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Your Injury Claim, Compared to Millions of Other Similar Claims

Plaintiffs looking for a fair and reasonable settlement to their personal injury claim are often frustrated by low settlement offers and prolonged delays in the resolution of their matter. Many people who are injured feel they are treated unfairly by the at-fault party’s insurance company and cannot understand why they are being offered such low amounts of money to settle their case. This frustration is a popular sentiment among people hurt in car crashes, slip and fall cases, premises liability matters, and basically all personal injury situations in California. If you were injured and it was not your fault, a peek into the personal injury settlement process can help you understand why your case is being handled the way it is, and what you can do about it.

With so many drivers on California roads, insurance adjusters see thousands of claims cross their desks. Making your claim be more than a number is the key to getting your injuries reviewed fairly.

With so many drivers on California roads, insurance adjusters see thousands of claims cross their desks. Making your claim be more than a number is the key to getting your injuries reviewed fairly.

It’s Not You - It’s The Millions of Other Cases

If you’re lucky, you never get in a car crash. If you are in a car crash and are injured, however, you will likely have the unpleasant experience of trying to pay for your medical bills, additional transportation expenses, lost wages, and many other costs associated with an accident that was not your fault. Unfortunately, even though the law provides a way for you to have all these expenses paid for by the person or entity who caused your injury, the chances you’ll see a check arrive in your mailbox that covers everything are slim. The reason insurance companies tend to offer small amounts to settle claims is because they can. That is, the great majority of people who are trying to settle their injury case on their own do not know what to do with a bad offer, and they cannot negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement on their own because they don’t know the true value of their case. 

Consider for a moment that you were injured in a California car crash, say for example in Orange County or Los Angeles County. These counties are home to millions of people. Over the years, insurance companies have handled millions of cases in California and throughout the country, and your case is compared to other similar cases. How? Insurance companies keep big data that shows what the estimated value of a case is. For example, the type of car you drive, your zip code, your ethnicity - it all comes into play, whether insurance companies admit this or not (they deny this). The facts of your case, such as the amount of property damage involved, the amount of your medical care, the type of crash, and many other factors, are often plugged into an algorithm that produces a number. This number is the basis for the insurance adjuster’s starting negotiation point; many lawyers suspect that some insurance companies do not even review the photos or read the documents provided to them. They plug in the numbers and run the calculation, and from there they use a number to try to get you to settle your case. 

What To Do With a Bad Injury Settlement Offer?

Because insurance companies see millions of claims, there is a sense the plaintiff’s case is not reviewed in great detail in the majority of situations. Also, because insurance companies keep big data sets that show the settlement values of similar cases, and because most plaintiffs or claimants don’t hire a lawyer or personal injury law firm to represent them, the settlement values are often quite low. That is, when a lawyer is involved, the value rises, as a good lawyer knows what a case like yours will likely settle for. In this way, because your case is compared to millions of other cases, the great majority of which were settled by the individuals by themselves who often don’t know the true value of their case, you are being given a settlement number that is low. 

If you were hurt and want to know what the value of your case is, the best thing you can do is talk with an injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney who practices exclusively injury law in California will be able to compare your case to similar case values that involved an attorney. They will be able to consider up to date trends in the courts, and correspond with a community of personal injury plaintiff attorneys to “round table” your case and give you an evaluation of what is fair and reasonable in your matter.

Putting a Face to a Name

Insurance adjusters can decide to offer you $10,000 or $100,000, or any number for that matter, depending on their evaluation of your case. If your lifestyle was greatly affected, such as if you are a caretaker or a parent to young children, or you had to miss work due to your injuries, it is hard for an insurance adjuster to put a number on that. What is that worth? The reality is that if your loss is not represented by a bill, the value given to lifestyle changes and hardships is often zero. Even though your life is turned upside down and you’re bogged down with bills you don’t know how to pay, or you missed out on a special occasion, or you can’t perform your parental duties or participate in hobbies that you previously loved - none of this matters if you can’t put a number on it. A good lawyer will be able to argue persuasively that these changes to your life can only be compensated by paying you money for your loss. How much is this worth? Personal injury attorneys who handle lots of cases know how to argue for fair and reasonable settlement value. Or, if the insurance company refuses to acknowledge your loss, a good lawyer will bring your case before a court and persuade a jury that you should be paid for your losses.

Of course, nobody wants to go to court. The best scenario for you if you are hurt and want to be treated fairly by insurance is to have the insurance company take your claim seriously, or give it priority. When you are represented by an attorney, the insurance adjusters will often pay closer attention to your case. This is because they know their conduct is being monitored. Personal injury lawyers know that insurance agents and adjusters are regulated by the State of California insurance code. Most people know there are rules as to what insurance companies can and cannot do, but they don’t know what the rules are. Car crash attorneys who practice only personal injury matters know the rules that adjusters are supposed to adhere by; when the adjusters aren’t doing what they are supposed to, they know, and they can fight on your behalf to make sure your case gets a fair review. 

Making Your Case Stand Out From the Other Cases

At the end of the day, the difference between a fair settlement and an unfair settlement is the attention given to your matter by the insurance company, and the exposure they think the insurance company has in the future. That is, if you don’t accept their proposals, what will happen? Will you simply go away? Will you hire a lawyer who will fight them and require them to spend a lot of time and money on your case? Could the insurance company be liable for millions of dollars due to a court verdict that punishes the insurance company for its bad behavior or failure to adhere to the insurance code? The best way to stand out, in the opinion of many, is to seek the counsel of a lawyer or law firm that knows the true value of your case. Injury lawyers in California usually do not charge for an initial consultation, and the advise you can get in that time could be the difference between something fair and something that is pennies on the dollar for your claim. 

How to Choose an Injury Attorney

Before you sign a contract with an attorney, consider that your attorney will be an individual or office that you may communicate with on and off for several months, or several years, depending on the nature of your injury. Are you talking to a lawyer, or a salesman? Is the person you’ve been dealing with the same individual you’ll be talking to in the future? Is the law firm you’re considering a firm that focuses on only injury cases, or are they a jack of all trades, do-it all firm? If they claim to do all types of cases, what are they chances they have the experience and up to date knowledge of personal injury case values throughout California? Most lawyers would agree that the best thing would be to speak with an attorney who is willing to discuss your case, give you a fair evaluation, and can tell you who the attorney that will be handling your matter in the future is. 

 

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). 

Going With a "Local" Attorney: Pros and Cons

After a car accident in which you were injured, you may wisely decide to discuss your case with an injury attorney. The benefits of talking about what happened can be great, and there really is no risk - all injury attorneys will gladly discuss your incident free of cost. But before you get on the phone, which law firm or attorney should you call? This blog post will address the pros and cons of going with a "local" attorney.

What To Look For In an Injury Attorney

Consider first that your lawyer will be your advocate, your representative. You want he or she to be familiar with all aspects of injury law where you live. If you live in California, this means the lawyer will be admitted to practice law in California. The laws regarding injuries are the same in California whether you live in San Diego or San Francisco. In this regard, the attorney who's office is down the block from where you live is not more qualified or experienced to handle your car crash if the accident happened locally. More important than geography is experience and expertise in the specific practice of injury law. Thus, if the attorney practices injury law exclusively, he or she may be more likely to be successful in handling your claim than a "generalist" attorney. This is similar to medicine. If you have a specific injury, say to your eye, you could certainly visit your primary care physician, who would be able to help you with your injury, to some extent. However, a doctor specialized in eye injuries, such as an opthamologist, would certainly have the expertise and experience to give you thorough, high-quality care. The law is similar. The more specific an attorney's practice, the more likely they are to be up to speed on that specific area of law. 

Is Local Better?

In short, no. Consider that your attorney will be corresponding with the at-fault driver's insurance company on your injury claim. Your attorney will be your advocate, fighting for your fair and reasonable recover. This is done via letter, over the phone, and if necessary, in court. The vast majority of injury cases in California, no matter where you live, will settle out of court. Your attorney will be discussing your claim with attorneys for the insurance, who may be located anywhere in the country. For example, several large insurance companies have their main offices in Georgia, Arizona, and on the east coast. Their attorneys may or may not be in California. Again, technology allows representatives from all over the country to handle the matter. Thus, whether your attorney lives hours away or down the street, his or her skill in injury law is what matters, not how close you live to the office.

Should I Meet My Attorney In Person?

This may be a surprise to many people, but often times claimants (injured people who hire an attorney) never meet their attorney in person. Why? It is simply not necessary in most cases. How is this possible? Again, technology. Your attorney's office will request all medical documents directly from your doctors. You will provide the office with photographs and any applicable documents related to your California car crash, and your attorney will go from there. There are, of course, some cases where meeting in person with your attorney may be beneficial. Some attorneys utilize Skype or FaceTime, or other live video apps, to make this possible. Your attorney should be willing to meet with you personally, but don't assume you will get a better outcome if you meet with your attorney in person. Your case comes down to the facts - and you attorney's skill in advocating your injury claim. A good injury lawyer will do this regardless of whether you meet in person.

What About Going To Court?

Most car accident cases never go to court. Court is expensive, inefficient, and takes a very long time. In the end, you are not likely, in many cases, to get more money for your injury case if it goes to court. Thus, your injury lawyer will, in many cases, be able to get you just as much money outside of court, either in pre-litigation negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or any setting prior to court. If your case goes to court, your injury attorney will make appearances on your behalf, regardless of where their office is located. Therefore, injured people are usually better off choosing an attorney who handles lots of injury cases, rather than just choosing the lawyer who has an office in town or down the road, or where the accident happened. In most cases, where the attorney's office is physically located is not important. 

The Lions Injury Lawyers represent clients throughout the state of California, from San Diego all the way to the Oregon state line. The Lions Injury Lawyers practices injury law exclusively. Wondering what your case is worth, how to proceed, or what you should be doing after a car crash? Call the Lions Injury Lawyers to discuss your car crash case with an attorney today. 

"Delayed" Car Accident Injuries

The variety of injuries you may suffer if you are involved in a car crash is expansive. There are typical injuries, such as fractures, cuts, whiplash, and neck strain. Some of these appear immediately, such as a broken bone or a laceration (cut). However, some injuries do not appear until several days or weeks after the accident. What then?

See A Doctor

The best advice is always to seek the treatment and evaluation of a qualified medical professional. Often times this means a visit to your primary care provider. However, if your health care provider is like most medical offices, getting an appointment is not easy. For many offices is Los Angeles and Orange County, which are heavy populated areas, it can take weeks and even months to get in to see your doctor. If you are frustrated with the amount of time you have to wait to see a doctor, you are actually appropriately justified in feeling that way: it is critical to your health that you see a doctor after an injury accident, especially when you cannot determine the full extent of your injuries by yourself. 

Go To Urgent Care If Necessary

If you can't get in to see your doctor, or you feel you are being marginalized and turned away with minimal "gloss-over" care at your normal doctor's office, you should go to an Urgent Care facility, even if you have to pay out of pocket. Sometimes, an established injury attorney may be able to sign a lien so you can visit an Urgent Care facility at no out of pocket cost to you. The important this is to see a doctor as soon as possible.

What If Your Injuries Only Appear Later?

"Delayed" onset injuries are common in car accidents. Why? Your body responds to trauma and high-stress environments differently than it would in other circumstances is one reason you may not feel the injury right away. Consider than after a car crash, you may be scared, worried about your vehicle, worried about the safety of your passengers or the driver of the other vehicle - the number of things you have to consider all at once is overwhelming, for anyone. Your brain can only handle so much stress. It is rare, but occasionally people who suffer even severe fractures and lacerations do not notice until hours after the accident because they are preoccupied with handling immediate concerns at the scene of the accident.

When injuries appear that you connect to the crash, you still need to seek medical attention. Your car accident attorney will be well versed in arguing on your behalf. Don't expect the insurance company to pay you for your injury unless it is appropriately documented in your medical records. The only way to do this is to see a doctor as soon as possible.

What Kind Of Injuries Are Often "Delayed?"

There is no definitive list as to which injuries that result from car accidents show up later, but the most common injuries are whiplash, concussions, sprains to the neck and back, and bruising. Every person's body reacts differently, but injuries to the "soft tissue" areas of your body, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons, can take time to exhibit symptoms, due to the body's endorphin and adrenaline response, which tries to cover up or less pain associated with damaged tissue or bone. 

Will The Insurance Company Pay Your Medical Bills?

The answer depends on how you approach your injury and your injury claim. If you simply submit your medical bills on your own to the at-fault driver's insurance, you do not have a high chance of having your medical bills paid. Why? If you did not seek immediate treatment, they will almost always deny payment, saying there is an inexcusable "gap in treatment." At The Lions Injury Lawyers, we have seen insurance companies deny payment on medical bills that were incurred only two days after a major accident. (Of course, we fought and won, and they ended up paying. But without an attorney, the claimant would have had to pay out of pocket). A good injury attorney will make sure the insurance company pays them. Do not expect them to be paid just because you say the bills are a result of your car accident. Even if the police report says their insured is at fault, and you went to the doctor immediately, insurance companies are notorious for using a very long list of excuses for not paying medical bills.

You're Feeling The Effects of Your Crash - Now What?

You deserve to be fairly compensated for your injuries. That won't happen easily. The Lions Injury Lawyers know the ins and outs of the insurance industry's approach to injury claims, including the tricks and traps they utilize to minimize the amount of money they will pay you for your claim. Don't get taken advantage of. Even if you don't sign up with our firm, you owe it to yourself to speak with someone who has done this before. (Or, preferably, thousands of times before!) When you call The Lions Injury Lawyers, you'll speak with an attorney, not a salesperson. We are not a legal marketing firm - we don't just sign up clients and sell their files to other law firms. We will fight to get you fair compensation and make sure you don't get taken advantage of by predatory insurance adjusters. Serving all of California, including Orange County, CA, Los Angeles, CA, San Bernardino, CA, San Diego, CA, and the inland empire, we are ready to help you get what you deserve.

Just a "Mild" Brain Injury?

If there's one thing a good injury attorney is accustomed to, it is the defense or insurance companies' insistence on minimizing the significance of an injury. What you may call a broken leg, they will call a "fracture to the lower extremity." Doesn't sound so bad, does it?  But why would an insurance adjuster do this? End of the day, it is all about money. The less severe, the less life-altering the injury, the less money the insurance company will pay for your injury. But how does this play out when your brain is involved?

Unlike with a broken leg, a brain injury can be hard to see, and for all except the most specialized medical professionals, difficult to diagnose and explain. Yet for the injured person, the affects of a brain injury can be devastating. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is somewhat helpful in explaining what a brain injury is:

"A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury -or TBI-caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain."

Southern California is home to millions of people, and many are driving to and from work and play throughout the day. With so many people relying on commuting on a daily basis, Southern California, particularly Orange County and Los Angeles County, is home to a large number of car accidents every day. Often times the injured person complains of symptoms commonly associated with car accidents, such as whiplash, soreness in the back and neck, and headaches. The last symptom, which can range from occasional head pain, to all encompassing and debilitating migraine headache, may be a TBI.

How will you know if you are just having a bad headache, or if you suffered a concussion or TBI? A visit with the appropriate medical professional is crucial. Usually, this means visiting your primary care physician, and then getting a referral to see a specialist. Sometimes, it can take a long time to see your primary care doctor. In this case, most law firms in California, especially in LA County and Orange County, are able to sign lien paperwork with certain doctors offices. This means the doctor will treat you, and you won't have to pay out of pocket. When your case closes, a portion of the money will go to pay for the doctor's bills. Because brain injuries can be severe and life-altering, an experience injury attorney will always make sure that access to the right doctor does not keep the client/patient from seeking appropriate care.

What Symptoms Should You Look For?

If you're worried you've experienced a concussion or TBI after a car accident (or any other type of impact that injured you), you should be aware of any of the following symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting, vertigo (problems with balance), vision problems, fatigue, sensitivity to light and noise, numbness and a dazed or stunned sensation that reoccurs. Additionally, if you feel mentally "foggy" or slowed down, are having a difficulty concentrating and remembering, or are more forgetful and confused than normal, this may indicate that you suffered a brain injury. Emotionally, if you feel more irritable and sad than normal, or are more nervous that normal, you may have suffered a TBI. Finally, if your sleep patterns have altered, such as feeling drowsy when you normally wouldn't, are sleeping more or less than usual, and are having trouble falling asleep, these changes may indicate a brain injury.

What To Do Now?

If you suffer from any of the above-mentioned symptoms, most car accident attorneys will advise their clients to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If access to medical care is a challenge, your call to an injury attorney may make it possible for you to see the right doctor very soon, and not have to pay out of pocket. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. has handled many brain injury cases for clients who have suffered concussions. When the client is unable to get appointments with their normal doctors, The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are willing to sign lien paperwork so that its clients can receive immediate healthcare and not have to pay out of pocket. If you or someone you care about is concerned about a possible brain injury as the result of an accident or car crash, call the Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. today. You will discuss your case with an attorney who has handled this type of cases, not a salesman. 

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.

Your Injury Claim: Understanding Pre-Litigation and Litigation

The different terms to explain the varying stages of a personal injury case can be confusing and misleading. If you're wondering where your case is at present, and when it is likely to conclude, you may have heard the terms 'pre-litigation,' 'settlement,' and 'litigation.' But the difference between these terms may not be clear to you. This blog post will help explain the stages of a typical California injury claim.

Pre-Litigation

After an injured person contacts the at-fault party's insurance, a claim is opened, and the "case" is in the pre-litigation stage. Law firms and injury attorneys refer to your matter as a "case," but that does not mean that your matter is in court. In the pre-litigation stage, the parties exchange information freely and without guidance or regulation from the court. Lawyers are, of course, guided by ethics requirements of the State Bar of California, and insurance companies are required to act within the Insurance Code, but there is not judge or jury presiding over the process. This is important to understand because the claim is not on a timeline, meaning the pre-litigation process might last from as short as a day or a few days, to over a year. That's not to say there is no limit to how long it can last. In California, injured claimants are required to file their claim with the court within two years of the date of the accident. After two years, the claimant cannot claim recovery in court. In short, if you don't file a lawsuit in court within two years, you're not going to be able to recover financially for your loss, no matter how grave your injuries. This is called the Statute of Limitations. Again, in California, the Statute of Limitations is two (2) years. If you remember anything of the rules that govern your case, remember this: you must protect your right to recovery by filing a lawsuit in the appropriate court within two years of your loss.

Settlement

During the pre-litigation stage, the insurance company that insures the at-fault driver (the person who caused the accident) may offer to settle your claim. They may offer you whatever amount they determine is reasonable. There is no judge or jury to determine whether the offer is fair. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and broke your leg, you may have large medical bills, been out of work for some time, and unable to walk for months. But if the driver who hit you was insured by GEICO, you may get a call from a GEICO claims adjuster who says he wants to make it right and offer to settle. He may offer you $5 or $500, and tell you that all you have to do is sign a release and they'll give you a check that same day, no questions asked. Of course, that's a ridiculous amount of money for anyone with that kind of injury to settle for, but there are no parameters within which the insurance companies must offer a specified amount. If you accept, you cannot ask for more money in the future.

Because many people are unaware of how California injury claims work with insurance companies, many claimants assume that the small amount of money (say $500) is to cover immediate expenses, and more money is available in the future. This is not the case. Insurance companies do not incrementally distribute settlement money. Sometimes, they will simply send you a check that says on the bottom something to the effect of "for full and final settlement of his/her injury claim." If you cash the check, you're done: you cannot get more money in the future. Need more treatment? Expecting to have surgery soon? Rehabilitation therapy required? It will not matter, and you cannot recover more money at a later date. For this reason, all claimants should be exceedingly cautious when signing any documents with insurance companies, or cashing any checks. A short consultation with an injury attorney may save you a lot of money!

Settlement means you agree to accept money in exchange for waiving your right to future recovery. That is, the insurance company will give you a check, and by cashing that check, you agree not to sue their insured in court. If at a later date you feel that the amount of the settlement was not enough, you cannot file a lawsuit, and if you do, it is likely to be thrown out of court. If, however, you reach a fair and reasonable settlement within two years of the date of your California car accident, you do not need to file a lawsuit to get your money. A good California personal injury lawyer will make sure the insurance company issues the check and all the required paperwork is acceptable and in your best interest - all of this, of course, before the two year mark.

Litigation

If you are not able to reach a settlement agreement, litigation may be necessary. This means you file a lawsuit against the person who caused your injury. Sometimes this means filing a lawsuit against several different people or entities, such as a driver who was driving a work vehicle at the time of the accident - you would file a lawsuit against the individual and the entity he or she was working for. Filing a case in court can be tricky, and consulting with an injury attorney is highly advisable. 

Once the case is filed, attorneys on both sides will exchange information and paperwork regarding the case. Your case will be put on the court calendar, and a court date for your trial will be chosen. Due to high volume, court dates are often 18 months to over two years out. During that time, your attorney will work towards a fair and reasonable settlement. This means your case may never go to trial. From your perspective as a claimant, you won't have to go to court, and your attorney will handle the necessary paperwork. Nobody wants to go to court - not you, not the attorneys on the other side, and not the person who caused the accident.

Litigation can be costly for all parties involved, and if your case goes to trial, costs can rise quickly. Fortunately for plaintiffs, most injury attorneys cover all costs up front, meaning your case will go forward without you having to pay out of pocket. In the end, the costs come out of your award or settlement, but at least you don't have to pay out of pocket to seek fair compensation for your injury. Once litigation closes, you are likely to receive a check to compensate you for your losses, including payment towards your medical bills and money for your pain and suffering. This is assuming you win. An experience car accident attorney will be able to give you a good evaluation of your case and the likelihood of success.

If you were injured by the negligence of someone else, The Lions Injury Lawyers P.C. are eager to speak with you and discuss your claim. All consultations are free of charge. The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured persons throughout the state of California, including residents of Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, and San Diego County. To speak with a lawyer at The Lions Injury Lawyers, call (949) 329-5000, or visit their website at www.TheLionsLawyers.com to fill out information regarding your injury.

How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Injury Claim?

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. 

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.

Injured in a Low Impact Crash? What You Should Know

Insurance companies would love for you to think that the only car accidents that can cause injuries are high impact collisions. To be sure, it is easy to claim a high velocity impact resulted in injury. Insurance adjusters are known to look at the photos of the vehicles involved and make a judgment as to how severe the injuries involved are likely to be. However, California courts have consistently awarded high verdicts to plaintiffs who were injured in low or moderate impact collisions.

What's the difference between 'high impact,' 'moderate impact' and 'low impact'?

There is no objective measure of whether an impact is high or low, or somewhere in-between. A police officer's report may make mention of the rate of impact, but otherwise this is largely determined by an insurance adjuster, based on statements from the involved parties. More likely, however, they are prone to simply looking at photos and making a determination. What you say is moderate impact may be considered high or low impact by someone else.

Why does it matter?

If an insurance adjuster says you were involved in a low impact collision, they are likely to either deny your injury claim altogether, or at best offer you a small amount of money to settle. This simple, subjective categorization by an insurance adjuster can severely limit the amount of money the at-fault party's insurance will pay to cover your medical bills and pain and suffering.

What if you're injured in a 'low-impact' auto accident?

If you were injured and it was not your fault, you're entitled to have your medical bills and pain and suffering paid by the at-fault driver's insurance. A good personal injury attorney will argue on your behalf and make sure you're not taken advantage of in reaching a fair settlement. First, you should consult an injury attorney. You should also seek reasonable and necessary medical treatment as soon as possible. This is extremely important, as insurance companies love to tell claimants they waited too long to seek medical treatment. See a doctor as soon as possible. This will put you on the path to recovery, but it will also document your injuries, a crucial part of any injury claim.

What About 'Pre-Existing' Conditions?

Sometimes, even a low-speed collision can result in great injury. For example, if you are recovering from a surgery, and you're hit from behind, the impact may aggravate a 'pre-existing' condition. The person who hit you did not know you were recovering from a surgery, but they are still liable for aggravating your delicate condition. Cases like these can be complicated, but an experienced car accident attorney will provide invaluable guidance. If it was not your fault, but you were injured, a personal injury lawyer will likely be able to make sure you're able to recover what the law entitles you to.


The Lions Injury Lawyers have successfully recovered large settlements in personal injury cases that were the result of so-called 'low-impact' collisions. We recovered $100,000 on a case where the damage to our injured client's car was $1,200. How? The injury was legitimate, and the client's medical records clearly showed that the injury was the result of the car accident. If you were involved in a California car accident and were injured, even if the damage to your car was not severe, give us a call at (949) 329-5000 for a free consultation.