At Cutter Law P.C., our car accident lawyers are well aware that when a serious injury occurs, it can tremendously affect the victim’s mental and emotional well-being, as well as his or her ability to work. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Serious injuries and deaths from car accidents in California remain extremely high, totaling 2,791 fatalities in the state (2011) and 32,367 nationally for the same time period. Sacramento is California’s sixth most populous city; Oakland is its eighth largest. Our streets and highways are home to a significant number of accidents.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a Sacramento car accident or an Oakland car accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation.
Before you sign any documents with an insurance company, it is vital that you fully understand your rights, or you may not receive the full amount you are entitled to for your auto accident injuries and you will not be able to file a lawsuit or request additional compensation later.
Attorneys at Cutter Law are available to speak with you about your situation, either at our offices or at a place that is easily accessible to you. There is never a charge for your initial consultation and our attorneys will review your case and give you honest, reliable information about your rights.
Our highly respected attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our personal injury clients and they put the same commitment and dedication to every client.
Uninsured & Underinsured Motorists
An astonishing 15 percent of drivers on California roads are driving without insurance. If you are injured in an accident, there is a fair chance the other driver has no insurance at all or carries insufficient insurance to pay your medical and other bills.
So what do you do if you have $100,000 in hospital bills and no path to insurance coverage?
You have your own insurance policy, that’s what. Most California policyholders opt to buy UM coverage under their auto policies — UM for uninsured and UIM for underinsured motorists. This feature allows you to request that your own insurance carrier pay damages when this kind of accident occurs.
‘Deny, Delay And Diminish’
While that sounds like a simple, affordable solution, there is a catch. Your insurer, which is supposed to provide “good hands” care of its customers, may drag its feet. It will do what opposing insurance companies do — deny coverage, delay payment or diminish the amount it is willing to pay.
That’s when it is to your advantage to work with an attorney who knows the law surrounding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Insurance companies are much less likely to play games when they know they are dealing with one of Northern California’s most respected personal injury firms. They will pay you and move on to a customer who is less well protected.
UM coverage is good for other problems as well:
- Hit-and-run accidents. These are ugly situations where the other party does not stick around to share insurance information.
- “Phantom” highway accidents. These are situations where one driver causes an accident by suddenly switching lanes, but is unaware of doing so and speeds away.
Understanding Insurance Companies
Insurance companies will do what they can to convince you to sign their paperwork and agree to their first offer. They will send out investigators to assess any damages to you or your vehicle and determine how much to offer you based on their assessment and information provided by medical professionals.
It is in their best interests to offer you the least amount possible to increase their profits. They do so in a variety of ways:
Offering a ridiculously low amount and pressuring you to agree to it
Claiming your auto accident injuries are pre-existing and not linked to the crash
Requiring you to fill out complex paperwork or claiming the paperwork was not received
Forcing you to see their own medical specialists whose diagnosis might conflict with the one your doctor gave you
Claiming you are more liable for the accident than you are
Arguing that you are not injured or not as injured as you claim
Often, they will take advantage of your vulnerable state after a car accident to get you to say things they can later use to minimize the value of your claim.
That is why you need a highly skilled lawyer who is comfortable fighting against insurance companies and advocating for your rights.
Attorneys at Cutter Law are highly familiar with the unethical tactics insurance companies employ and can prepare you for dealing with them.
In many cases, our attorneys can deal with the insurance company directly, decreasing your stress and preventing them from pressuring you into settling for less than you deserve.
Statute of Limitations in California Car Accidents
In California, the statute of limitations on car accidents is two years from the date of the accident.
This means that if you are injured in a car accident, you have two years from that date to file a lawsuit.
You should not wait for two years before you speak to an attorney, however. It takes time for a car accident lawyer to build a case, including speaking to witnesses, hiring medical experts, and determining how much you are entitled to.
Furthermore, filing an insurance claim can be complex and requires thorough documentation.
Failure to include information or missing deadlines can result in you not being eligible for insurance compensation and could prohibit you from filing a lawsuit.
If you are looking for a lawyer for your car accident, you deserve aggressive representation from an attorney who will not back down against insurance companies. Our car accident lawyers in Sacramento and Oakland are highly experienced and specialize in personal injury claims.
Common Causes Of Car Accidents In Oakland And Sacramento
11 Things To Do After A Sacramento Or Oakland Car Accident
- Make sure everyone is okay — Before concerning yourself with vehicle damage and exchanging insurance information, make sure that all parties involved are OK.
- Avoid making a statement — It doesn’t matter if an accident was your fault or not; you should avoid statements of guilt or apologize. Even a simple, innocent statement such as “I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention” can be seen as an admission of liability and used against you during a trial.
- Call the police — Even if there aren’t any serious injuries resulting from the car accident, it is a good idea to call the police. There’s a chance you will need to file a police report with your insurance claim, even if it’s just for damage to your vehicle. (If you need information, here is the Sacramento Police Department’s website.)
- Call your insurance company — Reporting the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible is important, even if you are completely at fault. Make a note of the time the accident occurred and the money spent pursuing your claim.
- Take pictures — Pictures of the damage and scene are important. Having proof of the extent of the damage can help you with the insurance claim and serve as evidence if there is a dispute in the future.
- Take notes — Notes, like pictures, are important in detailing the car accident and the nature of any injuries as soon as possible.
- Seek medical attention — Not all injuries that result from vehicle accidents are instantly apparent. A lot of people report symptoms of pain or discomfort after 24 to 48 hours have passed. Unless you are certain that you have not suffered any injuries, you are advised to seek medical attention from your local emergency room or physician. Slight accidents can still result in severe and potentially permanent spinal cord injuries. Losing consciousness or becoming confused for even a short time following an accident could be suggestive of a concussion or closed head injury. When left untreated, this can cause cognitive and behavioral changes.
- Be careful whom you talk to — If you are contacted by the other parties’ insurance company, the best response is to refrain from any talking or admission and instead get in contact with your own insurance company or attorney.
- Don’t necessarily accept the first estimate — Remember that your well-being is not the insurance company’s primary concern. Its concern is settling your claim for the smallest possible value. Often this process involves making several low offers in an attempt to save money on the claim.
- Keep a file — It is important to keep a file of all of your accident-related documents and information. This should include a claim number, the claims adjuster who is handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car, and any additional expenses you may have incurred caused by the accident.
- Protect your rights, get an attorney — Many of our clients come to us after attempting to negotiate claims on their own. Nearly all of them were surprised at the tactics commonly employed by insurance companies. These tactics can include harassment, pressuring you to accept an offer, not returning calls and discounting injuries by claiming that the accident doesn’t warrant either side seeking medical attention. No one wants to deal with this, especially when they’re hurt. Contacting an attorney immediately after the accident will allow you to simply focus on getting better and fixing/replacing your car
3 More Answers to Car Accident Questions You May Have
Free Consultation: No Fees Unless We Win
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today. Should your injuries make travel difficult or impossible, one of our lawyers can meet with you at your home or in the hospital. If we accept your case, there is never a fee unless we win. Give us a call toll-freee at 888-285-3333 or request your free consultation online.
More in Car Accidents
- 12 Answers to Car Accident FAQ’s You Should Know
- Airbag Injury Lawsuits
- Head-On Collisions
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits
- Rollover Accidents
- Trucking Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Dangerous Highways In California
- Driverless Car Crashes
- Distracted Driving
- Drunk Driving Crashes
- Seat Belt Safety
- The Shock Factor in Auto Accidents
- Study: California Drivers
- FMCSA – Increase in Truck-related Fatalities
- Uber/Lyft Accident
- Car Accident Blog
- Insurance Dispute?
- Claims Adjuster
- Oakland Personal Injury Lawyer
- Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney
- Brain / Spine Injuries
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Crush Injury Attorney
- Wrongful Death