In California, car owners and drivers are supposed to purchase auto insurance. In a car accident occurs, the auto liability policy pays for the property damage, medical bills, and other losses suffered by innocent parties.
Orange County personal injury attorney is a leading law firm that offers customers the best legal presentation in car accident cases. We offer enough guidance to help deal with your at-fault party's insurer and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. We have experienced attorneys who work hard to recover all your damages following a car accident.
Compulsory Requirements for Car Insurance in Orange County
In Orange County, the law requires all vehicle owners to buy auto liability insurance. The insurance covers the other party's car repair bills, medics bills, lost wages, and other damages regardless of the at-fault driver's policy. The insurance will then pay the liability coverage as required by the law.
Every driver must maintain the following car insurance figures:
- A minimum of $15 000 for bodily injury of each person
- A minimum of $30 000 for bodily liability for other people hurt in the accident or a total for death
- A minimum of $5 000 for damaged properties coverage
Apart from the above-stated car insurance requirements, drivers can opt for additional optional coverage to protect the passengers, the driver, and the car. Such policies include:
- Med pay coverage for wrongful death or injuries
- Collision and comprehensive insurance for damaged property
- Under-insured/uninsured motorist cover as discussed below
Med Pay Coverage
This is medical payment coverage after an auto accident. Notably, personal injury laws don't require these insurance policies, although it could be suitable options to protect yourself. Med pay covers funeral expenses up to policy limits and medical bills for policyholders and his passengers. Additionally, It pays without regarding who was at fault of the accident.
Furthermore, a policyholder can claim the payments under med pays policy if they include:
- Injury while carrying out public transportation
- A hit by a vehicle while at a pedestrian
- An injured passenger in someone else's car
Here, med pay doesn't cover damages to other property or vehicles. Notably, med pay premiums are relatively low and include treatments not covered in all health insurance; examples are chiropractic and acupuncture.
Comprehensive and Collision Insurance
Comprehensive and collision are offered together in California. Notably, collision insurance pays damages in your vehicle after a crash. A collision could involve a fence, another car, a person, or even a parking driver. Please note that the coverage caters to damages from a collision with other objects such as garbage, mailbox, or sidewalk. It caters to replace and repair if the cause of the accident has damaged your vehicle.
On the other hand, comprehensive insurance pays for damage in your car triggered by anything else other than a collision outside the vehicle owner's control .i.e the cause is not an accident, examples may include: vandalism, hail, theft, windstorm, fire, falling objects such as stones and floods.
For costs and limits in comprehensive and collision coverage are based on the value of the car. To finance a car lease or loan, lenders in California require comprehensive and collision coverage. The critical difference between complete and collision and property liability insurance caters to figures above $5 000 needed in property damage liability.
Notably, the adjuster will determine the vehicle's value depending on its make, year of manufacture, and the model. Therefore, the payment will be a sum of the car's worth that you could have traded if it was not for the accident. Additionally, a collision should not be a chance of receiving an upgraded vehicle based on the figures you should have paid out.
How Insurance Works in a Compensation Claim
To secure yourself and your rights by ensuring that you are well taken care of, here are the essential things you need to act after the accident as soon as you can.
Seek Medical Attention
Most people fail to seek medical care after accidents. However, this results in long-lasting injuries since your injuries may be more severe than you may think. You need to see a doctor for proper examination, even if you're okay. Don't ignore even minor injuries. This is because internal injuries take days to become apparent.
However, if you are in severe pain, call an ambulance. They will assist in knowing what is wrong and how to get better faster. Moreover, they document your claim avoiding later disputes on the injuries. Additionally, the insurance would like to know whether medical professionals evaluated you. Note that sometimes it works against you if you neglect or wait for a long duration.
You should obtain a police report after the accident. The person who hit you will convince you so that you don't call the police. Orange County car accident lawyers say that it is a bad idea. They'll give you some information and prefer settling the issues without involving third parties. Once they leave the accident scene, their company will try their best to avoid paying.
Even if no injuries occurred, don't leave the accident venue until police officers arrive. Sometimes the police officers may claim that they don't offer reports for small accidents without injuries and claim to write stories only. Please don't accept this, insist on a full story since it will benefit your insurance company and doctors. With a police report, you will be protected already. However, don't be harsh to the officers; make sure you remain polite and calm. With the story, make sure you get some copies for record-keeping.
You need to obtain as much evidence as possible related to the incident that caused your injuries. Use your smartphone since it's the most important weapon around you. Grab your phone and begin taking snaps. The most critical photos needed by your Orange County car accident lawyer to increase your case value include:
- The accident scene
- Take pictures of the airbags if they are deployed
- The damage and license plates of every involved vehicle
- Your physical injuries such a bleeding band bruising
- Insurance cards, each driver's license, their phone number, and vehicle registration
- In case an ambulance comes at your rescue, take a picture of both the ambulance and photograph emergency personnel at the scene.
Be Quiet Especially Online
When the insurance company calls you, don't talk before consulting the Orange County car accident attorney. You need to be very careful before posting anything on Facebook or WhatsApp since the insurance company can use such posts to reduce their claim value.
Find witnesses from bystanders, pedestrians, and bicyclists who were not involved in the accident, though they were present during the accident. A reliable witness will help you present a strong case in a personal injury lawsuit. They can provide valuable information since they represent the outsiders' view. In case you have a reliable witness, Collect the witness's name, address, and phone number. If you have a written statement, make sure it has accurate dates and signatures of the witnesses.
Lost Wages Verification
Ask your employer to provide signed statements on how you missed your work and pay lost. Copies of previous pay stubs should support the statement.
Report to Your Insurance Company
File an insurance claim with your insurance company. Tell your insurance company that you had an accident and agree to cooperate with the insurance company's accident investigation. However, if you don't report, it may result in your insurance company canceling your policy, declining raising your premiums, and renewing your policy.
Additionally, you need to tell your insurance company about the accident, even if it wasn't your fault. This will give the company the best chance to protect your interests.
Assigning Your Case to an Adjuster
After reporting the accident to your insurance company, reach out to an attorney for legal advice and guidance. Adjusters are skilled negotiators who intend to save their employers as much money as possible while giving the lowest settlement possible to accident victims like you. Negotiate with the adjusters so that you reach a reasonable solution.
All you need is convincing your adjuster that their policyholder was at fault for the accident. It would be best to tell the adjuster that you suffered measurable damages due to the policyholder's negligence.
Tips for a Successful First Encounter With an Insurance Adjuster
The first encounter and discussion with an insurance adjuster may be awkward since you're emotionally disturbed. Therefore, what you say to the assigned adjuster can break or make the chances of your recovery. The most critical evidence for someone filling a claim is always words that come from their mouth. when talking to an insurance adjuster, mostly for the first time for a request, you must:
Adjusters gather information relative to an accident as early as possible. You might even get a call from the adjuster while you are at the hospital and only commencing your recovery. This might be difficult for you; however, you must be calm when talking, don't use abusive language while talking to the adjuster, and don't blame them for their role in the claim or blame them for the accident.
The goal should be to win any potential opposition in your claim. If you display unreasonable or ill-tempered behavior to your adjuster, this might hurt your claim in an unpredicted way, such as losing the judge's favor.
Since insurance adjusters are not directly employed, you should capture the adjuster's full details such as name, contact information, business address, and the insurance company he/she is representing at the beginning of the conversation. This will help you in case something goes wrong in your compensation.
Furthermore, it will help you know who should be held accountable in case the claim goes sideways. Moreover, this is an essential element and should not seem intrusive. The adjuster should be willing to give his/her details to you.
Limit Personal Information
This is a crucial stage where you should be keen on your tongue. You should often ask yourself why the adjuster is calling you in the first step?. Remember, this process isn't a friendly check-up. At your initial conversation, the only personal information you should give to the insurance adjuster is your address, average contact number, and name -nothing more! For your safety, don't disclose your work or anything that could be used for identifying you.
Detail the Accident
When talking to your insurance company adjuster, you should provide details. most important back things up with 'i am not sure.' Additionally, if you speak with an insurance adjuster from another party's insurance company, you should provide zero details in your first conversation.
Ensure that you provide the necessary information, factual like where and when you were hurt. The best way to respond to your adjuster is by saying that you are in the middle of your investigation, and you will provide the requested details once you conclude.
California as an At-fault State
Orange County personal injury attorney is at fault when we talk about insurance matters. An At-fault state pays for the accident damages fully according to each party's fault degree. For instance, if a motorist causes an accident, he is responsible for the injured person's losses.
The insurance company takes full responsibility for the accident and pays for it, even the injured victim's bills. Such damages include vehicle damages, medical bills, lost wages, among others. However, the company offers a limited amount for compensation claims to cater to the victims of personal injuries. Too, the paid amount depends on the treatment costs, injuries suffered, and other relative factors. If you need help proving your cases, it is advisable to hire an experienced car accident lawyer.
Consider personal injury attorneys who have the experience and resources of investigating your cases. Here we are aware of your financial struggles and the emotional and physical injuries that you are going through. We help clients recover from emotional distress while getting their compensation due.
Comparative Negligence Law in Personal Injury Compensation
The compensation works smoothly and perfectly when one driver is found to be at fault in the accident. At times, more than one party gets involved in an accident. Comparative negligence law applies when two or more parties are accountable for the accident. The company determines the driver's actions then assigns them responsibility according to their fault percentage.
For instance, if you were found to be 40%responsible for the accident, the other driver is 60% responsible for the accident. Now, you will receive a compensation of 60%of the total compensatory amount. The higher the person's percentage of fault in the incident, the less the money they receive in a settlement.
What Happens if the Other Driver Is Uninsured
No driver in Orange county drives without motor vehicle insurance since it's against the law. Without insurance, the driver at fault should compensate you at a personal level. In case you're hit by an uninsured driver, you need to file a lawsuit to receive compensation from his/her assets. However, this happens only if the driver has significant assets to recover. Notably, your insurance will help you cater to several things, including collision coverage and medical bills.
Proving the Other Party Was at Fault of the Accident
Providing a Police Report
Immediately after a car accident, members of local law enforcement or police visit the scene. The police probably made a written accident report. You may ask the traffic division in your local enforcement department how to get a copy in California. Notably, police reports often state the officer's opinion on someone who violated a traffic law and caused the accident.
Regardless of how the report is, a mention of careless driving or traffic law violation may act as significant support that the other party was at fault for the accident. A police report includes:
- Approximate date, location, and time of the scene
- Area of damage to the vehicle
- Diagram of the accident
- Identify the details of parties involved in the accident, such as an address, names, insurance information, and phone numbers
- Citation and violation of laws
- Statement from witnesses and parties
- Violation of traffic laws
This is another important place you can support that the other party was at fault in violating the law that governs driving. Apparent traffic violation comprises speeding, running a stop sign, among others. Notably, you and your attorney should investigate the vehicle's status in question and then use your argument to your adjustor. This will make you sound knowledgeable and confident.
Work closely with your medical officers and ask them questions about your injury. This extent of your injuries will be an essential factor in determining your financial compensation late after the auto crash.
Calculation of the Value of Injury Claim
It is important to note that the value of compensation is often directly proportional to the extent of injury the pursuer has suffered. Therefore the more severe your injury, the more the cost of benefit you should expect to receive. Additionally, your injury solicitor will approximately calculate the figures based on two significant factors; the special/economic damages and general/non-economic damages.
Economic/special damages are the damages that can be measured while, on the other hand, general costs are the damages that are hard to calculate.
General/non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering of individual
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
Economic costs, on the other hand, include:
- Loss of wages.
- Therapy and treatment bills.
- Medical bills.
- Replacement services.
- Out of pocket medical expenses
Notably, the multiplier method should be preferably chosen in determining the value of your general and special damages. Multiplier comes into the amount of the general costs that are not easy to quantify. Your insurance adjuster will then add up all the individual values (your quantifiable losses) and multiply the total with a number often between 1.5 and 5 ( this is the multiplier).
Additionally, the multiplier will be higher or lower, depending on several factors related to the case. For example, will there be long-lasting or permanent effects? How severe are your injuries? Do you expect a full recovery? How many costs of treatment will you require in the future? And the list goes on.
Per Diem Method
This is another method involving the calculation of injury claims on car accidents. It determines your settlement value by calculating your suffering and pain through attributing a ''per diem''.This is ''per day'' or ''per week, month.'' The value to it should be added to that of special damages.
Going into a Final Statement
This involves writing a full last statement letter; your lawyer majorly does that. You should be prepared to reject in case of a low settlement offer at the initial demand politely. Work with persistence and patience until you arrive at an acceptable settlement.
After you agree, you should send a full follow-up letter to confirm the terms and amounts. Notably, it is essential to review your settlement agreement to ensure that it matches your verbal agreements.
Find a Car Accident Attorney Near Me
Orange County Personal Injury Attorney has many years of experience dealing with vehicle insurance. Additionally, we have capable lawyers who will help you claim your losses and fight for your compensation. We know our customer's rights and believe they should be compensated accordingly after a car accident. Our experienced attorneys will make your process painless while achieving the best outcomes possible. Additionally, they offer you suitable legal counsel on approaching insurance firms when seeking car accident compensation. Contact us via 714-876-1059 and talk with our car accident injury attorneys in Orange County.