| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Arbitration

When a person is injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, the injured party may make a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance for their damages. What often occurs, however, is that the negligent driver’s insurance policy limit is insufficient to cover the damages, or the negligent driver has no insurance at all. In this instance, the injured party may be able to make a claim to their own insurer to cover all or the remaining damages. The feasibility of this depends on individual policies and will not be triggered unless the negligent driver’s insurance policy limits have been collected.   THE ROLE OF ARBITRATION   Regardless of whether the claim is due to an uninsured or underinsured motorist, when the insured injured party and their insurance company are unable to agree on the amount of the claim, California Vehicle Code §11580.2(f) requires that it must be set for arbitration.  This is considered to be a condition precedent to the payment of policy benefits, therefore unless there are unusual circumstances, arbitration must occur before the insured-injured party brings suit against the insurer.   Arbitration is required before an injured party can file suit against their own insurance whether it be due to the insurance company’s unwillingness to pay or bad faith offers and negotiations. California law requires that insurance companies act in good faith to come to an agreement with the insured party before the parties go to arbitration. However, if an insurance company fails to act in good faith, following arbitration the injured-insured party can file suit. POTENTIAL BAD FAITH CLAIMS   The outcome of arbitration often makes it clear whether or not there is a potential bad faith case against the insurance company. When the outcome of arbitration is an award significantly greater than the offers from the insurance company before arbitration, this is very strong evidence that the insurance company made the offer in bad faith. On the other side, however, when the arbitration award is either the same or similar to the amount initially offered by the insurer during pre-arbitration, it makes it significantly more difficult to have a viable bad faith case against the insurance company.   When the bad faith actions of the insurance company require the parties to go to arbitration, and the injured-insured party subsequently sues the insurance company, the insured can seek damages costs associated with their expenses related to the arbitration. This includes any attorney’s fees or costs. The costs of an attorney to represent the insured in arbitration are often one of the main elements of economic damages sought in bad faith actions.   SEEK LEGAL REPRESENTATION Ultimately, when an insured party is injured by either an underinsured or uninsured motorist, they can seek a claim from their insurance. If they are unable to agree on the amount of loss with the insurance company, it is most likely they will have to go to arbitration in order to pursue compensation. Given the stakes of arbitration, the insured party should always seek legal representation. An attorney will be best able to handle the claim and represent the insured-injured party in arbitration, as well as any subsequent bad faith actions against the insurer.   Contact the attorneys at Silva Injury Law if you were injured in an automobile accident and have not been fairly compensated for your damages.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

CNN Reveals Insurance Company Injury Claim Tactics

State Farm Insurance claims to be “like a good neighbor” and Allstate wants you to believe that you’re “in good hands” when you buy their insurance. The reality is that insurance companies like to collect premiums, but they don’t want to pay out claims. A CNN special investigation reveals the tactics that State Farm, Allstate and other insurance companies use to intimidate consumers and increase profits. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced California car accident lawyer that can’t be fooled by their tricks.   Insurance Companies Are More Interested In Profit Than Policyholders State Farm and Allstate are the two largest automobile insurers and they’re both working with the McKensie & Company, a consulting firm that’s teaching them how to pay out less to claimants and increase profit. They pretend that they’re paying out less to claimants to keep prices down for their policyholders, but CNN reveals how they’re paying out less money, while not reducing the cost of policies by a single penny for their policyholders. All of the money they’re saving from ripping off consumers is going directly into increasing profits for their stockholders and raising salaries for their top executives.   The Three D’s – Delay, Denial and Defense State Farm and Allstate are training representatives to disparage claimants with less serious injuries by implying they are committing fraud and offering them pennies on the dollar as compensation. First, they delay by taking their time reviewing these claims, making claimants wait while their medical bills pile up and their lost earnings accumulate. Next, they deny the claim, saying that there’s minimal property damage, so it’s not possible to really be hurt, offering as little as $50 as “nuisance value” to claimants. Finally, they “defend” the claims, forcing claimants to litigate claims that they should have settled for a fair amount of compensation. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced California car accident lawyer to collect the highest amount of compensation for your car accident injuries.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Be Careful When Speaking To An Insurance Claims Adjuster After An Injury

Successful people like to be proactive, taking care of things right away instead of putting them off. This attitude can pay off big in many areas, but if you’re injured in a car accident in California, it will most likely do you more harm than good. It’s important not to get sucked in by a cheerful claims adjuster that tells you they will settle your claim quickly without a lawyer because they usually offer you pennies on the dollar. Even worse, anything you tell them can be used against you later in court. The best way to maximize the amount of compensation you receive is to speak to a California car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash.   What To Do After A Car Accident The first priority is always to seek medical attention for yourself and others involved in the accident. Call 911 to request the police and an ambulance. If you’re injured, it’s best for your health and your legal claim to be taken to the nearest emergency room to be checked out. If you’re physically able, take pictures and videos of the scene that establish how the accident happened, damages to vehicles and injuries sustained. Tell the police your version of what happened and try to find witnesses that saw the crash. Exchange information with the other driver, including their name, address, phone number, email and insurance company. It’s a good idea to speak to a California car accident attorney before you report the accident to your own insurance company or speak to the insurance company for the other vehicle. When you hire an attorney, the insurance company must speak only to your attorney and can no longer call you directly. How Speaking To The Insurance Company Can Ruin Your Case Insurance companies know that some injuries heal quickly and others can be long lasting, and that it’s not possible to know this until many months after an accident. That’s why they call victims right after an accident, on a recorded line, asking them how they’re feeling. Something as simple as responding “I’m fine,” could be devastating to your case if it went to a jury. Back injuries, knee injuries and other problems can feel much worse a week after the accident than they do the day after. That’s why insurance companies try to get people to settle their case for a tiny amount of money very quickly. An experienced California car accident attorney knows how to help you develop the evidence to get you the highest amount of compensation possible for the injuries you sustained.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

How a Gap in Treatment Can Adversely Affect Your Personal Injury Case

If you’re injured in an accident, you have a right to sue the responsible parties for monetary damages. The amount of money you collect will depend greatly on the evidence you present to substantiate your claim. Your pain may be excruciating, but without medical reports to back you up, your California personal injury attorney won’t be able to get you the large amount of money you deserve for your case. That’s why it’s important to get all the treatment that’s recommended for your injuries is a timely manner.   Take The Ambulance To The Hospital From The Scene To succeed with a personal injury case, you need to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident. The best way to accomplish this is to take an ambulance from the scene directly to the emergency room to be checked out. If you didn’t do this, go to a hospital, an urgent care, or a medical doctor as soon as you possibly can, and complain about every part of your body that’s bothering you. If you wait too long, it might not be possible to prove a connection between your accident and your injuries. A gap of weeks or months between an accident and seeking medical treatment can even be grounds for dismissing your case.   Follow Doctor’s Orders Consistently At your first medical visit, you’ll receive a follow-up plan that usually includes physical therapy. If the therapist recommends that you come three times a week, it’s important to continue treatment until the doctor tells you to stop going. There are some valid reasons for missing appointments such as:   ● Vacation ● Illness ● Professional Obligations ● Pandemic Closures   Even if your excuse is valid, every time you miss treatment the value of your case is reduced. If you can’t go in person, the next best thing is to do a remote visit.   If you become too busy to go three times a week, try to go two times, or even one time. As long as you continue to go to therapy, it will help your California personal injury attorney collect the most money possible for your case. If you completely stop going for a period of time, it will reduce the value of your case and your insurance company may no longer be willing to pay for it when you want to go back. California Personal Injury Lawyer   The best way to maximize the value of your personal injury case is to seek treatment immediately after an accident. The next step is to treat consistently for as long as necessary until you’re completely healed. Gaps in treatment imply that your injuries are minor and reduce the value of your case, making it harder for your California personal injury lawyer to collect a large amount of compensation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Covid-19 And My Car Insurance Injury Claim

The Covid-19 Pandemic has changed so many things about how we work, learn, shop, and get medical treatment. You might be wondering how car insurance injury claims are being handled during this crisis. It’s good to know that most insurance companies are functioning well, even though many people are working from home. It’s important to hire a tech savvy California injury claim attorney that knows how to keep your case moving as Covid 19 restrictions are lifted or reinstated.   Can Claims Be Filed During Covid? Some courts are still closed or doing only virtual appearances , but they are all allowing new claims to be filed. Your personal injury case begins with treating for your injuries, collecting lost earnings benefits, and a thorough  investigation by your attorney. Depending on the severity of your injuries, treatment can last for months or even years. During this time your Turlock, Monterey, Merced, or Modesto, CA injury claim attorney will be preparing your case for settlement and/or litigation. Since most car accident injury cases are settled without going to trial, the Pandemic is unlikely to delay your case. There’s simply no reason not to make a claim if you’ve been injured in a car accident during Covid.   Can I Get Treatment For My Car Accident Injuries During Covid Most medical offices have adjusted to treating patients during Covid, offering both safe in person and virtual options. It’s probably better to avoid busy hospitals for less serious injuries, choosing urgent care centers or private practices instead. Most MRI’s and cat scans for accident injuries  are conducted at outpatient centers, so diagnostic testing is widely available. This is also true for outpatient surgeries such as arthroscopic surgeries that are performed at dedicated centers that do not treat Covid patients. What’s opening and closing is constantly changing, so it’s a good idea to work with a California injury claim attorney that can help you find high quality medical care for car accident injuries during Covid.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Automobile Insurance Policy must-Haves to ensure you’re fully covered.

California mandates that vehicle owners have an auto liability insurance policy in effect that covers the other party’s medical costs, lost earnings, and property damage. The minimum amount of insurance required is: $15,000 for each person harmed; $30,000 all persons harmed; $5,000 for property damage. This is all you need to legally register and drive your car in California, but this scant coverage is probably not sufficient to protect you financially if you have an accident. An experienced California injury claim lawyer can advise you about how much coverage you need and how to file your claim.   What The Options For Additional Coverage? Unless you’re driving an 20 year old car and have no assets, this probably isn’t enough coverage for you. You should seriously consider purchasing uninsured/under-insured coverage in case you suffer severe injuries caused by a driver carrying a minimum policy.  If your car is valuable, it’s important to have comprehensive and[1]  collision insurance which will reimburse you for damage to your car. This coverage is valuable if: The damage costs more to repair than the policy limits of the car that hit you; A hit and runs and; An accident that you cause yourself. Med Pay is also worth considering because it usually has no co-pays or deductibles and pays for services not usually covered by health insurance. It even protects you when you’re a pedestrian, a passenger in somebody else’s car, or when you’re using public transportation.   When Would I Need Additional Liability Coverage? If you own a house or other property, you should opt for higher limits for liability in case you’re sued by somebody else. Most homeowners have at least $100,000 in coverage, and many choose to purchase umbrella policies of $1,000,000 or more. The best way to make sure you’re properly covered is to discuss your coverage needs with an insurance broker or an experienced California injury claim lawyer.

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