The Law Offices of H.K. Graham was established with one thing in mind: to aggressively resolve your personal injury claim by getting the best results possible for you. That means making sure you recover physically and emotionally and you receive the maximum monetary recovery at the end of your treatment. Our job is to help you recover fully on all of these levels.
If you or a family member has been injured in an auto collision caused by someone else, there are a number of things you should – and should not – do to protect yourself. Immediately after the accident, assess the damages. Is anyone injured? If so call for an ambulance. If a person is unconscious or complains of neck or back pain, it is best not to move them until qualified medical personnel arrive. Are the cars moveable to allow traffic to continue to flow? Call the police. If the police cannot send a unit, take photos of the position and damage to the cars before moving them. Include landmarks into photos for later referrence. If there are witnesses get their names and phone numbers. Exchange insurance information with all involved parties.
Once you have left the scene of the collision you need to contact both your insurance company and the other ‘at fault’ driver’s insurance company. In California every driver is legally required to have auto insurance. Every auto collision case has two basic components, 1) a property damage part and , 2) a bodily injury part. The ‘at fault’ insurance will have a minimum of $5,000.00 for property damage, and a minimum of $15,000.00 per person, $30,000.00 per incident, to cover the resulting injuries. Even if liability is clear police reports often take several weeks to be prepared. The other ‘at fault’ insurance company may not accept liability immediately. if you have “Collision” coverage you may want to use your own auto insurance for your car repairs. You will need to discuss this with your auto insurance adjuster early on to decide who is going to pay for the property damage.
Be careful what you say to insurance companies.
When talking to your auto insurance adjuster be clear and concise. Explain what happened in simple terms. When talking to the ‘at fault’ insurance company be honest and brief. Ask them if they have accepted liability. If so, ask them to provide a rental car while your car is being repaired. They may want a statement from you about the accident. If there is a police report refer them to that report. If you give a statement be clear and brief. Tell them about the collision and about your injuries in simple terms. Do not let them lead you into a discussion of your past medical conditions. Information about past medical care may be used against you later in an attempt to deny payment of your medical bills. Do not sign any papers that give the ‘at fault’ insurance company access to your personal medical records. They will used that to explore your past medical history and will try and deny your claim.
If you have any injuries, seek treatment immediately. It is very common for “soft tissue” injuries, (muscle strains and sprains), to develop several hours or even days after a collision. If you are injured you need to seek treatment. Waiting and hoping it will get better on it’s own may result in a denial of your claim by the ‘at fault’ insurance company. Insurance companies evaluate your claim based in great measure on your doctor’s records and reports. Be thorough and complete in describing your symptoms, including any pain you may be experiencing. And be diligent about following through with all medical treatments; your claim could be damaged by missed appointments or not cooperating with your doctor.
The ‘at fault’ insurance carrier will generally not pay your medical bills as you treat.
You will need to use your own insurance, either your auto “med-pay” coverage or your health insurance to pay for your medical treatment as you treat. Typically the ‘at fault’ insurance company will make one payment at the end of your case to compensate you for all of your damages including all of your medical bills, your wage loss and an amount for your “pain and suffering”.
Insurance companies involved in defending against auto collision claims are not looking out for your interests. In fact, insurance companies train their adjusters in techniques to trivialize your injuries and to minimize your compensation. Don’t be fooled by an initial pleasant contact. They quickly change their approach once real dollars are involved.
The Law Offices of H.K. Graham is here to help you resolve your personal injury claim with maximum monetary recovery. Maximum monetary recovery only occurs after you have recovered fully both medically and emotionally. Our job is to help you recover fully on all of these levels. Call us at 831-457-2733 for a free consultation.