If you did not have insurance on the date of the accident, you are not in compliance with California law. Therefore, pursuant to proposition 213 ( passed several years ago), your recovery is limited to your economic damages. In short, you can bring a claim but your recovery will be very limited.
Well, yes and no. You may be surprised to learn the other party’s insurance company usually won’t pay your bills as they come due. Your health care providers won’t be too excited about that. Keep in mind, the other party’s insurance company doesn’t have a contract with you. Frankly, they don’t even have to return your calls in a timely manner – if at all! Even if they do eventually pay, don’t be surprised to learn they won’t pay for all your bills.
No. In most cases, I advise against it. There is very little to be gained by giving a statement to the other party’s insurance company. This is especially true at the beginning of a case when you probably don’t have a full understanding of the extent of your injuries. Statements are rarely used in your favor. In most cases, they will use the statement against you. I’m not saying it’s true for all insurance adjusters, but after working for years in the insurance industry, I have rarely seen a recorded statement be helpful to a plaintiff.
Many people are surprised to learn that the insurance company for the party at fault does not pay their medical bills as they become due. In other words, they won’t pay your medical bills until you are finished with your treatment in most cases. This can prove to be an unpleasant surprise for many people. Also, the treating doctors aren’t terribly happy about it because they want to get paid.
Keep in mind the insurance company for the party at fault doesn’t really have any obligation to you. First, they have to “investigate” and “determine” whether or not the accident was your fault or not. After that, don’t expect them to pay your medical bills whenever you present them. First, they will have to “determine” whether or not your treatment was reasonable in THEIR opinion. In some cases, they use databases or other computer software to make that determination. Then, they will look at every single charge you incurred to see whether or not they agree with the charge by the doctor. If they don’t agree, they will slash the doctor’s bills – in many cases dramatically, leaving you with a big hole to fill. So all the assurances of the world from the other party’s insurance company should mean nothing to you at the end of the day because there is no guarantee they’re going to pay your medical bills.
Insurance companies are not your friends. Without getting into all the details, you need someone on your side who knows what you are entitled to obtain from the insurance company. In most cases, they don’t volunteer all the information. They are not there to be your buddy. They want to close files…and quickly. I’ve heard stories of insurance adjusters insisting on meeting at a coffee shop days after an accident to dangle a few dollars in front of my clients in exchange for a full release of all claims. There is usually no emergency and no urgency to talk to the opposing party’s insurance company right after an accident. Of course, it’s usually ok to speak with your own company. You actually employ them and they have a fiduciary duty to you the other insurance company simply doesn’t have.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,