If you are involved in a motor vehicle or other accident,
your primary concern should be to ascertain whether you or any other party to
accident of passenger requires immediate medical attention. If so, call 911. If
at any point after the accident, if you feel injured, seek immediate medical
If you decide that immediate medical attention is not
required, I recommend contacting a law enforcement agency. Often, a response is
either delayed or denied unless there are complaints of injury at the scene, combative
parties, a hit‑and‑run or the vehicles are blocking traffic. In the event that
no law enforcement arrive, exchange information, names, addresses, insurance
info, driver's license numbers and license plate information. If a camera or
camera phone is available, take pictures of the vehicles involved, preferable
at the point where they came to rest immediately after the collision. Also
photograph any addition signs of the accident, pieces of broken lens covers or
other loose vehicle debris, skid marks or other damage property, ie; road
In the event of a hit‑and‑run, you may have an obligation to
contact your insurance carrier within a certain time frame often 48 hours,
unless you are incapacitated.
Typically a claim should be opened with the insurance
carriers. I DO NOT RECOMMEND OPENING A CLAIM UNTIL YOU HAVE CONSULTED WITH AN
ATTORNEY. Often, the carrier wants to over-reach in their initial
investigation, obtaining information with the covert purpose of reducing the
value of your claim under the guise of investigation. The carriers are well
aware that this process is an adversarial process; their interests are polar
opposite to your interests. Even your own carrier may ultimately be in an
adversarial position to you.
2) Can I obtain treatment without health insurance?
You are entitled to seek treatment at the facility of your
choice, even if you are insured through a managed healthcare plan. In that
event or in the event that you have no health insurance, many healthcare
providers will examine and treat you on a lien basis, which means that their
bill must be satisfied upon resolution of the claim.
What if I opt to utilize my health insurance?
Most health insurance plans have third party liability
provisions in their insurance contracts with their members. This means that
some form of reimbursement will likely be required if you recover settlement
proceeds from the at‑fault party or his/her auto insurance. The reimbursement
is reduced to shift a portion of the attorney's fees to the health plan only if
an attorney is retained and can, under certain circumstances, be waived
does the term Comparative Fault mean and how does it affect my
The legal doctrine of Comparative Fault refers to shared responsibility
for an accident or incident. For example, if both vehicles involved in a
collision were speeding and driving recklessly at the time of the accident,
they may have both contributed to collision. In this instance an apportionment
will be determined or proposed allocating a percentage of responsibility for
each driver and the amount of the value of the claim will be reduced by the
amount of the comparative fault. For illustrative purposes, if a party is 50%
at fault, a $10,000 valued claim will be reduced to $5,000.00, or 50% of the
5) Am I required to file documents with the DMV?
Yes. A party involved in a motor vehicle accident which
involves an injury or property damage in excess of $750.00 is required to file
an SR1 form (Report of Accident). Additional filings may be required later in
the process, but the SR1 must be filed as soon as possible (the requirement is
10 days, however rarely are the parties in a position to report the accident
without the traffic collision report from the law enforcement agency which
often takes a week or more to prepare).
I was injured by another while in the course and scope of my employment, can I
still file a auto insurance claim?
Yes. You may file an auto insurance claim (referred to as a
third party claim) concurrently with workers compensation claim if you were
working at the time of the accident and the other party involved was not your
employer or an agent or employee of your employer. You may also opt to file
only a third party liability claim or just a worker's compensation claim. It
should be noted that third party claims law allows for pain and suffering
damages (a substantial portion of the claim) where worker's compensation does
7) How do I pay for bills already incurred if I can’t afford
the event that you have incurred hospital of other medical bills which you are
unable to pay for, my office will take a variety of measures to ensure that
these unpaid bills do not affect your credit rating and that any collection
efforts and liens will be directed to my office and not your home.In some rare cases, we are unable to execute
a lien or delay collection efforts, however in the majority of cases, we can
stay collection activity and reporting.
Do I even need an attorney to resolve this claim?
Strictly speaking, no. The simple fact is that with some
very small claims, it may not be feasible to retain an attorney and for some
claims, it may not be economically feasible for an attorney to handle the
claim. However, the overwhelming percentage of injured parties have a more
favorable result when retaining an attorney, even after fees are paid. There
are certainly pitfalls for the unwary and insurance carriers are in business to
capitalize on errors and omissions made by the layperson. While one doesn’t
need an attorney to settle, you should have one to protect your interests and
rights and maximize your financial recovery.I am happy to offer a no-charge consultation to discuss any claim,
regardless of perceived size or value.
THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND
IS NOT INTENDED TO OPERATE AS LEGAL ADVICE FOR A PARTICULAR CASE.
·Call for a free
consultation in one of our offices in Roseville, Sacramento or Natomis. Home
and hospital appointments are also available.
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