CAR ACCIDENT FAQS
What should I do if I'm in a car accident?
The first thing you if involved in an accident is get to a safe place. If you are injured and able to do so, call an ambulance. If someone else is injured and you can help them, help them. Once in a safe place, call the police. Then wait for the police. If you were not at fault, if possible, talk to the other driver and see if he or she will admit to causing the accident. Don’t be accusatory, just start casual conversation about the accident and see what is said. If possible, write down what was said and wait for the police.
When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, it is ok for me to talk them?
Yes, you should. Answer all of the police officers questions truthfully. If you feel an injury, say it and say it clearly. If you do not feel any injury, say that you do not feel any pain at the moment but you can’t see for sure if you were injured or not. That is the absolute truth because most non-serious injuries take a few hours to manifest themselves in the form of swelling, inflammation and then pain. If the accident is very minor and you do not feel any pain, well that’s a good thing and you probably will not need our services. If there is property damage to your car, you should get checked out at the hospital or at a local Urgent Care type of place even if you don’t feel immediate pain. If you are in any type of pain right off the bat you should request an ambulance and ask to be taken to the hospital immediately for observations.
When should I call my lawyer and does it cost anything to speak with the lawyer?
As soon as you have spoken to the police and taken care of your immediate concerns with your injury, you should call us. The call is free, and you pay nothing unless we recover. Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company. If you already have talked to them before you called us, that’s okay. That does not mean you do not have a good case. But, if at all possible, speak with us first and let us do the talking for you. Call me now to talk about your case, We are available 24/7 and you are welcome to call me on my cell phone at (916) 573-0474.
Should I notify my insurance company of the accident?
Yes. You have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company. Most insurance companies require their policyholders to promptly report every auto accident so that they can gather basic information. In fact, failure to provide information to your insurance company in a prompt manner can result in loss of coverage for the accident. However, you should avoid making statements about who was at fault in the accident and only relate the facts of the accident as they occurred. You should consult us before providing any other information to the insurance company.
Should I give any insurance company a recorded statement?
No. While you may be obligated to cooperate with your own insurance company and give your insurance company a statement, that does not require you to give a recorded statement to the other insurance company. Let us deal with them, that’s our job. We will call them 50 times on your behalf if we need to, like I said, that’s our job and we’re happy to do it. Insurance company claims adjusters are trained to save money for the insurance companies, and if they can do that by making liability questionable or establishing that you are faking or exaggerating an injury (even if that is not the case), they may avoid having to pay for the full extent of your injuries.
Is there anything that I can do if the other driver does not have insurance?
Absolutely. Unfortunately many California drivers drive around every day without insurance and it is those people who often cause accidents and injuries. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you may mistakenly think that you do not have recourse. In actuality, you can seek compensation from your own insurance company as part of your uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM or UIM) coverage. A claim against your own insurance company for in this type of case WILL NOT be held against you when it comes to future rates. It is your absolute right to make such and claim, in fact it’s part of what you pay for. If you have an auto accident claim against an uninsured motorist, call us today and we can help. We will answer your call immediately and give you the help you need.
What do I do if the other insurance companies driver contact me?
You are in no way obligated to talk to them, and our best advice is to speak with us before you do. You have been injured, you need to worry about your health. The last thing that you need to worry about is saying the wrong thing to some insurance adjuster who wants to give you as little money as possible. They may try and lead you into saying something that you shouldn’t. Don’t fall for it, call us first.
Do I need a copy of the police report?
Yes, but we will get it for you. We will need a copy of the police report in order to properly assess what happened. We will need that report for several reasons: to get information about the other driver involved in the accident, to get information about the driver’s insurance company; and to see what the police have recorded about how the accident occurred. Often times witnesses names and address and phone numbers will be on the report as well. If you already have it, great, get us a copy when you can. If not, no worries, we will get it for your shortly. Once again, the reason that you hire a lawyer in a case like this is so that you don’t have to worry about doing anything but getting healthy. We do the rest.
How do I go about getting my car repaired?
If you hire a lawyer we can set that up for you. If the other driver’s insurance company accepts responsibility, we will contact them and make sure that they get it fixed and pay for it. If there is a dispute as to liability or the other driver did not have insurance, we will contact your insurance company for you and take care of it. If you choose not to hire a lawyer, you should contact your insurance company about repairs and a rental car, if needed, right away
Who is responsible for providing me with a rental car while my vehicle is being repaired?
The at-fault driver’s insurance company should provide you with a rental car to drive while the repairs to your car are being done. We will take care of this part for you at no charge.
I feel fine. Should I still see a doctor after my automobile accident?
Definitely. Many times injuries sustained during a car accident are not recognized or noticeable until days or weeks after the accident. This means that even though you might feel fine now, you may be suffering from internal injuries. You should always seek medical attention after being involved in an automobile accident. When you see the doctor, make sure you mention all of your complaints, no matter how minor. If you did not cause the accident, the law allows you receive compensation for any medical bills you have incurred as a result of the collision.
Who pays for my medical bills if I've been injured in an accident?
In California, we have Personal Injury Medical Payments, otherwise known as Med Pay, which covers a certain amount of medical bills regardless of who is at fault. Your insurance company takes care of that initially. However, it is the at fault driver’s insurance companies responsibility to pay all of your medical bills incurred as a result of the accident. That includes hospital bills, the cost of the ambulance, all medical bills for treatment and also for physical therapy. We will take care of all of that for you. During our initial intake we will ask you the names of not only your car insurance company but also your health insurance company. We will contact the medical providers and get your bills for you and submit them for reimbursement. We do everything, all at no cost until we make a recover for you. If do not make a recover, you do not pay a dime.
Can I get reimbursed for my pain and suffering caused by the accident?
Absolutely. California law provides that an accident victim is entitled to damages for pain and suffering. That is why you should always write down, each day, all of the pain and suffering that you are feeling and how it is affecting your life. Are you in constant pain? Is it sometimes worse and sometimes better? On a scale of 1 to 10, what is it? These are things we want to know. Is it affecting your life? If yes, how? Are you unable to do things now that you were able to do before? Activities? Sex? Even simple things such as watching TV and eating can be affected by injuries sustained in a car accident. We want to know everything so that you can be fully compensated for your injuries.
Can I get reimbursed for the time that I had to take off work because of my car accident injury?
Yes! You should not have to use your sick time, vacation time and/or benefits to pay for someone else’s mistake. If the other driver is at fault, you should be able to get lost wages reimbursed for any time you missed due to doctor’s appointments or medical restrictions. You may be also entitled to future lost wages and loss of wage-earning capacity. Document these things very carefully. Get documentation from your employer in the form of time sheet reports, pay stubs or other documentation that you have lost wages as a result of the car accident.
If am a passenger, can I make a claim against the driver of the vehicle in which I was riding and/or against the other driver?
Yes. Even if you are a passenger in the at fault driver’s car, you can still file a personal injury claim against the driver of the car in which you were a passenger. If the accident was the other driver’s fault, you can make a claim against that driver. If you are a passenger you automatically have a claim against someone, so if you are injured you should always seek a lawyer. If the driver of the other car was at fault, we would be happy to represent you and the driver of your car if you were both injured. This happens quite often but can sometimes be confusing. If you have any questions, please call us today. The call is free and the advice is priceless.
What if the other driver's negligence caused someone's death?
A case which results in someone’s death is commonly referred to as a “wrongful death” action. We handle these types of cases. The claim can still be pursued on the deceased person’s behalf and the family members known as wrongful death claimants. The wrongful death beneficiaries may be entitled to compensation for any damages, including funeral costs, loss of love and companionship, and economic loss they suffered as a result of the death of their relative. The wrongful death claimants will also be entitled to claim damages for mental anguish and emotional distress suffered as a result of the death of a loved one.
What is my case worth? How much money will I get when the case is over?
This is the question most often asked and the most difficult question to answer. The value of any personal injury auto accident case involves many factors and usually depends on the facts of each case, as no two cases are exactly alike. Some of the factors include the amount of medical expense, damages that may occur in the future, scarring and disfigurement, permanent physical impairment, where the accident took place, the amount of property damages to the vehicles, the amount of insurance coverage and many other factors. The bottom line is this. At United Citizen Law our only goal is to obtain the MAXIMUM possible settlement. Why? Well, the more money you make, the more money we make. It’s a win-win for both attorney and client in a car accident case, that’s why it is imperative to hire an attorney as soon as possible.
What is a rideshare company?
Rideshare companies, also known as Transportation Network Companies, contract with freelance drivers who use their personal vehicles to transport passengers. This service is provided through a smartphone app that is convenient and often inexpensive. Simply pull out your phone, request a ride, and within minutes you’re on your way. Once you arrive at your destination, get out and move on with your day. The app handles the payment automatically.
Can I lose my Uber access if I make a claim?
No, if you bring a valid injury claim under the insurance policy from Uber or Lyft you will not be penalized. Both Uber and Lyft pay a portion of each fare directly to their insurance companies for this exact purpose. Pursuing a claim and retaining an Uber lawyer such as Sam Fareed of the United Citizen Law Office will not cause you to be penalized.
Are Uber or Lyft required to carry insurance?
Yes, AB 2293 went into effect on July 1, 2015. This law sets insurance coverage requirement for all Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) and driver partners in California while they are logged in to the Uber or Lyft platform and waiting for a trip request, also known as period 1.
What insurance companies do Uber and Lyft use?
In California, Uber is covered by James River for their insurance, while Lyft utilizes York/Steadfast for their insurance. These insurance companies are large enough so that any single claim does not impact their bottom line in any meaningful way. So long as your claim is valid, and documented properly by the authorities such as police, ambulance, fire rescue, and your medical doctors, your claim will be given the respect that it should be.
Of course, in order to get the full respect of the insurance companies, it makes a big difference when you hire a law firm that has experience handling injury claims against a ridesharing company. Your privileges on the Uber or Lyft applications or platforms will not be in jeopardy because you have brought a valid injury claim.