Frequently asked questions about car accidents in Los Angeles
How much can a claim be worth?
It is not an easy question to answer without first studying the case and checking what type of injuries they are and how serious they can be from the medical point of view. However, it is possible to infer what damages can be recovered, in principle, from the injuries suffered by the client and the corresponding medical evaluation.
Because each claim is different, accurately determining the compensation for damages is also different. The overall compensation figure that will be recovered depends on many objective factors (injuries, material damage) and others of a more subjective nature implicit in the negotiation process with the responsible person or his insurance company.
Nobody can determine in advance the real value of a demand, although an approximate calculation can be made, taking into account certain values. It is likely that a person who decides to make a claim without the help of a lawyer, after negotiating with the insurance company accepts only 25% of the value of the claim and believes that this is sufficient.
When the case is taken by a competent and experienced car accident lawyer, the insurance company will not be able to settle the case so easily. Because the lawyer seeks to obtain the real value of the claim, since this is what ensures the collection of a fair fee for his work.
What aspects can be used to determine the value of a claim?
What aspects can be used to determine the value of a claim? We already said that the value of the demand to a large extent depends on the type of injuries caused to the victim in the car accident. But there are other important elements that must be taken into account when filing a claim or demand.
– Cost of the patient’s medical treatment, this includes all hospitalization bills, surgeries, medical fees, specialized exams, rehabilitation therapies, equipment and additional medical supplies, among others.
– Condition of the applicant before suffering the accident. If he worked or not, his income, the loss of ability to generate profits. In case of permanent partial disability, the amount to be calculated must cover sufficient compensation because you must change your job or execute it with limitations.
The compensation for minor accidents may not exceed 10,000 or 15,000 dollars, but when it is with injuries the matter is different. There, the past and future medical expenses must be calculated together with the other damages caused.
The damages that can be recovered in automobile accidents are diverse. Here are some of the most common:
– Medical expenses, including doctor’s fees, hospitalization bills, necessary surgeries, treatment medicines, medical supplies and rehabilitation therapies. This includes future medical expenses.
– The loss of wages and economic capacity, according to the disability declared by the doctor.
– Damage to property (vehicle for example).
– Pain and suffering (in addition to physical pain is the emotional involvement of the victim).
– Transportation expenses or mobilization to medical consultations, care with paramedics in the house.
Each expense that the injured person has as a result of the accident must be accounted for by the victim to be included in the damages that will be exposed in the claim or claim for personal injuries. Likewise, the injured person must strictly comply with the orders given by the doctor to avoid later problems with the claim.
The insurance company may claim that failure to comply with medical orders was the reason for the worsening of the injuries, or that the injuries and suffering of the claimant were not as serious as stated in the claim.
Who can sue for damages after a traffic accident?
It is obvious to affirm that the other driver was the one who was the fault of the accident, nevertheless that it is necessary to demonstrate it by evident that it seems. Remember that negligence is not presumed, but must be proven. Sometimes multiple people responsible for a car accident may appear, in addition to the negligent driver or not who caused it.
An expert accident lawyer is dedicated to analyzing the circumstances surrounding the accident to detect possible indirect responsibility for the accident. If the accident was caused by tires with manufacturing defects or a newly repaired brake system that did not work, the responsible could be the tire manufacturer or the distributor, as well as the workshop where the brakes of the responsible vehicle were repaired.
In short, those responsible for an accident can be several, so when a lawyer takes a case must observe beyond the obvious and try to find the details hidden in the accident. There may be the major foundations that explain the causes of the accident, the actual perpetrators and even a greater compensation of damages to recover.
What is the time limit to file a claim?
The legal action has a term established in accordance with the provisions of the California Statute of limitations. The deadline to file a case of personal injury is two years, counted from the date of the accident when the person responsible is a natural person / company and six months when it is a government entity.
To file a claim for medical malpractice, the Statute of limitations grants a one-year term for filing the claim. Of course, you should not expect to reach the deadline to file a claim for personal injury after a car accident, the faster the legal action can be filed.
What do I do if I have problems with my auto insurance company?
The insurance company is obliged to comply with the terms of the contract established in the car insurance policy. Either the accident has been caused by the policyholder (coverage of damages in civil liability policies), or the victim seeks to cover the excesses not covered by the responsible party. Everything depends on the terms of the policy and the type of policy contracted.
When the claim or claim is denied, not paid sufficiently or paid late, the insurance company could be sued for acting in bad faith. These cases are frequent within the insurance system of the country when the claimant submits his claim without the help of a lawyer.
Is the legal representation of a lawyer expensive?
In cases of personal injury victims, contingency fees are usually paid. This means that the lawyer only charges if he wins the case. So who actually pays the attorney’s fees, is responsible for the accident or your insurance company. Lawyer and client agree to the payment of a percentage of the total settlement received by the claimant or claimant.
If the case is not resolved or won, the client has no obligation to pay any professional fees.
What are the advantages of hiring a Lluis law lawyer?
In accidents with personal injuries there are two fundamental elements when hiring a car accident lawyer. The first is your experience, because it guarantees that the procedure to obtain compensation will be done in the most correct and effective way, since you know the way how insurers and courts operate in these cases.
The second is knowledge of the law, that is, be updated on changes in traffic legislation, know when to invoke a legal theory or a standard established in the California Vehicle Code. In short, knowing how to give legal support to the arguments that support the demand.
Lluis Law’s accident and injury lawyers have extensive experience representing clients with personal injuries. They are more than 40 years of professional work with a high record of cases won in which we have recovered tens of millions in compensation for damages.
Do I really need to hire a car accident lawyer to win a case?
Hiring a lawyer does not mean that the client has already won the case, but it guarantees that your rights will be protected, because just as the client is interested in obtaining the highest possible compensation for his injuries, the lawyer is interested in earning to be able to collect. It is a win-win relationship.
Insurance companies are very pleased that victims come alone to negotiate a claim, because they can use all their skill and experience to lower their compensation costs to a minimum. In this way, if the claim was for $ 70,000 it is possible that the person ends up charging only 17,000, because for the insurers the business consists of paying less compensation.
On the other hand, when the victim of a car accident or a family member is assisted by a lawyer, the treatment is different and the negotiation also. Each one does his work, the insurance adjuster will try to decrease the amount of the settlement and the victim’s attorney will seek to find all possible evidence and arguments so that the claim obtains fair compensation.
The best way to expose yourself to a bad repair in a car accident with serious personal injuries is to have no legal representation. The cases of people who tried alone to win a lawsuit against an insurance company and failed in the attempt abound.
It is enough to ask how many people have managed to obtain fair compensation to answer the question of whether it is really worth hiring a lawyer or not, after a car accident with serious personal injuries.
How to file a claim in an uninsured motorist accident?
Two cases may be presented, the responsible motorist may leave the scene of the accident or the responsible party may not have an insurance policy covering the damages caused. In the first case, if you can obtain at least some vehicle data (license plate, brand, color, year) it is possible to initiate an investigation to identify the responsible party.
Otherwise, you will have to go to your own insurance company to assume the payment of the material damages and resulting injuries caused. Normally, policies with uninsured motorist coverage offer compensation to drivers in Hit and Run accidents.
How long will my case be resolved?
This is a very common question on the part of injured people after a claim is filed. The urgency of the victims to obtain compensation for the payment of bills puts them in a situation of urgency and anxiety. Although it depends a lot on the case, a good auto accident lawyer can achieve a satisfactory agreement in a short time.
There is no standardized term to solve a case because there are several factors that affect the process, which we mention below:
Gravity of the injuries. The greater the severity of the injuries, the greater the amount of compensation.
Duration of medical treatment. Sometimes the treatment lasts longer than originally planned by the treating doctor.
Disputes. These usually arise when there is no clarity about the responsibility of the accident or when there are several responsible parties.
Pre-existing injuries. The insurance company will find out if the claimant had a previous injury. In that case, you could argue that the injury already existed and was not caused by the accident or at least not totally to cut the value of the compensation.
What factors intervene in the recovery of damages?
It is not the same to recover compensatory damages for a fracture of the tibia and fibula than for a lesion in the spine. The severity of the injuries is also another factor to consider because the treatment will be more expensive and it is possible that the person is disabled for life.
The time a negotiation can take in a case of severe injuries, is also an element to be taken into account in deciding whether the case is carried to its ultimate consequences to obtain the desired compensation, or if the client is transacted in an amount of lower settlement but available at the moment.
Can I get compensation for an Uber accident?
The Uber company does not have employees, therefore, the drivers are independent contractors. Uber defines itself as a technology provider company, not as a transport company, thus placing the greatest legal responsibility on the driver. However, this does not exempt the driver or the company from paying compensation for injuries caused to passengers.
The recovery of damages is done through the individual insurance policy of the driver and the coverage of damages to third parties stipulated by the company, which is a minimum of $ 1,000,000. That is, after an accident, the passenger may be entitled to compensation for personal injuries in this amount, depending on the severity of the injuries and the medical treatment that must be followed.
An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help you get fair compensation if you have suffered a car accident in Uber. Although it may be difficult to contact the company to file a claim, the lawyer can take the necessary steps to ensure that both the driver’s insurance and the company pay compensation.
What do I do if the other party’s insurance company contacts me?
As it is advisable not to discuss the case with the responsible party, because “everything you say can be used against you” during the claim claim process, it is also not advisable to speak with the insurance company of the responsible driver without first having consulted the case with your lawyer.
If the lawyer of the responsible driver or insurance adjuster contacts you, you should refuse to answer any question, because it may be counterproductive to obtain compensation.
How do I report an accident in Los Angeles?
After contacting the police to request assistance and an accident removal, you must report the accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. For this purpose, it has 10 days counted from the date of the accident. The notification of the accident is made through Form SR 1 of the Traffic Accident Report.
Accidents to be reported must meet the following conditions:
– It was an accident with injured or dead people.
– The damages left by the accident exceed $ 1,000 in property damage.
Drivers who do not report an accident of this type to the DMV are subject to having their driver’s license suspended. The data that the accident report must contain are:
– Date of the accident.
– Crash site.
– Name and other contact information of the holder of the insurance policy.
– Name of the insurance company (policy number and effective date).
– Mark, model and year of the victim’s vehicle.
When the damage exceeds $ 1,000, it must contain:
– License number.
– Name and other information of the owner of the vehicle.
– Name and address of the persons injured or killed in the accident.
– Damage to property (homes, vehicles, animals, objects, etc.) along with the name and address of the owner.
The report must be sent by mail to the following address:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Mail Station J237
Sacramento, CA 94284-0884.
If you or a family member were injured in any type of accident, call our expert lawyers in automobile accidents and personal injuries of Lluís Law. They can help you with your claim or demand for damages and help you get medical care. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Our telephone number is (213) 320-0777.
Address: 205 South Broadway, Suite 1000 Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tel: (213) 687-4412 Fax: (213) 687-3441.