Get The Money &
Medical Help You Deserve
You don't pay unless you win
Bojat law Group, apc?
You need to know
If you or your loved one have been involved in a car accident, it is important to know what steps to take in order to get reimbursed for your property damage and bodily injuries. California is a leading state in the number of registered drivers in the entire country with over 24.5 million reported registered drivers in 2013. So if you are one of these drivers, chances are great that you or your loved one will be involved in some form of a motor vehicle accident.
If involved in a motor vehicle accident in Woodland Hills or California follow these steps:
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident. The telephone number of your insurance provider is located on the front of your insurance card.
- Tell your insurance company that you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and that you would like to open up a new claim.
- Once you get in touch with your insurance company you will need to provide them with all the information that is on your insurance card, such as your name, policy number, duration of your coverage, time and date of the accident, names of all people involved in an accident, your driver’s license number and your license plate number. NOTE: Insurance company will most likely ask you to give a statement regarding the facts and surrounding circumstances of the accident. DO NOT give any statements to your insurance company before your retain your Woodland Hills Accident Lawyer. Leave this part to us, as we know how to properly deal with insurance companies and protect your rights.
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident or suffering any other kind of personal injury is difficult enough by itself. These accidents can lead to serious bodily injuries that can limit our lives physically and mentally for a long time or even permanently. Not to also mention the financial hardship personal injury matters can produce. The last thing the injured party wants to do is wait a few years to get compensated for the injuries which resulted from an accident that they did not cause. So many clients ask, How Long Will My Case Take? The simple answer is – it depends. Usually, it depends on three major things: (1) Liability (2) Policy Limits, and (3) Your Injuries.
- Liability – Sometimes the settlement process in personal injury cases will be delayed because the insurance companies are either disputing liability or only accepting partial liability for the accident. For example, you were involved in a car accident in which you “t-boned” another vehicle. Your were going straight on a green circular light while the other party was making a left turn, also on a green circular light. However, there are witnesses that claim that you were speeding. In this case, the other party’s insurance may dispute liability and say that you were partially at fault for speeding, even though the other party failed to yield a right-of-way to you. Thus, the other party’s insurance company may only accept 50% of fault for the accident and claim that you are responsible for other 50%. This dispute of liability can cause the case settlement to be delayed, but only because your attorney will (hopefully) try to have the other insurance company accept 100% of the liability for the accident. If on the other hand, you accept 50% of fault and want the case to move forward, then the delay will not be caused. But if you want your attorney to try and get you the best result possible, this may take longer time.
- Policy Limits – Dealing with insurance companies whose insured has a higher than usual policy limits can cause the case to be delayed. The reason for this is simple, insurance companies do not want to give you any more money than they can get away with. For example, if you were involved in a rear-end accident with a semi-truck who failed to apply his brakes on time and ended up rear-ending you and causing you serious bodily injuries, you may be entitled to $750,000 or more for your injuries. The reason for a potentially higher reward is because all commercial vehicles are required by California law to have at least a $750,000 insurance policy. Thus, if you suffered injuries as a result of an accident caused by a truck driver, you are potentially entitled to $750,000 or more for your injuries. In this case, the insurance companies are not simply going to write you a $750,000 dollar check. Rather, they will conduct an investigation and determine the proper amount of money you should be compensated for as a result of the accident. This process can take a long time as personal injury lawyers and insurance companies do not always agree on the amount of compensation that should be rewarded for the injuries.
- Your Injuries – Another main reason why some Personal Injury cases take a long time is the nature of your injuries. If you were involved in, for example, a car accident and you suffered serious bodily injuries, your case will most likely not settle before you are done treatment for these injuries. The reason is simple, you want to get compensated for all of your medical treatment as well as pain and suffering caused by the car accident. However, as mentioned above, you as an injured party and a client may most of the time speed up the process of settlement by agreeing to take a lesser amount of compensation for your injuries and not go through the process of obtaining the highest possible settlement or verdict that you are entitled to. But if you want the highest amount of compensation that you are entitled to by law, then you may have to wait a little bit longer.
Getting into a car accident can be a very frightening experience. Car accidents can produce severe injuries and at times cause death. This is why it is extremely important to know what steps to take after being involved in a car accident. Taking these steps will help you preserve your rights and get the most amount of compensation for your personal and property injuries. The list is the following:
- Stop the car and determine what happened – Under California law, every time you are involved in a motor vehicle accident of any kind, you must stop your vehicle and assess the situation. If you fail to do so, you can be later criminally charged with a hit and run charge, which is a felony if it results in injury or death. This law applies even if you are involved in a car accident with small property damage or an accident with a parked car. In those situations, if you cannot locate an owner of the car, you are required to leave a note informing the owner of the accident. Assessing the situation simply means checking for property damage on the vehicle(s) and determining whether you or someone else has been injured.
- Call 9-1-1 – After you have assessed the situation call 9-1-1. If anyone is injured report it to the dispatcher and do not hang up the phone until the dispatcher makes it okay for you to do so. If no one is injured, simply report the traffic collision accident.
- If No One Is Injured – If after assessing the situation you determine that no one is injured, ask the other driver if they are willing to move the cars off the road (this only applies if the cars are in drive-able condition).
- Take Pictures – Almost everyone today has a smart phone. This is one of those times when smart phones come in very handy. Take pictures of your vehicle as well as the other vehicles before and after you move them. Also take pictures of any injuries that you or anyone else have sustained.
- Obtain Information from Other Driver(s) – After being involved in a car accident you need to obtain the following information from all persons involved in the car accident: Names of drivers, addresses of drivers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and passengers’ names, numbers and addresses.
- Obtain Information from Any Witnesses – Look around, many times there are witnesses who saw the accident happen. Take their information so they can later give a statement as to how the accident occurred. Witness statements are very important and can turn the case around for you, allowing you to obtain the compensation you are entitled to.
- Do Not Take Blame for the Accident – Avoid making statements which could be used against you, such as “Sorry that I ran the red light and slammed into you,” as this statement can be used against you and place you at fault for accident.
- Call Your Woodland Hills Accident Attorney – After following the above mentioned steps, the next thing you should do is contact us at (310) 975-7319. We will file the SR-10 for your, open up a claim, make sure you get the proper medical treatment if you suffered an injury and take care of you every step of the way.
When involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are many unpleasant things to deal with aside from the shock caused by the accident itself. If injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is crucial to get proper medical care. But you may ask, who will pay for all of my medical treatment? The answer to that question is threefold, medical treatment can be paid for by you directly (out of pocket), your health insurance, or by the proceeds of your settlement if you were treated on lien basis.
- Out of Pocket – A motor vehicle accident that involved injuries to you or your loved one many times requires medical treatment. If you do not have health insurance, or if you are not receiving medical treatment on lien basis, then another option is to pay for your own medical treatment directly – out of pocket. One of the benefits of paying for your own medical treatment out of pocket is that many medical providers will give you a lower rate then if you were receiving medical treatment on lien basis. In addition, if following the accident you are found not to be at fault for that accident, you will be reimbursed for any expenses you incurred, which includes your out of pocket expenses for medical treatment. On the other, most people do not have adequate funds to pay for their medical treatment out of their own pocket as it is occurring, especially when the medical treatment required is extensive and costly.
- Heath Insurance – If you have a health insurance you may rely on it to pay for your medical expenses incurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident or any personal injury matter. Depending on which type of coverage you have, you will most of the time receive a quick coverage for your injuries. If you are involved in a lawsuit, or even if you are pursuing a claim against the other party’s insurance or your own insurance, you will most likely have to reimburse your health insurance for the coverage it provided to you. So in that case, if you receive a settlement from the other party’s insurance or your own insurance, you will have to pay your insurance back for the provided coverage. In many situations, however, the coverage provided by your insurance can be negotiated and thus you would end up paying less than what the insurance bill is showing, but there are no guarantees.
- Medical Lien – In many personal injury cases, clients are treated on lien basis, which allows the client to obtain the best medical treatment in the quickest manner possible and often for the lowest price. Depending on your health insurance coverage, the approval for particular treatment may take days, weeks and sometimes even months. When involved in a personal injury matter, clients usually do not have time to wait for their health insurance carriers to approve treatment because of the urgency of the medical treatment needed. Moreover, many personal injury clients do not have any health insurance, which makes it difficult if not impossible for them to obtain adequate medical treatment. In both of those scenarios, personal injury attorneys will provide their clients with a list of doctors who work on lien basis and discuss with them the need for a particular doctor based on their injuries. The doctors who provide medical care on lien basis will then place a lien on the settlement of the case and receive compensation after the matter is resolved.
In addition to being a comparative negligence state, California is a pure negligence state, which allows a plaintiff to recover for the amount of damages caused by the defendant even if the percentage of those damages is 50% or less. This was decided in 1975 in a case called Li v. Yellow Cab Co (532 P.2d 1226). In other words, if you were involved in a car accident and placed 80% at fault for the damages and the other party is placed 20% at fault, you will be able to recover 20% of damages caused by the other party. By the same token, the other party will be able to recover contribution for 80% of the damages you have caused, from you directly or your insurance company.
Keep in mind however, insurance companies in California are allowed to increase your premiums if you were involved in an accident and placed at fault for over 50% for the damages caused. However, they are not allowed to increase your premiums if you were placed at fault for 50% of the damages or less.
–It is also important to keep in mind if you use your PTO hours, sick pay or vacation pay to recover from the injuries you suffered, you will be compensated for the use of those hours, and thus PTO hours, sick pay or vacation pay are considered the same as lost wages.
–Now in order to determine who will be responsible for your lost wages, it must first be determined who was at fault for your injuries. As California is a pure-comparative negligence state, you as the plaintiff will be able to recover a percentage of damages (including lost wages) caused by the other party, from the other party directly or from the other party’s insurance. So if the other party is 80% at fault and you are 20% at fault, you will be able to recover 80% of lost wages from the other party. At the same time, the other party will be able to recover 20% from you or your insurance for the lost wages. Obviously, if the other party is 100% at fault for the accident, you will be able to recover 100% of lost wages from the other party directly or the other party’s insurance.
–However, if the other party is not insured, then you will be able to recover for lost wages from your own insurance company if you have Uninsured Motorist coverage. At the same time, if the other party’s insurance coverage is not enough to cover for your damages, then you will be able to use your own insurance company to pay, but only if you have Underinsured Motorist coverage.