Auto Accident Claims
Making Auto Accident Claims to Insurance Companies
We recommend that a car accident be reported to both the client’s and the “at-fault” party’s insurance companies by a Los Angeles auto accident attorney to ensure that the correct information is submitted, and clients are protected from any unfair insurance practices.
The Rudman Law Firm, APC dedicates the majority of its practice to making claims on behalf of car crash victims in Los Angeles, Studio City, and other cities in Southern California. Our lawyers have over 60 years of combined experience handling motor vehicle accident claims.
What types of Claims Can Be Made?
- Property Damage. A claim for the property damage to a vehicle can be submitted to the “at-fault” party’s liability insurance policy; or the claim may be submitted to the client’s insurance company, if his/her policy contains “Collision” coverage.
There are advantages and disadvantages to whose policy a property damage claim is submitted. If the claim is submitted under the client’s “Collision” coverage, the claim is usually processed timely and without complication, but the client will have to pay a “deductible”- an amount deducted from the claim which will be the client’s responsibility to pay. A “deductible” is usually between $250 and $1000 depending on the policy, unless it is waived by the insurance company. The deductible may later be refunded to the client, in whole or in part, if his/her insurance company obtains reimbursement from the “at-fault” party or its insurance company.
On the other hand, if the property damage claim is submitted to the “at-fault” party’s insurance company, no deductible is owed. However, the insurance company generally will not agree to pay the claim until it has accepted liability. If the other party denies fault, the insurance company may not agree to pay the claim. Further, if the insurance company has trouble getting in contact with its insured, or is waiting to make its determination until it obtains a police report or witness statements (which could take weeks or months), the determination of fault, and therefore payment of the property damage claim, can be severely delayed. Additionally, the property damage provision of the “at-fault” party’s insurance policy may contain limits which are insufficient to pay for the entire amount of the property damage. Therefore, if you have been in a car accident, it’s important to contact a skilled attorney sooner rather than later.
- Medical Expenses. A claim for past medical expenses incurred, and reasonably necessary future medical expenses, will be made to the “at-fault” party’s insurance.
However, a claim may also be made under the client’s “Medical Payments” provision of his/her own automobile insurance policy, if such coverage exists. Some “Medical Payments” provisions reimburse the insured for all reasonable medical expenses incurred, while other policies only provide payment for “excess” medical expenses (those not covered by a health insurance policy). Most insurance policies with “Medical Payments” provisions provide that the insurance company must be reimbursed from any money recovered from the “at-fault” party or its insurance company.
- Loss of Earnings/Lost Earnings Capacity. Accident victims may also make a claim for past and future income lost as a result of the injuries they sustained in an accident, as well as for the reduction in their ability to earn (earnings capacity). These claims are made against the “at-fault” party’s insurance, and can be complex, and sometimes challenging to prove, depending on the type of employment a client is engaged in and the regularity of the client’s income stream. For a detailed description of Loss of Income damages, click on What is Recoverable in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims.
- Physical Pain, Mental Suffering and Emotional Distress. Usually the most significant component of a “Bodily Injury” claim made against the “at-fault” party’s insurance is the claim for the grave effects an accident can have on a person’s life. These are often called “non-economic” damages, or “human losses”. For a detailed description of these types of damages, click on What is Recoverable in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims. Finally, if the “at-fault” party does not have insurance, or does not have adequate insurance, and the client’s insurance policy contains “Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist” coverage, many of these claims may be made against the client’s own insurance policy. For a thorough discussion of these types of claims, click on Uninsured Motorists.
Let The Rudman Law Firm, APC Get Started on Your Claim
To ensure you have the best chance at obtaining full and fair compensation, let an experienced auto accident lawyer at The Rudman Law Firm, APC get started on your claim right away by calling us at our Los Angeles office (213) 375-3777, our Studio City office (818) 769-6969, or toll free at (844) 478-3626 / (844) 4RUDMAN. We work only on contingency, so we do not collect attorneys’ fees until we obtain compensation for you.