Archive for the ‘California Auto Accidents’ Category

Insurance Company Case Settlement Delay

Monday, July 17th, 2017

A woman was hit by a crane nearly two years ago. She comes to my office and wants to make a claim. I have to ask her, “Why did you wait so long?” She and her kids were traveling home from a birthday party and they were hit by a mobile crane at an uncontrolled intersection. The car was totaled. Glass everywhere, emergency people, airbags… It was a catastrophic mess, and I ask her, “Why did you wait so long to bring this claim to me or take action.” What was her response? Her response was very simple, very honest. She said, “I got a call from the crane driver’s insurance company and they asked me for information. I signed all the necessary forms. I gave them all the information. I even let them ask me questions about what happened.” Typically, these are all no-nos in a case, but she did what she was told by the other driver’s insurance company. No matter what she gave them, they always had something else to ask her for.

Finally, as she’s down to the eleventh hour on her case, she calls and asks, “Why the case is taking so long to resolve?” They’re still looking for documents and information she provided them months ago. So, why is it take so long to settle this case? Because the insurance companies want to string this case out. They have no incentive to pay the case any sooner. The longer they hold onto the money that they know they are eventually going to have to pay, the more they can use the money to do the things they do with it and the less time this woman has to compensate her for her harms and losses.

If you’re experiencing delays with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company settling your claim, give the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes a call at 559-436-0850.

Why Insurance Companies Hire Personal Investigators

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Client’s often ask me, I think I’m being followed by somebody with a camera and most likely it’s from an insurance company. Why would an insurance company do such a thing? Well, to be honest with you they are looking for inconsistency between what the person says they can no longer do and what they are actually doing in their real life.

Here is an example of how surveillance can harm your case. I represented women who slipped and fell in an underground parking garage here in Fresno. She severely injured her arm as a result of the fall and spent many months getting treatment for the injuries. When she was finally released from the care she had some limitations on the movement of her arm and claimed it had a severe impact on her lifestyle. We took the case, we prosecuted the case and we came to a point, mediation, where we were going to settle the case. As we started to make our settlement demands we were met with a lot of resistance from the other side. Eventually, the other side confided and showed us that they had a video of my client, severe right arm injuries, bowling in a recent bowling event. As you can imagine this didn’t do much for the case and we didn’t settle it for as much as either of us had hoped. This is why it’s important if you are the victim surveillance by an insurance company that you immediately contact your attorney and notify the police of harassment.

If you have additional questions about insurance company video surveillance, call the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes, Inc. at 559-436-0850.

Proving the Other Driver’s Speed

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

You were involved in an accident, and you believe the other driver was speeding. How do you go about proving that? At deposition, I will ask these drivers, “How fast were you going at the time of collision?” I will also ask the drivers, “What distance had you traveled immediately at that speed?” And, I will also ask them, “What time did it take you to get from one point of that distance to another?” With these three points of speed, time, and distance, we can take that information and calculate the other driver’s speed and find out if he or she was, in fact, speeding.

If you have additional questions about proving the other driver’s speed, call me at the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes, Inc. at 559-436-0850.

The Difference Between Mediation and Trail

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Often times, people want to know what happens in a mediation session. Well, a mediation session is a time for the parties to come together and to discuss their commonalities and their differences. To discuss what is strong about one side of the case and to discuss what is strong about the other side of the case. And, to discuss what is weak about one side of the case, as well as the weakness of the other side of the case. And, it is hoped that by having these discussions both sides can see the case from the other side’s perspective and arrive at a common ground.

Now, you ask, “What is the difference between mediation session and a trial?” A trial is completely adversarial proceeding. Both of the sides bring their cases to the court, they present their case and a neutral party – either a judge, or in some cases a jury – listens to all the evidence and makes a decision about whether there is, in fact, liability, and the amount of harms and losses and, most importantly, what the value is of those harms and losses.

In mediation, it works more as the two sides presenting each side to the other one, and they come to a mutual agreement and an amount that is a compromise between what one sides wants and what the other side wants to give. And, the two parties are completely at their own voluntarily will to setting what they agree to pay or how they agree to resolve the dispute.

If you have additional questions regarding the mediation process, contact the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes at 559-436-0850.

Liens for Medical Provider Payment

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Will the doctors, hospitals and other medical providers wait for payment until your personal injury case is settled? The short answer is, “It depends”. Many times, the emergency room or the doctors who’ve provided treatment to you in the emergency room will file what is called a lien, which is a promise for you to pay their bill when your personal injury case settles. Often times, this is done by a matter of operation of law in California because California law allows these doctors to do this, and the hospitals as well.

Certain other practitioners, such as physical therapists, chiropractors, x-ray facilities or MRI facilities can also have you execute a lien. This is a written promise signed by you, given to the provider of your services, promising to pay for those fees at the time your case settles. Most of these facilities will not do this unless you have an attorney representing you because they want to make sure the case is good and is going to get paid.

If you have additional questions regarding liens for your personal injury case, contact the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes, Inc. at 559-436-0850.

Can I File a Claim Without an Accident Witness?

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

You were involved in a car accident, and you don’t have a witness to the crash. Can you still bring a claim in California? Well, the answer to that question is, “Most definitely, yes!” Just because you don’t have one eyewitness doesn’t mean the crash did not occur.

A lawsuit can be filed on your behalf, and discovery – the process where we learn about the case – can be commenced. We can depose the other driver. We can look at the other driver’s car. We can compare the paint transfers on that driver’s car to the paint transfers on your vehicle. We can look at the street and see if there is any skid marks or any physical evidence at the scene. So, in short, the fact that you don’t have a single eyewitness in your favor does not necessarily preclude you from bringing a claim, as the evidence can show that the accident, in fact, did occur.

If you have additional questions about filing a claim without a witness to the crash, contact the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes at 559-436-0850 so I can answer your questions.

Can I Change Insurance Companies After Starting a Claim?

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

One of the most common questions I get from clients is, “Now that I have my claim started can I change insurance companies?” The short answer to that question is, “Yes”. In California, the insurance companies operate on when the claim occurred, not necessarily when the claim was reported. So, the fact that you had coverage with one insurance company at the time of the crash-giving rise to your claim and you later switched insurance companies down the road will have absolutely no effect to the validity or merits to your current case. Why is this important? Because unlike other policies where they go off when the claim was reported, in California it’s going off the time when the claim actually happened.

If you have questions about changing insurance companies after filing a claim, contact the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes at 559-436-0850.

Time Restrictions To File A Lawsuit

Friday, June 30th, 2017

California, as of April 15, 2015, has required that all lawsuits for personal injuries be brought before or on the second anniversary of the injury-producing event. So, what does that mean? As a general rule, you have two years from the time of the injury to file your lawsuit with the appropriate court. For property damage, they add an extra year and give you three years, up until the third anniversary of the event. Now, if your injury involved a public entity or incurred on public property, the time limits can be as short as six months.

Under no circumstances can you rely upon the time limits listed in this post because the time limits can change. It is important to consult an attorney to confirm the current time limits to file a suit. If you would like to discuss the time limits on your lawsuit, contact the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes at 559-436-0850.

Can you Settle Your Car Claim Before Your Injury Claim?

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

You were involved in a car crash, and your car is severely damaged or totaled. You can’t get to work. You can’t use it for everyday things, but you still have a bodily injury claim you would like to settle, too. Can you settle one before you settle the other? Yes, you can settle your car damage before you settle your bodily injury claim.

While the two different claims come from the same accident, you can, in fact, resolve one while the other one is still in the process of being resolved. Clients come to me all the time. They’re still treating for injuries they have from the car crash claim, but the damage to their car has been done, and they need a car to get to work, take their kids to school, pick up their errands, do their grocery shopping, what have you. In California, everybody needs a car to get somewhere, so you want to get that car claim resolved as quickly as possible. And guess what, the other driver’s insurance company does, too. If there’s coverage, they want to get it resolved for you as quickly as possible because it keeps down your loss of use claim. In other words, the amount of time you would have to rent a vehicle to replace it.

So, what do you do in that instance? Well, you arrange for the other driver’s insurance company to come out and inspect your vehicle. They will tell you if the vehicle is what’s called a total loss, meaning it’s going to cost more to repair it than it would to replace it, or if the vehicle can in fact be repaired. This is one of the few instances where it’s okay to communicate with the other driver’s insurance company and give them an opportunity to come out and inspect the vehicle. When they do inspect the vehicle, make sure you discuss nothing about the underlying facts of the case, nothing about your injures, nothing about the other claims and damages that you might have from the case, but strictly focus on the vehicle or the car that was damaged in the crash. After the inspection you will receive either an estimate or a letter from the other driver’s insurance company telling you if they’re going to pay to replace or repair the vehicle – whichever is lesser of the two.

If you have questions regarding a car or injury claim following an auto accident, contact the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes, Inc at 559-436-0850.

Who Can Sit In on Your Deposition?

Monday, June 19th, 2017

You’re not going to believe this but it might sound like a bad joke. I recently went to a deposition that was the witness’s mother, the witness’s father, the witness’s priest, the witness’s mechanic. All of these people showed up for a deposition, and only one person was giving testimony. How can this be? Well, first of all, for those of you who don’t know, a deposition is a question and answer session. It’s usually done where you have to make to a promise to tell the truth or take an oath to do so. In California, anybody who wants to attend a deposition can attend a deposition because the rule is: it’s just the same as if the person was giving testimony in court. And, in California the court proceedings, with very few exceptions, are open to anybody who cares to watch. So, the same holds true for a deposition.

In addition, the witness can bring somebody who can provide moral support to them. They’re not obligated to do so, but if it makes them feel better to have their parent or their spouse or their priest, or in this case, their mechanic present at the deposition, they are allowed to do so. So, anybody, absent a court order, can attend a deposition in California.

Typically, the court order that is issued is to exclude other witnesses who may be testifying and the reason for that is that they want to get that witness’s own perspective of the events before that person’s perspective is tainted by hearing another witness’s perspective. So, they want to hear your side of the story apart and separate from what you may have heard from other sources at your deposition. In those situations, a court order is typically granted, and that person will not be allowed to attend the deposition.

If you have additional questions about depositions, please contact the Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes at 559-436-0850.

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