Bay Area Senior Citizens Facing Insurance Manipulation After Car Accidents

Getting into a car wreck is a stressful, scary, and overwhelming event for anyone, especially if you are not at fault. However, regardless of fault, senior citizens have an additional source of stress following an accident. Insurance companies are becoming more and more notorious for using senior citizens’ age and any pre-existing conditions they may have against them to avoid paying compensation for injuries, claims, and other damages.

How are these practices ethical and continuing to happen?

The short answer is that they are not ethical, but they continue to occur. How do insurance companies manage to get away with agism and using senior citizens’ pre-existing conditions against themselves? Insurance companies are very well-versed in these scenarios as well as legal loopholes. They also know precisely how to approach these claims and disguise their discriminatory practices.

Insurers will aim to use higher rates of seniors with pre-existing conditions to claim a car accident is not the cause of sustained injuries. This means insurance companies will try to claim the injuries were already present or rooted in a pre-existing condition.

However, an experienced personal injury attorney will utilize the law to justly expose these tricks and equivocations and help senior citizens get the compensation they deserve. Suppose you or a loved one (over 62 years of age, aka a “qualifying resident”) are involved in a motor vehicle accident. In that case, there are several essential circumstances to be aware of.

Pre-existing Conditions

One of the most common tactics insurers will use to manipulate a situation in their favor is by painting pre-existing conditions as the cause of a plaintiff’s injuries instead of the actual cause — the collision. Insurance companies have access to medical records and history that they may sift through and, as a result, often find a way to distort a person’s medical past to fit their own narrative.

These tactics are menacing, but it’s essential to be aware that exacerbation of any pre-existing conditions from an accident is, in fact, grounds for compensation. California holds insurance companies accountable if an individual’s injuries worsen due to an accident in which their client is deemed at fault.

Despite a company trying to convince you otherwise or even threaten you into believing they are in no way liable; this is simply false.

In the end, insurance companies and/or the person who injured you must make you whole again for the damages caused by their negligence.

Chronic Pain Is Not Uncommon

The body decreases the speed and efficacy at which it heals itself as it ages. A senior citizen may take up to eight months to recover from a broken bone, while someone younger with the same break could heal in two months. Unfortunately, the injury caused or impacted by a severe collision can be worse than a nasty fall at home for anyone at any age.

Common injuries resulting from car crashes are injuries like whiplash, back injuries, neck injury, herniated disks, and broken bones. Many senior citizens report high pain levels after an accident, along with ongoing pain that can be relentless.

Insurance companies should be held financially accountable for the level of pain generated by a collision, regardless of the claimant’s age.

What to know about California and the “Eggshell Plaintiff”

California has recently passed a law to protect its seniors and all vulnerable citizens from being rejected in a personal injury claim on the grounds of fragility. The “Eggshell Plaintiff” is a theory of law requiring that defendants essentially take the plaintiff as they found them.

Suppose a senior citizen gets injured in an accident that may not have harmed a younger individual. In that case, the defendant cannot use that fact to escape liability. Plaintiffs are not permitted to theorize what could or may have happened if the defendant weren’t as fragile or as old.

New Statistic: A recent study by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that drivers in their 70s (according to current data) are less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers in their mid-30s to mid-50s.

Drivers in their 70s are found to be driving much more carefully and getting into less severe accidents overall. Insurance companies have always reported and defended their bias by simply stating that they are going by the data and the numbers.

Hopefully, this intriguing new report and its eye-opening findings will build your confidence if you are a senior and have recently been in a wreck.

What to do if you’ve been in a collision in the Bay Area?

Trying to negotiate a personal injury case without the help of an attorney can bring about significantly lower compensation and success rates. While there are already established laws to protect seniors from car insurance company manipulation (as mentioned above), it is still advisable to contact a knowledgeable and experienced Bay Area Car Accident Attorney. Make sure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to (for all injuries you’ve incurred due to a collision) and any other related damages.

Know the compensation you should receive if you’ve sustained a ruptured disc during a car accident

After a minor rear-end collision — a fender bender or more significant car crashes —  back injuries can occur, including ruptured or herniated disks.

Unfortunately, a herniated or ruptured disk can mean debilitating pain, irritated nerves resulting in random sharp spasms, overreacting reflexes, leg numbness, and radiating pins and needles. These are severe injuries requiring extensive medical attention and care to treat and successfully recover from. You may need physical therapy or even surgery from a spinal specialist.

Regardless of what symptoms you may be experiencing, another damaging result of such an injury is exponential medical costs. Costs including your initial urgent care visit following the car accident, pain prescription costs, specialist appointments, therapy, MRIs, x-rays, and CT scans can all add up to a staggering sum.

What sort of damages can you recover if you suffered a ruptured disc from a vehicle collision?

You may be entitled to compensation for one or more of the following costs and damages:

  • Prior medical bills
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost income or wages while you’re recovering
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium due to injuries
  • Therapy for PTSD from the collision
  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
  • Physical pain or discomfort, temporary or permanent

How much compensation can you expect?

It is difficult to predict the total value of compensation a victim (or plaintiff) will receive as everyone’s injuries are different. Many factors may determine the full payment, such as the following: what type of herniated disk you have, the location of the disk, the severity of injury and trauma to your spinal column, whether you have a herniated disk or a bulging disk, and if you require surgery. However, you could receive anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000, or even more in some instances.

Is there a time limit to file a lawsuit for an auto accident?

Yes, there is a statute of limitations in an auto accident-related personal injury lawsuit. Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, you have two years from the date the injury arose. That might be the date of the crash or the date you became aware of your injuries that were caused by the crash.

For more specific guidance as to the value of your claim and the strength of your case, contact our experienced team of personal injury lawyers today to set up a consultation. Contact The Law Office of Daniel H. Rose at 415-946-8900 or online.

How to know who is at fault in a multi-car

Under California law, the party responsible for causing a car collision (person at fault) will be accountable for compensating for losses and damages. In many car accidents, liability is only between two drivers. The fault will go to the driver that broke a roadway law and caused the collision. However, in a multi-car crash, fault and liability can be more challenging to determine.

Let’s explore differences in assessing fault indifferent scenarios …

Three Car Collisions

In a three-car collision, the fault will go to the driver who initially broke the law and caused a chain collision involving other cars. Even if the second car had to violate a rule for the driver’s safety and the safety of others, the fault would fall back on the initial driver and vehicle that triggered the accident.

What about a multi-car collision or “pileup?”

A multi-car pileup is trying and traumatic for all parties involved and it is also challenging determining fault and liability.

A multi-car pileup is a crash including and affecting numerous vehicles, drivers, and passengers (who may have sustained injuries due to the crash’s impact).

These unfortunate large-scale collisions are complex to litigate. Multiple drivers may yield fault for a multi-car accident, or one driver may be deemed responsible for everyone else’s damages. Understanding what happened can be difficult. Each driver may have a different account of the events, and all may deny fault.

Several other factors play a part in determining fault and liability…

Can dash-cam footage be valuable and is it legal?

The short answer is “mostly,” although because dash cams are also equipped with audio recordings, the driver must post a visible notice (a sticker or sign that doesn’t pose a hazard to other drivers) informing passengers that they are being recorded. If the passenger protests to their audio being utilized, then the dash-cam audio must be turned off, but the remaining video footage is still permissible when determining fault (even in court). Footage can be beneficial in determining liability. This also applies to rear and front bumper cameras (should the vehicle be equipped with them).

*It is important to note: The dash-cam footage may also be used against you should something be discovered, placing you at fault for a portion or all of the accident.

Are there any potential witnesses present?  

Another essential tool in assessing cause and fault in a multi-car crash is witnesses.

Witnesses (who weren’t involved in the collision) are critical in any car accident, but especially in a multi-car pileup. Witnesses are unbiased observers and likely will base their statements and descriptions on precisely what they observed. Drivers involved in the accident generally are vested in denying blame.

Suppose several witnesses at the scene of the accident corroborate each other. In this instance, the chain of events and initial wrongdoing is established and confirmed when it may have otherwise been difficult to verify and work through.

It is imperative to get the information (when possible) of bystanders involved that may later become witnesses helping to recount and determine liability. Collect contact information of potential witnesses and take notes, so long as you are able.

Witnesses can offer decisive information to the accident report, to the insurance companies assigned with the task of determining what percentage of liability each driver holds, and your attorney.

Call the police right away.

Lastly, but most importantly, call the police right away. The police will write the crash report and pay close attention to the facts involved. Additionally, police take photos, review video surveillance footage (like traffic cameras where available), and gather detailed information.

What should you do if you are injured in a multi-car accident?

Regardless of the severity of your injuries, it is wise to seek medical attention following an accident. Adrenaline may mask some of your symptoms and it is prudent to document any conditions right away in case you need to file a claim later on.

You may be entitled to financial recovery for injuries or property damages. You’ll want someone to advocate for your best interests and the best possible outcome for your case and our team of experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Daniel H. Rose are here to help you do just that. If you have been involved in a multi-car accident, call us today at 415-496-8900.

How to sue for a “whiplash” injury and how to arrive at a fair settlement

“Whiplash” is a common term and often gets associated with and popularized by TV shows like Law and Order and Seinfeld; however, the proper medical name for this type of injury is a “cervical muscle strain” or similarly a “neck strain.”

Whichever term you prefer, the reality is that whiplash injury is of no joking matter but instead highly disruptive and usually severely painful. A whiplash injury can also force you to be out of commission when it comes to working, school, and other social, business, and physical activities—your best chance at receiving the fair compensation that you may be entitled to (depending on who’s been deemed liable), is by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

How much is my claim worth?

Whether you are seeking compensation for a whiplash injury through an insurance claim or via lawsuit, the amount you are entitled to on a few different factors like:

  • the nature of the whiplash
  • the duration of the injury
  • severity of pain
  • length of pain
  • total medical bills
  • need for future medical care
  • time off from work
  • degree of temporary or permanent disability

Pro Tip: If you have just been in any motor vehicle accident, seek medical attention immediately (even if you feel fine at that moment). Due to various components like Adrenaline, emotions, and anxiety, symptoms resulting from injuries sustained in a car collision can be temporarily masked. However, days after impact, you may find yourself in excruciating pain. Always better to err on the side of caution!

To increase your chances of receiving compensation in a personal injury lawsuit as a result of any collision, it’s best to have documented your medical injuries and symptoms every step of the way via urgent care visits, doctor’s appointments and notes, and CT scans or X-rays. At the very least, a precautionary trip to the ER Dept post vehicle accident can protect you later should any symptoms arise pointing towards a personal injury.

Here are a few action steps to keep in mind if you believe you have experienced whiplash in an automobile accident:

  1. Don’t ignore your pain. 

Most whiplash-type injuries go away within one to two weeks, in the more severe of cases, a patient is symptom-free within (on average) three to four months but some cases may take a year or longer.

Lingering symptoms of a neck injury should never go unchecked, ignored, or dismissed as “just whiplash.” The neck is fragile, sensitive, filled with nerve endings, and is part of the spinal cord. If symptoms persist, you should be as persistent with their physician until seeing a change moreover an improvement with ultimately positive results.

Being persistent is essential foremost for your wellbeing and secondly to your claim or case.

  1. Keep track of all expenses.

As important as keeping track of medical records is keeping track of all medical bills and related expenses. Expenses related to the accident and whiplash such as medical equipment, receipts, transportation costs to and from medical appointments, and smaller items like bandages, neck braces, pain relief items, and larger expenses such as physical therapy costs should all be saved and tracked.

The medical paperwork, expenses, and bills helps to reflect and exhibit the duration of your pain. It is also prudent to keep track of all the hours of work or school missed due to the accident and whiplash injury.  

  1. Seek legal counsel sooner rather than later.

Before speaking with an insurance adjustor, it is wise to speak with a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing the funds they pay out in claims, and it is important to be very prepared to deal with them or have an attorney speak with them on your behalf.

The best way to determine whether your claim is viable is by consulting a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, either after the initial accident or as soon as you are symptomatic or diagnosed. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis which means that they do not get paid unless you get paid.

If you believe you may have suffered a whiplash injury in a recent automobile accident, contact us today for a review of your case.

Can Wearing a Seatbelt Affect your Car Accident Injury Claim?

California, like most states, created motor vehicle laws designed to increase passenger safety and reduce death and injuries on roadways. Seatbelts save lives, and numerous studies over time have been conducted to prove that statement. Most states have mandatory seatbelt laws, and California is no exception. Anyone over 8 years of age must wear a seatbelt in a moving vehicle on a California roadway. Anyone younger than 8 must also be adequately restrained in a car seat, booster, or rear-facing seat.

When California’s seatbelt laws are violated, it can lead to fines. But, if you’ve been involved in a car accident and suffered injuries due to another driver, you may be wondering if you can still sue even if you weren’t wearing a seat belt.

California’s Seat Belt Laws

California Vehicle Code Section 27315 covers seat belt requirements. It is also known as the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The most critical seat belt requirements found under Vehicle Code 27315 are:

  • All passengers 16 years of age or older must be properly restrained by a safety belt.
  • The seat belt requirement applies to the driver as well as a passenger.
  • According to the law, children under 8 must be properly restrained in their respective car seat, booster, or rear-facing car seat.

California also defines what it means to be “properly restrained.” It means that the lower lap portion of the belt crosses over the occupant’s hips. The upper part of the belt rests across the person’s chest. Also, the seat belts must be in working order. Failure to comply with seat belt law is a violation and can increase penalties with each offense.

Can I Sue if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seat Belt?

The answer is yes. California allows an injured party to file a lawsuit, even if they violate the seat belt law.

California is a “comparative fault” state. In an “at-fault” state, an injured person has to show that the harm resulted from another person’s negligence.  Under comparative fault laws, a person’s claim won’t be thrown out if they contributed to their injury. However, if the injured party was also partially responsible for their damages, compensation can be reduced accordingly.

A defendant is within their rights to raise a “seat belt defense” if the person suing wasn’t wearing it. That information is relevant and will be considered when discussing the amount of damages the defendant would have to pay.

When determining whether and to what degree the plaintiff was negligent in causing their own injury, a judge or jury will consider:

  • The condition of the seatbelt and whether it was working
  • Why the plaintiff didn’t have to wear a seatbelt. Common defenses for not wearing a seat belt include an emergency that prevents a person from wearing one or a medical condition.
  • Whether the injuries suffered would be less severe if they’d worn a seat belt

If you’ve been harmed in a car accident and weren’t wearing a seat belt, you should still seek legal advice. An experienced personal injury attorney at Dan Rose Law can advise you whether you have grounds for a suit and to what extent the failure of wearing a seatbelt affects your case.

How Much Does Car Insurance Increase After an Accident?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you might wonder if calling the police is the right thing for fear that your car insurance will increase. Even when a person wasn’t at fault, they may still fail to report an accident to avoid a jump in insurance premiums.

Not every car accident results in higher insurance rates. While sometimes your car insurance may initially increase, you can take action to reduce it.

Ways a Car Accident Can Affect Insurance

Only a chargeable accident can lead to increased insurance rates. Under California law, an insurer cannot increase your insurance rates if you weren’t at fault for the crash. That means that an insurer would first have to ascertain that you were more than 51 percent at fault for the accident. Usually, this is determined through an investigation and written notice that includes:

  • A determination that the insured was principally at fault
  • The percentage of fault attached to the insured
  • The percentage of fault attached to the other involved drivers
  • An explanation of why a particular driver was designated the “at fault” party
  • The insured’s right to request a reconsideration

If the insurance company determined that the accident was a chargeable one, then your premium can increase. Usually, the amount is based on several factors.

  • Driving history and the number of car accidents experienced
  • The years of driving experience
  • Number of miles driven each year

Although the dollar amount will vary on the factors listed above, California drivers can see as much as a 78 percent increase after one accident claim. If the driver filed a second claim, the insurance surcharge can almost double with a 98 percent upcharge.

The dollar amount that your insurance increases is referred to as the surcharge. An insurer isn’t allowed to add the surcharge amount in the middle of the policy period. However, the surcharge will begin with each renewal. The surcharge can remain for three to five years while the driver’s history shows no further chargeable accidents.

Accidents That Won’t Increase Rates

Not every accident will cause your insurance rate to go up. Some examples include a damaged car that was legally parked or being struck by another car where the driver fled the scene.

A car insurance company may demand proof that the accident wasn’t your fault. The documentation will vary according to the type of accident. Generally, though, evidence of a police report and statements from the other driver’s insurance company will be considered satisfactory evidence.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a car accident, it’s best to consult an attorney. Even if a case doesn’t go to trial, the statements given during a settlement agreement can be used by an insurance company to contribute fault, thereby increasing insurance rates. That means that if you make a written statement that you were “principally at fault,” under California law, an insurer can increase your premiums. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation to discuss your specific case.

Five Delayed Injuries After a Car Accident

When a person has been injured in a car accident due to another person’s negligence, they may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. In California, it’s vital to comply with the state’s filing deadline. When filing a lawsuit, an injured party usually has two years from the date the accident occurred.

But, what happens if you feel like you suffered no injuries? It’s not uncommon for a person to feel like they’ve walked away unscathed from a car accident. Adrenaline is known to mask many injures from a car accident. It may delay symptoms and give a person the false impression that they have no injuries. That’s why it’s vital to be aware of delayed symptoms.

Below are five possible delayed injuries that can occur days or even weeks after a car accident. Therefore, it’s vital to monitor delayed symptoms, especially to receive any legal recourse for those delayed injures.

1. Back and Neck Pain

The impact of a crash alone can lead to spinal injury and even a herniated disc. When a vertebra is dislocated, it puts pressure on the nerves surrounding the spinal cord. This can lead to a pinched nerve. It’s essential to consult with a medical doctor or specialist if you experience symptoms of numbness or tingling. They are signs of back pain, which, if left untreated, can limit mobility.

Like back pain, a car crash can cause neck pain. Most victims of car accidents experience whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a collision forces the head back into the seat. Symptoms usually include stiffness, soreness, and a limited range of motion. Some people also experience pain, swelling, and headaches.

2. Headaches

Headaches are not only a common complaint after a car accident, but they can be an indication of a more severe injury.

A headache can signal a blood clot in the brain or a concussion. Because the impact can cause the brain to hit against the skull, it may lead to bleeding or bruising of the brain. In some instances, a headache developed after a car crash can go away on its own. However, in other, more severe cases, it can lead to discovering a traumatic brain injury.

3. Pain in the Abdomen

Pain in the abdomen is another injury that can be delayed. However, it’s crucial to monitor for abdominal pain. It can be a sign of a life-threatening issue, like internal bleeding. Bruising, dizzy spells, and fainting can also be signs of blood loss.

4. Numbness and Tingling

Numbness and tingling sensations are not always connected to back pain. They may also be symptoms related to nerve damage in and around the spine.

5. Changes in Behavior

Behavioral changes after a car crash usually signal a more significant problem such as memory problems, vision or hearing loss, and depression. Therefore, it’s essential to monitor any changes in behavior to treat the underlying causes.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Delayed injuries are serious. If you have experienced a car crash, monitoring for behavioral changes and being aware of these symptoms can help you get prompt medical care. It can also ensure that you obtain proper damages from a personal injury lawsuit. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation.

A Letter of Protection and How It Helps in a Personal Injury Case

Not everyone involved in an accident may have health insurance. Or, there may be times when a covered person’s insurance denies injury claims arising from an accident.  That means that getting medical attention can be complicated. The injured person may be left with paying medical expenses out-of-pocket. As costs escalate, it increases the chances that a person will be unable to pay. So, what options does a person who was injured by another have for paying medical expenses?

Simply put, a Letter of Protection is a document that helps someone get medical care when they have been injured due to another person’s negligence. A Letter of Protection alleviates the burden that the injured party might otherwise have in paying for medical expenses themselves. Below, we discuss what a letter of protection is and the benefits of using one.

Letter of Protection

A Letter of Protection is a medical lien. When a person is injured, their lawyer will send a Letter of Protection to a doctor or medical provider, which promises to pay for medical bills once a settlement is received. The injured person will get medical treatment without health insurance or cash, asking the doctor to hold their account for collection. Once payment is obtained from the settlement, the lawyer will use it to pay back the doctor.

There many benefits to using a Letter of Protection, but there are also some drawbacks.

Drawbacks

If you are not successful in your case against the at-fault party, you are still responsible for paying your medical bills.

Benefits

One of the benefits of having a Letter of Protection is that the attorney handling the claim can arrange medical appointments. Having such a liaison will ensure that you get immediate attention for your injury. Also, in a personal injury suit, it’s necessary to document the extent of injuries by gathering medical records. It is a tedious process that may take several weeks to obtain all the relevant documentation. However, with a Letter of Protection, it is easier for the attorney to get medical records from one doctor.  Also, fewer medical bills make it easier to pay for medical costs at once.

A Letter of Protection can also protect your credit. Since a Letter of Protection is a contract, our experienced attorneys can input specific language that prevents unpaid bills from being sent to a collection agency for a while. However, a Letter of Protection doesn’t absolve the injured party from paying their medical bills. Even if the case is ultimately lost, the injured party must still pay their medical bills.

Another benefit is that when a doctor provides medical care with a Letter of Protection, they are more willing to give testimony regarding the injured person’s medical injuries. In a personal injury case, the injured party is responsible for proving the extent of their injuries because that’s how the monetary amount is determined. Having a medical expert describe the harm will allow a deeper understanding of the extent of the injury.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If your medical insurance has denied paying for medical expenses because they believe the other party should pay, or if you don’t have insurance, a Letter of Protection can be a good option. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation.

Reasons Why a Car Accident Settlement May be Delayed

Every car accident results in varying property damage and physical injury. Unfortunately, there is no average length of time to settle a car accident case. Some car accident settlements can take several weeks, where others can take months or even years. The specific circumstances of an accident significantly impact how quickly or slowly a settlement may take. Many factors can influence a lengthy car settlement, and this is especially true if you suffered extensive injuries or property damage.

Factors That Influence Timing of a Settlement Process

Having a lawyer who understands the nuances of the laws in a car accident is extremely valuable. Typically, once a person is involved in a car accident and a claim is filed with the insurance company.  They will need documentation of medical bills to assess damages. The insurance company will also review statements and police reports to determine who caused the accident. Once the insurance company has that information, the insurance adjuster can evaluate a settlement offer. However, the insurance company isn’t in the business of making large settlement offers. It may offer the least amount of money. In these cases, an experienced attorney can negotiate a settlement offer.  Also, there may be other unforeseen circumstances that contribute to a longer settlement process.

Liability

In California, responsibility for a car accident is determined by the party responsible, or “at-fault.” Before an insurance company pays out money, they will determine who caused the accident. In some instances, proving that the other driver was 100 percent at fault may be a lengthy process. The fault may be shared by one or more parties, and that means a reduced settlement. To prove that the other driver is liable, your attorney may also need to take time to properly investigate the accident.

Recovery Time for Your Injuries

Seeking medical attention for injuries after a car accident takes time. This is especially true if the injuries are severe. The discovery of one injury may lead to another, and treatment may be ongoing. While undergoing medical treatment, it will be challenging to assess the actual value of your injuries since the final amount of medical expenses won’t have been determined. A car accident attorney would like to ascertain all the recoverable damages a person is entitled to receive and may want to wait until you have fully recovered. Only then will you know what your medical expenses are and what future medical care you might need. You also will have a better idea of what to request as compensation for lost income. However, your attorney can still make a claim to ensure you receive proper medical care.

Large Settlement

The more significant the accident, naturally, the higher potential your case has for a large payout. Insurance companies don’t quickly hand over large amounts of money. They investigate cases to find information that can reduce compensation. The insurance company may also engage in delaying the case in the hopes that you will settle for less. Working with a legal professional familiar with insurance company tactics can be beneficial.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Delay in settling a car accident case can be incredibly frustrating. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation about your specific case.

How do Settlements with Commercial Vehicle Accidents Work?

Even when drivers are careful, accidents still occur. Experiencing an accident may not always be avoidable. Accidents that involve a semi-truck or tractor-trailer can leave victims with even more severe injuries and financial damages due to the size and weight of the commercial vehicle. As the victim, you may encounter costly medical bills, time away from work, and haggling with insurance companies. This leaves you wondering whether the commercial vehicle can be held responsible for the damages suffered.

Can I File a Lawsuit?

 Under California law, liability for car accidents, including commercial vehicles like trucks, is determined by the responsible party.  Anyone can file a personal injury lawsuit, but for it to be successful, there has to be evidence showing that the commercial vehicle was negligent in causing the accident.

There are two ways to determine fault: (1) common law negligence and (2) by a statute. The first, common law negligence, requires a showing that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care in operating their commercial vehicle. Police reports, witness statements, and other investigatory tools are used to prove the driver’s negligence.

The second way, proving fault through statute, is easier to prove. California lawmakers have already found certain conduct negligent, like speeding or running through a red light. It’s outlined in the California Vehicle Code. If a commercial vehicle was involved in such behavior, then it is likely that they were at fault.

However, since California is also a “comparative fault” jurisdiction, the damages any victim can recover will be evaluated based on the percentage the person contributed to the accident. That means that even if the driver caused the accident, they might still have a personal injury claim.

Settlements

Suppose you were involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle. In that case, you should contact an attorney before speaking to a trucking company’s insurance company or accepting a settlement offer. While most cases won’t make it to trial, it doesn’t alleviate the injured party’s burden to investigate their case. To get the maximum settlement offer, insurance companies need to see the strength of the victim’s case.

To determine the extent of damages, first, you need to assess the damages. In California, personal injury victims involved in accidents with commercial vehicles may recover medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and others.

In accidents involving commercial vehicles where injuries are extensive, it is essential to document medical expenses. Gathering medical bills from hospitals, specialists, ambulance fees, and physical therapy or potential procedures will assist in determining the extent of injuries. Depending on the severity of the injuries, it may take time to gather all medical expenses and to monitor other injuries that arise.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

An injured party has two years to file a claim in civil court for a personal injury claim. Negotiating with a commercial vehicle’s insurance company doesn’t require that a lawsuit be filed with the court. However, it is crucial because if the insurance company delays negotiations, the victim may forgo its right to have a court review the case. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation about your specific case.