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.

What to Do If You Are Injured From a Dog Bite

In 2017, 1 in every 72 Americans was bitten by a dog. 20% of people bitten by dogs experienced their dog bite wound become infection. Sadly, 39 people died as a result of dog bites in 2017. Injuries caused by dog bites can become very costly for the victim. Victims may have significant medical bills and be unable to work. In 2015, California accounted for more dog bite related personal injury claims than any other state.

What to Do After Being Bit By a Dog

Seek immediate medical attention if you or a loved one is bit by a dog. Make sure to keep all documentation involving the injuries and medical bills. Follow all medical recommendations and document the exact nature of your injuries and their impact. File a police report or a report with your local county health office and give a detailed description of the incident. The dog may be quarantined to ensure the dog doesn’t have rabies. Try to remember if the dog was on a leash or roaming unsupervised.

It’s also important to locate any witnesses who were present when you were bitten.

Liability

In California, the dog owner is liable for damages if the dog bite causes injuries and the victim was in a public place or lawfully present in a private place. You do not have to prove that the dog’s owner knew the dog was aggressive or was negligent in supervising their dog.

The dog owner can escape liability if the victim was trespassing, if the dog was lawfully defending its owner, or if the dog was provoked. However, if the victim is under the age of 5, the provocation defense can’t be used.

You also have the right to sue the person handling the dog when you were bit, even if the handler is not the dog’s lawful owner. You would have the burden to prove that the handler reasonably knew the dog was aggressive or had a history of biting.

If you are bitten by a dog on the owner’s property, the dog’s owner may have renters or homeowner’s insurance that may cover some or all of your expenses.

If you sustained injuries from a dog attack that were not caused by a bite, you still have the right to pursue damages, but not under California’s dog bite statute.

Damages

You can claim compensatory damages for medical bills, physical therapy, lost earning capacity, lost wages, and scarring. Additionally, you can pursue punitive damages for things like pain and suffering.

If you are uninsured or underinsured and can’t afford out of pocket medical expenses, you can obtain a medical lien. Some medical providers will agree to extend you credit for medical treatment in exchange for becoming the first party paid if you reach an out of court settlement or obtain a judgement.

In California, there is a two-year statute of limitation to pursue damages for injuries related to a dog bite. If you have been injured from a dog bite, contact Rush Injury Law for a free consultation.

What Is Comparative Fault and How Does It Work in California?

Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and if more than two vehicles are involved, assigning responsibility can be difficult. Accidents can be expensive and time consuming to deal with, especially if you don’t know the laws in your state. How does blame get assigned in these hard to determine situations?

Assigning fault after an accident varies depending on where you go in the United States. The most commonly used method is a comparative fault (also known as comparative negligence), where the blame for an accident is divvied up amongst the parties involved. But comparative fault can be sliced into different varieties, so it’s important to know the legal implications for accidents in your state. In a modified comparative fault state, a plaintiff will be awarded full damages if it’s determined they were less than 50% responsible for the accident. But under pure comparative fault, two parties are entitled to compensation equal to the portion of blame given. California uses the pure comparative fault method, so residents of the Bay Area need to know how it works.

How Does Pure Comparative Fault Work in California?

Here’s a hypothetical – you’re driving down a busy San Francisco street when you get t-boned by a sports car heading the other way. The driver was going too fast out of the parking lot of a local pub, so he may even be under the influence. But you aren’t exactly blameless either – you slowed down at the stop sign but rolled through without stopping completely. So the other driver was speeding and is possibly intoxicated, but you commit a moving violation blowing the stop sign. What happens here?

In this situation, your case will be decided in a courtroom by a judge and/or jury. Your lawyer will try to prove you are as minimally responsible for the accident as possible, but the decision will be out of your hands. The jury will weigh the information and assign a percentage of blame. If the damages total $100,000, that amount will be split between the two parties.

The jury decides that the other driver was speeding and ignoring traffic laws, but he wasn’t drunk. They also assign 15% of the blame to you for not coming to a full stop at the stop sign… In this decision, you’ll receive $85,000 in damages while the other driver gets $15,000. If this case had taken place in a modified comparative fault state, you would receive all $100,000 while the other driver walks away empty-handed.

Steps To Take After A Confusing Accident

If you’ve been injured in an accident and don’t know whether you’re at fault on not, contact your attorney right away. Your attorney will take in the facts of the case and represent you should your case go to trial.

James Rush has spent 15 years helping victims get compensation for their injuries. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, contact Rush Injury Law and schedule a consultation.

Accidental Death Cases

Death isn’t something we like to think about, but it’s a part of life and when it happens accidentally, there are lots of factors to consider. California has one of the lowest rates of accidental death in the country (which is obviously a good thing), but when it does happen, you’ll have questions that only lawyers can answer. The team at Rush Injury Law has years of experience dealing with accidental fatalities. If someone was negligent in the accident, you deserve justice. Our attorneys are dedicated to getting compensation for families who have lost a loved one.

The most common causes of accidental death in California are auto accidents, but injuries, falls, and drug use are contributors as well. According to records, car crashes are the 15th most common cause of death in California, falls are 23rd, other injuries 26th, drug use 42nd, and drownings 45th. These statistics may not seem high, but accidents accounted for nearly 10,000 fatalities. More importantly, accidents are the leading cause of death in children under 15 after congenital birth defects and low birth weight. California’s strict gun laws thankfully keep firearm deaths to a minimum. 

Accidental death cases don’t always end with the victim’s family receiving compensation. There’s a legal difference between wrongful death and accidental death.  If a person is killed because they pulled in front of your car and got hit, that’s likely to be ruled just an accidental death and the deceased at fault. But if a driver has a few drinks and hits a pedestrian, that will be wrongful death and that driver is in deep trouble.

Car accidents are the most prevalent reason that attorneys deal with accidental death cases. Reasons that an automobile accident that might cause a wrongful death case include speeding, failing to yield to stop signs, failing to yield to oncoming traffic, and driving while distracted. Drunk drivers still kill far too many people every year, but deaths from distracted driving are on the rise.

There’s nothing a lawsuit or financial compensation can do to bring back a loved one. Accidental deaths are always tragic; a family member is taken too soon, leaving behind a grieving family. Grief eases with time, but the financial burden families endure when they lose the breadwinner is devastating. When the high earner of the household is taken away, all of a sudden college funds, housing payments, and medical expenses could be unbearable. That’s why it’s critical to build your case through the help of an attorney.

Rush Injury Law knows what to do when these unfortunate events happen. No amount of litigation can ever bring back a family member, but it can ease the burden they leave behind when it comes to paying bills. Wrongful death cases are never easy. Wounds can be reopened during investigations when painful memories surface. But it’s important to discover all the facts if you think your loved one was killed with negligence. The team at Rush Injury Law will fight to get the compensation you deserve.