Articles Posted in Car Accidents

In this article we explain how payment of your medical bills typically works in a personal injury claim, and discuss the concept of reimbursable med-pay.

How does med pay work in a personal injury claim?

So you were injured in an automobile accident that was not your fault. You suffered injuries to your neck and back, and some cuts and abrasions as well. You were taken by ambulance to the hospital from the scene of the accident, and continued with medical care and physical therapy as prescribed by your doctors. You hired an experienced attorney right away, who helped you find the right medical care and represented your interests, negotiating with the insurance companies and making sure that you received the compensation you deserve. During the course of your claim, some of your medical bills may have been paid by the med-pay portion of your auto insurance policy, your private health insurance, Medicare, or Medi-Cal.

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SOCIAL MEDIA AND PERSONAL INJURY CASES

If you have been injured as the result of another’s negligence and are pursuing a personal injury claim, you have probably been made aware that the defendant’s insurance company will do everything they can to disprove your injuries and your claim. One of the most common ways that defendants and their insurance companies are doing this nowadays is by simply looking to social media sites. Many plaintiffs do not realize that the pictures, posts, and check-ins that they put on social media websites can give the insurance companies and their lawyers enough ammunition to disprove or significantly reduce compensation for your injuries.

WHAT INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE LOOKING FOR

When insurance companies are defending against your claim, they are essentially looking for any evidence that suggests your injuries are not real or that they are much less severe than you are claiming. If the insurance company is able to prove this, they will be able to get away with denying your claim or offering a settlement for much less than you are seeking or deserve. Insurance companies have investigators who are well-trained and efficient when it comes to gaining access to information posted on social media. They will go through your social media accounts and look for incriminating evidence that can be used to prove that your injuries are not as serious as you claim they are. This is all legal, and these posts and pictures are admissible as evidence because courts have held that there is no “reasonable expectation of privacy” on social media, regardless of the personal privacy settings on your account. In fact, courts have even ordered plaintiffs to hand over their social media username and passwords to defense counsel!

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This article explains the California laws that govern rear-end collisions, and discusses fault in these types of accidents.

One of the most common situations that occurs in the area of auto accident law is the rear-end collision. This is especially true in busy cities such as Los Angeles, where there is a lot of slow-moving, stop-and-go traffic. The question is, in the event you are rear-ended by another driver, is it always the other driver’s fault?

In order to answer this question, let’s first take a look at the California laws that govern such collisions. It is important to understand that the law does not “codify” (set forth in writing) fault. Rather, fault is determined by the circumstances surrounding a collision, and typically put into a Traffic Incident Report by the responding police officers. Who the officer will determine is at fault, however, is largely based on violation of the following two laws:

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In this article we discuss California’s “Collateral Source” Rule, and how the 2011 case of Howell v. Hamilton Meats and Provisions, Inc. affects this rule in regard to personal injury settlements.

The collateral source rule essentially prohibits the admission of evidence that the plaintiff or victim has received compensation from some source other than the damages sought against the defendant. In other words, under this rule, whether a plaintiff can recover damages from a source other than those sought against the defendant is irrelevant.

However, in the 2011 opinion issued by the California Supreme Court in Howell v. Hamilton Meats and Provisions, Inc., the rule was changed in that an injured plaintiff whose medical expenses are paid through private insurance may recover as economic damages no more than the amounts paid by the plaintiff or his or her insurer for the medical services received or still owing at the time of trial.

This article deals with California’s Left Turn/Failure to Yield law, and explains what typically happens in the event you are involved in a collision in Los Angeles where another driver makes a left turn in front of you.

California Vehicle Code Section 21801(a)

California’s Left Turn/Failure to Yield law, otherwise known as California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21801(a), states the following:

“The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left or complete a u-turn upon a highway or turn left into public or private property or alley shall yield the right of way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement and shall continue to yield the right of way to the approaching vehicles until the left or u-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”

So, basically the collision occurs when you are driving straight through a green or yellow light, and the driver coming from the opposite direction decides to make a left turn, or a U-turn, in front of you. Looking at the law as written above, the driver making the left-turn or U-turn in front of you would always be at fault and their insurance company should always accept 100% liability, right? Not so fast. The driver who made that turn in front of you may have defenses available to them.

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Being involved in a car accident can be a very scary thing. Often, the parties are shaken up, scared, and emotions can run high. When overwhelmed by the fear, shock, and physical injuries often associated with an automobile collision, it can be very confusing to know which steps to take in order to get through the process in the best possible way.

In the event that you are involved in a collision, it will help you to know the steps to take. By following these simple steps, you will help ensure your safety and your ability to collect compensation for the damages that you suffer as the result of the collision. Continue reading ›

When you have decided on an  experienced personal injury attorney to represent you, how do you know when to finally settle your case or go to court? There are several factors to take into account in making your decision to settle or go into litigation, i.e. go to court.

The first issue to consider is what you will gain now, versus waiting some 2 years to get your day in court.  What you gain now depends on the limits of the insurance policy of the person who caused you injury.  Most drivers in California carry the minimum insurance coverage.  This usually means they have policy limits of $15,000/$30,000 covering them in the event of an auto accident.  This means one person can only receive the maximum of $15,000.  All the occupants in the vehicle, regardless of how many, can only collect a total of $30,000 between them. Continue reading ›

Although it is a requirement to have insurance to drive in California, many motorists are uninsured. There are also thousands of injuries caused by hit-and-run drivers each year.  So what do you do if an uninsured or hit-and-run driver injures you?

In some cases involving motor vehicle collisions it may be necessary to bring a claim against your own auto insurance company. This typically occurs when the at-fault driver is either uninsured or underinsured. There is, however, a difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

There are two (2) basic requirements that you should know about in the event that you are injured by an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver and are seeking to file a claim against your own insurance company:

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In our article entitled “What do I need to know if an uninsured driver injures me or if I am the victim of a hit-and-run collision?” we explained what uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is, and how it applies in a hit-and-run collision or when the driver that caused the collision does not have auto insurance. In this article, we explain the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

 

Whereas the uninsured motorist coverage portion of your auto insurance policy is used when the driver who caused the accident did not have insurance (or fled the scene of the accident before they could be identified), underinsured motorist coverage is used when the driver that caused the collision does have insurance, but the amount of coverage available under their auto liability policy is less than the amount of the losses that you have suffered as a result of the collision.

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Damage PhotoIn this article, we discuss property damage that is the result of an automobile collision, and answer some of the most common questions people have relating to their vehicle’s repair.

1. Do I need an attorney?

The answer depends on whether there are injuries involved. Generally speaking however, if there are only issues of damage to your car as a result of the collision, you do not need an attorney. Furthermore, an attorney will probably not take the case if the only damages are those to property.

2. What about insurance?

One of the reasons we pay for insurance is so we do not have to come out of pocket when accidents happen. In the event of an accident you will want to use either your insurance or the other party’s insurance. Your policy likely has a deductible. This may vary from $500 to $5,000. Typically the lower the deductible, the cheaper the premium for the policy. In the event you decide to use your insurance, you will be responsible for your deductible. Any check you receive for the repair will be less your deductible. If you choose to use your insurance and pay the deductible, your insurance company will bring a claim against the third party’s insurance or directly against the third party if they did not have insurance. This is called “subrogation”. Once the two parties settle, you will receive back the deductible amount that you paid up front.

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