Motor Vehicle Accidents

When you have been involved in a car accident, this can be a very traumatic incident for anyone, both emotionally and physically. Similarly, if someone you love has been hurt or killed as a result of a car crash, this can be a very emotional and financial strain on your life.
In California, car accidents may results from a number of common factors:

a. Speeding
b. Cell Phone Usage and Texting
c. Reckless Driving
d. Failing to Obey Traffic Signals
e. Drugs and Alcohol
f. And other factors…

Fact: In 2007, there were nearly 6.2 million police reported motor vehicles car crashes. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 41,000 people killed in a motor vehicle accident. That’s an average of 112 lives lost every day in 2007.Under California law, the person who causes a car accident is financially responsible for all of the provable damages related to the accident. Typical damages following a car accident may include damages to property (such as car damage), and bodily injury (damage to the vehicle occupants themselves). For legal purposes, a bodily injury claim is generally sub-divided into two categories:

1. Economic Damages- (past and future medical expenses, wage loss, and additional expenses related to physical impairment and disfigurement)

2. Non-Economic Damages (pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, physical impairment, and other similar losses)

The dollar value of these categories of damages can add up quickly. Thankfully, California law requires every owner of an automobile in the State of California to buy a minimum amount of car insurance to pay for these categories of damages. There are two types of mandatory car insurance in California:

1. Property Damage Liability Coverage – This coverage pays for the damage to the automobile involved in the accident and is paid out on behalf of the at-fault driver.

2. Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – This coverage pays on behalf of the at-fault driver for bodily injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision. The State of Colorado requires that every owner of an automobile have at least $25,000.00 in bodily injury liability insurance coverage.

Car Accident Claims

In order for a person to claim for personal injuries in a motor vehicle accident, there are three requirements that must be met:
(1) Fault for the car accident must be proved, and it must be clear that the at-fault driver is responsible for
causing the accident;

(2) You must have incurred damages; and

3) You must prove that the damages being claimed were caused by the automobile accident.

Recovering From a Car Accident Claim

In order to recover from damages as a result of a car accident, there are three (3) potential categories for damages:

(1) Economic damages, which include past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, impairment of earning capacity, and other out-of-pocket expenses;
(2) Non-economic damages, which include inconvenience, loss of quality of life, emotional distress, pain and suffering; and
(3) Physical impairment and disfigurement.

Paying for Medical Expenses

After being injured in a car accident, the first question many people want answered is “who will pay for my medical expenses?” The person who causes the automobile accident (or their insurance company) is ultimately financially responsible for all of the reasonable and medically necessary accident-related medical expenses. Unfortunately, in most cases, the medical expenses are not paid by the at-fault driver (or their insurance company) at the time the medical expenses are incurred. Instead, in most cases, -reimbursement for the medical expenses is one part of a single lump sum settlement fund that is negotiated only after all accident-related medical care is complete. Therefore, in the short term, (before the final settlement) in most cases, the medical expenses need to be covered by some other source. The choice made among potential payment sources for medical care may have different implications on the personal injury case.

In most injury cases it is important to have a California car accident lawyer examine all of the potential insurance sources that may provide coverage to you as a result of your accident. At John Kashani, Esq, for our clients, we may examine several different interim medical bill payment sources; this examination may include examination of our clients’ own car insurance coverage to see if the policy includes “medical payment” benefits. A “medical payment” benefit is an optional form of coverage that may require our clients’ own auto insurance company to pay some portion of our clients’ medical expenses. If no medical payment coverage exists, our lawyers may look to our clients’ health insurance to cover medical expenses. If there is no health insurance available to help cover medical expenses, the car accident attorneys at IMMIGRANT LAW GROUP, may work with the health care professionals chosen by our clients to see if the providers are willing to provide medical care through an agreed upon “medical
lien.”

Uninsured Motorist Law in California

Although California law requires every automobile owner in California to maintain insurance on their vehicle, many drivers who cause accidents do not have car insurance and are therefore “uninsured motorists”. In other cases, the driver who causes an accident may be insured but may not have enough insurance coverage to pay for all of the medical expenses and lost wages incurred due to the accident and is therefore “under-insured.”

Motor Accident Step by Step Procedures

1. Do not leave the scene of your accident: If you leave the scene of a car accident in Phoenix or anywhere in Arizona, you may be criminally prosecuted. You are required to provide your name, address, driver’s license and auto insurance information to the other driver.

2. Help the injured: If someone has been injured in the car accident, you should call for paramedics and assist them to the extent you are qualified. Before calling for the ambulance, be prepared to give an accurate location of the car accident, motorcycle accident or trucking accident and an assessment of the number of individuals injured in the wreck

3. Avoid additional car accidents: Make sure your vehicle is not presenting a safety hazard to other motorists. It should be moved so that it is not obstructing traffic, if possible. You can further notify oncoming traffic to proceed with caution by setting out flares, turning on your hazard lights, and raising the hood and trunk of your vehicle.

4. Notify the police of the car accident: Typically the police will prepare a report that contains various information concerning the car accident and the parties involved. While you may not be required to call the police, the car accident reports they produce could be helpful to you later.

5. Do not admit liability to the auto accident: You should not admit responsibility for the car accident to the other drivers, passengers, or to the police for that matter. You may convey facts concerning how the incident occurred; however, it is best not to comment on your responsibility (or liability) for the car accident. This is a legal matter that is not always readily and easily ascertainable. Judgment as to who was at fault should be reserved for a later time and be based on a number of factors.

6. Obtain information from the other drivers and pedestrians involved in the accident: You should get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any individuals involved in the car accident, as well as any witnesses to the accident. You should also obtain the name of the insurance company and policy number of the other drivers involved. If possible, you may take photographs to document the car accident scene including skid marks, road obstructions, and damage to the vehicles. Make note of any statements made by other parties involved in the car accident.

7. Notify your insurance company of the car accident: If you do not give your insurance company prompt notice, your policy may provide that the insurance company may deny coverage for your car accident claim. Accordingly, you should give your insurance company notice by way of telephone and by written notice that provides you a means of proving such notice was given, such as by facsimile or by certified mail. You should provide your insurance company with all information they request concerning the facts of the car accident.

8. Consult a doctor if you have been injured in the auto accident: If you believe that you may have been injured in a car accident, you should consult a doctor. Some injuries may not manifest themselves until some period of time after the accident; therefore, the mere fact that you do not immediately feel as though you have been injured does not necessarily mean that no injury has occurred. You should consult your insurance agent to see if the cost of seeing a doctor in connection with the car accident is covered by your insurance policy. You should not settle your claims for injuries arising from the car accident until you have been advised by your doctor as to the full extent of your injuries.

9. Contact Us! You should consult with us promptly to be advised as to your legal rights. In Arizona, you have a two-year statute of limitation period in which you must file a lawsuit or be forever barred from bringing such a claim.

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Our representation will cost you NOTHING immediately. In fact, you will only be asked to pay our attorneys fee if we are able to secure a verdict or settlement on your behalf.

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