• POSTED: July 12, 2019
  • POSTED BY: LanceFriel

Personal Injury Lawyer in Stockton
When you are involved in a car accident, there are many bills that accumulate to cover immediate medical attention, ongoing medical bills and property damage if needed. Not only may you feel emotionally overwhelmed by the accident, dealing with the legal nuances of insurance companies and filing a personal injury claim can get stressful. Speak with a personal injury lawyer in Stockton who can help you through all the elements.

How to Pay the Upfront Costs

After a car accident, victims of injury must cover their medical costs initially. It may later be determined that the other driver was at fault and must cover medical costs, but this will happen after treatment. Luckily, there are several options for taking care of medical bills after an accident:

  • Medical Payments/No Fault Coverage – Commonly referred to as “med pay.” Med pay is optional coverage that an individual may opt into when choosing a car insurance policy. If an individual has this coverage, the insurance company will pay for medical costs no matter whose fault it is. They will pay for medical care before the lawsuit is completed. These policies often have a limit of $5,000, but there is a wide range of options available. Talk to your insurance company to understand your coverage or speak to a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento for more information. The amount covered varies as do the rules regarding how soon medical treatment must be sought or completed. You will be required to reimburse your insurer in the case of a settlement or other financial compensation.
  • Health insurance – If you have health insurance coverage through an employer or independently, it may cover some of the necessary treatment. This is not a permanent way to pay – there is a contractual duty to pay them back if you were awarded compensation. Using health insurance to pay for the upfront costs can help alleviate stress and allow you to get the treatment you need. If the case settles in your favor, you may get enough compensation to cover paying your insurance company back and then some.
  • Medicare/Medicaid – They typically will pay for treatment but can be more aggressive in being repaid.
  • Signing a lien. Signing a lien means postponing payment until the end of a case. Many doctors and health facilities will agree to a lien and treat you without immediate pay. However, if you lose the case or decide not to proceed, you will still owe whatever medical costs you incurred.
  • Out of pocket – If you have no other way to pay for bills, and the doctor will not sign a lien, then you may have to pay for the bills out of your own pocket, and hope for a quick settlement so you may be repaid promptly.

Car accident victims are accountable for all medical costs until a lawsuit has been settled. Individuals who receive a settlement or financial compensation must repay their insurance company or medical provider if their care was covered. This is because when an individual receives compensation, the sum the defendant is asked to pay is meant to cover at least some of the incurred medical costs. If the plaintiff’s medical costs were covered by insurance or the doctor, that individual has had their bills covered twice.

What Can a Lawsuit Cover?

When it comes to seeking compensation from a car collision, medical bills can be a part of the conversation you have with a Sacramento accident attorney. Financial compensation can include many costs and loss of wages for the victim.

Under California law, you can recover damages for:

  • Medical bills
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages

In the most unfortunate case of a loss of life due to a car accident, damages relating to that loss may be sought. The estate of the victim and the surviving family members can seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills due to the accident but before death
  • Funeral costs
  • Wrongful death
  • Loss of companionship, etc.

Proving Fault

There are two main ways in which fault and compensation can be determined in California:

  • Directly through insurance companies
  • Through a court of law with a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento

Individuals can try to negotiate a settlement directly with their insurance company without filing a car accident claim or lawsuit. The initial offer will most likely be unsatisfactory, prompting an individual to send a demand letter explaining the exact injuries due to the car accident and listing the costs of medical care.

In the case that an individual cannot come to an agreement with their insurance company, it may be necessary to seek compensation in court through a lawsuit. Car accident lawsuits are also helpful as additional damages such as for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or wrongful death can be sought.

In order to win a case, the plaintiff and his or her attorneys must prove several points:

  • The defendant caused the accident.
  • The plaintiff incurred injury during or due to the accident.
  • The defendant’s actions directly or indirectly caused the plaintiff’s injury.

The state of California has a comparative fault system. This means that the individuals involved in a car collision can be deemed each partially at fault for the incident. How much an individual is at fault affects how much they can receive in compensation. For example, if an individual is deemed to be 20% at fault, he or she can only recover 80% of the offered compensation.

A Personal Injury Lawyer in Stockton Can Fight To Get Your Medical Bills Compensated!

Have you been involved in a car accident? Contacting a knowledgeable and motivated personal injury lawyer in Stockton at The Friel Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve. We understand that the bills accumulated from a car accident can be high so we fight hard to get you compensated. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

What information should I get from the other person?
Be sure to get the same information you gave them as well as as much additional information you can, such as:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • License number
  • License expiration date
  • The vehicle’s identification number
  • The name and address of the car’s owner
  • The name and address of their insurance company
  • Their insurance policy number
  • The other car’s make, model, license plate number and expiration date, the vehicle’s identification number
  • The name, contact information, and insurance information of the car’s owner if different from the driver

What other information should I gather at the scene?

  • The names and contact information of any nearby witnesses. Ask them to stay to make a statement to the police. If they must leave, ask them to describe the incident and leave a contact number.
  • If there are witnesses that don’t want to get involved or tell you their names, don’t push them. Just ask if they have any information, especially if it was a hit and run and they saw the other car.
  • The name and badge number of the police officer(s) that arrive on the scene. Ask them when you can get a report.
  • TAKE PICTURES. If you can’t take pictures, draw a diagram of the scene – don’t forget skid marks. Try to be as accurate as possible. Take note of the weather and any other conditions, such as the time of day and how well-lit the area is. A Sacramento car accident lawyer uses evidence like this to prove liability.
  • Precisely record the time, date, and place of the accident. Try to estimate your speed at the time of the incident. The sooner you write down your own report, the more accurate it is likely to be.

What if the property owner can’t be found?
If you collide with an individual’s property and that individual cannot be located, you may leave the scene so long as you leave behind your name, address, an explanation of the accident, and the name and address of the car’s owner if it’s not you. This information must be left in an obvious location so that the property owner will see it and it won’t be lost by some natural cause, such as wind.

You also must inform the local police or highway patrol ASAP. If an officer does not come to the location of the collision, you must go to the police department and file a report yourself. A personal injury lawyer in Stockton will use this report to help fight your case.

What if someone is injured?
You are required to help an injured person from a collision. First check yourself, then try to help someone else. Stay calm. Breathe deeply – you will probably feel some amount of shock. You may need to call an ambulance or take the individual to the hospital yourself, so long as that person is not severely injured. If an individual is severely hurt do not try to move this person unless moving them will prevent further harm such as vehicle collision or fire, even if this moving worsens their initial injury.

What if I don’t have a phone?
If you cannot place a call for help, try to indicate to passing vehicles that there is a problem. Place flares on the road, so long as there is nothing flammable nearby. Turn on your hazard lights and pop your hood. Try to flag down a passing car.

What do I say to 911?
Try to get an idea of where you are – can you see street signs? If you’re on the highway, is there a sign for nearby towns, or can you see at what mile marker you are? It’s important to try to be as precise as possible when explaining where you are to the 911 operator as their location systems are not always perfectly accurate. Explain what happened and whether you need an ambulance or a firetruck. Do not hang up until the operator tells you it is okay to. Stay calm and follow the operator’s directions.

If you have been injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, you should call an experienced personal injury lawyer in Stockton immediately. It is imperative that you seek legal guidance as an attorney will have the industry experts and investigators to build a strong case. The attorney will fight to ensure just compensation is received, call for a free consultation today!