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Jeffrey Michael Padilla
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Jeffrey Padilla’s Answers

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  • I was injured in an auto accident by a driver operating a company vehicle. Is my lawsuit against the driver, the company or both

    I was rear-ended in the collision. My injury is ongoing and I have been out of work several weeks. Will I be able to recoup lost wages and pain/suffering in a lawsuit?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    This is likely to be a complex matter and I urge you to consult with an experienced trial attorney.

    The short answer to your questions is, yes. You will be able to claim lost wages and pain and suffering. Your claim will be against both the driver and the company.

    There are so many variables that may go into resolving a claim like this that they can't possibly be summarized on this forum. For now, I would recommend you not discuss the claim with a representative of the other driver or their employer until you have at least consulted with an attorney.

    I hope that you are recovering well from the accident and are able to resume your normal activities soon.

    Best wishes.

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  • Car accident insurance and hospital bill question?

    I was in a car accident and went to the ER. I had health insurance and made the co-pay of $50. The total ER bill is $25,000. My health insurance paid about $10,000. The ER now put a lien for $15,000 on my claim against the other driver. Is this le...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    This is a very complex area of law. The Hospital is attempting to "Balance Bill." What is important for you to know is that most reputable insurance companies do not permit balance billing of their insureds. The problem is that the terms are in a contract between the insurance company and your treating facility. It is unlikely that you will ever be provided a copy of that agreement, if one exists. They are guarded like national secrets.

    I suggest contacting your insurance company and let them know what the hospital is doing. If you don't have a copy of your own policy have them provide you one. Make sure it is the complete policy. You then need to review it and see what it says for emergency coverage. There is a chance you could point out to your insurance company that you have paid for indemnification from emergency bills like this and they are in breach if they haven't properly protected you from this exposure. If nothing else, that may get their attention and force them to provide you with a clear understanding of the relationship they have with the hospital in question.

    Sorry I couldn't provide anything more concrete, but like I said, this is a very complex area of law.

    Good luck!

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  • How long after an accident do i have to retain a personal injury lawyer in California?

    I got in an auto accident not my fault and need surgery on my hand have not had the opportunity to retain council its only been 2weeks

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    You have 2 years to file a claim. If you don't file within that time you will be forever barred from any recovery. That being said, it is always best to get an attorney involved as soon as possible. The attorney will protect you from any missteps with the insurance companies and help you manage the claim and potential litigation. A consultation is free and will be very informative. I would encourage you to contact someone as soon as possible to review the accident and all potential claims you have available to you.

    I hope that you are recovering well and wish you the best as you move forward.

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  • My questions is should I go through my Insurance company or have a lawyer handle my uninsured accident case?

    I was involved in a auto accident that injured both my wife and I. I suffered 5 broken ribs and my wife broke her wrist and had multiply bruises from the seat belt. The condition of the accident were, we were going to visit a friend and make a lef...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    A lawyer will always ensure your interests are thoroughly protected. However, to answer you question more directly, you may not need the attorney. You and your wife suffered serious injury and I am certain have had your quality of life dramatically impacted as a result. If you policy limits are small, your insurance company may not dispute a claim for those full limits.

    Despite the simplicity of collecting the claim, there may be other pitfalls to watch for. Your health insurance may claim a right of reimbursement, but may not be entitled to one. Your insurance company may claim that you were at fault and try to minimize their exposure. Consulting with an attorney and providing a more complete picture will help you make the right decision. At the very least, you may decide you want any attorney but can negotiate a reduced fee if the recovery of the policy limits seems all but certain.

    Good luck!

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  • Does uninsured motorist coverage the same as underinsured motorist coverage?

    I was in an accident and my medical bills are over $40k. The other driver's policy limit is $15K. My policy has uninsured motorist coverage of $15k. Does my uninsured motorist coverage kick in? What do I do about the remaining $10k plus that I wou...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Yes, your uninsured motorist coverage is the same as underinsured coverage. However, here in California your insurance coverage does not "stack" on top of the third party coverage. Your insurance receives an offset for any amount recovered from the other driver. They would also receive an offset for any benefit received from your employer if this was a work injury.

    Unfortunately, under these circumstances it appears that the $15,000 that you have in your own coverage will be negated after subtracting the $15,000 from the other driver.

    If you have medical bills outstanding you can attempt to negotiate the total owed to a manageable sum, or you could set up a payment plan. If you have health insurance, they should be responsible for any charges. However, they would then likely be entitled to a portion of your recovery from the other driver. They would not be able to take it all though.

    Before accepting the policy limits from the other driver, you will want to make sure there are no other possible recovery sources. For example, confirm that the other driver was not working at the time of the accident. If he was in the course and scope of employment, then you could pursue the employer for a full recovery.

    Good luck.

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  • Are car accident cases normally settled in or out of court?

    I was in a car accident that left me with significant injuries. Will I have to go to court to get a fair settlement, or will I be able to have this settled out of court?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    There is far too much that goes into that question to answer on this forum. An attorney would need to know the nature of the accident, the parties involved, what they were doing at the time of the collision and, ideally, what insurance is available to the responsible parties, before beginning to make such an evaluation. Most important is the injuries suffered and the ultimate recovery. Are there any residual limitations that will result?

    That being said, in order to get the full value of your claim - assuming a source of recovery exists - you need to have a trial attorney representing you. The insurance company for the responsible party will not make their best offer until they are faced with the real threat of litigation. That is something they doubt an unrepresented person will ever do.

    I recommend consulting with an injury attorney and providing a more detailed description of your situation. The consultation will be free and I am certain that you will learn much about your claim following that meeting.

    Good luck.

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  • Attys don't want auto PI cases w/ med specials <$1K. Adjusters don't take non-represented claimants seriously. What to do now?

    Police report confirms other driver at fault (rear ender at speed that daisyed into a head on) Soft tissue damage (cuts, head and limb bruises and burns thanks to the air bags that saved my life). Dealing with shock, trauma, anxiety, stress, emo...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The insurance company is not going to put a reasonable sum on the table until they are faced with the threat of a judgment. This is why most serious injury cases require a trial attorney because then the insurance company appreciates that if they don't make a fair offer the attorney will put the matter before a jury. Most of the time, the insurance company doesn't want that.

    Now, in your situation, while it may not make sense to have an attorney taking a fee and running up costs on a case with little medical bills, you can still put some pressure on the insurance company. You can take their insured to small claims court and get up to $7500.

    The benefit of small claims court is the low costs of bringing the matter to the court and the expeditious manner in which it is handled. You will get to keep the lion's share of your recovery rather than having to spend much of it on litigation costs and attorney fees.

    Here in San Diego the court has done a great job of explaining the process and providing forms on-line. Hopefully the Oakland Courts have done the same thing.

    Once in court, you can use your medical records and bills to evidence your injuries. You may not be able to use the traffic collision report as evidence, but see if you can get a declaration from the officer or any witnesses listed in the report to establish liability.

    Good luck!

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  • The other driver is at fault but has no insurance. Is it worthwhile to sue them?

    I was in an accident and was found to not be at fault. The other driver does not have any insurance, but I need more money for my medical expenses than my insurance has provided. Is it worthwhile to sue them? Or is it a waste of my time?

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    There is much more that needs to be examined. A consultation with an attorney will be free and, after providing the attorney with more information, you will get a better sense of your options. The first thing I would suggest is checking your own auto coverage to see what your uninsured/underinsured bodily injury limits are. The State requires an insurer to provide you with at least $15,000 in coverage unless you signed a waiver. This coverage will provide you an opportunity for recovery once you establish that the other driver has no insurance.

    Should you decide to consult with an attorney I would recommend getting a copy of the traffic collision report and your own auto insurance declarations page to reference. You should also be able to provide some detail as to the injuries and treatment you have received and expect to receive in the future.

    Good luck.

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  • I would like to know who and/or what type of lawyer would be best? I was rear ended in March 2013 waiting for a red light.

    I was waiting for a Red Light (going straight). A lady had stopped behind me about 10 or so feet, as I had looked in my rear view mirror. Noticing that the arrow for the left turn lane changed green, all of the sudden KABOOM & my lower back to all...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    You need to consult with an experience trial attorney. After reviewing all available documents and getting more information about your medical care required by this accident, they can then provide a plan for resolving the matter for the maximum available to you.

    Prior to the consultation, try to have the traffic collision report handy, your own automobile coverage and any contact information for witnesses and medical providers.

    You will likely require an attorney to achieve the best results.

    Good luck and best wishes for a speedy and full recovery!

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  • Truck rear ended my vehicle causing me lower back and neck injury escalating to severe head aches from my neck.........

    The fault driver rear end of my vehicle, then struck the rear end of my vehicle a second time for some unknown reason. Yet, my lower back injury and especially my neck injury is causing head aches and hasn't let up. I'm waiting for copies of the ...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    There are many factors that go into an injury claim evaluation. You attorney is privy to those issues and any respondent in this forum is not. It would not be very fair for anyone hear to give advise on whether or not you should settle the claim.

    That being said, if you attorney has not so advised you, you should know that you have two years in which to file a lawsuit for your injuries resulting from this accident. That also means that you have time to heal and determine the full extent of your injuries before deciding what amount of settlement would be fair.

    If this accident was fairly recent and you are still in pain, it may be a good idea to wait and see what ultimate prognosis your doctors provide to you.

    Good Luck.

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