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Per a CDC report, the full cost of vehicle accidents in 2015 came to more than $63 billion. This included the cost of medical bills, lost productivity with workers, and expenses related to deaths. The financial impact of a car accident is tremendous. When you’ve been in a crash, there’s more to it than medical expenses and lost productivity.

A Claim Takes Time

California regulations require insurance companies to respond to you within 15 days of receiving the claim. They have up to 40 days to investigate the claim and accept it or deny it. Once the claim is approved, the insurance company is supposed to issue payment immediately, but it legally has up to 30 days from the date the settlement offer was accepted.

What this means is that close to three months could pass before you get the money to replace your car or pay for the repairs. In that time, if you didn’t have rental coverage, you could be without any transportation. Getting to and from work, even if you’re healthy, may be challenging. The loss of income could lead you to skip buying groceries and other expenses that have to be paid immediately.

That’s if the settlement offer is even fair. It could sound reasonable until you buy a replacement car and end up struggling to find a car in the same mechanical shape as yours. A car with the same value may not have new fuel and brake lines as your car did. It may not have new winter tires on separate rims that cost you hundreds of dollars.

Another issue people run into is having to deal with the interest on credit cards they’ve used to cover expenses until the settlement arrives. That interest may build quickly and not be factored into the settlement figure.

After an accident, you should see a doctor and make sure you’re okay. The medical expenses are just one factor. You may have to take time off work while you heal. You’ll have no car while it’s being repaired or replaced, so you could need a rental.

Your choice may be to take time off work without pay, which can drive you into debt. You also have the cost of a new car or repairs. These are covered by insurance, but it may be weeks or even months before you receive a settlement check. Can you go that long without buying groceries, paying rent, or paying your bills?

How Do You Maximize Your Settlement?

Knowing the possibilities when it comes to the financial impact, how do you maximize a car accident settlement? You need to start at the beginning. From the moment the accident happens, document everything.

If you have a dashboard camera, save copies of the video before and during the accident. This video footage will help determine exactly what happened. It can show the speed the other driver was doing, the signage in the area, and potential witnesses in the area. Take photos after the crash, if possible. Get close-ups of the damage to your car.

Don’t ignore your health. Even if you feel fine right now, you may not feel great hours after the adrenaline wears off. See a doctor and get checked. You could have fractures or sprains that don’t feel too painful right after the crash. As time passes, you may start to feel it. You should also be checked for internal injuries. Plus, you want to have a record of symptoms to watch for. If you develop neck pain in a day or two, you could have whiplash. Keep track of all of your bills and medical notes.

An insurance adjuster will look at your car and decide on the cost to repair the damage. If the damages are too high, the adjuster will look at the current value of that make/model in your area. Provide copies of all repairs you’ve made.

Most insurance companies will not reimburse you for aftermarket additions, but it’s worth fighting to get that extra money. If you installed a remote ignition system for cold winter days, you should say so and provide the cost and cost of installation. If you just had the brake pads and rotors replaced with professional-grade parts, say so.

Get names and contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident. Share this information when you call the insurance company. The more evidence you have to prove you were not the responsible party, the higher the odds of getting a great settlement.

Once you’ve gathered this paperwork and information, seek an expert’s opinion. Visit a lawyer who specializes in car accidents and can help you get the settlement you deserve. At KJT Law Group, every case evaluation is free. You’ll know if the first settlement offered by an insurance company is reasonable. If it’s not, we’ll explain why and let you know how we can help you. It never hurts to ask. Call us today at (818) 507-8525.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/costs/index.html

https://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/01-auto/hadaccident.cfm

 

what-do-i-do-after-ive-been-in-a-truck-accident

Looking at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics, light and large trucks accounted for a high number of crashes in 2016.

  • Fatal Crashes – 24,282
  • Injury Crashes – 1,639,000
  • Property Damage Only – 3,849,000

The cause of a truck crash varies. For smaller passenger trucks it could be just about anything from an impaired driver to speed. For large trucks (tractor-trailers), these five reasons were most common:

  • Brake issues
  • Not driving for the road/weather conditions
  • Not knowing the roadway
  • Problems with the roads
  • Over-the-counter medications

This covers any crash with a tractor-trailer. When it comes to crashes between a passenger car and tractor-trailer, the most common causes are:

  • Sudden traffic flow changes
  • Not knowing the roadway
  • Not seeing vehicles in blind spots
  • Speed
  • Illegal maneuvers

What do you do if you’re in a crash with a truck? There are three important steps to take straight off. Get the other driver’s information, take plenty of photos, and seek medical treatments. Those are just three of the things you need to do. Here are others.

File an Accident Report

Damage in a truck crash can be extensive. You probably need to call the police, but if you didn’t, make sure you file an accident report. You can do this at a local police station or some states allow online reports. You’re required to by law if the damage if over a certain amount. Repair costs can add up fast. According to Insurance.com, these are the five most common auto body repairs and their costs:

  • Bumper repair – $350 to $450 on a small sedan
  • Deep scratches – $1,000 to $3,500
  • Rear bumper replacement – Up to $10,000 if the frame is also bent
  • Suspension repairs – Up to $5,000 depending on what is damaged
  • Windshield replacement – $300 to $400 for most cars, upwards of $4,000 for some luxury vehicles

Even what seems like a minor repair can quickly put you up to the monetary limit that makes an accident report required. If your state’s laws require you to file an accident report if the damage is $1,500 or more, the cost of a new tire, rim, and bodywork to the side fender could easily put you up over that amount.

Talk to Your Insurance Company

Start the claims process by calling your insurance company. They often handle the preliminary negotiations with the other driver’s insurance. Expect a call from that insurance company who will ask for your side of the story.

During the call, you’ll be asked to share the details of the accident, the accident report number if you have it, the name of the officer and any injuries. You’ll give out the other driver’s name, contact information for any witnesses, and the other driver’s insurance information. You also need to know where your car is now. A claims adjuster will want to look at your car and determine the damages.

Keep Track of Everything

When possible, try to interact with claims agents via the email. You’ll have written documentation to help you know exactly what’s been said. Plus, it makes it easy to send photocopies of bills that get added to the claim.

Hopefully, you managed to get photos of the accident scene. If you have dash cam footage, that’s also helpful. Store that on a separate thumb drive and in a cloud-based storage option like Dropbox or Google Drive. If you have the files stored in a couple of places, you’re less likely to lose anything. It also makes it easier to share with agents and attorneys if you decide to sue.

Keep a journal of who you’ve talked to over the phone and take notes during the call. The more information you have, the more helpful it is if you need to file a personal injury claim.

Should You Sue?

Court trials take time. You shouldn’t let this keep you from getting a fair settlement. Insurance companies base their settlement offer on the value of your vehicle, your medical bills, lost wages or time from school, and sometimes pain and suffering. That offer may not look into the anxiety you feel weeks or months later that prevents you from driving. It may not consider the amount of time you have to take off work for therapy to deal with PTSD following a crash.

What you should do is talk to an attorney with expertise in truck crashes. KJT Law Group offers free case evaluations. We’ll give you an honest assessment and tell you if the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair or if you have a valid personal injury case. Call us today (818) 507-8525.

Sources:

https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/SASStoredProcess/guest

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

https://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/coverage/insurance-for-auto-body-repairs.html

Semi Truck Accident

Looking at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics, light and large trucks accounted for a high number of crashes in 2016.

  • Fatal Crashes – 24,282
  • Injury Crashes – 1,639,000
  • Property Damage Only – 3,849,000

The cause of a truck crash varies. For smaller passenger trucks it could be just about anything from an impaired driver to speed. For large trucks (tractor-trailers), these five reasons were most common:

  • Brake issues
  • Not driving for the road/weather conditions
  • Not knowing the roadway
  • Problems with the roads
  • Over-the-counter medications

This covers any crash with a tractor-trailer. When it comes to crashes between a passenger car and tractor-trailer, the most common causes are:

  • Sudden traffic flow changes
  • Not knowing the roadway
  • Not seeing vehicles in blind spots
  • Speed
  • Illegal maneuvers

What do you do if you’re in a crash with a truck? There are three important steps to take straight off. Get the other driver’s information, take plenty of photos, and seek medical treatments. Those are just three of the things you need to do. Here are others.

Continue reading “What Should I Do After A Truck Accident?”

Auto Accident Attorney Los Angeles

You may think you have a valid complaint against a business or person. Yet, you’ve called a personal injury attorney and they didn’t seem interested in your personal injury case and recommended someone else. You’re surprised. Don’t be. It’s not as uncommon as you’d think. There are several reasons why law firms refer out personal injury cases.

There’s a Conflict of Interest

One of the common reasons for a lawyer to refer out personal injury claims is due to a conflict of interest. It can be as simple as the person you want to sue for damages is a regular client of the attorney you’re trying to hire.

The Restitution Isn’t Enough to Justify the Time They’ll Spend

The legal fees for many personal injury cases are paid only if the lawyer you hire wins the case. In the U.S., American Tort Reform says the average contingency fee is 33.3%.

Say your lawyer wins the case, but you only end up receiving $1,000. The lawyer would get around $333 of that. If it’s taken days of preparation and hours in the courtroom, $333 isn’t really enough money to justify taking the case.

The Complexity of the Case is Too Much for Their Lawyers

Continue reading “Top Reasons Why Law Firms Refer Out Personal Injury Cases”

Auto Accident Checklist

Under California’s Fair Claims Settlement Regulations, you should hear from an insurance company within 15 days of filing a claim. The company must accept or deny the claim within 40 days after fathering the proof. If you’re waiting on a settlement payment, this can seem like an unbelievably long period of time.

In order to understand why it can take so long, it’s important to look at the things that go into a settlement. Here’s a step-by-step look at what happens after a car crash.

Immediate Steps to Take

Continue reading “How Do Car Accident Settlements Work?”

Medical Malpractice

Are there age limits to a medical malpractice suit? Anyone can file a claim. You must follow the malpractice statutes of limitation in your state. You need to file the claim before you run out of time. Note that issues like fraud, intentional concealment and foreign objects are not bound to the statutes of limitation requirements.

California Civil Procedure Code §340.5 states children over the age of six, teens, and adults have either three years after the injury occurred or one year after discovering the malpractice, whichever comes earliest. For children under the age of six, the complaint must be made within three years or before the child turns eight, whichever comes latest.

Startling Facts About Malpractice

A John Hopkins study reported that about 10 percent of yearly deaths, over 250,000 people, are the result of medical malpractice. The report claimed that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death. These numbers can be hard to verify as medical malpractice is not used on death certificates.

Continue reading “Can People Of All Ages Have A Medical Malpractice Case?”

Doctor Cheeck Up after car accident

Every day in the U.S., approximately 6,438 drivers and passengers are injured in car crashes. Another 102 or so are killed in car crashes. Car accidents occur all the time, but when you’re in one, panic takes over and often keeps you from rationally thinking about what you need to do.

 

One thing that people overlook is the importance of a trip to the hospital after a car accident. Some worry about the cost. Remember that auto insurance pays for medical care after a car accident. Don’t let that keep you from seeking medical care. You may feel okay and think it’s a waste of time and money. It’s always best to go to a hospital, and here’s why.

 

There May Be Hidden Injuries

Continue reading “The Importance Of Going To The Hospital After A Car Accident”

Auto Accident Checklist

You’ve collided with another vehicle. No matter who is at fault, there are several steps you should take immediately after the crash. They are:

 

  1. Do not admit fault. Let an experienced accident investigator look at the conditions and impact and determine if you, the other driver, the conditions, or a mix of issues led to the crash.
  2. Take photos of your vehicle, other vehicles that were involved, the road conditions, and the area around you. If there is a busy intersection, take photos of the design, lights, and signage.
  3. Call police to have them complete an accident report.
  4. Ask to be seen by paramedics.
  5. Get the other driver’s insurance information.

Continue reading “When To Call An Attorney After A Car Accident”

Emergency Room after an Auto Accident

Every hour, there are around four fatal vehicle crashes in this nation. That’s just crashes involving fatalities. Of the almost 7.3 million crashes in 2016, only 34,439 of them were fatal. More than 2.1 million of these crashes caused injuries that range from mild to severe.

When the crash is not your fault, the stress, time away from work, medical expenses, and cost to replace your car add up. Crash prevention is key, but some crashes are hard to avoid. Whether it’s a single-vehicle crash or a multi-vehicle crash, people can sustain serious injuries. If you’re in a car accident and don’t feel any discomfort, you may wonder if you should really go to the hospital. Yes, you should!

While there are many reasons you should seek medical care, four main reasons stand out.

Four Reasons Why You Immediately Need to Go to the Hospital

Continue reading “Should I Always Go To The Hospital After A Car Accident?”

Statute of Limitations in California

Between 2015 and 2016, many statistics for car accidents in California saw increases. The number of fatalities related to accidents went up by 7 percent. Fatalities involving impaired drivers, motorcyclists, and passengers not using seat belts all increased. Even fatalities involving cars vs. bicycles, cars vs. pedestrians, and teen drivers increased.

That’s just fatal accidents. The number of injuries also saw increases. In just Los Angeles County, the total number of injuries, including fatal injuries, increased by more than 9,000 people between those years.

When you’re in a car accident, you have certain responsibilities. You need to stay at the scene. You should call police if there is significant damage. Even an accident that seems minor can be costly, so it’s often best to get an accident report filed. You should see a doctor to make sure you don’t have bone fractures, muscle injuries, head injuries, or internal injuries.

It’s also important to know what your legal requirements are. These are the deadlines for filing personal injury lawsuits. In California, there are statutes of limitations you need to know and adhere to.

What Are the Statutes of Limitations Regarding Car Accidents?

Continue reading “What is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in California?”

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