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In our article entitled “What is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage?” we explained what underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is, and how it is different than uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. In this article, we discuss exactly how long you have to file an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company from the time of the collision, and explain the recent  legal cases  that can help you recover from your insurance carrier.

First, it is helpful to understand exactly what UIM coverage is, and how it is different than UM coverage. If you haven’t read our articles on these subjects, here is a quick explanation of UIM coverage.

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If you have been in an automobile collision that was not your fault, and you were driving without car insurance at the time of the accident, there is a law in California that will prevent you from getting what would be the full value of your claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance had you been insured at the time of the collision. In this article, we discuss Prop 213, and how it can affect the  injured victim of an automobile collision.

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 213, also known as the Limitations on Recovery to Felons, Uninsured Motorists, and Drunk Drivers Initiative. This law prohibits recovery of anything beyond special damages for victims injured by the negligence of another driver if either (1) the victim was uninsured at the time of the accident; or (2) the victim was subsequently convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.

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During the course of 30+ years practicing personal injury law in Los Angeles, I have been asked by many clients whether it is a good idea to submit to an MRI as a part of their personal injury claim.

In this article, I discuss the pros and cons of having an MRI as part of your treatment plan in pursuing a claim for an injury, and whether it can increase the value of your claim.

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Getting a new car can be a very exciting time in a person’s life. That new-car smell, all the newest technology, bells, and whistles. Looking out into the driveway to see it sitting there, new paint glimmering in the sun. You love your new car, and like a responsible driver, you purchased both comprehensive and collision coverage on your new vehicle. But is that enough to ensure that your new car is protected against the potential perils of the road, especially in busy cities such as Los Angeles?

In this article, we discuss new car replacement coverage, repair provision coverage, and Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) coverage.

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In this article, we explain the California law regarding hit-and-run accidents, and discuss what you are required to do if you are at fault in such an accident.

Over the course of 30-plus years practicing law in Los Angeles, I have seen countless drivers flea from the scene of an accident after seriously injuring my clients, and in more serious collisions, even killing them. The most common reason I hear from these hit-and-run drivers as to why they drove away after the collision is “I was scared.” Scared of what? Well, many times these drivers are intoxicated, and are afraid of getting a DUI. Other times, they are unlicensed or uninsured. And sometimes, they are just afraid of actually seeing the damage they caused. No matter their reasoning at the time of the collision, these drivers all made a decision at that moment that cost them dearly. So let’s review what California requires you to do in the event of an accident causing injury or death to another.

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In this article, we explain the medical nature of what typically happens after an accident, and discuss why it is important to seek and follow up on your treatment after an injury.

When it comes to a bodily injury, whether it be from an automobile collision, slip-and-fall, dog bite, or any other type of accident, it is very important that you seek immediate medical treatment and follow up on all of your doctor appointments. There are two major reasons for this. First, it is important to your physical health that you get the appropriate medical treatment so your injury heals or at least improves. Second, it is important to your personal injury claim that you seek and maintain treatment in order to legitimize your case against the defendant and/or their insurance company.

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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.