Sacramento Car Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, or there has been a wrongful death in the family, please contact the Sacramento Car Accident Attorneys at Eason & Tambornini Law Firm for a free consultation before speaking with the insurance companies. There is no fee for our services unless you are paid.
While there have been significant improvements in the safety features on today’s cars, the number of car accidents is still staggering. There are more than six million car accidents and more than 33,000 car accident deaths a year in the United States alone. With the rise in usage of smart phones, and texting while driving, there has been a corresponding rise in car accidents caused by distracted drivers.
Following a car accident, insurance claims adjusters are very quick to try and contact the victims to obtain their recorded statements. The claims adjusters portray an image of being caring and wanting to work with you. However, the first thing you should remember is that they are NOT your friend! There is a reason they act quick; they want to get statements from you before you are represented by an attorney, as those statements will later be used against you.
There is a direct relationship between an insurance company’s profit and the amount they pay on claims. The less they pay you, the more profit they make. It is a third party insurance claims adjuster’s job to adjust or reduce your claim from a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident to as little as possible to boost their profits.
If an insurance company, police officer or driver tells attribute you with “fault” for the accident, partially or completely, you do not have to agree. Just like in a construction accident, dog bite case, or spinal cord injury matter, you have the right to have your have your case heard by a neutral party to determine liability. The determination may be through an arbitration, by a judge, or even by a jury of your peers.
Frequently Asked Questions posed to our Sacramento Car Accident Lawyers:
Television and radio can be very informative places, but not usually the best places to find a professional. Often, the advertisements are done by paid actors, and are not even the attorneys themselves. What many people do not realize is that many of the advertisements on television or radio for car accident attorneys are just referral agencies. The attorney advertised often never speaks with you or handles your case, they simply refer your car accident case to a different attorney who pays a referral fee. Historically, the best way to find a car accident attorney is through referrals or from reviews left from past clients. We are very proud of our reviews, and hope that you found us from one of those sites.
Why do our car accident attorneys win so many favorable settlements, judgments, or awards for our clients?
We firmly believe that our successes are the result of not only the experience of our attorneys, but also the hard work we put into our car accident cases. It is easy for a lazy attorney or a car accident client to assemble a police report, some basic medical records, and photos and send them to an insurance company and request payment. Doing so will often result in a settlement offer, and that offer may even sound good. However, we pride ourselves on working first with our clients to make sure that they receive the best medical care. Once our clients’ injuries from a car accident have been resolved, we then turn our focus to determining how their lives have been impacted since the car accident, and how their lives will continue to be impacted in the future. Only after careful review do we request a settlement. If the insurance company’s response is not appropriate, we file a lawsuit if needed. During the pending car accident lawsuit, we continue to try to work towards an informal resolution if possible, but when the insurance company is not treating our clients fairly we will present the matter to a jury, judge, or arbitrator.
The yellow pages and internet are loaded with advertisements from car accident attorney claiming to be the best car accident attorneys or the best personal injury attorneys. Some advertisements even like to tally millions of dollars of settlements reached suggesting that they can do the same for you. However, these advertisements fail to tell you anything about the quality of their representation.
The car accident attorneys at Eason & Tambornini take pride in representing each of our clients personally, and resolving their unique needs. We are not a referral mill, not a sweat shop of transient car accident attorneys, but rather car accident attorneys that take pride in representing the specific needs of each of our clients. Like other personal injury attorneys, we do not charge for an initial consultation. We hope you will call us and interview us as if we are prospective employees to work for you. Ask us the hard questions such as: will you be the attorney working on my case; what do you think the strengths of my case are; what do you think the weakness of my case are; what are things that can be done to increase the chances of success in the case?
How do I prove that the other driver in a car accident was negligent? What does negligence mean in the context of a car accident?
In a car accident, the term negligence generally means that a driver failed to act like a “reasonable” person would have in the same or similar circumstances. In determining this question, it is important to take into consideration the “circumstances” surrounding the car accident. For example, driving a particular speed may not be negligent if the roads were dry, but could be extremely negligent if the roads were wet, slick, or icy.
In addition, there is also a concept in the law known as “negligence per se.” While the definition is a little more complicated, in a general sense a person is negligent per se if they violate a statute, code, or ordinance that was designed to protect the victim. An easy example of negligence per se is running a stop sign, and causing an accident. Other examples of negligence per se likely include talking on a cell phone without a hands free device, crossing a double yellow line to make a pass, or driving at night without headlights.
A good car accident attorney will usually say “it depends.” A better car accident attorney will say “it depends” and then proceed to tell you the major factors impacting value specific to your car accident case, and give you various ranges within those scenarios.
The four largest factors impacting the value of a car accident case are: likelihood of success in proving liability; the likelihood of success in proving the damages claimed; the amount of damages claimed; and the likelihood of collecting after trial (e.g. is there sufficient insurance coverage for the defendant; or assets of the defendant to satisfy a judgment).
Proving the likelihood of success should be the easiest of the four factors to analyze, but this factor often changes as the case progresses. Witness testimony can change, be better than originally anticipated, or sometimes worse than anticipated. Witnesses can sometimes be found that will bolster a case. Also, witnesses’ memories can sometimes fade, impacting the case.
The types of damages claimed and the amount incurred have serious implications on valuation in a case. Large medical bills can sometimes drive up the value of a case. However, if the medical bills are not necessary or are only for diagnostic treatment the insurance company may deny liability for these bills.
Finally, cases that initially appear to have a large value may, unfortunately, have little to no value if there is a lack of insurance coverage or assets of the defendant to satisfy a judgment. Sadly, we often see drunk driving accidents, wrongful death accidents, and serious brain injury cases have little to no settlement value because the drivers did not have adequate insurance. One way to protect yourself against this is to carry your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with sufficient policy limits. A good car accident attorney will discuss these factors not only at the outset of your case and during your first meeting, but will continue to analyze and discuss these factors with you throughout their representation.
We often hear horror stories about the time it took to settle a case from people that hired the wrong car accident attorney. Many car accident attorneys are known for settling their clients’ cases too soon. They settle the case without waiting to see if the client’s injuries are stationary. They also settle the case by accepting one of the initial offers from a defendant because the attorney finds it too much work to try and settle for more.
On the other hand, we often hear situations where the car accident attorney took too long to settle the case and the case dragged on for years. There are many reasons for cases to drag on, and some of those reasons are necessary evils in order to obtain the best settlement. Unfortunately, many cases do not need to take as long as they do, and the delay is largely on the part of the attorney for failing to press the car accident case.
While there are always exceptions, it is our general philosophy that no matter how minor the injury, a car accident case should not even be considered for settlement for at least six to eight weeks after the accident. We want to be sure that there will not be any lingering injuries before settling even a small injury case. In a more significant injury case, we prefer to wait, if at all possible, until the injuries resolve or at least reached a plateau. This could take weeks, months, and sometimes longer. However, waiting is usually the better option because you should be confident that your injuries are either resolved or stable before settling.
Even when a case is ready to be settled, cooperation from the defendant or insurance company is necessary to voluntarily settle. Some insurance companies and adjusters are more cooperative than others, thus resulting in quicker settlements. Other insurance companies and adjusters are less cooperative, and thus those cases may need to go to trial to reach a proper result. The length of time to get to trial fluctuates based on which court the case is in, the judge assigned, and the workload of the courts. However, it is generally anticipated that a typical car accident case goes to trial approximately 18 months after the case was filed with the court.
It is important for a victim of a car accident case to know that attorney’s fees are negotiable. Attorney’s fees in a car accident case are almost always handled on a contingency basis, which means you do not have to pay any attorneys fees unless and until you get paid a settlement.
The percentage of the settlement that a car accident attorney will charge in a contingency case may be dependent on the stage of the case when it settled. For example, a car accident attorney may charge as attorney’s fees 33% if the case settles prior to filing a lawsuit, and may increase their attorney’s fees to 40% if the case proceeds to trial.
Not only are attorney’s fees negotiable in a car accident case, but you can also negotiate these different percentages based on the stage of the case. In some cases, car accident attorneys may agree to charge less if the case settles within a specifically defined quick period of time (e.g. within 180 days). You should be very cautious about choosing an attorney just because their fee percentage is lower than the next. A car accident lawyer that is willing to handle a case for a low percentage may be willing to do so because they do not intend to work hard on your file. A car accident attorney that will work hard on your file to achieve the maximum result will want to be adequately compensated, and you will want to adequately compensate them to make sure that they work their hardest. So be careful of falling into the trap that the cheapest deal is the best deal, as it almost always is not.
Absolutely not. Think of hiring a car accident attorney like hiring an employee. When you meet with a car accident attorney you should treat the meeting like a job interview, and you are the boss. Once hired, you need to work as a team, but during the hiring process you hold all of the cards, and should make sure that you are comfortable with working with someone before hiring them.
A car accident attorney works for you. You should feel comfortable working with the attorney, and you should expect them to work hard and communicate with you. If you are not satisfied with your existing car accident attorney, you can fire them and hire someone else. As you might expect, however, firing an attorney should not be taken lightly. You should be confident that you are dissatisfied with the attorney, and not just the message they are delivering. A good attorney will tell you the good and the bad about your case, and just because they are being honest with you is not a good reason to switch attorneys.
It is not necessary to seek medical treatment to be entitled to a claim in a car accident case. Many people suffer a type of pain caused by a car accident that medical treatment will not assist. However, without documentation of the injury and medical treatment the value of your claim will likely be very little. On the other hand, you should never seek out medical treatment solely for the purpose of bolstering a car accident claim. If you are not injured, you should feel lucky and move on. Unnecessarily seeking medical treatment drives skepticism of juries, judges, and insurance companies, and makes the next person’s case more difficult.
If you have been in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you are typically entitled to recover from the other driver or their insurance carrier for reasonable medical bills incurred. However, the law does not require the other driver or insurance carrier to pay your medical bills as they are incurred. Rather these bills are paid as part of a settlement, judgment, or arbitration award. Prior to a settlement or court order, the injured party typically bears the responsibility to pay these medical bills either directly or through private insurance.
In certain situations treatment may be performed on a lien basis. A lien is a contract in which you and the medical provider agree that the bills for medical treatment will be paid from an ultimate settlement or resolution down the road. If you need medical treatment for a car accident and do not have the money or insurance to pay for the treatment, the car accident attorneys at Eason & Tambornini can provide you with the names of medical providers and doctors that will occasionally work on a lien basis.
Pain and suffering is generally used by car accident attorneys as a catch-all phrase that refers to damages to which you cannot clearly point to a readily calculable dollar value. In a car accident case, economic damages are often a way of referring to medical bills incurred, wages or salary lost, damages to personal property such as your car, and things which a dollar number can be affixed with a degree of certainty. Pain and suffering is sometimes known as general damages, or those items that are unique to each person, such as: physical pain; emotional pain; discomfort; anxiety; depression; difficulty sleeping or sitting; and even personal embarrassment.
Punitive damages in car accident cases are very rare, but are permitted in unique situations. Punitive damages are intended to punish and make an example of someone for their conduct. Punitive damages are not generally allowed for simple negligence, which is what 99% of car accidents are based upon. Punitive damages are usually only allowed in California, and most other states, when you can show that the defendant is guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice.
There are many definitions of malice, but the most common definition of malice in the context of a car accident is when the defendant was aware of the dangerous consequences of his conduct, and the he or she willfully and deliberately failed to avoid those consequences. Generally speaking, negligence or even gross negligence is not sufficient to rise to the level of malice. You usually must show some aggravating factors as evidence that the conduct was willful and wanton (e.g. drag racing through a residential neighborhood at twice the speed limit, and running several stop signs in the process may rise to the level).
From a client’s perspective, it is rarely expensive to pursue a car accident case, at least in the beginning. Most car accident cases are handled on a contingency basis, where you pay no attorneys fees until the case settles. Likewise, most car accident attorneys advance the out-of-pocket courts costs and fees. However, the costs advanced by the attorney to prosecute the case can be particularly expensive depending on the case. It is not uncommon for attorneys to spend tens of thousands of dollars on expert witnesses such as medical doctors, accident reconstructionists, life-planning experts, and economists. While not all cases need all of those experts, an expert witness of some sort is usually necessary in all car accident cases, and in some cases even additional types of experts are required.
It is wise to at least consult with an attorney within 24 hours of an accident. You do not need an attorney for all car accidents, and many claims can be resolved without an attorney in small claims court. However, you should almost always try to speak with an attorney within 24 hours of your injury to discuss items such as: the cons of giving a recorded statement to insurance adjusters, as they will rarely be used for your benefit; documenting your injuries and claims; securing witnesses and preserving documentary evidence such as photographs. During that same initial consultation, you and the car accident attorney should discuss the likelihood of the injuries becoming significant and whether the hiring of a car accident attorney immediately is the right decision.
If I don’t have any intention of actually going to trial, should I still hire a car accident attorney?
While some people will profess they want their “day in court,” the reality is that going to trial is generally not an enjoyable position for anyone. A good car accident attorney will prepare the case to maximize the chances of resolving the case without formal court intervention. A good car accident attorney will not only properly assemble evidence to persuade the insurance adjuster to pay top dollar, but will hire the appropriate experts when needed to provide explanations and opinions. The best car accident attorneys also have the respect of insurance companies, so as to foster productive dialogue. However, to truly be one of the best car accident attorneys, the client must be willing to take their car accident case to trial if the insurance company is not being fair. Likewise, a good client is willing to go to trial if the insurance company is not being reasonable.
If I hire a car accident attorney, will I wind up with less money in my pocket than if I settled the case myself?
A reputable car accident attorney will not take your case unless they believe that they can add value to your case. Adding value to your case means not only getting more from the defendant or insurance carrier, but making sure you net more money in your pocket. Car accident attorneys can add value in not only presenting your case to an insurance adjuster, arbitrator, judge, or jury, but also in negotiating resolutions, waiver, or reduction of lien claimants. Even in a “policy limits” case, a good car accident attorney can often add value by negotiating away the lien or other claims, as well as finding possible other avenues of recovery.
Even the best dentist would not try to perform a root canal on himself. Likewise, good personal injury attorneys would not try to settle their own car accident cases, because they would not be able see things with the objectivity necessary to maximize their recovery. This is where the phrase “An attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
By the same token, trying to represent your own case or settle your own case is usually a recipe for disaster. You are likely to miss important things that could seriously change not only the amount that you recover, but reduce the amount that you have to reimburse. In addition to missing things, you are likely to make statements that will hurt you.
The time period in which a lawsuit must be filed is commonly referred to as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations establishes the deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed. Failure to file a lawsuit by that deadline will result in waiver of your rights. There are also some equitable theories such as laches that can bar a lawsuit for being untimely even if filed within the statute of limitations period. Even without the legal obstacles, waiting too long to file a lawsuit can result in witnesses being lost, assets dissipated, and faded memories. Consequently, there are many reasons not to wait until the last moment. Conversely, sometimes waiting makes sense, specifically if you are waiting for injuries to heal or criminal trials involving the same issue to resolve.
The statute of limitations for most car accident cases in California is two years from the date of injury. However, if the injury was caused by a government entity, the time period could be as short as six months! The statute of limitations for matters other than car accidents vary significantly, so if you are planning on holding off in filing a lawsuit, you should always consult with an attorney early on to confirm the statute of limitations date for your case and that the laws have not changed.
You are not required to provide a statement under oath for your car accident to another party’s insurance company. Insurance companies often do this to try to lead you into minimizing the significance of your case. This process is similar to a police detective trying to get a recorded statement from “party in interest.” The police detective will lead them to believe that talking will help their case, and it does not. Insurance company adjusters lead you into believing that the statement will be used to help your case, but it does not. They will typically ask questions in a way so as not to elicit information that is best for your case.
If you lost time from work because of a car accident, even if compensated for it by vacation pay or sick pay, you are entitled to be reimbursed for that time off. Sick pay and vacation pay are credits that you earned by virtue of your employment. They are a right that you lost when you were forced to use them, and thus you should be compensated for that time off as if you were not paid.
Whether you can sue the parents of a teenager directly for a car accident can hinge on many questions, including whether the teenager was still a minor and whether the parents negligently entrusted the vehicle to the teenager. However, often you do not actually need to sue the parents. If the teenager was a permissible user of his or her parents car, and not expressly excluded from coverage on the insurance policy, the insurance policy on the parents car will cover the teenager. Generally, and absent an express exclusion, a car insurance policy covers anyone driving the vehicle with the permission of the owners.
Generally speaking, you are responsible for emergency services called on your behalf, even if they ultimately were not needed. However, if the other party caused the car accident, you can seek reimbursement for the ambulance charge or fire truck charge from the other party.
If you are in a car accident, and the other party has minimum insurance or low insurance limits, do you have to settle for that amount?
You are never required to “settle.” Settlement is a voluntary act, and one that should be done when the risk/reward or cost/benefit of pursuing settlement makes more sense than proceeding. If a driver has only minimum insurance or very low limits, you do not have to settle the case and accept the offer from the settlement. However, you really should speak with an attorney before continuing to pursue a case in that situation. Generally, people that carry minimum insurance limits do not have financial resources to settle an excess damages case. Furthermore, most claims caused by car accidents can be discharged in a bankruptcy with accidents caused by drunk drivers being an exception to discharge. On the other hand, a good car accident attorney can still often provide significant value in a minimum car insurance policy case. A car accident attorney can help you negotiate liens, and often even get them waived. Furthermore, a good car accident attorney may be able to find other avenues to pursue your claims such as vicarious liability, umbrella coverage, and additional third party liability.
If you are rear-ended after making a right hand turn, is the other driver still liable for the car accident?
This is a great question, and there can be some conflicting answers. Generally, a car must yield to oncoming traffic. Consequently, even if you were in a right hand turn lane and making a right hand turn, you generally must yield to the on-coming traffic (e.g. not cut them off). On the other hand, the oncoming traffic must be travelling at a safe speed for the traffic conditions. If they were travelling too fast for the conditions, they could be liable for rear ending you, and not yielding. In a case like this, it is particularly important that you hire a car accident attorney.
While it is obviously illegal to drive drunk or under the impairment of drugs and alcohol, in a car accident the plaintiff must still prove that the driver was at fault. The good news is that proving a drunk driver was at fault is usually fairly easy. Drunk drivers are notorious for failing to yield, driving too close, and failing to stop. Liability is rarely a challenge. Besides proving liability, it is also very important to prove that alcohol was a partial cause of the accident if there is not enough insurance to cover the injuries. Damages caused by alcohol related car accidents can be excluded from a person’s bankruptcy discharge, and thus subject to collection for the life of the drunk driver.
What happens if the driver that caused the accident does not have insurance, but the car or truck he was driving had insurance?
The good news is that if the car or truck that hit you was insured, then generally any person driving that vehicle is covered by that insurance. Determining whether the insurance covers the driver in a car accident is dependent on whether the driver was a permissive driver or whether the driver was an excluded driver.
To be a permissive driver, the owner of the car must have authorized or otherwise permitted the person to drive the vehicle. If the car had been stolen, then the insurance would likely not apply because the driver was a not a permissive driver.
Besides being a permissive driver, it is important that the driver was not an expressly excluded driver. It is not uncommon in roommate situations, for an insurance company to expressly exclude adult roommates that are not officially on the policy. This must be done in advance, and cannot be done after the car accident. However, it is somewhat of a regular occurrence. Sometimes, you will also see certain family members be expressly excluded from policies. This is common in situations where one of the family members has a particularly bad driving record, and the family wants to save money on their premiums. Again, the exclusion of a driver must be done prior to the car accident, and must be in writing.
It is not uncommon to have the amount of debt owed on the car to be more than the value of the car, especially when the vehicle is new. Unfortunately, the at-fault driver or insurance company is not generally liable for the amount of your debt, but rather only for the value of the car. Thus, you may still be liable for any difference on the car loan. As such, it is particularly important that when negotiating the value of your car with an insurance company to not only take into account the value of the car, but also the cost of replacement including sales taxes, licensing, and fees. Another way to avoid this problem is to purchase what is commonly referred to as gap insurance. Gap insurance is insurance that is in place to expressly cover the difference between the value of the car and the debt owed. Most new car dealerships will offer you this type of coverage when you purchase a car.
Multiple car, truck, or vehicle accidents are particularly troubling. They cause the greatest amount of damages, and are the most difficult to correctly determine the party at fault. As to the first vehicles in the car accident, traditional principles of negligence apply such as was someone travelling at an excessive speed, did someone fail to yield, and/or failure to signal. The subsequent car entering the accident is usually the most difficult. There will likely be continuing fault and liability on the car(s) that started the accident, but there may also be liability on cars failing to yield or for driving too fast during an emergency situation. If you have been involved in a multiple car accident, you really should seek counsel not only for your claims, but to make sure you are not inadvertently found liable for the injuries of others in the multicar accident.
By default, California is an “at-will” employment law state. Theoretically, an employer can terminate an employee “at-will” and for any reason, and without cause. There are however many exceptions to this at-will status that may apply following a car accident, such as: Americans with Disability Act; Family Medical Leave Act; various California Labor Codes applicable to work related injuries; union agreements; and contractual agreements with your employer. If you were in a car accident serious enough to require that you be on extended medical leave, you should definitely seek the assistance of a car accident attorney.
What happens if my car was totaled in a car accident, and I don’t agree with the Kelley Blue Book value, or the insurance company will not pay me the Kelley Blue Book Value?
Neither you, nor the insurance company is required to accept the Kelley Blue Book Value for your car, truck, or motorcycle. Kelley Blue Book is a private publishing company that strives to determine the best estimate of the fair value of cars across the entire United States. Anytime you try to standardize something across such a large product and geographic area, you are susceptible to significant errors. Kelley Blue Book does a very good job, but there are significant discrepancies. You are never required to accept the valuation by Kelley Blue Book, by an insurance company, or anyone else. Likewise, the insurance company does not have to accept it either.
In determining the value of your car after a car accident, you should check not only with Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com) , but also with various other places where cars are placed for sale such as www.craigslist.org; www.ebay.com/motors; www.autotrader.com; and your local newspapers. Assemble lists of comparable cars for sale, and their prices. Then compare your features to the other cars, and based on that information determine the value of your car and present the same to the insurance carrier. If they disagree, you can demand arbitration and/or sue in small claims or superior court depending on the specifics of your case.
If a police report, sheriff report, or CHP report is wrong, it is not the end of the world. The police report is only hearsay, and the conclusions are often of an officer who did not see the car accident. The judge, jury, or arbitrator makes the final determination as to who was at fault. In most cases, the police report is NOT admitted into evidence at trial because it is only second-hand accounts of what occurred. If the police report says you were at fault, and you believe the report is wrong, you should contact a car accident attorney immediately to help obtain and preserve evidence to rebut the police or highway patrol’s conclusions.
Obviously, if you were injured in a car accident, the first thing you should do is to seek medical treatment. This is more important than anything else. If the emergency room doctors told you to follow up with your primary care physician, or if you later still have pain, it is also very important that you follow up with that primary care doctor. If you do not follow up with your primary care doctor, then the conclusion reached by many judges, juries, and claims adjusters is that any injuries have resolved. Consequently seeking medical attention when needed is of primary importance.
In addition to seeking medical treatment, it is important that you gather and preserve evidence. Taking photographs and contact information of witnesses will usually prove very helpful to a judge, jury or claims adjuster in reaching the correct result. you have any injuries, you should seek the advice of a car accident attorney. One important thing that you should not do is give a written or recorded statement to anyone else’s insurance carrier! While you think you may be helping your case, and/or have nothing to hide, you could be led down an unfavorable path with artful questioning by a skilled insurance adjuster.
Unfortunately, in our economic times it is very common for drivers in car accidents to not have insurance, or even more regularly to not have enough insurance (e.g. underinsured). If a driver in a car accident is uninsured or under insured, you are not required to settle with the driver or the insurance carrier for the minimum policy amounts. However, more often than not, it is very difficult to collect from an uninsured or underinsured driver. In these cases, we focus our efforts on finding other possible carriers, such as whether the driver was in the course and scope of employment. Alternatively, we look to see if there is uninsured motorist coverage under your policy of insurance. We can often provide assistance in negotiating liens and finding other ways to reduce your loss.
What happens if we did not report an accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles, or file a Traffic Accident Report SR 1?
The failure to file an accident report with the Department of Motor Vehicles is not a defense to your case. However, it can raise concerns as to whether the was some collusion, or whether you were actually injured. In California, a Traffic Accident Report SR1 must be filed anytime you are involved in an accident when there was property damage of more than $750, when someone was injured no matter how minor, or when someone was killed. The prudent person will file an SR1, even if late.
If you do not have health insurance and were in a car accident, a car accident attorney can put you in touch with medical providers that will often agree to treat you on a lien basis. Treating on a lien basis means you still have to pay for the services, but you can do so at the end of the case rather than upfront.
How do you get a copy of the police report, CHP report, or traffic collision report after a car accident?
If you were involved in a car accident, the responding police officer, sheriff, or highway patrol should have given you an index or business card with specific information on how to obtain a copy of the traffic collision report. If you did not receive that information, or cannot find it, you should contact the agency that responded to the scene (e.g. Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento Sheriff Department, or California Highway Patrol). Most of the agencies have a webpage, which will tell you how to order a copy of the report. Of course, you do not need to get a copy yourself. A car accident lawyer would generally obtain that for you.
Generally, the police, sheriff, highway patrol or coroner will not provide you with a preliminary report until such time as the report is finalized. It never hurts to ask, but requests are usually not honored.
There are several rules of the road that apply at four way intersections. The first vehicle to stop is usually the first to go; farthest to the right goes first; and straight traffic goes first. Unfortunately, these rules to the road do not always leave a clear picture of who has the right of way, and who should have gone first. The overriding concept often becomes who “failed to yield.” If you were t-boned at a four-way intersection in which all directions had stop signs, the fact that you were t-boned is good evidence that the other car failed to yield. Regardless, these are particularly important cases in which you should hire a car accident attorney rather than try to handle yourself.
Insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims; they are in the business of collecting premiums. The less in claims they pay, the more profits they make. It is customary for insurance companies to low-ball car accident victims. As attorneys, it is our job to educate the claims adjuster as to why they should pay what the victim deserves, and if the insurance company still will not cooperate then to file a lawsuit or demand arbitration. The end result is that a car accident victim does not have to accept what the insurance company is offering, they have the right to have their claims heard by an independent and impartial trier of fact.
The most common mistakes people make after a car accident are: failing to call the police and/or to file a traffic collision report; failing to seek medical treatment immediately, and/or follow up with their primary care physicians; failure to take photographs of the vehicle, the accident scene, and most importantly injured parts of our body (e.g. bruises, cuts, etc); failure to notify your insurance company; failure to hire a car accident attorney; and the biggest mistake is giving a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company.
You are entitled to recovery of not only your out of pocket losses such as property damage, loss of wages or profits, and medical bills, but you are also entitled to the value of your injuries for pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, an loss of enjoyment of life.
If you were injured in a hit and run car accident, you should make a police report immediately, and seek medical treatment. If you were forced off the road, you will want to try and photograph or document any place on your car showing that there was actual contact with the other vehicle. Without actual contact, many insurance claims are denied. You will next want to contact a car accident attorney who can make a claim against your own insurance company under your uninsured motorist coverage.
Some victims of hit and run car accidents are unnecessarily afraid that their insurance rates will go up if they file a claim. However, those fears are unnecessary as an insurance company may not raise your rates unless you were at fault.
What is the difference between bodily injury liability and uninsured motorist bodily injury liability on my insurance?
The phrase bodily injury liability, or BI, by itself refers to the insurance limits applicable to people who have claims against you. For example, if you have a $15,000 each person, $30,000 each occurrence policy for bodily injury, that generally means that your insurance carrier will pay claims to other people on your behalf in an amount up to $15,000 per person, and up to $30,000 in total for the entire car accident.
If the word “uninsured” is used in the same phrase as bodily injury, then those policy limits are the maximum amounts that your insurance company will pay you, or someone in your vehicle, for the injuries that you suffered. Uninsured also can mean “underinsured,” as well, which means that if the other driver has a small policy you can look to your own for the difference. You should speak with one of our car accident attorneys however for a complete explanation.
Besides obtaining the most in compensation from the other party’s insurance company, a major benefit of hiring one of our Sacramento Car Accident Attorneys is to help you reduce the liens on your case. When you seek medical treatment for your injuries, the hospitals, doctors, medical providers, and even your own insurance company will try to collect from your settlement for their fees. Unfortunately, the medical providers have continued a practice of over-charging for emergency services even in medical malpractice cases, and thus the medical providers and insurance companies try and pass those high costs on to you. The Sacramento Car Accident Attorneys at Eason & Tambornini have an outstanding record of not only collecting large judgments and settlements in cases ranging from soft-tissue to brain injuries, but also have an outstanding record in reducing and sometimes even eliminating liens completely.
Please call one of the Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyers at Eason & Tambornini to assist you not only in recovering your losses, but to assist you in reducing the amount of liens you have to pay.