When a person who has been in an auto accident calls a personal injury lawyer, the lawyer or his staff will conduct a short interview to get the facts of the situation. In short, this will include questions regarding the facts surrounding how the collision occurred, where it occurred, the injuries and the treatment a person has obtained since the date of accident until the phone call. If a police report was taken, the office will also request the Traffic Collision Report number.
The personal injury attorney’s office will also ask questions regarding auto insurance coverage – both of the person who caused the accident and the insurance coverage of the injured party. Often, an injured party will readily report to the personal injury lawyer the auto insurance coverage of the person at fault. However, at times some injured parties resent questions when asked to provide information regarding their own auto insurance coverage.
A personal injury lawyer has good reason to ask if the injured party was carrying auto insurance coverage at the time of the accident. In California, voters passed “Prop 213.” This means that California state law requires all drivers to have auto insurance. Failure to carry auto insurance at the time of an accident will limit recovery rights. An attorney needs to know this immediately to be able to properly evaluate and handle the injured persons claim.
Besides asking the injured victim if their auto insurance was in effect at the time of the collision, a personal injury lawyer will ask questions regarding the coverage limits the injured person has with their own insurance carrier. Why? In most instances, the auto insurance information provided by the person who caused the collision is accurate and said policy was in effect at the time of the accident.
However, at times the person who caused the accident may inadvertently be late in making their auto insurance payment. In other words, even though they provided auto insurance information at the time of the accident this in itself does not guarantee coverage. If it is determined that the responsible party had no auto insurance coverage in effect at the time of the collision, a personal injury attorney will proceed with an uninsured motorist claim through the injured parties own auto insurance.
A personal injury attorney also will ask regarding the auto insurance coverage of the injured party when there are multiple cars involved and/or many injured passengers. For instance, if the person who caused the accident has a minimum policy of $30,000.00 per accident and there are five injured people seeking recovery under this minimum policy, the policy may not adequately cover every injured person’s claim in its entirety. An attorney will ask about your own auto insurance coverage at the initial intake to determine what other options exist – for instance, an underinsured motorist claim – should this be the situation.
Besides asking questions regarding auto insurance, a personal injury lawyer may ask questions regarding health insurance coverage or the use of any program such as Medi-care or Medi-cal. This helps the personal injury lawyer understand what other entities may have rights to recovery on your claim.
If you have any questions regarding the intake process and the questions presented to you, feel free to ask for an explanation. The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith is an experienced personal injury firm that handles auto accident claims, pedestrian claims, trucking incidents, slips and falls or any injury stemming from an animal. Please feel free to ask any question that concerns you during the intake process.