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.

What To Do If You Are Injured at Work

Between 1992 and 2011, the most common months for workplace fatalities were July and August. 11,168 workplace fatalities occurred during July, and 11,155 fatalities occurred during August, making the summer months more dangerous for workers. Increased temperatures and more outdoor work help contribute to the spike in work-related fatalities during the summer. In 2016, 21.1% of all work-related fatalities occurred in the construction field. Construction work is far more common during the summer months, and hot temperatures can lead to complications such as severe dehydration.

Work Related Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers an injury work-related if “an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment.”

It is important to know that a work-related injury includes an event or accident that aggravated a pre-existing condition and doesn’t have to be a new injury.

Workplace related injuries can also occur if you work from home. If you are doing any paid work-related activities at home and suffer an injury related to your job, your injury is considered work-related. For example, if you drop a box of work documents and injure your foot, the injury is work-related. If the injury is related to a non-work function or your home environment, such as an injury caused by faulty electrical wiring, your injury would not be considered work-related.

Work-related injuries include a single event that caused the injury, as well as injuries caused by long-term or continuous exposure to certain activities or conditions.

How to Address a Work-Related Injury

If you are injured at work, immediately report the event to your supervisor. Seek appropriate medical treatment. Keep in mind that it is illegal for your employer to fire you for being injured at work or for filing a workers compensation claim. In California, the employer is responsible for providing you with a worker’s compensation claim form within one working day of your injury.

Document your injury with your doctor and follow the treatment recommendations. Some employers may direct you to see a specific doctor or medical practice.

You should consider filing a workers compensation claim. Part-time and seasonal employees typically qualify for workers compensation. In California, non-citizens may be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. While independent contractors, in most cases, are not entitled to workers compensation benefits, employers commonly misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying workers compensation and payroll taxes. If your employer tells you that you are not covered because you are an independent contractor, review the guidelines of your position to ensure that you meet the definition of an independent contractor.

Workers compensation claims may not always cover all of your losses. The main benefits of workers compensation include medical expenses, temporary and permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits.

Accepting workers compensation does not nullify your right to pursue damages or other disability benefits. If you have been injured on the job, 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.

Preparing To Meet With A Personal Injury Lawyer

Say you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault. This accident has totaled your car and left you with severe injuries. Those severe injuries required several surgeries and medical procedures costing thousands of dollars and you’re having to miss work on top of that. You’re in pain, you’re suffering, and you want to take steps to have your life put back together. If this situation sounds like your current one, you probably are entitled to some compensation and you’ll need to file a personal injury claim. And before any personal injury claim, you’ll need to meet with a personal injury lawyer, like Rush Injury Law in San Francisco. But how do you prepare for that meeting?  Planning, planning, planning.

Information First

Your personal injury attorney will ask a lot of questions about your accident in order to get an idea of what happening. You’ll be asked to describe the accident – when it happened, why it happened, how it happened, and who saw it happen. Hopefully you’ve taken detailed notes about the incident. Strong details are usually the key to maximizing your compensation. You’ll want to tell your lawyer everything about the incident, including the weather at the time, condition of the road, and the names of any potential witnesses. And they’ll also ask about your pain and how bearable or unbearable it is.

Bring All Your Documentation With You

A car accident will inevitably bring lots of paperwork and documentation. If police are called, they will take statements and file a report. If injuries occur, doctors and hospitals will document them, and possibly order X-rays and MRIs. Statements will be made to insurance companies. All of these documents are helpful in your personal injury claim and you’ll need to collect as much evidence as you can to present to your personal injury attorney. Here’s a list of items you’ll want copies of:

-The police report of the accident.

-Any medical procedures like X-rays.

-Medical bills from procedures or prescription medicines.

-Documents from work noting your missed time due to injury.

-Any notes from conversations with either your insurance company or the other driver’s.

-A list of important dates regarding the accident and any medical treatment received.

-Photographs relevant to the accident.

You don’t need to have a word-for-word account of everything that’s happened since the accident, but the more documentation you can provide, the stronger your case will be.

Ask Good Questions

Your lawyer won’t be interrogating you about the accident; it’s an open dialogue where you’ll need to ask questions as well. You might want to inquire about how the lawyer will be communicating with you as the steps of the case proceed. You might want to ask how long the process will take and whether you should discuss the case with friends and family. Asking questions is important for understanding how your case will play out, along with your chances of winning it.

Hurt in a car accident in the Bay Area? Rush Injury Law has you covered. Their attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for accident victims and they’ll fight to get you proper compensation.

My Personal Injury Case: What Are The Possible Resolutions?

If you have enough evidence that your lawyer wants to move forward with your personal injury case, you likely stand a good chance of getting some type of compensation. But outcomes in personal injury claims can’t be boiled down to just winning and losing. Sometimes there’s a winner, sometimes there’s a loser, but often the case never makes it before a judge. The online legal library Nolo.com ran a poll amongst their readers and found that 70% of personal injury claims ended with the plaintiff receiving some form of compensation and only 4% of those rewards came from a court case. So don’t fret if you’re terrified of the courthouse.

Resolutions Outside The Courtroom

Two main reasons exist that keep a personal injury claim from going to trial. First, the injured party could decide to drop their claim all together. Perhaps they don’t have enough money to continue paying their lawyer, or the lawyer did some digging and concluded that compensation was unlikely. But dropping a personal injury claim has consequences. In some instances, you might even have to pay the other party’s legal fees.

But the top reason personal injury claims don’t go to trial is an out-of-court settlement. Settlement compensation can vary, but they usually require the plaintiff drop the lawsuit in exchange for money and bills paids. Settlements usually reward the injured party with cash and pick up the check on any bills or lost wages. Usually, this is the ideal outcome because victims get rewarded and defendants keep their name out of the news.

If You Go To Court

If an agreement can’t be reached before trial, the case will go before a judge. California practices the doctrine of comparative negligence, meaning that both parties can be deemed responsible for a portion of the accident. Winners and losers still exist in these types of cases, but an injured party who was 10% responsible for an accident will still be forfeiting some cash.

Say you were involved in a car accident on a wet road. You were going 10 miles over the speed limit when another car blew a stop sign and smashed into the front of your car. Both you and the other driver claim the other was at fault, so the case goes to court. The damages from the accident total $50,000, but the judge deems that the other driver was 80% responsible because they blew a stop sign, but you were 20% responsible because of the speeding. In this situation, the other driver gets $10,000 and you get $40,000. Comparative negligence usually means winners and losers are blended into a gray area where both parties can be compensated.

Contacting Your Attorney

Your lawyer in your personal injury case will know your odds of winning a court case and will proceed in the best manner. If you’ve been injured through someone else’s negligence and think you may be entitled to compensation, contact Rush Injury Law right away and schedule a consultation.