Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rodriguez & Associates: New Location Effective July 15, 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

We would like to inform you that we will be at our new location effective Monday, July 15, 2019, at 8:00 a.m.

Our new address is:
1128 TRUXTUN AVENUE
BAKERSFIELD, CA 93301

Our contact information: Telephone number, fax number, and email will remain the same.

For questions, please contact us at 661-323-1400.

new bakersfield location for Rodriguez & associates

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:51 pm

How Long Do Semi-Truck Accident Cases Last?

Monday, July 1, 2019

If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you could experience significant damages in the months to come. Due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, you may suffer from serious injuries in these accidents, as well as extensive damage to your car and belongings.

You can claim damages for your losses through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, but these cases can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to conclude. Because of how severe and complicated semi-truck accidents can be, they can sometimes take longer to settle than the average car accident claim.

What Factors Can Lengthen My Semi-Truck Accident Case?

Several factors can impact the length of a Bakersfield semi-truck accident case. Because of the damage that semi-trucks can cause, plus the corporate and government bodies that may be involved, you may need to navigate some very complicated legal considerations.

• The more severe your injuries, the longer your case will likely be. Your attorney will need to determine the extent of your injuries so he or she can calculate your damages for medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. You may need to wait until you reach maximum recovery before your attorney can resolve your case. While you may want to resolve your claim while you are still recovering from your injuries, your attorney will likely advise against this. You may not know the precise nature of your injuries, and could lose out on compensation to aid your recovery.

• Semi-trucks accident cases may involve government investigations in addition to your own. Entities such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration may look into the crash and provide analyses that could assist your claim – but you may need to wait up to a year for them to release these reports. However, these reports can provide valuable information and strengthen your overall cases.

• You may need to navigate complicated insurance negotiations when dealing with a semi-truck accident. Usually, corporations represent these drivers and have large insurance policies. You can settle your claim with the insurance company and avoid going to court, but negotiations could take time based on the severity of your injuries, the policy limit, and the aggressive tactics that the insurance adjusters could employ to protect their driver and trucking company clients.

• The information gathering process for semi-truck cases can take a long time because of how many liable parties may be involved in your accident. Your attorney will need to gather information on the driver’s history, such as moving violations, Department of Transportation infractions, and other safety records. Your attorney will also want to look into the vehicle and the company itself, making sure they maintained the truck up to federal standards and that negligence from the trucking company didn’t play a part in your injuries. Your attorney will want to learn as much as possible about the company, the driver, the cargo, and any other party who may be involved, and you may have to wait a while for him or her to collect this information.

The Average Length of a Semi-Truck Accident Case

Because each case is different, it is difficult for an attorney to estimate how long your semi-truck accident case will take to reach settlement. Certain factors can lengthen the duration of your case, such as severe injuries or multiple liable parties. The more complicated a case is, the longer it will likely take to reach settlement.

Many semi-truck cases can take a long time to conclude because of clerical mistakes and slow information gathering processes. Obtaining the services of a semi-truck accident attorney can help you navigate these claims and reduce errors in the process. In addition, an attorney can help you enter into sticky negotiations with insurance companies and determine the most efficient pathways to possible compensation.

Semi-truck accidents can be complicated and can vary in length based on your specific circumstances. Because of their complexity, contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to help you reach a settlement for your losses.

Posted by highrank at 6:03 pm

Can You Sue a Tow Truck Company for Damaging Your Car?

Monday, June 3, 2019

Getting your car towed comes with its own level of stress and hassle depending on the circumstances. Regardless of the situation, towing could cost money in addition to the parking fine or cause to your vehicle damage as a result of moving your car. To make matters worse, sometimes your car gets damaged in the towing process, causing additional distress and costing more money to repair the damage. Suing a tow company is not always an option, but it is always best to verify if you can receive compensation for the damages your car sustained.

California Tow Law

California tow law dictates that a car owner can sue a tow company only if the company follows the law. In this case, a car owner can sue the tow company for up to four times the cost of the towing service, along with storage and the fees required to hire a personal injury attorney in some cases.

Burden of Proof

If a towing company practices improper towing practices, they are liable for the damage done to your car. This is the most direct route in pursuing a personal injury claim. If the damage was not directly related to the company’s towing practices, a case becomes more complicated, and harder to prove.

Tow-related damage is the most effective type of proof you can possess. Although it might be hard to prove exactly what went wrong, documenting your vehicle before it gets towed is one way to prove that damage occurred during the tow-process. However, this option isn’t available for someone who isn’t present when the towing company towed their car. In this case, the claimant must present evidence of damage specific to the towing process. The most common types of tow-related damage that occur in improper towing practices are:

  • Bumper damage
  • Tire damage
  • Windshield damage

Damage done to either of these car parts via dents, scratches, or cracks, could imply negligent towing practices.

Can I File a Claim?

Any car owner can file a claim against a towing company, but it is in their best interest to consult with an attorney before pressing charges. Many firms provide free consultation and can let you know if your case has any grounds for success against the tow company. If you do have a valid case, an attorney will help you gather evidence and file your claim.

A claim filed for car damage during a towing procedure falls into your local small claims court circuit. When filing, it is important to emphasize that the tow company’s negligence is the cause of your car’s damage. Your attorney can help you prove the following things within your case’s investigation:

  • The tow truck driver and company owed a duty to you, which was to tow your truck in a manner that prevents accidents from happening. California implies this under the state’s tow law.
  • The tow truck driver or company breached this duty. Outside of the potential for tower negligence in hitching and driving your car, faulty components of the tow truck could have also contributed to the damage. This would still fall onto the tow company but remove the driver from the equation.
  • You can trace your car’s damage to the negligence of the towing company.

You can also file a claim with your insurance company. You will still need to provide proof in this scenario, but court involvement is typically not necessary. Your insurance company’s claims adjusters help in the process of settling with third-party entities in accidents like this.

Sovereign Immunity

One key detail that will impact your claim is whether the government owns the tow company. All government-owned vehicles, including those involved in public transit, enjoy protection under sovereign immunity. This means that they have protection from citizens filing lawsuits against them. While this protection doesn’t extend to privately owned tow trucks, it is always best to check.

Suing a tow truck for damaging your car can be difficult if you cannot prove that their towing process directly caused the damage. However, you should consult with an attorney to determine this rather than making the call yourself.

Posted by highrank at 4:06 pm

Can I Sue The Police For Killing My Dog?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Police officers receive training for many different scenarios, including those involving dogs. Unfortunately, mistakes can and do happen. The heat of the moment, a perceived threat, or miscommunication can all lead to the untimely death of a beloved canine. In these cases, a dog owner can take a few different types of actions to hold the officer/agency accountable and start the recovery process.

Possible Claims Against the Police

A pet owner can look at both federal and state laws to determine the right jurisdiction for a legal claim. Unless an officer commits an act of cruelty that results in the death of the dog, California remedies fall under property-related claims. Under Californian and most other state laws, an owner can sue for the value of the dog, any medical bills for the dog prior to death, and emotional distress. Animal cruelty deaths fall under a different category and may warrant a larger settlement.

Many dog owners choose to file claims against police officers in federal court as a Fourth Amendment violation (illegal property seizure). Depending on the facts of the case, the plaintiff may make an argument for illegal seizure and/or acts of excessive force. In a federal claim, a plaintiff may receive damages for costs associated with the death of the dog, owner mistreatment (if applicable), and personal emotional distress.

While these claims seem straightforward, law enforcement agencies enjoy many protections from both civil and criminal claims associated with dog shootings. Officers enjoy civil action immunity if they acted within the scope of the job and made a good faith attempt to honor an owner’s rights. Officers may also escape liability in claims if they can demonstrate adherence to agency procedures during the incident.

A law enforcement agency may attempt to settle a claim outside of court instead of fighting the accusation. Dog owners must carefully evaluate the settlement offer before accepting or rejecting it. An agency may only offer compensation for the “going rate” of the dog based on its breed, background, and age. This type of settlement may not cover the pain and suffering an owner experiences after experiencing the death of a canine companion.

What to Do After a Police-Driven Canine Killing

Dog owners can take steps immediately after a canine killing incident to protect their rights to compensation:

  1. Call emergency services. Report the incident and request support and an investigation. If you wait to report the incident, investigators may miss important pieces of evidence. As with any injurious incident, a swift investigation can prevent evidence loss or tampering.
  2. Record witness information. Look for any witnesses to the event and write down their contact information. In urban and neighborhood environments, search for any security cameras that might contain footage of the incident. A visual recording can serve as powerful evidence of police misconduct.
  3. Record officer information. If you are present at the time of the killing, ask for the officer’s name and badge number. Officers must file a report every time they discharge their weapons. Investigators can often locate an offending officer, even if the owner did not witness the incident.
  4. Talk to an attorney. Canine killing cases run the gamut from small claims settlements to civil claims worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Until a police misconduct attorney reviews the evidence, avoid taking a settlement or talking about the case.

Law enforcement agencies do not keep data on the number of dogs shot, but one specialist from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services facility estimates officers kill 25-30 companion dogs every day. As social media draws awareness to the ongoing problem and more loving pet owners pursue legal action against the police, standard legal procedures may change. Instead of using lethal force, officers could substitute a non-lethal alternative and avoid unnecessary harm to animals and their owners.

Until law enforcement practices change, pet owners must understand their rights after a dog’s death. They can pursue a civil claim to agency perspectives and receive compensation for their losses.

Posted by highrank at 9:28 pm

Birth Injury Support Groups in California

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Birth injuries can be life changing for both child and parent. The trauma of a birth injury and the recovery journey can be difficult to endure alone. Luckily, parents don’t have to figure out life with a birth injured child without help. Birth injury support groups exist for the families of minor patients. These groups can help the parents of children who suffer from birth injuries such as Erb’s Palsy, brachial plexus injuries, brain injuries, autism, cerebral palsy, and other disorders. They can also help mothers who are coping with anxiety from a traumatic birth or post-partum depression. Here is an introduction to some birth injury support groups that are available in California.

BirthTalk.org

This UK-based online support group includes a variety of traumatic birth experiences, with heartfelt stories families share. This group regularly posts helpful information and resources for coping with a traumatic birth and injuries, such as books, articles, and blog posts. Find information about how to prepare for birth, how to heal after a traumatic birth, and how to birth again after a harrowing first birth.

United Brachial Plexus Network, Inc.

This national organization has a wealth of information and support options for parents with children who have suffered brachial plexus injuries. These are injuries to the brachial plexus, or the network of nerves in the arm and shoulder. Brachial plexus injuries commonly occur when the baby becomes stuck in the birth canal, lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone. Improper use of birthing tools and techniques can cause this type of injury, especially when the physician reacts poorly to an emergency situation.

The United Brachial Plexus Network (UBPN) offers resources for parents as well as for people living with brachial plexus injuries. It offers scholarships for individuals with this type of injury, as well as an annual camp for children, adults, and parents. Find everything you need from a brachial plexus injury support group with the UBPN, from learning tips on how to prevent this kind of injury, support for families, education about this disability, and a worldwide network of people dealing with this injury.

Brain Injury Association of California

This support group is helpful for all parents of children with brain injuries, and not just brain injuries relating to traumatic birth. The Brain Injury Association of California is a nonprofit organization that provides information and support for families and individuals affected by brain injures. This group publishes recent news relating to brain injuries, as well as information about local events and fundraisers. It helps people get involved with the cause, such as attending educational events or participating in forums. It is also a great source of support for those living with brain injuries. The group provides personal stories, FAQs, recent research, and staff available for conversation.

United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) has an extensive network around the country. It provides services and support based within individual communities, serving the unique needs of people with cerebral palsy (CP). Parents and individuals can find information, resources, and support for life with cerebral palsy. UCP aims to help those with CP live life to the fullest, providing a way to stay connected and join the conversation. The UCP also accepts donations for helping those living with CP.

Attention Deficit Disorder Association

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and other behavioral disorders, can stem from a traumatic birth injury, especially those involving the brain. Lack of oxygen to the brain (brain hypoxia) during birth can lead to permanent brain damage and behavioral changes in children. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) gives you excellent resources you can trust and a network of individuals going through the same experiences with whom you can connect. As an individual with ADD or a parent of a child with ADD, this organization can help you learn how to live with this disorder and join a community of others who can support you and your family.

Posted by highrank at 10:55 pm

Bakersfield Attorneys Take on Trump Immigration

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

During the time President Trump has been in office, he has made big strides toward changes in American immigration policies. His administration is focused on three goals for immigration reform: to create a wall across the southern border, to enforce laws in accordance with our Constitutional system of government, and to improve jobs, wages, and security for all Americans. As President Trump’s immigration policies tighten, undocumented immigrants fear for their futures. In this time of great uncertainty, Bakersfield attorneys with Rodriguez & Associates are offering free legal advice and representation.

Daniel Rodriguez and His Mission to Protect Immigrants

Daniel Rodriguez of Rodriguez & Associates grew up in a family of migrant farm workers. He has worked and lived in multiple states across the U.S, working in the fields and holding a variety of other jobs while putting himself through college and law school. His father could not read or write English or Spanish, and his mother only had three years of schooling. Daniel’s upbringing gives him a unique perspective as a lawyer in Bakersfield. He knows the importance of hard work and the value in protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

Today, Daniel is dedicated to helping America’s immigrants navigate the complex and often frightening new immigration laws. As President Trump orders 10,000 more immigration agents and gives local police officers more power to assist in immigration law enforcement, immigrants need more legal help than ever. Police are conducting mandatory vehicle checkpoints and making house calls to find and detain undocumented immigrants. Daniel and a panel of 15 lawyers recently held an open-to-the-public panel at California State University in Bakersfield to offer free legal advice for people in this situation.

Undocumented and documented immigrants face difficult questions and legal considerations, many of which are changing on a weekly basis under President Trump’s administration. During the free panel and in his professional time since, Attorney Rodriguez has offered counsel and legal advice to immigrants regarding deportation fears, documentation processes, police investigations, and bullying and harassment of minorities in hostile environments. It is a matter that hits close to home for Rodriguez, who wants to do everything possible to protect minorities.

Legal Counsel from Attorney Rodriguez in Bakersfield

Daniel Rodriguez and his team of local injury attorneys have a mission to help immigrants understand their rights and how to protect themselves and their families during this tumultuous time in America. At the public meeting, he acknowledged the unfortunate impacts of President Trump’s campaign when one mother mentioned the bullying and harassment of her daughter in school due to her race. The bullies called the young girl by a racial slur and said her family would get deported “once the wall went up.”

Rodriguez informed the woman that what her daughter is going through is illegal – the law protects children from physical, verbal, and psychological bullying in school. He recommended she file a complaint and keep documentation of the complaint. This is just one example of how Rodriguez is shedding light on the legal rights of immigrants.

The main point of conversation of the night, however, was what to do if confronted by police. The panel advised immigrants not to speak to police officers and not to answer the door if police come knocking. They also said to always be polite, even if you do not agree with why or how the officer is confronting you. Immigrants should not give police any excuse to take the situation to the next step. Staying calm, quiet, and courteous can prevent you from giving too much information to police and getting into further legal trouble. For any immigration questions, concerns, or legal needs, please come to the law offices of Rodriguez & Associates in Bakersfield.

Posted by highrank at 8:54 pm

Kern County Hiking Trails and Safety Tips

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

From Mt. Pinos to Sunday Peak and everywhere in-between, Bakersfield, and the larger Kern County area, has numerous options for fantastic hiking. Kern County is home to strenuous hikes at high elevation as well as leisurely hikes perfect for families and kids. No matter what kind of hike you are looking for in the area, it’s always important to take necessary safety precautions.

Best Hikes in Kern County

The southern end of the Sierra Nevadas and Sequoia National Park are within Kern County and a short drive from Bakersfield proper. Challenging hikes with stunning views are not too far away. Some of the best within Kern County include:

  • Owen’s Peak – At 8,453 feet, it is the tallest mountain in Kern County. The trail is nearly 13 miles roundtrip, and there is more than 3,700 feet of elevation gain. It’s a steep trail as well, so be prepared.
  • Wind Wolves Preserve Trail – This trail is just shy of eight miles round trip, and even features a waterfall. Dogs are allowed as well.
  • Hart Park Trail – Replete with picnic tables, grills and boat rentals, this two mile loop trail circuits Kern River, and is perfect for an afternoon jog or leisurely stroll with your pooch.
  • Piute Peak – This prominent peak is 8,440 feet, and the road to the trailhead can be rocky at points but offers beautiful scenery and the chance to see wildlife.
  • Badger Gap and Little Tenant Spring Trails – This is accessible year-round, allows dogs and is a little less than 10 miles roundtrip.
  • Tecuya Mountain – This peak lies on the southern end of Kern County, and is about 7,160 feet tall. At a little less than five miles round trip, it’s a short but moderately steep hike.

There are many more in Kern County, particularly near Fort Tejon State Historic Park and Sequoia National Forest. Find what suits your abilities and enjoy yourself.

Kern County Hiking Safety Tips

Given the hot temperatures of Central California and the high winds that can accompany them, it’s important to be prepared when going on a hike that will last more than a couple hours. Water and food are obvious necessities; dehydration starts as mildly as a headache, but if left untreated can manifest into confusion and disorientation. In the California sun, a lack of water can prove fatal.

If you feel dehydration coming on or notice these symptoms in someone else, stop moving and drink water until they feel better, or if no water is available, turn around and go home immediately. Other provisions such as these are recommended:

  • A cell phone is important, but can lose battery. Have a trail map and/or a compass just in case.
  • Extra clothing in case of weather changes.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. The worst place to be during a storm is on an exposed trail or ridge.
  • For longer hikes or those that cross streams, rivers and snow, an extra pair of dry socks will help you avoid blisters.
  • Sunscreen. Even on cloudy or cool days, the trails of Central California often do not supply sufficient shade.
  • It can’t be stressed enough; bring 1-2 liters of water to stay properly hydrated.

It’s vital to tell someone where you are going, just in case of emergency. The worst thing that could happen, on top of being lost, is no one knowing where to look for you. Some common injuries that can occur on a hike:

  • Blisters – Hiking with these is more than a nuisance; it can make it impossible. Dry socks are crucial.
  • Sunburn – The sun is harsh at high, dry altitudes, so sunscreen is important for minimizing the skin’s exposure to UV rays.
  • Bug bites – These are particularly common if hiking in wooded areas. Bring spray if you know they’ll be present.
  • Twisted ankle – Good footwear provides comfortable and even support will help prevent this, even if you encounter slippery rock or muddy ground.
  • Exhaustion – This usually comes with similar symptoms as dehydration, and greatly increases the likelihood of getting lost.

A hike is a great avenue for exercise and exploration, but being properly prepared will prevent injuries, dehydration and getting lost. Take your time, know when to turn around, stay with the group and the experience that much more enjoyable.

Posted by highrank at 6:08 pm

Can Reporters Be Held Liable for Harassment

Friday, March 24, 2017

The people have a right to know. The job of a journalist is to report need to know information to the public, but sometimes, the means by which journalists obtain their information can fall on decidedly muddy moral grounds. This is particularly evident here in California, where paparazzi make a living disguising and hiding themselves in order to sneak pictures of celebrities.

The First Amendment provides broad protections to members of the press, but if a person feels harassed by a reporter, what is the law?

Expectation of Privacy

The general rule here for all citizens is whether you have an expectation of privacy. It’s not expected that a celebrity or politician will have the same amount of privacy as other people, yet they still have rights meant to protect what privacy they have. It is allowed to film, photograph or record what is seen and heard in public places. This idea has recently been given much scrutiny regarding the filming of police, specifically in the event of police brutality, a right which has been upheld by the courts.

The area of privacy which has become most important is online. The information we store and share online can be stolen by someone with sinister purposes, from which it could take months to recover personally and financially. As of right now, the law states that we have a reasonable expectation of privacy online, but Internet Service Providers and some politicians are looking to change that line of thinking.

Can a Reporter Be Held Liable for Harassment Claims?

Where a journalist may see surveillance, their subject may see stalking. The consensus amongst reporters is that going undercover and obtaining a job at a farm in an effort to spotlight animal abuse is fine, but using long microphones or binoculars to spy on a celebrity in an effort to obtain juicy gossip is unethical. Er go, the effect the news has on the health and safety of others must be the greater goal.

Intrusive actions such as staking out the home, following them, or recording them in private places can be labeled as harassment. A reporter can absolutely be held liable for these claims, particularly in California where two anti-surveillance laws have been passed:

  • Senate Bill 606 – Passed in 2013, this makes the penalty for harassing the children of a person purely because of that person’s status much more harsh. Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry testified in favor of this bill, which makes it a misdemeanor to alarm, annoy, torment or terrorize the child. The maximum punishment for a first offense is jail for one year and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Senate Bill 856 – Passed in 2015, this bill made it illegal to operate drones on or near private property. Doing so would make that person liable for invasion of privacy, and the liable person could be sued for their actions.

Even if these activities occur in public, the reporter could still be held liable for harassment claims if their actions are deemed overzealous, intrusive, or of a stalking nature.

Posted by highrank at 5:04 pm

Tips for Visiting Bakersfield Speedway

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Bakersfield Speedway is renowned for its intimacy; spectators feel close to the action, which makes it a memorable experience, but also presents some added danger. Despite the precautions of a catch fence as well as the space between the fence and the first row of seats, an injury is still a possibility for the fans in attendance. For any large event, there are a number of safety precautions racing fans can take to ensure they have an enjoyable experience.

The Charlotte Observer reported that approximately 2,000 people are injured every year at a racetrack, and between 1990-2010, 46 people died. It’s unclear how many of those injuries stemmed from an accident on the track, but NASCAR is consistently seeking ways to improve fan safety, particularly when it relates to the catch fence.

Improvements to all racetracks in this regard have been paramount in the last 15 years, particularly due to a string of accidents in which fans were injured by race car debris. Enormous strides have been made in determining the proper angle of the walls, the height of the catch fence and the material it’s made out of which it’s made to prevent spectator injuries.

Bakersfield Speedway Safety Tips

Another thing that makes Bakersfield Speedway unique is that it’s a clay track only one-third of a mile around. The clay increases the odds of debris and dirt flying into the stands, which is just one of many things for which spectators should be prepared. Veteran attendees may know this, but some safety tips for racing fans at Bakersfield Speedway include:

  • Ear plugs and safety glasses are recommended to protect against loud noise and dirt.
  • Sit further back, especially with small children. It’s better to be safe than sorry and although being right up on the track may be exciting, the extremely loud noises and potential for flying debris may not be worth it.
  • Stay alert – while it’s tempting to let loose at a race, it’s important to pay attention to what is going on around you. Watch for car wrecks or flying debris and cover your head in the case of a crash.
  • An employee or security staff will always be nearby, report any emergencies to them as soon as possible.
  • When parking your car, do not leave any valuables in plain sight and be sure to lock all doors.
  • Only buy tickets from reliable vendors.
  • You may bring a blanket, seat cushion and extra clothing if needed.

If you have been drinking, don’t drive. Find another way to get home. There are plenty of options for sober transportation in Bakersfield:

  • Taxi
  • Rideshare options
  • Public transportation

Large crowds at racing events can also present their own challenges. If attending the race with children, be aware of their location at all times and don’t let them wander away from the group. Just in case it does happen, it’s a good idea to decide on a rendezvous point beforehand. While a concession stand or bathroom may just be a few feet away, the large crowds make it easy for a child to become disoriented or lost. Use the buddy system and make sure they are never left alone while visiting Bakersfield Speedway.

If an injury does occur at a racetrack like Bakersfield Speedway due to outside circumstances like poor security, insufficient fencing, or dangerous conditions, contact the personal injury attorneys of Rodriguez & Associates. Our skilled lawyers have experience handling a range of injury and accident cases across Kern County.

Posted by highrank at 3:27 pm

What Can I Do if My Car Insurance Claim is Denied?

Monday, January 30, 2017

It is not uncommon for automobile insurance companies to deny accident claims. A claimant may receive a denial if the company believes the driver could have avoided the accident, if nobody suffered an injury at the time of the accident, or if medical records do not indicate an injury or pain. Claim denials can be frustrating and stressful, especially if you are dealing with hefty medical bills and missed days at work. Here are a few options you may have after a car insurance claim denial.

Understand the Reason for Denial

The first step in fighting against a claim denial is to understand exactly why your insurance company denied the claim in the first place. Typically, you will receive a letter from your auto insurance company telling you it has denied your claim and giving a specific explanation. Common reasons for claim denials include:

  • You caused the accident or could have avoided the accident
  • You did not seek medical treatment immediately after your accident
  • Your policy does not include coverage for your type of claim
  • You currently have a lapse in coverage for failure to renew or pay your bill
  • You purchased a new vehicle without telling your insurance company
  • The damages in your claim exceed your policy limit

If the insurance company’s explanation does not make sense to you, call your insurance agent and ask the company to clarify. For example, if your letter states that you have a lapse in coverage but you know for a fact you paid your last bill, the denial may be due to a simple clerical error. It is always wise to talk to your insurer over the phone after receiving a claims letter if you need to clear anything up or just to verify that you received a valid claim. It is not uncommon for a company to process a claim incorrectly.

Dispute the Claim

One option you may have after a claim denial is to dispute the insurance company’s response. If you decide to dispute your claim denial on the grounds of misinformation in your original claim, send corrections or proper documentation to your insurer. For example, if you have medical documentation that proves you did in fact seek treatment right after a crash, you may send this directly to your insurer. The insurance company may be willing to negotiate if you send in corrections.

You may also contact the California State Insurance Commissioner for assistance. The commissioner is in charge of ensuring insurance company regulation. Be aware, however, that state commissioners receive thousands of complaints every year. Your complaint may never lead to a resolution of your denied insurance claim. If the commissioner does respond and send a letter to your insurance company, your company might write back with the same denial. If there are significant expenses in medical bills, serious pain and suffering, or major property damage at stake, it is wise to hire an attorney to deal with your insurance company.

Bad Faith Insurance Company Cases

It is possible that you are dealing with a bad faith insurance company, if you received a claim denial you believe is unfounded or unfair. Your company may be failing to fulfill its end of your policy contract or purposely interpreting vague and ambiguous terms in the contract in a way that bars you from coverage. Unfortunately, bad faith insurance companies get away with unfairly minimizing or denying compensation to claimants every day.

Involving a professional attorney in these situations can lead to a bad faith lawsuit and the potential to receive compensation for your damages. If speaking with your insurance company and/or state commissioner doesn’t resolve your claim, contact a denial of insurance attorney for help.

Posted by highrank at 6:16 pm