Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Los Angeles Car Accident Cases

California personal injury laws pertaining to car accident cases can be hopelessly complex, particularly for the layperson. Our collection of frequently asked questions provides reliable and easy-to-understand answers to a wide variety of questions related to car accident personal injury cases.

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  • What can I do if the other driver’s insurance company denies my claim for injuries sustained in a car accident?

    When it comes time to file a claim for the injuries they’ve sustained, some victims of car accidents are in for a nasty surprise. Insurance companies have been known to deny legitimate injury claims for a number of reasons, but what it really boils down to is another tactic to protect their bottom lines.

    You Don’t Have to Give up Hope If Your Injury Claim Is Denied

    While many victims give up after a claim is initially denied, many aren’t aware that it may be possible to keep fighting for the compensation they deserve. The truth is that the initial denial of a claim isn’t necessarily the end of the story for injured victims. However, to effectively fight a denial, victims are likely to need the help of an attorney who has direct experience with accident claims in the state of California. With the help of a trained legal eye, you can determine why your claim was denied, identify potential problems, and get a clear idea of how and if you can continue to fight for what you truly deserve.

    Even Legitimate Injury Claims Are Sometimes Denied

    Many people receive a denial of their injury claims, and simply move on by paying out of pocket for the injuries the other driver caused. However, there are a number of reasons a claim may be denied right out of the gate, ranging from a mistake on an important form, to a directed attempt to get you to give up on your claim. Before you take no for an answer, review your claim and the reasons for denial with an experienced attorney.

    How Delays Put Car Accident Victims Under Pressure

    Even if your claim hasn’t been denied, you may run into problems as the months stretch on without answers or progress. As your medical bills pile up and deadlines approach, it’s easy to start wondering if you should just accept a low-ball offer or give up entirely.

    While some complicated claims really can take a long time to resolve, some insurance companies will attempt to create these mysterious delays to pressure accident victims into accepting any settlement they choose to offer. An experienced attorney can help speed up the process and make sure that you are protected from pressure and manipulation to accept less than you deserve.

    You can’t make confident decisions about a car accident claim unless you have the information you need. To learn more about protecting yourself from insurance company tricks and traps after you’ve been hurt, take the time today to request your free copy of our book, 7 Biggest Mistakes That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case.

     

  • Now What Should I do? My Car Accident Caused Damage to My Car in Excess of the Available Insurance.

    We were contacted recently by a prior client who was involved in another car accident.  

    Here are all of the details of the question:

    I was recently in another car accident.  The other driver was at fault.  The damages to my car are estimated at $8,000.   The at fault driver only has a $5,000 policy limit for the damages.  Where will the remaining $3,000 come from?

    ANSWER:

    Keep in close contact with your adjuster. The other insurance company will most likely attempt to get you to take the policy limit of their insured.  Do not sign any release prior to fully exploring the possibilities.  There are two possible ways to collect the other $3,000:

    1. Look to see if the at fault driver has any assets or income that would make it feasible for them to pursue them personally for the excess due above of coverage policy limit.
    2. Check your own policy for Under-Insured Car Insurance.  (Since you were my personal injury client in the past, I am sure that I must have suggested that you get UIM/Under-Insured coverage added to your car insurance policy!)  This insurance is very important in a case like this because you can collect the difference between the at fault drivers coverage and your damages.

    If you need a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call us right now!

     

  • What Is a Statute of Limitations? How Long Do I Have to File My California Car Accident Claim?

    The term “statute of limitations” means the period of time after an event that you have to file a lawsuit. Many types of lawsuits, as well as certain crimes, have a statute of limitations. After the statute of limitations has expired, a legal claim will no longer be considered valid in court, and a criminal action can no longer be prosecuted. Knowing the statute of limitations can help you protect your legal rights.

    Filing a Claim Against a Person or Business

    The California Code of Civil Procedure states that a claim for the “assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the Businessman Pointing at a Red Claims Signwrongful act or neglect of another” must occur within two years of the date of injury. Car accident injury claims would typically fall under this category, so two years is how long you will have to file your case with the court.

    A legal claim solely for property damage, such as for the repairs to your car after an accident, has a slightly longer statute of limitations than a personal injury claim. In this case, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the damage.

    However, it’s best not to delay speaking with an attorney, even if you think you haven’t been injured. Car accidents can sometimes leave hidden injuries that go undetected for long after the crash, so don’t delay getting legal advice.

    Filing a Claim Against a Government Agency

    Statutes of limitation start getting complicated when the lawsuit involves a government agency. The legal procedure is different from a regular injury suit, and the period of time to press your lawsuit is often significantly shorter, leaving you as little as six months to a year to file. If your claim is against the government, it’s best to consult with an experienced attorney immediately to be sure that your rights are protected before you run out of time to file your lawsuit.

    How to Get Help With Your Personal Injury Claim

    When considering whether or not you would like to file a claim, it’s best not to wait to talk to an attorney. Building a legal case and moving it through the court system takes time, so get started with the claims process as soon as possible.

    If you have been in a car accident, the attorneys at Steinberg Injury Lawyers are here to help you. We have been handling accident and injury claim cases like yours since 1982, and we will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. Don’t let the clock run down on your legal rights. Call us any time, day or night, for a free case evaluation at 800-989-6385.

     

  • How am I protected by the NHTSA’s new 5-star safety ratings?

    In 1978, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued its 5-Star Safety Ratings—also known as the New Car Assessment Program. This rating system set the bar for safety standards in the auto industry by crash testing new vehicles and ranking them based on performance and safety features. This ranking provided consumers with information to help them choose a safe vehicle for their family.

    The NHTSA Updates Ranking System

    The initial rating system ranked new vehicles on their performance in frontal, side, and rollover crash tests, assigned a rating of 1 to 5 stars, and offered recommendations for advanced technology features. The new and improved 5-Star Safety Ratings system, announced in December 2015 and expected to be implemented by Model year 2019, will go further and provide the following updates:

    • Advanced crash-avoidance and mitigation technologies assessment
    • Pedestrian protections
    • Additional crash testing
    • Improvements to currently used tests
    • More human-like crash test dummies
    • Half-star increments for vehicle ratings
    • Features that allow the NHTSA to update the program more quickly in response to new safety technologies

    Having the NHTSA place a greater emphasis on advanced safety technologies that can help drivers avoid crashes is beneficial for all motorists.

    If You Have Been Injured in an Accident

    Being involved in an accident can change your life. At Steinberg Injury Lawyers, our knowledgeable and experienced legal team is dedicated to helping you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

     

  • Does Caffeine Consumption Reduce the Chances of Car Accidents?

    In an effort to come up with ways to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue, the UniSA Sleep Research Centre, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and the Monash University Accident Research Centre conducted a study that focused on the effects of caffeine on drowsiness and driving performance.

    Participants in the study were kept awake for 50 hours. During this time period, they were required to drive on 15 occasions in a simulated vehicle for about 40 minutes each time. Half of the group was given chewing gum that contained caffeine, and the other half received a placebo of the same gum but without caffeine. Gum was used as the caffeine source, as it only takes about 10 minutes for most of the dose to be absorbed by the brain and lasts for 90 minutes. Coffee, however, takes about 30 to 60 minutes to deliver the caffeine and the effects last for an unknown period of time.

    Results were obtained by using a spectacle frame-mounted infra-red sensor that registered blinking velocity. Lane keeping and speed variation measurements were also used to determine the results.

    What the Study Revealed

    What may not surprise you is that researchers found a relationship between drowsiness and driver error in the placebo group. What may be interesting, however, is that they also found a much lower incidence of driver error in the caffeine group, even though the drivers were becoming increasingly drowsy. This means that caffeine has a positive effect on cognitive function, although it may not do too much in the way of decreasing drowsiness.

    Did a Drowsy Driver Cause You to Suffer Injuries?

    As the study showed, there’s not much one can do to prevent drowsy driving besides getting the appropriate amount of sleep. Unfortunately, a significant number of car crashes are caused by drivers who are too tired to get behind the wheel. If you suffered from injuries because of a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation. The Steinberg Injury Lawyers may be able to help you receive help to cover medical bills, vehicle repairs, and time lost from work. Call 800-989-6385 for your free case evaluation.

  • Is being stuck in traffic bad for your health?

    Your heart beat quickens, you begin to sweat, and you’re having trouble catching your breath. Are you sick? Nope; you’re just stuck in traffic on the 101.

    This popular highway in the San Fernando Valley area is actually the worst highway in the country for traffic jams, according to a report. The bumper-to-bumper traffic is enough to make anyone feel sick, but is it actually bad for your health?

    Can Sitting in Traffic Hurt Your Health?

    The average American spends about 52 minutes every day commuting to and from work. That comes to about 204 hours a year, and 42 hours of it is often spent stuck in traffic. Does all that time in the car being stressed out about crazy drivers and running late take its toll on your health? Turns out, it does. Some of the negative health effects include:

    • Increased anxiety levels. You may think that having anxiety and becoming stressed about sitting in traffic is no big deal. Everyone goes through that, right? The reality is, it can definitely hurt your health. That stress can carry into other areas of your life, which can lower your happiness. Stress hormones also cause inflammation in your body, which can cause a variety of health problems.
    • Your cholesterol rises. Drivers who commute 10 miles or more each way to work typically have increased cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease.
    • Elevated blood sugar levels. Taking on this commute also causes high blood sugar levels in some drivers. Elevated blood glucose can cause pre-diabetes and diabetes.
    • Increased depression. Having to go to work every day is certainly depressing for some, but the commute can actually lead to anxiety, depression, and social isolation.

    Traffic Jams Aren’t the Only Things That Are Bad for Your Health

    Involvement in a traffic accident also takes a toll on your well-being. Along with injuries you may have, the stress of bills and how your life has changed can be taxing. Fortunately, the Steinberg Injury Lawyers want to help. Contact us today to learn how.

  • What kind of car accident insurance do I need?

    Protecting yourself from the potentially devastating effects of an automobile accident requires a great deal of due diligence. First, you must learn to drive safely and take the proper precautions to avoid a crash. Even the best drivers sometimes find themselves involved in accidents, however. As a result, it is also crucial to go one step further and take steps to ensure that you have the right insurance coverage in place in the event that an accident does happen.

    Two Major Types of Car Insurance

    Generally, there are two major types of car accident insurance available. The following is an overview:

    1. Liability. Liability insurance pays the other driver for property damage and personal injuries when you are at fault for an accident. If you are not the at-fault driver, the other driver’s liability insurance pays for your car’s damage and for your personal injuries. When both drivers are partially responsible for the accident, each party may collect part of his or her losses from the other party’s policy, depending on the amount of damages and on how much each party is at fault. Liability insurance can also protect you when you allow someone else to drive your car and that person is involved in a car accident.
    2. Collision. Collision insurance is different from liability insurance in that no matter who is at fault, the insurance pays for damages to your car, less the policy deductible amount. It does not, however, pay for your medical expenses.

    It is important to note that liability insurance and collision insurance are not the only types of insurance that may benefit you in the event of a crash. For example, if you have health insurance, that policy may pay your medical expenses.

    If you were involved in an accident, it is important to seek assistance from an attorney even if you have insurance coverage. An experienced legal professional can help protect your legal rights and ensure that you obtain the maximum amount of compensation for your losses. To learn more, we encourage you to contact us at 800-989-6385 to schedule a free consultation.

  • What are the laws regarding seat belt usage in California?

    Since using a seat belt can save your life, its use is strongly promoted by safety organizations as well as local, state, and national government. Like every other state, California has specific laws pertaining to seat belt usage within the state. All drivers and passengers should therefore familiarize themselves with the requirements outlined by these laws.

    6 Facts About California’s Seat Belt Laws

    Interested in learning more about the state’s seat belt laws? The following is an overview of important information:

    • Every person riding in a car in California must be contained by an approved safety-restraint system.
    • If a person has a letter from their doctor excusing him from the seat belt law, he may be exempt from complying based upon medical issues.
    • Passengers 16 years old and older can be cited for failing to comply with the seat belt law.
    • Drivers are responsible for not only their obligation to wear a seat belt, but also for the behavior of their passengers. Therefore, they can be cited for any seat belt violation that occurs within their vehicle.
    • A first offense for violating California’s seat belt law is accompanied by a $20 fine.
    • Subsequent offenses for violating the seat belts are accompanied by a $50 fine.

    Unfortunately, injuries can and do occur even when all parties in a vehicle were wearing seat belts at the time of the car accident. We are here to help guide victims through the process of pursuing a claim and protecting their legal rights. When you are ready to learn more, we encourage you to contact us at 800-989-6385 to schedule a free consultation.

  • If I rear ended another vehicle, am I automatically at fault?

    All too often, the rear drivers in a rear-end collision automatically assume they are at fault. This is not always the case, however. If you rear-ended another car, under certain circumstances, the lead driver may be to blame for the crash. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and property damage as a result. Before speaking with an insurance company or the other driver's attorney, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney of your own who can help assess the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident.

    4 Situations Where the Lead Driver in an Accident Is At Fault

    Under what circumstances might the lead driver be to blame for a rear-end collision? The following is an overview:

    1. You are driving at a reasonable rate of speed and you are cut off unexpectedly by another driver from a side street, leaving you without enough room to stop.
    2. You are driving in a lane when another vehicle merges in front of you, but fails to maintain a sufficient rate of speed.
    3. You are stopped at a red light when the driver in front of you accidentally puts the car into reverse and accelerates when the light turns green.
    4. You are the victim of something called a “swoop and squat” con. When this happens, two vehicles team up to cause a rear-end accident. One driver boxes you in while the other pulls in front of you and stops as hard and fast as he can. As part of the con, the lead driver then claims to have catastrophic injuries and extremely expensive medical bills.

    Naturally, the best case scenario is to avoid a rear-end collision to begin with. These accidents cannot always be prevented, however. When an accident does occur, it is crucial to seek assistance. We encourage you to contact us today at 800-989-6385 to schedule a free consultation.

  • How do doctors treat “phantom limb” pain caused by an amputation in a car accident?

    An accident victim who has an arm or leg severed in a vehicle crash could suffer from a number of complications—some life-threatening—from his amputation. These problems make the adjustment to the loss of a limb even more challenging and more expensive. One of complications a person could suffer from is “phantom limb” pain. This is caused when a person seems to experience sensations or pain in the limb that is missing. Despite its name, “phantom limb” pain is not imaginary or in the amputee victim’s head. It has been documented using brain imaging scans to study how nerve signals are transmitted to the brain.

    Four Common Treatments for “Phantom Limb” Pain

    “Phantom limb” symptoms can range from mild to severe, with some people experiencing constant pain. There are a number of treatments for this complication, including:

    • Medications. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-depressants, or steroidal drug injections.
    • Prosthesis adjustments. Checking the fit of the prosthesis and making adjustments to make it feel more comfortable can sometimes help the problem.
    • Acupuncture. In this treatment, needles are inserted in the skin at specific points on the body believed to stimulate the nervous system and reduce the pain.
    • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). A small, battery-operated device attached to electrodes is used to deliver electrical impulses to the affected area or to block or reduce the pain signals to the spinal cord and brain.

    Many of these treatments must be utilized on a long-term basis to reduce the pain, and it can become costly. Fortunately an injured victim of a vehicle crash may be able to recover these costs as part of his compensation from the driver who caused the accident.

    Have you or a family member suffered an amputation or other injury as a result of a vehicle crash caused by another motorist? It is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible, so you do not inadvertently take actions that could hurt your case. Fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options and how we can help you.