FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CAPITOLA CAR ACCIDENTS

Why Should I Hire A Car Accident Injury Attorney?

You are not obligated or legally required to hire an auto accident attorney following a car accident. Victims, as well as vehicle accident victims throughout California can process their auto accident cases on their own. Traffic accident victims who are interested in finding out what advantages are associated with hiring a motor vehicle accident lawyer should contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP today to speak with a skilled lawyer.

When it comes to serious injuries and wrongful death claims, failing to hire the best car accident lawyer available may be a horrible mistake. California personal injury law suits are a onetime event in almost every situation, meaning that there are no "do-overs" if things do not work out as the plaintiff expected and the plaintiff is not satisfied with the outcome of the case. Typically, a settlement obtained in a motor vehicle accident case will typically result in one lump sum, at one time. Consequently, a plaintiff who attempts to handle their own auto accident case and settles the case without the representation of a lawyer, only to later find out that they could have recovered a larger amount of compensation will not have another chance to receive additional compensation. The case was their one opportunity to receive compensation for current and future accident related medical bills, full reimbursement for future lost wages which they will not earn due to the injuries sustained in the accident, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and the inability to perform day to day activities because of the injuries that were sustained in the accident.

Auto accident victims who attempt to carry out even the preliminary parts of their cases are taking a major risk. Not all auto accident cases require a lawyer to be hired on a vital basis. In fact in some auto accident cases, there is no urgency at all and it would be acceptable to hire a lawyer months after the auto accident without any harm to the case. The problem with this is that it usually takes an experienced lawyer to determine whether or not a case needs a lawyer's assistance immediately. It is vital for people to at least contact a top personal injury lawyer so they do not risk completely losing the right to receive the monetary compensation which they are entitled to, or jeopardizing the one time recovery due to a missed opportunity immediately following the case that could have provided crucial evidence that would be useful later on. It is not always necessary to hire a personal injury lawyer immediately, although it is helpful to contact a lawyer and discuss your case to find out what your options are.

Some people wonder how long they have to hire a personal injury lawyer after a car accident. This depends upon the statute of limitations, which varies by location. What you should be wondering is not be how long can a person wait, but rather how quickly a car accident lawyer should be hired to protect the accident victim's legal rights.

At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, our vehicle accident lawyers understand that many people would like a specific answer in regards to the process of choosing a lawyer. People would like to be told exactly how long they should take before hiring a car accident attorney, but what we suggest is that you contact a skilled lawyer immediately. Ask the attorney if they believe that you need to hire a lawyer at all. Find out whether it would benefit you if a lawyer is hired immediately and find out what the advantages would be if you got a lawyer for that particular case prior to making a decision.

Far too often, injury victims hesitate when it comes to hiring a lawyer, which jeopardizes their one chance at a successful case outcome. When this occurs, the defendant and/or insurance company that are involved in the auto accident case takes advantage of the fact that they are prepared to collect important evidence in the beginning, while the injury victim has decided to hold off on discussing their case with an experienced car accident lawyer.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, and have questions about whether your case requires a lawyer, please contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP right away. We will be able to let you know if your case will necessitate a lawyer. We tell people on a regular basis when we do not think that they have an auto accident case or that we do not believe they will benefit from hiring a lawyer to pursue their case.

In some situations, we explain to auto accident injury victims that they need to hire a lawyer, but they it is not necessary to hire one immediately. However, depending on the facts of that case, such as the type of injuries sustained, the type of accident, and other important factors, immediate hiring of a lawyer is fundamental to insuring that they receive fair compensation at the outcome of the case. If you would like a straightforward evaluation of your case please contact our law firm.


How Much Is A Car Accident Case Worth?

Auto accident victims frequently ask how much their case is worth. That is a commonly asked question of any experienced car accident attorney in California. Unfortunately, that is a difficult question, and there is no easy answer. We understand that injured accident victims want to know whether or not it is worthwhile to pursue an auto accident claim, and to know that they'd like to have some idea as to the monetary worth of a personal injury case in California.

The reason that this is such a complicated question to answer is because it is so case specific. To make the matter simpler, the value of an auto case in California is based upon what a jury would determine the victim is entitled to.

There are only two ways an accident case will end in almost all personal injury situations. First and most commonly, there is a settlement. That is a situation where the defendant who caused the accident or the insurance company comes to an agreement with the plaintiff in regards to what the accident case should settle for. If the case does not settle, it is up to the jury to determine how much money is considered fair and just compensation for the injured party. Basically, every settlement is dependent upon what the parties believe a jury would do with the car accident case.

Quite often, people are bogged down with the question of what is considered fair. The question which should be asked is "how much compensation would a jury award if this car accident case does not settle?"

Under California law, an auto accident victim is entitled to compensation for all damages that they suffered due to the recklessness of the negligent party. This includes pain and suffering, lost wages, future wage loss, medical bills and expenses, future medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, the lack of ability to do daily activities, and other aspects of the victim's life which were negatively affected due to somebody else's negligence.

When someone attempts to determine the exact value of a case, they must rely upon what the injury was. The case of someone who has suffered from a torn rotator cuff after being involved in a car accident and is no longer able to lift their arm is quite different than a case involving a person who suffered a very minor injury. According to the law, a person who has suffered a brain injury from a car collision and is unable to return to work will be entitled to much more compensation than a person whose injury consists of a headache.

As you can see, each and every case stands on its own merits.

Our attorneys have heard of cases in which personal injury attorneys tell California accident victims the monetary worth of their case when they first speak to their potential client. This is not something that we do at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP. We do not believe anyone can honestly tell a potential client what their case is worth before they have seen one document associated with the case. Until medical treatment has been concluded and an honest assessment of the case is done, any effort to try to tell somebody how much their California injury case is worth following a crash is merely guess work.

We believe that honesty is the best policy; therefore we only tell our clients and potential clients the truth. We know, that anyone can tell someone else what they want to hear, such as their case is worth a huge amount of money, however, all potential clients deserve to hear the truth about their auto accident case. We believe in explaining the strengths and weaknesses of the case to potential clients, and letting them know what evidence must be compiled and what other work must be done in order to determine the amount that the case should settle for. Since every case is unique, no two cases will result in identical factors or identical settlements, verdicts, or overall value of the case.


Following A Car Accident, Who Pays Medical Bills?

Some auto accident attorneys help to ensure that all medical expenses which were the result of the recklessness of another driver are reimbursed. In California, the negligent or reckless driver has the responsibility to pay the medical bills that are associated with the injuries that are the result of the car accident. It is typically not the actual negligent driver that pays for these medical bills.

The reason that drivers must have insurance throughout California is to make certain that accident related medical bills can be paid, without the person who causes an auto accident becoming bankrupt. One benefit of auto insurance is that the auto accident victim involved in the vehicle collision has the right to obtain the medical care they require, as well as the right to request medical bill reimbursement from the person whose negligence caused the motor vehicle accident.

It is important to mention that the greatest attorneys will do everything in their means to thoroughly explain to clients everything that is involved in getting medical bills paid. For example, many people believe that their health insurance won't cover their medical bills if they have been injured in an automobile accident. While all health insurance policies are different, if someone who has sustained injuries in an automobile accident and already has health insurance, it is suggested that they use that health insurance to make certain that they receive excellent medical care and treatment. The auto accident lawyer that you hire will be able to assist with other insurance matters, such as whether the insurance company for the negligent driver is obligated to pay for medical bills.

California law has already considered what should occur for the auto accident victim who requires medical assistance and treatment, in a situation in which the victim has their own health insurance coverage in addition to the insurance of the person who caused the accident.

Under this situation there are three possibilities as to what California law may allow.

  1. The law could state, in combination with the health insurance policy, that the health insurance company does not need to pay at all for a vehicle collision or for medical bills associated with an automobile accident, although this is unlikely. This is a widespread misunderstanding that a skilled auto accident attorney can help to address. Please, keep in mind that the first line of defense after a collision is using health insurance. The use of health insurance will almost always result in quick and inexpensive treatment, even if the health insurance is entitled to partial or full reimbursement.

  2. Under California law, the insurance for the negligent driver who caused the vehicle accident is "off the hook" and is not responsible for medical bills if the injured person had their own health insurance. This scenario would actually be like rewarding the at fault person's insurance company because the person who sustained injuries had paid for health insurance prior to the accident. California law does not give this type of benefit to the insurance company or at fault party when this happens.

  3. In many situations this is the case: the person who made sure they were properly insured in the first place has the advantage for having two separate insurance companies which are obligated to cover the same medical bills. When this happen, there is what is known as the "collateral source rule." In an auto accident case the "collateral source rule," would mean that the insurance company for the at fault party is still responsible for paying each of the medical bills which were the result of injuries sustained in the car accident. While the health insurance company is responsible for covering the same bills, doctors do not need to be paid twice for their services. This typically means that any additional monies can be put toward compensating the injured auto accident victim.

It is very complicated when ensuring that everybody is properly paid and that all the insurance contracts and laws are followed. That is why hiring an experienced car accident lawyer can be so important for an auto accident victim who is trying to make sure they get the best possible medical care, while at the same time ensuring that they are fully compensated for everything that they ever suffered as a result of the negligent driving of somebody else.

If you would like honest answers in regards to how to handle your health insurance or other medical needs associated with your vehicle accident, do not hesitate to contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP. Our skilled traffic accident lawyers will give you an honest assessment as to the best way to work through your insurance issues to make sure that you are fully compensated and that you get all of the medical treatment you need for your accident related injuries.


How do I file an insurance claim after a car accident?

As accomplished auto accident lawyers who have more than 100 collective years of experience helping people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents, we are pleased to be asked this question. The reason for that is because it generally signifies that the person who has been hurt in an accident has not yet filed an insurance claim. While it is important to file a claim with your own insurance company as soon as possible, it is also important to first consider whether or not it would be beneficial to retain the services of an auto accident lawyer.

Typically, filing a claim with your insurance is not a complicated process, and in many cases, it is as easy as calling your insurance company to set up the claim. Some trouble may arise in this situation, when certain insurance companies try to take advantage of a situation where they have the opportunity to talk to the injured person and they will try to collect information before that person has hired an auto accident attorney. Consequently, while setting up an insurance claim can be a simple thing to do, it may also be an error to set one up before talking to a skilled auto accident lawyer.

A leading lawyer will generally stop the other insurance company from trying to take your statement, which is beneficial because the insurance company may try to use that information against you. The best and most experienced auto accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys will often try to limit even the statements that are taken by your own insurance company. Also, having an experienced attorney involved will sometimes reduce the frequency that a claimant is taken advantage of by employees at the insurance agency.


How Can I Make A Insurance Claim If The Other Driver Did Not Have Insurance?

Unfortunately, there are many motor vehicle accidents which occur in California where the person who caused the accident did not have any auto insurance. This can be extremely frustrating for an individual who did nothing wrong and suffered a serious injury as a result of the negligence of the other driver. If you find yourself to be in a situation such as this, you should hire a skilled auto accident lawyer who represents auto accident victims.

If you have been injured in an auto accident in California, and the other driver did not have insurance, it does not mean that there is no insurance claim. There is a chance that the other driver refused to admit that there was insurance at the scene but there is actually insurance available. With an investigation, it may be uncovered that there is insurance that can help pay for the medical bills, lost wages, and compensate for the injuries that the auto accident victim suffered, even where the person who caused the accident at first denied that they had any insurance. There are different situations where this may take place, like when the driver was driving someone else's vehicle and they thought the insurance didn't cover them as a driver, or when the accident takes place on work time and the driver doesn't know who's insurance would be used. Basically, don't assume that the driver doesn't have insurance. The best thing that you can do is contact a dedicated car accident lawyer to investigate.

Also, please not that many of people have a coverage they are not aware of, which is called uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is one that somebody pays for in case they are ever injured by somebody who does not have auto insurance. Many of our clients do not make uninsured motorist coverage claims because that type of coverage has not been explained to them, and they do not know what their rights are. Contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP for more information regarding your claim and to find out about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in California.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you, your family, and your loved ones in case you or somebody you love is seriously injured as a result of somebody else's negligence. Not pursuing an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claim after paying for that policy makes very little sense following a serious California car accident.

Also, uninsured and underinsured coverage do not only apply to the vehicle you are in, meaning that if you are injured while in another person's vehicle and that driver was uninsured, you would still be covered. You may even have insurance through your own policy that would cover you even though you were in a different vehicle.

It is vital to find a knowledgeable automobile accident lawyer who understands insurance coverage and insurance policies which can help determine if an uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage claim is available.


Should I Sign The Paperwork The Insurance Company Sent Me After My Auto Accident?

Simply put, "NO". The insurance company is not on your side. Insurance companies have their own agendas, and are not paid to be on your side. In fact, most insurance companies are publicly traded, and those insurance companies are obligated to their shareholders to make a profit, and paying claims would not result in large profits.

Therefore, the documents that you may receive from an insurance company after you have been involved in a car accident are probably not there to help you. Those documents probably were not sent to you in order to make sure that your claim is protected, which does not mean that the insurance company is being evil, or that the documents can never be filled out. To avoid making a serious mistake, you should contact at skilled lawyer before filling out any documents, so that they may review the documents and make sure that they are not to your detriment.

At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, our attorneys have reviewed documents from countless insurance companies that write vehicle accident work in the State of California. Therefore, we understand the difference between justifiable questions, and questions which are crafted to look legitimate when they are in fact intended to seek information and cause problems for you in the future in regards to your case. We also have knowledge about what documents you are legally required to sign, and those documents which you are not obligated to sign.

It is imperative that your rights are protected following a car crash. You can be certain that the insurance company is quite skilled in making sure that they are doing everything in their power to process the claims in a way that will boost their profits.


Should I Settle My Auto Accident Case?

Many lawyers will focus on the fact that they will settle almost every case that they retain. This is typically because most people do not want to go to trial. Auto accident victims would like to receive the compensation they are entitled to under the law. In general, individuals who have sustained serious injuries or who have lost a loved one in an auto accident are not trying to obtain an unrealistic or exorbitant amount of money. Instead, they are trying to get compensation which is fair, and if they are able to settle the case justly without going to trial that is what they want.

It is very important to be careful when looking for a lawyer who will just promise to settle a case. Keep in mind that the insurance company has no incentive to make a fair offer if the injured party's lawyer is known to settle and refuses to go to trial. In such a situation, the insurance company will most likely try to "low ball" the lawyer and the injury victim until the case is ultimately settled.

The insurance industry is extremely sophisticated and complex, which is why you must hire a lawyer who has experience representing cases involving auto insurance policies and procedures. Our attorneys are familiar with California insurance laws and auto accident laws. We use our knowledge and skill to successfully represent our clients, and we will take cases to trial if necessary.

At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, our auto accident attorneys are prepared to fight for our clients. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!

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