Involved in a 3 car accident , themotorist which caused the accident his insurance claims rep has been trying to reach me , do I need to have an attorney first before speaking with the rep. If so why ? what do I need to watch out for.
If you were injured you should definitely have an attorney and let them deal with the insurance carrier. The carrier will be trying to gather personal information about not all of which is geared toward helping you, but rather in anticipation of defending your claim. If you are just trying to get your property resolved go through your own insurance and let them deal with the other carrier in recovering the property damage expense and your deductible.
If you were injured in the accident, you should retain an attorney immediately prior to speaking with the representative. If you only incurred property damage, it would be o.k. to set up a time with the adjuster for the at fault party to inspect your vehicle but, you should also obtain your own, independent appraisal of the damage so that you have an objective view of what the costs of repair will be.
I live and work in Los Angeles and deal with accidents like yours, so I am happy to answer your question. The answer to your question is that you will likely need to hire a lawyer to go after the at fault drivers. Drivers have a duty to stay a certain distance from your car and the other driver is the one who caused the accident. Moreover, the insurance company purposefully wants to take a recorded statement from you in order to pin down your statement in order to weaken your case. You should definitely not talk to them until you have hired an attorney. Have you received any treatment other than physical therapy? Do you feel that you are at the same medical condition that you were before the accident? As a basic premise I wouldn't handle your claim by yourself. The attorney you hire can likely refer you to a doctor, if you ask for one, who will see you with no upfront payment! I've done this many times to help my clients out. You should not wait a single day to hire a lawyer, we will advise you on the strategy of your case and get you a rental if you need one.
A person is not required to have attorneys when dealing with insurance companies after said person is injured in a car accident... yet people are required to wear seatbelts... the government just hasn't seen fit to order people to take protective steps to avoid the harms an insurance company can do. When someone is injured in a car accident, he or she should do the two step... first step into a doctor's office (or ER) and then step into a lawyer's office.
Fortunately, most of us personal injury types offer free consultations and take such cases on contingency no matter where the case is in California, so there is nothing to fear in calling us.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
4160 Temescal Canyon Road, Suite 306
Corona, CA 92833
www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com
"When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."
* This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law and does so anywhere in the State of California.
If you were injured in the accident, then you absolutely should speak with an attorney before contacting the opposing party. I would also recommend that you seek medical attention for your injuries to allow for a greater recovery. I have over 20 years of experience handling car accident cases in Los Angeles and helped my clients through the road of recovery. In order to assist you further in your case, I would need to know more about the accident, particularly who is a fault in the accident and what injuries you sustained. I wish you the best of luck.
If you wouldn't consider doing your taxes without an accountant or cpa, or an operation on your self without a doctor, why would you consider representing yourself in car accident without an attorney. If they don't offer you anything, or what you consider fair, are you going to sue them and learn the CA rules of civil procedure? Do the right thing, and hire a local personal injury attorney.
Insurance companies are not on your side and would give you the lowest settlement if anything. Their job is to have you settle for the cheapest because they do not want to pay out. It is in your best interest to speak to an attorney first to see if you have a case. Plus Legal consultations with a PI attorney are free. Please do not talk to the insurance company until you find out what you want to do. Giving them a statement might damage your case. They might use it against you. But if you already gave them a statement, it's okay, your attorney can get that statement from the insurance company and hopefully undo the damage already made.
Never talk to the insurance company about your case other than that you go into an accident and that you maybe be retaining an attorney. OR ignore either calls until you figure out what you want to do. It's okay to give them the location of the accident and who was involved but that's pretty much it!!! If they asked if you are injured, say you are in pain and to talk to your attorney.
If you are injured, please seek medical help as soon as possible. Make sure you are well treated. Check to see if you have med-pay under your insurance. Please save all of your evidence such as the defendant's insurance information and drivers license information if he does not have one, witness (es) information and contacts, police report, photos, other documents, insurance declaration page, etc.
I suggest speaking to an attorney in your local area for legal advice before speaking to your insurance company. It's free and you probably most likely have a case... Goodluck!
You do not tell us a critical fact. Were you injured? If so:You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
In Dante's Hell, there is one level lower than Attorneys, and that is insurance adjusters. Here's a recent case I handled that should illustrate the value of hiring an attorney. A woman was rear-ended by two cars and sustained broken neck at C2, C3, C4. She carried only liability insurance on her vehicle because she is poor, so her company didn't have to pay anything. She also had a .04 BAC in her system at the time, and under Cal Civ Code 3333.1 if you are convicted of DUI you get no compensation for pain & suffering. The two Insurance companies bullied her for months, saying she was entitled to nothing because of the .04 BAC, despite that the statuute reads "Conviction" not merely having a minimal amount of alcohol inyour system.
A former PI client referred her to me and we sent a demand package within weeks, explaining to them that regardless of the .04 there is no conviction, and the two drivers who struck her were each charged with being the primary and secondary cause of the accident for "unsafe speed."
We just collected policy limits and got a property settlement for her vehicle.
Insurance cmpanies just don't tell the truth and lawyers know the ins and outs of squeezing the most out of crummy adjusters who try and make you think you're wrong for even asking. I used to do insurance defense and I remember being in adjuster's offices for "open house" kinds of things, and you would hear the adjusters (who arejust low-level hacks along the order of bill collectors) bragging about how little they'd paid to settle certain claims that had jury potentiality of tremendous amounts. A couple years later I realized I was working for the wrong side and began representing plaintiffs,but I'll never forget how little they cared about the victims of their insureds' negligence--black hearted and cunning, for sure. The lawyer, on the other hand (and despite public myth) DOES care about how much you get because the more we get you the more we get paid.
So, while the adjuster is incentivized to pay you the least amount of money, the attorney is incentivized to get you the most amount of money. Pain and suffering are very real and include things like shock, grief, mortification, inability to sleep, anxiety, pain, loss of range of motion, loss of ability to engage in leisure time pursuits and much more. The law clearly states YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THIS.
Oh, watch for feigned kindness by the adjuster and offfers to send you a check for say $1,000.00 or so, just for your troubles. It'll have a "paid in full" clause buried in their that you won't be anticipating, meaning your case is now over and that is all you will ever receive.
I wish you the very best of luck and I trust you will heed this advice.
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