Anatomy of an Injury Claim in Los Angeles
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the claims-filing process. Oftentimes, a lack of knowledge and insight regarding these procedures discourages injured victims from filing for their entitled compensation. It may be tempting to simply settle for whatever an insurance company tries to offer you. As legal counselors and Los Angeles personal injury lawyers, we advise you to reconsider.
At The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus, we have helped thousands of accident victims and personally filed hundreds of personal injury claims in the greater Los Angeles area. Not only are we aware of how the claims-filing process works, but we know how to make the system work in your favor. We are dedicated to making every aspect of your post-accident life easier, starting by providing you with top-tier service.
Understanding the Claims-Filing Process
When you work with our team, we will provide advice and guidance from the moment you decide to file for damages to the moment we arrive at the best possible outcome. Having someone on your side to describe how the system works can be essential to maximizing your claim. This page exists to help people like you learn some of the things lawyers know so you can protect your rights after an accident.
Let’s start with the way you can expect the claims-filing process to proceed. Though each filing process will differ, most will include the following steps:
- An Accident Occurs: From a car accident to a premises liability complaint, some type of accident must occur in order to start the claims process.
- An Injury Is Suffered: In addition to an accident occurring, someone or something must be damaged due to the accident. This can include minor to serious physical injuries as well as property damage.
- You Consult an Attorney: Once you have received the proper medical treatment, call a skilled lawyer who can determine whether negligence played a role in your accident.
- Establish the Specifics of Your Claim: If you have grounds to file a claim, your legal representative can establish liability, determine the value of your injuries, and create a plan of action that can help you receive your rightful financial compensation.
Proving Liability in Injury Claims
The issue of liability in a personal injury claim essentially comes down to the facts about the accident: who, where, what, when, how and why. If you are partly at fault for the accident and your injuries, your case will be classified as comparative negligence. Your award will be reduced by the percentage of negligence you are determined to hold. This is what the insurance companies want, and they may try to trick you into admitting you might have caused some of the damage. We can help you build a strong case showing liability rests with the other party so you can maximize your compensation.
When we start with a free case evaluation, we will ask you for a full, unedited account of what happened. From there, we take steps to determine what evidence might exist to support the claims of negligence and fault against the other party. This could include:
- Accident reports
- Surveillance video
- Dash cam video
- Scene/accident photographs
- Car repair records
- Medical records
- Medical bills
Our team thoroughly investigates each case we take on to uncover all the evidence we can. The more you bring to the negotiating table, the more likely you are to receive a fair settlement offer. If an insurance company refuses to budge, all the evidence we find can be used to demonstrate the other party’s fault to a jury.
Insights on the Nature of Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are a part of a billion-dollar industry that has significant power and control over the amount of financial compensation that you receive—or, more accurately, what you don't receive. Do not expect an insurance company to have your best interests at heart. Time and time again, we have seen innocent victims cheated out of their rightful compensation simply because they do not know what their claim is worth.
How and Why Insurers Will Try to Reduce Their Payout
Insurance companies do not want to pay you because every cent they give away comes out of their bottom line. They will delay your claim; they will interpret favorable police reports unfavorably; they will look for witnesses that don't exist; and they will run a claim industry index on you to see if they can find any old claims to use against you.
Insurance adjusters know the longer and harder they make an injury claimant wait and work for compensation, the more likely the victim is to give up or eventually settle for much less than the full fair value of the injury claim. Unfortunately, to a large extent, they are right. Many people just don't think it's worth it to pursue a claim, especially for minor accidents or minor injuries such as whiplash.
If they are unsuccessful in outright denying liability, an insurance company will dispute liability and argue your comparative negligence. For example, they will argue you were speeding, or that you could have avoided an accident by paying better attention. Whatever your specific injury may entail, you must realize the insurance company will arbitrarily attempt to apply an apportionment of liability against you.
How Legal Representation Can Help You
You cannot and should not trust an insurance adjuster because they are not working for you. They work for the insurance company, and they are looking out for the financial interests of their employer. It is common for insurance adjusters to lead you to believe that they will do the right thing, so you don't need an attorney. However, they are saying this to protect themselves.
You must be represented by a legal heavyweight in order to level the playing field, and you must understand that the insurance claims industry and the adjuster handling your claim are not on your side.
Trying to handle your own claim against the insurance industry is like performing surgery on yourself. Insurance adjusters will try to find gaps in your knowledge so they can find a way to deny you the compensation you deserve. That’s why it’s important you retain an attorney who focuses their practice on plaintiff personal injury law. This ensures that you will be represented by someone who knows the industry and the ins and outs and how to deal with insurance adjusters.
If you break a bone, you go to an orthopedist, not a dermatologist. Similarly, if you suffer an injury in an accident, you should retain a personal injury attorney. At The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus, the cases we handle most frequently involve personal injury, car accidents, other vehicle collisions, and workers’ compensation matters.
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or if you have questions about your rights and options moving forward, speak with our award-winning legal team today.
The Role of Collectability in Injury Claims
Dealing with an insurer requires the at-fault party to have an insurer. Though the Financial Responsibility Laws in the State of California require every motorist to purchase liability insurance coverage, there is, unfortunately, a large percentage of people who simply cannot afford to do so or are not covered for other reasons.
This means that if you are involved in an accident,you may or may not automatically receive coverage from an insurance company for your injuries. It is critically important to contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney immediately after your accident so that you can be fully protected under the law.
How We Can Investigate Collectability
If the other party involved in the accident is insured, we can move forward with the claim immediately. If the other party is not insured, however, we will need to use several investigative methods to verify whether they might be covered by someone else's policy, e.g., an employer, registered owner, legal owner, principal, or resident household relative.
Keep in mind that even if the other party is uninsured, we may be able to help you receive the compensation if you carry uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage. Additional coverage such as medical payment benefits may apply as well. Our personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles are highly skilled at seeking out different solutions for your specific situation.
Collectability in Premises Liability Cases
In premises liability cases, we will attempt to verify either a homeowner's liability policy or a general commercial liability policy. However, some large businesses and franchises or chains are self-insured, so it is not always easy. The key here is to determine whether there is a source of collectability. People pay a premium to insurance companies to be protected and to have peace of mind when they suffer an injury. This may give you a way to pursue damages after a slip and fall or other accident.
Unfortunately, sometimes there simply is no insurance. If we cannot find a collectible source, we may conclude it simply is not economically feasible or practical to pursue the case. Whatever your situation may entail, you can take comfort knowing that we will be honest with you from the outset.
Learn More About Your Claim: Ask Our Attorneys for Advice
If you want to file for compensation after an accident, we hope we have helped you understand how complicated the process is, and the ways the system that should protect you actually works against you. There is a reason we recommend you enlist an experienced personal injury attorney to your cause. However, if you are undecided, you can come speak with us—completely free and without obligation.
We have been representing accident victims in the Los Angeles area for over 40 years. Over that time, we have seen many insurers try to withhold the settlement injured victims need for a full recovery. We don’t want that to happen to you.
If you want to schedule a free consultation with our team, reach out at (800) 905-8777 to learn more. We are happy to help you understand your rights and explore your options after a bad accident.
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