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Car Accident FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do after an auto accident?

I was involved in a car accident more than 2 years ago. Can I still make a claim or file a lawsuit?

I was just involved in an accident and have sustained injuries as a result. I want to see a doctor, but I’m worried about medical expenses. Does the insurance company cover the bill? If they do, when does it get paid?

I was in a car accident and the person who hit me doesn’t have insurance but the car was owned by her friend’s mom who has insurance. Can I still pursue my claim?

If I am partially at fault for causing an auto accident, do I still have a chance of receiving compensation for my injuries?


Q: What should I do after an auto accident?

A: Here are a few suggestions of things that you should do immediately after your accident:

Some of the things you should do immediately at the accident scene are:

  1. Bring your vehicle to a complete stop and do not get in the way of traffic. Move to the side of the road.
  2. Turn the car ignition off.
  3. Put warning signs up such as road flares and your emergency lights.
  4. Make sure everyone is ok and call an ambulance if there are injuries.
  5. Call the police and inform them of any injuries and ask them for assistance.
  6. When police arrive on scene make sure to cooperate with them and give them information necessary to create the police report.
  7. Do not move your car or any debris until instructed to do so by the police.
  8. Make sure you get the name of the officer, his badge number, and the city and department where he works.
  9. If you think the other driver involved in the accident is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, notify the police.
  10. Only discuss the accident with the on-scene police officer, your doctor, your attorney, and your insurance company.
  11. Take detailed notes of the scene: take down full names, addresses, phone numbers, and license plate numbers of anyone involved. Also take down contact information of any witnesses.
  12. Take photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved.
  13. Remember to note the date and time of the accident and record all makes and models of the cars involved.
  14. Any statements made by the other drivers should be taken into record as well.
  15. Exchange license and insurance information with drivers involved.

Though we hope that you or your loved ones may avoid any form of a motor vehicle accident and will never need to refer to this list, this list will help those of us who do experience auto accidents and will bring them many steps closer to securing a safe and protected future.

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Q: I was involved in a car accident in San Diego more than 2 years ago. Can I still make a claim or file a lawsuit?

A: The answer is no, unless you fall under two very limited exceptions. The first exception is for active duty military personnel who would fall under the Servicemember's Civil Relief Act. For active duty personnel, the statute of limitations is stayed for the entire time the military personnel is active duty. The second exception is for minor children. For children, the statute of limitations does not start to run until the child turns 18 years of age. The child will then have 2 years, or their 20th birthday, to file a lawsuit for damages.

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Q: I was just involved in an accident and have sustained injuries as a result. I want to see a doctor, but I’m worried about medical expenses. Does the insurance company cover the bill? If they do, when does it get paid?

A: Ultimately, the person at fault pays for your medical bills. They are responsible, so they will pay either personally or through their insurance company. The problem is that they won't pay until the case is settled or after trial when they will pay a single lump sum to you for all your damages.

Until then, though, how do your bills get paid? First, if you have health insurance, you should send your bills to your health insurer for payment. Another option is to submit the bills to your car insurance company for payment under your medical payment benefit coverage.

If you do not have health insurance or medical payment benefits to pay for your medical care, your doctor may take a lien against the proceeds of your settlement in order to pay his bill. Under this agreement, he'll wait to get paid until your case settles.

Because there are a variety of payment options, and each can have a consequence with respect to your accident injury case, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney for specific advice for your case. The lawyers at the Jurewitz Law Group are available to consult with you and provide clear advice regarding your serious injury.

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Q: I was in a car accident and the person who hit me doesn’t have insurance but the car was owned by her friend’s mom who has insurance. Can I still pursue my claim?

A: The first step you need to take is to call your own insurance company. Speaking with your insurance company will be much more efficient than trying to contact the insurance company of the party at fault, since they will not compensate you until they have fully investigated the auto accident. If you have a rental coverage policy and the other driver was completely liable, then making a claim most likely will not affect your premium.

The next step is to file a claim against the mother's insurance to determine if there is not only insurance coverage but there may be liability for the mother in lending the vehicle to another driver. Under California law, the owner of a car who lends it to another driver (known as a permissive user) is responsible up to $15,000. If there is coverage through the mother's insurance company or through your uninsured motorist coverage of your auto insurance policy, it is always helpful to seek guidance from a trained professional such as the San Diego car accident lawyers at the Jurewitz Law Group. You can get more information from our website that will help you in your case.

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Q: If I am partially at fault for causing an auto accident, do I still have a chance of receiving compensation for my injuries?

A: If you are involved in an auto accident, you are still allowed to receive compensation for your injuries even if you are partially at fault for causing the accident. Many people think that if they are partially responsible for causing a traffic accident that they cannot be compensated at all. This is not true!

Unlike other states, California is a "comparative negligence" state which means that when one or more parties is determined to have caused an accident, the trier of fact (either the judge or in most cases, the jury) determines whether each of the parties is at fault and to what extent. For example, say that a jury decides that one person is 75% at fault for causing a motorcycle accident but that the motorcyclist is also 25% at fault. The jury awards its' verdict based on a percentage of liability. If the value of the motorcyclist's injury is $100,000, the rider will receive $75,000 after a jury finds him 25% at fault for causing his own accident ($100,000 less 25% equals $75,000).

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