Some one rear-ended my friend and I yesterday and it left my car with considerable damages and both of us sore with headaches. My insurance is in the process of contacting her insurance over the claim but there saying it can take some time before their insurance decides what they want to do about my SUV and recommended having my car stowed else where to avoid fees. Also I figured being sore and headaches to be expected but what if it becomes a problem down the road and I have no health insurance right at the moment? I also have no collision on my vehicle which I think limits things like towing a rental etc. If someone could please inform me of the process in this situation, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!
You definitely need to at least consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. S/he can provide you with valuable information about how to proceed with your claim. If you are comfortable with the lawyer you meet with, you can probably retain him or her on a contingency fee bases; that is, you will not be required to pay any fees or costs out of pocket.
Rear end collisions are almost always the fault of the party in the rear. If you were injured, you should seek out PROMPT medical attention both for the sake of your health and because insurance providers tend to severely discount the value of any bodily injury claim where there was any amount of delay in seeking medical care and treatment. If you don't have health insurance, an attorney could assist you with finding a health care provider that would be willing to treat you on a "lien" basis (i.e. forego payment until the case resolves). Hiring a lawyer would also be advantageous in expediting the repair or replacement of your vehicle and obtaining a rental car. My best advice is always to at least consult with a lawyer and determine your options as most all lawyers (including myself) provide free initial consultations on such matters. Hope this helps!
Since I work and live in North County San Diego and have had the honor of representing victims of auto accidents for over 35 years, I am happy to answer your questions. First you should see a doctor to address the pain and discomfort you are experiencing. There are numerous sources for paying for the medical bills, including medical payment coverage that you may have on your auto liability policy. Concurrently consult with, and hire, a local personal injury attorney with whom you are comfortable. The attorney should be experienced in auto accident cases. Many law firms, including mine, offer free consultations to people who have been injured in auto accident cases. Your attorney will be able to guide you through the maze of the injury and property damage claim process and will be able to coordinate benefits and health care, including doctors and State Reporting documents. Second, if possible, you should take photographs of your vehicle. Third, do not for any reason talk with the other party's insurance adjustor or any one representing the other party. I hope this is helpful.
You def. want a lawyer. One can get you medical care on a lien, meaning payment is deferred until your case is wrapped up. It's usually ideal, though not totally necessary, that you both have the same lawyer. I do these cases all the time. A lot of firms, including mine, work only on contingency and offer free consultations. All the best.
Get some estimates of damage. If not drivable, you can rent a car, but it may take time before the other ins co gets up to speed and no guaranty they will accept full responsibility for the crash.
You and friend should get medical attn. asap to document any injuries. If you have med pay coverage it will pay for med treatment. You can also get treatment at the local county medical facility. You should consider signing up for health care coverage thru Covered California. You may be eligible for free or subsidized coverage. No pre existing condition exclusion, so sign up now.
You should seek medical attention. Also "down the road" may include symptoms of confusion, depression, dizziness, feeling sluggish, memory or simply concentration difficulty, sleeping too much or too little and others which may be a sign of a closed head injury. Even a mild head injury can be ruinous.
You should retain counsel in the event you are not better and need to make a claim for personal injury.
If you need health care now, then going for help one month or one year later and saying that you needed it now will not be a very successful argument, should you not be able to settle your case.
Step up and take this situation seriously, or you will probably blow it for yourself. Too many people procrastinate, get worse not better, and then make a mess of their "personal injury" case. You have a case!
I live and work in California and deal with accidents like yours all the time, so I am happy to answer your question. Your gut instinct is right that you have questions regarding your rights and your case. I've handled a good amount of accident cases and know that insurance companies give cases like yours a hard time even if the police report finds the other person at fault. You should hire an attorney now before you hurt your case (happens unfortunately very often). You should hire a lawyer to help you out with the claim because regardless of the outcome of the police report insurance companies give unrepresented people a tough time. I've handled cases and referred clients to great doctors in the Encinitas, CA area.
At our firm we always refer clients to all kinds of doctors and chiropractors when our clients are injured and our clients never pay anything upfront, not even a copay. The doctors are willing to do this because an attorney is on board. You are entitled to have your property damage, medical bills and future medical expenses PAID FOR BY THE OTHER PARTY'S INSURANCE (or your uninsured motorist policy). The attorney you hire will handle the claims process from start to finish.
But you are going to need to see a specliast to even get a shot at getting future medical treatment from the Defendant. Moreover it sounds like the accident is completely the other persons fault so you don't want this case to become a difficult one because of lack of inattention. The insurance company will make you believe that your case is worth very little... Regarding pain and suffering, you need to speak to an experienced attorney that can strategize your case. Just because you were in an accident doesn't mean you have pain and suffering, at least thats what the insurance companies think. Make no doubt about it you have a great case, but you need help from a professional. You are entitled to your medical bills being covered as well.
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 hired 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. There is no upfront cost to hire an attorney.
With a case like yours it seems like you have some good facts in order to get a high settlement, but your case definitely needs to be developed further to corroborate your story. The most important thing when building your case are: liability (were you at fault); how bad are your injuries to your body. A lot of these things sound like they are not complete yet in your case so its something that is worth hiring an attorney for in order to get a sense of whether you have a case and what the strategy would be for you to build a strong case! I've handled cases and/or spoken to clients in the Encinitas, CA area.
Its very possible that your case is worth more than the $$$ that the insurance company will offer you by yourself. Make your life easier and call an attorney today, you won't regret it.
When someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident (especially a "rear ender" which means liability is pretty much a given... And it is not the one who gets rear ended), he or she should get immediate medical attention. Then, hire a personal injury attorney. If the accident was not a rear ender, the attorney will advise on fault and liability.
No one should handle any claim (involving a motor vehicle accident with bodily injury) against any insurance company without a lawyer. Claims should be handled by a lawyer - one who will be able to understand and explain the physical damages and injuries from accident. The victim of a car accident really needs to worry about one thing - getting better. That means attending doctor's appointments, attending physical therapy (if appropriate), and taking his or her medication. All of the rest can be handled by a personal injury attorney. We earn our fees (contingent by the way) by taking on the stress and hassle of fighting for money - I dare say some of us actually enjoy the fight, but I realize that most people do not enjoy conflict.
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
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