Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Recovery in California

Do I need to hire a lawyer? How long will it take to reach a settlement? How do I prove my loved one was abused in her nursing home? What if the driver who hit me does not have insurance? We tackle these questions and many more in our collection of frequently asked questions. If your question is not answered there, do not hesitate to call us.

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  • Should I see a doctor after a car accident even if I don’t think I’m hurt?

    doctor finding car accident back injuryA fender-bender may not seem very serious. Oftentimes, we may walk away from a minor accident thinking we have suffered no greater loss than a damaged door or busted headlight. However, the shock of a car crash can mask serious, life-changing injuries. Even if you do not think you were hurt in an accident, you should always seek medical treatment immediately afterward.

    Not All Injuries Are Created Equal

    Personal injury attorneys frequently hear from people who walked away from a car accident feeling fine. Since they did not think they were hurt, they did not go to the doctor or seek any further treatment.

    Days, weeks, or months later, the same person may start experiencing new problems: neck stiffness, back pain, a throbbing headache, or worse.

    The truth is that some injuries take time to manifest. Internal bleeding, for instance, may not be immediately evident. But once its symptoms are recognized and diagnosed, it can be harder for doctors to treat than if it were caught earlier on.

    Similarly, traumatic brain injuries may present slowly, making themselves known only through feelings of general dizziness and confusion. However, these symptoms may escalate, turning what was once an easily treatable problem into a life-changing disorder.

    Why You Should Always Visit a Doctor After an Accident

    A physician can help you identify injuries you did not know you had. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, your doctor may ask you to submit to different tests, including X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. While these tests can be time-consuming, they are intended to ensure that you have not suffered serious harm.

    Beyond being able to diagnose physical disorders, your doctor’s visit serves another critically important purpose: if you ever do need to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, seeking prompt medical attention demonstrates a clear correlation between the accident and your injuries.

    If you wait too long to visit a doctor, the insurance company or the other motorist’s attorney may accuse you of fabricating complaints to secure a larger settlement.

    In fact, even if you have indisputable evidence that your injury is real, the opposing counsel may simply suggest that you were hurt sometime between the accident and the day you appear in court. While you may be certain there is no other way you could have been hurt, a skilled attorney’s argument may persuade a judge or jury otherwise.

    Keeping Track of Your Medical Records Is Key

    Even if you are not sure whether you will ever need to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, you should always keep track of any and all medical records related to a car accident. You should preserve:

    • X-rays
    • CT scans
    • MRI scans
    • Medical bills
    • Physician’s notes and written diagnoses
    • Hospital intake and admission forms
    • Recommendations for corrective surgery or physical rehabilitation

    Your medical documents will assist your personal injury lawyer in creating a compelling case. By preserving, collecting, and later reviewing evidence, you may be able to argue for a higher settlement with the other driver or their insurance company.

    How a California Car Crash Attorney Can Help

    Taking a car accident case before a California court is not an easy feat. The other driver’s insurance company—or their attorney, if they have one—will undoubtedly do their best to save their client as much money as possible. They may ask you to provide a never-ending list of records, bills, or documents, hoping you will run out of time, money, or patience, and either drop your claim or agree to a lower settlement offer.

    When you have been injured by a negligent driver, you should never get into bully tactics. A California personal injury attorney knows just how to push back against aggressive insurance agents and will fight for the justice you deserve.

    Contact Us Today

    Case Barnett Law has years of experience fighting for Californians’ recovery in car accident cases. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash, do not let the statute of limitations run out—send us a message online to schedule your initial consultation today.

  • How do I get my medical bills paid after an accident?

    If you were injured in a car accident, one of the most important first steps is to seek immediate medical care. Medical treatment for any injury can be expensive—leaving you with a stack of mounting medical bills to deal with. Unfortunately, the insurance company for the negligent driver will most likely not pay your ongoing medical bills while it is investigating and disputing your claim. Here, we discuss how to handle paying your medical bills while you are attempting to settle your claim.

    How Can You Pay Your Medical Bills While Your Accident Claim Is Being Settled?

    You are legally responsible for your medical bills, and your doctor and other healthcare providers do not have to wait until your claim with the insurance company is resolved to be paid. If you do not pay your bills, they could be turned over to a collection agency or you may be sued. Both options will hurt your credit, and you could face other legal consequences—such as having a judgment against you and garnishment of your wages.

    How do you pay your medical bills until you receive your settlement proceeds? Here are some options you may have:

    • Health insurance. If you have health insurance, this should be the main source of payment for your medical treatments. Be certain to provide the hospital and your doctor with your insurance company information. They may try to say that they cannot bill your health insurance company due to your accident. However, this is not true, and you should insist that they send your bills to your health insurance company.
    • Med-pay. If you purchased med-pay coverage as part of your automobile insurance policy, you can file a claim to have your medical bills paid through this coverage. It will pay 100 percent of your medical bills up to the policy limits regardless of who was at fault in causing the accident. If you do not have this coverage, you may be able to purchase it to pay for future medical expenses.
    • Medi-Cal or Medi-Care. If you qualify for Medi-Cal or Medi-Care—which has strict income and asset requirements—this insurance could pay for your medical care. However, some doctors in California do not accept Medi-Cal or Medi-Care payments.
    • Lien. Some doctors will continue to treat you and take a lien against the settlement of your claim. They would receive a payment from your settlement proceeds for the amount that you owe before you receive any money.
    If you have no health insurance and none of the other options are possible, you will need to make other arrangements to pay your medical bills. It is important to keep in contact with the billing department of your doctor and the hospital to keep them updated on the status of your claim. An experienced car accident attorney can contact your medical providers for you and arrange for a lien, a lump sum settlement, or a small payment plan until he can resolve your case.

    Are you having problems paying your medical bills following an accident? Do you need to file a claim for compensation with the negligent driver’s insurance company? Our experienced accident attorneys are here to explain your legal options, help you handle paying your medical bills, and negotiate your settlement with the insurance company for you. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.

    Need More Help? Get Our Accident Book for Free!

    If you want more information on having the strongest accident claim possible, download a FREE instant copy of our book The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Accident ClaimYou can also download our free guide, Ten Mistakes People Make When Dealing With Doctors After an Accident

    If you want to speak to someone at our office call us at (949) 861-2990. 

  • How long do I have to file a car accident case in California?

    The most common causes of car accidents in California are not paying attention, people doing distracted driving because they are on their cell phones and the few times a year when it actually rains, people don't know what to do.  That causes a lot of hysteria on Southern California freeways when all of a sudden two or three raindrops fall out of the air.

    California does have statutes of limitations that can kick you out of court and not allow you file a case if you have waited to long.  Cases are different and so depending on your injury and how you were injured and who injured you.  It is very important that you seek legal advice immediately to determine what the statute of limitations is.

    Generally, in personal injury cases, it is two years from the date of the incident.  If the defendant, potential defendant, is a municipality, a government agency, you have six months to file a proof of claim.  But again this is a situation that you need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible to look at the specific facts of your case.

    Need More Help? Get Our Accident Book for Free!

    If you want more information on having the strongest accident claim possible, download a FREE instant copy of our book The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Accident ClaimYou can also download our free guide, Ten Mistakes People Make When Dealing With Doctors After an Accident

    If you want to speak to someone at our office call us at (949) 861-2990.