Many people ask me when they should contact their insurance company after an automobile accident. In my experience, you should contact your insurance company as soon as practical. That doesn't mean you have to contact them the first day or the second day. They certainly don't expect you to contact them from the scene of the accident nor from the hospital. However, within the first few days (probably within the first week), you should contact your insurance company to report the accident. This is important especially if you anticipate making a claim or if you anticipate the other party will bring a claim against you. If you ever bring a claim that involves your insurance company, they need to be made aware of the accident in order for them to honor the contract. You can't contact them weeks later. Whether or not they decided to extend coverage to you may depend on how fast you reported the accident. Therefore, my recommendation would be to discuss your matter with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can give you some ideas and guidance on your case before you talk to any insurance company, whether it is your insurance company or the other party's insurance company. If you need to discuss your personal injury accident, contact Santa Clarita accident lawyer Robert Mansour for a free consultation. You can also simply cal (661) 414-7100.
During a lawsuit, each side to the lawsuit has the right to “discovery.” That means, each side can “discover” more about the opposing party’s position by obtaining documents, asking written questions, etc. There are definite formalities to the process which befuddle most members of the public. It often appears to be more “form over substance” but that’s the way the system is designed. It also takes a long time to occur. In California, most lawsuits last at least one year. Keep in mind a lawsuit is usually only filed if a case is unable to resolve prior to litigation. When you file a lawsuit, you essentially start over again.
During a lawsuit, a “deposition” (or several) may be taken as part of the “discovery” process. You’ve certainly seen them on television – a lawyer is asking questions of a witness and there are other lawyers in the room along with a court reporter writing everything down on a cool nifty machine as fast as possible. Usually, on TV, there is high drama with most of the attorneys sparring and yelling at each other. Some add fist-pounding! Truth is most depositions are boring events with questions being asked from every conceivable angle. Sometimes clients have a hard time understanding why the questions are so detailed. Sometimes the truth is indeed in the details, but the attorneys are trying to learn more about what a witness might say in court….and not just WHAT they might say, but HOW they say it. If an attorney is taking your deposition, they are not only evaluating what you are saying but also your witness potential. They are asking themselves, “How well would this person testify before a jury? How likable are they? How believable are they? How much conviction does this person have? Do they keep changing their story? Do they appear to be honest?” Let’s face it, juries vote for people they like – just like anything else in life. In my career as an attorney, I firmly believe the deposition is the most important part of the “discovery” process. In many cases, a good deposition (or a bad one) can change the course of a case. Make sure you prepare for your deposition by discussing what to expect with your lawyer.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,