How to Handle an Insurance Company

Accidents happen, but sometimes even though you suffer an injury, whether it is from an automobile accident or an injury at work, your insurance company may refuse to pay your personal injury claim. If you were bit by a dog and have a claim against the homeowner’s insurance policy, their company may initially refuse to approve your claim. Below are a few ways to handle an insurance company refusing to pay a personal injury claim.

Filing a Claim

In California, insurance companies have 15 days to respond to claims involving home, automobile, and other related injuries. Insurance companies must acknowledge the claim within 15 days of receipt, and must make a determination and decision accepting or denying the claim within 40 days.  If your claim is approved, the insurance company has 15 days to provide payment of the agreed upon settlement amount once you sign a release, and 30 days in most other circumstances to pay you your settlement.

Insurance companies also have a requirement to exhibit good faith and to not make an unreasonably low settlement offer and to not unreasonably delay the adjudication and processing of your claim. The insurance company you are working with is legally required to be honest with you, complete a full investigation of your claim, and not enact any discriminatory practices.

Also, insurance companies must notify you in writing if there are delays in processing your claim and explain what those delays are. They must exercise good faith in the delay, and outline, specifically, what is delaying the claim. If they are missing documents or awaiting information from you or another party, they must tell you that information.

Insurance Company Tactics

Insurance companies occasionally use unsavory tactics to deny or delay your claim. Be careful with signing medical releases, because in many instances insurance companies can use the releases to obtain medical records that preceded your injury. You should avoid accepting an immediate settlement offer, especially if the company wants you to sign a release of claims. Insurance companies can attempt to

How to Handle a Denied Claim

Once you file a claim, it is wise to seek legal representation. Besides having to recover from a potentially life changing injury, it is extremely time consuming to argue with an insurance adjuster about your claim. A skilled attorney can directly negotiate a settlement with the insurance company and protect your interests. Many insurance adjusters and companies request that the claimant complete a recorded statement or interview, and many times use the context and content of the interaction as a means to devalue your claim. Also, insurance companies are inclined to delay your payout to discourage you from seeking compensation. Although not all insurance companies and adjusters use these tactics, making an improper statement to a claims adjustor could potentially lead to your claim being denied.

If you have an insurance claims issue, contact Rush Injury Law today for a free consultation from an industry leading expert.

Are Your Aches and Pains Related to a Recent Car Accident

You may have been hurt more than you initially suspected.

Whether it’s a head-on collision or a mere fender bender, a car accident is an unexpected and traumatic event. Even in cases where you’re hit by someone traveling at a low rate of speed, you’re most definitely going to feel the impact, which may result in you sustaining injuries. If you are hurt in an accident, it’s best to get medical attention immediately. If your injuries seem minor—or if you don’t notice any symptoms—you need to be looked at by a medical professional anyways.

Below are a few things you can do to identify whether or not aches and pains you’re feeling are related to a recent car accident. If, after completing this article, you’re convinced that your ailments are the result of a crash, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Your Body May Not Realize It’s Injured Right Away

There are times in sports when athletes will sustain injuries, but they will play on unaffected by the pain—Curt Schilling’s bloody sock during Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS is a great example of this. In such heightened circumstances like these, the human body will generate adrenaline and endorphins, two chemicals that amp up the body, sometimes to the point where it can no longer feel pain.

Individuals involved in a car accident will most likely feel something similar to what was just described above. However, because there will likely be a bunch of other things on your mind in the event of a crash—whether or not the other driver is okay, whether or not your car is totaled, etc.—you may not even realize that your body is in such a heightened state. This may cause you to pay little or no attention to the injuries you may have sustained during the crash, which means you’re most likely going to notice them later on.

Look for Soft Tissue Damage After an Accident

Soft tissues are what connect, support, and surround structures and organs inside the human body. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, nerves, fibrous tissues, fat, blood vessels, and synovial membranes are all examples of soft tissue.

In the event of a car accident—even a low-speed one—drivers and passengers will, in most cases, come to a sudden stop after the initial impact; if not, they will be thrown around in the passenger section; in very severe cases, they may be ejected from the vehicle. In any event, your joints and other vulnerable areas are going to be at risk of being damaged.

Get a Concussion Screening

If you bump or jerk your head at all during the accident (which is quite likely), you’re going to want to get yourself screened for a concussion. Concussions are very serious, and sometimes you won’t exhibit symptoms until later on. A medical professional will be able to tell whether or not you suffered a concussion because of an accident.

How Should I Handle an Injury Caused by a Drunk Driver?

With summer in full swing, plenty of people across the country are hitting the open road. Traveling, vacations and outdoor events are common throughout the summer. More celebrations and more traveling inevitably lead to more drunk drivers out on the road. Independence Day is the deadliest day of the year and has the more auto-related fatalities than any other day. August and July have the highest auto-related fatalities and are two of the deadliest months out of the year for traffic fatalities and injuries.

32% of all auto-related fatalities are alcohol-related, and over 50% of car accidents are caused by intoxication and impaired drivers.

The injuries suffered from a car accident can be not only costly but debilitating. Hospital bills can accrue quickly, and injuries may force you to take significant time off from work.

What Should You Do If You’re Injured by a Drunk Driver?

Make sure you keep records and documentation of the injuries. You want to keep copies of hospital bills and insurance claims. When you report the accident to your auto insurance company, make sure you cooperate with law enforcement if the drunk driver is prosecuted. You may also be eligible for victim’s compensation.

When the accident first occurs, call and report the incident to the police immediately. Try to remember as many details about the accident as possible. If the driver had any alcohol in their system and was under the age of 21, or if the driver’s blood alcohol level was above .08, California law dictates that they were legally intoxicated. Drivers are also considered to be intoxicated under California law if they were under the influence of prescription drugs or illegal narcotics.

How Are You Protected by the Law? 

California law allows you to sue the intoxicated driver for injuries and damages you suffered from an auto accident. You can file a civil lawsuit for compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include hospital bills, property damage, lost wages, and incurred losses. California Civ. Code, § 3294 allows individuals to sue for punitive damages when the tortfeasor is “guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice.” Parties in California have successfully received judgments for punitive damages for injuries caused by drunk and intoxicated drivers. 

Punitive damages are awarded to punish the offending party and demonstrate that the liable parties’ behavior is intolerable to a civilized society. Insurance companies do not cover punitive damages, and you must sue the driver personally to receive compensation for things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and future lost earnings.

If you suffer injuries that prevent you from working, or compensatory damages failed to cover all of your losses, you may want to consider filing a civil lawsuit to recover additional damages.

Getting hurt in a car accident can be stressful. Trying to navigate the insurance claims process and civil litigation procedures on your own can be tough. If you need help figuring out the next steps to take after a drunk driving accident, contact the experts at Rush Injury Law for a free consultation.

The Most Common Types Of Car Accident Injuries

A car accident can be a deadly encounter, especially if high speeds are involved. A 2,000-pound object colliding with another 2,000-pound object at 60 miles per hour can result in a lot of collateral damages, especially if the car is loaded with people. A car accident can leave a person crippled, dead, or with barely a scratch on them. There’s no rhyme or reason for some car accident injuries, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Here’s a list of the most common kinds of car accident injuries.

Head and Neck Injuries

Head and neck trauma are the most serious kinds of car accident injury. Any damage to the brain or spinal cord can be devastating and long-term effects are possible. This trauma can be especially bad if the person wasn’t wearing their seatbelt, but even if all safety precautions are taken, a really bad accident can inflict serious injuries. A concussion can be healed, but broken necks and brain trauma can be permanent. Internal bleeding or hemorrhaging can make these types of injuries fatal as well.

Back Injuries

An injury to the back can also be devastating. Think about how often you need back flexibility, whether it’s to tie a shoe or sit down in a chair. The back and spine are complex structures and many jolts to the discs or cartilage can leave a victim with lifelong repercussions. Soft tissue injuries like whiplash are another common result in car accidents because the vehicle comes to a sudden stop, sending the victim’s head and neck whipping forward from the momentum. This can damage the tendons in the neck and the pain can be intense.

Burns

Severe car crashes can cause the combustible components of a car to ignite, sending flames throughout the car and burning the skin. Burn injuries can be deadly and even small ones can result in permanent scarring. Burns run the spectrum from first degree to third-degree burns. First degree burns might only leave a superficial injury, but third-degree burns can damage every layer of skin and cause permanent disability.

Broken Arms and Legs

Broken bones are another common result of a serious car injury. Arms and legs are often stuck in compromising positions and a hard impact can cause bones to break. There are levels to bone breaks, with hairline fractures sometimes going unnoticed and compound fractures requiring serious medical treatment. Healing a broken bone might only require a few weeks in a brace or extensive surgery if the break is of the compound variety.

Car accident injuries vary depending on the type of collision. Head on collisions at high speeds has the greatest risk of serious head trauma, while side collisions might break bones. And some car accidents might end with both parties walking away unharmed. No two crashes are the same and either is the injuries sustained.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact the attorneys at Rush Injury Law. With decades of experience, they know how to get the compensation car accident victims are entitled to.

How Should I Handle A Boating Accident?

If you look out into the bay during a San Francisco summer, you’ll see countless types of boats parading through the water. Whether it’s fishing, sport, or just a leisurely cruise, boating is a popular summer activity in California. But boating also comes with risks and accidents can be especially dangerous. If you plan on being on a boat this summer, you’ll need to follow a few safety tips and be prepared for the unexpected.

According to the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW), there were 488 boating accidents in California in 2017. Amongst those accidents, 242 injuries were reported and 53 people died. These numbers have gone down in the last decade (nearly 700 boatings accidents were reported in 2008), but boating remains an activity where careful behavior should be practiced.

Common Boating Accidents

Most boating accidents can be avoided as long as everyone is paying attention to their surroundings. If you overload one area of the boat (especially the stern), the weight won’t be properly distributed and the risk of capsizing increases. Passengers in a capsized boat might be tempted to swim to shore, but DO NOT leave the boat. Swimming long distances is difficult without proper training and capsized boats can still float and be seen from aircraft.

Alcohol and bad weather are another unfortunate cause of boating accidents. Just like driving, operating a boat while intoxicated is illegal and penalties for it are stiff. According to the California Parks Department, the legal limit for boating is the same as driving and jail time is on the table for anyone caught. Accidents are also more common at dusk and during bad weather. If you plan on skippering a vessel, it’s your responsibility to plan for the unexpected.

What Should I Do If I’m Injured While Boating?

The good news is that boating accidents are very similar to car accidents when it comes to procedures. You need proper insurance to own and operate a boat and necessary safety devices like life jackets must be on board at all times. If you’ve been in an accident, the first thing to do is check and see if anyone needs medical care. Call the authorities right away regardless of injury or damage.

Take detailed notes just like you would in a car accident. What was the weather like? How many people were on the other vessel? Is anyone on board intoxicated? These are all important facts that you’ll want in the official accident report.

Comparative fault is used to determine liability in boating accidents and California uses the pure comparative fault method when figuring out who is responsible. If $100,000 is at stake in a personal injury claim and a judge finds one party 70% responsible, they’ll be on the hook for $70,000 while the second party will need to contribute $30,000.

Boating accidents can be confusing, especially if you aren’t an experienced water traveler. If you’ve been hurt on a boat due to someone else’s negligence, contact Rush Injury Law right away and schedule a consultation.

Recent Post