Category Archives: car accidents

What Is Actual Cash Value?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Imagine purchasing a new vehicle for $20,000 and then getting into an accident one year later. You prepare your insurance claim and expect coverage for the price you paid only for the insurer to respond with a much lower settlement offer than you anticipated. This may seem unfair, but the reality is that most standard auto insurance policies only cover a vehicle’s current market value at the time of an accident to determine settlement amounts. The “actual cash value,” or market price of a vehicle, can lead to a significantly lower insurance payout than a driver expects. To learn more, speak with an experienced Bakersfield car accident attorney.

How to Determine the Actual Cash Value of Your Vehicle

Most vehicle owners know that a brand new vehicle starts losing its value as soon as it leaves the dealership or seller lot. The Insurance Information Institute reports that the average vehicle loses about 20% of the initial sale value within the first year of ownership. To determine the value of a vehicle, analysts will look at other cars of the same make and model in the area and estimate the average price. Different factors like damage, age, options, and even the vehicle’s color may alter the value. One of the most common valuation systems used by car buyers and sellers is the Kelley Blue Book.

If a driver files an insurance claim and receives a much lower settlement offer than expected, the insurance claims adjuster will likely mention the “actual cash value” of the vehicle. The driver should be sure to ask how the adjuster arrived at the reported actual cash value. It’s also possible to do independent research to confirm the actual cash value as reported by an adjuster. The adjuster may have forgotten to add the value of special options or safety features your vehicle has that most others of the same make and model do not.

Possible Problems with Actual Cash Value

Since most vehicles lose value very quickly after purchase, the “actual cash value” of a vehicle can pose problems after an accident. If the car owner only made a small down payment, financed the vehicle over a period longer than 60 months, or purchased a vehicle that depreciates faster than average, an accident could leave the car owner with a remainder between what he or she still owes on the vehicle and the amount insurance covers.

Many car sellers, dealerships, and private auto insurance carriers offer Guaranteed Auto Protection (Gap) insurance that covers the “gap” between what a driver owes on a vehicle and the actual cash value of the vehicle at the time of the accident. Leasing a vehicle almost always requires gap insurance; this is mostly because the driver doesn’t actually own a leased vehicle and the leasing company will want some guarantee of the vehicle’s value for the duration of the lease.

In the event that the replacement cost of a damaged vehicle exceeds the actual cash value of the vehicle, the damaged vehicle is considered a total loss — or “totaled.” An auto insurance policy generally includes a disclaimer concerning a totaled vehicle and will stipulate how the insurance company will handle a total loss claim. Some insurers will cover the average price of an equivalent vehicle based on current market values while others may even guarantee to replace a totaled vehicle with a version that is one model year newer.

Drivers should carefully read policy terms before agreeing to a policy. If there are discrepancies concerning the actual cash value of a vehicle involved in an insurance claim, the driver can consult an attorney about the terms of his or her auto insurance policy and how to approach the claims process.

Posted by highrank at 10:47 pm

Safe Driving Tips for Seniors

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Senior drivers may have more experience on the road than younger drivers but they are more likely to have medical issues that may interfere with driving ability. It’s crucial for all seniors to keep careful track of their medical conditions and speak with their doctors about any concerns as soon as they arise. If a senior relies on driving every day, it’s important to keep close tabs on any changes in vision, reaction time, memory, coordination, or other physiological issues that may impact driving ability.

Keep Track of Physical Changes

Many older adults suffer from arthritis and other types of muscle and joint pains. These issues may make it difficult to operate a vehicle’s controls, especially during an emergency situation where the driver needs to shift, brake, or swerve to avoid a collision. Muscle and joint pain can potentially make it difficult to safety check rear-view mirrors and blind spots before turns and lane changes.

Stress and fatigue can also pose more risk to older drivers than younger ones. Stress can aggravate other medical conditions in senior drivers and make driving more difficult. Depending on how long the driver will remain behind the wheel, fatigue can also pose a major problem and significantly increase the risk of an accident. Senior drivers should plan carefully before making any long trips.

Be Careful with Medications

Many senior drivers take prescription medications for at least one medical issue. Some medicines can impact driving ability, so it’s crucial for older drivers to keep close track of the potential side effects of their medications, when they take doses, and how long doses last. Medication can cause problems if a senior driver stays behind the wheel too long without access to a necessary medication, misses a dose, accidentally double-doses, or takes medications that cause adverse side effects right before driving.

Schedule Regular Hearing and Vision Tests

Our sensory faculties are often the first bodily systems to experience deterioration from aging. Hearing and vision are very important for drivers to avoid accidents, and some states have even adopted laws mandating hearing and vision checks for drivers over certain ages. These drivers will need to undergo the required screenings before they can complete a driver’s license renewal. Senior drivers who use contacts or eyeglasses should always wear them while driving.

Deteriorated hearing and vision can make it more difficult to navigate the road at night, during inclement weather, or during heavy traffic congestion. Poor hearing may lead to a senior driver failing to notice an emergency siren or car horn in time to avoid a collision. Poor vision can make it unsafe to drive at night or during low-light conditions.

Drive Defensively

Defensive driving is a wise choice for drivers of all ages but senior drivers should be as realistic as possible about their driving abilities and use extra caution. “Defensive driving” refers to a driver taking a passive, anticipatory approach to driving rather than an aggressive one. This means braking early, maintaining awareness of the vehicle’s surroundings, and being more passive in busier areas.

Senior drivers also benefit from avoiding busy areas. Traffic congestion can make it very difficult to maintain situational awareness. An older driver struggling with hearing or vision loss may have even more trouble navigating traffic jams. Defensive driving and avoiding busy areas are great ways for senior drivers to avoid car accidents.

Older drivers may not enjoy the idea of surrendering a driver’s license, but it is essential for drivers of all ages to be realistic about their driving ability and acknowledge when it may be time to accept that it is too dangerous to keep driving. However, senior drivers may also be able to make a few changes to their routines that make driving safer, such as avoiding driving at night, planning routes in advance, and keeping close tabs on medical issues that impact driving ability. This helps senior drivers stay on the road longer and more safely.

Posted by highrank at 10:36 pm

What Is Gap Insurance and What Does It Cover?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Buying a new vehicle entails much more than paying a large down payment and arranging financing options. New vehicles require registration and insurance, and generally cost more to insure than older models. Vehicle owners need to carefully shop for auto insurance that not only meets their state’s requirements for coverage minimums but also provides the policyholder with a good balance of coverage at an affordable premium.

Most vehicle owners know that as soon as a person purchases a vehicle and drives it off the dealership lot, the vehicle starts losing value. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that most vehicles lose about 20% of their initial value within the first year of ownership. Despite this, most standard vehicle insurance policies only cover the depreciated value of an insured vehicle. This means if a policyholder has an accident, the insurance coverage will refer to the value of the vehicle at the time of the accident, not when the owner bought it. To learn more, speak with a car accident lawyer in Bakersfield.

Gap Insurance Offers Peace of Mind

When a driver purchases or leases a new vehicle with only a small deposit, he or she finances the vehicle and makes monthly payments to pay it off in full over time. The vehicle continues to depreciate in value as the owner makes these payments over a few years. Gap insurance can help a new car owner feel more at ease and soften the financial blow after an accident. When an accident happens involving a vehicle the driver hasn’t fully paid off, gap insurance covers the difference between the current market value of the vehicle that the insurance policy will cover and the amount the driver still owes on the vehicle.

For example, John buys a new car for $20,000. One year later the market value of the vehicle has dropped to $13,000, but John has only paid $3,000 off the full price, owing a remaining $17,000 on the vehicle. If John gets into an accident with gap insurance coverage, the gap coverage will apply to the $4,000 difference between what John still owed on the vehicle and the current market value of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

When to Consider Gap Insurance

New drivers or drivers purchasing a second or third vehicle generally have many options when it comes to insurance coverage. A few indicators that a driver should consider gap insurance coverage with an auto insurance policy include:

  • Down payment amount. If the driver paid only 20% or less of the vehicle’s value as a down payment, it is a very good idea for the driver to purchase gap insurance for at least the first few years of owning the vehicle.
  • If the buyer finances the vehicle for more than 60 months, it will take quite a while to pay off the remaining balance. The vehicle will likely depreciate significantly during this time, so gap insurance can be very helpful for an accident in the first few years.
  • When a driver leases a vehicle, he or she doesn’t technically own the vehicle, so the dealer or seller will need some guarantee that the driver will take good care of the vehicle. Gap insurance is usually a requirement for leasing a vehicle.
  • Rapid devaluation. Some vehicles lose their value more quickly than others. Well-built vehicles in high demand typically retain their value longer than models discovered to have defects or common issues.
  • Negative equity. Some drivers will roll the negative equity leftover from a previous car loan into a new loan. This could increase the effective cost of the vehicle beyond its actual value, but the vehicle will still depreciate over time. Gap insurance offsets the financial risk of an accident significantly in such cases.

Some dealerships and car sellers will offer gap insurance for a new vehicle purchase or lease, but many private insurance carriers also over gap coverage. This type of coverage may only cost about $20, added onto the policyholder’s existing policy, but every insurance carrier offers different rates and package options.

Posted by highrank at 10:12 pm

How to File a Car Insurance Claim with Mercury Insurance

Monday, June 25, 2018

The moments following a car accident can be chaotic, but the actions you take are essential in protecting your car insurance claim. First, call emergency medical services to care for any passengers or other drivers who sustained injuries. Next, start collecting information for your claim with Mercury Insurance.

Gather Information at the Scene

After you call emergency medical services (if needed), you can begin the process of filing your insurance claim. Mercury Insurance offers the option of filing a claim by phone, and the company requests that you collect as much of the following information as possible:

  • The date, location, and time of the accident
  • The number of the police report, name of department responding (i.e. the sheriff’s office or city police department)
  • Description of the damage to all vehicles, with photos, if possible
  • A description of how the accident occurred
  • The makes, models, and years of all vehicles involved in the accident
  • Insurance policy numbers of all motorists involved in the accident
  • Names, license plate numbers, and driver’s license numbers of all drivers in the accident
  • Owner of the vehicles involved, if different from the driver
  • Identifiable information such as name, date of birth, and address

The more information you have, the easier it will be to follow the claims process. If the accident already occurred and you neglected to collect this information, don’t stress. You can fill in the details as you file a claim with the insurance company.

While at the accident scene, never admit fault – even if you think it was yours. Be polite to other drivers and passengers at the scene, but never apologize or insinuate that you were responsible for the injuries.

Know the Extent of Your Coverage

California law sets certain minimum requirements for all policyholders within the state. However, your coverage may exceed the minimum. For example, you may have rental reimbursement coverage, which will provide a rental car for transportation while your vehicle is in the shop. Read the terms of your policy to learn more about coverage limits before renting a car.

Most insurance policies also require a deductible before your insurance company will kick in to pay for repairs. The amount of your deductible may range from $100 to $500 or more, depending on the terms of your policy. You must meet your deductible before your insurance company will compensate for any damages. If, for example, you incurred $1,500 in damages in collision following an accident and your deductible is $500, insurance will likely offer to pay $1,000.

Observe All Requests for Documentation and Follow Deadlines

Mercury Insurance, like many other insurance companies, often requires additional documentation to investigate and complete the claims process. Observing all these instructions is essential to completing your claim. If you neglect to provide requested documentation within a set deadline, it could lead to a denial of coverage – even if you only miss it by a day or two.

In certain situations, however, it may be beneficial to wait instead of providing documentation right away. A common example is a request for release of medical records. A claims adjuster might ask you to sign a release to view your medical records to evaluate a claim, but it’s best to wait until your health care provider records the full extent of your injuries before consenting.

In car accidents involving extensive property damage or injury, consider hiring a Bakersfield car accident lawyer to help you with the claims process. He or she will serve as your advocate and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to attain fair compensation for the full value of your car accident claim.

Posted by highrank at 8:24 pm

How to File a Car Insurance Claim with State Farm

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Were you recently in a car accident in Bakersfield? If so, you likely took steps to protect your passengers and other injured people at the scene. You might even have required some medical treatment yourself. Now that everyone is out of danger, it’s time to contact your insurance company and learn more about filing a claim. Here’s what to do if you have State Farm as your insurance carrier.

Know When to File a Claim

When is the best time to file a claim? The best answer is as soon as you’re able. Your insurance company should be one of the first calls you make, aside from calling emergency medical services in the event of an injury-causing accident. Your insurance agent will guide you through the claims process that’s to follow, but in the meantime, have the following information handy when you call your agent the first time:

  • Your policy number
  • Your identifiable information (i.e. name and date of birth)
  • Your license plate number and driver’s license number

If you have it available, it also helps to have the following information to aid the claims process:

  • Descriptions of the vehicles involved in the accident (year, make, and model)
  • Insurance companies and policy numbers of other drivers involved
  • Names and numbers of any eyewitnesses to the accident
  • The responding officer’s name and badge number

Be Familiar with Your Coverage

Remember that insurance policies can vary greatly, depending on how much you pay for your premiums each month. California law requires certain insurance minimums, but you may have more optional coverages on your policy. A few factors, including optional coverages, may affect your claims process:

  • Do you have rental reimbursement coverage? If your vehicle sustained significant damage, it might take time to make repairs. For this reason, many people elect rental reimbursement coverage, which provides transportation while the car is in the shop. Before you rent a vehicle, check the terms of your policy for coverage limits and other pertinent information.
  • What is your deductible? Depending on the terms of your policy, you have a deductible to meet before the insurance company will pay for damages. If your deductible is $500 and you incur $2,000 in damages, for example, your insurance company will offer to cover $1,500.

Know How to File Your Claim

State Farm provides several options for filing a car accident claim: phone, online, and the State Farm app. With the app, you can begin to file the claim directly at the accident scene and type in essential information, such as the other driver’s policy number, while it’s still fresh in your mind. You can always fill in more details as you go along. The State Farm app also allows you to track the progress of your claim, upload documentation, and learn answers to common questions regarding insurance claims.

When filing your claim and additional documentation, keep deadlines in mind. The insurance company will likely advise you of certain time limits for submitting supporting evidence, such as medical records and repair bills. It’s important to follow these deadlines carefully, as failing to submit documentation in time could lead to a denial of coverage.

Know the Basic Dos and Don’ts

Finally, be familiar with the basic dos and don’ts of talking to insurance companies:

  • Do not sign a medical release too early. It’s essential to allow your claims adjuster access to your records by the deadline, but you should wait until a provider makes note of the full extent of your injuries before signing any releases.
  • Don’t sign any documentation from an insurance company or agree to recorded statements unless you have the approval of a Bakersfield car accident lawyer.

Knowing how to navigate your State Farm claim can bring a speedier resolution to your claim. Following these tips will help you handle your car accident claim with State Farm like a pro.

Posted by highrank at 7:28 pm

How to File a Car Insurance Claim with Allstate

Monday, June 4, 2018

The hours, even days following a car accident can be full of confusing procedures. However, it’s important to follow the terms of your insurance carefully to protect the health of your car accident claim. If you have Allstate insurance, you should follow these steps:

Call the Insurance Company Right Away

After a car accident, you’ll take a few key steps such as making sure everyone is okay, calling emergency services, and receiving medical care. After you finish taking care of everyone’s medical needs, it’s time to call your insurance company.

When you call Allstate to file a claim, your agent will ask you to supply key information and documents related to your accident. You need to have the following information handy:

  • Your policy number
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate and title information
  • Brief description of what happened

Know What Your Insurance Covers

Insurance law can be complicated, but it’s essential to have a working knowledge of how your coverage works. The following elements may affect your car insurance claim and the way you obtain reimbursement for your accident.

  • The amount of your deductible. When you signed up for your auto insurance policy, you followed certain rules regarding your deductibles for coverage, such as comprehensive and collision. Know how much your deductible is, as this is the amount you will have to pay out of your own pocket before your insurance will begin to kick in. For example, if you incurred $1,500 in property damage and have a $500 deductible for collision, your insurance will ultimately pay $1,000 toward your repairs.
  • Do you have optional coverages? Depending on the terms of your insurance policy, you may also have convenient coverage such as rental reimbursement services. This service provides a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop, so you can get from place to place, but read the terms carefully. In some cases, you may need to rent from a certain facility or stick within your coverage limits (for example, $40 a day).

Ask About Time Limits

When calling your insurance company, know what time limits apply. If you fail to provide documentation within the specified timeframe, your insurance company could deny coverage on a claim. Read the terms of your policy carefully and take notes during your conversation with an agent, so you know exactly what to expect following an accident.

Track Your Claim

Allstate gives you the option of filing a claim by phone or online. Once you complete the process, you will receive a claim number. You can use it to track the progress of your claim, as well as to identify any missing documentation that the insurance company might require.

Know How to Talk to Claims Adjusters

Once you file a claim, an adjuster will likely investigate the accident and evaluate the damages. These interactions could affect the amount of your settlement. Though it’s important to provide documentation to the insurance company to aid the claims process, offering too much information – or too little – could affect your payout. For example, a claims adjuster might request a medical release to ascertain the extent of your injuries following an accident. Wait until the full extent of your injuries manifests before signing any medical releases. This will better illustrate the damages you incurred.

When filing a claim following a serious or injury-causing accident, having the guidance of a Bakersfield car accident attorney can be helpful. He or she can help you file a claim, guide you through interactions with claims adjusters, and help ensure that Allstate insurance compensates you for the full extent of your injuries and property damage.

Posted by highrank at 7:18 pm

Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way in California?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Many Californians, particularly in urban areas, choose to walk or ride their bikes in lieu of driving to their destination. Commuting by foot or bike can save money, provide convenience, and save time on the hassle of heavy traffic. However, some pedestrian conduct raises important questions about liability following an accident. Do pedestrians always have the right-of-way in California? Who will be liable for injuries a pedestrian sustains in an accident? Here’s everything you need to know but if you have additional questions, reach out to a skilled Bakersfield pedestrian accident lawyer.

When a Pedestrian Has the Right-Of-Way

You may have heard that the pedestrian always has the right-of-way. This statement, however, is exactly that: a saying, not a matter of law. In reality, the law is more complex than that.

In the most obvious cases, the pedestrian does have the right-of-way. This applies, for example, when a pedestrian is crossing at a crosswalk at a red light. One of the most common kinds of pedestrian injury – for which a driver is at fault – is when a driver turns right or left into a pedestrian who has the right-of-way. Here, liability for the accident is clear: a motorist will be responsible for the injuries that the pedestrian incurs since he or she was crossing at a crosswalk with a stop sign or traffic signal.

What about less obvious circumstances? What happens when a pedestrian sustains an injury while crossing at an unmarked crosswalk? Or while walking in the middle of the street? This is where the law becomes less clear.

California Laws Regarding Pedestrians

The California Vehicle Code sets basic rules for pedestrians and drivers who navigate around them. The law states a few things:

  • The driver must yield to any pedestrian within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
  • The driver must also use reasonable care and diligence to prevent pedestrian accidents and safeguard anyone who walks or rides their bike around them.

These laws have a few implications following a pedestrian accident. Here are some examples:

  • A motorist may be liable for a pedestrian accident that occurs on the roadway, even if it’s not a crosswalk. For example, a motorist will likely be liable for striking and injuring a biker who is riding on the shoulder, since he or she has an obligation to prevent an accident. If the driver was speeding or distracted, he or she will likely be responsible for the cyclist’s injuries, even if not on a crosswalk.
  • A motorist must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks that are not at intersections. Ultimately, if a pedestrian uses a marked or unmarked crosswalk, he or she has the right-of-way.

Pedestrian Responsibilities

On the other hand, pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way. According to the California Vehicle Code, pedestrians cannot leave a place of safety, such as a sidewalk, to run into the path of a moving vehicle such that it constitutes an “immediate hazard.” But what does this mean, exactly?

  • Pedestrians may be liable for their own injuries if they jaywalk. Running out into the street without a crosswalk is against the law, and a driver may not be civilly responsible for any damages he or she causes.
  • Pedestrians must use extra caution at late night crossings. They must remain as visible as possible and keep to crosswalks. A pedestrian should never assume right-of-way at night and allow plenty of time to cross.

Both pedestrians and motorists have certain rights and responsibilities on the roadways. Motorists have a high duty of care to pedestrians and must take steps to reasonably assure their safety. At the same time, pedestrians must also follow all traffic laws, avoid jaywalking, and stick to crossing at crosswalks.

Posted by highrank at 9:19 pm

Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Accident?

Monday, December 4, 2017

According to the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration, 8,000 people are killed in T-bone collisions annually. Even today, few cars are equipped with side-impact airbags and many drivers and passengers involved in a side-impact collision suffer severe injuries. Determining who is at fault in these T-bone accidents is key to determining who deserves compensation and speaking with a Bakersfield auto accident lawyer can help ease that process.

Causes of T-Bone Accidents

There are a number of common reasons T-bone accidents occur, but all of them have negligence at the root.

Here are the most common causes of side impact accidents:

  • A driver may fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection.
  • One or more vehicles speeding through an intersection.
  • A driver failing to stop at a red light or stop sign.
  • Distractions from mobile devices or things inside the vehicle.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Failure to properly maintain the vehicle.
  • Driver making a left-hand turn in front of another vehicle.

A common thread of these causes is a failure to exercise proper precautions and recognize the legal right-of-way on the part of one or more drivers.

Establishing Who Is at Fault

Proving fault in a side-impact collision can be complex and requires careful collection of evidence. Eyewitness accounts must be sought out and statements collected. The police report issued at the scene of the accident will usually play a large role in establishing the facts of the case and pointing toward who was at fault in the accident. Photographs of the location, especially taken right after the accident may be very useful in providing a clear picture of what took place. Expert testimony and forensic evidence may also be needed to establish fault in some cases. It is necessary to show that one party failed to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances.

What If I Contributed to the Accident?

Often it is the case that both drivers were partly responsible for the accident. For example, if another driver ran a red light, but you were speeding through the intersection, both parties may share some of the responsibility for having caused the accident.

California is a pure comparative fault state. This means that in the event of an accident, the fault may be assigned entirely to one party, or shared among all the drivers involved in an accident. An insurance company, or a judge or jury if necessary, may find both parties partly responsible. In the example above, it may be found that the driver running a red light is 75% responsible for the accident and the driver speeding is 25% responsible. If your total damages were $100,000, the compensation would be reduced by the amount of your portion of the fault, in this case $25,000.

While being found partly responsible for the accident will reduce your damages, it does not preclude you from seeking compensation. Determining who is at fault in a side impact crash in California is about determining the relative contributions each driver made to the accident. In many cases, it may be determined that the other driver is found to be completely at fault and you will receive 100% of the compensation for your injuries.

If you’ve been injured in a T-bone accident in California, retaining the services of a Bakersfield attorney expereinced in car accidents can greatly increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.

Posted by highrank at 5:45 pm

What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sometimes, all your vehicle needs after a collision are repairs and some TLC. Other times, the crash can make your vehicle completely undrivable. If a recent car accident in Bakersfield totaled your vehicle, you may be at a loss for what to do next. You need an interim vehicle to drive to work, and you might not have the funds to purchase a new car – especially if you’re also paying for medical bills. Here’s what you need to know about accidents that total your vehicle.

What Is A “Total Loss”?

After a crash, call your insurance company to report what happened. Your insurer will schedule an investigation of the accident, as well as an inspection of your wrecked vehicle. After the inspection, your insurer will determine the extent of vehicle damage. The company uses the Total Loss Formula to make this judgment. Basically, your insurer will compare the cost of repairing your damaged vehicle (plus the reduction in resale value and other expenses) against the Actual Cash Value of the car prior to the crash. If the calculation surpasses a certain threshold, the company will say that your vehicle is a total loss.

Get a Rental Vehicle Through Your Insurer

While you wait for your vehicle inspection – and potentially start shopping for a new car – you need something to drive. Most insurance policies will cover the costs of a rental car after a crash. Ask your insurance agent if this is the case with your policy. If you do receive rental coverage, ask about the types of vehicles you may rent at no charge. In general, an insurance company will cover the costs of a car that’s similar to your own.

Will Your Insurer Cover the Costs of a New Vehicle?

If you receive a total loss determination, your amount of coverage will determine your next move. Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage are the two policies that help pay for totaled vehicles. Your insurer may offer a settlement award that covers the cost of your lost vehicle if you have this coverage. The amount you receive will depend on the coverage plan you have.

Accepting a settlement for the calculated value of the vehicle means that you generally give up your right to money from selling the totaled vehicle at a scrap yard or selling it as a salvage titled vehicle. You have the option to deny the settlement and instead get your vehicle back, at which point you can decide what to do with it and keep any money you receive from scrapping, trading, or selling it.

If you total a vehicle you were still making payments on, your insurance company will make the check payable to you and the lender. The lender will keep what you owe him or her, and you can keep anything remaining. If you don’t have collision or comprehensive insurance coverage, you may end up paying to replace your vehicle out of pocket. In these cases, speak to a qualified Bakersfield attorney. If someone else caused the wreck, you may be able to secure compensation for the value of your totaled vehicle through a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer can help you learn your rights after a crash that totally destroys your vehicle.

Posted by highrank at 9:51 pm

What Is a Third Party Car Insurance Claim?

Monday, September 11, 2017

California is a fault state when it comes to car accidents, meaning the injured party must prove the other party’s fault before that person’s insurance will cover damages. After many car accidents in California, injured parties will submit claims to insurance companies other than their own. This might be the case, for example, if the other party caused the crash. Filing a claim with an insurer other than one’s own is a “third-party claim.” It is a common type of claim that leads to a slightly different insurance process.

The Third-Party Claims Process

When you’re involved in a car accident in California, your first instinct may be to call your own insurance company to report the crash. If you weren’t at fault for the accident, however, you should first contact the insurance company of the at-fault driver or other individual or entity. This is why it’s important to always stop and collect the information of the other driver after an accident. The other driver may not have admitted fault at the scene, but, if you believe he or she is to blame, contact the driver’s insurer before contacting your own.

Report the accident to the other driver’s insurer. Stick purely to the facts of the case, and give short answers to the representative’s questions. The insurance agent assigned to your case, known as the claims adjuster, will have the goal of getting you to settle for as little as possible. The adjuster may offer a settlement within the first one or two phone calls if the other driver was at fault. Resist the urge to accept these offers. First, talk to a Bakersfield car accident attorney about the real value of your car accident claim.

When you make a third-party insurance claim, the company will try to save money by offering a low-ball settlement award. The company may tempt you to take the settlement, saying that it’s a fast way to get your hands on the money. However, your injuries and property damage could garner a much greater verdict or award in a personal injury claim. It’s typically wise to reject at least the first offer but talk to your attorney first. A car insurance lawyer can help you choose the best path for your unique wishes, and negotiate with a third-party insurer.

Tips for Third-Party Insurance Claims

Be wary when talking to insurance adjusters over the phone. The insurance claims adjuster works for the company, not for you. An adjuster often sees several cases per month. He or she will likely know less about your claim than you do. Keep your answers short when conversing with the other driver’s insurance company. Stay truthful, but do not offer up information that the adjuster does not request.

Do not agree to record any statements over the phone. The insurance company can use what you say against you. Talk to a lawyer if you have any doubts about dealing with insurance claims adjusters. If the other driver’s insurance company denies your claim, you can begin the appeals process. Study the policy in question to learn how to appeal the company’s decision. The appeals process can be complex and often comes down to something in the policy that bars you from recovery in certain scenarios. Retaining an insurance attorney can help you navigate these issues.

Posted by highrank at 4:48 pm