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Automobile accidents are all too common yet are incredibly disruptive for everyone involved. Not only have you or a loved one been injured, but now you have to deal with the stress, anxiety, and confusion that comes with submitting claims, arranging medical treatment, missing work, and losing income. Attorneys with the Matian Firm will fight for you to make sure you get the treatment you need and the compensation you deserve.
Our lawyers have a reputation for comprehensive representation, aggressive settlement negotiations, and successful litigation strategies. We are passionate about ensuring that our clients receive immediate treatment for their injuries, resolve property damage claims to get their vehicle repaired or replaced as soon as possible, and recover the maximum compensation from the at-fault driver – often without filing a formal lawsuit. Contact us today or submit a request for a free consultation today if you were involved in any of the following:
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Rideshare Accidents (Lyft, Uber, etc.)
- Car Accidents Resulting in Catastrophic Injuries
- Car Accidents Resulting in Wrongful Death
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Distracted Driving Accidents
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Third-party insurance, often called “liability coverage,” usually refers to automobile insurance coverage that satisfies the bare minimum requirement for legal car insurance in California. If you have only liability or third-party coverage, this means your insurance will cover insurance claims made by others – also known as third parties – if you are found responsible for an automobile accident. However, this kind of insurance will generally not cover claims made by you, even if you were not at fault. This is why it is important to get what is often called comprehensive coverage – including uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage – so that you will be covered if the following occurs: (1) you are not at fault but the other driver does not have adequate insurance to pay for repairs or medical bills; (2) you are not at fault but the other driver’s insurance disputes liability, delaying settlement; or (3) you are found to be at fault for the accident but need to repair your vehicle and/or pay for medical care. If you have any doubts about your insurance coverage while dealing with an accident, it is best to consult a knowledgeable attorney right away so you know how to proceed.
Insurance companies will usually do two things to investigate accident claims: (1) review evidence and (2) inspect the vehicles involved. The written evidence is usually witness statements, medical reports, bills for treatment, and police reports if the accident was investigated by law enforcement. Vehicle inspections usually happen 1-2 weeks after an insurance claim is made, so it is important that the vehicle be kept in a safe, secure location until the inspection occurs. Insurance companies will often want to do a recorded statement, but that can come with risks – such as misstating something or the insurance investigator (who are motivated to avoid insurance payouts) misinterpreting what you say. Sometimes, it is best for an attorney to negotiate a written statement to avoid these issues. If you or a loved one has been in an accident and is unsure how to deal with an insurance investigator, it is best to let an experienced attorney step in to protect your rights and make sure your claim is handled successfully.
Even if you have good insurance and did nothing wrong, accident investigations can be riddled with pitfalls and potential traps. Whether it is an unscrupulous driver trying to avoid liability or an insurance company looking for an excuse to avoid coverage, it is always best to contact an experienced attorney right way so any dispute is resolved quickly and with the best outcome. Our attorneys can make sure your claim is handled properly from the outset, including connecting you or a loved one with medical care so you can get back on your feet as soon as possible.
Some states have “no-fault” laws that allow a person injured in an accident to deal exclusively with their own insurance unless the accident and resulting injuries are serious enough to warrant litigation. However, California is a “fault” state, which means that claims must be made against the at-fault party (or their insurance) in the event of any accident – regardless of how serious your injuries may be. Often, insurance companies may avoid assisting you with a claim or getting treatment, especially if you have “liability” or “third-party” insurance that only covers liability if you caused the accident. That is why it is so important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights.
Rental Car That Is Not In Your Name Car insurance is required in California, including for rental cars. Most people who rent a car will either pay for insurance directly from the rental agency or use their own automobile insurance. However, both the terms of the rental agreement and the insurance coverage may be limited to specific drivers such as the person renting the car and their spouse. If you were involved in an accident while driving a rental car, the first step is to determine what insurance, if any, covers the accident. Did you have permission from the rental company or the person who rented the car to use the vehicle? Do you have your own automobile insurance? These are just some of the important questions that will determine how coverage and liability will be decided after the accident. As with any accident, it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away to understand your rights.
Liability insurance – sometimes called “third-party” insurance or “barely legal” insurance – is the minimum automobile insurance required under the law in California. If you have only liability coverage, this means your insurance will cover insurance claims made by others – also known as third parties – if you are found responsible for an automobile accident. However, this kind of insurance will generally not cover claims made by you, even if you were not at fault. This is why it is important to get what is often called comprehensive coverage – including uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage – so that you will be covered if the following occurs: (1) you are not at fault but the other driver does not have adequate insurance to pay for repairs or medical bills; (2) you are not at fault but the other driver’s insurance disputes liability, delaying settlement; or (3) you are found to be at fault for the accident but need to repair your vehicle and/or pay for medical care. If you have any doubts about your insurance coverage while dealing with an accident, it is best to consult a knowledgeable attorney right away so you know how to proceed.
There are different kinds of damages that exist for automobile accident claims. Most damages fall into two main categories: (1) Special Damages and (2) General Damages. Special damages include any specific costs incurred as a result of the injury, such as bills for medical care and prescription medication, as well as costs in repairing your property (usually your vehicle). Special damages may also include future costs that are reasonably anticipated, such as additional medical treatment. Special damages can also include lost wages from work that was missed due to your injury or other out-of-pocket costs. When calculating special damages, most insurance companies will not only look at the costs incurred from medical treatment and damage to property but will also compare those costs to determine if they are in the same range as what others charge for similar services. Alternatively, general damages cover damages for “pain and suffering” or psychological trauma that results from the injury; these damages are real and are allowed under the law, even if they don’t have an obvious dollar amount. General damages are notoriously difficult to calculate, but most insurance companies (and other attorneys) will compare with the general damages that have been awarded in similar cases as a comparison. In order to make sure that you are seeking the appropriate damages and are not limiting compensation available from an automobile accident, it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away.
In every state in America, the law requires that you have automobile insurance if you own and operate a vehicle on public roadways. California is no exception. California Vehicle Code § 16020 et seq. requires that any owner/operator of a vehicle have the bare minimum of insurance – usually called “liability” coverage – and keep proof of the same in the vehicle at all times. Liability insurance must provide at least the following basic coverage: (1) at least $15,000 in coverage for personal injury to another person; (2) at least $30,000 in total coverage for an accident involving two or more injured parties; and (3) at least $5,000 in coverage for property damage (California Insurance Code § 11580.1; California Vehicle Code § 16056(a)). These minimum requirements are based on the public policy that – in general – all drivers benefit from being insured. This protects the at-fault driver from declaring bankruptcy or otherwise losing their entire savings due to an accident. It also protects safe drivers who are injured by a negligent driver without assets, insuring there will be some insurance coverage to compensate for their injuries.
Filing a lawsuit is a big step that carries with it many consequences. While the statute of limitations in California for such lawsuits is generally two years, experienced attorneys should get to work on your case right away by giving written notice of your accident claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance. Most auto accident claims are resolved through negotiation with insurance providers before resorting to expensive and time-consuming lawsuits. If you have questions about the timing of a lawsuit and how to protect your rights, please contact one of our experienced attorneys today to discuss your options.
Police officers are sometimes called to the scene of an accident only to discover that the parties have left or that there is not enough information to make a full police report. This unfortunately will make it harder for the innocent driver to create a paper trail that shows exactly what happened and who is at fault. For this reason, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away if you have been injured in a car accident. They will assist you in preserving evidence (including pictures of your damaged vehicle and taking witness statements) as well as getting appropriate medical treatment right away. If you were recently injured in a car accident, contact one of our experienced attorneys immediately for a free consultation and to discuss your options.