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.

How to Handle a Teenage Driver

For a teenager, getting a driver’s license is one of the most exciting times of their lives. For a parent, it’s a white-knuckled, hair-raising experience fraught with perils real and imagined. Teenage drivers have high accident rates and car crashes are the leading cause of death for people aged 16-19. Your teenager views getting a driver’s license as a sign of responsibility and adulthood, but no one on the road is more dangerous than the 16-year old with their first license. Rush Injury Laws knows the concerns parents have about their kids getting into car accidents.

Make Firm, But Fair Rules For The Road

It’s important to set some rules for the road when your teenager gets behind the driver’s seat. The state of California has several restrictions on teen driving, such as no driving between 11 pm and 5 am and the banning of passengers under 20 years of age (unless accompanied by an adult). This is a good start, but parents would be wise to implement a few more.

Limit the number of passengers

The more people in the car, the more distractions for the driver. Friends want to tag along for the ride when a new driver gets on the road, but limit the number of friend pickups to 1 or 2.

Set driving boundaries  

The state of California doesn’t limit where teens can drive, but it’s not a bad idea to set a limit on how many miles away from home they can go. A novice drivers on a road they aren’t familiar with is a recipe for trouble. Only letting your teen driver go 20-30 miles away from the house is a good way to get peace of mind without restricting your child’s freedom.

No texting and driving

This rule might be difficult to enforce when your teen is on the road, but it’s a topic that needs to be discussed. According to the Center for Disease Control, you’re 23 times more likely to get in an accident while texting and driving. Talk openly about this policy and set a good example when your the driver and the teen is the passenger.

What Do If Your Teen Is In An Accident?

First of all, don’t panic. Teen crashes are common, but only 0.003% are fatal according to the United States Department of Transportation. A car is just a hunk of metal that can be replaced. But remember, the state of California made you put your John Hancock on your child’s license. This means their accident is your accident. Most accidents will be fully covered by insurance, but if your child as a history of reckless, you might be on the hook for the full damages.

Make sure the police are contacted. A police report is often the only thing preventing the case from becoming a ‘he-said-she-said’ argument. Take pictures of the damage on both cars for the insurance companies. An accident often puts great emotional stress on a teenager, so don’t immediately reprimand them. If your child was at fault, punishment can come later.

If your child was injured in a car accident in the San Francisco area, be sure to contact Rush Injury Law. Our lawyers are experts in car accidents involving teens and we’ll fight to get the compensation you deserve.

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