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Many people involved in accidents are reluctant to involve the police. They may be afraid of receiving tickets or citations for the accident, or even getting arrested. It is important, however, to contact the police and obtain an official police report after a serious accident in California. A police report can serve as critical evidence during your personal injury case.
Calling 911 is an option after any type of accident, but it is most common after a motor vehicle collision. California’s hit-and-run law states that it is mandatory for drivers involved in certain collisions to call the police from the scene or as soon as possible. This is a requirement if the car accident caused injuries, fatalities or at least $1,000 in property damage.
You should always contact the police after an accident involving serious injuries, a liability dispute, a broken law or an uninsured driver. You can also call the police for a more minor car accident if you wish to have an official report drawn up. Calling the police can be important for getting your side of the story on the record. It can also help you document your accident with eyewitness statements, official photographs and/or a citation against the other party.
If you call the police to the scene of an accident in California, be sure to give the officer a description of what you saw and experienced. If you were injured in a car crash, for example, describe what direction both vehicles were traveling, how fast they were going and what you believe caused the collision. Do not speculate about fault, however, and do not admit fault for the accident.
Admitting fault for an accident while still at the scene could automatically end the case, even before an official investigation. The insurance company may place liability with you without bothering to verify whether or not this is true. Instead of admitting fault outright, wait for an investigation to determine liability. There may be more to the accident than you initially think, such as the other party’s comparative fault.
The officer who responds to your call will write up and file an official report to the police department in the county where your accident took place. Many jurisdictions have a rule requiring the reporting officer to file the paperwork within at least 10 days of the accident. You should be able to call and request a copy of your report sooner than this – in just a few hours or a few days at most.
Call the presiding police department and give them your name and information so they can locate your report. If you can, get your police report number while still at the scene of your accident to make it easier to obtain a copy. Request two copies – one for yourself and one to send to the insurance company. You may have to pay a fee to make the copies.
Once you have a copy of the police report, you can submit it as evidence during an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit in Orange County. The police accident report can provide important, unbiased information from the viewpoint of a police officer. The average police report contains facts such as:
These facts can provide substantial evidence to support your personal injury case. The information included on a police report can prove to an insurance company that its policyholder is legally to blame for your injury, for example, or demonstrate the extent of your injuries and related losses. If you have to go to trial to obtain financial compensation, a police report can be used to prove your case to a jury. To learn more about how a police report can help with your injury claim, consult with a personal injury attorney in Orange County.Read More
An injury at work can interfere with your ability to earn a living wage for weeks, months or the rest of your life. It can also lead to expensive medical bills that reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is critical to maximize your workers’ compensation settlement if you have a serious occupational injury or illness. Otherwise, you may settle for less money than you need to pay for both past and future losses.
Do not underestimate the importance of seeking immediate medical care for your work-related injury or illness. Not only is this key for your physical recovery, but it can also show an insurance company that you did your part as a client by going to a hospital right away. This can prevent the insurance company from using a delay in medical care against you to try to diminish your payout or dismiss your claim.
A worker’s comp insurance company will search for reasons to diminish the value of your claim. A common tactic is arguing that you did nothing to mitigate (reduce) your losses. If you did not go to a hospital right away, for example, the insurance company may argue that this made your injuries worse than they otherwise would have been and that you therefore deserve less compensation. To prevent this issue, see a doctor immediately and follow the medical treatment plan given to you exactly.
A good habit to form during a workers’ compensation claim is to keep a careful record of everything. Creating your own file with documents, data and information about your workplace accident can ensure you have everything an insurance company needs to process your claim.
Write down a detailed description of the accident as soon as possible, while the details are still fresh in your mind. Write down the names of anyone who was there to witness the accident and the person who made your work accident report. Take photographs at the scene of the accident for your records. After you go to a hospital, request copies of your medical records as well.
In California, the workers’ comp system gives you no more than 30 days from the date of your accident (or the date you discover your injury or illness) to report it to your employer. If you fail to report the incident to a supervisor or manager within 30 days, you will, in most cases, automatically lose the right to pursue workers’ comp benefits. It is very important to act quickly and not miss your deadline.
Workers’ compensation insurance companies make a profit by doing what they can to minimize how much they pay clients. During your workers’ comp claim, be careful not to trust the insurance company or any of its representatives, including the insurance claims adjuster assigned to process your claim.
The insurance company may try many tactics to avoid paying you the amount you deserve, including devaluing your injuries and losses. Do not sign anything, agree to anything or provide a recorded statement to the workers’ compensation insurance company before discussing your rights with an attorney.
If you are struggling with the workers’ comp insurance process or encountering challenges while trying to obtain a fair settlement, hire an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney for assistance. Hiring an attorney will give you a legal advocate and representative during the claims process. This can force the insurance company to treat you fairly and offer a settlement that accurately makes up for your losses.
For more advice on how to maximize your workers’ comp settlement in Orange County, request a free consultation at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo today.Read More
When you travel out of state for business or vacation, the last thing you expect is to suffer an injury. However, accidents can happen any time, any place. If you get injured out of state, the legal process for obtaining financial compensation will look a little different than an accident in the state where you live. Take these steps to pursue a legal resolution after any type of out-of-state accident, whether it is an auto collision or slip and fall.
The first step is often finding the right personal injury attorney to represent you. This can be tricky. Although you may wish to work with an attorney you already know in your home state, this will only be possible if that lawyer is licensed in the state where your injury took place. The lawyer you choose must have a valid legal license in the state where the accident occurred. This may lead to hiring a lawyer from out of state. Find a law firm in the correct state with experience handling cases like yours, honest and trustworthy attorneys, and affordable fees.
Once you hire a personal injury lawyer, he or she will help you file a claim. First, this will mean calling the at-fault party’s insurance company to seek insurance benefits. Most personal injury cases resolve at this stage with successful insurance settlements. You may not need to travel anywhere to achieve an insurance settlement, even if you have already returned to your home state. Instead, you can conduct settlement negotiations over the phone or have your out-of-state attorney appear in person at meetings on your behalf.
If, however, the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement amount for your injuries and losses, your case may need to go to trial. In this scenario, you may need to return to the state where your accident took place, as this county will generally have jurisdiction over the lawsuit. It may also be possible to file a lawsuit in the county where the defendant resides if this is more convenient for you. Your out-of-state attorney will file the paperwork to initiate your lawsuit in the correct county on your behalf.
One of the most complicated aspects of an out-of-state personal injury case is which laws will apply to the lawsuit. According to the rules of the civil justice system, the laws of the state where the accident and injury took place will preside over a personal injury case. It will be necessary, therefore, to learn how the laws in the other state differ from the laws in your home state.
In California, for instance, a car accident case will involve the fault-based insurance system. This system means the person or party responsible for causing the collision will be liable for your losses. If you get into a car accident in a no-fault state, on the other hand, such as Florida or New Jersey, your own insurance provider would pay for your losses regardless of who caused the car accident. Your out-of-state personal injury lawyer can explain the laws that will apply to your specific case to you in detail.
Finally, your attorney will help you negotiate your out-of-state personal injury claim for the best possible results. Although an insurance company may try to take advantage of you, your attorney will have the knowledge, skill, experience and resources to fight for fair and full financial compensation for your past and future losses.
A lawyer will want to maximize your financial award, not make it as small as possible. An insurance company, on the other hand, wants to save money by minimizing your recovery. If the insurance company refuses to handle your case fairly, your out-of-state attorney can represent you at trial to pursue maximum financial compensation. Hire an attorney for the simplest legal process – and best outcome – possible.Read More
If you or a loved one have been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, you should be entitled to various types of compensation from the at-fault party. However, securing the compensation you need can be challenging. In many cases, an injury victim receives a settlement from the insurance carriers involved. However, there are times when victims have to pursue compensation through a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Regardless of how the case proceeds, it may be necessary to involve expert witnesses in the personal injury case. Here, we want to discuss what expert witnesses are, what role they play in the case, and how they can affect compensation.
Most people are familiar with the term “expert witness,” particularly if they have watched any procedural legal drama on TV. While you may only think that expert witnesses are called in on high-profile cases, the reality is that expert witnesses play a role in all types of personal injury cases.
It is important that we distinguish between an expert witness and an “eyewitness.” These are two completely different things. An eyewitness is simply somebody who saw the incident occur. These individuals will provide testimony about what they saw happen, but nothing else.
Expert witnesses come into a case after the injury has already occurred to provide assistance to attorneys, judges, insurance carriers, and jury members. The job of an expert witness is to help every party understand fairly complicated concepts that fall outside of general knowledge. An expert witness is a person who has an established authority around a particular aspect of the injury.
There are various qualifications that can be used to determine the credibility of an expert witness, including the following:
There are many types of expert witnesses that could be called to testify in a personal injury case. Some of the most common types of expert witnesses who could be called to assist in personal injury case include the following:
The role of the expert witness is to take any concepts that may lie outside of general knowledge and make them understandable for juries, insurance carriers, attorneys, judges, and any other person involved in the case.
An expert witness can play a major role when it comes to ensuring that a victim secures the compensation they are entitled to. Ultimately, injury victims need to work with an Orange County personal injury attorney to determine whether or not an expert witness will be beneficial to their case. If there are significant dollar amounts involved, and if the opposing side is adamant about denying a claim, an expert witness may be necessary.
It is also important to point out that the opposing side can also use expert witnesses against you in the case. In fact, it may be necessary for you to call your own expert witness to counter the expert witness testimony provided by the opposing side.Read More
If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another party, it is crucial that you understand who will pay for your medical bills. The process of securing compensation after an injury can be complicated, particularly when you have to go up against aggressive insurance carriers or well-funded at-fault parties that do not want to pay a fair settlement. Here, we want to discuss how you get your initial emergency medical bills paid as well as who will ultimately be responsible for paying for your medical expenses.
If another individual, business, or entity causes your injury, they will generally not be responsible for paying for all of your medical expenses as they arise. An unfortunate reality of injury cases is that the victim must find a way to cover their medical bills until they are able to secure compensation through a settlement with insurance carriers or as a result of a personal injury lawsuit. Even if the other party is clearly at fault, the law still does not require them to pay the injury victim’s medical expenses right away.
California is a fault-based injury state, so until the other party can be proven guilty in the case, the injury victim will be responsible for covering their medical bills. Often, this means paying out-of-pocket.
When an injury victim pays out-of-pocket for their medical bills, this can mean a few things:
It is important to point out that if an insurer pays your medical bills in the meantime, whether this is a personal health insurer, Medicare, Medicaid, or another type of insurance, they will generally be entitled to reimbursement from any settlement or favorable verdict compensation against the defendant. In some cases, medical providers will place healthcare liens against any eventual settlement or jury verdict.
For any person in California who sustains an injury at work, they most likely will not have to pay any medical bills out-of-pocket. The workers’ compensation system in California is designed to be a “no-fault” system that covers injury victim’s medical bills regardless of who caused the injury. There are some cases where an employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier could deny a claim, but these exceptions are very few.
If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the actions of another person, business, or entity, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An Orange County personal injury attorney will be able to assess the entire situation and help evaluate all options when it comes to paying your medical bills while you await a personal injury settlement or a favorable jury verdict.Read More
As an employee in California, you have many rights and legal protections. One is the ability to seek financial compensation if you get injured on the job through the workers’ compensation system. Although this is a no-fault system, you may need to submit evidence to support your insurance claim, such as testimony from eyewitnesses. If no one saw your work injury, learn how to handle the claims process.
If you get hurt on the job, report your injury to your employer right away. In California, you have no more than 30 days from the date of the accident to tell your employer about your injury or illness. If you wait longer than 30 days, you will lose the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
Go to a manager, supervisor or the human resources department immediately to report your injury. This is especially important if no one witnessed your workplace accident. Reporting the accident puts it on the official record, creating a paper trail to help you prove the accident and injury occurred at work. A prompt accident report can help make up for the fact that you don’t have any eyewitnesses.
If possible, while still at the scene of your workplace accident, take photographs of the item or hazard that injured you. If you tripped and fell over an obstacle in a walkway, for example, take a photograph of the obstacle before it’s cleared. Take pictures of your injuries, as well. Photographs can serve as hard evidence connecting your accident to an injury even without witnesses available.
Ask your employer if any surveillance cameras on the premises captured your accident. Surveillance footage can provide key evidence in a workers’ compensation case that does not have any eyewitnesses. Although no one was present to see your accident, a surveillance camera might have captured footage of the accident actually happening. This can prove your workers’ comp claim as valid.
Go to a hospital in Orange County immediately after a workplace accident and injury. Tell the doctor exactly how the injury occurred in as much detail as possible. Thoroughly explain your symptoms and how they impact your ability to work. Be honest and descriptive in your explanations. Your doctor will record key information in your medical records.
Prompt medical care can show that you did your part to treat your injuries and prevent further damage. This is important for an insurance company to accept your claim and offer benefits without accusing you of contributing to your injury. You can also provide proof of your injury in the form of medical records and x-rays.
A doctor can write up a report with his or her professional opinion of how the injury most likely occurred. If the doctor’s report confirms that the injury occurred the way you say it did, it will present you as a reliable and trustworthy witness despite being the only person who was present at the accident site.
During a workers’ compensation claim, you do not have to prove someone else’s fault or negligence to qualify for benefits. Instead, your only burden of proof will be to show that you have an injury that occurred while performing work-related activities. If no one witnessed your accident, improve your chances of a successful claim by carrying out a few key steps.
You do not necessarily need a witness to obtain benefits with a workers’ compensation claim in California. No eyewitnesses, however, may make it more difficult to receive a claim approval. Your claim may initially get denied, at which point you will need to submit further evidence and reapply. If you receive a claim denial, contact an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney for advice. Hiring an attorney can increase your chances of a successful claim, even without witnesses.Read More
In California, employees are legally entitled to financial compensation if they suffer occupational injuries or illnesses. The workers’ compensation program in California gives injured workers no-fault benefits for their medical bills and lost wages if their injuries occurred on the job.
One of the most important protections of the workers’ compensation system is that employers cannot retaliate against workers who file claims. It is illegal for an employer in California to fire an employee just for filing a workers’ comp claim. It is possible, however, for an employer to fire an injured employee for other reasons.
Retaliation is the legal term for an employer subjecting an employee to adverse employment actions for a protected activity, such as reporting a workplace hazard to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or filing a workers’ comp claim. Retaliation is against the law in California. An employer cannot punish a worker for a protected activity through means of firing, demoting, reassigning or cutting the pay of that worker.
It is against the law to retaliate against a worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim by firing that worker. Filing a workers’ compensation insurance claim is a protected activity by law in California. Terminating an employee specifically because he or she filed a claim is an unlawful form of retaliation against the worker.
It is legal, however, for an employer in California to fire a worker for the inability to perform the essential tasks of his or her job after an accident. California is an at-will employment state, meaning employers can fire employees with or without a reason. Even if the injury or illness occurred at work, a worker can lose his or her job if the injury prevents the employee from being able to work. An employer has the right to fire the worker if he or she cannot work while in recovery.
Note that if your workplace accident gave you a disability, your employer must offer reasonable accommodations so you can complete your job, according to the Americans With Disabilities Act. If you can continue working with reasonable accommodations for your disability, it will be against the law for your employer to fire you. Doing so would qualify as discrimination based on your disability.
Yes, your employer can fire you with an open workers’ compensation claim. This may give you more evidence, however, for a retaliation claim. Letting you go so quickly, just days after you file a workers’ comp claim, can serve as proof that your employer did it because you filed the claim. Since you may not yet know how the injury will impact your ability to work in the future, your boss may not be able to use this as a reason to validate the termination.
If you were injured at work in California, filed a workers’ compensation claim and lost your job, you may be the victim of retaliation. To prove a retaliation claim, your attorney will need to show that your employer took an illegal adverse action against you in direct response to you filing a workers’ compensation claim. Proof could come in the form of evidence such as:
Your lawyer will need to demonstrate that the job termination was directly related to you filing a workers’ comp claim and not the inability to do your job. Hiring an Orange County workers’ comp lawyer can help you prove your case and present evidence of wrongful termination. Your lawyer can help you negotiate for fair compensation for your lost wages and other damages, as well. Speak to an attorney near you today for more information.Read More
No matter what industry you work in, you could be exposed to injury risks while at work. From a trip and fall accident in an office to a catastrophic injury at a construction site, many workplaces throughout California are filled with potential injury hazards.
If you get injured at work, one of the most important things to remember is that you must report your work injury to your employer to qualify for workers’ compensation. Follow these steps to properly report your injury and become eligible for financial benefits.
According to the rules of California’s workers’ compensation program, you have no more than 30 days to report your work injury to your employer. Go to your employer as soon as possible after a work injury to make sure you meet this deadline. Let a higher-up know about your accident, such as a manager or supervisor, right away.
Delays in reporting your accident can lead to delays in receiving benefits from workers’ compensation. Reporting your accident promptly can help you avoid common issues. If you have a work-related injury that developed over time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome from years of working on an assembly line, report your injury to your employer as soon as you discover it or suspect that it’s connected to your job.
When reporting a work injury to your employer, it can be in your best interest to put the accident in writing. Request an official accident report by your employer or write down the details of the accident yourself. Include how the accident happened, a thorough description of your injury and who was there at the time of the accident. You may also wish to keep an injury journal as you heal to express your physical pain and emotional suffering.
The next step in your workers’ compensation claim is getting medical care for your job-related injury. If your work accident is an emergency, call 911 and request an ambulance immediately. Otherwise, go to an emergency room near your workplace. Your employer lawfully must ensure you have access to emergency medical treatment right away after an accident.
If you predesignated your doctor with your employer prior to your injury or illness, you can visit your primary care physician after a workplace accident. If not, however, your employer may send you to a different health care provider as part of the workers’ compensation insurance policy. When you arrive at the hospital, explain that your injury or illness is connected to your occupation. Request copies of your medical records to use for your claim.
After reporting your injury and getting immediate medical care, your employer will give you a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form. Your employer must give you this form within one business day after you report your occupational injury or illness. You must fill out the employee part of the form, with a description of your accident and injury in detail. Sign your name on the form and give it to your employer as soon as possible. With this, you have officially filed your claim form.
Once you file your initial claim form, your employer will submit it to a claims administrator. The claims administrator will either accept or reject your workers’ compensation claim within a reasonable time.
If you receive a claim rejection or less money in benefits than you require to recover, consult with an attorney for assistance. A workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County can help you avoid making mistakes on your claim form and negotiate for fair workers’ compensation. With help from a lawyer, you can get the results you need to move on after a workplace accident.Read More
California provides extensive protections for employees throughout the state. This state has always been a leader when it comes to protecting the rights of workers. This includes protections designed to ensure that all workers are paid appropriately, including minimum wage protections, coverage of owed commissions, and overtime pay. It is critical for every worker in this state to know what California law says about overtime pay. There are strict requirements related to how employers handle compensating employees who work a certain amount of hours.
As we mentioned, California has significant overtime protections in place for workers. In this state, all employers are required to pay overtime (with very few exceptions). The overtime rate in California is one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay, and this rate must be paid for all hours in excess of eight and up to 12 hours in a single workday. This is also the pay rate for the first eight hours of work on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.
Employers in California are required to pay double the employee’s regular rate for any hours worked in excess of 12 in a single workday and for all hours worked in excess of eights on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.
Employers are allowed to discipline an employee if they violate an employer’s policy of working overtime without prior authorization. However, the employer still has to pay the employee for the overtime work, even if it was not authorized.
Whether or not break and mealtimes count towards overtime will vary from case to case. An employer is required to pay an employee for all hours worked, but they can also designate meal and break times as periods with no work duties. If an employee is relieved of all duties during a meal or break, then this time will not count towards overtime hours.
Unpaid overtime claims are the largest category of complaints filed with state regulators under wage and hour law violations. California leads the nation in unpaid overtime settlements between employees and employers.
Employees who have been underpaid by their employer have three options moving forward. They can:
It is strongly recommended that employees who are seeking unpaid overtime pay to work with a skilled Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer a who is familiar with the state’s overtime laws. The wronged employee will need to decide whether to seek relief under state or federal law.
Whiplash injuries are a common result of various types of accidents. This includes car accidents, sports injuries, workplace accidents, slip and fall incidents, and more. However, recognizing the signs and symptoms of whiplash can be complicated. Here, we want to discuss what injury victims need to be on the lookout for after they are involved in an accident. The signs and symptoms of whiplash are sometimes subtle, and they may not appear until hours or days after an incident occurs. However, securing compensation for these injuries often revolves around seeking medical care, so we want to review what you need to know about whiplash.
Whiplash signs and symptoms vary from case to case. They can be relatively minor, or they could be more painful and limit mobility. Some of the most common signs and symptoms that whiplash victims endure include the following:
There are many factors that affect the severity of whiplash signs and symptoms. This includes not only the severity of the impact that caused the whiplash, but also the physical condition of the victim at the time the accident occurred. Some of the factors that could increase a person’s risk of serious whiplash symptoms include:
However, just because a person may be more susceptible to severe whiplash symptoms does not lessen the fact that they should receive compensation if another person caused their accident.
Whiplash can be a serious injury, but the good news is that most people make a complete recovery. However, this recovery can take weeks or even months to occur. It is vital that whiplash injury victims work with a doctor who can create a treatment and recovery plan. Generally, a doctor will tell the whiplash victim that they must limit most types of strenuous physical activity for a few weeks.
Unfortunately, this may mean that a whiplash injury victim is unable to perform their work duties or that they should be put on “light-duty” status. This could have a negative impact on a person’s wages.
Victims who have sustained a serious whiplash injury may need to wear a neck brace for a specified amount of time after their accident. A neck brace helps to limit a victim’s mobility so they can make a complete recovery.
There may be various types of compensation available to a person who sustains a whiplash injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person. Some of the compensation available could include:
The total dollar amount of compensation available in these cases will vary depending on the facts surrounding each particular whiplash case. If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, contact an Orange County car accident lawyer to discuss possible compensation.Read More