frequently asked questions

1) What do I do if I Am involved in an accident?

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 care.

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 signs, etc.

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.

3) 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 altogether.

4) What does the term Comparative Fault mean and how does it affect my claim?

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 original value.

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).

6) 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 not.

7) How do I pay for bills already incurred if I can’t afford to?
In 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.
8) 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.


·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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