What to Do…

Personal Injury

AUTO ACCIDENTS – Seven Slip-ups Time and experience have shown that drivers can make seven mistakes that forfeit rights and limit opportunities for fair restitution in auto accidents. 1. Failing to call the police. Without an official police accident record, it is, unfortunately, one driver’s word against the other’s about what happened. All claims bear equal weight. 2. Consenting to working out auto-damages repairs and medical-injury care with a trusting handshake. People change their minds and tell different stories. 3. Declining an immediate checkup and ongoing medical assistance. A neck that starts hurting a week after the collision is harder to justify. Also, insurance companies often counter that delayed pain may come from an existing condition or an earlier or subsequent occurrence. 4. Failing to collect or exchange information with other drivers, passengers, or eyewitnesses. The document trail of evidence and statements can make or break a claim. 5. Forgetting to notify your insurance company. You paid the insurance premiums, but by forgetting to call, you may incur out-of-pocket costs that the insurer should cover. 6. Saying “It was my fault.”  Be fair to yourself. This accident may really not have been your responsibility. 7. Not consulting an attorney. It’s often said, “He who defends himself is foolish.” Omitting legal representation cedes your rights to the other driver’s insurance company.
Category: Personal Injury

It’s so much easier to prevent accidents than to deal with the painful consequences of a chance encounter. However, most motorists spend very little time learning how to drive more safely. Everyone is in such a rush to arrive that we cut corners and take chances. We would like to put a stop to that by providing a list of commonsense safety reminders. Following the tips below ­ and incorporating them into your driving habits ­ will greatly increase your chances of safely arriving at your destination.

1. Carefully look both ways ­ twice ­ before entering an intersection. It’s easy to miss an oncoming car at first glance because it’s hidden by your car’s windshield frame. A second look only takes a second and it might avoid a serious collision.

2. Don’t accelerate into an intersection the instant the light turns green. This is a good way to get rammed by someone running the red light who’s coming from the other direction.

3. Look right before pulling out. After waiting for traffic from the left to clear before you make your right-hand turn, don’t forget to look to the right again just before you proceed. Pedestrians or cars may have suddenly materialized in your path while you were waiting to turn.

4. Anticipate unexpected changes in traffic. For example, if you’re in a fast-moving lane with empty road ahead and the next lane over is backed up, be prepared for impatient motorists to dart into the lane in front of you.

5. Know your blind spots. Find out where your blind spots are when checking the road behind you in your mirrors. You might have to turn to look directly into the lanes beside you to avoid missing something left undetected by your mirrors. This is particularly important when changing lanes ­ don’t just rely on your mirrors.

6. Watch other drivers’ blind spots. Practice extra caution when passing large vehicles, such as semi trucks, which have less maneuverability and even larger blind spots. If you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, chances are its driver can’t see you.

7. Watch for children and pets. Pay special attention to posted speed limits around schools and in residential areas; children and pets may unexpectedly dart into the street.

8. Don’t tailgate. Leave enough space between yourself and the car ahead of you, when traveling and when stopped. On the highway, this may save you from a fender bender. Remember to leave even more room if the roads are slick. If you stop on a hill behind a car with a manual transmission, the extra room may save you from being rammed if the car slides back. Leaving yourself extra room can also help you make a quick exit if you’re approached by a carjacker in a dubious neighborhood.

9. Keep your car operating safely. Don’t procrastinate about performing safety maintenance and repairs on your car. Check tire tread depth and pressure regularly. Have your brakes checked and wheels aligned as soon as they need it.

10. Go back to school. Go to a high-performance driving school to learn accident avoidance maneuvers and how to control skids. Understanding how to make your car do what you want it to do in emergency situations could save your life.

 

Category: Personal Injury

What is “totaling,” and why is it bad?
If you look at your auto insurance contract, you’ll notice a provision that if your car is damaged in an accident, your insurer doesn’t have to pay you more than your auto is worth. If it would cost more to fix the car than a certain percentage of the car’s value, your insurer will consider your car a total loss, i.e., “total” it. All you’ll be able to get is a check for the value of the car. This is bad, because it usually won’t be enough to replace your car, and it won’t be enough to fix it. Plus, if you get back your car and use the money to fix it, insurers may refuse to provide more than basic liability coverage on it.

How do insurers decide what a car is worth?
Insurers keep proprietary databases on car prices, similar to the Blue Book or the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) Official Used Car Guide. The insurer’s valuation of your car is mostly based on its age. So, your car might be totaled if it’s thirteen years old and receives only minor damage, and it might not be if it’s a brand new Porsche that has been in a devastating collision.

What can I do if I disagree with the insurer’s valuation?
Valuation problems arise in two ways. The most common problem is that the insurer’s valuation isn’t anywhere near enough to actually buy an equivalent car in the marketplace. For example, if a driver’s six-year-old Mazda Protege is totaled, the driver will understandably want enough money to buy another six-year-old Mazda Protege with comparable options. The less common scenario is where an older, more valuable car has been babied so that it is in mint condition and has only a small fraction of the expected mileage on the odometer. Such a car will be worth much more than the run-of-the-mill cars of its age on the road.

If you don’t agree with an insurer’s estimate of your car’s cash value, your best bet is to pay an independent appraiser to provide an estimate. You may need to bring in more than one, so the car will have to be fairly valuable to make this process worthwhile.

Category: Personal Injury

When communicating with your own insurance company after an accident:

Inform your agent of the accident as soon as possible. Describe the accident honestly, even if you were at fault. Your agent needs to know exactly what happened.
Read your insurance policy to see whether you’re covered.
Find out whether your claim may be covered under more than one kind of insurance (auto, homeowners, disability, general “umbrella” policies, etc).
Carefully document all your expenses (car rental, medical bills, etc.) so that you can be reimbursed.
Take photos of any damaged property or injuries as soon as possible after the accident.
Cooperate with your insurance company’s adjuster in making damaged property and witnesses accessible.

When dealing with the other person’s insurance company:

You do not have to give the other person’s insurance adjuster any information other than basic information such as your name, address and phone number.
If you are feeling hassled or pushed by the other person’s insurance company, you can refuse to communicate with them at all, or you can insist that further contact be in writing.
Don’t provide the other person’s insurance company with any information regarding your injuries until your medical situation has stabilized and you’re sure of the full extent of your injuries.
Consult with an attorney before you make any statements regarding the details of the accident to the other person’s insurance adjuster.

Don’t try to negotiate with the insurance company by yourself. Hiring an attorney to help you in this process will bring much better results.Contact The Haverman Law Firm.

Category: Personal Injury

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Personal Injury

AUTO ACCIDENTS – Seven Slip-ups

Time and experience have shown that drivers can make seven mistakes that forfeit rights and limit opportunities for fair restitution in auto accidents.

1. Failing to call the police. Without an official police accident record, it is, unfortunately, one driver’s word against the other’s about what happened. All claims bear equal weight.

2. Consenting to working out auto-damages repairs and medical-injury care with a trusting handshake. People change their minds and tell different stories.

3. Declining an immediate checkup and ongoing medical assistance. A neck that starts hurting a week after the collision is harder to justify. Also, insurance companies often counter that delayed pain may come from an existing condition or an earlier or subsequent occurrence.

4. Failing to collect or exchange information with other drivers, passengers, or eyewitnesses. The document trail of evidence and statements can make or break a claim.

5. Forgetting to notify your insurance company. You paid the insurance premiums, but by forgetting to call, you may incur out-of-pocket costs that the insurer should cover.

6. Saying “It was my fault.”  Be fair to yourself. This accident may really not have been your responsibility.

7. Not consulting an attorney. It’s often said, “He who defends himself is foolish.” Omitting legal representation cedes your rights to the other driver’s insurance company.

Category: Personal Injury

It’s so much easier to prevent accidents than to deal with the painful consequences of a chance encounter. However, most motorists spend very little time learning how to drive more safely. Everyone is in such a rush to arrive that we cut corners and take chances. We would like to put a stop to that by providing a list of commonsense safety reminders. Following the tips below ­ and incorporating them into your driving habits ­ will greatly increase your chances of safely arriving at your destination.

1. Carefully look both ways ­ twice ­ before entering an intersection. It’s easy to miss an oncoming car at first glance because it’s hidden by your car’s windshield frame. A second look only takes a second and it might avoid a serious collision.

2. Don’t accelerate into an intersection the instant the light turns green. This is a good way to get rammed by someone running the red light who’s coming from the other direction.

3. Look right before pulling out. After waiting for traffic from the left to clear before you make your right-hand turn, don’t forget to look to the right again just before you proceed. Pedestrians or cars may have suddenly materialized in your path while you were waiting to turn.

4. Anticipate unexpected changes in traffic. For example, if you’re in a fast-moving lane with empty road ahead and the next lane over is backed up, be prepared for impatient motorists to dart into the lane in front of you.

5. Know your blind spots. Find out where your blind spots are when checking the road behind you in your mirrors. You might have to turn to look directly into the lanes beside you to avoid missing something left undetected by your mirrors. This is particularly important when changing lanes ­ don’t just rely on your mirrors.

6. Watch other drivers’ blind spots. Practice extra caution when passing large vehicles, such as semi trucks, which have less maneuverability and even larger blind spots. If you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, chances are its driver can’t see you.

7. Watch for children and pets. Pay special attention to posted speed limits around schools and in residential areas; children and pets may unexpectedly dart into the street.

8. Don’t tailgate. Leave enough space between yourself and the car ahead of you, when traveling and when stopped. On the highway, this may save you from a fender bender. Remember to leave even more room if the roads are slick. If you stop on a hill behind a car with a manual transmission, the extra room may save you from being rammed if the car slides back. Leaving yourself extra room can also help you make a quick exit if you’re approached by a carjacker in a dubious neighborhood.

9. Keep your car operating safely. Don’t procrastinate about performing safety maintenance and repairs on your car. Check tire tread depth and pressure regularly. Have your brakes checked and wheels aligned as soon as they need it.

10. Go back to school. Go to a high-performance driving school to learn accident avoidance maneuvers and how to control skids. Understanding how to make your car do what you want it to do in emergency situations could save your life.

 

Category: Personal Injury

What is “totaling,” and why is it bad?
If you look at your auto insurance contract, you’ll notice a provision that if your car is damaged in an accident, your insurer doesn’t have to pay you more than your auto is worth. If it would cost more to fix the car than a certain percentage of the car’s value, your insurer will consider your car a total loss, i.e., “total” it. All you’ll be able to get is a check for the value of the car. This is bad, because it usually won’t be enough to replace your car, and it won’t be enough to fix it. Plus, if you get back your car and use the money to fix it, insurers may refuse to provide more than basic liability coverage on it.

How do insurers decide what a car is worth?
Insurers keep proprietary databases on car prices, similar to the Blue Book or the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) Official Used Car Guide. The insurer’s valuation of your car is mostly based on its age. So, your car might be totaled if it’s thirteen years old and receives only minor damage, and it might not be if it’s a brand new Porsche that has been in a devastating collision.

What can I do if I disagree with the insurer’s valuation?
Valuation problems arise in two ways. The most common problem is that the insurer’s valuation isn’t anywhere near enough to actually buy an equivalent car in the marketplace. For example, if a driver’s six-year-old Mazda Protege is totaled, the driver will understandably want enough money to buy another six-year-old Mazda Protege with comparable options. The less common scenario is where an older, more valuable car has been babied so that it is in mint condition and has only a small fraction of the expected mileage on the odometer. Such a car will be worth much more than the run-of-the-mill cars of its age on the road.

If you don’t agree with an insurer’s estimate of your car’s cash value, your best bet is to pay an independent appraiser to provide an estimate. You may need to bring in more than one, so the car will have to be fairly valuable to make this process worthwhile.

Category: Personal Injury

When communicating with your own insurance company after an accident:

Inform your agent of the accident as soon as possible. Describe the accident honestly, even if you were at fault. Your agent needs to know exactly what happened.
Read your insurance policy to see whether you’re covered.
Find out whether your claim may be covered under more than one kind of insurance (auto, homeowners, disability, general “umbrella” policies, etc).
Carefully document all your expenses (car rental, medical bills, etc.) so that you can be reimbursed.
Take photos of any damaged property or injuries as soon as possible after the accident.
Cooperate with your insurance company’s adjuster in making damaged property and witnesses accessible.

When dealing with the other person’s insurance company:

You do not have to give the other person’s insurance adjuster any information other than basic information such as your name, address and phone number.
If you are feeling hassled or pushed by the other person’s insurance company, you can refuse to communicate with them at all, or you can insist that further contact be in writing.
Don’t provide the other person’s insurance company with any information regarding your injuries until your medical situation has stabilized and you’re sure of the full extent of your injuries.
Consult with an attorney before you make any statements regarding the details of the accident to the other person’s insurance adjuster.

Don’t try to negotiate with the insurance company by yourself. Hiring an attorney to help you in this process will bring much better results.Contact The Haverman Law Firm.

Category: Personal Injury

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