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"You Don't Need an Attorney for Your Car Crash Injury Claim"

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For personal injury attorneys in California who practice exclusively injury law, it is only a matter of time before they take a case where the client was told at one point by someone at an insurance company that they didn't need an attorney to help them. The longer injury lawyers practice, the more frequent this story becomes. Clients are told shortly after their car accident by the other driver's insurance company that they "don't need a lawyer for this kind of claim." Because this advice has drastic consequences, a brief look as to why an employee of an insurance company, especially an injury claim adjuster, would say this is worth looking into.

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What Do Insurance Adjusters Do?

Insurance adjusters evaluate claims and, if necessary, offer money to settle the claim. What does "settlement" entail? It basically means that in exchange for money, the claimant will not sue the insurance company's insured in a court of law. This all happens before any lawsuit is filed against the person who caused a crash. Insurance adjusters are therefore middlemen that are supposed to protect the interests of their insured. The more claims an adjuster can settle or close, the better they are at their job in the eyes of their bosses, and they are often compensated accordingly. In short, if an insurance adjuster can get you to settle your claim, they win, and personally it is good for their careers.

What Exactly Does "Evaluate Claims" Mean?

Insurance adjusters evaluate claims. Basically this means they investigate what the claimant is saying in comparison to what their insured says. However, their evaluation is not objective, whereas a jury evaluation of a case is supposed to be objective. If the insurance adjuster's client/insured says they didn't cause the accident, the insurance adjuster will stick by their client, regardless of what the facts say. This means they can deny your claim, even though there's a lot of evidence to show that their guy is at fault. So even though they are tasked with evaluating the claim and trying to get the claimant to go away, their view favors the interests of their company.

Why Don't Adjusters Want Me to Speak With an Attorney?

First, remember that insurance adjusters are expected to move files off their desks. The quicker they can get rid of your file, the sooner they can move on to the next file, and so on. The involvement of an attorney does not necessarily mean your claim will go unsettled longer, but it most certainly means that when your claim settles, it will be for more money. Injury attorneys specialize in getting their clients money, plain and simple. The money comes from the at fault party's insurance company. In short, if an attorney is involved, the insurance company is going to have to pay more money to make the claim go away. This is bad for the individual insurance adjuster's performance metrics.

Insurance adjusters also handle so many car crash cases that they become accustomed to getting their way with plaintiffs who are not represented by an injury lawyer. They get used to having the upper hand in the negotiation, and they are used to getting their way. They also know that the tables turn when an injury law firm is involved, as an experienced injury lawyer will know far more about the law, case results, and how the courts actually work.

The Insurance Company says ________________. Is this true?

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Insurance adjusters are not bad people, but they do have often have a narrow perspective as to how an injury case might play out if an attorney is involved. Again, they settle so many cases for pennies on the dollar that they don't realize a case they settle for $500 may be worth $15,000 or $50,000 if an attorney is involved. They view themselves at injury authorities, even though they are not trained in the law, and don't know what happens to cases that they don't settle that end up in litigation and going to trial. Insurance adjusters therefore often try to coach claimants as to how the process works, even though their approach is heavily favorable to the insurance company's bottom line, and geared towards low settlement.

"My Adjuster is Very Friendly. I Don't Want to Cause Problems for Anyone."

Friendliness is a proven negotiating tactic that is taught to insurance adjusters in most insurance companies. Hint: if you've seen a commercial on television for an insurance company, you can rest assured the adjusters for those companies have all been trained how to present themselves in a friendly manner during negotiations with claimants. Also, remember that none of this is personal. You will never meet the insurance adjuster, and even in the event that your case requires a lawsuit be filed, you will probably never see the individual who injured you again. The insurance policy is there to protect you in the event of injury, and so when you are injured by someone else's careless or reckless driving, the law has provided a way for you to recover, physically and financially. 

If you pursue your claim, it is extremely unlikely that the actual individual who hit you will know or care how much their insurance company settles for. For example, an auto insurance policy for $50,000 covers your injuries up to that amount. Whether you settle for $500 or $50,000, it does not affect the person who injured you personally, as the money comes from the insurance agency. This is why we pay insurance premiums. Every month, every California driver pays money to be insured. In return, if they cause an accident and hurt someone, that money is used to protect the negligent person. Thus, your efforts to get a fair settlement and have your medical bills and pain and suffering paid for have nothing to do with the individual who hit you, but become the responsibility of the insurance company to resolve.

Isn't All This Overly Skeptical of Insurance Companies?

The more injury claims an attorney sees, the more aware he or she is of the many ways in which insurance adjusters are able to convince injured people to do things that will ultimately result in the claimant receiving less money. Insurance companies are insanely profitable, as evidenced by their high profile advertising campaigns, the stadiums their brands are on, and their pervasive presence in advertising culture. Insurance companies spend billions of dollars every year in advertising, and in return, they earn billions of dollars in profits. If you are injured and want to get your medical bills paid for, that is why the insurance policy exists, and why California law requires drivers to have insurance. Insurance companies employ good people, and are not necessarily corrupt, but they do have a bias, and that is to settle all claims for as little money as possible, as this is how they stay profitable.

If You Are Injured

California law provides for full recovery if you were injured, meaning you should be in the same position you were after the car accident or other injury-causing accident as you were before the accident. If your injury is long-lasting, catastrophic, or permanent, this may not be possible. Still, the law makes sure the negligent/at fault person is responsible for making you whole, so if you can't be put back together, you are owed money for pain and suffering. The Lions Injury Lawyers are passionate about getting fair value for injury claims. They fight endlessly to recover as much money as possible for their clients, which will cover all medical expenses and also include money for pain and suffering, lost wages from time off work, and money for other incidental and inconvenient or painful lifestyle changes. The Lions Injury Lawyers spend 100% of their time practicing injury law, and are exclusively dedicated to personal injury clients. Speak with an actual injury attorney today to make sure you're not being taken advantage of as you seek to settle your claim.

Social Media and Injury Claims

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After a car accident, you may want to communicate with your friends and family to let them know what happened, maybe even share some photographs. For many people, posting on Facebook or Instagram is something they do without even thinking. However, prior to posting anything regarding your injury on social media, you should use caution and consider how your post may be used against you.

Say Nothing, Post Nothing

Perhaps it sounds hypersensitive to say that after a car accident in which you were injured, you should not post anything. After all, if the accident or car crash wasn't your fault, what is the harm in sharing what happened with your friends and loved ones? Isn't that what social media is for, and isn't it obvious you weren't at fault? Consider that even car collisions that fault and liability is usually easy to establish, such as a rear end accident, the at-fault insurance company's adjusters will not simply take your word for it, and are increasingly fighting liability on all claims. Your car accident claim is not a criminal case, so the familiar Miranda rights verbiage "anything you say can and will be used against you" does not exactly apply, but the spirit of the Miranda rights certainly does apply: everything you post, everything you say, can be manipulated by the other insurance company to diminish the amount of money they will pay to resolve your claim.

Set Your Accounts to "Private"

Even if you never post anything on social media regarding your injury, the insurance adjusters can still look at everything you've posted and create a narrative that there is nothing wrong with you. Is this legal, you might be asking yourself? Yes. If your social media accounts are open to the public, there is nothing to prevent an insurance agent from looking at your pages and taking screen shots. Many injury lawyers have seen in recent years a tendency for insurance adjusters to create a narrative, or story, about your life. Basically they will look at your photos and posts and come to the conclusion that you're fine and that you did not suffer serious injury. 

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Example Of Social Media Gone Wrong

For example, consider the case of a client who was injured in a car crash in Santa Ana, California. Despite being rear-ended (so it was clearly not her fault), and after she visited with her primary care physician at the local Hoag hospital, she slowly recovered through typical injury treatment of chiropractic care, physical therapy, and got two epidural injections to help alleviate her pain and facilitate recovery. During her recovery, as a student at Cal State Fullerton, she continued to take classes and work part time in an office on campus. Her treatment lasted about six months, during which she attended family birthday parties and went to Crystal Cove State Beach in Newport Beach with friends and her boyfriend. Sounds pretty normal for a college student.

When it came time to try to reach a resolution on her injury claim, the insurance adjuster denied payment and refused to pay her medical bills. Why? Because her social media posts on Facebook showed photos of her at the beach, at a few Cal State Fullerton athletic events (as a spectator, not participating), and at birthday parties. The insurance adjuster claimed "she seems pretty good to me, going to the beach, hanging out with her college friends at basketball games." You may ask what that has to do with this client's injury and medical bills. Of course, going to the beach has nothing to do with the client's injuries.

After her personal injury attorney at The Lions Injury Lawyers aggressively pursued her claim, the insurance company eventually paid all of her medical bills and paid her for her pain and suffering. This was only after her car accident attorney filed a lawsuit on her behalf in order to recover fair compensation on her behalf. Had this client marked her social media accounts to "private" the insurance company would not have been able to create a story that she was not injured based on her photos.

Getting A Fair Settlement For Your California Injury Claim

Social media is a new tool for insurance adjusters to use to diminish the value of your claim, or deny it altogether. Just because you were not at fault and sought proper medical treatment for your injuries does not mean you will be treated fairly. Often, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney law firm that practices throughout California is the best way to get fair treatment from the insurance company. People injured in car crashes in Anaheim, Santa Ana, Fullerton, and throughout Orange County have turned to The Lions Injury Lawyers to get fair treatment by the insurance companies. The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured plaintiffs throughout California, from San Diego County to the Inland Empire, up to Los Angeles and all the way 

Driving on Wet Roads

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Yesterday brought the first rain of the fall and winter season to Orange County, California, and the rest of the state begins to experience increasingly wet weather as well. Last year around this time the state was still gripped in drought, but the 2016-2017 wet weather season brought precipitation to the state in amounts not seen in decades over such a short period of time. Will this year bring the same amount of water to California? Perhaps not, but it doesn't take record rain and snowfall to create havoc on our roadways and transportation systems. A few tips on driving and commuting in wet weather may serve you well.

Slower Braking

What is the most common car accident? The rear end accident. Every day throughout California, thousands of drivers fail to brake in time and end up slamming into the car in front of them. Sometimes both drivers walk away without injury, while other car accidents of the "rear ender" variation can result in serious injury, and not just the driver or occupant of the car that is hit. Sometimes, the driver of the car that initiates the collision by failing to brake in time is also injured. Passengers from both cars are regularly injured from rear end accidents. The cause of these common accidents is a failure to brake in time. When traffic is busy and people are in a hurry, bumper to bumper traffic can progress hour after hour without a collision. However, when there is water on the roads, drivers cannot stop their cars as fast as they can in dry conditions. And, if you have been driving on wet roads and not needed to brake, when you do finally brake, it may be too late to realize you needed more time to stop.

How To Brake In Wet Weather

The first recommendation is that you must have plenty of space. The more distance you have before you need to stop your vehicle, the better. If your car doesn't have antilock breaks, you should pump your brakes. This can be helpful even if your car is equipped with antilock brakes, as it will prevent your car from sliding. Making sure your vehicle has proper tires is also important. If you are driving on "bald" tires on wet roads, you will not be able to stop as quickly as you would driving a car with tires that have proper treat. This is a danger to people driving around you, and should be taken seriously. Finally, you should not "slam" your brakes, or brake hard during wet weather, as this tends to cause slide, where you are out of control. 

Proper Lighting

Although unrelated to your ability to brake, making sure your rear tail lights are operating properly can be helpful. Consider that visibility is diminished in rainy or foggy conditions, and that in diminished daylight hours or at night, the vehicles following you have less time to stop as it is. If your lights aren't working, they are more likely to hit you. You may avoid injury by simply making sure the bulbs in your brake lights are working properly. Also consider what kind of lights you have on your car. If you purchased your car on the secondary market, popular modifications to darken the brake lights have become increasingly common. Many of these aftermarket modifications do not meet California DMV safety standards, yet many cars still use them. The effort is to make the aesthetic of the car appear darker. If you purchase a black or grey car, and the previous owner installed these brake lights, you should be certain the vehicle is legal as per California DMV safety standards. These brake lights are simply not bright enough in normal driving conditions. In wet and rainy weather, they can be almost impossible to see the brake lights, creating a danger to the driver.

California Car Accident Injuries During Wet Weather

More people tend to be injured as a result of rear end accidents this time of year in California due to changing driving conditions. If you were injured, you should seek immediate medical attention if you need it. Do not worry about placing blame on the driver who hit you. First, attend to your health. Even though common "rear end" accidents tend to establish the at-fault driver as the rear car, modern trends by insurance agencies show that they are denying injury claims on rear end accidents if there is not expensive property damage to your vehicle.

If you were injured in a California car accident during the intermittent wet weather, you may need to discuss your case with an injury attorney in order to be compensated fairly by the at fault driver's insurance. The Lions Injury Lawyers handle car accident cases throughout California, from San Diego to Orange County, Los Angeles to San Francisco-Bay Area. The car crash lawyers at The Lions Injury Lawyers are familiar with the tricks and tactics by bodily injury insurance adjusters, and their lawyers will help you navigate your injury claim. To speak with a car accident lawyer about your injury, the attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers are ready to discuss your claim today.

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