California Car Accidents and The Waiting Game
Many people who are injured in a California car accident proceed to file their injury claims on their own with the at fault driver's insurance company. At the start, there's a lot happening. There may be telephone calls with insurance adjusters, meetings with insurance representatives to inspect your damaged vehicle, and trips to the doctor to assess your injuries. However, many people are left without any compensation after many months, even years. Why?
Insurance Company Motivation
You may be asked to make a recorded statement with the at fault driver's insurance company. Most injury attorneys strongly advise against this. The insurance company wants to ask you very specific questions, and although the police report may state you are not at fault, your answers may provide leverage for the insurance company to deny your claim. Or, with your recorded response, they may try to reduce the amount of money they say you're entitled to. Either way, once you have given a recorded statement and played their game, the insurance company has very little motivation to work with you. They will likely offer a small amount of money to settle. The insurance adjuster uses a complex algorithm to come up with a settlement number. If you're wise, you will likely reject this first offer, as there is almost always more money on the table. However, in rejecting it, your file may be put on the back burner for a very long time. In fact, the insurance adjuster may just hope you forget about it. If you don't file a lawsuit within two years of the date of your accident, the insurance company will not have to pay you for your losses. The longer an insurance company can avoid paying you for your injury, the longer the company holds on to the money, and the more likely it is you'll end up with nothing.
What Can You Do?
At the very least, we strongly recommend you speak with an experienced injury attorney who focuses on California injury cases. Most law firms offer free consultations. The advice that "you don't know what you don't know" is especially true when in comes to working with insurance companies. You likely do not know what the California Insurance Code requires of insurance companies - these are the rules they are supposed to play by. If you don't know the rules, how can you call them out when they're clearly breaking provisions in the insurance code? A short conversation with a car crash attorney will help you understand what to expect from the insurance company.
Expectations When Dealing With Insurance After Your Injury Accident
Don't expect the at fault driver's insurance to pay all your bills. Do expect them to try to reduce the amount, if any, they are willing to pay for your healthcare. Expect your bills to be reduced, regardless of where you sought medical treatment. Is this fair? Not necessarily. Again, the insurance companies know that you are unlikely to call them on it, and for good reason: most injured claimants do not know how to react when an insurance adjuster refuses to pay their healthcare bills. A competent and skilled injury lawyer will argue on your behalf and ensure that you are compensated for the amount of your bills that were the result of your car accident. Negotiating fair payment for your medical treatment can take many telephone calls and the exchange of specific documents verifying your medical care. This takes time, and the insurance companies are more than willing to delay reaching a resolution, as it is in their financial best interest.
What About Litigation?
In the best case scenario, an injured claimant will be compensated for their pain and suffering, as well as the cost of their medical expenses, prior to filing a lawsuit. A good personal injury attorney may be able to achieve this on your behalf prior to filing a lawsuit. However, each case is different, and your case may necessitate litigation, meaning a complaint is filed on your behalf in the courts against the at fault driver. When this happens, the insurance company of the at fault driver hires a law firm. Depending on the complexity of your case, litigation can take years to resolve. However, most injury law firms try to expedite the process as quickly as possible.
So How Long Will It Take?
There is no uniform answer as to how long it will take to resolve your injury claim. If you're willing to settle for pennies on the dollar, you may be able to resolve your injury claim quickly. However, if you want fair and reasonable treatment, and you want to be treated with respect and within the guidelines of the California Insurance Code, you may need to hire a California injury attorney to represent you. Because insurance companies know that injury lawyers know the law and the value of your case, you are much more likely to be handled fairly when you have an attorney in your corner. A good lawyer will expedite the process when possible.
The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represents injured people throughout the state of California. Located in Newport Beach, California, they represent people from Orange County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, and throughout the state. If you have questions regarding your claim, or whether you have a claim at all, they can be reached at (949) 329-5000. All consultations are free of cost, and you will speak with an attorney, not a salesman.