Ask a Lawyer: How much compensation am I paid for an injury?

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When you’ve been in an accident with another Redlands driver and you have been injured, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, damages and future impairments. To be compensated, the other party needs to found responsible for the accident – -and that the accident was mostly their fault. If you are partly to blame, any settlement could be reduced by the percentage of blame you are assigned.

 Factors that Contribute to your Settlement Offer

When you are offered a settlement or awarded damages, several factors are taken into account. Each of these has an impact on the total amount you are compensated and the settlement you receive. Every award is different but being aware of the factors that make up your compensation helps you understand what expect.

Injuries Sustained

The amount, degree and seriousness of your injuries will impact your financial settlement. More severe injuries require more invasive and lengthy treatment and as a result, offer more compensation. Any injuries you sustain need to be not only treated but you should receive a prognosis for the future. Your injuries and treatment time also influence the amount you receive as compensation for missed work hours and related issues .

Long Term Outlook

If you have sustained injuries that will impact your ability to care for yourself, hold the job you had at the time of the accident or that permanently impact your life, you can be compensated for them. Disfigurement, loss of limbs or function and related issues all contribute to your eventual settlement. Any specialty adaptive equipment, ongoing medical care or other potential costs should be properly compensated in this case as well.

Change to your Career or Lifestyle

If the accident results in you no longer being able to do you job or you are unable to work in the industry you’ve trained in, you may be compensated for your losses. You may also be compensated for new skills and job training.

Blame

Do you have any liability in the auto accident? Were your injuries more extensive because of your own actions or inattention? Would you be responsible for some of your own injuries? If some of the liability or responsibility can be placed on you, portions of your settlement may be reduced. It does not mean you should not pursue damages and be compensated, it just means that some factors may be reduced based on your own culpability.

Get Help with your Auto Accident Settlement

The best way to get the full picture and determine what you could be awarded is to speak with one of our auto accident attorneys. We’ll be able to walk you through the different factors of your case and give you a good idea of what to expect from the process, including your eventual settlement. Get in touch today and get the help you need to resume your normal life after an accident has disrupted it.

Ask a Lawyer: According to a lawyer, what steps should be taken after you’ve been injured in a car accident?

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The immediate aftermath of a Redlands auto accident can be confusing and overwhelming. Learning what to do before you ever get in an accident will help you protect your physical and financial health after an accident and ensure you get the best possible outcome for yourself and your loved ones. 

What should I do if I have been injured in a car accident?

If you have been injured in an auto accident, you should take the following steps to prevent further injury and ensure your case is documented. 

Step 1: Get emergency assistance. Call an ambulance and the police (in California you are legally required to report any accident with injuries) and accept the advice and help that is offered. Paramedics see car accident victims every day and will be better able to assess your needs than you are. Skipping out on medical treatment could make your injuries even worse. 

Step 2: Document the accident: You’ve called the police and they will file a report, but if you can, this is also the time to take video or photographs of the accident. These will be used to support your case if you end up going to court and provide a clear, objective idea of what happened. You’ll also have the opportunity to speak with the officer, though do not be surprised if they speak to the other party first; police often speak to the party they feel was responsible before talking with the victim. 

Step 3: Gather witness information: People want to be helpful and most stop to assist after an accident. Get the names and numbers of any witnesses, just in case you need to call them later. 

Step 4: Get insurance details: Gather insurance information from the other party; their insurer will be the ones paying for your damages if they were to blame for the accident. You’ll need these details to file a claim. 

You should notify your own insurer of the accident so that it can be documented, then get in touch with an attorney. It is common in Redlands for motorists to be offered a fast settlement after an accident — one that fails to completely cover their damages. An attorney can ensure that you are treated fairly and that you are not offered a ridiculously low settlement for your injuries. 

Get Help with your Car Accident Injuries in Redlands, CA

If you have been injured in an auto accident, your entire life can be impacted. From getting to work to actually being able to perform your job, your regular schedule will be completely derailed. If you have sustained a significant injury you could have months of recovery time in front of you. We understand just how badly an auto accident can disrupt your life and will work hard to ensure you are fairly compensated. Contact Harsh Law today for a free consultation and to learn more about your options.

Ask a Lawyer: When to seek medical attention

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A car accident is a shocking and stressful event. In the immediate aftermath, you may be confused and numb which means this is not the right time to be making decisions about your health or assessing your injuries. Learning more about seeking medical attention after a Redlands auto accident will ensure that you get prompt treatment and prevent any injuries you have from becoming worse. Here’s what you need to know about seeking medical attention after your wreck. 

When Should I Get Medical Attention After a Wreck?

If you have visible or obvious injuries: This one is clearly straightforward; if you are bleeding, have pain or are otherwise in distress, you should see a doctor at once. Emergency treatment may be needed and you should accept the help that is offered. 

If a child was in the car: Kids may not recognize or be able to relay the signs of injury very well. If you had young children in the car, they should be seen right away, even if you do not see any injures. Back, neck and head injuries may not show up immediately, and if your child is crying and in distress,  you won’t know if they are in pain or simply in shock from the accident. Don’t risk it — take your children to be seen, even if you do not see signs of injury. 

If your airbags deployed: If your airbags triggered, then the impact was severe enough for you to have internal injuries, whiplash or neck injuries. See a doctor right away if any airbags in your car deployed during the accident. 

If EMTs recommend it: If an ambulance comes to the scene of the accident, they will check everyone out. If they feel you should head to the hospital, you should definitely go. EMTs routinely see accident victims and can likely spot the signs of a worsening injury better than you can. 

If you feel worse the next day: If you had no visible signs of trauma, the airbags did not deploy and EMTs did not come, you may think you are in the clear…until your head, back and neck start hurting the next day. Any pain needs to be evaluated by a medical professional, the sooner the better. 

Get Help with your Redlands Car Accident Injury

If you have been in a car accident and are injured, we can help. Our role is to ensure that you are treated fairly by all parties involved and you get the right assistance and treatment for the injuries you have sustained. Contact Harsh Law today for a free consultation if you’ve been injured in a car accident  and to learn more about your options.

If You Are Hit by an Uninsured Motorist in Redlands, CA

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Any accident is unsettling, but if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you have more to worry about than just your injuries or damages. If you were not at fault, then you may have an uphill battle collecting damages from someone who could not afford or was too irresponsible to insure their vehicle. If you were at fault, you could be looking at a significant financial outlay if you do not have the proper insurance in place already.

Learning more about what happens when an uninsured driver is involved in an accident can help you protect yourself and your financial future. There are some steps you can take now and even after an accident to mitigate risk and minimize the damage to your finances.

Protect Yourself with Insurance

The absolute best thing you can do to protect yourself against uninsured motorists is to purchase the right kind of car insurance from the start. Adding both uninsured and underinsured riders to your policy can protect you financially after an auto accident, no matter who was to blame. If you do not have this coverage, you should elect to as soon as possible to protect yourself and your finances. You should have both of these types of coverage for full protection:

Uninsured Motorist: This insurance covers you if you are in an accident with another driver who has no insurance at all. If they are to blame, your needs will be covered by your own provider. If you are to blame, your insurance will cover the accident as usual.

Underinsured Motorist: Some people comply with the law but fail to have enough insurance to cover the damage they cause. If you are hit by an underinsured motorist, this coverage will ensure you get back on the road right away and that you are compensated by your own insurer, even if the person who caused the accident does not have enough insurance to cover repairs and costs.

If you Don’t Have Coverage

About 25% of all US drivers are rolling through the streets without insurance coverage. If you encounter one of them, you still have options, even if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage. If you hit a driver who is not covered, they may work very hard to insist the accident is fully your fault. If you accept blame for the accident, your insurer will have to cover the costs (and you may be liable for some as well).

If you are in an accident with an uninsured person, no matter who is to blame, you must fully document the incident. You are legally required to file a police report if there are injuries or there is property damage; if the other party is uninsured, you should file with the California Highway Patrol or local Redlands police to document the incident. You may need this proof later.

Take photos of the accident, gather witness information and record your version of events. An uninsured driver who feels you are to blame will work hard to get your insurance company to pay their damages (they also may be facing expensive fines and consequences and hope to minimize their expenses by shifting blame to you). Never apologize or admit error and always document everything, even if the other driver has nothing to share beyond their contact information.

Be Extra Cautious

The other driver may resist reporting the accident at all, since they are breaking the law for driving without insurance; you will be breaking the law as well if you fail to report the crash. You should also be aware of common car accident scams, where an “uninsured” driver actually causes an accident and wants your insurance to pay for their car or “injuries”.  They could claim to not have insurance simply to avoid the hassle of filing, to avoid police interaction or to avoid an increase in their own premiums.

No matter what has happened, calling the police for a report, documenting everything and seeking out the advice of a Redlands auto accident attorney can help protect you after an accident with an uninsured motorist. Taking extra precautions can save you time, money and hassle after this type of accident and protect your financial future as well. If you are not sure what to do after an accident, get in touch; we can help you determine your next steps and recover any losses you may be entitled to. Contact Harsh Law today for help with your auto accident claims and recovery; we’re here for you when you need us most.

When to Involve a Lawyer in an Uninsured Motorist Accident in Redlands, California

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An auto accident is unsettling and disruptive enough, but when you are in a collision with an uninsured or an underinsured driver, you may have to take additional steps to recover your losses. After an auto accident in Redlands, you should take steps to protect yourself and fully document the crash and circumstances. If you discover the other driver is uninsured – or if they fail to stop at all – you’ll need to work with your own insurance company to recover damages, provided you have this form of coverage.

Work with Your Own Insurer if you Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage

If you are covered by uninsured and underinsured drivers’ insurance, then you can work with your own insurance provider. They will process your claim and then pursue the other, uninsured party to recover damages on your behalf; you will not have to be involved in the collection process or work things out with the other party. Uninsured motorist coverage is not required but is usually inexpensive and can protect you in this increasingly common scenario.

If your own insurer is doing their job and performing properly, you may not need an attorney; some claims are processed swiftly and easily, and you’ll be able to put the accident behind you in a hurry.

What if I Don’t Have Underinsured and Uninsured Coverage?

If you have not yet been in an accident, you should elect these additional forms of coverage right away; they are not expensive and can protect you financially after an accident. If you have already had an accident and are not covered, you will likely need an attorney to help you pursue the other party for your damages.

Do I Need an Attorney After a Redlands Car Accident with an Uninsured Motorist?

You will almost certainly need a car accident attorney if you are struck or hit by an uninsured motorist. California is not a “no fault” insurance state, meaning you have the option of filing a law suit after you have been in an accident with an uninsured driver. In some cases, this may be the best way to recover your losses after a collision.

To file and win a lawsuit, you’ll need to have the details of the accident to prove your case. This means you should take photos of the accident, speak to any witnesses and contact the California Highway Patrol or local police to file a report. See a doctor for any injuries both to protect your health and to further document your case. All the details you collect will be used to support your eventual case.

Can you Collect from an Uninsured Motorist?

The tricky part of dealing with a lawsuit after a collision with an uninsured motorist is often not winning the case – it is collecting the awarded damages. In many cases, the person who was driving without insurance may not have the assets needed to pay the damages you have won; they are also facing stiff fines and the loss of their driving privileges as well, which could also impact your ability to collect.

The best thing to do after a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver is to work with your own insurer or contact a car accident attorney. Our team can help assess your case and pursue the person who caused the accident; we can also help determine what steps to take to collect the damages and fees you have been awarded.

Auto accident cases are complex, so the best way to move forward is to get in touch and talk about the specific details of your case. Contact Harsh Law for a free consultation and to learn more about your options after your accident and to ensure you are treated fairly by all parties. We’re here to help you move forward after a crash disrupts your life.

What if You Are Hit By an Uninsured Motorist

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Any auto accident is a nerve-wracking experience, but when you are hit by an uninsured motorist, you have to worry about even more potential issues. Someone who is driving without insurance is breaking the law; in California, you must have car insurance to protect others if you have a vehicle. For you, the victim of the accident, the lack of insurance is particularly worrisome; learning more about your options after a Redlands crash with an uninsured motorist can help you determine what to do and what to expect from the process. 

What to Do After a Collision with an Uninsured Motorist in Redlands California

While insurance is a legal requirement, drivers do break the law regularly. When this happens, it is essential for you to fully document the accident. Filing a police report is required already if the accident has injuries (read more about police reports and your accident here); it is absolutely essential to call the police after an accident with an uninsured person. The police report from the scene will be needed to document the accident for your own insurance company. 

You May Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage

If you are complying with the law and have car insurance, you may have uninsured motorist coverage as well; California requires all insurers to offer this coverage. While this will help protect you after you’ve been in a collision with an uninsured driver, it may not cover everything. This insurance is elective, but having it will save you time, money and trouble if you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist. 

If you do have uninsured motorist coverage (you can determine if you have this by reviewing your policy), then your own insurance company should cover your costs; they will then attempt to recover these costs from the other party. Problems can arise if your insurer does not cover the full extent of your damages and injuries; you may need an attorney to help if this happens. 

If you Don’t Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage is optional; while your insurer is required to offer it, you do not have to buy it. If you do not have this coverage, you will have to pursue the other driver for your damages. In this situation, you will almost certainly need an attorney; the person who hit you will be facing stiff legal fines, penalties and paying you for the damage they caused may not be their top priority. A Redlands auto accident attorney can help you learn about your options and what to expect after a collision with an uninsured motorist. 

Do you Need Underinsured Motorist Coverage? 

Some drivers technically comply with the law, but fail to have enough coverage. In this case, you can use underinsured motorist coverage to recover losses in excess of the other driver’s policy. If you do not have this coverage, it is best to work with an auto accident attorney to help recover your losses and ensure you are treated fairly by the other driver and their insurer. 

Being hit by a driver who is not insured creates additional concerns and complications beyond those experienced by the typical car accident injury victim. When an uninsured or undersinsured motorist has hit you, you should seek out the advice of an attorney to ensure you are treated fairly. If you find yourself in this situation, we are here for you; contact Harshbarger Law right away to talk about your options.

What Your Rights Are as an Insured Driver?

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If you own a car, you need to have an insurance policy that covers you and others in the event of an accident. The State of California requires you to have insurance on your vehicle; by purchasing this required insurance you also receive a variety of protections and benefits from your insurer.

What is a Named Insured?

When you buy an insurance policy in Redlands you are the named insured; this means that you are the owner of the policy. As the person who owns the policy you are responsible for making timely payments and verifying any changes to your coverage. If you buy insurance for your family and you pay for it, you are still the named insured on the policy and are the person responsible for changes and dialogues with the insurer.

While most named insured are the actual owners of the vehicle in question, you do not need to hold the title. You can share insurance benefits and coverage with your spouse and children if you have more than one driver in the family. Your spouse may also be a named insured on your policy; your kids are considered additional insured parties.

What Benefits and Responsibilities Does a Named Insured Have?

When you are the named insured, you can:

  • Authorize any changes needed to the policy
  • Make decisions and cash claim checks if you have incurred a covered loss.
  • Receive benefits and claim awards if your vehicle is damaged in a way that is covered by your policy. Since policies vary, the amount of coverage you have and the type of benefit you will receive will vary as well. 
  • Be notified if a claim is filed on your policy; if a child or spouse has an accident you’ll still need to deal with the insurance company and work through the details if you are the named insured. 
  • Accept or decline a settlement if it is offered; for best results consult an attorney before making a decision on any settlement you are offered. 

Drivers vs. Named Insured

Drivers are just that – people who are able to enjoy automobile insurance and drive legally. Drivers do benefit from the policy but are not permitted to make changes or accept claim payments without the approval of the named insured.

Can a Named Insured be Removed?

It is possible to remove the main person on the policy or a spouse, but that person must be notified so that they can make arrangements for coverage elsewhere. This situation occurs most often during a divorce, when the parties want to fully separate all aspects of their lives.

Insurance is designed to protect you in the event of an accident; ideally, you’ll be fairly compensated. If you have been in an accident and are having trouble with an insurer or the other party, an auto accident attorney can help. Contact Harshbarger Law today to get the assistance you need and to be sure you get the best possible outcome from your case. 

How To Post on Social Media After a Car Accident

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It seems like everyone today has a social networking account. People have no problem posting or tweeting details every minute about their daily lives and divulging information that perhaps should best be left to their knowledge alone. After you have been in a car accident, it can be tempting, if not natural, for you to go back to updating your statuses and posting pictures of yourself in a bid to stay active on social media. However, your online activities could be detrimental to any legal case you are building because of your accident. If you must return to social media, you are advised to use the utmost care and remember these tips to prevent your case from being jeopardized.

Avoid Posting Pictures of Yourself after the Accident

Even if you are bloodied up and bruised because of the accident, you should resist posting a “selfie” on social media after your wreck. The other side of the case could contend that you are obviously not hurt because you can hold a camera and you were smiling in your picture. Pictures are so subjective, even in the best of circumstances. Your pictures of yourself showing your post-accident injuries could actually be mistaken as a signal to your followers that you are okay.

Word Your Updates Carefully

If word leaks out to social media that you have been in an accident, you should avoid giving the impression that the wreck was minor and that you are perfectly fine. Your friends and family members will undoubtedly flock to your page and inquire about your safety and health. You should resist saying that you are fine, that the wreck was minor, that you feel okay, and other positive updates.

Even if you are indeed feeling okay, you should only update your friends and family members that you are at home or the hospital, or that you thank everyone for their good thoughts. Avoid saying that everything is fine because the other side could use this status update to prove that you were not hurt in the accident and that your case has no basis.

Guard Your Emotions on Social Media

It can be too easy to lambast the other side on Facebook or Twitter and join in the bashing of the person who caused the wreck. However, the responsible person could use your words against you and tell the judge that you are vindictive, hateful, and out to get him or her. The judge may gauge your words as signs that you are not gravely impacted by the accident and you have an ulterior motive for going to court. As much as it may tempt you, you would be well advised to stay off social media until your case is resolved.

Follow Your Attorney’s Instructions

Your attorney can provide the best advice for you if you want to get back on social networking sites. Listen to your attorney and avoid acting out in a way that could jeopardize your case. Harshbarger Law advises you to avoid talking to anyone, including the insurance company and friends on social media, until you talk to an attorney.

Social media has become a major way that people stay in touch with their friends and family members. However, your information on these sites could be used against you in court. You can protect your case by using these tips as you return to social networking.

What To Say and What Not To Say Following An Accident

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The things you say and do in the aftermath of a car accident can play a big role in the way your eventual settlement or lawsuit plays out. Anything you say can be taken as a statement – and if you apologize, admit liability or refuse medical help, you could jeopardize your own financial and physical wellbeing.

What NOT to Say After a Car Accident

Your words after an accident matter, whether you say them to the other party, the authorities or even your own mobile device. Strike these phrases from your vocabulary in the aftermath of an accident to protect your rights and fiscal wellbeing.

“I’m Sorry”

It seems like the polite thing to do, but using the word “sorry” in pretty much any context is a bad idea after a crash. This may seem like a simple courtesy and even be something automatic you feel you should say, but it can be used against you later and even taken as an admission of partial liability or guilt for the accident. A witness that hears you apologize could think you are saying you are to blame, and that could damage your case later.

“I don’t need a doctor”

If medical help is offered, accept it; this is not the time to be stoic or tough. EMS is there for a reason and you need prompt treatment, particularly if you have whiplash or a head injury. Since some injuries are not readily apparent, getting medical treatment is essential for your health; this will also document your injuries for a settlement or lawsuit later.

“You won’t believe what happened to me”

Social media is becoming more relevant than ever, so resist detailing your accident online. The words you choose to share on Facebook, Twitter or another social network could be used against you later. This information may feel private, particularly if your circle of friends is small, but oversharing on social media can wreck your case.

What you CAN Say After an Accident

As long as you don’t accept blame or apologize, you can be polite and you can ask the other driver and passengers if they are injured. You can call for assistance for your own passengers or those in the other car but stick to the facts and describe any injuries if asked, but do not say anything that could place you as the responsible party.

You can also exchange contact details with the other party as you wait for police to arrive. When police get there, you can answer questions factually and describe what happened. If the police believe the other party is to blame, they may speak to them first; resist interrupting or correcting them. Providing honest and correct information will help your case and ensure that the record is accurate.

Knowing what to say (and what not to say) after an accident can help preserve your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly by all parties. Learning what to do before you ever get into a crash makes it easier for you to cope with the aftermath. If you have been in an accident and are concerned about your wellbeing or finances or how you are being treated by the other side, we can help. Contact Harshbarger Law right away to talk about your case and get the help you need to move forward.

When to Call the Authorities – California Highway Patrol (CHP)

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The California Highway Patrol has specific guidelines covering collisions and reporting; you should be aware of the steps required to make sure that you are fully complying with the law, no matter who was to blame for the accident. A collision is already a stressful event, so knowing what to do to protect yourself and your loved ones afterwards will give you peace of mind and ensure you get the best possible outcome. Here’s what the California Highway Patrol (CHP) requires drivers to do after car accidents.

Reporting a Car Accident to the California Highway Patrol

The California Highway Patrol maintains a list of requirements for those who have been involved in a collision on one of the state’s many roadways. The first and most important of these is that you must stop after being involved in an accident; if you fail to stop, you could be charged with hit and run. You also have to call the CHP and DMV to report collisions with specific characteristics. You should call the authorities if any of the following conditions are in place after your accident:

There are any injuries present (even minor injuries count): Any fatality or injury of any type should trigger a report to the authorities. To protect yourself legally, you should always report a California car accident to the Highway Patrol or to the local police department. The Riverside or CHP officer’s notes and report will be used to support your case later and help document what happened.

Your call will also trigger an EMS response; this is so that any injuries can be evaluated and treated, or the injured party can be transported. No matter how minor an injury seems, if there is blood, pain, broken bones, neck or back stiffness or the signs of a concussion, you should call the authorities. This approach ensures you are complying with the law and that any injuries receive prompt attention.

There is Property Damage: Damage to your own car, the other driver’s car or even the property of a third party should also trigger a report. The law states that damages in excess of $1000 should be reported to the authorities, but if you see visible damage anywhere, it is a good idea to call even if you are not sure of the costs, just in case. 

Report to the DMV

The California Highway Patrol also requires you to notify the DMV and file a report within 10 days of your collision. The officers who came to the scene will not file this for you, you must do it yourself within the specified time period.

If you have been in a car accident, you can be sure you remain on the right side of the law by notifying the authorities. Their report will also be used for any settlement or lawsuit that results from the crash, so it will benefit you in a variety of ways. While you are not required to consult with a car accident attorney after your collision, it is usually in your best interest to do so; a lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure you are treated fairly by all parties. Contact us right away if you have been involved in a collision; we can help you move forward after an accident.