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Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Walnut Creek

What is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (Uninsured Motorist coverage) pays for your injuries if you are struck by a hit-and-run driver or by someone who does not have adequate insurance either because they have no coverage or because they do not have enough coverage to pay for your injuries. Normally, this type of coverage is limited to bodily injury, and it will not pay for damage to your vehicle or for other types of property damage. To get that kind of coverage, you will have to add collision coverage to your policy.

Most Uninsured Motorist coverage will pay up to your policy's Uninsured Motorist limits for injuries to you, or a relative who lives with you, that result from an automobile collision.

Uninsured Motorist coverage usually limits your ability to collect and the amount you receive as follows:

  • If your Northern California traffic accident involves a hit-and-run driver, you must notify the police within 24 hours of the accident.
  • If your accident involves a hit-and-run driver, the driver's car must have actually hit you. Being forced off the road by a driver who disappears is not sufficient.
  • Your Uninsured Motorist coverage will be reduced by any amounts you receive under other insurance coverage, such as your personal medical insurance or any applicable workers' compensation coverage.
  • If you or a relative are injured by an Uninsured Motorist while you are in someone else's car, your Uninsured Motorist coverage will be secondary to the Uninsured Motorist coverage of that other car's owner.

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Who determines who is responsible for a traffic accident?

Figuring out who is at fault in an accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. For traffic accidents, your state's traffic laws provide guidelines by which liability may be measured. These rules apply not only to automobiles but also to motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. In some cases, a driver may be liable for an accident even if he/she was obeying, for example, the posted speed limit, if traveling at the posted speed was unreasonably careless given the weather or traffic conditions at the time.

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Should I release my medical records to another driver's insurance adjuster?

Definitely not. Medical record releases should only be signed under limited circumstances and after consulting with a qualified personal injury trial lawyer. If your medical information gets into the insurance adjuster's hands, it could hurt your case.

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What if the cause of a traffic accident is not clear?

It is sometimes difficult to say that one particular act caused an accident. But if you can show that the other driver made several minor driving errors or committed several minor traffic violations, then you can argue that the combination of those actions caused the accident.

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Can I be found liable if my car is rear-ended in a crash?

If someone hits you from behind, the accident is virtually always that driver's fault, regardless of the reason you stopped. A basic rule of the road requires that a driver be able to stop safely if a vehicle stops ahead of him/her. If the driver could not stop, he was probably following too closely or driving too fast for traffic conditions.

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If I file a personal injury claim, will I have to go to court?

If another driver's insurance company agrees to pay what your Northern California truck accident lawyer believes your case is worth, and you wish to settle for that amount, then your case will not go to court. This is what happens in most situations. Some cases do require a formal trial proceeding, however. In either situation, hiring a law firm with experience in handling personal injury cases is critical.

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If I don't feel injured after an automobile accident, do I have to see a doctor?

Both you and your passengers should consider seeing a doctor after an accident. The doctor may recognize injuries, sometimes serious, that are not apparent to you. The charges for a doctor visit and medical treatment may be covered by your insurance. It is not recommended that you settle claims from an accident until a doctor has seen you and advised you about the extent of your injuries.

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What if I believe the accident I was in was at least partly my fault?

You are probably not in the best position to assess how or why the accident happened. Defective equipment in your vehicle, a malfunctioning traffic signal, or another driver's intoxication are among many possible causes of an accident, which your Moraga car accident attorney can investigate and evaluate. Accepting blame and apologizing to another driver may be used as evidence against you at trial. Leave it to a judge or jury to decide who is at fault.

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I was in a car accident and the air bags in my car didn't deploy. Do I have a case against the car manufacturer?

That depends, as there are several factors that dictate whether an air bag will deploy in a collision. You should consult with an attorney, who will investigate the air bag devices in your car and determine, with the assistance of an engineer, the circumstances under which the air bags were supposed to deploy. If the circumstances of your accident were such that the air bags should have deployed, you very well may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.

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Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

1001 Country Club Dr., #F
Moraga, California 94556
Phone: (925) 254-1234
Toll Free: (888) 254-1234

Walnut Creek Traffic Accident Lawyer Disclaimer: The information and materials contained on this web site do not constitute legal advice and are presented without any representation or warranty whatsoever, including as to accuracy or completeness. They are not intended to create, and receipt of them does not establish, an attorney-client relationship between you and Balamuth Law. You should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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