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1. How do I get my medical bills paid?
The California bodily injury liability (BI) is part of your mandatory auto insurance policy; this coverage pays for wage loss, medical bills, etc. from the at fault driver's Bodily Injury Liability auto insurance.
However, if you are at fault in the auto accident, your bodily injury liability coverage will not cover your own injuries. You will either need to open a personal injury protection (PIP) claim, if you chose this optional medical coverage, or you will need to use your own health insurance.
In California, the at fault driver's mandatory Bodily Injury Liability coverage of at least $15,000 will pay for your medical bills for the first $15,000. Any amount over this will be covered by your health care insurance, if you have that. If you purchased under-insured or uninsured motorist coverage, you will have additional coverage for your medical bills to rely on in the event that your medical bills exceed the other driver's Bodily Injury Liability (BI) coverage. If you purchased medical payments coverage with your own auto insurance policy, that will also be part of how you get your medical bills paid.
2. How do I get my lost wages paid?
The California bodily injury liability (BI) is part of your mandatory auto insurance policy by law and this coverage pays for wage loss from the at fault driver's insurance coverage.
If you were at fault, then your own medical payments coverage with your own auto insurance policy will also be available to help you regardless of fault.
In the event you were involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, if you purchased this type of coverage you may have additional help.
3. I have the California minimum auto insurance requirement coverage what coverages do I have after an auto accident?
$30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
$5,000 for damage to property.
It is important to understand that California minimum auto insurance coverage is for liability insurance which compensates a person other than the policy holder for personal injury or property damage.
An auto insurance policy with the required minimum liability coverages will pay out in the event of an accident as follows:
- max limit for one person's injuries, medical expenses, etc. = $15,000 ( from the bodily injury liability, or, BI); or, if two or more people are injured, the max limit for the accident injuries, medical expenses, etc. = $30,000; max limit for damage to other people's property (their car, their fence, etc.) = $5,000.
4. How do I make an auto accident injury claim against the other driver's insurance? What is comparative negligence? Why does it matter for my auto accident claim?
California is an, "At Fault State," so your auto insurance company and the company for the other driver will pay damages for medical claims, wage loss and other expenses based on the degree of fault. In California, "fault," is based on what is sometimes called, "comparative negligence, or comparative fault." What this means is that an injured person can recover damages even if the injured person was held to be 99% at fault for the auto accident, but that recovery of damages will be reduced by the amount of fault, in this case 99% reduced.
This means that you can still recover money for damages and injury even if you are held to be partially at fault for the accident.
5. What is Medical Payments Coverage?
Medical Payments Coverage - Covers the medical costs (up to the specified limit) resulting from an auto accident for you, your family, or others in your car. This coverage pays regardless of fault. This is also referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
California does not require Medical Payments Coverage, under the minimum auto insurance requirement law. You may have not chosen to get the medical payments coverage when you purchased your auto insurance policy.
Unlike the bodily injury liability insurance, the medical bills coverage is no fault insurance, and it will pay for your medical bills even if you were at fault in the accident. With Personal Injury Protection medical bills coverage, you'll have a policy that helps pay for the treatment of you and your family even when you are on a bicycle, motorcycle, or pedestrian.
This medical payments - personal injury coverage extends to cover expenses beyond just medical bills, it also covers your loss of wages or services, and in some cases, funeral costs. Personal Injury Protection insurance also can extend to take care of your passengers' bills.
This coverage also covers you and your immediate family when you are on foot as a pedestrian or on a bicycle. This means that say you and your spouse were riding bicycles and hit by a hit and run driver, this no fault medical payments coverage will take care of both of your medicals bills and lost wages.
6. How do I know the other driver's insurance policy limits?
Auto insurance companies will rarely give out this information. You need to hire a personal injury attorney who will file a lawsuit. Once that lawsuit is filed the insurance company is required to provide your lawyer with a copy of the insured driver's policy limits.
7. What if the at fault driver is Uninsured OR does not have enough insurance to cover my personal injury claim or even pay for my medical bills?
Often, uninsured and under insured (UM / UIM) coverages are offered as a package in auto accident insurance additional coverage.
Uninsured or under insured motorist (UM / UIM) auto accident insurance coverage protects the policy holder involved in an accident with a driver who either does not have liability insurance or who does not have sufficient bodily injury liability limits to pay for the medical bills of the driver not at fault in the accident.
If you were seriously injured by an at fault driver doesn't have enough, "Bodily Injury Liability," coverage, you could get help from your own insurance policy if you purchased what is called, "under insured motorist," coverage. This is an additional auto insurance coverage beyond the minimum California state law.
For example, if you are involved in an auto accident and the at fault driver only had the minimum California Bodily Injury Liability coverage of $15,000 and your medical bills exceed $100,000, your own insurance, the underinsured motorist coverage part, will pay the remaining $85,000, depending on your policy limits that you purchased. There are additional complexities as to how these bills will get paid and by whom, but you should be provided for by the additional coverages that you added if you got this additional insurance.
Adding as much uninsured and under insured motorist coverage as you can afford to your auto insurance policy will help protect you and your family not only in the car, but also on bicycle or as a pedestrian or riding a motorcycle.
Very often bicycle, pedestrian, or motorcycle riders find themselves the victims of a hit and run driver. Statistically, uninsured drivers are the most dangerous on the roads; they tend to be involved in more accidents, as well as more serious injury accidents, and driving older more dangerous vehicles.
If you purchased this uninsured motorist coverage and your medical bills exceed the limits of your UM / UIM coverage limit, you can still be covered by your own auto insurance medical bills coverage (personal injury protection - PIP). Together, these additional coverages, beyond the minimum insurance coverage required by California law, can greatly help you and give you peace of mind.
8. What is my claim worth?
The value of your accident injury claim depends on the amount of your incurred and future medical expenses, your loss of income, and the severity of your injuries. Contact me for a free consultation so I can assess your claim and tell you what to expect.
9. How can I get medical treatment if I don't have medical insurance?
If you don't have medical insurance, we will immediately find you a doctor who will help you.
10. What can I do if the other driver was uninsured?
If you have uninsured/underinsurance motorist coverage, you can recover your damages from your insurance company. You will be able to recover for your medical bills, loss of income and pain and suffering even if the other driver had no insurance.
11. The doctors are coming after me for unpaid bills, can you help?
I will contact the health care providers and I can usually get them to wait until the case is settled to get paid. When there is not enough insurance coverage to pay all of the medical bills, I can usually get healthcare providers to substantially reduce their bills so my clients maximize their net recovery. I am very skilled at getting health care providers to reduce their bills, frequently by more than 50%.
I have taken third party construction accident cases that other attorney have rejected and obtained large settlements for my clients.
I use highly skilled accident reconstruction experts who can uncover the evidence required to prove third party negligence.
Seven Figure settlement
Case for a client who was seriously injured in a truck v car accident where the driver of the truck had only $100,000 insurance coverage. I was able to get this seven figure settlement because
I identified an additional defendant.
I have obtained numerous settlements at trial and in settlement for motorcycle riders who were injured by cars that pulled out in front of them or made left turns in front of them.
In most of these cases liability was contested but after I had my investigators and accident reconstruction experts investigate and prepare reports, the cases were settled for most often the policy limits.
I have represented and obtained sizeable settlements for numerous bicycle riders whose cases were rejected by other attorneys.
These bicycle riders had their cases rejected by other attorneys because they did not want to sue a City or a large road building contractor for negligence and damages. It is a lot of work, but I am proud that I have fought for cyclists rights and succeeded.