Car Accident FAQ’s
Thousands of people in California alone are badly injured or worse in car accidents every year. Anyone who has suffered through such an experience understands that this is a traumatic situation. It’s difficult to think clearly when dealing with physical and emotional trauma. The accident lawyers at Montevideo Law have been helping people stand up for their legal rights after car accidents for years. If you are wondering what you could possibly do to put this situation in the past without incurring financial losses that you don’t deserve, you should start by obtaining some basic information.
Below you’ll find answers to some of the common questions we’ve heard from people after they’ve been injured in a California car accident. If you would like more specific information, contact the firm as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.
Is there any difference between my property damage claim and my injury claim?
The difference is that from the standpoint of insurance coverage, you will be dealing with two separate claims. One claim involves the damage to your vehicle and the other the damage to you personally. Each claim is usually treated separately until they are complete, meaning that you can accept a property damage settlement without it affecting your injury claim. However, you should be careful to review all documents before signing anything.
Can I get a rental vehicle if I need transportation immediately?
It’s possible for you to do so, yes. Many auto insurance policies provide for this possibility. You should check with your insurance agent to see if that’s the case, and if so if he or she has a list of approved rental car options. In this situation, you may be able to bill your insurer directly. If not, you may be able to pay for your rental and seek reimbursement. You may also obtain a rental car from the other driver’s insurance company, but it will have to accept fault first.
Will my insurance rates go up or will they stay the same?
That largely depends on the determination of fault with your accident. If it’s determined that the other driver was at fault for the crash, then no, your insurance rates should not go up because of the accident. However, if you are found to be at fault, your rates will most likely rise.
Can I go through my insurance to get my vehicle repaired?
In many cases, this is the best course of action. That’s because you may not want to wait until the other driver’s insurance company accepts fault. If you can afford your policy’s deductible, you can go ahead and have the repairs done. If it’s determined that the accident was not your fault, you’ll most likely be reimbursed for the cost of the deductible.
Why won’t my insurance company offer me what my car is worth?
There are many ways to determine the value of a vehicle, but most insurance policies will only cover what is considered fair market value for your vehicle at the time of a crash. As such, if your vehicle is old, it may not take much damage for that vehicle to be declared a total loss, otherwise known as totaled.
Should I use my health insurance for the medical care I need?
For those who do not have a California accident attorney representing them, using their own health insurance is likely a good idea for those who have been injured in a crash. Those who are legally represented may be able to see a specialist for those injuries if their attorneys can help them do so. The attorneys at Montevideo Law can do so.
Should I go to the emergency room after an accident or schedule an appointment with my doctor?
You should obtain a full medical evaluation as soon as possible after a crash, as there could be serious internal injuries present that you do not necessarily notice. You should also make sure that you have a full diagnosis and records of your injuries immediately after your crash. Waiting to see your primary doctor may not be the best approach.
Should I still seek medical help if I don’t have medical insurance?
If you don’t have health insurance, you should seek the help of a California injury attorney if you’ve been harmed in an accident. Your attorney may be able to help you get the medical care you need. Do not allow pain and injuries to go untreated because you don’t have insurance.
Will my vehicle insurance company help me see a doctor?
Most likely it will not. That’s because, unfortunately, people who are injured in car accidents suddenly find out that insurance companies are not necessarily working in their best interests. The less documentation there is for injuries, the lower a claim will likely turn out to be in terms of value. Seek your own medical help or work with an attorney to find the help you need.
Can I get a second opinion if I’m not convinced I’m getting the best treatment?
It’s always worthwhile to seek a second opinion if you’re concerned that your current course of treatment isn’t working after a crash. Once again, if you work with the Orange County car accident lawyers at Montevideo Law, you should ask your attorney to help you find another doctor for an evaluation.
What should I tell my insurance company after a crash?
When filing an accident claim with your insurance company, you’ll soon be dealing with an adjuster. He or she will work to limit the liability faced by his or her employer. As such, you should discuss the specifics of the accident and how it occurred. You should also mention that you have a California car accident lawyer representing you if that’s the case. Do not talk about your injuries specifically, any personal information such as medical history and do not sign anything without having it reviewed by an attorney.
What are my options if I don’t have auto insurance?
If you are injured in a car accident and you don’t have auto insurance, you can still recover for some of your losses. However, California law limits the types of damages those without auto insurance can recover. If this happens to you, speak to an Orange County personal injury attorney as soon as possible for specific advice.
What if the other party doesn’t have auto insurance?
If the other party doesn’t have insurance, you can recover from your own insurance company assuming you have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy. This type of coverage specifically exists to protect policyholders who are harmed by uninsured drivers.
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company if they request it?
No. You should never offer statements to insurance companies without first talking to an experienced California car accident lawyer. Insurance companies could and likely would use that recorded statement against you should you decide to fight for a larger financial recovery.
The insurance company sent me some documents. Should I sign them?
No. Do not sign anything sent from the insurance company until you’ve had those documents reviewed by an experienced attorney. Insurance companies are highly skilled at limiting the amount of financial liability they face, as these are for-profit companies. Be wary of anything they ask you to sign and have it checked out first.
Hiring an Attorney
How will I ever be able to afford a California car accident attorney?
We strongly believe that money should never be a barrier to justice. While different personal injury attorneys approach their practices differently, the bottom line is that you can afford to speak to us here at Montevideo Law. That’s because we (a) offer a free initial consultation to those who have been injured and (b) work on a contingency fee basis for the cases we take. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.
Do I pay the attorneys’ fees when we get started on the case?
If you work with Montevideo Law, the answer is no. If we take your case on a contingency fee basis, we deduct our fees when your case is paid out. The percentage that is payable to the firm is agreed upon between us and our clients before we get started on any case.
Do I need a police report before a California injury attorney will talk to me?
No. If you are injured in a crash, you should contact police if possible so that they can fill out a report. However, if that didn’t happen for some reason or it did and you don’t have a copy of it, we can take care of that for you.
What should I expect from a car accident lawyer after a car accident?
If you work with Montevideo Law, you can expect that your initial inquiry will be answered promptly, that your free initial consultation will happen soon, that you’ll receive clear and honest feedback when assessing your case and that, if you retain us to represent you, that you’ll receive compassionate, aggressive legal representation.
How much is my case worth?
Every car accident case is different, much like every person is different. No two cases are ever exactly the same in terms of value. That’s why you need to speak to our firm so that we can evaluate what happened to you, what losses you’ve incurred and what types of losses you’re likely to encounter in the future.
Legal Claims Process
How long do I have to file my personal injury case?
In California, the filing deadline, otherwise known as the statute of limitations, is two years from the date that the injury occurred, or two years from the date of the accident. However, notice needs to be filed against a governmental agency within six months if you are injured in a crash with a government vehicle.
I’m worried about suing someone. I’m hesitant to take that step. Is that normal?
It’s completely normal to feel some hesitation before filing a lawsuit, particularly if you were injured by someone you know. However, you should keep in mind that (a) the other side has insurance for this exact situation, (b) it’s the insurance company that’s not providing a fair offer and (c) working with a California car accident attorney is oftentimes necessary to push the insurance company towards a proper resolution.
The insurance company offered me a very small settlement. Why?
The insurance company involved in a car accident will almost always make an initial settlement offer that isn’t even close to fair. That’s because, once again, insurance companies are for-profit corporations. The less they pay out in claims, the more money they make. These companies are highly skilled at taking advantage of injured people who in some cases desperately need money. Don’t take it personally; hire an attorney instead.
How do I handle the other side’s insurance company denying liability?
Much like making a very low initial settlement offer, denying liability is a common tactic used by insurance companies. Denying liability can prompt an injured person to take a lower settlement as opposed to fighting such a fight. Again, if this happens to you, consult an Orange County car accident lawyer, as he or she may be able to get things pointed in the right direction.
Why choose Montevideo Law?
You should choose Montevideo Law because we have earned a reputation for obtaining fair and just results for our injured clients. You will be treated as you deserve to be treated when you work with us, we will only work with your best interests in mind and we won’t hesitate to continue fighting the other side in hopes of obtaining a just result.
It’s quite possible that you have other questions that you want answers for, that are not displayed here. If so, or even if you want to discuss some of the issues above in more detail as they relate to your situation, you should feel free to contact the California personal injury lawyers at Montevideo Law at any time to schedule a free initial consultation.