AUTO ACCIDENTS FAQS

PROTECT YOURSELF AND GET THE MAXIMUM RECOVERY

1. What to do if you are in an accident?

Seriously consider any questions asked of you by insurance companies wanting a statement from you after an accident.  For example, information on your care, treatment, health issues and medical conditions prior to the accident may be used against you later.

Make sure you tell your healthcare providers about all your symptoms, especially including any pain, weakness and numbness you may be experiencing, even if it occurs only on occasion.  An insurance company will evaluate your claim based on your doctor's records and reports.  Therefore, you should maintain a good relationship with your healthcare providers.  Missed appointments and lack of cooperation with your own doctors may damage your claim.

Understand that an insurance company may hire a private investigator to monitor your activities.  This may include videotaping you without your knowledge or interviewing your neighbors or other people who know you. 

Don't sign any kind of release without giving it serious thought.  Once you sign a release, it will end your claim, preventing any further monetary recovery.  Don't let the insurance company intimidate you into signing a release.  You should speak with an attorney first, and also should only sign a release after your healthcare provider can determine what your future health care expenses and needs will be.

 

 

2. Do I need to call my insurance company?

Yes. If you were involved in a car accident which caused injury to anyone or caused damage to anyone's vehicle or property, you should call your own insurance carrier and report the accident immediately.  Your auto liability insurance policy requires that you do this.  If you don't, you run the risk that your company may deny coverage.

You should tell your insurance company that the incident occurred; however, it is usually best to consult a lawyer before you tell the representative how and why the collision happened or discuss issues concerning fault.  You should not give a recorded statement about the incident to anyone including your own insurance company representatives without first discussing this with your lawyer.

3. Should I call the other person's insurance company?

You may, but it is not required.  If you do, you can tell the company representative the name and address of its insured and the location of your car so the representative can send an adjuster or appraiser to look at your vehicle damage.  Do not talk to anyone at the insurance company about how or why the incident happened. Never admit fault and never give a recorded statement.

Remember, the other person's insurance company would like to prove you were at fault for the accident so they do not have to pay for your harm.  The company will try to use what you say against you.  This is an important reason you may want to consult an attorney about your claim.  

4. What if the other person's insurance company contacts me?

Do not talk to the representative except to give him information regarding damage to your vehicle and the location of your vehicle. Never give a recorded statement or discuss the facts of the accident, how and/or why it happened. Tell the insurance company representative to contact your insurance company or your lawyer, if you have one.

5. Who will pay for the damage to my vehicle or my accident-related medical bills?

The person who caused the accident may be liable to pay for your damages, medical bills, and lost wages.  If the negligent party had liability insurance at the time of the accident, his insurance company may pay your damages. If the negligent party was uninsured, your own uninsured motorist insurance coverage may pay for your damages.

6. What if I am sued?

If you are sued regarding the accident, notify your insurance company immediately and ask where you should send copies of the legal papers.  Ask for and write down the name and phone number of the person with whom you are speaking, and keep this information.

Send the legal papers initiating the lawsuit to the address given you.  Keep a copy of these legal papers.  Call your insurance company in a few days to verify the company received the papers.  Ask for the contact information of the lawyer the company has hired to represent you.  Call the lawyer. Once he confirms the insurance company has hired him to represent you, give him your contact information and answer any questions he has.

7. Do I need a lawyer?

If you were injured and believe you were not at fault in causing a motor vehicle accident you may need a lawyer to investigate the accident to determine whether you have a claim for negligence against the other driver(s).  If you do, you may want to hire the lawyer to pursue your legal claims.

While you may not need an attorney for a small property damage only claim, many car accidents result in personal injuries to the driver and/or passengers that would be best handled by an experienced car accident attorney.  Many of the factors that contribute to the value of a personal injury case are not easily determinable and are often ignored by an insurance adjuster.  Insurance companies are trying to minimize claims paid out to victims of motor vehicle accidents, and insurance adjusters will often deliberately not consider your pain and suffering, which is a major component of your damages.

Unless you have experience and expertise in handling car accident claims, you can spend a significant amount of time and effort and still end up with a bad settlement that does not represent reasonable compensation for all your injuries.

 

 

8. Can I afford to hire an attorney?

 

When you or someone you love is injured in a car accident, it can be an overwhelming and stressful time. The treatment of physical and emotional injuries can be extremely difficult.  Additionally, injuries can keep victims from working and earning a living, which adds financial strain to an already challenging time.  Obtaining the care and compensation you need to recover is crucial, but many victims worry they cannot afford to hire an attorney to help meet this goal.  It is possible, however, to secure effective legal representation through a contingent fee agreement with an attorney.

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Recent Case Results:

Our client was hit on the highway causing serious injuries. - $1,000,000

Our client was rear ended while exiting the highway.

- $350,000

Our client was injured in a t-bone car accident on the passenger side door. - $150,000

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Please be advised that the information contained in this web site is general information regarding the law.  Nothing contained herein constitutes the formal rendering of legal advice, nor can the creation of an attorney/client relationship be formed by merely visiting this web site.  The law can be quite complex and nuanced and is constantly changing.  If you wish to discuss a legal matter with The Law Office of Henry Ahrens, please call us at (619) 284-2884. 

 

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3435 Camino del Rio South, Suite 210  San Diego, CA 92108