be guided by a professional who can help you avoid making statements that will undermine your claims. Further, your attorney will be able to identify possible issues with your social media that could undermine your claims. Your attorney will comprehensively assist you with tailoring your statements and conduct to avoid any conflicts as litigation proceeds.

Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation With an Experienced San Jose Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent or otherwise wrongful actions of another person (or entity), then California law may give you the right to sue and recover significant damages as compensation. There are a number of factors that can and will influence your chance of success when litigating a claim - among them is the factor of timeliness. When attempting to litigate a claim and secure maximum damages, it's therefore critical that you seek the assistance of a qualified attorney as soon as possible, to ensure that your legal interests are maintained and advocated in a timely manner.

Here at the Law Offices of Brian O'Grady, our attorneys have served injury victims throughout the Bay Area for decades, assisting them with every phase of the litigation process, from evidence gathering, to alternative dispute resolution, to settlement negotiations and eventual trial litigation. Given our decades of experience in handling injury claims, we are well-versed in the difficulties typical of such litigation, and the arguments likely to be presented by the opposing side.

We encourage you to get in touch to learn more about your claim(s) and how best to proceed with litigation. Call (650) 318-6131 to connect to an experienced San Jose personal injury attorney here at the Law Offices of Brian O'Grady today. We look forward to speaking with you further.

Consultation is free and confidential.