Dave: In a way you're almost, and I'm going to play devil's advocate here with you a little bit ...
Dave: ... you're almost painting a picture that the insurance companies are the devil. That they are evil and they are to be fought and stayed away from. That can't truly be the case.
Robert: No. Because I used to work for an insurance company for 13 years, before I opened my own law firm. And I was on the other side. My job was to poke holes in these cases. My job, when I got the file, the first thing I would look at, was there a police report? Were they taken away by ambulance? What can we use against this person? And it was all about preserving the interest of the insurance company. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just that, realize that the insurance adjustor is not your advocate. They're the advocate for their employer.
Robert: And they're going to have supervisors to answer to and they're going to be like, "Well why did you pay this much? And why did you pay this claim?" There's always certain insurance adjustors who are much more flexible than others, and of course, for purposes of this segment, we're just being cautiously aware of some of the tricks and the strategies, I should say, that are being employed by insurance companies.
Tami: I want to wrap up our segment with you being able to tell our audience all of the law that you practiced, because obviously you're personal injury. You're a brilliant brilliant estate planner.
Robert: Please. Please. Keep it coming.
Tami: So let our audience know what they can contact you for, what your specialties are.
Robert: Sure. Sure. I appreciate that. I do two areas of law. Having worked for the insurance company as a defense attorney, I now represent victims of serious accidents. And I feel that I can bring a unique twist on that because of my background. But 50 percent of my practice, what we talked about before, wills, living trusts, powers of attorneys, probate, what we call estate planning.
Tami: Very important stuff.
Robert: Thank you.
Tami: Very very important stuff.
Robert: Yeah. Sure.
Tami: And as you can see, he's a great guy to work with. Who wouldn't want to work with Robert Mansour.
Robert: Thank you very much.
Dave: Rob, thanks again.
Robert: You're going to make me blush. Thank you, Dave. Thank you very much.
Dave: It's always great to see you. This is great information. And thank you for being able to talk about it.
Robert: Thank you so much for the opportunity.
Dave: Yeah. When we come back the guys in the crew are going to be happy. Rob's going to be happy. We're all going to be happy. Food is on it's way. Marie Callenders is here. Of course, we always talk about Marie Callenders as the holidays come in so please stay tuned.
Some people are very curious what happens to the person who caused the accident. The truth is, nothing much ever happens to the person who caused the accident. Of course, if they were injured, they will be dealing with their own health care issues. If they were arrested for drunk driving or something else, then of course they will be dealing with that. However, if they were insured, then very little will probably happen. Their insurance company and your insurance company will likely want to take a "statement" from them to figure out what happened. Some insurance companies won't bother with that if liability is obvious. Some will insist on a statement from everyone and their dog regardless of how obvious the facts are.
If their insurance company accepts fault, then the other party is pretty much done. They will leave things to their insurance company to resolve. That's why they (and you) have insurance. If the party who caused the accident was deliberately underinsured, then they might have more to worry about. For example, let's say a very wealthy person gets the minimum auto insurance required by law. Then if your damages far exceed the other party's insurance policy, you can technically go after that person personally (to get more than the insurance policy). That's a long discussion for another day.
If the other party had no insurance, then your insurance will probably provide you with coverage as long as you had "uninsured motorist" provisions on your policy. If you don't have underinsured motorist coverage, then you can entertain pursuing the responsible party in court and get money out of them personally. You will likely have to file a lawsuit.
After the insurance company’s initial investigation of the incident, there is usually little or no contact between them and the person responsible for your damages. So to answer your question, they are most likely going on with their lives, hoping that the case will be settled by the insurance company. Their insurance rates will probably rise and/or their insurance company may ultimately dump them as clients.
If you want to discuss this further, please call (661) 414-7100 for further information or guidance on this issue.
One of my clients got involved in a minor car accident. He called me and asked me if it was okay for him to accept the $750 check sent to him by the responsible party's insurance company.
I asked when the accident occurred, and he told me that it has occurred about three months ago. I asked him what kind of injuries he had. He told me that he had some minor back pain on the date of the accident but otherwise didn't have pain since the date of the act. He also told me his vehicle only had about $600 worth of property damage. He also told me that he only had about two days rental. He had already been paid for his vehicle and the rental.
I asked how much his medical bills were, and he told me they were relatively small - only about $150. He said he was feeling much better and hadn't had any pain that he related to the accident recently. I told him that in that case, he could go ahead and accept the $750 settlement from the other insurance company. Basically, their offer certainly seemed reasonable in light of the minor nature of the accident and injuries.
Even if he were to get a bit more with an attorney's assistance, he might get less in the long run since the attorney usually takes 33.3% of the settlement as a fee. In many cases, an attorney can bring value to a case. However, when it comes to very minor accidents, it makes sense to try to settle the case on your own. If it makes sense, go ahead an accept the offer made by the insurance company. However, it doesn't hurt to run things by an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If you are involved in a serious car accident and want guidance, call attorney Robert Mansour to discuss your matter. Robert serves all of Los Angeles County with special emphasis on the Santa Clarita Valley (Valencia, Castaic, Saugus, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, and Canyon Country). Call (661) 414-7100 for more information.
After a car accident, you will probably get a call from the responsible party's insurance company. They will assign an "adjuster" to investigate your claim. In some cases, they will call you the same day or within a few days of the accident. You are under no obligation to speak to them, and I usually advise against it. They are calling you for several reasons. First, it's their job. That's what insurance adjusters do all day. They call people and interview them about accidents.
Second, they evaluate claims and make decisions regarding liability. Some do so in a very fair manner. Others are looking for any reason to deny your claim. Some will threaten you by saying they will "close their file" if you don't return their call (Don't worry about that....they can close their file, and it has nothing to do with your rights to bring a claim or a lawsuit).
They might call you frequently at the beginning because they are busy "investigating" the case. In most cases, they will probably call you every 30 days. In most cases, adjusters need to check on each file every 30 days and eventually report to their supervisors regarding all cases assigned to them. They are often evaluated on how they "move the cases forward" so they may grow impatient with you if you don't return their call. If you hire a lawyer, they aren't supposed to call you anymore. They deal directly with the attorney's office. Therefore, the reason they call you all the time is because they have to do so. You don't have to talk to them. Be polite and civil to them at all times. Remember, at some point in the future, that very same adjuster might make you an offer on your case. You don't want to strain the relationship.
If you need help with your personal injury case or you want to discuss what's going on with the insurance adjuster, feel free to call us at (661) 414-7100.
In most cases, I'd say the safe answer is "Yes, you should." Since the other party's insurance company is paying for your losses (damages) in this scenario, it doesn't hurt to inform your company of the accident. Check with your insurance broker, but reporting the accident should have no effect on you since the accident won't be considered "chargeable" to you. That means the accident wasn't your fault, so it should not have a negative effect.
Sometimes, the insurance of the other party is insufficient to cover your loss, so you might find yourself turning to your own company for extra help. If you never informed them of the accident, and then you approach them weeks later, you might be out of luck. Perhaps your contract with your company requires you to report accidents within a certain period of time. You could find yourself in violation of your insurance policy. In either event, it might be a good idea to talk to a personal injury lawyer to discuss what you should and should not be discussing with the insurance adjusters. Oftentimes, what you say "can and will be used against you" in the future. Always be truthful, but also be smart when it comes to these matters. Also, I'd recommend discussing the matter with your insurance broker who should have your best interests in mind.
There comes a time in many accident cases when you may be presented with an offer from the insurance company and you have to decide whether or not to accept it. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1) What are the chances of doing better at trial? If chances are not at least 75%, then you should entertain the offer.
2) Is the offer in the ballpark? If so, consider the offer. You could get more but you could get less. Is the gamble worth it?
3) Do the potential costs outweigh the potential benefit? Are you willing to spend $10,000 to obtain an additional $10,000?
4) Are you prepared to battle for more? Litigation can take a toll on you and your family. The toll is financial but also mental. Is it worth it?
5) Are you aware of the financial downside? Some attorney ads can lead one to believe there are no financial downsides....only upsides to an accident claim. Make sure your lawyer makes you aware of the possible downsides.
When you have a car accident and make a claim, you just can't call the insurance company and say, "Hey, can you guys send me a check for $10,000?" First thing they will say is, "What the heck for?" When it comes to these cases, you need to have "evidence." Your word that you were hurt and deserve compensation will get you a cup of coffee at most. You need to provide documentary evidence. That means you need to get your medical records together along with any bills you incurred. Keep in mind, getting the bills means exactly that....not the EOB statements you get from your insurance company. What your health insurance paid is important, but you should still get your hands on the bills the health care providers actually generated. Sometimes, the billing is generated by another separate third party facility. Short story is that you can get your own records and bills relatively easily by asking for them. The health care providers are obligated to give them to you. After all, they are YOUR medical records and YOUR medical bills. Now you have the "evidence" you need. Now get ready for "argument!"
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.
Hi, my name is Robert Mansour. Sometimes when I speak to clients for the first time after a personal injury case they say, “Rob, you know what, that insurance adjuster was so friendly to me on the phone!” And I say, “Of course they were friendly to you on the phone – they were trying to get information from you, that’s why they were so friendly.” And then they tell me the insurance adjuster asked to meet them for coffee! Hmm, very interesting. Why? Probably to dangle a check in front of them and settle the case quickly. My clients don’t know what they’re in for. Before you talk to an insurance adjuster, sign any paperwork, or meet one for coffee, make sure you contact me to discuss all of the ramifications. If you have questions about this or any other personal injury matter, please feel free to contact my office. Thank you.
There seems to be a new approach being employed by some over-zealous insurance adjusters. They will offer to meet you at your home to “discuss” your case. Make no mistake…they are not interested in “discussing” your case. They are there to offer you a quick, low-ball settlement. Insurance adjusters are often rewarded for “closing” files and resolving them quickly. For some companies, the longer a file remains open, the more questions are asked by supervisors. So the adjuster will meet with you and convince you they have tons of experience with cases just like yours and that $500 should be enough settlement. They will have their checkbook for sure. Remember, insurance companies don’t make money by paying claims. They make money by taking in premiums. If the insurance adjuster wants to meet you, talk to a lawyer first. Never sign anything until you run it by an experienced lawyer. If you sign your rights away, and accept a low-ball settlement, then you cannot come back later and ask for more.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,