Just a "Mild" Brain Injury?

If there's one thing a good injury attorney is accustomed to, it is the defense or insurance companies' insistence on minimizing the significance of an injury. What you may call a broken leg, they will call a "fracture to the lower extremity." Doesn't sound so bad, does it?  But why would an insurance adjuster do this? End of the day, it is all about money. The less severe, the less life-altering the injury, the less money the insurance company will pay for your injury. But how does this play out when your brain is involved?

Unlike with a broken leg, a brain injury can be hard to see, and for all except the most specialized medical professionals, difficult to diagnose and explain. Yet for the injured person, the affects of a brain injury can be devastating. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is somewhat helpful in explaining what a brain injury is:

"A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury -or TBI-caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain."

Southern California is home to millions of people, and many are driving to and from work and play throughout the day. With so many people relying on commuting on a daily basis, Southern California, particularly Orange County and Los Angeles County, is home to a large number of car accidents every day. Often times the injured person complains of symptoms commonly associated with car accidents, such as whiplash, soreness in the back and neck, and headaches. The last symptom, which can range from occasional head pain, to all encompassing and debilitating migraine headache, may be a TBI.

How will you know if you are just having a bad headache, or if you suffered a concussion or TBI? A visit with the appropriate medical professional is crucial. Usually, this means visiting your primary care physician, and then getting a referral to see a specialist. Sometimes, it can take a long time to see your primary care doctor. In this case, most law firms in California, especially in LA County and Orange County, are able to sign lien paperwork with certain doctors offices. This means the doctor will treat you, and you won't have to pay out of pocket. When your case closes, a portion of the money will go to pay for the doctor's bills. Because brain injuries can be severe and life-altering, an experience injury attorney will always make sure that access to the right doctor does not keep the client/patient from seeking appropriate care.

What Symptoms Should You Look For?

If you're worried you've experienced a concussion or TBI after a car accident (or any other type of impact that injured you), you should be aware of any of the following symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting, vertigo (problems with balance), vision problems, fatigue, sensitivity to light and noise, numbness and a dazed or stunned sensation that reoccurs. Additionally, if you feel mentally "foggy" or slowed down, are having a difficulty concentrating and remembering, or are more forgetful and confused than normal, this may indicate that you suffered a brain injury. Emotionally, if you feel more irritable and sad than normal, or are more nervous that normal, you may have suffered a TBI. Finally, if your sleep patterns have altered, such as feeling drowsy when you normally wouldn't, are sleeping more or less than usual, and are having trouble falling asleep, these changes may indicate a brain injury.

What To Do Now?

If you suffer from any of the above-mentioned symptoms, most car accident attorneys will advise their clients to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If access to medical care is a challenge, your call to an injury attorney may make it possible for you to see the right doctor very soon, and not have to pay out of pocket. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. has handled many brain injury cases for clients who have suffered concussions. When the client is unable to get appointments with their normal doctors, The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are willing to sign lien paperwork so that its clients can receive immediate healthcare and not have to pay out of pocket. If you or someone you care about is concerned about a possible brain injury as the result of an accident or car crash, call the Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. today. You will discuss your case with an attorney who has handled this type of cases, not a salesman. 

Car Accident Injuries - What's a 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured in a car accident and your case has proceeded to litigation, you may be required to attend what is called an 'independent medical examination,' or 'defense medical exam.' Under the laws of the State of California, a plaintiff can be required to undergo an examination by a doctor or the Defendant's choice.

Why Does The Plaintiff Have To Attend A 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured and are pursuing your claim against the at-fault party or driver (the defendant), you will of course be required to explain your injuries and provide documentation. The defendant does not have to take your word for it, even if you have hospital records, doctors office records, and other medical records that document your injuries. The law allows the defense or defendant to have an "independent" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. The idea is that the defense gets a chance to have an "objective" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. Most defense attorneys and the insurance companies they represent have strong biases against doctors who treat injury patients on a lien basis, so the "independent" medical examination supposedly levels the playing field. 

There's Nothing "Independent" About It

First thing to remember is that the defense and the insurance company they represent gets to choose the doctor. These doctors are well paid by the law firm/insurance company. When you're getting paid a lot of money by a law firm, with potentially a steady stream of work coming your way, you're likely to make an evaluation that your client (the law firm and insurance company) will like. For this reason, most California injury attorneys refer to these examinations as 'defense medical exams.' They are, after all, the defense's paid doctors making an evaluation of the plaintiff's injuries. Almost without exception, the defense medical examination results in a report that minimizes the plaintiff's injuries in the eyes of the 'independent' doctor.

What Does The Defense Medical Examination Include?

The doctor conducting the exam is instructed to evaluate injuries and make a report. Thus, the doctor will be looking into injuries involved in the claim. The examination cannot include diagnostic tests, or any procedure that is painful or intrusive. Also, the exam cannot be scheduled further than 75 miles from the Plaintiff's residence. The doctor cannot be from a different specialty than those injuries included in the complaint - that is, if the plaintiff is complaining of neck and back injuries, the doctor doing the defense medical examination must be practicing in that area of medicine. A good California injury attorney will be well versed in how to approach the defense medical examination, ensuring that the Plaintiff is not taken advantage of during the defense attorneys' doctor's exam, which could result in a report that could hurt the plaintiff's case. 

The Day of the Defense Examination

If you are required to attend an independent medical examination, don't go alone. You should attend the examination with your injury attorney, or with someone from the injury law firm's staff or choosing. Don't fill out any paperwork. Remember, you're not the doctor's patient. You're there only because the law requires you to attend. Thus, you're not required to fill out any forms. The office will push paperwork on you, but your attorney will dispense of this with ease. Also, remember that the doctor is employed by the other side's attorneys. He or she is not on your side, no matter how friendly or charismatic. Don't answer any questions you don't feel comfortable answering. Some California injury lawyers will allow the plaintiff to make a brief oral accounting of the accident and injuries, while others will not. Remember that the doctor will likely generate a report that downplays the significance and seriousness of your injuries. If you were injured in a car accident, for example, the doctor may say that the injuries were not likely the result of (or caused by) the car accident, but are 'degenerative in nature.' Your injury attorney will have seen this many times before and will know how to respond.

A Few More Things To Remember

The independent medical examination can be very useful for the other side. They may, in the end, have a report that says your injuries weren't caused by their client, or that your injuries are not that bad. If you were injured in a California car accident, for example, you may be well served by seeking the counsel and representation of an attorney whose practice focuses exclusively on injury claims. These attorneys are well versed in the tricks and tactics of defense firms, and are able to respond and protect your rights to recovery. 

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured clients throughout the state of California. If you were injured and it wasn't your fault, an attorney at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. will gladly evaluate your case and discuss your options. Unlike most car accident law firms in California, you will be speaking with an attorney, not a salesman. Contact The Lions today to discuss any questions you might have. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. maintains its main office in Orange County, California, but represents California plaintiffs in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego - the entire state of California. 

Who Pays Medical Bills After A Crash?

If you were injured in a car crash, you likely have medicals bills. And, given the high cost of healthcare in California, these bills are sometimes very high. For some, the cost of medical expenses can be daunting, and the unknown as to how and when they will be paid can be paralyzing. Understanding who pays and how can be helpful for those trying to figure out how to proceed after an injury accident.

What About Car Insurance?

In an ideal world, the driver who causes an accident has car insurance. If he injures someone, eventually his auto insurance will ideally pay for the medical expenses of the injured person. But what if his insurance only covers him for the California state minimum of $15,000 and the injured person's bills exceed $15,000? In that scenario, the injured person's insurance may come into play, if he or she is insured for more than the state minimum. Additionally, if there are other insurance policies that might cover the at-fault driver, such as a business or umbrella insurance policy, those insurance policies might also pay for the injured person's medical expenses.

And If Car Insurance Won't Pay?

It sounds unfair and unlawful, but car insurance companies are notorious for trying to avoid paying medical bills. For example, they may state that the car accident did not cause the injuries, and so they do not have to pay the bills. There's a sliver of truth to this, but the extent to which insurance agencies use this excuse is often ridiculous. Or, the insurance adjusters may state that the amount billed is too much, and so they will offer you the minimum amount for the medical treatment billed. Or, they may simply decide that some medical treatment is not necessary, was not properly prescribed, or the date of treatment was too far after the car accident and therefore not related. 

How To Get Your Bills Paid For

An experience car accident or injury attorney may be able to help you. The insurance companies are likely to deal more fairly with you if you are represented by an attorney, as politically incorrect as that sounds. An injury attorney knows the rules of the insurance code. Also, a good injury attorney in California will have heard the excuses for not paying before. Therefore, he or she will be in a much better position to fight back on your behalf. Also, consulting an injury attorney shortly after your car accident will likely benefit you by learning more about the claim and litigation process before you finish your medical treatment. You may be able to avoid falling into the traps the insurance companies expect you to fall into.

The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured persons throughout California, including claimants living in San Bernardino County, Riverside County, San Diego County, Orange County, San Joaquin County, and Los Angeles County. Speak with an attorney, not a salesman.

Car Accidents 101: Call The Police?

If you've never been involved in a car accident, you are lucky. You're also probably unsure what to do if that dreaded day comes when you find yourself on the side of the road after an accident. One of the most common questions is whether you are required to call the police after a car accident. The most straightforward answer is no, you are not required by law to call the police after a car accident, although there are obvious circumstances when calling the police will be required, such as a serious accident where someone is injured.

Should You Call The Police?

If you're trying to decide whether to call the police, consider the ways in which a police report or traffic collision report might help you. For example, even if liability is straightforward (or you think it is), it is better to have the scene of the accident diagramed and explained by a uniformed officer than to rely on your memory. Also, even though you think the facts leading up to an accident or crash are beyond dispute, you never know what the other driver or drivers may say once they leave the scene. Unfortunately, many driver who cause accidents lie to their insurance agents because they don't want their insurance rates to rise. A police report will help explain what happened shortly after the accident and before the at-fault driver has the chance to worry about his or her insurance premiums rising.

What If The Police Do Not Arrive?

Sometimes, depending on the time of day, the police or highway patrol may not respond in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this happens during busy times, such as weekend evenings. However, it is still advisable to call the police and formally request that someone come out. A record of your telephone call will be taken, and your injury attorney may be able to get a copy of what was said on the telephone call. If the police or highway patrol never show up, at least you tried, and the copy of the report of you calling the police is likely to work in your favor if things become combative.

How Long Does It Take For Police To Respond?

Depending on where in California your accident happens, police may arrive within a few minutes, to a few hours after the crash. If you are in rural California and are far from a highway patrol vehicle or police station, you may have to wait. Or, if you are in a busy city, but the police are attending to more urgent matters, you may end up waiting too.

What Should I Do When I'm Waiting?

You should make sure you're safely off the roadway and out of harm's way. Do not play detective, but you should take photographs of the vehicles and the surrounding areas. If there are other people watching and you think liability may be an issue, you may want to get the contact information of these people, as they may be witnesses in the future. You should exchange insurance information with the other driver, if you feel it is safe to do so. It is not advisable to engage in lengthy conversation. Unfortunately, you don't know how the other driver will deal with the stress. Get his or her information if you feel safe doing so, and return to your car.

What If The Police Report Is Wrong?

Of the many things police officers and highway patrolman in California do right, writing detailed and accurate car accident reports is not always on the list. In fact, some officers in Orange County and Los Angeles County simply get it wrong - we see their erroneous reports frequently. We give them the benefit of the doubt, but the police report or traffic collision reports they write are sometimes misleading, inconclusive, or simply wrong. An experienced injury attorney will be accustomed to reading a California traffic incident report or a California police report, and will be able to address errors or misleading statements accordingly. And, if you were not at fault, an injury attorney who is good at his trade will be able to prove that you were not at fault. Some plaintiffs who have settled for large amounts of money almost never consulted with an attorney because they were afraid theirs was a lost case due to a faulty police report.

What Happens To A Police Report?

An experienced and successful California car accident attorney will put a police report or traffic collision report to good use. First, the attorney will usually get a copy of the report by submitting a formal request to the appropriate department. Then, his office will use it to argue on your behalf with the insurance company in order clear any disputes over liability. Finally, a good car accident attorney will use the report to show that you were injured and stated the same at the scene of the accident.

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured plaintiffs throughout the state of California, including clients in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. Consultations with The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are conducted by attorneys, not salesmen. You don't know what you don't know when it comes to dealing with a California car crash, and what you don't know can hurt your ability to recover. Call (949) 329-5000, or fill out this form to discuss your case today.

Your Injury Claim: Understanding Pre-Litigation and Litigation

The different terms to explain the varying stages of a personal injury case can be confusing and misleading. If you're wondering where your case is at present, and when it is likely to conclude, you may have heard the terms 'pre-litigation,' 'settlement,' and 'litigation.' But the difference between these terms may not be clear to you. This blog post will help explain the stages of a typical California injury claim.

Pre-Litigation

After an injured person contacts the at-fault party's insurance, a claim is opened, and the "case" is in the pre-litigation stage. Law firms and injury attorneys refer to your matter as a "case," but that does not mean that your matter is in court. In the pre-litigation stage, the parties exchange information freely and without guidance or regulation from the court. Lawyers are, of course, guided by ethics requirements of the State Bar of California, and insurance companies are required to act within the Insurance Code, but there is not judge or jury presiding over the process. This is important to understand because the claim is not on a timeline, meaning the pre-litigation process might last from as short as a day or a few days, to over a year. That's not to say there is no limit to how long it can last. In California, injured claimants are required to file their claim with the court within two years of the date of the accident. After two years, the claimant cannot claim recovery in court. In short, if you don't file a lawsuit in court within two years, you're not going to be able to recover financially for your loss, no matter how grave your injuries. This is called the Statute of Limitations. Again, in California, the Statute of Limitations is two (2) years. If you remember anything of the rules that govern your case, remember this: you must protect your right to recovery by filing a lawsuit in the appropriate court within two years of your loss.

Settlement

During the pre-litigation stage, the insurance company that insures the at-fault driver (the person who caused the accident) may offer to settle your claim. They may offer you whatever amount they determine is reasonable. There is no judge or jury to determine whether the offer is fair. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and broke your leg, you may have large medical bills, been out of work for some time, and unable to walk for months. But if the driver who hit you was insured by GEICO, you may get a call from a GEICO claims adjuster who says he wants to make it right and offer to settle. He may offer you $5 or $500, and tell you that all you have to do is sign a release and they'll give you a check that same day, no questions asked. Of course, that's a ridiculous amount of money for anyone with that kind of injury to settle for, but there are no parameters within which the insurance companies must offer a specified amount. If you accept, you cannot ask for more money in the future.

Because many people are unaware of how California injury claims work with insurance companies, many claimants assume that the small amount of money (say $500) is to cover immediate expenses, and more money is available in the future. This is not the case. Insurance companies do not incrementally distribute settlement money. Sometimes, they will simply send you a check that says on the bottom something to the effect of "for full and final settlement of his/her injury claim." If you cash the check, you're done: you cannot get more money in the future. Need more treatment? Expecting to have surgery soon? Rehabilitation therapy required? It will not matter, and you cannot recover more money at a later date. For this reason, all claimants should be exceedingly cautious when signing any documents with insurance companies, or cashing any checks. A short consultation with an injury attorney may save you a lot of money!

Settlement means you agree to accept money in exchange for waiving your right to future recovery. That is, the insurance company will give you a check, and by cashing that check, you agree not to sue their insured in court. If at a later date you feel that the amount of the settlement was not enough, you cannot file a lawsuit, and if you do, it is likely to be thrown out of court. If, however, you reach a fair and reasonable settlement within two years of the date of your California car accident, you do not need to file a lawsuit to get your money. A good California personal injury lawyer will make sure the insurance company issues the check and all the required paperwork is acceptable and in your best interest - all of this, of course, before the two year mark.

Litigation

If you are not able to reach a settlement agreement, litigation may be necessary. This means you file a lawsuit against the person who caused your injury. Sometimes this means filing a lawsuit against several different people or entities, such as a driver who was driving a work vehicle at the time of the accident - you would file a lawsuit against the individual and the entity he or she was working for. Filing a case in court can be tricky, and consulting with an injury attorney is highly advisable. 

Once the case is filed, attorneys on both sides will exchange information and paperwork regarding the case. Your case will be put on the court calendar, and a court date for your trial will be chosen. Due to high volume, court dates are often 18 months to over two years out. During that time, your attorney will work towards a fair and reasonable settlement. This means your case may never go to trial. From your perspective as a claimant, you won't have to go to court, and your attorney will handle the necessary paperwork. Nobody wants to go to court - not you, not the attorneys on the other side, and not the person who caused the accident.

Litigation can be costly for all parties involved, and if your case goes to trial, costs can rise quickly. Fortunately for plaintiffs, most injury attorneys cover all costs up front, meaning your case will go forward without you having to pay out of pocket. In the end, the costs come out of your award or settlement, but at least you don't have to pay out of pocket to seek fair compensation for your injury. Once litigation closes, you are likely to receive a check to compensate you for your losses, including payment towards your medical bills and money for your pain and suffering. This is assuming you win. An experience car accident attorney will be able to give you a good evaluation of your case and the likelihood of success.

If you were injured by the negligence of someone else, The Lions Injury Lawyers P.C. are eager to speak with you and discuss your claim. All consultations are free of charge. The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured persons throughout the state of California, including residents of Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, and San Diego County. To speak with a lawyer at The Lions Injury Lawyers, call (949) 329-5000, or visit their website at www.TheLionsLawyers.com to fill out information regarding your injury.

How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Injury Claim?

California Car Accidents and The Waiting Game

Many people who are injured in a California car accident proceed to file their injury claims on their own with the at fault driver's insurance company. At the start, there's a lot happening. There may be telephone calls with insurance adjusters, meetings with insurance representatives to inspect your damaged vehicle, and trips to the doctor to assess your injuries. However, many people are left without any compensation after many months, even years. Why?

Insurance Company Motivation

You may be asked to make a recorded statement with the at fault driver's insurance company. Most injury attorneys strongly advise against this. The insurance company wants to ask you very specific questions, and although the police report may state you are not at fault, your answers may provide leverage for the insurance company to deny your claim. Or, with your recorded response, they may try to reduce the amount of money they say you're entitled to. Either way, once you have given a recorded statement and played their game, the insurance company has very little motivation to work with you. They will likely offer a small amount of money to settle. The insurance adjuster uses a complex algorithm to come up with a settlement number. If you're wise, you will likely reject this first offer, as there is almost always more money on the table. However, in rejecting it, your file may be put on the back burner for a very long time. In fact, the insurance adjuster may just hope you forget about it. If you don't file a lawsuit within two years of the date of your accident, the insurance company will not have to pay you for your losses. The longer an insurance company can avoid paying you for your injury, the longer the company holds on to the money, and the more likely it is you'll end up with nothing.

What Can You Do?

At the very least, we strongly recommend you speak with an experienced injury attorney who focuses on California injury cases. Most law firms offer free consultations. The advice that "you don't know what you don't know" is especially true when in comes to working with insurance companies. You likely do not know what the California Insurance Code requires of insurance companies - these are the rules they are supposed to play by. If you don't know the rules, how can you call them out when they're clearly breaking provisions in the insurance code? A short conversation with a car crash attorney will help you understand what to expect from the insurance company.

Expectations When Dealing With Insurance After Your Injury Accident

Don't expect the at fault driver's insurance to pay all your bills. Do expect them to try to reduce the amount, if any, they are willing to pay for your healthcare. Expect your bills to be reduced, regardless of where you sought medical treatment. Is this fair? Not necessarily. Again, the insurance companies know that you are unlikely to call them on it, and for good reason: most injured claimants do not know how to react when an insurance adjuster refuses to pay their healthcare bills. A competent and skilled injury lawyer will argue on your behalf and ensure that you are compensated for the amount of your bills that were the result of your car accident. Negotiating fair payment for your medical treatment can take many telephone calls and the exchange of specific documents verifying your medical care. This takes time, and the insurance companies are more than willing to delay reaching a resolution, as it is in their financial best interest.

What About Litigation?

In the best case scenario, an injured claimant will be compensated for their pain and suffering, as well as the cost of their medical expenses, prior to filing a lawsuit. A good personal injury attorney may be able to achieve this on your behalf prior to filing a lawsuit. However, each case is different, and your case may necessitate litigation, meaning a complaint is filed on your behalf in the courts against the at fault driver. When this happens, the insurance company of the at fault driver hires a law firm. Depending on the complexity of your case, litigation can take years to resolve. However, most injury law firms try to expedite the process as quickly as possible.

So How Long Will It Take?

There is no uniform answer as to how long it will take to resolve your injury claim. If you're willing to settle for pennies on the dollar, you may be able to resolve your injury claim quickly. However, if you want fair and reasonable treatment, and you want to be treated with respect and within the guidelines of the California Insurance Code, you may need to hire a California injury attorney to represent you. Because insurance companies know that injury lawyers know the law and the value of your case, you are much more likely to be handled fairly when you have an attorney in your corner. A good lawyer will expedite the process when possible.

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represents injured people throughout the state of California. Located in Newport Beach, California, they represent people from Orange County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, and throughout the state. If you have questions regarding your claim, or whether you have a claim at all, they can be reached at (949) 329-5000. All consultations are free of cost, and you will speak with an attorney, not a salesman. 

Why Was My Side Impact Collision Claim Denied?

Insurance companies are notorious for denying liability for side impact, or "t-bone" collisions, even when their insured is at fault. How do they get away with this, and what can you do about it? A basic understanding of how t-bone accidents are evaluated will help you better understand how to proceed with your claim if your were injured in this type of car crash.

How Do Insurance Companies View Side Impact Collisions?

Many people assume that rear-end accidents are easy when it comes to deciding who is at fault. Most of the time, this is true. The driver of the car who rear ends the car in front of him is almost always found to be at fault. The flip side of the coin is that in accidents other than rear-end collisions, insurance companies almost always decide their insured is either not at fault, or is only partially at fault. Because there are so many situations and scenarios that can lead to a t-bone collisions, insurance companies have become comfortable simply denying liability for the accident, forcing claimants to either abandon their claim, or fight back. Most people abandon, unaware that they may likely still have a compelling and winnable claim.

What If There Was No Police Report?

Even if there is a police report, t-bone collisions can be complicated, so the officer who writes the report may not determine who is at fault. And, occasionally, the officer who prepares the report gets it wrong. This does not mean that if you were injured in a t-bone accident that was not your fault that you are without options. An inaccurate police report does not mean you have no claim. An experience injury attorney will carefully review the facts of your case and, when necessary and appropriate, litigate your claim in order to recover money on your behalf. If you weren't at fault, a skilled injury attorney will likely be able to recover money to cover your medical expenses, as well as recover money to compensate you for pain and suffering. 

What Should You Do?

Take photos. A good car accident attorney will be able to connect the dots in your favor to show you were not at fault. Don't just take photos of the cars involved in the crash. If possible, photograph the surroundings as well. If possible, take a photo of what the other driver's perspective was when he or she caused the accident. Also, you should always seek appropriate medical treatment for your injuries. If you were injured but do not receive medical treatment, the at fault party's insurance company will not take your word for it. They will simply deny that you were injured. If you were injured in a California car accident, always seek reasonable medical treatment to help you recover from your injuries.

What Can An Attorney Do?

Auto insurance companies often automatically deny liability for side impact collisions and the resulting property damage and injuries. They push claimants to fight back, or abandon. Most of the time, claimants abandon their claims, unaware that an insurance company's denial is not the final word. A skilled car crash or injury attorney will be able to show that you were not the cause of the accident. If necessary, a good California accident attorney will litigate your claim for you. 

Who Can Help Me?

If you were injured in a t-bone accident that was not your fault, seek medical treatment. Also, document your expenses, change in lifestyle, and everything you can to show the impact the collision has had on your life. Also, speaking with an experienced injury attorney may help. The lawyers at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. have helped many individuals injured in California car accidents recover both physically and financially from side impact, or "t-bone" car crashes. Located in Newport Beach, California, The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured individuals throughout the state of California. 

Driving Safely With Children

Navigating busy California roads can be a difficult task in a quiet car. Driving the same roads with children in the car can be a much more difficult task. During summer, when most kids are out of school, more parents are driving their children around town and on road trips. If you're getting ready to spend a lot more time in the car with kids, taking a few minutes to consider your approach may help avoid problems and frustrations in the future. A few safety points to remember:

• Fix Technology or Entertainment Before You Put The Car in Drive

More and more new cars offer abundant entertainment options, from video screens to individual headphones for rear-seated passengers. Before you put the car in drive, start the movie or show, or figure out what the entertainment is going to be, if any. Fixing entertainment is a main cause for distracted driving, and distracted driving is a main factor in many car accidents. These decisions can easily be made before you pull away. If you're driving with another adult passenger, put that person in charge of media and entertainment so you can focus on the road.

• No Children in the Front Seat

This sounds like an obvious precaution to most adults, but tragically every summer children are injured in California car accidents because they are seated in the front seat. Modern airbag systems are not designed for small bodies, and a deployed airbag will often injure small children. Check the owner's manual for suggested body weight before allowing children in the front seat. Additionally, even if the airbag does not deploy, many rear-seated passengers are more likely to leave an accident less severely injured than if they are seated in the front. 

•  Proper Car Seat and Booster Seat Installation Matters

You may have purchased an appropriately sized carseat or booster seat for your child, but if it isn't installed correctly, it is not likely to protect your child the way it was designed to. Many stores that sell car seats are willing to assist with the installation. Similarly, several automobile insurance providers will, upon request, assist with proper installation. You should also occasionally check product recalls and safety alerts. A simple internet search will show results of up to date safety recalls. Even the best brands recall car seats occasionally. Your child's safety in the event of an accident may depend on whether they are in an appropriate seat that is installed correctly.

• Beware the Sun

Every year, children are left in cars while their parents or guardians run into a store. Cars heat up quickly in the summer sun, and children are unable to cool their bodies as quickly as adults. It doesn't take long for a car to heat up, and it doesn't take long for a child to overheat. The consequence of leaving your child or any child in a car alone in the summer heat are too great a risk. Cracking the windows open is not enough. Pets are similarly prone to overheating. Don't risk tragedy - bring the kids inside with you, even on errands that you think will only take a few minutes. California law enforcement are encouraged to prosecute, if appropriate, parents or guardians who ignore the safety of their children and leave them in the car unattended. 

• Parking Lot Accidents

Because children are shorter than adults, they can be difficult for other drivers to see, especially drivers backing out of parking spots. Don't assume drivers in parking lots are paying attention, or that slow speeds mean a lesser danger. Children should know that the parking lots can be dangerous. Many children are injured every summer in parking lots by inattentive drivers. Hold their hands, and don't assume that because they are in a cross walk they are safe. Slow speed accidents can be fatal, but can easily be avoided. Don't be careless just because the cars are moving slowly. No child (or adult) is a match for a car, which weighs several thousand pounds and even at slow speed can cause serious injury or death.

• Check Crash Test Results

If you're renting a car for an out of town visit or road trip, pay attention to the size and safety of the vehicle you choose. Often times people look only at the rental price. The difference between a very small or compact car with lesser safety and a full size car with better safety ratings is nominal. Is saving a dollar or two (or five) per day worth driving a car that has poor safety rankings? If you're driving with children on an extended trip, don't forget to factor in luggage. If you have a few bags, suddenly that mini or small car will be miserably cramped, and even less safe in the event of a crash. Err on the side of safety and rent a car with enough room for your luggage, and one that has a better crash test ranking.

• If You Get In A Crash . . . 

Check your injuries, but also pay close attention to your children. You will have a lot on your mind, such as who is at fault, are the police or ambulance on their way, is your insurance current, etc. Don't forget that children sometimes deny or don't recognize their injuries as quickly as adults. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters often shrug off injuries to children, unless fractures are present. If your child is injured, don't accept a small settlement just because they're a child. The law provides them just as much protection as if they were an adult, and you should not brush off their injuries when settling your injury claim.

• Questions

If you have questions about driving safely with children, the internet is full of best practices that will enhance the likelihood of traveling safely with children. If you are involved in a crash and you or your children are injured, the car crash attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are experienced and ready to discuss your situation. Consulting an injury lawyer is a good idea, even if you don't sign a contract and agree to formal representation. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. currently represent several families with small children who were injured in California car crashes in Los Angeles and Orange counties. We make sure their medical expenses are paid for, and that each client, young or old, receives money for the pain and suffering the car crash caused them. Call today at (949) 329-5000 if you have any questions regarding your California car accident.

Injured in a Low Impact Crash? What You Should Know

Insurance companies would love for you to think that the only car accidents that can cause injuries are high impact collisions. To be sure, it is easy to claim a high velocity impact resulted in injury. Insurance adjusters are known to look at the photos of the vehicles involved and make a judgment as to how severe the injuries involved are likely to be. However, California courts have consistently awarded high verdicts to plaintiffs who were injured in low or moderate impact collisions.

What's the difference between 'high impact,' 'moderate impact' and 'low impact'?

There is no objective measure of whether an impact is high or low, or somewhere in-between. A police officer's report may make mention of the rate of impact, but otherwise this is largely determined by an insurance adjuster, based on statements from the involved parties. More likely, however, they are prone to simply looking at photos and making a determination. What you say is moderate impact may be considered high or low impact by someone else.

Why does it matter?

If an insurance adjuster says you were involved in a low impact collision, they are likely to either deny your injury claim altogether, or at best offer you a small amount of money to settle. This simple, subjective categorization by an insurance adjuster can severely limit the amount of money the at-fault party's insurance will pay to cover your medical bills and pain and suffering.

What if you're injured in a 'low-impact' auto accident?

If you were injured and it was not your fault, you're entitled to have your medical bills and pain and suffering paid by the at-fault driver's insurance. A good personal injury attorney will argue on your behalf and make sure you're not taken advantage of in reaching a fair settlement. First, you should consult an injury attorney. You should also seek reasonable and necessary medical treatment as soon as possible. This is extremely important, as insurance companies love to tell claimants they waited too long to seek medical treatment. See a doctor as soon as possible. This will put you on the path to recovery, but it will also document your injuries, a crucial part of any injury claim.

What About 'Pre-Existing' Conditions?

Sometimes, even a low-speed collision can result in great injury. For example, if you are recovering from a surgery, and you're hit from behind, the impact may aggravate a 'pre-existing' condition. The person who hit you did not know you were recovering from a surgery, but they are still liable for aggravating your delicate condition. Cases like these can be complicated, but an experienced car accident attorney will provide invaluable guidance. If it was not your fault, but you were injured, a personal injury lawyer will likely be able to make sure you're able to recover what the law entitles you to.


The Lions Injury Lawyers have successfully recovered large settlements in personal injury cases that were the result of so-called 'low-impact' collisions. We recovered $100,000 on a case where the damage to our injured client's car was $1,200. How? The injury was legitimate, and the client's medical records clearly showed that the injury was the result of the car accident. If you were involved in a California car accident and were injured, even if the damage to your car was not severe, give us a call at (949) 329-5000 for a free consultation.

Understanding Car Insurance

California state law requires all drivers to be covered by an auto insurance policy, but choosing the policy that best suits your needs can be difficult.  Not all insurance providers will explain the differences to you, and not all auto insurance policies are created equal. If you are involved in an accident, either an accident you caused, or if you are injured by another driver, the details of your auto insurance policy will greatly affect your ability to recover financially. 

When choosing between insurance carriers and car insurance policies, you should ask specific questions about what the insurance policy covers, and what it does not. For example, what happens if you are injured by someone without insurance? What might happen if you are injured by someone with minimal coverage, but your medical bills are much more expensive than what the at-fault driver's insurance covers? Asking the right questions will help you decide what policy is best for you. 

 

A basic understanding of common insurance industry terms will be helpful:

• MedPay (Medical Payment Coverage)

This coverage will pay for medical bills you incur as the result of a car accident. For example, if someone hits you and you have to go to the hospital, MedPay or Medical Payment Coverage will cover your costs. Most minimal coverage insurance policies do not include MedPay, and it is usually an add-on.

• Liability Coverage

If you cause an accident, this coverage will pay the costs of the other party's injuries and pain and suffering (general damages). Most insurance policies have two numbers, such as 15/30, 25/50, 100/300, etc. The first number is the maximum amount a single individual may recover from your insurance policy if you hurt them. For example, if you carry 15/30 coverage and you hurt someone, the maximum the insurance company will pay the injured party is $15,000. The second number is the total amount that the insurance company will pay to all injured parties. For example, if you cause an accident that injures ten people, the second number ($30,000 in a 15/30 policy) is the total amount that must cover all injured parties. Keep in mind that even though that is the max the insurance company will pay, you may personally still be responsible. If you injure someone and they have large medical bills, they can sue you and if the court awards them something greater than what you are insured for, you will be on the hook. For example, if a court awards someone you hurt $50,000, but you only have 15/30 coverage, you will be responsible for paying $35,000.

• Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)

 This protects you from individuals who drive without insurance. If someone hits you and they don't have insurance, who is going to pay your bills? With uninsured motorist coverage (UM), your bills will be paid for by your own insurance. 

• Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

This coverage covers you against personal losses you incur from an accident someone else causes that exceed the at-fault driver's insurance policy. For example, if someone with a 15/30 policy injures you, and your bills are $50,000, if you have UIM coverage, your insurance kicks in and pays when the at-fault party's policy is exhausted. In this example, after the full $15,000 is paid by the at-fault party's insurer, your UIM kicks in and may pay the additional $35,000. When and if UIM kicks in differs state by state, so checking in with a personal injury attorney licensed in the state you were injured in is always a good idea.

• Property Damage Coverage  

This coverage means your insurance company will pay for your damaged car, but this is subject to a deductible, which means you will first have to pay the deductible before your insurance will pay for the damage. If the damage to your vehicle is less than your deductible, you will have to pay to repair your car out of pocket.

The Lions Injury Lawyers deal with the differences in auto insurance policies every day. If you are injured, the numbers in your insurance policy suddenly become extremely important. We give free case evaluations to anyone injured in an accident, and we explain how things are likely to play out with the at-fault insurance company. Auto insurance is not straight-forward, and there are literally hundreds of exceptions (tricks) that auto insurance providers can use to deny payment. If you have questions about your insurance policy, or if you were injured in a car accident, give us a call at (949) 329-5000 today to discuss your California car accident injury case.