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Should I accept the insurance company’s offered settlement?

Should I accept the insurance company’s offered settlement?

It is likely that the insurance companies will contact you if you are involved in a car accident with no fault of your own. You are injured and you have been discharged from the hospital just now. As soon as the insurance company learns this, they will jump quickly to offer you a settlement amount. They will be very soft-spoken and will offer you a very low amount to pay the present medical bills, or less. They will force you to accept the amount and assure you that the whole process will be easier once you sign the release of liability document.Often people think that the decision has to be taken quickly and the insurance companies are expecting just that. But be careful and don’t fall into the trap because they never think of your personal interests and will try to pay the least amount compared to what you are really entitled to get. When they are trying to settle the matter very quickly by offering least amount, it is likely that they are liable for a lot more than that. There are numerous factors that you should consider if you are thinking about accepting the company’s settlement offer.

Know Your Personal Claim’s Value

After a car accident, you have already suffered too much because of another person’s mistake. It would be a mistake to represent yourself and accepting the settlement offer given by the insurance company. Before accepting their offer, consult with an attorney at the Lara Law Firm.  Our consultations are free and risk free.When you are still recovering from your injuries, you might not know the cost of future medical bills as you might need therapy and rehabilitation. So, if you do accept an offer at the beginning of your claim, you cannot turn back and request more money from them in the future for more future bills.Most people are not aware how much money they can actually collect in a personal injury lawsuit. When you think you can handle the case without any legal help, you are at a loss because the insurance companies have a lot of experience in handling such cases and they know how to secure low settlements. Hence, it is crucial that you hire an attorney for the handling of your claim in a comprehensive manner.

Factors to Look For

Whenever you receive the settlement offer, it will be much lower than the real amount that the carrier is willing to offer. You have to show them that you have significant injuries and losses with hard evidence on paper.To know the value of your claim, you must consider the following factors:
  • Damage to your personal possessions
  • Disability or chronic disease due to the accident
  • Lost income
  • Lost opportunities at work like promotion
  • Medical bills
  • Counselling and rehabilitation
  • Transportation costs
  • Other expenses because of a car accident
When you get an idea of the amount of these losses, you can negotiate confidently with the insurance company. So, be certain about the damages before you accept the settlement offer.

Negotiate better

You have every right to negotiate the compensation amount when the insurance companies want to settle. But it is worthless if you are negotiating without fully understanding the damages you have suffered in the accident. You can hire an attorney to help you determine the value of your claim.  Further, an attorney can help you in negotiating the settlement amount that you are offered by the insurance company.Most of claims are settled before the trial begins or without filing any lawsuit. But, if that doesn’t happen, then you have to put your faith in the jury to get a substantial amount of compensation for your damages.  Be ready and hire a dedicated lawyer for your jury trial.

What is my personal injury case worth?

What is my personal injury case worth?

Unfortunately, you were rear ended or t-boned by another vehicle as you were driving down the road, and now you have to pay medical bills.  You may even be sent to collections after you incurred a $45,000.00 bill from emergency services. You will also think about what amount is necessary to pay your doctors and to pay yourself.  There is no true formula for knowing the value of your personal injury, but you can use several factors to compute the total losses in your case.  The losses should equal the compensation.After an accident, you can file a lawsuit against the person responsible for your damages. The damages are paid by the person or the company that is responsible for causing the personal injury. The personal injury claim can be settled among the parties, insurers and their attorneys after negotiation or it can be done by the judge after a court trial.The value of your claim can also be affected by factors such as medical care and ongoing rehabilitation. Moreover, if you were not the at-fault party, then the at-fault party's insurance should be required to pay the full cost of your initial medical treatments as well as any necessary rehabilitative or follow-up treatments. If the nature of the driving offense was drunk driving, then the court may also require the at-fault party to pay the victim punitive damages . The total value of your claim could also include compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering which is a type of emotional damage not easily quantifiable by dollar amount. 

Medical Treatment and Damages (Past and Future)

Most personal injury cases with permanent damages have heavy medical bills and therefore the claim amount includes the expenses of medical care that were incurred and that will be incurred in the future.  You will need a Life Care Plan and an Earning Capacity Evaluation.  Everything has to be included in the medical expenses including treatment, medicines and drugs, hospitalization, etc. The damages include the amount that you have already spent on treatment in addition to the estimated costs of treatment in future. 

Loss of Property

In the accident, there will be damages including your personal property like phones, clothes, etc. Even these things add to your claim and hence, you are entitled to receive compensation from the person responsible for the accident. If it was a car accident and you were hit by some other driver, you can claim the costs of vehicle repairs from the insurance company of the driver at fault. You should be compensated according to the market value of the property lost. Add all of your losses on paper, or on an email, 

Pain and Suffering

You have suffered a lot of pain during the accident and also, you have gone through serious discomfort after the accident. It can also leave a psychological effect on your mind. These are nothing but non-tangible ways of suffering due to an accident. You can claim compensation for these types of damages too as the other driver is responsible for such damages.  To know the value of all of these losses, you have to determine the injuries you suffered after the accident and into the future. 

Loss of Consortium

After a serious accident, you often you have to be away from your spouse or your time with your spouse is affected tremendously. This heavily impacts your relationship with your spouse as you also have to suffer from loss of companionship, compassion and often a sexual relationship. Some jurisdictions also consider the impact of personal injury on the parent-child relationship. While calculating all of these losses and life changing experiences, you should think about how all of this information will be presented to a jury. 

Loss of Income

Loss of income is part of the “specials” that are added to your medical bills to compute your personal injury compensation along with any future damages or loss of earning capacity.  Loss of income includes the income that you have lost but also the money that you could have made in the future if there was no accident. The lost opportunities in your career, incentives, and promotions are also considered in awarding the compensation amount.You can consider these points so that you can get the maximum claimed amount after your car accident. Because of injuries, you will also lose out on enjoying your hobbies, sports, meditation, etc. Even these things should be considered when calculating your offer and settlement with the insurance company.  But before filing a lawsuit, make sure that you have all of this information in writing so that your case is stronger and you achieve the desired compensation.  

What questions will be asked in a deposition?

What questions will be asked in a deposition?

When you have filed a lawsuit in an accident case, you have to develop your case by discovering facts. One of the ways to conduct discovery is through a deposition, which is a recorded interview with the opposing attorney.  The deposition can be taken at the courthouse, but it is usually taken at the other attorney’s office, your lawyer’s office, or at a court reporter’s office. The person, who is giving the testimony to the attorney, is referred to as deponent and it is testimony given under an oath. Depositions form a vital part of discovery in car accident lawsuits. The main purpose of the deposition is to let the parties learn more about the facts and the persons before the actual trial begins.The witness can be anyone, ranging from an eyewitness to an accident, drivers of the cars involved in the crash, or a passenger of those cars. The deposition provides an opportunity to the victim to understand the case better so that he or she can prepare a winning strategy before the trial begins.The questions in a deposition vary from case to case but the introductory and background questions are common in all the cases.  The questions for deposition preparation are standard across different kinds of cases. Here are sample questions and issues that will be discussed by the attorney in a deposition.

Background Questions

Personal Identification

  • Name, nickname, date of birth, age, phone number
  • Residential address and the duration of residing, addresses of the past residences
  • Work and schedule

Family Background

  • Marital status
  • Spouse name, his or her occupation
  • Number of children, if any
  • Activities with the family both before and after the accident

Educational Background

  • Name of the school where you studied
  • Level of education
  • Degrees
  • Educational training

Medical Background

  • Health issues before the accident
  • Health issues since you have met with the accident
  • Disability or chronic health problems
  • Treatment you have taken in the last few years

Legal and Criminal Background

  • Any conviction for the crime
  • Type of crime you committed and its penalty
  • Ever made any claims or lawsuits previously

Questions Related To The Accident

The common questions by the attorneys regarding the accident can touch on the following topics:
  • Time and date of the accident
  • Place you were coming from and you were headed to
  • Traffic and weather condition on the accident day
  • Any traffic lights or signs involved
  • Location of the accident
  • Many specific questions about speeds and distances
  • The speed of both the cars
  • Part of the vehicles collided
  • Injuries and Its Treatment
  • Now, the attorney will question about the injuries you got and treatment
  • Injuries caused due to the accident
  • Doctors you consulted
  • Symptoms you suffered during the accident
  • Time and duration of medical care
  • Cost of medical care
  • Income lost and claimed amount
  • Loss of income and opportunities in future
  • Loss of consortium and sex
  • How injuries affected personal relationships
These are some of the questions that can be asked by the attorney in a deposition. If you don’t know the answer to any of the questions, don’t answer because these answers will be used as a testimony during the trial in the court. You can also give estimates when appropriate.  Even you can depose the defendant and get the information about the events leading to the accident.  You also have the right to depose any witness you think will make your case stronger.Remember the session can be really aggravating due to irrelevant and intrusive questions that are asked. Be calm and answer the questions politely. If you refuse to answer the questions, it can place you on a bad light and it can have a negative effect by having a judge impose sanctions. However, if they ask you harassing questions, you have the right to object and refuse to answer.  

Will I have to go to trial after making a car accident claim?

Will I have to go to trial after making a car accident claim?

If you are involved in a car accident, there are two ways in which you can get compensation from the adverse driver.  One is to settle outside of the court by accepting the amount offered by the person responsible for the accident and his or her insurance company. Another way is to file a lawsuit and accept the arbitrator’s decision when an Award is made as to how much the injured party should receive in compensation.  Not everyone who is involved in a car accident goes to the court.  Most of the claims are settled before filing any lawsuit, after negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.  And as to the other lawsuits that do get filed, most of those are resolved before any trial begins.However, not all accident cases are settled outside of the court. Perhaps, either the parties cannot agree on the amount of compensation to be paid or they cannot agree on who was responsible for the accident. In such situations where the settlement is not possible, the only option is to go to court so that you can pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible for the damages.  The Lara Law Firm can help you with that task.When the matter is in court, you have to go to trial and explain everything to the jury along with the evidence. There are various other situations when you must go to court before the trial starts such as when motions in limine and motions for summary judgment are filed.

Personal Injury Claims

If you have filed a personal injury case in litigation after a car accident, then there are chances that you will have to appear for the trial.  In personal injury cases, the altercation will be over the compensation amount to be given by the driver at fault. The personal injury claims include present and future medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, any impairment or disability, transportation costs, loss of income, cost of vehicle repair, etc. The legal team of the opposite party will try hard to negotiate and lower the settlement amount because that is their purpose throughout this process. Hence, at times, if you are looking to get a proper amount of compensation, you have to go to the trial.

Court Summons

Often the opposite driver will be ticketed by the police present at the accident location as the police will often find that the driver has violated multiple traffic laws.  In such cases, you may be summoned to the court as a witness. But before you go to the court, you should talk to an experienced attorney and discuss the case at length, particularly if you have also filed a personal injury case for that accident. For example, while the traffic ticket is not admissible in your civil personal injury trial, the testimony given during the traffic court hearing is recorded and it is admissible in the civil trial.

Filing a Lawsuit

The insurance company and the adverse driver will make all attempts to avoid going to court because they want to avoid paying the legal expenses of defense counsel. Therefore, they will push to settle out of court.  You have to know the value of the personal injury case before accepting such offers so that you get the right amount damages awarded. You can consult an attorney with experience in personal injury claims to assess your claim properly. If you are not getting the desired amount, you have to be prepared to file a lawsuit to fight the case before a jury.While most of the cases are settled among the parties, there are few cases in which there are disagreements over numerous issues.  In such situations, you have to file a personal injury lawsuit and leave it to the jury to decide the amount of compensation. To fight the case, you can go to trial and show all of the evidence to a jury in a compelling and illustrative manner so that they understand your true suffering and pain after the car accident or injury.

How can I increase the payment on my personal injury claim?

How can I increase the payment on my personal injury claim?

When you are fighting for recovering financial compensation for an injury caused without any fault of your own, you should never sell yourself short. You must always think of maximizing your personal injury claim settlement by devising a strategy to negotiate, after the accident. A personal injury covers a wide spectrum of accident types and injuries or it can be a psychological or physical illness. The personal injury claims are of many types including accidents on roads, workplaces or public places, accidental slips, disease claims, medical negligence, consumption of adulterated food products, etc. These can cause any kind of injury to spinal, brain or body injuries that can also be life-threatening.No matter the type of accident and amount of injuries, you have to get the right compensation for your losses. You can follow the below mentioned steps for increasing the payment for your personal injury claim.

Document All the Evidence And Expenses

Before fighting your case, make sure that you collect all the information about the accident. You must collect witness statements, medical reports, bills, invoices and your other expenses after the accident. The job of the insurance adjuster is to decide the settlement amount. Hence, it will help you get maximum amount only if you include all the details about your expenses until now. You must also include unpaid wages and transportation charges to make the claim stronger.

Understand What the Insurance Covers

While claiming a personal injury amount, you need to understand all the things that your insurance covers. If you don’t have any knowledge about it, you can consult a personal injury attorney, who will make you understand the process better. There is also no-fault medical coverage that you or your attorney can control. The insurance industry is very tricky so you have to get the right advice from a right person.

Be Prepared and Keep An Amount In Mind

Explain the extent of losses you have suffered by mentioning specific points to show the claim value. Be aware of the amount of the losses and their value. So, decide a minimum figure in a range in which you will accept to settle the claim. When you have a bottom line in mind, you can discuss your case confidently with the insurer. However, if you find that there are shreds of evidence that are making your claim stronger, you can always increase the amount you had it in mind. There are various factors that determine the value of the case for a personal injury claim.

Do Not Accept the Initial Offer

The aim of the insurance adjusters is to totally avoid giving you the settlement amount or close the case with a minimal sum. Initially, they will offer you a very small amount for the settlement of the claim. This way they are testing if you know the value of your case or whether you are just there to accept the low amount offered. See if the amount they are offering is too low or if it is close to the minimum amount you are expecting. If you feel the amount they are offering is not reasonable, you can make your counteroffer. By bargaining a little more, you both can get to a final settlement amount that you both think is fair.Keeping all the details regarding the expenses will help you get the compensation you deserve. You should also take photographs of the incident site and if possible, of the injuries, to make the case stronger. Hiring a lawyer will be helpful in case the insurance adjusters are putting a lot of pressure on you. They will not only help you get your compensation sooner but also raise the settlement amount as they are experienced in personal injury settlements.

What Damages Can I Claim After A Car Accident?

making a claim after an accident in tucson

What Damages Can I Claim After A Car Accident?

You are riding in a car, thinking of the day’s plans and the work to be completed. Suddenly you are hit by a car and in a matter of seconds you are involved in an accident. All your day’s plans get crushed and now you are only frightened. After regaining your composure, you realize what has actually happened and you start thinking about the claim for your damages.  This includes damages to your property and injuries to your body. When you have an accident, you can seek compensation by filing a claim and recover your monetary losses. As every accident is unique, you should hire a lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve.There are many kinds of damages which you can claim, thereby making your case stronger for the claims adjustor. Let’s see some of the types of damages that you can claim after you have a car accident.

Damage to the Property

When you are involved in an accident, not only is your car is damaged, but also your personal property in the vehicle.  In this case, you can ask for compensation via the property damage claim. The injuries in the body or a death claim do not come under this claim. The at-fault driver’s insurance provider should bear the expenses for repairing the vehicle and for the damaged personal possessions. To make the settlement claim stronger, don’t forget to photograph the accident site and the car at the accident site. Keep the invoices of the replacements as it can help in getting an accurate amount for compensation.

Damages Caused Due to Pain and Suffering

After an accident, you will suffer from the pain you obtain from injuries or you can also have a psychological effect that wears on your enjoyment of life. To fight the depression and anxiety, you might need counselling sessions that will let you drive again. These are non-tangible ways of suffering from the accident. These types of damages are also claims for compensation. Before deciding the value of these claims, determine the injuries that you suffered and nature of the accident.

Damages Due to Death

In an accident, unfortunately, you might have experienced the death of your loved ones. You can file a lawsuit and claim compensation for damages. The damages include medical bills and compensation for the loss of the relationship of your loved one. If the death was of your spouse, you can also claim damages for the loss of affection and consortium.

Medical Expenses

If you have an injury due to the accident, you can seek compensation for medical expenses as they are very expensive. Everything is included in the medical claim such as hospitalization, diagnoses costs, treatment, medicines, etc. But make sure that you document each and every thing because you have to prove the medical expenses to get compensation. You can also note the kind of injury you had and the time you took to recover from that injury.

Lost Wages and Loss of Advancement

When you are injured, you have take a lot of personal time for treatment, first in the hospital and then during the recovery. At this time, you are not only missing out on your wages from your company, but also from various opportunities in career. So, you can determine the appropriate amount and get compensated according to the lost wages and the loss of advancement of your career.After a car accident you may lose out on several things in life and thus, you have to seek compensation for all your damages. You can collect pictures and videos to illustrate the extent of the damages that you suffered. 

How To Choose A Lawyer After An Accident

lawyer in tucson

How To Choose A Lawyer After An Accident

Accidents are unfortunate and terrifying as they spoil your day’s plans and moreover, you have to recover from an injury, if any, for the next few weeks, months or years. In this case, you have to hire a personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit and claim compensation from the insurer. The lawyers are hired either to defend your case against someone, who has filed a lawsuit against you or to represent your case against the offender for injuring you in an accident. It becomes vital for you to choose a lawyer with whom you are comfortable with and so that he or she can strongly represent you against the offender. So, here are a few tips that will help you choose a better lawyer after an auto accident in Arizona.

Decide What You Want

When choosing a lawyer, be clear on what you are exactly looking for. See what kind of traits or behavioural pattern you want in your lawyer so that you can be comfortable. The services that you will get from your personal injury lawyer depend on the traits of a lawyer. Check how easily accessible he or she is, and the way he or she responds to your queries. You should also look for how competent he or she is in the field of personal injury and his or her ability to understand and explain the whole procedure after an accident including liens, recovery, and the use of auto and health insurance to your benefit. Also, check out if he or she is transparent in laying out the terms and conditions for the services and ask if the firm takes cases to trial!

Take Notice of The Things To Avoid

Not all lawyers will get you the compensation amount that you are expecting from the settlement case. There are few things that you would like to avoid and be vigilant of the attorney, who gives incredible promises. Try to stay away from those lawyers, who give unrealistic figures pertaining to the compensation. You also should not hire those lawyers who never respond to your calls, as it is always important to keep the client informed and not in the dark over the case proceedings. You can either get reviews from people who have hired that attorney or you can check his or her credentials online.

Ask for a Referral

You can ask your friends, families or your colleagues to find out if they had hired an attorney or if they know someone reputable in the community who can help you determine who to hire for a personal injury claim. If they refer you to someone, you should get all your questions answered before you hire that person.  Knowing more about that attorney will help you make the decision.

Research the Attorney

If you get a referral, make sure you search for the attorney’s credentials. You can either search on the internet or with other people who know the attorney. Check how much experience he or she has in handling personal injury claims and how successful he or she has been in helping his clients get the maximum claim amount. Always go for a strong attorney, who can fight and argue with the claims adjuster and get you the amount that you deserve.

Conduct Interviews and then Hire

Schedule a meeting with the potential candidate to know a few things before hiring that person. Prepare beforehand a list of questions to ask about his terms and conditions, theories for your case, etc. Once you are satisfied with the answers, you can take some time before taking a decision. Once you have followed all these steps and after you go through everything, you will gain enough confidence in choosing a lawyer after your accident.

What to do after a car accident with a drunk driver

What to do afterauto accidents in tucson a car accident with a drunk driver

One of the most terrifying experiences you can have is to get involved in a car accident. Another one will be to know that you were not at fault and that you had an accident only because of a drunk driver that hit your car. It is simply a very painful experience to get injured and suffer because the other driver was driving under influence of drugs or alcohol. In this case, you have a very good chance of getting a hefty compensation for the injuries you sustained as a result of the crash. You also have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.While you must be thinking that you are lucky to survive the crash, there is a long road to recovery. Regardless of the level of injuries you received, the insurance company of the offender will pressure you to settle the case outside the court to close the accident case and keep the amount as low as possible. Do not give up quickly because to get the compensation that you deserve, you have to assess the damages caused, including the financial losses like medical costs, lost salary, etc.To protect your rights and receive the compensation pertaining to the losses, you should follow the below-mentioned steps when you are involved in a car accident with a drunken driver.

Stay At The Scene and the Attentive

When you get hit by a drunken driver, make sure that you stay at the scene so that you can assess the damages and the adverse driver’s identity. Unless there is a safety issue or serious injuries, you must not leave the accident scene. Attend other passengers, if there are any, and call for emergency assistance as well as police services. You have to gain enough evidence to make your case strong. The vehicle insurance companies want you to contact police in case of an accident to get an official report. They might deny the claims in the absence of reports from an official.attorneys Adolfo Lara and Jeff Gould can help you after an accident with a drunk driver

Take Photographs and Video Record the Crime Scene

The visuals of an accident scene are valuable because they act as strong evidence in the court of law. They not only show the exact depiction of the crash scene but also help the jury to understand the trauma faced by the victim. It also shows the conditions of the accident scene like the road layout, traffic signs and lights, visibility, weather, etc. Visual evidence also ensures that the offender can’t make up any story against you. And the video can show who was present, the defendant’s condition and the evidence left on the road.

Identify Offender And Note Details About the Witnesses

While it will be difficult to identify the offender, make sure you obtain all of the details of the vehicle and the driver. Also, search for any witness present at the crash scene. The police officers might miss listing some of the witnesses at the scene. So, it is vital that you identify the witnesses and ask them to help you when needed.

Note the Medical Costs, Lost Wages and Repair Costs

If you are looking to get proper compensation, you should gather all the bills pertaining to medical care, lost wages, medicines, devices, etc. You should know that every loss should be compensated but proper invoices have to be presented to be reimbursed.

Attend the Criminal Hearings

You have done everything like collecting evidence, gathering bills, obtained information about witnesses, etc., and hence made your case strong. Now, it is important that you provide all those things when your case is heard in the criminal court for restitution. Attending the hearings will make the case stronger and it will help you get desired compensation in the civil court at a later date.After an unfortunate car accident with a drunken driver, make sure you follow all the steps so that you can get compensation accordingly. You should hire a good lawyer to assess your options and file a lawsuit.  Don’t hesitate to call us.
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