The short answer is “No!” Do not discuss your case with anyone. What you may consider to be an innocent remark on your part, could be distorted or changed by others, especially the other party’s insurance company. If anyone calls you regarding the accident, obtain their name and phone number and advise them that you are consulting with an attorney, who will eventually contact them. Provide their information to any attorney you retain so that they can monitor the process.
The short answer is still “No.” You have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company but that does not necessarily include giving them a verbal statement. You can, and should, report the incident to your own insurance company, however you do not need to provide a verbal statement unless your insurance contract provides that you must.
Our practice is to offer a written statement to our client’s insurance carrier. If they insist on a recorded statement or any verbal statement we request that they first provide us the policy that reflects that our client has an obligation to provide a statement.
1) Although not allowed to, sometimes insurance companies share information with one another. How can this happen? You may be cross-insured with the person responsible for your injuries meaning you are insured by the same insurance. Similarly, it could be an innocent mistake where someone working at your insurance company shares your information. You don’t want the other insurance company to take out of context this information you shared with your own insurance carrier.
2) You may have uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage from your own insurance that will be used if the other party does not have any, or enough insurance. In this case, your insurance company will be responsible to pay for their damages and although not supposed to be, your insurance company often takes an adversarial role against you.
Do not sign any papers. Do not sign any statements, forms, reports or any other documents. Insurance companies often try to settle your case prior to your ascertaining the full extent of your injuries, and therefore the full value of your case.
Sometimes it takes a while before one’s pain manifests after an accident. Sometimes people get temporary relief from therapy, but have issues arise at a later date. At the Khorshidi Law Firm, when our clients are not 100% better we always advise our clients to wait as long as possible before settling their case. This way, our clients can appreciate the full extent of their injuries and only settle once they have recovered or fully understood their prognosis.
Should I wait for the other party’s insurance carrier to pay for my doctors?
Do not wait to seek medical care if you are injured! Not only will you impede your recovery and potentially aggravate your injuries, but the insurance company will use this against you. They can argue that you are not really injured because otherwise you would have sought immediate medical attention.
If you don’t have medical insurance, our office can refer you to a qualified doctor who will treat you and will not request to be compensated for their services until your case has been resolved. We work with board certified doctors in every specialty.
It is impossible to evaluate the value of a claim until ALL the factors have been compiled and analyzed. Even then, we can’t always be certain because each insurance company is different. The amount of the other party’s liability coverage play a factor. Other factors include the reputation of your attorney and your treating doctors. Does your attorney know how to try a case? Does your attorney settle cases very early to maximize his own bottom line? (Read more about how to select the best personal injury attorney) Does your attorney only try the big cases that makes sense financially for the attorney, and therefore might not want to take your small or medium sized case to trial if necessary?
Another factor is whether you have been treated in a way that is consistent with a person who claims to have been injured. Who are your treating doctors? Are they board certified and reputable? Have your injuries resolved with conservative care? Do you need future medical care, and if so how much will it cost according to your doctors or other experts such as life care planners. This is important as they may need to be requested to testify. Have you already lost earnings due to your injuries, and will you have future lost earnings? All of these factor into the answer about how much your claim is worth.
Furthermore, if you are able to work but not engage in the type of work you used to be able to perform before the injuries, a vocational expert would be contacted. The expert would need to interview you to determine what type of work you can do with your education and training, what you can be trained to do, and what the difference in wages would be when comparing your new work to your old work before the accident. Another factor that could come into play is if the insurance company has recently suffered a larger financial loss by not paying a fair settlement and was therefore held accountable by your attorney. In other words, they have paid more to the client than they originally needed to if they had been fair. Lastly, sometimes even the time of the year will affect the value of a claim.
You will NOT have to go to court! However, it is really up to you. All settlement offers will be referred to you and you alone will decide whether to accept or reject an offer. If you do not wish to go to court, you can always accept the latest best offer, if it is still available. The Khorshidi Law Firm will evaluate each offer extended to you and give you the tools and perspective you need to determine whether you wish to settle your case or proceed with litigation and go to trial.
No one can predict when your claim will be concluded. However, generally speaking, most claims settle (if they settle at all) between 1 month and 2 years after medical treatment is completed. How soon a claim can be settled is based on several factors, including: the type of injury, the issues of liability, the position and attitude of the insurance company, etc.
If you have been injured in California, from Los Angeles to San Diego to San Francisco, request a free consultation using the contact form on this page, or call us right away at (310) 273-2211 to speak to Omid Khorshidi, California’s trusted personal injury attorney.