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About Los Angeles Accident Center

Los Angeles Accident Center was created to provide useful information for anyone who has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California. Author and attorney Sherwin Arzani and his team have over 17 years of personal injury experience. If you have been injured in accident, you will find useful information to assist you during this difficult time.

Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s First Offer?

Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s First Offer?

A personal injury accident can come with a wide range of negative consequences. First and foremost, you might be experiencing significant pain and suffering, which can take a toll emotionally, mentally, and physically. You might also be placed in a difficult financial position, especially if you’ve missed work due to your injuries and incurred medical bills and other expenses.

It’s understandable, then, to be tempted by the initial offer of financial relief that comes your way. However, it is probably not wise to accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer, at least not without an attorney reviewing the situation first. The sections below will explain what you need to know.

The Insurance Adjuster Is Not on Your Side

When you file a claim with an insurance company, the company will assign an insurance adjuster to investigate the matter. If the adjuster accepts liability for the accident, they may offer you a settlement. 

It’s critical to remember that the insurance adjuster is not on your side; they work for the insurance company. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that exist to make money at the end of the day. 

Insurance adjusters are incentivized to minimize the value of the claims that come before them because that benefits the company they work for. This remains true even if the insurance company you are working with is your own.

This is perhaps the primary reason why it is likely not a good idea to accept the insurance company’s first offer. In all likelihood, the initial offer is for much less than what your claim is actually worth. Realizing that true value, however, could take some time.

Insurance Claim Evaluation

Assessing the true value of a personal injury settlement is usually not an easy task. As the injured victim, you can claim compensation for virtually every consequence of the accident. Some of the things you can pursue a monetary award for include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Decreased earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Decreased enjoyment of life
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium
  • PTSD
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Anxiety or depression

Most people do not know they can receive compensation for all of these categories, so they might believe their claim is worth less than it is. The insurance adjuster may rely on this to offer you a less-than-adequate amount. 

It can be difficult to convert some of the above categories into a dollar value, sometimes requiring expert analysis. However, it might become necessary to invest resources into such analysis to persuade the insurance company to offer a reasonable settlement.

Keep in mind that in a court of law, the personal injury victim has the burden of proof to support their claim for compensation. The insurance company knows this and could use that notion to its advantage. This is when having a lawyer on your side could mean everything.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Simply put, with an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, the insurance company won’t be able to take advantage of you. Hiring a lawyer will even the playing field and will help to ensure you receive a settlement offer that works best for you and that accurately reflects the value of your claim.

If possible, an attorney can negotiate to have the insurance company raise its offer. A lawyer can conduct an internal investigation into your case as well to gather the evidence required to prove your claim and accurately assess your damages. 

Once the insurance company knows you’ve hired an attorney, you’ll have the threat of litigation in court to use against it in negotiations. Once a lawsuit is filed, you and your lawyer will have access to the pretrial discovery process, which could be critical to the value and validity of your claim. 

Most personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation to go over your case. At the very least, it is worth your time to reach out to a few lawyers before accepting the insurance company’s first offer.

Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen, and Who’s To Blame?

Why Do Rear-End Collisions Happen, and Who's To Blame?

When it comes to car accidents, rear-end collisions are some of the most frequent crashes in California and throughout the nation. 

Statistically, roughly a third of all crashes nationwide are classified as rear-end collisions. Sadly, these crashes have also proven fatal, and figures show that over 1,700 motorists die each year from injuries sustained in rear-end-related wrecks.

If you drive in Los Angeles traffic, you’re likely at risk of a rear-end collision. As such, you should know how these accidents occur and how you can recover your losses.

Rear-End Collisions Explained

One significant contributing factor in car crashes is negligence by one or more drivers. Negligence can occur in many ways, and the results can be devastating. Some of the most everyday examples of driver negligence in rear-end collisions include the following:

Driver safety is vital in preventing traffic accidents. Accidents are more likely to occur whenever a motorist engages in neglectful behaviors. Because read-end crashes generally occur whenever drivers are close to each other, any distraction can turn into a serious wreck.

Determining Fault in a Rear-End Collision

Under California law, you’ll need to provide evidence that the driver engaged in negligent behavior that resulted in a rear-end collision.

Because every car crash is unique, evidence can vary greatly depending on the circumstances. Some of the most common evidence used to prove negligence and determine fault include:

  • Police reports 
  • Video evidence of the crash
  • Witness statements
  • Testimony from traffic experts

The evidence in a car crash claim will also need to meet California’s threshold for common-law negligence, including the following elements:

  • The at-fault driver did not engage in a duty of care
  • Their breach of duty directly resulted in the accident
  • Damages ensued as a result of the crash

If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, a seasoned car crash attorney can review the facts in your case to determine the best course of action.

Typical Scenarios for Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision is defined as any accident where one vehicle’s front end collides with another vehicle’s rear end. Typically, these crashes occur when two cars drive in the same lane, one behind the other.

The most typical rear-end collisions involve two drivers, although multiple-car pile-ups are also common. Whenever one driver comes to a sudden stop, the tailing vehicle is more likely to crash into the rear. Alternatively, a tailing vehicle may accelerate excessively and crash into the back of the car in front.

Comparative Negligence in California

Unlike other states, California law allows for fault to be shared between two or more motorists responsible for a rear-end crash. This is known as comparative negligence. 

Typically, a jury will determine each party’s responsibility in the crash. As such, any financial compensation will directly reflect the percentage of fault. In many cases, one party will be responsible for 100% of the crash. In other cases, responsibility may be reduced to the applicable percentage whenever it’s determined that the other party engaged in negligence or violated a traffic law.

Damages You Can Recover from a Rear-End Collision 

Although many think rear-end collisions are low-impact fender benders, these crashes can severely damage vehicles, property, and individuals.

If you’ve sustained losses after a rear-end crash, you can seek compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Physical therapy
  • Loss of income
  • Emotional suffering
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Vehicle repair costs
  • Reduced quality of life

An experienced car accident lawyer can file a personal injury claim on your behalf, negotiate settlement options, go to trial, and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

How to Handle Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Los Angeles, CA

Incurring thousands of dollars in medical bills because of a car crash can be stressful and frightening. Paying those bills can seem impossible and overwhelming. Learning how to handle medical bills from a Los Angeles car accident attorney can help relieve some stress.

After a car wreck in LA, you can expect big medical bills. The first ones come from the ambulance service and emergency room, followed by the hospital, radiologists, physicians, and labs. You might also incur costs related to chiropractic care, in-home nursing or personal care, and physical therapy. Read on to learn more about how to deal with this.

Who Is Responsible for Paying Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

Ultimately, you are responsible for the medical bills you incur after a car wreck. However, California is an at-fault state for car accident claims. Therefore, if another person caused the car crash, that person can be held financially liable for your medical bills and other damages.

Medical bills are economic damages. The person who causes a car accident is responsible for reimbursing the accident victim for their economic damages. These damages also include out-of-pocket expenses and loss of income

Additionally, the at-fault party is liable for non-economic damages. Damages include pain and suffering as well as permanent impairments and diminished quality of life. 

How Are My Medical Bills Paid After a Car Accident in Los Angeles?

California requires all drivers to provide proof of financial responsibility to register a vehicle. Acceptable forms of financial responsibility are:

  • Automobile liability insurance policy
  • A surety bond of $35,000
  • Cash deposit with the DMV of $35,000
  • Self-insurance certificate from the DMV

Most drivers choose liability insurance. Liability insurance compensates an accident victim when the insured driver causes a motor vehicle accident. 

California drivers must have a minimum of $15,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death of one person ($30,000 per accident). The driver must also have $5,000 of insurance for property damage

A driver may purchase optional insurance coverage, including collision and comprehensive insurance. These coverages pay for property damage to the person’s vehicle from a crash they caused or other covered causes.

A person may purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay coverage. These no-fault insurance policies pay medical expenses regardless of fault.

When Does an Insurance Company Pay My Medical Bills After a Car Crash?

No-fault insurance coverage pays medical bills even if you cause the accident. You do not need to prove fault to obtain benefits. Therefore, if you have PIP or MedPay insurance, you can quickly receive compensation for medical bills after a car wreck.

However, you must prove the other driver caused the accident to receive compensation from a liability insurance company

There must be evidence showing that the other driver’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of the collision. Without that evidence, the driver nor their insurance provider is liable for your medical bills and other damages.

The claims process could take months to resolve. The liability insurance provider does not cut you a check until you sign a settlement agreement. 

Once you sign the settlement agreement, you cannot sue the other driver or demand more money. Therefore, you do not want to settle the claim until your doctor releases you from treatment and you know the full extent of your injuries and damages.

How Can I Pay for My Medical Bills Until My Car Accident Claim Settles?

Health insurance coverage generally pays medical bills from a car accident. However, payment is subject to the terms and conditions of your health insurance policy. For example, you would be responsible for co-payments and deductibles.

Health insurance companies might file a subrogation claim against your settlement proceeds. A subrogation claim allows the health insurance company to recover the money they paid for medical bills related to the car crash from your settlement proceeds.

You can file claims with your car insurance company if you have no-fault insurance. However, most no-fault insurance policies limit the amount they pay for medical costs after a car accident. 

Some physicians and medical providers may agree to provide care if you sign a medical lien. A medical lien states you agree to pay outstanding medical bills from your personal injury settlement before you receive any funds. 

A personal injury lawyer works to negotiate subrogation claims and medical liens to lower the amount you must pay from your settlement proceeds. Negotiating settlements for subrogation claims and medical liens will help keep as much money in your pocket as possible. Insurance claims can be confusing and frustrating. Insurance adjusters work to lower the amount of money you receive for your medical bills and other damages. The best way to protect your right to fair compensation is to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a Los Angeles car accident.