car crash

Neck and Back Pain After a Car Crash: What to Do

A car crash can leave you with nagging injuries that last for years, or even a lifetime. Proper medical treatment is critical.

A car crash can leave you with nagging injuries that last for years, or even a lifetime. Proper medical treatment is critical.

If you were involved in a car crash and are suffering from pain in your neck and/or back, you may be wondering what, if anything, you can do to make the pain go away. For some lucky individuals, taking a few painkiller pills and getting good rest is enough for whiplash symptoms to go away. These are the lucky few. For most people, severe whiplash following a car accident can lead to months and sometimes years of neck and back pain. To add insult to injury, if the car crash wasn’t your fault, you’re now stuck with the headache of getting your car fixed, and face a potentially long road of physical recovery.

See a Doctor

Wherever you are in California, there are doctors who will see you and help you recover from your injury. Sometimes your health insurance doesn’t have appointments in the near future. Speak with a lawyer to find out if there are other medical offices that you can seek treatment at. Lawyers do no prescribe treatment, but they may be aware of offices who will treat you on a lien.

Wherever you are in California, there are doctors who will see you and help you recover from your injury. Sometimes your health insurance doesn’t have appointments in the near future. Speak with a lawyer to find out if there are other medical offices that you can seek treatment at. Lawyers do no prescribe treatment, but they may be aware of offices who will treat you on a lien.

The severity of your back pain may be difficult to diagnose by yourself. For example, strained muscles may very well heal on their own without significant medical treatment. However, if you have suffered damage to the vertebrae in your spine, you may not get better without medical treatment. Only a doctor that can give a qualified examination and order the appropriate diagnostic studies such as x-rays and MRI scans will be able to figure out what is going on in your back and neck. To make matters more difficult, many people suffer acute pain for a variety of injuries to their back, not being able to differentiate between the injuries. Some of the pain may go away, some may get worse.

Many people injured in car accidents are afraid to ask their attorney or their medical doctor for advice regarding treatment because of their insurance situation. Many people have high deductibles, or do not have health insurance. If you were not at fault for the car accident, a good lawyer can make sure you are able to receive the care you need. After all, you wouldn’t require medical attention if not for the negligence of someone else, so many personal injury law firms are able to help point you in the right direction. At the very least, you should go to an urgent care office to get checked out.

Neck and back pain following a car crash might go away in a week or two, or might still be bothering you ten years from now. Don’t risk your health - see a doctor who can run the proper diagnostic studies to evaluate the extent of your injury!

Neck and back pain following a car crash might go away in a week or two, or might still be bothering you ten years from now. Don’t risk your health - see a doctor who can run the proper diagnostic studies to evaluate the extent of your injury!

Attend All Treatment

Most doctors prescribe a regimen of treatment to address your injuries following a car crash. This often includes physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, possibly acupuncture, and a variety of other treatment options. These options are for what are called “soft tissue injuries,” and many people benefit from this treatment.

One way that insurance companies deny payment for medical treatment is by saying the patient was non-compliant with the treatment the doctor prescribed. If the doctor says attend three chiropractic appointments a week for six weeks, but you only attend three appointments total, you’re unlikely to have future treatment paid for. Do what the doctors tell you to do. Your attorney will make sure the bills are paid for, but can only do this if you attend all your appointments and are in all ways compliant with the doctor’s treatment plan.

You’d rather be anywhere than the doctor if you are like most people. But if you want to get better, you have to go to your appointments. Also, skipped appointments and failure to follow your doctor’s orders will likely result in a reduced personal injury settlement. It can also mean you will be stuck with your bills, as the insurance company will say you were noncompliant with prescribed treatment.

You’d rather be anywhere than the doctor if you are like most people. But if you want to get better, you have to go to your appointments. Also, skipped appointments and failure to follow your doctor’s orders will likely result in a reduced personal injury settlement. It can also mean you will be stuck with your bills, as the insurance company will say you were noncompliant with prescribed treatment.

Keep a Treatment and Pain Journal

Pain affects everyone differently. For some people, a 2-3 mm disc bulge in their spine will be immensely painful; for other people, the same injury will not bother them much. For this reason, insurance adjusters often justify low settlement offers by trying to categorize your injury with the “average” pain and suffering involved in such an injury. There is no “average” injury, of course, when it comes to your health. Your financial recovery should not depend on how much pain other people feel. For this reason, if you keep track of your pain levels in a notebook, you can track the ways in which your injury have affected your life, and later use this to prove to insurance adjusters that you were in fact injured, and that the consequences of their insured’s causing an accident have affected your day to day life.

Call an Injury Attorney

Not many people want to get lawyers involved in their problems. The challenge with injury cases is you usually don’t have experience or an understanding as to how the claims process works. Thus, you don’t know what you don’t know, and are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to knowing whether you’re getting taken advantage of, or whether the insurance company is treating you fairly. Ask a lawyer who practices injury law your questions. You will have a better understanding of how the claims process works. Just because you call a lawyer does not mean you have to sign up with a lawyer and take your case to trial. In fact, the involvement of an injury lawyer in your case may mean you’re less likely to end up in court. Why? Because insurance companies know that if a good lawyer is involved in representing you for your injury, they are often better off playing fair and paying you a fair settlement for your claim than going to court.

Nobody wants to get a lawyer, but the numbers don’t lie: personal injury plaintiffs who have a lawyer are much more likely to get a fair settlement from their injury claim than if they try to settle their case alone. Will a big chunk of the “extra money” you hope to get by going with a lawyer end up going to the lawyer and not you? Great question to ask a lawyer! (Answer: not if you get a good personal injury lawyer).

Nobody wants to get a lawyer, but the numbers don’t lie: personal injury plaintiffs who have a lawyer are much more likely to get a fair settlement from their injury claim than if they try to settle their case alone. Will a big chunk of the “extra money” you hope to get by going with a lawyer end up going to the lawyer and not you? Great question to ask a lawyer! (Answer: not if you get a good personal injury lawyer).

Think Long Term

If you hurt your neck or back following a crash, you may have a day where you feel better, followed by several days of pain. You’re unlikely to feel the same way every day. This means you have to think long-term about the severity of your injury. Will you feel better in a month? Will you feel better in a year, or in ten years. Will you ever feel better? Remember that the person who caused the crash is legally responsible for making you whole again. That means you should be put back in the position you were in before the crash, both financially and physically. The law protects the injured for their long term health, but you have to do your part to think ahead. You can’t simply decide a year after a car accident that you’re still in pain and start going to the doctor and expect the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay for your medical treatment. You have to think long term from day one, or as close to day one (the date that you were injured) as possible.

It Didn't Hurt, But Now It Does: Your Car Accident Injury Recovery Questions Answered

All too often, people are involved in car crashes and don't realize they are injured until several days or even weeks after the crash. The reasons for the delay of symptoms varies from person to person, but there's no doubt that many injuries related to car crashes don't show up until after a delay. Unfortunately, car insurance companies will look at any gaps in treatment as evidence that the claimant was not injured by the subject crash. So what to do if you were hurt in a California car accident, but didn't realize the full extent of your injuries until a few days or weeks after the accident?

Gaps in treatment can end up with the insurance company denying payment of your medical bills. Whenever you're injured due to another's negligence, it is imperative you seek medical treatment immediately.

Gaps in treatment can end up with the insurance company denying payment of your medical bills. Whenever you're injured due to another's negligence, it is imperative you seek medical treatment immediately.

Get Checked By a Doctor

The most important part of recovering from your personal injury is knowing what is hurt and how best to recover from the injury. Although nobody knows your body better than you, a qualified medical doctor can help assess the severity of your injuries and help chart a plan to help you recover. Most general practitioners will be able to discuss what hurts and point you in the right direction, which often includes x-rays and MRIs in order to find out exactly what the extent of your injuries are. The sooner you see a doctor, the better of you will be, both physically and in relation to your claim or lawsuit. Many law firms advise clients to see a doctor no later than within the first week of the car crash, and some injury lawyers refuse to accept clients who have not been to the doctor within a week, so the sooner you go, the better off you'll be.

What If I Don't Have Health Insurance?

Many people delay or forego entirely healthcare after a car crash because they don't have health insurance and they are afraid of the high cost of medical bills. A good law firm that practices personal injury law will be able to point you in the right direction. There are many doctors who will treat you with no payment up front, but will require payment once your injury claim settles. This is called lien-based treatment. In this situation, your attorney, yourself, and the treating medical office, all sign a document that says the doctor will be paid once the injury case settles. Of course, you would need to have an attorney represent you for your car crash for this setup to work for you, but the benefit is you can receive the healthcare you need at no out of pocket costs.

If you don't have health insurance, seeking proper medical treatment can be scary. Talking with a good injury lawyer will set your mind at ease. If you were hurt by someone else's negligence, you have options.

If you don't have health insurance, seeking proper medical treatment can be scary. Talking with a good injury lawyer will set your mind at ease. If you were hurt by someone else's negligence, you have options.

What If I Was Previously Injured?

Sometimes, people who are hurt in car crashes are afraid they won't be able to be reimbursed for their losses because they were previously injured, or they have chronic pain. This is a common situation, and the law provides for a fair outcome. If your previous injury was worsened, or exacerbated, because of the car crash, you are able to recover the money you lost, or owe, due to the accident. That is, if the car crash made it worse, you shouldn't have to pay for the costs of medical care of getting you back to the state of health you were in before the crash. 

Getting back to living life before your car crash isn't easy. Delaying medical treatment often makes the injury worse.

Getting back to living life before your car crash isn't easy. Delaying medical treatment often makes the injury worse.

What If I Have to Travel for Work and Miss Treatment?

Life doesn't just stop just because you were rear ended and hurt. Maybe you have a vacation scheduled, or you travel for work. If you're traveling, you can't be expected to go to your doctors appointments. In this situation, again, you will likely benefit from the counsel and representation of a lawyer who focuses on personal injury cases. A good lawyer will help explain to the other party's attorneys the reason you had to travel, and will likely be able to get you fair compensation for your injury claim. The rule of thumb is you should always seek proper medical treatment for as long as you need, and you should not delay or miss appointments. But if your travel plans require you to be away, a good lawyer can explain this to the insurance company and their lawyers.

Now What?

First things first: get to the doctor! You need to take care of your health following a car crash. If there has been a delay in treatment, you will likely benefit from speaking with a lawyer who has seen cases similar to yours. In most cases, the law firm will review the facts of your case at no cost to you, and most law firms in personal injury work on a contingency fee basis, meaning their fee comes out of the case settlement value. This means you will not have to pay up front, but the fees will be deducted from your settlement. Of course, no good injury law firm would take your case and work for free - if they take your case, they know they can win. In summary, you need to get back to the doctor to treat any injury that was caused by your car accident. Then, you should consult with a lawyer who has seen a situation like yours before. 

 

Driving on Wet Roads 101

Millions of California commuters woke up to wet roads this morning, and as is the case every time California gets significant rainfall, water on the roadway has undoubtedly attributed to more than a few car accidents already this morning. Because some parts of California, such as Orange County and San Diego County can go many months in between rainfalls, our driving habits become tailored to driving on dry roads. As those who have been involved in a car accident due to wet weather will attest, a vehicle stops and goes differently when there's water on the road, and the difference is significant. Here are a few things to keep in mind that might help you avoid a car accident.

Give Yourself Space

Your car takes longer to stop on a wet road than it does on a dry road. The best thing you can do to avoid causing a rear-end car accident is give yourself space between the front of your car and the back of the nearest car in front of you. Of course you can't control other drivers' actions, but you are the only one who determines your speed. Most car accidents related to water or ice on the roadway are caused by drivers who rear-end the car in front of them because they don't give themselves enough room to stop. Tragically, many of these accidents result in injury to both the driver who causes the accident, and they also often result in injury to the passengers and driver of the car that was rear-ended. The more road you can see in front of you, the more likely you are going to be able to control your vehicle and come to a safe stop.

Pump Your Brakes

What about getting rear-ended? A rear end accident can cause severe injury, and can cause injury even at relatively low speeds. Many California drivers don't think there is anything they can do to avoid being hit from behind, but this is not entirely accurate. Rear-end accidents happen when the driver from behind does not stop in time, and hits the car in front. What many drivers don't consider is that by pumping their brakes, they cause their brake lights to turn on and off, which may alert the driver from behind that they are stopping. The flashing on and off of lights may catch the attention of the driver behind you, giving him or her an added 'heads up,' and possibly resulting in their ability to stop sooner. It isn't your job to teach the driver behind you how to drive, and the tactic is certainly not foolproof, but it is better than getting rear-ended and possibly injured!

Decent Tires Matter

Don't drive on bald tires. The tread of your tires matters, and the lower the tread gets, the less able you will be to stop suddenly on a wet road. Nobody likes replacing their tires, as most people can think of a lot of things they'd rather spend a couple hundred dollars on than tires. However, a car accident can cost you more than a couple hundred dollars, even if you're not at fault. And, if you're in an accident, and you're injured, the cost can easily creep into the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. By comparison, putting a decent set of tires on your vehicle may not be such a terrible expense after all.

Pay Better Attention

It may be as simple as paying better attention that keeps you out of an accident. Your car won't stop as quickly when the roads are wet, and even if you're aware of this, chances are someone around you is not paying attention. Don't assume that everyone on the roadway is even considering that the driving conditions have changed and that the added precipitation on the road could be dangerous. Watch for vehicles who are driving recklessly and stay out of their way. Keep an eye out for vehicles driving too fast for the conditions. Let them pass, and even move aside if safe in order to let them go by - it is worth it to be behind an aggressive driver, even if you have to change lanes for a second. Also, watch for surges of water on the roadway, such as from drain pipes and from water coming off irrigation ditches and hillsides. 

If Involved in a Car Crash, Take Care of #1 (Yourself)

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a car crash during a rainstorm, you may be tempted to just get home as soon as possible, meaning you may not call the police or California Highway Patrol, or seek appropriate medical care. If you're injured, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This means going to the Emergency Room, or Urgent Care, or your primary care physician as soon as you are able. The decision to forego medical treatment can limit your ability to recover financially for your injuries. Don't let the convenience of going directly home keep you from seeking appropriate medical care. In the long run, for both your health and your financial stability, the sooner you seek medical care, the better.

Get Help Dealing With Insurance Adjusters

If you were injured in a car crash, and especially if the crash happened during rainy conditions, don't expect the at-fault driver's insurance company to just pay your medical bills right away. In fact, because weather was a factor, they may seek to diminish the amount of liability they will take responsibility for, or deny liability altogether. Don't get taken advantage of by loopholes you're not aware of. A good injury attorney who represents clients in California car crashes will be able to guide you along the way and make sure you get a fair settlement for your medical bills and pain and suffering. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured clients throughout California, and have recovered good settlements for their clients in motorcycle, auto, trucking, pedestrian, slip and fall, and dog bite cases. If you were injured and it was not your fault, you owe it to yourself to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you avoid the headache and frustration of trying to negotiate with an insurance adjuster on your own. Putting your case in the hands of an experienced professional can mean the difference of getting good health care, and can result in tens of thousands (or more) dollars added to your settlement. Contact the Lions today, and speak with an actual injury attorney (not a salesman). 

When to Call an Injury Attorney

Nobody expects to get injured in a car accident, and so people injured in auto crashes are often uncertain how to proceed. The reality is most people who are injured incur some medical expenses, and without the help of a personal injury lawyer, these same people often forego appropriate medical treatment because they don't know how they will pay for it. A common question injured victims face is when they should call an attorney, and what the attorney will do for them. There are a few common misconceptions that go against the injured, such as the assumption that an attorney only helps at the end, once medical treatment is complete.

What Kind of Injuries do 'Personal Injury' Law Firms Handle?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 31 million people each year seek treatment in a hospital or emergency room for accidental injuries. These injuries may include broken bones, muscle or tendon tears, cuts and burns, as well as accidental ingestion of toxins and damage to internal organs. The most common causes of injuries are:

  • Automobile accidents, including motorcycle and trucking accidents
  • Bicycle/pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Strike by a falling object
  • Dog bites
  • Medical error (commonly assumed to be medical malpractice)
  • Defective or dangerous products (often called 'product liability' cases)

Most of these accidents involve someone else's negligence. In California, if you were injured in one of these situations, and someone else is partially or fully to blame (liability), they may be responsible for making you "whole" again, or providing the financial means to pay for your medical treatment to help you recover to the state of health you were in prior to the accident or car crash. 

When to Call an Injury Attorney or Car Crash Law Firm

In California, you have two years to file your claim for your injury. After two years, you cannot recover money for your injury. This rule, called the statute of limitations, applies regardless of where in California you live. For example, the statute of limitations for car crashes is the same whether you live in Orange County, Los Angeles County, or in the Bay Area. All California residents must file before the two year limit. The same applies for visitors to the state of California.

fivetrucks.jpg

If you were injured in a car crash, you should call an injury attorney as soon as possible. There are many reasons why time is very important right after your injury. For example, the at-fault driver's insurance will likely push you to accept a small amount of money as a settlement. Their insurance may pressure you to make a recorded statement, which will most often be used against you in the future. Many people have a hard time seeing an appropriately trained doctor soon after a crash; many law firms can help injured people gain access to lien-based medical treatment, meaning the doctors will treat the patient at no out of pocket cost to the person, and the law firm will pay the doctor when they win the case.

Don't Settle Your Claim Alone

Most people assume that if they hire an attorney, they will need to either pay the lawyer a lot of money up front, or they will have to pay a large portion of their settlement to the law firm. In many cases, the injured person does not know what his or her case is worth. It can be very difficult to know if the settlement amount the insurance is offering is fair. In most cases, an experienced California injury attorney will be able to compare your case against thousands of other injury claims in order to determine how much money is fair and reasonable. Once an amount is determined, a good injury law firm will have a specific strategy to achieve the best possible outcome for their client. Also, most car crash lawyers in California are willing to work on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyer does not take a fee unless he or she wins. This is good for plaintiffs (the injured) because most people do not have cash on hand, ready to pay a lawyer just in case they are injured. 

Don't Underestimate Car Insurance Claims Adjusters

Auto insurance adjusters may seem friendly on the phone, but make no mistake, their job is to get you to accept as little money as possible to settle your claim. After all, these are multi-billion dollar publicly-traded companies that are trying to make as much money as possible. Next time you're watching sports, pay attention to how many insurance companies are advertising during commercial breaks. Why do they do this? Auto insurance is an extremely profitable industry. That's all fine, of course, but when you're injured and the person who caused your injury has an insurance policy that is supposed to cover the costs of your medical treatment, you should not have to fight tooth and nail to get what is rightfully owed you. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters often rely heavily on complex computer algorithms, meaning no matter how friendly you are to them, or visa versa, at the end of the day, the computer spits out a number and that is how much money they will try to get you to settle for. With an injury attorney who knows what he or she is doing, that computer-generated number is meaningless.

Future Medical Care and "Pain and Suffering"

You should call an injury law firm when you are trying to figure out how to pay for future medical expenses. Depending on your injury, the cost of your future medical expenses may be large. It can be difficult to know whether you have calculated enough money to cover future medical costs. Many California car accident law firms hire expert witnesses to calculate how much a client will need to treat their injury in the future.

Another challenging aspect injured persons encounter is how to calculate general damages, commonly known as "pain and suffering" damages or money. This amount is the money the at-fault person pays to compensate you for the pain they put you in. How much is your pain worth? Experienced injury attorneys can look at past cases and build your claim based on their knowledge of California case law. Pain and suffering damages are not commonly offered by insurance companies, and a good lawyer will fight hard to recover as much money as possible on your behalf.

The Lions Injury Lawyers are proud to represent clients throughout California, from San Diego all the way to the Oregon border and everywhere in between. If you were injured, you owe it to yourself to speak with a good attorney. You have nothing to lose, and even a short conversation with a good injury law firm will give you peace of mind, if nothing else, that you are proceeding correctly. You will speak with a lawyer (not a salesman), who will answer your questions and give you a free, no pressure evaluation.

medical.jpg

Dealing With Your Car Insurance After A Car Crash

Despite writing that monthly check to your auto insurance for liability and injury coverage, most people are understandably confused regarding what happens following a car crash when it comes to speaking with insurance. The assumption is that everything will be taken care of. After all, that is why you pay for insurance, right? And if you were not at fault for the car crash, why would you have anything to worry about? Unfortunately, reality is less cut and dry, and there are several things you should (and should not do) when communicating with your insurance provider following a car crash, especially an accident that resulted in injury to you or your passengers.

What Does Your Insurance Cover

In California, the state minimum policy, or the least amount of insurance you need to legally drive in the state, is a 15/30 policy. This is the amount of insurance coverage that is likely to cost you the least amount of money. What do the numbers mean? The 15 represents $15,000 for bodily injury you cause another individual. That is, if you injure someone, your insurance will pay up to $15,000 towards their medical bills and pain and suffering. This amount must cover everything, and is the maximum amount of money any one individual can recover as a result of an accident that was your fault. Even if that person's medical bills exceed $15,000, that's the most your insurance will pay. If you were injured by someone who has this insurance policy, the most you can recover from their insurance is $15,000. Even if your medical bills are extremely high, let's say $500,000, you will only get a check for $15,000 (in the best case scenario) from the at fault driver's insurance. 

The second number represents $30,000, or the total amount that your insurance will pay towards injury claims from a given accident. This means if there were multiple people injured, they must divide all their claims into the $30,000; if, for example, ten people were hurt, and each have $100,000, the total amount any one person can get is $15,000, and the entire group's net recovery cannot exceed $30,000. Given the high cost of medical care, a 15/30 or "bare minimum" insurance policy may not be enough to cover the medical bills and pain and suffering of those involved in the crash.

Will Your Insurance Premiums Be Increased?

The short answer is no, not automatically. This depends on whether you were at fault, and whether you were issued a citation or ticket from the California Highway Patrol or another law enforcement office. The amount you pay for car insurance depends on what you use your car for (business or pleasure), what kind of car you drive, where you live, what your driving/criminal records looks like, among other factors. If you were not at fault in a car accident, you should not see an increase in your insurance premiums. If you were at fault, you will likely see an increase. This is because it will cost more for your insurance company to insure you, and you are a greater risk of costing more money to insure in the future.

When Should You Report A Car Accident To Your Insurance?

Most people don't want to talk to their insurance because they don't want to see their bills increase. However, if you were injured, or someone else was injured, you should call your insurance company. Also, if property damage exceeds $500, or is likely to exceed that amount, you should call your insurance company. Some insurance policies (the "contract" between you and your insurance) require you talk notify them immediately after any motor vehicle collision.

What Should You Say To Your Insurance Following A Crash?

They need to know where it happened, when, any contact information from the other vehicles involved, and a basic explanation of the crash. That's it. You do not need to try to explain everything. In fact, doing so is likely to hurt you more than help you. Don't accept fault for the accident, and don't give a full list of possible injuries to you or anyone else. If you were injured, say you were injured and you have not yet visited a doctor. If you give a detailed accounting of injuries, you may miss something, and you will most certainly not give an accurate accounting of your injuries when compared to your medical records. This enables insurance adjusters to deny payment towards medical treatment later. You therefore shoot yourself in the foot by trying to be helpful. 

What Shouldn't You Say Following A Crash?

First, make sure you're safely off the road and are emotionally in a good spot. Too many people try to get on the phone with their insurance when their vehicle is still in the roadway, or they are in shock and still flustered from the accident. Take care of yourself first.

  • Don't admit fault. Just don't give your opinion. State the facts as simply and straightforward as you can. 
  • Don't say you are uninjured, or were not injured. If you feel pain a day or two later, which is very common, you may negate your ability to recover in the future. If you have medpay, or excess liability coverage, for example, your insurance policy that you've been paying for may cover you. It won't cover you if you make a statement that to you seems harmless, but allows your own insurance company do deny payment later on. 
  • Don't give a recorded or "official" statement. It won't help you and it can only hurt you. Sounds overly critical of insurance company, perhaps. But attorneys that handle car accident injuries regularly in California have seen time after time cases where the injured person makes a seemingly harmless recorded statement that is later used against that person. If you make a recorded statement (some insurance providers require this), you should do so only after consulting with an attorney. 
  • Don't estimate. Communicate the facts and stick to that. The more you try to connect the dots, the more likely you are to make a statement that although it sounds harmless to you, will prejudice your case in the future. This means it will work against you in the future. Keep it simple.
  • Don't sign medical records or releases. The insurance adjuster may say this is required, but it is not. You should consult with your attorney prior to signing medical release forms. 

Don't Settle Without First Consulting With An Attorney

Above all else, if you are considering settling, you should first speak with an injury law firm or an attorney who handles injury cases. Even if your case seems simple and straightforward, there are many loopholes that allow insurance companies to settle for less than fair value. If you don't know any better, you are likely leaving money on the table. Settling without an attorney almost always means you will get less money in your pocket. 

Depending on the facts of your case, you may be leaving large amounts of money on the table that you don't even know about. This is money that you have been paying for as part of your insurance premiums, or is money that the at-fault party is covered for. Remember, insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They want to spend as little money as possible on your claim. The less money they spend on your case, the more money they keep in the business. However, this does not mean you are getting a fair settlement for your California injury claim. Don't pad the pockets of the insurance company by accepting less than fair value. 

California Car Accident and Injury Attorneys

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. handle injury claims throughout the state of California. The lawyers at The Lions Injury Lawyers do not work on other matters, but focus exclusively on injury cases. This means they have the experience and knowledge to help you get fair compensation for your injuries. If you or a loved one were injured, the attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers will answer your questions free of charge. All representation is done on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will never have to write a check or pay for your attorney out of pocket. Your fee is taken as a percentage of the amount your attorney wins on your behalf. If your attorney does not win, you owe nothing for the services provided. Also, you will speak directly with an attorney, not a salesperson. Don't sign up with an injury law firm after speaking with only a salesperson. Salespersons are fine at selling tires and perfume, but when it comes to your health and financial wellbeing, you deserve to speak with an attorney. Contact The Lions Injury Lawyers today for a free consult.

Navigating Your Car Accident Whiplash Claim

Thousands of car accidents occur each day in California, and many people involved in these accidents are injured as a result. The most common injury that results from being involved in a car accident is whiplash. Although whiplash is the most common complaint by injured persons involved in car accidents, it is an often misunderstood and misdiagnosed injury. It is also the injury that the at-fault driver's insurance is most likely to dispute and refuse payment towards treatment for.

Whiplash is the most common injury following a rear end accident

Whiplash is the most common injury following a rear end accident

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is essentially neck strain and sprain that occurs when a driver or passenger's head is violently jerked backwards or forwards as the result of a car crash. The neck muscles and ligaments are strained as a result of the collision. Severe whiplash may also include damage to discs in the cervical spine, torn and ruptured ligaments, and even fractures in the vertebrae. Whiplash can be a serious, life altering injury, however many people who suffer whiplash assume the pain will go away after a few days, and they fail to document their injury in a way that will enable them to recover from the defendant's insurance company.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash can take several days to set in, and the resulting pain can last for the rest of your life if you do not treat it appropriately. Here are a few symptoms to look for:

• Neck pain and stiffness

• Loss of range of motion in neck, back, and arms

• Headaches, especially those with dizziness and vomiting

• Tingling and numbness in arms and hands

• Pain in your arms, shoulders, neck and back

• Other symptoms may include ringing of the ears, blurred vision, memory and concentration difficulties and abnormalities, difficulty sleeping, moodiness and lack of patience, anxiety and depression.

An MRI of the cervical spine is often required in order to evaluate the severity of a whiplash inury

An MRI of the cervical spine is often required in order to evaluate the severity of a whiplash inury

Treatment for Whiplash

If you were injured in a car crash that resulted in whiplash, you were likely hit from behind, meaning you were not at fault and you will be able to pursue the other driver's insurance company to have your medical bills paid. Unfortunately, the insurance company will not simply believe that you are injured and write you a check. You must seek appropriate, reasonable medical treatment as soon as possible after the car crash. Your injury will be attributed to age, pre-existing conditions, degenerative conditions - really anything other than the car crash, if you do not seek proper treatment and the medical professional makes note that you were involved in a car crash.

Proper treatment usually involves visiting your primary care physician within a day or two after the crash. This is impossible for most people due to scheduling. You should visit the Emergency Room or Urgent Care facility as soon as possible if you cannot get an appointment with your primary care physician shortly after the crash. Fortunately, especially in Southern California and Orange County, there are an abundance of 24-hour Urgent Care facilities that are equipped with the proper staff to evaluate the severity of your injury.

What if You Can't Afford Medical Treatment?

You likely did not see the car crash coming, and you probably don't have a couple thousand dollars lying around just in case you need medical care following an accident. If you're like most people, you will benefit from consulting with an injury law firm in California that handles car crash cases. An established and reputable injury lawyer will know of doctors who will treat you on a lien. This means the attorney vouches for your case, and the doctor agrees to be paid out of the settlement, rather than being paid up front. This also means you may receive state of the art care at no up front cost to you. Fortunately, many facilities that accept car accident attorney liens are privately owned and operated, and are able to provide the very best medical care available.

How to Document Your Injury

The most important documentation comes from your doctor's office or hospital or urgent care. Thus, the most important step you can take towards better health and financial recovery for your injury claim is to visit a doctor immediately. Sometimes whiplash does not become painful for several days after an accident. If this is the case for you, you should still go to a doctor as soon as the pain becomes bothersome and persistent.

Pursuing Your Claim

If you or someone you know has been injured in a California car accident and is trying to recover physically and financially, contact The Lions Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation. The injury lawyers at The Lions are skilled and experienced in arguing on behalf of their clients to receive fair and reasonable compensation for car accident injuries like whiplash. The Lions main office is in Newport Beach, California, but the firm represents injured persons throughout the state of California. Call (949) 329-5000 today for a free consultation with an injury attorney.

 

 

Driving on Wet Roads

Lions2.jpg

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.

Lionswaves.jpg

Who Pays Medical Bills After A Crash?

If you were injured in a car crash, you likely have medicals bills. And, given the high cost of healthcare in California, these bills are sometimes very high. For some, the cost of medical expenses can be daunting, and the unknown as to how and when they will be paid can be paralyzing. Understanding who pays and how can be helpful for those trying to figure out how to proceed after an injury accident.

What About Car Insurance?

In an ideal world, the driver who causes an accident has car insurance. If he injures someone, eventually his auto insurance will ideally pay for the medical expenses of the injured person. But what if his insurance only covers him for the California state minimum of $15,000 and the injured person's bills exceed $15,000? In that scenario, the injured person's insurance may come into play, if he or she is insured for more than the state minimum. Additionally, if there are other insurance policies that might cover the at-fault driver, such as a business or umbrella insurance policy, those insurance policies might also pay for the injured person's medical expenses.

And If Car Insurance Won't Pay?

It sounds unfair and unlawful, but car insurance companies are notorious for trying to avoid paying medical bills. For example, they may state that the car accident did not cause the injuries, and so they do not have to pay the bills. There's a sliver of truth to this, but the extent to which insurance agencies use this excuse is often ridiculous. Or, the insurance adjusters may state that the amount billed is too much, and so they will offer you the minimum amount for the medical treatment billed. Or, they may simply decide that some medical treatment is not necessary, was not properly prescribed, or the date of treatment was too far after the car accident and therefore not related. 

How To Get Your Bills Paid For

An experience car accident or injury attorney may be able to help you. The insurance companies are likely to deal more fairly with you if you are represented by an attorney, as politically incorrect as that sounds. An injury attorney knows the rules of the insurance code. Also, a good injury attorney in California will have heard the excuses for not paying before. Therefore, he or she will be in a much better position to fight back on your behalf. Also, consulting an injury attorney shortly after your car accident will likely benefit you by learning more about the claim and litigation process before you finish your medical treatment. You may be able to avoid falling into the traps the insurance companies expect you to fall into.

The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured persons throughout California, including claimants living in San Bernardino County, Riverside County, San Diego County, Orange County, San Joaquin County, and Los Angeles County. Speak with an attorney, not a salesman.

Driving Safely With Children

Navigating busy California roads can be a difficult task in a quiet car. Driving the same roads with children in the car can be a much more difficult task. During summer, when most kids are out of school, more parents are driving their children around town and on road trips. If you're getting ready to spend a lot more time in the car with kids, taking a few minutes to consider your approach may help avoid problems and frustrations in the future. A few safety points to remember:

• Fix Technology or Entertainment Before You Put The Car in Drive

More and more new cars offer abundant entertainment options, from video screens to individual headphones for rear-seated passengers. Before you put the car in drive, start the movie or show, or figure out what the entertainment is going to be, if any. Fixing entertainment is a main cause for distracted driving, and distracted driving is a main factor in many car accidents. These decisions can easily be made before you pull away. If you're driving with another adult passenger, put that person in charge of media and entertainment so you can focus on the road.

• No Children in the Front Seat

This sounds like an obvious precaution to most adults, but tragically every summer children are injured in California car accidents because they are seated in the front seat. Modern airbag systems are not designed for small bodies, and a deployed airbag will often injure small children. Check the owner's manual for suggested body weight before allowing children in the front seat. Additionally, even if the airbag does not deploy, many rear-seated passengers are more likely to leave an accident less severely injured than if they are seated in the front. 

•  Proper Car Seat and Booster Seat Installation Matters

You may have purchased an appropriately sized carseat or booster seat for your child, but if it isn't installed correctly, it is not likely to protect your child the way it was designed to. Many stores that sell car seats are willing to assist with the installation. Similarly, several automobile insurance providers will, upon request, assist with proper installation. You should also occasionally check product recalls and safety alerts. A simple internet search will show results of up to date safety recalls. Even the best brands recall car seats occasionally. Your child's safety in the event of an accident may depend on whether they are in an appropriate seat that is installed correctly.

• Beware the Sun

Every year, children are left in cars while their parents or guardians run into a store. Cars heat up quickly in the summer sun, and children are unable to cool their bodies as quickly as adults. It doesn't take long for a car to heat up, and it doesn't take long for a child to overheat. The consequence of leaving your child or any child in a car alone in the summer heat are too great a risk. Cracking the windows open is not enough. Pets are similarly prone to overheating. Don't risk tragedy - bring the kids inside with you, even on errands that you think will only take a few minutes. California law enforcement are encouraged to prosecute, if appropriate, parents or guardians who ignore the safety of their children and leave them in the car unattended. 

• Parking Lot Accidents

Because children are shorter than adults, they can be difficult for other drivers to see, especially drivers backing out of parking spots. Don't assume drivers in parking lots are paying attention, or that slow speeds mean a lesser danger. Children should know that the parking lots can be dangerous. Many children are injured every summer in parking lots by inattentive drivers. Hold their hands, and don't assume that because they are in a cross walk they are safe. Slow speed accidents can be fatal, but can easily be avoided. Don't be careless just because the cars are moving slowly. No child (or adult) is a match for a car, which weighs several thousand pounds and even at slow speed can cause serious injury or death.

• Check Crash Test Results

If you're renting a car for an out of town visit or road trip, pay attention to the size and safety of the vehicle you choose. Often times people look only at the rental price. The difference between a very small or compact car with lesser safety and a full size car with better safety ratings is nominal. Is saving a dollar or two (or five) per day worth driving a car that has poor safety rankings? If you're driving with children on an extended trip, don't forget to factor in luggage. If you have a few bags, suddenly that mini or small car will be miserably cramped, and even less safe in the event of a crash. Err on the side of safety and rent a car with enough room for your luggage, and one that has a better crash test ranking.

• If You Get In A Crash . . . 

Check your injuries, but also pay close attention to your children. You will have a lot on your mind, such as who is at fault, are the police or ambulance on their way, is your insurance current, etc. Don't forget that children sometimes deny or don't recognize their injuries as quickly as adults. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters often shrug off injuries to children, unless fractures are present. If your child is injured, don't accept a small settlement just because they're a child. The law provides them just as much protection as if they were an adult, and you should not brush off their injuries when settling your injury claim.

• Questions

If you have questions about driving safely with children, the internet is full of best practices that will enhance the likelihood of traveling safely with children. If you are involved in a crash and you or your children are injured, the car crash attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are experienced and ready to discuss your situation. Consulting an injury lawyer is a good idea, even if you don't sign a contract and agree to formal representation. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. currently represent several families with small children who were injured in California car crashes in Los Angeles and Orange counties. We make sure their medical expenses are paid for, and that each client, young or old, receives money for the pain and suffering the car crash caused them. Call today at (949) 329-5000 if you have any questions regarding your California car accident.