Traffic is something that every motorist in Sacramento County must contend with during their daily commutes. At times, traffic can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, auto accidents are bound to happen with that many people on the road at one time. Sadly, many of the crashes that occur are preventable. A driver who is distracted, speeding, driving recklessly, intoxicated, or drowsy can make mistakes that lead to collisions and significant damages.
If a driver causes an accident, that driver can be held liable for damages and losses that victims sustain because of the crash. Filing an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance provider is the first step in recovering compensation for your claim. If the driver’s insurance provider accepts liability for the claim, you can receive compensation for a variety of damages.
Examples of damages that may be related to a car accident include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Travel expenses to doctor’s appointments
- Personal care
- Assistance with household services (i.e. lawn maintenance, washing clothing, cleaning, etc.)
- Medications and medical equipment
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent impairment and disability
- Physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering
The value of your accident claim includes out-of-pocket financial losses and expenses as well as noneconomic damages or pain & suffering damages. It can be difficult to calculate the value of an accident claim, especially claims that involve traumatic injuries and permanent impairments. In addition to the damages to date, you may also be entitled to future damages for ongoing medical treatment and loss of income.
What Happens When the Value of My Claim Exceeds the Driver’s Liability Coverage?
The insurance company for the other driver is only liable for damages up to the policy limits of the driver’s liability insurance policy. However, that does not mean that the driver is not personally liable for the damages. You could file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver seeking a personal judgment. If you obtain a personal judgment, you can try to collect on the judgment, but if the person does not have assets that can be levied to pay the judgment, you have a worthless piece of paper.
There may be another option. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, you may receive compensation for your car accident claim from your insurance provider.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if another driver causes an accident and does not have enough insurance or funds to pay your claim in full. Once you settle your claim with the insurance company for the other driver, you can file a claim against your underinsured motorist coverage for any damages that were not paid by the other company. Depending on the policy limits of your underinsured motorist coverage, you could receive full compensation for all damages.
Contact a Sacramento Auto Accident Attorney for Help
There could be other sources of compensation for your accident claim. Our legal team thoroughly investigates every aspect of your accident to identify all parties who might have some liability. We also research all potential sources of compensation to maximize the chance that you receive the highest amount possible for your personal injury claim.
If you need help with an accident claim or you have questions, schedule a free consultation with a Sacramento auto accident attorney by calling The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000.
Seeking compensation for damages and losses after a car accident can be complicated. You may have more than one source of compensation available to you for your car accident injuries, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. While no amount of money erases the pain, stress, anxiety, frustration, and inconvenience caused by a negligent driver, it can help alleviate some of the financial burdens caused by the auto accident.
Five Types of Compensation You May Receive for Your Car Accident Claim
Each of the following sources of compensation after a car accident claim has different requirements. You may or may not meet the requirements for each, but it is worth investigating so that you exhaust all potential sources of financial assistance after a car accident.
Liability Insurance Claim
A liability insurance claim is filed against the driver who caused the accident. The insurance provider for the at-fault driver should pay your financial and non-financial damages up to the policy limits. However, most insurance companies work diligently to limit their liability for an accident, even when it is clear that their insured caused the crash. Therefore, it could take months or even years to settle a liability insurance claim.
Health Insurance Benefits
If you have health insurance, your insurance company may pay for medical care related to the accident. Health insurance payments help victims receive the medical treatment they need as they prepare to file a liability insurance claim. Beware, your health insurance company has a claim against any money you receive from your car accident claim. In other words, you may have to pay back the health insurance provider for any payments it made related to the accident from the money you receive for your car accident claim.
Personal Injury Protection or Med Pay
If you carry personal injury protection (PIP) or Med Pay insurance, you may receive compensation from your insurance provider for medical bills, lost wages, and other financial damages. PIP and Med Pay are no-fault insurance policies. Therefore, you can receive compensation if you have this coverage even though fault for the car accident may still be in dispute.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
You may not receive full compensation for all damages from a liability insurance claim. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits may not cover all your costs. If so, you may receive additional compensation from your insurance provider if you have underinsured motorist coverage. Your insurance company pays you the difference between the value of your claim and the amount paid by the liability insurance carrier.
Property Damage Claims
A claim for property damages is separate from all claims related to bodily injury. In most cases, the property damage claim is settled very soon after the accident, unless liability is disputed. The insurance company should pay to repair your vehicle. If your vehicle is totaled, the insurance company should pay an amount equal to the fair market value for your vehicle. You are responsible for the payment of any liens on the vehicle. In most cases, the insurance company writes the check to you and the loan company.
Contact a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney for Help
An experienced California car accident attorney can help you sort out the various injury and damage claims after an auto accident. Contact our Sacramento personal injury attorneys for a free consultation by calling The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website.
Being involved in a car accident can be a shocking experience, even though you may have been involved in a traffic accident in the past. Unfortunately, the shock and the shot of adrenaline can make you forget the steps that you should take after a car crash to protect your legal rights. Our Sacramento car accident attorneys review three of the most common mistakes made after a auto accident and why those mistakes could cost you thousands of dollars.
Car Accident Mistake Number 1 — Saying You Are Sorry
Saying you are sorry after a traffic accident could result in a much lower settlement for your injury claim. California’s comparative fault laws state that your compensation for a car accident can be reduced by the amount of fault assigned to you for the crash. Insurance companies understand this law and often try to use the law to reduce the amount of money they must pay to accident victims. If the insurance company can prove you were partially at fault, you do not receive as much money.
Therefore, never admit fault at the accident scene or when speaking to an insurance adjuster. Even saying you are sorry could be interpreted as admitting partial fault.
Car Accident Mistake Number 2 — Treating Your Injuries at Home
If you want to recover compensation for your injuries after a car accident, you must document those injuries. The best way to document your injuries is to see a physician after the accident. The insurance company will not accept your opinion of your injuries. It will want to see reports and medical records from a health care provider that proves you were injured in the car crash.
Therefore, it is a good idea to see a doctor after any car accident. It ensures that you receive the care you need for your injuries, but it also documents your injuries for a auto accident claim.
Car Accident Mistake Number 3 — Thinking That You Do Not Need a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney
Some car accident claims can be settled without an attorney. If the accident did not involve traumatic injuries and the insurance company admits that its driver was 100 percent at fault for the crash, you might be able to settle the claim without the assistance of an attorney.
However, insurance adjusters are always searching for ways to lower the value of a traffic accident claim. The adjuster’s job is to protect the insurance company, not the accident victim. It is not in the best interest of the insurance company to pay large settlement claims regularly. Therefore, adjusters are very careful to look for ways they can lower the value of your claim.
A Sacramento car accident attorney understands how insurance companies and adjusters operate. They also understand personal injury laws and other laws that govern car crash claims in California. The other driver and the insurance company have professionals protecting their interests; you deserve to have someone protecting you.
Contact a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney for a Free Case Review
It does not cost you anything to talk to a Sacramento car accident attorney. You are not under any obligation to hire our law firm after your consultation. You have nothing to lose by contacting our office, but you could lose thousands of dollars by trying to handle your car accident claim on your own.
To find out how our legal team can help you with your accident claim, call The Tiemann Law Firm by calling (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website.
Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off for the summer vacation season. With the kids out of school, more families will be setting out on road trips for summer vacation. Summer is also a popular time for couples and individuals to schedule road trips. Before you head out on your summer vacation, review these summertime travel safety tips to reduce the risk of a problem or an accident on the road, which can quickly ruin the perfect summer road trip.
Travel Safety Tips Before You Leave
Before leaving on a road trip, check your vehicle for recalls. Schedule a service appointment for your vehicle. You should have your vehicle’s tires, air conditioner, fluid levels, cooling system, hoses, belts, brakes, and light checked. Replace any work parts or make repairs before leaving on a summer trip.
Avoid Distracted Driving
During the summer, distracted driving increases, which can increase the risk of a distracted driving accident. When you are driving this summer remember:
- Do not use your cell phone while driving. Allow a passenger to handle the cell phone and other electronic devices, including the GPS and vehicle controls.
- Secure your children and pets with a safety seat or harness in the back seat. Again, allow a passenger to tend to children and pets while you are driving.
- Do not be a distraction for the driver. Avoid behaviors that may distract the driver.
- Avoid multi-tasking while driving, including eating, drinking, and grooming.
- If you want to look at the view, pull over.
Car Break Downs
If your car breaks down, don’t panic. Try to move the vehicle to a safe location and turn on your emergency flashers. Avoid getting out of the vehicle on a busy road unless absolutely necessary. If you do get out of your vehicle, move as far away from the vehicle. Call for roadside assistance, if necessary. If possible, set out roadside flares and triangles, especially at night.
Pack an Emergency Car Kit
You should always have an emergency car kit in your vehicle. However, you definitely need a kit if you plan to travel this summer. Your emergency car kit should include:
- Water and protein snacks
- Flashlight and batteries
- Roadside flares and triangles
- Jumper cables
- Small tool kit
- Portable cell phone charger
- No-spill gas can
- Car fire extinguisher
- Paper towels
- Seasonal supplies (umbrella, rain gear, etc.)
- Two quarts of oil
- Hand sanitizers, small trash bags, and towelettes
- First aid kit
Protect Children and Pets
Children should sit in the back seat in a car seat or booster seat that is designed for their age, height, and weight. A child who has outgrown a safety seat should always wear a seat belt. Pets should also be restrained in a portable crate or a special safety harness. Never leave children or pets alone in a vehicle.
Avoid Fatigued or Drowsy Driving
Make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before a road trip. During a road trip, make sure to stop frequently to rest. If possible, share the driving responsibility with another adult.
For more travel safety tips, you can visit the AAA website.
Contact a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney
Our legal team hopes that your summer vacation is safe and enjoyable. However, if another driver causes an accident, we are here to help you file an accident claim seeking compensation for your injuries.
For a free consultation with a California car accident attorney, contact The Tiemann Law Firm by calling (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website.
Recreational marijuana is legal in California. Proposition 64 become effective on January 1, 2018. Even though a person may legally use recreational marijuana, driving under the influence of cannabis remains illegal. A person can face serious criminal penalties for drugged driving or driving under the influence of marijuana. However, can a person be held liable for injuries caused by a drugged driving accident if the person legally ingested the cannabis?
Does Marijuana Affect Driving Abilities?
Some studies suggest the use of marijuana by drivers increases the risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents.[i] Laboratory tests and driving studies revealed that cannabis could impair a person’s driving-related skills, but the studies are not conclusive.[ii]
The fact that there was an increase in injuries and arrests related to driving under the influence of marijuana during the first nine months following the legalization of recreational cannabis seems to support the research.[iii] According to the CHP, arrests for driving under the influence of marijuana increased by 31 percent. Injuries related to drivers operating vehicles under the influence of marijuana increased by 102 percent.
Can I Sue a Person for Damages for Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis?
Yes, you can sue a driver who causes a traffic accident while driving under the influence of cannabis. You must prove that the driver caused the crash to hold the driver responsible for your financial damages and non-economic damages. The fact that the driver was charged with a crime is a factor, but it is not the only factor in proving liability. For example, did the driver cross the center line, fail to yield the right of way, or rear-ended your vehicle? Once you establish that the driver caused the crash, you can seek compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.
In a drugged driving accident case, you may receive compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability and impairment
- Other out-of-pocket losses and expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
Even though the driver was under the influence of cannabis at the time of the crash, the driver’s liability insurance should still pay if the driver caused the crash. The insurance company may deny the claim or attempt to undervalue the claim. A Sacramento drugged driving accident attorney can be a huge asset as you fight to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney for More Information
Our California drugged driving accident lawyers have experience handling cases involving drivers who caused a traffic accident while under the influence of drugs. Our legal team investigates the accident to determine fault and gathers evidence to prove the drugged driver is responsible for your damages.
contact The Tiemann Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with one of
our lawyers by calling (916) 999-9000
or by visiting our website.
[i] Mu-Chen Li, Joanne E. Brady, Charles J. DiMaggio, Arielle R. Lusardi, Keane Y. Tzong, Guohua Li, Marijuana Use and Motor Vehicle Crashes, Epidemiologic Reviews, Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 65–72, https://doi.org/10.1093/epirev/mxr017
[ii] Sewell, R Andrew et al. “The effect of cannabis compared with alcohol on driving.” The American journal on addictions vol. 18,3 (2009): 185-93. doi:10.1080/10550490902786934, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722956/
[iii] CHP hosts summit on cannabis traffic safety as DUI arrests, injuries rise. ABC7News. Matt Keller. https://abc7news.com/chp-hosts-summit-on-cannabis-traffic-safety-as-dui-arrests-rise/4068487/