San Francisco Car Accident Insurance Claim Lawyer
A San Francisco car accident insurance claim lawyer can help you if you’ve been injured in a collision. Learn more and get a free consultation 24/7.
You’ve been injured in a car accident. You were able to collect the other driver’s insurance information at the scene of the accident, and of course you have your own coverage as well. So, what’s next? How do you file a claim? Do you need a San Francisco car accident insurance claim lawyer to represent you?
These are important questions. Keep reading to learn about:
- Understanding Your Auto Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in San Francisco
- 5 Reasons to File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident
- 5 Reasons to Hire a San Francisco Car Accident Insurance Claim Lawyer
- FAQs: Filing an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in San Francisco
California law requires all drivers to carry auto insurance (or a suitable alternate form of financial responsibility); and, unfortunately, San Francisco has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. California’s statewide average is above the national average, and San Francisco’s average is above the average in California.
These high rates are likely one of the main reasons why California has the 10th highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the country. But, fortunately, more than 80 percent of drivers are still insured. So, if you get in a car accident in San Francisco, the odds are that the other driver will have insurance coverage.
When you get injured in a car accident, knowing whether the other driver has auto insurance is just one of several important issues. You also need to know what types of coverage the other driver has under his or her policy. You need to know what types of coverage you have as well. Here are the main options:
- Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) – This is insurance that covers accident victims when the insured driver is at fault. By law, drivers in San Francisco must have BIL coverage of at least $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.
- Property Damage (PD) – This is insurance that covers damage to accident victims’ vehicles. By law, drivers in San Francisco must have PD coverage of at least $5,000.
- Medical Payments (Med Pay) – This is optional insurance that covers the insured driver’s and passengers’ medical bills in the event of a collision. Unlike BIL and PD, Med Pay coverage is available on a “no fault” basis.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) – This is optional insurance that applies when an at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or the at-fault driver’s coverage isn’t enough to fully compensate victims for their losses.
Depending on the circumstances involved in your accident, you may have one, two, three or all four types of claims. A San Francisco car accident lawyer can determine which claim(s) you should file and file your claim(s) on your behalf. Your lawyer should be able to handle claims against all local, regional, and national insurance companies, including (but not limited to):
- AAA NorCal
- Farmers Insurance
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
- The Hartford
While no one likes dealing with the insurance companies, there are lots of reasons why you should file a claim if you have been injured in a collision. Five of the most important reasons to file an insurance claim after a car accident include:
1. It is your right.
You have the right to hold the at-fault driver accountable, and you have the right to obtain the maximum coverage available under your policy. If you don’t assert your rights, you will end up paying the costs of the accident out-of-pocket.
2. Your financial costs aren’t your only recoverable losses.
In addition to financial costs (i.e. repair bills, medical expenses, and lost wages), car accidents can also lead to pain and suffering, emotional distress, and post-traumatic stress. Auto insurance covers these “non-financial” losses as well.
3. You owe it to yourself and your family.
The financial and non-financial costs of a car accident can substantially impact your life. They can substantially impact your family members’ lives as well. You owe it to yourself and your family to minimize the effects of your car accident as much as possible.
4. It might be stressful, but it’s not impossible.
Yes, filing an auto insurance claim can be stressful. But, it is not impossible—not even close. With an experienced San Francisco car accident insurance claim attorney on your side, you can collect the financial compensation you deserve.
5. You don’t have to do it alone.
You can hire a San Francisco car accident insurance claim attorney to handle your claim, and it is best that you do so. Your attorney can handle the most stressful aspects of the process for you, and your attorney can help you avoid settling for less than you deserve.
As we’ve just discussed, it is best to hire a lawyer to help with your car accident insurance claim in San Francisco. Here are five specific ways a lawyer can help with your claim(s):
1. Your lawyer can determine which type(s) of claim(s) you can file.
Your lawyer can determine whether you have a liability claim under the other driver’s policy, a UIM claim, or both. Making sure you file the correct claim(s) is among the most important ways a San Francisco car accident insurance claim lawyer can help you after a collision.
2. Your lawyer can prove your right to coverage.
Once your lawyer determines which claim(s) you can file, your lawyer can then prove your right to coverage. If you have Med Pay insurance, you should be able to secure coverage regardless of your accident’s cause—although securing this coverage is often easier said than done. BIL, PD, and UIM claims all require proof of liability, so your lawyer will need to collect evidence from the scene of the accident (and potentially from other sources as well).
3. Your lawyer can calculate the value of your claim.
Hiring an experienced San Francisco car accident insurance claim attorney is the only practical way to calculate the value of your claim. Your insurance adjuster will not do this for you. Since your lawyer will have your best interests in mind, he or she will accurately calculate just compensation for all of your financial and non-financial losses.
4. Your lawyer can deal with your insurance adjuster for you.
When you have an insurance claim after a car accident in San Francisco, there are lots of mistakes you need to avoid. This includes mistakes people commonly make when dealing with their insurance adjusters. Your lawyer can deal with your adjuster on your behalf so that you don’t inadvertently (and irreversibly) jeopardize your legal rights.
5. Your lawyer can help maximize your insurance coverage.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, your lawyer can help maximize your insurance coverage. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, help you evaluate the insurance companies’ settlement offers, and take your claim(s) to court in San Francisco if necessary.
How Do Car Accident Insurance Claims Work?
The answer to this question is deceptively complicated. First, auto insurance claims can be divided into “first-party” and “third-party” claims. A first-party claim is a claim you file with your own insurance company (i.e. for Med Pay or UIM coverage), while a third-party claim is a claim you file under another driver’s policy (i.e. for bodily injury liability or property damage coverage). Second, while Med Pay claims do not require proof of fault, all other auto insurance claims in California do. Proving fault is complicated, and it is one of the many steps in the process that requires the involvement of an experienced San Francisco car accident insurance claim lawyer.
How Do you Deal with Insurance After a Car Accident in San Francisco?
The best way to deal with insurance after a car accident in San Francisco is to file a claim promptly and then let your lawyer deal with the insurance companies for you. When filing your claim, you should be very careful to only provide the necessary information—typically the details of where and when the accident happened (and the other driver’s vehicle and insurance information, if you have it). Otherwise, anything you say will only be used against you. When you hire a lawyer for your San Francisco car insurance claim, your lawyer will communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf, and he or she will seek the maximum available coverage for your accident-related losses.
What Should You NOT Say to Your Insurance Company After an Accident?
There are lots of things you should NOT say to your insurance company after an accident. Some examples include: (i) you should not admit fault; (ii) you should not say that you may have been at fault; (iii) you should not say that you feel fine; (iv) you should not say that your injuries aren’t serious; and, (v) you should not say that you need your adjuster’s help understanding your legal rights. Saying any of these things will create problems for your claim, if not jeopardize your claim entirely.
How Long After a Car Accident Can You File a Claim in San Francisco?
Under California law, you have up to two years to file a claim after a car accident in San Francisco. However, your auto insurance policy may require you to report your accident much sooner. To protect your claim, you should hire a San Francisco car accident insurance claim lawyer to assist you as soon as possible.
Do I Need a San Francisco Car Accident Insurance Claim Lawyer?
San Francisco car accident insurance claim lawyers help their clients in lots of different ways, and it is strongly in your best interests to hire a lawyer to help you. While you can try to handle your claim on your own, this isn’t the best idea, and it could prove to be a very costly mistake.