safety tips

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

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

Slower Braking

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

How To Brake In Wet Weather

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

Proper Lighting

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

California Car Accident Injuries During Wet Weather

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

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

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Car Accident Injuries - What's a 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured in a car accident and your case has proceeded to litigation, you may be required to attend what is called an 'independent medical examination,' or 'defense medical exam.' Under the laws of the State of California, a plaintiff can be required to undergo an examination by a doctor or the Defendant's choice.

Why Does The Plaintiff Have To Attend A 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured and are pursuing your claim against the at-fault party or driver (the defendant), you will of course be required to explain your injuries and provide documentation. The defendant does not have to take your word for it, even if you have hospital records, doctors office records, and other medical records that document your injuries. The law allows the defense or defendant to have an "independent" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. The idea is that the defense gets a chance to have an "objective" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. Most defense attorneys and the insurance companies they represent have strong biases against doctors who treat injury patients on a lien basis, so the "independent" medical examination supposedly levels the playing field. 

There's Nothing "Independent" About It

First thing to remember is that the defense and the insurance company they represent gets to choose the doctor. These doctors are well paid by the law firm/insurance company. When you're getting paid a lot of money by a law firm, with potentially a steady stream of work coming your way, you're likely to make an evaluation that your client (the law firm and insurance company) will like. For this reason, most California injury attorneys refer to these examinations as 'defense medical exams.' They are, after all, the defense's paid doctors making an evaluation of the plaintiff's injuries. Almost without exception, the defense medical examination results in a report that minimizes the plaintiff's injuries in the eyes of the 'independent' doctor.

What Does The Defense Medical Examination Include?

The doctor conducting the exam is instructed to evaluate injuries and make a report. Thus, the doctor will be looking into injuries involved in the claim. The examination cannot include diagnostic tests, or any procedure that is painful or intrusive. Also, the exam cannot be scheduled further than 75 miles from the Plaintiff's residence. The doctor cannot be from a different specialty than those injuries included in the complaint - that is, if the plaintiff is complaining of neck and back injuries, the doctor doing the defense medical examination must be practicing in that area of medicine. A good California injury attorney will be well versed in how to approach the defense medical examination, ensuring that the Plaintiff is not taken advantage of during the defense attorneys' doctor's exam, which could result in a report that could hurt the plaintiff's case. 

The Day of the Defense Examination

If you are required to attend an independent medical examination, don't go alone. You should attend the examination with your injury attorney, or with someone from the injury law firm's staff or choosing. Don't fill out any paperwork. Remember, you're not the doctor's patient. You're there only because the law requires you to attend. Thus, you're not required to fill out any forms. The office will push paperwork on you, but your attorney will dispense of this with ease. Also, remember that the doctor is employed by the other side's attorneys. He or she is not on your side, no matter how friendly or charismatic. Don't answer any questions you don't feel comfortable answering. Some California injury lawyers will allow the plaintiff to make a brief oral accounting of the accident and injuries, while others will not. Remember that the doctor will likely generate a report that downplays the significance and seriousness of your injuries. If you were injured in a car accident, for example, the doctor may say that the injuries were not likely the result of (or caused by) the car accident, but are 'degenerative in nature.' Your injury attorney will have seen this many times before and will know how to respond.

A Few More Things To Remember

The independent medical examination can be very useful for the other side. They may, in the end, have a report that says your injuries weren't caused by their client, or that your injuries are not that bad. If you were injured in a California car accident, for example, you may be well served by seeking the counsel and representation of an attorney whose practice focuses exclusively on injury claims. These attorneys are well versed in the tricks and tactics of defense firms, and are able to respond and protect your rights to recovery. 

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured clients throughout the state of California. If you were injured and it wasn't your fault, an attorney at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. will gladly evaluate your case and discuss your options. Unlike most car accident law firms in California, you will be speaking with an attorney, not a salesman. Contact The Lions today to discuss any questions you might have. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. maintains its main office in Orange County, California, but represents California plaintiffs in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego - the entire state of California. 

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.

Car Accidents 101: Call The Police?

If you've never been involved in a car accident, you are lucky. You're also probably unsure what to do if that dreaded day comes when you find yourself on the side of the road after an accident. One of the most common questions is whether you are required to call the police after a car accident. The most straightforward answer is no, you are not required by law to call the police after a car accident, although there are obvious circumstances when calling the police will be required, such as a serious accident where someone is injured.

Should You Call The Police?

If you're trying to decide whether to call the police, consider the ways in which a police report or traffic collision report might help you. For example, even if liability is straightforward (or you think it is), it is better to have the scene of the accident diagramed and explained by a uniformed officer than to rely on your memory. Also, even though you think the facts leading up to an accident or crash are beyond dispute, you never know what the other driver or drivers may say once they leave the scene. Unfortunately, many driver who cause accidents lie to their insurance agents because they don't want their insurance rates to rise. A police report will help explain what happened shortly after the accident and before the at-fault driver has the chance to worry about his or her insurance premiums rising.

What If The Police Do Not Arrive?

Sometimes, depending on the time of day, the police or highway patrol may not respond in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this happens during busy times, such as weekend evenings. However, it is still advisable to call the police and formally request that someone come out. A record of your telephone call will be taken, and your injury attorney may be able to get a copy of what was said on the telephone call. If the police or highway patrol never show up, at least you tried, and the copy of the report of you calling the police is likely to work in your favor if things become combative.

How Long Does It Take For Police To Respond?

Depending on where in California your accident happens, police may arrive within a few minutes, to a few hours after the crash. If you are in rural California and are far from a highway patrol vehicle or police station, you may have to wait. Or, if you are in a busy city, but the police are attending to more urgent matters, you may end up waiting too.

What Should I Do When I'm Waiting?

You should make sure you're safely off the roadway and out of harm's way. Do not play detective, but you should take photographs of the vehicles and the surrounding areas. If there are other people watching and you think liability may be an issue, you may want to get the contact information of these people, as they may be witnesses in the future. You should exchange insurance information with the other driver, if you feel it is safe to do so. It is not advisable to engage in lengthy conversation. Unfortunately, you don't know how the other driver will deal with the stress. Get his or her information if you feel safe doing so, and return to your car.

What If The Police Report Is Wrong?

Of the many things police officers and highway patrolman in California do right, writing detailed and accurate car accident reports is not always on the list. In fact, some officers in Orange County and Los Angeles County simply get it wrong - we see their erroneous reports frequently. We give them the benefit of the doubt, but the police report or traffic collision reports they write are sometimes misleading, inconclusive, or simply wrong. An experienced injury attorney will be accustomed to reading a California traffic incident report or a California police report, and will be able to address errors or misleading statements accordingly. And, if you were not at fault, an injury attorney who is good at his trade will be able to prove that you were not at fault. Some plaintiffs who have settled for large amounts of money almost never consulted with an attorney because they were afraid theirs was a lost case due to a faulty police report.

What Happens To A Police Report?

An experienced and successful California car accident attorney will put a police report or traffic collision report to good use. First, the attorney will usually get a copy of the report by submitting a formal request to the appropriate department. Then, his office will use it to argue on your behalf with the insurance company in order clear any disputes over liability. Finally, a good car accident attorney will use the report to show that you were injured and stated the same at the scene of the accident.

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured plaintiffs throughout the state of California, including clients in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. Consultations with The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are conducted by attorneys, not salesmen. You don't know what you don't know when it comes to dealing with a California car crash, and what you don't know can hurt your ability to recover. Call (949) 329-5000, or fill out this form to discuss your case today.

Why Was My Side Impact Collision Claim Denied?

Insurance companies are notorious for denying liability for side impact, or "t-bone" collisions, even when their insured is at fault. How do they get away with this, and what can you do about it? A basic understanding of how t-bone accidents are evaluated will help you better understand how to proceed with your claim if your were injured in this type of car crash.

How Do Insurance Companies View Side Impact Collisions?

Many people assume that rear-end accidents are easy when it comes to deciding who is at fault. Most of the time, this is true. The driver of the car who rear ends the car in front of him is almost always found to be at fault. The flip side of the coin is that in accidents other than rear-end collisions, insurance companies almost always decide their insured is either not at fault, or is only partially at fault. Because there are so many situations and scenarios that can lead to a t-bone collisions, insurance companies have become comfortable simply denying liability for the accident, forcing claimants to either abandon their claim, or fight back. Most people abandon, unaware that they may likely still have a compelling and winnable claim.

What If There Was No Police Report?

Even if there is a police report, t-bone collisions can be complicated, so the officer who writes the report may not determine who is at fault. And, occasionally, the officer who prepares the report gets it wrong. This does not mean that if you were injured in a t-bone accident that was not your fault that you are without options. An inaccurate police report does not mean you have no claim. An experience injury attorney will carefully review the facts of your case and, when necessary and appropriate, litigate your claim in order to recover money on your behalf. If you weren't at fault, a skilled injury attorney will likely be able to recover money to cover your medical expenses, as well as recover money to compensate you for pain and suffering. 

What Should You Do?

Take photos. A good car accident attorney will be able to connect the dots in your favor to show you were not at fault. Don't just take photos of the cars involved in the crash. If possible, photograph the surroundings as well. If possible, take a photo of what the other driver's perspective was when he or she caused the accident. Also, you should always seek appropriate medical treatment for your injuries. If you were injured but do not receive medical treatment, the at fault party's insurance company will not take your word for it. They will simply deny that you were injured. If you were injured in a California car accident, always seek reasonable medical treatment to help you recover from your injuries.

What Can An Attorney Do?

Auto insurance companies often automatically deny liability for side impact collisions and the resulting property damage and injuries. They push claimants to fight back, or abandon. Most of the time, claimants abandon their claims, unaware that an insurance company's denial is not the final word. A skilled car crash or injury attorney will be able to show that you were not the cause of the accident. If necessary, a good California accident attorney will litigate your claim for you. 

Who Can Help Me?

If you were injured in a t-bone accident that was not your fault, seek medical treatment. Also, document your expenses, change in lifestyle, and everything you can to show the impact the collision has had on your life. Also, speaking with an experienced injury attorney may help. The lawyers at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. have helped many individuals injured in California car accidents recover both physically and financially from side impact, or "t-bone" car crashes. Located in Newport Beach, California, The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured individuals throughout the state of California. 

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.

10 Things to Remember if You're in a Car Crash

What Should You Do?

The minutes and hours following a car accident can be a confusing blur. Assuming you've moved your body outside the zone of danger, there are a few things you can do to help avoid conflicts regarding the facts of the accident:

1. Seek Medical Attention.

  Yes, there are other things that are important, but be sure to take care of your health first. Try to take a few deep breaths and evaluate your physical condition. Do the same for your passengers. 

2. Decide Whether to Move Your Vehicle.

If you're on a highway or freeway and you're safely able to do so, most jurisdictions prefer parties involved in the accident to move their vehicles off the roadway. If, however, you're unsure of the safety of doing so, leave it there. Some vehicles are obviously unmovable due to damage caused by the accident, so don't force the issue if the vehicle won't move. If possible, take photos of the scene from multiple angles prior to moving your vehicle.

3. Contact law enforcement.

Usually, this means calling 911. There are many reasons that having a police officer or highway patrolman take an official report may be helpful. 

4. Exchange Insurance Information.

Be sure to exchange information with all involved parties, not just the party you think is at fault. Don't forget to get drivers licenses as well. Most people drive with cell phones that have cameras, so the exchange of information is easier now than ever before. 

5. Take Photos.

You should take photos from multiple angles of all vehicles and the surrounding areas. If possible, do this prior to moving vehicles from where they came to rest after the accident.

5. Witnesses.

You may think it is obvious who caused the accident, but it is always important to have the contact information of witnesses, just in case there is a conflict later on about who caused the wreck.

6. Call An Injury Attorney

Nearly all injury attorneys give free consultations. A short phone call to an injury attorney will help you determine how to move forward. If you were injured, an injury lawyer will know the best path forward, and will be able to give you advice and counsel as to how to best proceed with your claim.

7. Call Your Insurance Provider

Most insurance companies require you to report all accidents involving your vehicle.

8. Don't Talk

Do not talk to the other driver's insurance company. You should never give a recorded statement to the other party's insurance carrier without first consulting an experienced injury attorney. There are countless seemingly insignificant things their insurance adjuster may ask you to say or confirm that can hurt your ability to recover a fair and reasonable settlement for your losses.

9. Follow Up

If you were injured in a car wreck, and you sought medical treatment, you should follow up with your doctor. Usually this means getting the treatment they prescribe. At a minimum, you should go to the follow up visit to discuss your injuries as time passes. Remember, if it isn't well-documented by a doctor, the insurance company will not take your word for it. Harsh as it seems, if a doctor doesn't specifically say you were injured, you were not injured at all in the eyes of the insurance adjuster.

10. Don't Settle For Less Than Fair Value

Insurance companies are incredibly savvy at getting injured people to accept small amounts of money to resolve their claims. If you were hurt, you deserve not only the cost of your medical expenses, but also money for pain and suffering. Don't settle for less than fair. If you feel like you're not making progress with the insurance adjuster, you're not alone: nearly every personal injury claim is valued higher when it is handled by a skilled injury attorney. The lawyers at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. have the experience to help you recover a fair settlement for your injury.

 

Common Mistakes After a Dog Bite

Not Seeking Medical Care Will Hurt Your Claim

Many people feel apprehensive about seeking medical treatment following a dog bite injury. A dog bite is nothing to be ashamed of. Some of the worst injuries come from dog bites. Occassionally people injured in a dog bite incident feel shy about seeking medical treatment because they feel they should not have been injured by the dog. Young dogs, for example, have extremeley sharp teeth. Injuries caused by an aggressive, young dog can be severe, and the injured should not hesitate to treat wounds appropriately.

How Common Are Dog Bites?

The CDC estimates there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites each year. Of these, nearly 800,000 people require medical attention immediately. In 2015 alone, 34 dog bites resulted in fatality. 

Studies show that victims who hire an attorney settle their claims for approximately 3.5 times higher than their counterparts who attempt to settle on their own.

Frequent Mistakes

If you require medical attention, seek it right away. Insurance carriers will try to reject your claim for compensation if you wait too long. Also, regardless of how serious the bite looks, a dog's mouth is home to bacteria that may lead to infection. Sometimes, an infection from a dog bite can spread throughout your body without you knowing. The safe route is to seek medical treatment if the skin is broken.

Contact the Police or Animal Control

Also, you should contact local authorities. Animal control should be aware of the incident. This protects you, and it also protects your community. If nothing else, this shows you are a responsible citizen who is concerned about the safety of others. Animal control (often called in by the police) will have additional information that may be helpful.

Document Your Injuries

Failure to document injuries will hurt your claim. It is best to take photos immediately after the bite, as well as occasionally in the weeks and months following the dog bite. This will enable your lawyer to show the extent and long-term effects of the dog bite. 

Don't Settle On Your Own

Attempting to settle your claim on your own is unlikely to result in you receiving the true value of your claim. Insurance adjusters tend to especially dislike dog bites, as they view them as somehow less severe or significant. Do not be pushed around by an insurance adjuster who tells you your injury does not merit compensation. 

Speak With An Injury Attorney

Nobody expects to be bitten by a dog and then have to contact an attorney. However, failure to review your case with an attorney will ensure you receive less money from the dog owner's insurance company. Some of the worst injuries we have seen at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are from dog bites. We know that a serious dog bite can result in life-long scarring, both mental and physical. Contact The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C., today for a free evaluation of your dog bite or animal bite case.

 

Involved in a Bicycle v. Car Accident? Here's What to do Next

Road biking is a popular sport in California, and the summertime brings cyclists to the streets in droves. Add casual leisure cyclists to the roads, as well as children on bikes, and you won't drive far this summer without seeing someone on a bicycle. Tragically, bicycle accidents result in many serious accidents every year. Due to the exposed nature of the cyclist, injuries involving someone on a bicycle often result in fractures and injuries to the head. 

The speed of the car that hits a cyclist is not always the most important factor. Even low-speed accidents with a cyclist can result in permanent and severe injury. Cyclists do not have the physical protections that a car does, and so even a slow moving car, if unaware of the presence of a cyclist, can cause severe injury and even death. 

If you were involved in an accident while on your bicycle, it is important to remember a few things. You should try to get as much information about the vehicle and driver that hit you. Of course, first treat your injuries and do what you can do get to a safe area away from the roadway. If possible, identify any potential witnesses. Get the driver's license, insurance carrier, and license plate, if you are able. 

Do not refuse medical treatment if you need it. Many people who are injured on their bicycles want only to return home immediately after the accident. This is often the natural and intuitive response. However, the driver's insurance company will likely use this against you when it comes time for them to pay for your medical bills. Additionally, failure to properly treat injuries will be used against you. Insurance adjusters routinely state that unless an injured cyclist immediately seeks treatment, the injuries must not be severe enough to merit compensation from the insurance provider of the driver. Do not be taken advantage of: if you're hurt, seek medical treatment. 

Some people are understandably worried about the costs of medical expenses. If you need medical attention, seek it. A good attorney will work with the medical providers to try to make payment possible. Ultimately, an injury attorney may be able to establish that the driver was at fault. Then, a good attorney will work with the driver's insurance company to make sure they pay not only for the cost of your medical expenses, but also pay you for the pain and suffering you've incurred.

The lawyers at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. have successfully handled many auto v. bicycle accident cases. We have recovered large sums of money on behalf of our clients, which helps them pay for their medical bills, as well as receive compensation to cover their pain and suffering. If you were injured on your bicycle, contact the Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C., today for a free, no-risk case evaluation.