Frequently Asked Questions
Orange County Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you have been injured in any type of accident or have lost a loved one, you probably have questions. We have answers! Of course, you are welcome to call our offices any time for a confidential consultation and answers to your specific questions, but we have included some common questions and answers below for your convenience.
Get more answers by calling the Orange County injury lawyers at Jackson & Wilson at (800) 661-7044.
Q: I was injured in an accident. What should I do next?A:
See a doctor right away! This will help determine the extent of your injury and if necessary, get you the medical assistance you need as soon as possible.
Most of the victim we represent have sustained very serious, and in some cases, life threatening injuries. However, you should keep in mind that there are some injuries that are not apparent at the time of the accident. Because of this, it is a good idea to get a medical examination to be sure that you have not suffered an injury that will not manifest itself until sometime in the future. The bottom line is to know all the facts about your injury so that you can make smart medical decisions.
We also recommend calling an Orange County personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Having a legal professional on your side from the very beginning can help ensure your right to full compensation is protected.
Q: I was hurt in an accident that wasn’t my fault. Who will pay for my medical treatment and bills?A:
The person who caused the accident, or his or her insurance company, is responsible for paying for all of your reasonable and necessary medical treatment and billings. If you have medical payment coverage with your insurance company, you may have additional benefits you can use to help pay for your medical bills. A good lawyer can explain all the details to you.
We also recommend that if you have health insurance, you use it to help take care of your bills. At the end of your case, your automobile medical payments and health insurance may be partially reimbursed should you receive a full settlement and are “made whole” by the settlement or verdict. Please keep in mind that under California law, you cannot be penalized and your rates cannot be increased simply because you utilized your own automobile insurance medical payments or uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits to help protect you in an accident.
Q: Can the insurance company tell me which doctor I have to see?A:
Absolutely not. You can and should see your own doctor. No one can tell you what doctor you have to use. If you need a referral to a specialist in your area, most experienced lawyers are happy to recommend a good physician or other healthcare provider.
Q: What do I do if I have to take time off work?A:
Keep a record of the time you miss from work, even if you still get paid because you utilize sick time or vacation. Keep track of the amount of money you lost by not being able to work. The person who caused your injuries is legally responsible for all reasonable and necessary lost time from work. Prior to settlement or trial, we normally use a special form and obtain a sworn declaration from your supervisor itemizing and documenting all loss of earnings.
Q: What do I need to know about getting my car repaired after an accident? Am I entitled to a rental car?A:
It is up to you to decide who you want to repair your vehicle. Do not be bullied by the insurance company into thinking you have to have your vehicle repaired by the shop giving the lowest bid. You are entitled to the lesser of either having your vehicle repaired to the same condition it was in before the accident or, to be paid the value of the vehicle less salvage and certain DMV related expenses.
We normally recommend that our clients coordinate having their vehicles repaired with their own insurance company. Why? Because your insurance company has a fiduciary duty to place your best interests before its own and to make sure your vehicle is repaired properly. This is not the case when dealing with the other party’s insurance company. If you are not at fault and you do use your own insurance company, your rates may not go up pursuant to California law. In most cases, your insurance company will be reimbursed by the responsible party’s insurance company for any payments made.While your vehicle is being repaired, you are entitled to the rental of a similar vehicle. Many times our clients’ own insurance policies provide for 20-30 days of rental car coverage. Another option might be a company specializing in providing cars to people whose vehicles are being repaired.
Q: What kind of insurance should I have on my vehicle?A:
Many states set minimum mandatory insurance requirements that you must meet to drive your vehicle in that state. The terms used by the insurance industry include:
- Liability: Protection for the person or property that you unintentionally damage when driving your vehicle. In states that require insurance coverage, liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage of a certain amount is required.
- Collision: Pays for damage to your vehicle whether caused by you or someone else who cannot be found.
- Comprehensive: Pays for fire, theft, or vandalism or your vehicle and its contents.
- Medical Payment: Covers medical expenses for anyone in your vehicle.
- Uninsured Motorist: Pays if the driver at fault is not insured.
- Underinsured Motorist: Pays your expenses above the amount the other driver’s insurance covers.
Determining the appropriate amount of insurance protection to carry depends on the circumstances of your life. The more wealth you have, the more insurance can benefit you by protecting your wealth from the astronomical costs of a serious motor vehicle accident. Adequate insurance coverage that can pay for the damages of an accident permits you to devote your energies to getting well again, knowing that you do not have to worry about how you will pay for your necessary medical treatment and living expenses. Your insurance agent and your attorney can help you calculate the amount and types of insurance coverage you and your family need to protect yourselves.