Category Archives:Personal Injury

What Not to Say to the Insurance Adjuster

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When a person is in a car accident in California, they will have to deal with the insurance company. Being contacted by an insurance adjuster is an eventuality. This interaction will have a major impact on how a person’s claim is handled. The goal of an insurance adjuster is to gather information from the claimant that can lead to a reduction or even denial of their claim.

There are things a person should never say to an insurance adjuster. A personal injury attorney will advise car accident victims that saying the wrong thing to an insurance adjuster can make it difficult to get the best possible result for their insurance claim.

I Think…

When asked about their accident, an accident victim should never simply provide an opinion. Should they not know the facts enough to answer a question, they should not answer it. An accident victim can expect to be asked one question in several different ways. The insurance adjuster is trying to get an answer that will justify a decrease in the settlement offer.

I’m Not Hurt

It is always a mistake for an accident victim to tell an insurance adjuster they’re not hurt. Injuries don’t always make themselves immediately apparent. This is because the initial response of a person’s body in an accident is to increase adrenaline, which can mask pain. When the adrenaline in a person’s body begins to decrease, injuries make themselves known. Almost always, it’s best to suppose that you’ve been hurt and seek medical attention. Doing otherwise may result in you losing out on much needed compensation for medical bills and other damages.

The Light Was Green

Insurance adjusters love to hear this statement. It implies that the victim did not look for all possible dangers before entering an intersection. They may try and say that the victim had a chance to avoid the collision if they would have just been more careful when entering the intersection.

It Was My Fault

A personal injury lawyer will always advise an accident victim to never make this statement. Immediately after an accident, they may not know all the details associated with their accident. This is a statement that should not be made to the other driver, witness, police officer and especially an insurance adjuster. When an accident victim apologizes for something, they’ve basically admitted guilt.

The Other Driver Must Have Been Speeding

This is another common statement that insurance adjusters love to hear from claimants. It can imply a lack of vigilance and good judgment. The adjuster may ask, if the other driver was speeding and got close enough to cause an accident, then why did the accident victim pull out? An insurance adjuster will try and show that the victim was at least partially at fault because they supposedly weren’t paying full attention to their surroundings.

My Damages Are Worth…

Most accident victims are unable to properly analyze their damages. They are not aware of all the costs associated with their accident. Economic as well non-economic damages are a consideration. Emotional distress, as well as loss of earning capacity and more, are a consideration. It can be a near-impossible challenge for any person without professional legal experience to properly calculate their damages. It’s best to leave that work to a qualified personal injury attorney.

I Never Saw the Other Driver

When an accident victim claims they never saw the other driver, an insurance adjuster will hear they were negligent. This is especially important to an insurance adjuster if a police report says the accident victim was not liable. In this situation, an insurance adjuster may be able to twist the accident victim’s words as an admission that they contributed to the accident.

General Rule of Thumb: Don’t Give Too Much Information

In short, the insurance adjuster is not your friend. When they interview an accident victim, they are looking for reasons to decrease a settlement amount. You should always be honest with your responses, but keep them curt and direct. Any extra, unnecessary details can be used against you.

Many car accident victims do not know or understand the insurance claims process. It is a situation where the services of a personal injury attorney are essential. A lack of insurance claims experience can cause an accident victim to say something that will harm their settlement. A personal injury attorney will know what an accident victim should say and, most importantly, what not to say to the insurance adjuster.

How Long Do Personal Injury Claims Take to Settle?

One of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of any personal injury claim process is waiting to receive the compensation you need to move on with your life. After your accident, you are left with medical expenses, an inability to return to work, and a painful recovery process. While you certainly want to settle your claim as quickly as possible, your personal injury attorney will encourage you to avoid accepting the first settlement offer you receive from the insurance company. This first offer is likely to be lower than your actual damages.
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A personal injury claim can be resolved quickly, even within a few days or weeks. Still, a fast timeline in most cases means accepting a low offer that fails to fully compensate you for immediate damages, let alone long-term expenses you must face. While the personal injury claim process can take months, a personal injury lawyer will work on your behalf to guide you through the process and seek maximum compensation.

To help you better understand how long it will take your claim to settle, consider the following factors that influence your timeline.

Which Factors Influence My Personal Injury Claim?

While some injury claims are settled in a matter of weeks, others can drag on for years. There are many factors that influence how long it takes your claim to settle, but three factors have the biggest influence:

  • You have a claim involving a large amount of money,
  • You have factual or legal issues with your claim, or
  • You have not recovered or reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).

Legal and factual issues can easily slow down how long it takes for your case to settle and influence how much your case is worth. A personal injury case will settle faster when liability and injuries are clear compared to a case in which liability is uncertain or injuries are not clear-cut. This is a common problem with soft tissue injuries and car accidents in which it isn’t clear which driver caused the accident — or when liability is shared. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced injury law firm to help you investigate your accident and document your injuries and liability.

The second-biggest factor affecting your case is how much the case is worth. Unfortunately, cases worth a large amount of money take the longest time to settle. The insurance company will not approve a large payout until they are certain they have investigated every facet of the claim in an attempt to limit or deny a settlement. The more money your case involves, the more in-depth the investigation. Remember that insurance companies do not like to approve settlements until they are sure they have no defense.

You will also need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before your case will settle. If you are still being treated by your doctor, the insurance company cannot be sure if you will remain disabled by your injuries or you will recover, in which case your claim will be worth less. Of course, this can be complicated by the fact that serious injuries take a long time to treat and recover from and you may be unable to work for months while waiting for your settlement.

These are the three most important factors influencing your case, but there may be other issues that affect your timeline. It’s even possible for the size of the insurance company to affect how long it takes to reach a settlement. Your personal injury attorney can help you better understand how long you should expect to wait before making progress on your case.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

The more complicated your case, the more important it is to seek experienced legal counsel from an injury law firm. Your injury attorney will act in your best interest to gather evidence that supports your claim and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. An attorney can better anticipate roadblocks that may delay your case and build the evidence you need for a speedy settlement.

Recovering from Accident Trauma

If you’ve recently been injured in an accident, you may be experiencing many different feelings: shock, disbelief, anger, anxiety, fear, and guilt. These feelings may hit you all at once right after the accident, or they may gradually arise in the following days or weeks.
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What you are experiencing is trauma, and it is perfectly normal. Most accident victims experience trauma on some level, especially if injuries are involved. Usually, trauma goes away with time, and life goes back to normal. However, if the trauma remains or worsens after a long time has passed, it can become a serious, life-affecting issue.

When Trauma Becomes PTSD

Normal trauma is temporary and, like most physical wounds, heals with time. Post-traumatic stress, on the other hand, can change the way you act and think in the long term and get in the way of everyday life. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms after an accident, you may have post-traumatic stress:

  • Persistent anxiety
  • Fear of driving or riding in vehicles
  • Resistance against medical treatment
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Nightmares or insomnia
  • A feeling of disconnection from the world around you
  • Constant, uncontrollable “replays” of the accident inside your head

Taking Steps to Recover

There are active measures you can take to facilitate your recovery from accident trauma:

1. Talk about your experience. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside. Instead, tell a friend, family member, or counselor about the accident and what you’re going through. It may sound like a cliché, but talking really does help.
2. Keep yourself active. Don’t do anything that might exacerbate your injuries. That said, talk to a physician to establish your limits and do what you can to stay active and healthy.
3. Follow up with your doctor. Your health matters first and foremost, so be proactive and vigilant. In the weeks and months following your accident, check with your doctor often to monitor your recovery. If you’re struggling with symptoms of post-traumatic stress, your doctor can refer you to a mental health specialist or therapist.
4. Try to get back to a routine. Accidents are often disruptive, making victims feel like they have lost control of their lives. It is an important part of the healing process to regain a sense of control and normalcy. The best of way of going about this is to reestablish a routine and stick to it.
5. Make stress reduction a priority. While some stress is normal, too much stress will only hinder your recovery. Relieve stress in the moment by practicing mindful breathing and engaging in sensory input that calms you down. Other effective stress reduction methods include meditation, taking time to relax, and getting plenty of rest.

As an accident victim, you should be able to focus 100% on your recovery, from your physical injuries as well as your mental trauma. However, you need compensation for your damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.), which means you must file an injury claim. In your current state, you may not be prepared to take on the legal challenges that come with a claim.

Fortunately, the top injury attorneys at Lalezary Law Firm can handle every aspect of your claim for you, so you can focus on your well-being. We will file the paperwork, get you coverage for your medical expenses, get your vehicle repaired or replaced, and more—and at no upfront cost to you. To speak to an attorney now, call (310) 550-8888 for a FREE consultation.

7 Steps to Winning Your Insurance Claim

The insurance company is not on your side. You may think that insurance companies are there to help you in times of emergency, but like every other business, their number one interest is their profits. Even if you have a legitimate claim, they may give you the runaround and make it difficult for you to get the compensation you are entitled to.

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If you want to get full and fair compensation for your damages (medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, etc.), you must be able to beat the insurance company at their own game. Here’s how:

  1. If the insurance company denies your claim, request a written explanation. Because you have a legal right to this information, the company must meet your request.
  2. Get your paperwork in order. Retain any document you have signed from the insurance company in addition to your original policy and an overview of your benefits. If you are missing any documents, you can request them from the insurance company.
  3. Conduct a close review of all your documents. It is highly advised that you get a professional set of eyes to look at your documents and determine whether your claim was rightfully denied.
  4. Make sure your signature was not forged. Shocking fact, insurance companies have been known to engage in this shady and deceitful practice in the past. Any document that bears your signature, make sure they’re legit.
  5. Keep all receipts and put all requests in writing. You want to keep a meticulous record of every communication and transaction that you have with the insurance company. Otherwise, any gaps may be exploited to reduce or deny your claim.
  6. Filing errors are not grounds for denial. If the insurance company says otherwise, challenge them. If you don’t show them that you are well aware of your rights, they will keep trying to push you around.
  7. Consult with an experienced attorney. This should really be the first step. Insurance companies are much more likely to play fair when an attorney is present. Also, initial consultations are almost always free, so there’s literally zero risk to calling an attorney.

At Lalezary Law Firm, our award-winning team of accident attorneys have extensive experience handling these types of cases for clients. We can help you get your medical bills paid, your vehicle repaired or replaced, and your damages fully compensated for, with no upfront out-of-pocket costs to you. To speak with an attorney now, call (888) 778-8888.

Personal Injury FAQ

Find answers to your basic questions about personal injury claims below. If you want to speak to an attorney about your case in detail, call (888) 778-8888 for a FREE consultation. Lalezary Law Firm represents all clients on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay unless we win.

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Do I really need an attorney?

If you have been injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement, and other damages.

HOWEVER, you will have to file paperwork, gather evidence, get medical treatment, talk with the insurance adjuster, etc. Or you can get an experienced personal injury attorney to take care of everything for you.

We can get you medical treatment with zero upfront costs to you. We can get you a rental vehicle while yours is being repaired or replaced. We can deal with the insurance company on your behalf. We can file all the paperwork. We can handle every aspect of your claim, so you can concentrate on getting healthy again. It is our goal to make your life easier when times are tough.

But the insurance company said I don’t need an attorney.

First, it is illegal for anybody who is not an attorney to give legal advice. Second, your interests and the interests of the insurance company are not the same. In fact, their interests may be in direct conflict with your interests, so it’s best not to take advice from them.

If you want an unbiased legal opinion, your best bet is to speak to a reputable attorney.

What is my case worth?

No attorney can provide you with an exact figure—in fact, it is against bar regulations to make guarantees of this sort—but he or she can give you an estimate based on the following factors:

• The severity of your injuries and the resulting medical bills
• The circumstances of liability
• Your insurance and the liable party’s insurance
• Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
• Pain and suffering

The amount of compensation you receive will be affected not only by the above factors, but also by the quality of your legal representation. A decent attorney may get you a mediocre amount of compensation, just barely enough to cover your losses, but an exceptional attorney will utilize every resource and angle to maximize your compensation—which is what we do here at Lalezary Law Firm.

How long will my case take?

Similar to case worth, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to provide an exact estimate of case length. No two cases are alike and therefore there is no general timetable for these things. Some claims may settle within a few months, while others can go all the way to litigation and take years to complete.

Can I still get compensation if I was partially at fault for the accident?

Yes. The state of California uses the system of “pure comparative negligence” when determining damages in a personal injury claim. In simpler terms, your compensation award is reduced by an amount equivalent to your percentage of fault. For instance, if you’re awarded $100,000 in compensation but the jury determines that you were 50% at fault, then you will receive a total of $50,000 ($100,000 minus 50%).

How much will it cost to hire Lalezary Law Firm?

We charge no upfront, out-of-pocket costs. Instead, we take a fair percentage of your settlement or verdict. This means that we don’t get paid unless you win. So there is literally zero risk to seeking our help.

If you want to discuss your personal injury claim with one of our award-winning attorneys, contact us now. Our line is open 24/7.

Fighting for you

We Handle Each Case as if It Were Going to Trial

Insurance policies are designed to protect you from the crushing financial blow of an accident. You pay your insurance premium every month — now it is time for the insurance company to do its job and compensate you fairly. Unfortunately, the insurance company is usually not compelled to offer you a fair settlement unless you have an experienced lawyer representing you.

Insurance companies know that Lalezary Law Firm, LLP is not afraid to aggressively litigate cases when necessary. We approach each case as if it were going to trial, standing ready to go up against the insurance companies in the courtroom to protect your rights. Our strong reputation and skillful negotiation tactics give us an edge over our opponents, and we are frequently able to achieve favorable settlements for our clients without the need for trial.

We offer a free consultation to evaluate your legal case. It will cost you nothing to consult with a lawyer to see if you have a case. It is essential that action be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident and/or conduct in question and to file a lawsuit, when necessary prior to a deadline imposed by the statue of limitations.