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Long Beach Personal Injury Victim FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Accidents and Personal Injuries

Below are answers to our clients' most commonly asked questions. If you have a question about personal injury that is not answered below, contact our firm for a free consultation. McGee, Lerer & Associates is dedicated to securing justice for victims of negligent or reckless behavior. We sincerely care about our clients and their families, and will fight aggressively till your damages are recovered.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

Will you need a car accident attorney after being in a crash? If you have minor injuries and your car is not badly damaged, then probably not.

Your injuries are probably minor if you:

  • Did not need to go to the ER or an urgent care center
  • Did not hurt your head, neck, or back
  • Healed after a few weeks or less

If you suffered a more serious injury or your car was wrecked, though, then hiring a car accident attorney is probably the right choice. At the least, you can dial a local car accident lawyer like those you will find at our firm and discuss what happened during a free consultation. We are known among our past clients and our peers as being an honest legal team, so you can trust that we will give you a straightforward answer about whether or not you should hire a lawyer to help manage your car accident claim.

One of the reasons why you should consider getting a legal team in your corner for a serious car accident claim is because the insurance companies are doing the same thing. The moment a car accident starts to look serious, insurance companies use their resources to try to distance their policyholders from liability. They will try to do all they can to give you as little as they can in terms of damages for medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and your pain and suffering. It isn’t personal, though, it is just the way insurance companies conduct their business to maximize profits.

With an attorney from our firm handling your case, though, we can make moves to counteract their strategies. We can’t do it alone, though. We need you to help by continuing with all medical treatments, appointments, and aftercare as required by your doctor. The goal is to prevent any gaps from forming in your medical treatments, which the insurer would use to say that you had exaggerated the extent of your injuries. Our attorneys will also help make certain you do not get tricked into signing a lowball settlement that only provides for a small portion of your total damages.

Deciding if you need an attorney for your car accident claim is as simple as calling our firm. We will let you know if you should have a lawyer or if your case can probably be managed without one.

What Is My Case Worth?

Every car accident claim has a unique value because each one has numerous factors that change that value. We can help you figure out the value of your claim and demand every penny from the party that caused your accident.

What can increase or decrease your claim’s value?

  • Is liability for the accident disputed by the other driver or insurance company?
  • How severe are your injuries and do you still need future medical care?
  • Are you suffering mentally or emotionally, as well as physically?
  • Have your medical bills been paid out-of-pocket?
  • How much income have you lost because you couldn’t work while injured?
  • Is there a limit to the other driver’s insurance policy?
  • Is there a limit on your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy?

Knowing how each of these factors will affect your claim’s value can take some time. If you talk to a law firm that says they can predict the value right away, then you might be talking to a novice legal team that doesn’t really understand the full extent of your damages. At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we won’t promise to know your claim’s value because we are always honest and realistic. As a client, you deserve nothing less than the truth, so we won’t get your hopes up just to try to get you to sign us as your attorneys. We will also be truthful about how long your case could take to conclude.

It would be our honor to be able to guide you through your car accident claim from start to finish, including the part where its value is calculated and then a demand letter is sent to the opposing insurer. For a free consultation, call us at any time.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire You?

It costs you nothing up front. We work on a contingency fee basis. That means that the legal fees are paid for out of the settlement or jury award in your case. If you recover nothing – you pay us nothing.

Will I Save Money By Not Hiring An Attorney?

The insurance company will not offer you fair value on your claim unless you have an attorney advocating on your behalf who is making sure that you are being compensated for all of your losses.

The Insurance Research Council found that on average, attorney-represented claimants get 3-1/2 times more money than unrepresented claimants.

Will My Case Go To Trial? How Long Will It Take To Resolve?

Approximately 95% of our cases settle before trial, so it is unlikely that your personal injury case will go to trial. However, it is difficult to predict which cases will have to be tried. Assuming yours is one of the 95% of our cases which settle before trial, approximately half will settle within the first year of our retention, and the remaining half will settle within two years.

I Can’t Afford Medical Treatment

Are you worried that you won’t be able to get the medical care you need after an accident because you can’t afford it? Our attorneys are here to help you explore all your options, including medical liens that can allow you to receive treatments without paying anything upfront.

Consider these options regarding medical bill payments:

  • Other insurance company: First of all, you should not expect the other insurance company to pay your medical bills at the start of your case. They won’t give you a penny without a court order or a settlement agreement, so you can’t count on them to pay your bills. The other drive can admit fault and you still won’t get anything upfront.
  • Your health insurance: If your auto insurance is not going to provide payments for your medical care, then your standard health insurance policy should. Some health insurance companies try to argue that they do not need to provide coverage for accident-related injuries, but this is not true. A health insurance company that provides coverage does have the right to demand reimbursement in the event that your case ends with a verdict or settlement. You do not have to repay them if your case ends in the defendant’s favor, though.
  • Deductible and co-pays: Are you worried that you can’t afford the deductible or co-pay for your medical treatment that your insurance policy requires? You are not out of luck. Our attorneys are networked with local medical professionals who offer medical liens to our clients. A medical lien is an agreement that the medical provider will treat a patient but will accept payment only after that patient’s insurance claims are concluded. This system lets you get treatments immediately without worrying then and there about how you will pay for them.
  • No insurance: Without any applicable insurance coverage – like auto insurance and health insurance policies – you can still get necessary medical care thanks to medical liens. Some doctors are hesitant to issue a medical lien when the patient has no insurance coverage whatsoever. We work closely with local medical professionals to find one who is able to assist our clients and give them treatments right when they need them.
  • Medical liens without a case victory: It is important to note that a medical lien effectively delays payment to a medical provider rather than waiving those payments. If your injury claim does not yield a verdict or a settlement in your favor, then you will still owe payment of any medical liens to those medical providers. Our attorneys do not want you to get stuck with heavy medical bills that you can’t pay, so we are always careful when reviewing a claim and recommending the use of medical liens. For claims that do not seem winnable or that will likely not yield a significant recovery, we will be honest and tell you before you agree to a medical lien with a treating physician.

To figure out your options to pay medical bills after a car accident, call our firm at any time. We try to answer the phone 24/7/365 because we know that emergencies don’t wait until the next business hour to happen.

Should I Go To My Own Doctor?

Would going to your own doctor after an accident be the best choice? There are usually good reasons to see your doctor, but it helps to ask some questions before going.

Three questions to ask about which doctor should treat you:

  • Will the other insurance company help me find a doctor? The other insurance company wants to pretend that your injuries didn’t happen, so they definitely won’t be sending you to a doctor for treatments and diagnoses. Don’t wait for the other driver’s insurer to help you because they won’t.
  • Is seeing my own doctor a good idea? Sure. There’s nothing wrong with seeing your own doctor if that is what you want to do. Just make certain that they know you were hurt in a car accident. They’ll need to make a note of your accident, when it happened, and how it caused your injuries. Your own doctor will also be able to refute any claims of preexisting injuries that the insurance company might argue because they will know about your medical past.
  • Can my attorney help me find a doctor? There are also benefits of allowing our attorneys to find a doctor for you. Namely, we can find a doctor who uses medical liens to get you treatments right away if money is tight right now. We are careful to only suggest the use of medical liens for additional treatments when we think a client’s case has a strong chance of success. The doctors who work with our firm know us and the types of claims we handle well. They know how to carefully document a patient’s injuries in a way that clearly relates them to the accident, which makes our job easier when proving liability. Many doctors also offer a discount as a way to show appreciation for the referral, but we cannot guarantee such a discount would apply to your treatments.

You should be taken to the emergency room or urgent care after a serious car accident, especially if first responders suggest it. For follow-up appointments and care, you might have your choices as to who treats you. Let us help you decide what doctor to use for your claim and why by scheduling a free initial consultation with our team.

The Adjuster Seems Nice And Concerned About My Injuries. Should I Trust The Adjuster?

Absolutely not. The insurance adjuster will try to lull you into believing that you don't need an attorney because he or she will take care of you. Don't be suckered. The adjuster's real goal is to save the insurance company money by delaying payment and giving you as little as possible.

The Insurance Adjuster Has Asked Me To Give A Recorded Statement. Should I?

No. It will likely hurt your claim. The insurance adjuster's goal is to lock in your story and then use it against you later, at deposition or trial, to reduce the amount of money they have to pay you. Your statement will only benefit the insurance company in its mission to shortchange you.

The Insurance Adjuster Has Asked Me To Sign A Medical Authorization. Should I?

No. It will give the insurance company unfettered access to your entire medical history, which would be an invasion of your right to privacy. They want to get their hands on as many of your medical records as possible, then comb through them looking for anything they can use against you to further their goal of paying you as little as possible.

Who Will Pay My Medical Bills And Repair My Vehicle If The Other Driver Has No Insurance?

Even if the other driver does not have insurance, you may still be covered. We will look into whether you have uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy. If you do, then your insurance company will compensate you for injuries and damage caused by an uninsured driver. Making such a claim will not cause your insurance carrier to raise your premiums or cancel your policy.

How Long Will It Take?

Feeling financial pressure after being in an accident will make you wonder how long it will take to conclude your claim. As with the damages of a case, the amount of time needed to bring a claim to its conclusion varies from situation to situation.

Our attorneys usually tell our clients that a somewhat predictable timeline begins the moment we send the first demand letter to the responding insurance company. This demand letter won’t be sent until you receive all necessary medical treatments, get an accurate prognosis, and calculate how much income you will lose because of your injuries, though. When the demand letter is received, the insurer only has 30 days to respond, either with compliance or denial. At that point, we can plan what we need to do next to progress your claim and possibly estimate how much time is left in it.

Your claim’s timeline could be impacted by:

  • How much medical treatment you still need to receive, including rehabilitative care for months or years into the future.
  • Policy limits on the other driver’s insurance because vehicle damage that exceeds the policy limit makes it simpler to calculate how much damage should be demanded.
  • Your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance policy limit, which will be a factor if the other driver’s insurance can’t cover your damages.
  • Total number of injured claimants because insurance companies can’t pay one until they know what the others will be paid, too.
  • Liability disputes raised by either drivers or their insurance providers.

We like to take a deliberate approach when working on an injury claim for a client. If you need a settlement as soon as possible because you are in a bad financial pinch, then we will do what we can to expedite your case’s timeline, such as suggesting we start settlement negotiations quickly. If you are not in a hurry, then we can take more time to examine proof of liability and calculate your damages, which might allow us to secure a larger payout for you that takes longer to reach.

Tell us what sort of approach you would like us to take for your case, and we will get right on it. We take calls 24/7 and offer free consultations to inquiring clients.

I Have a Lawyer, But I’m Not Happy with the Firm

Okay, you hired a lawyer already, but they aren’t doing a good job with your case. Are you out of luck and are you stuck with all of the issues they are causing?

Do these common complaints about inadequate legal service apply to your situation?

  • Whenever you call the firm, you speak with a case manager, office assistant, or maybe a paralegal, but never an attorney.
  • You always end up waiting days or weeks before getting a call after leaving a voicemail message.
  • Your own lawyer doesn’t seem to remember your case until you explain it again in detail.
  • It is basically guaranteed that you will get no updates about your case until the day something is happening.
  • Your car has not been repaired yet because your attorney hasn’t negotiated with the auto insurance companies.
  • You have to talk to your doctor based on your own notes because your attorney won’t provide you with any.
  • The insurance company is offering a lowball settlement and your attorney keeps saying you should take it and end your case.

The complaints on this quick list are more common than you might think. You might also not know that you do not need to stay with a law firm that you don’t think is giving your case the attention it requires to be successful. You can switch law firms at any step in your personal injury case and it costs you nothing.

Our attorneys from McGee, Lerer & Associates would be happy to hear from you if you are worried your current legal representatives aren’t up to handling your case. We are honest, first and foremost, so we will let you know if we think you should consider hiring us to continue your case instead. On the other hand, we have no problem telling you if we think the firm should be given another chance because there might be a misunderstanding. Ultimately, we want you to get the best chance of success for your claim, regardless of what law firm handles it.

If your case ends successfully and you get a verdict or settlement, then all attorney fees are paid using a percentage of that amount. The total attorney fees do not increase if you have more than one law firm work on your case, though. Whatever amount you would have paid one law firm is divided fairly among all the firms. We and the other law firms discuss how to divide the payment, so you don’t need to worry about it.

Not sure if your lawyer is handling your case correctly? Get a FREE second opinion from our lawyers by scheduling a free consultation.

What If My Injuries Affect Me for the Rest of My Life?

Your life could be permanently affected by the serious injuries you suffer in a single accident.

Tell us, have you asked yourself these questions?

  • Will my life ever feel like it is “normal” again?
  • What happens if I need more surgeries later because of my injuries?
  • How will I find the money to pay for future medical care?
  • What happens if I can’t go back to work? Or I need to enter a new position because of new disabilities?

The truth is that a serious injury will change your life in many ways, some of which you have probably not even thought about yet. To get the compensation and financial stability you deserve, you should team up with a personal injury attorney. Our team can help you understand what might happen next in your personal injury claim and how to take future issues into account.

To begin, you need to beware of any settlement offers from the defending insurance company. They might try to get you to sign an offer that only provides for your current damages but none of your future damages. Once you sign that agreement, your case is closed and there is no going back. Appeals cannot be used to undo settlements.

Rather than jumping into a settlement agreement, work with our attorneys to discuss the situation and uncover all of your possible future damages. We like to connect with medical experts and your own doctor to discover the extent of your injuries and how they will affect your life. For example, we want to know if you might need additional surgeries years later because your injuries are expected to degrade with time. Your doctor’s prognosis can explain all of the possible issues to our team, as well as outline what everything will cost. We use this information to come up with the correct amount of compensation, not just what the insurer wants you to think your case is worth.

McGee, Lerer & Associations is a law firm known for organization and thoroughness. If we accept your claim, we will carefully work to reach the right past, current, and future damage total. The last thing we want is for you to be even one penny shy of what you are really owed. To keep everything simple for you, we accept calls 24/7, so contact us at any time for a free initial consultation that has zero obligation to sign our team.

The Police Report Isn’t Ready

Did the police come to the scene of your car accident? If they did, they should have made a traffic collision report. You are going to want a copy of this report, especially if the police kept you away from the other driver, stopping you from getting their contact and insurance information.

On the police report, you might find useful information like:

  • Insurance and ID info about all drivers involved
  • Contact information from eyewitnesses
  • Who the police officer thinks is at fault for the crash

Consider if these situations apply to you because a police report could help:

  • Your car was towed, and you don’t have collision coverage to pay for it.
  • You can’t afford the deductible, but you didn’t get the other driver’s insurance information.
  • You can’t afford Uber’s or Lyft’s deductible as a rideshare driver, and you don’t know the contact info of the other driver.
  • You can’t afford to rent a car using your own policy or money.
  • You were separated from the scene because the officer thought there could be further issues if you tried to interact with the other driver then.
  • The other driver is blaming you for the crash, and you are saying they are at fault.

How Long Will It Take Until the Police Report is Ready?

Our attorneys have worked on all sorts of car accident claims for our clients across many years. We have since gained a strong familiarity with police departments in and around Long Beach, so we know how long it usually takes each one to get a completed police report after responding to a crash.

The average wait times for a police report based on the police department:

  • California Highway Patrol: CHP often finishes reports in 5 to 7 days. We can also usually get the “face” or first page of the report just 1 day after the crash. The face page has contact and insurance information, but it doesn’t mention who is at fault.
  • Long Beach Police Department: LBPD will usually complete a police report in 10 days or less.
  • Los Angeles Police Department: LAPD can take up to 45 days for a report. The wait time can increase to 12 months if there was a fatality.
  • Pasadena Police Department: PPD takes 10 days or less to create a police report after an accident.
  • Santa Monica Police Department: SMPD can take up to 10 days to finalize a report.

Will the Police Report State Who Was At Fault for an Accident?

We are always interested in reading a police report after a crash because the responding officer will usually indicate who was at fault for the crash based on what they saw and heard at the scene. The LAPD sometimes mark the at-fault driver as Party 1 if they do not say liability estimations outright. However, when a “he-said/she-said” scene unfolds after a crash, the responding officer might not make a note of who they think is at fault. An eyewitness at the scene can clear things up, though, which is why it is so important to stop and give a statement if you ever see a crash happen near you.

What Do I Do About My Car If the Police Report Isn’t Ready Yet?

You don’t need to wait for the police report to get your car back. But having that report can be helpful if there are some insurance complications or questions of liability.

Do you have collision coverage added to your auto insurance policy? If so, this is good news for you. Using collision coverage with your insurer, you can get your car repaired right away. The catch is that you will need to pay a deductible and that deductible could be reduced from the total loss payment by the insurer later. Although, if your claim against the other driver is successful, then you might get that deductible back from their insurer anyway. Keep in mind that your insurance premium or renewal options should not be affected by using collision coverage, so don’t hesitate to use it if you have it.

Not having collision coverage means you might not be able to get your car repaired right away, which will be a greater problem if it was taken to a tow yard. Vehicle impound companies charge a daily storage fee on top of collection, administration, towing, and other miscellaneous fees. Without collision coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you might need to pay these fees yourself if you want your car back after the crash. Otherwise, you can leave your car in the lot, hope you win your claim, and make the other insurance company pay the impound lot for you. If you decide not to retrieve your car from the lot, then the towing company has the right to lien sell it in order to pay the unpaid impound fees.

What Do I Do About Medical Treatment If the Police Report Isn’t Ready Yet?

You have a choice of options if your car is impounded and you don’t have the police report yet. But, when it comes to seeking medical treatment, you should always see a doctor as soon as possible after being in a crash. If you don’t seek medical attention right away, then you can be certain that the other insurance company is going to say you didn’t seek treatment because you didn’t need it. You know this is not true, but it will hurt your claim all the same.

When you have your hands on the police report, talk to our attorneys about what to do next. If the driver who hit you has no insurance and you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, then we can help you with a claim filed with your insurance provider. Filing this claim and receiving benefits from it should not negatively impact your insurance premium or renewal if you aren’t liable for the accident.

Without UM coverage and after being hit by an uninsured driver, your situation will be trickier, with or without a police report. Typically, people who break the law and drive without insurance do not have excess cash flow or significant assets. Trying to file a claim against them personally will usually be fruitless. Because there are very slim chances that an uninsured driver will be able to pay out-of-pocket for your damages, lawyers will usually not accept such a case.

At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we believe in being honest with our clients no matter what. If we don’t think your case should be pursued, then we will let you know during a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation. If you aren’t sure what to do next, then we ask you to call us at any time, 24/7. We would be happy to converse with you and help you decide the best path ahead. Even if you don’t want to hire us to represent you, we are glad to have the chance to help in some way all the same.

Contact us now and ask what our “No Fee Promise” means to our clients!

How much is my case worth?

At the beginning of a case, no lawyer can accurately tell you how much your case is worth. If he does, he's only telling you what he thinks you want to hear in order to get your case. You're better off with an attorney who's honest with you.

Generally, the dollar value depends on the type and severity of your injuries. You are entitled to compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may also be entitled to compensation for the diminished value of your vehicle and compensation for the loss of use of your vehicle. If you incur incidental expenses as a consequence of the accident, for example, you had to hire a home health care assistant, a housekeeper, a driver, an errand-runner, a babysitter, a gardener, etc., you may be entitled to compensation for these expenses.

Why We're the Team for You

  • Individual Attention

    We take the time to understand all the unique factors of your case to achieve the best results.

  • No Fees Unless We Win

    If we are unsuccessful in our efforts to recover your compensation, you owe nothing.

  • 24/7 Availability

    We can be available nights and weekends and come to you at the hospital or at home.

  • Four Convenient Locations

    If your current attorney gives you doubt, we will review your case at no cost to you.

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