Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

How to Know If I Have an Uber/Lyft Claim

| Read Time: 4 minutes

For many, the convenience of Uber and Lyft ridesharing services is unbeatable. As many people’s primary mode of transportation, ridesharing may feel safe. However, ridesharing drivers are just as likely to get into accidents as other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, after an accident, Uber and Lyft may try to deny personal injury claims. So how do you know if you have a claim against Uber or a claim against Lyft? Read on to learn more about accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers and what steps you should take to protect yourself.   How Is Liability Determined in an Uber/Lyft Accident?  If you suffered injuries in an accident, your attorney might pursue compensation from the driver, the ridesharing company, or a third party or parties. Uber and Lyft both provide insurance coverage that is available when the driver has the app on and is either waiting for a ride or completing a ride.  App Turned On  People injured in rideshare accidents often ask, “Do I have a case against Uber?” or “Do I have a case against Lyft?” The ridesharing company’s insurance coverage will apply if the driver had the app turned on at the time of the accident. Uber and Lyft are responsible in the following scenarios:  Uber and Lyft both provide the following insurance coverage levels:  Without an attorney, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by these details and miss out on well-deserved compensatory relief.  App Turned Off If the ridesharing driver had the app turned off at the time of the accident and is deemed at fault, they must use their personal auto insurance to cover your damages.  Third-Party Liability  A third party may be liable when a ridesharing driver is transporting a passenger with the app on or driving with the app off. Third parties may include anyone else who was involved in the accident, such as other drivers or pedestrians.  How Can a Lawyer Help Me?  One of the most important steps you can take after an accident involving an Uber or Lyft driver is to contact an attorney. Experienced personal injury attorneys understand all the tactics insurance companies, opposing attorneys, and at-fault parties use to protect their interests, and they can help you more effectively fight for the compensation you deserve.  Negotiate  When asking, “Do I have an Uber claim?” or “Do I have a Lyft Claim?” it’s important to remember that insurance companies are not on your side. Some insurers may refuse to approve your claim without an investigation. Other insurance companies may make a quick initial offer without knowing the actual value of your claim. While the offer may be enticing, once you accept it, you lose your ability to file a claim at a later date. These offers usually don’t accurately reflect all of your damages.  Determine Liability Your attorney works to establish liability to strengthen your claim against Lyft or Uber for damages. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to investigate the circumstances of your case to determine why it happened and who is at fault. Being able to clearly establish fault and liability will help strengthen your claim.  Calculate Your Case Value  In your claim against Uber or Lyft, your attorney will know how to accurately calculate your damages so that you can be sure you’re pursuing all of the compensation you’re eligible to receive. Injured victims in California are entitled to both economic and noneconomic damages. These damages encompass a wide variety of losses, including the following:  While some damages may be easy to calculate by looking at receipts and invoices, other more subjective losses, such as pain and suffering, require the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney to be accurately calculated.  Contact Us  Serious injuries add stress and anxiety to your life that you shouldn’t have to deal with. At the Beliz Law Firm, we are passionate about pursuing justice on your behalf and providing you with a voice in your time of need. Our legal team will help you maximize your compensation by aggressively negotiating with insurance companies. We never hesitate to bring your case to trial if that’s what’s required. Contact us today for a free case review.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Can I Receive Compensation If I’m Partially At-Fault for an Accident?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you might be wondering who will pay for your damages. Pursuing a claim for compensation can be challenging. You can expect the other driver’s insurance to say you’re at fault for the collision. But what happens if you are both partially responsible? Can you get any money if you’re partially at fault for the accident? Your ability to collect money for your injuries depends on which state the accident occurred in.  If you have questions about compensation when you’re partially at fault for a car accident, contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Beliz Law Firm as soon as possible. Can You Still File a Car Accident Claim If You Were Found Partially At Fault? In California, yes, you can still file a car accident claim when you’re partially at fault. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can file a claim even if you are primarily at fault for the accident. In some states, you cannot pursue compensation for your injuries if you are even one percent at fault. Other states won’t allow you to recover any money if you’re more than 50% at fault. In California, you can be up to 99% liable and still collect compensation. However, your recovery is limited by your own percentage of fault. For example, if you are 60% responsible, you would only receive 40% of your damages. It’s important to note the other driver can also collect compensation from your insurance company. For example, when you’re 60% at fault, the other driver can pursue 60% of their damages from you. That’s why working with an experienced lawyer to build a strong case is crucial. You need a legal advocate on your side. Otherwise, the defendant’s insurance company will allege you were primarily or solely at fault and prevent you from getting all of the compensation you are eligible to receive.    If I am Partially At Fault, Can I Sue for an Injury? Yes, you can file a personal injury lawsuit if you’re partially at fault for an accident. There are several scenarios where filing a lawsuit might be a good option in California: The defendant’s insurance won’t engage in meaningful settlement negotiations; You cannot reach an agreement on liability; or The statute of limitations is approaching. While most lawsuits settle before trial, taking your case to a jury may be necessary to decide fault percentages. Your attorney will explain whether filing a lawsuit is best for you based on the facts of your case. How to Strengthen Your Case To be eligible for compensation, you must have adequate proof demonstrating the other driver’s fault. One of the best ways to do this is by hiring a California car accident lawyer early on. When you retain Beliz Law Firm, we will conduct a thorough independent investigation and collect all available evidence to help strengthen your claim.   Having photos from the accident scene is very helpful. If you can do so safely and without further injuring yourself, get pictures of vehicle damage, skid marks, and the surrounding scene right after an accident occurs.  An attorney may also hire various types of experts to support your claim, including an accident reconstructionist. An accident reconstructionist is a recognized expert on recreating accidents and discussing who was most likely at fault based on multiple scientific parameters. Their report and testimony could become a crucial part of your case. Recoverable Compensation in a Car Accident Claim The compensation you’re eligible to receive will vary based on the facts and circumstances of your case. In general, recoverable compensation includes: Medical expenses to date, Future medical expenses, Lost wages, Future loss of earning capacity, Property damage, Pain and suffering, Mental anguish, and Loss of consortium and enjoyment of life.  Your percentage of legal liability has a significant impact on how much compensation you ultimately receive. If your damages are $100,000 and you’re 60% at fault, the maximum you can receive is $40,000. Don’t risk receiving less money than you deserve because you pursued a claim without a skilled attorney representing you. Contact Our California Car Accident Lawyers Today If you are searching online for answers to “what happens if I am partially at fault for a collision,” contact Beliz Law Firm. We have nearly two decades of experience assisting injured car accident victims in California. Our legal team has helped countless clients fight for the compensation they deserve. We know the strategies and tactics insurance companies use to lowball you. They will make you believe they are offering you the maximum compensation you deserve when it’s significantly less than your case is worth. No matter what the defendant’s insurance company tries to make you believe, they are not on your side. The insurance adjuster is looking out for the company’s bottom line, not your best interest.Schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer at Beliz Law Firm today to learn more about compensation when you’re partially at fault in an accident.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

How to Claim Lost Wages in a Car Accident

| Read Time: 3 minutes

When you sustain injuries in a car accident, it can affect your ability to work. If someone else’s actions caused the accident, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation. Understandably, prospective clients want to know how to claim lost wages from a car accident. Don’t hesitate to contact the California car accident lawyers at Beliz Law Firm to learn how we can help you pursue a claim for lost earnings. Most lost wage claims also involve other damages, such as medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. Our skilled legal team can help you determine the total value of your car accident claim.  Can I Claim Lost Wages from a Car Accident? In most situations, you can pursue lost wages in a car accident claim in California. However, you must have sufficient proof of your lost wages before making your claim. Otherwise, the other driver’s insurance company will deny your claim. For example, imagine you suffered whiplash in a car accident. A lost wages claim would require proof of the work you missed due to the whiplash.  You should be aware of two distinct components of personal injury wage claims: lost wages to date and future loss of earning capacity. Evidence Needed for a Lost Wages Claim After a Car Accident You need to provide evidence supporting your claim that you could not work due to your car accident injury. Some of the most common types of evidence include: Medical records that detail your injuries, including how they occurred and if you had a prior injury that was made worse in this accident; Pay stubs showing your earnings before the accident; Tax returns that confirm your prior earnings; Work records that show your missed days since the accident; and If you’re self-employed, you need invoices or other documentation that prove your losses. Include any letters or emails written to your supervisor that explain your absences. Your employer can also prepare a letter that details your missed time. The more documentation you have, the better. If you have future medical appointments requiring you to miss work, include those lost future earnings in your calculations.  When you retain an attorney at Beliz Law Firm, we will help compile all the evidence necessary to present a claim for lost wages. What Is Loss of Earning Capacity? Loss of earning capacity is the difference between what you are making and what you would be earning if not for your injury. For example, perhaps you were able to return to work after the accident, but you can’t do your former job.  Proving a future loss of earning capacity is more challenging than a standard lost wages claim. That’s because there’s a need to speculate about your future earnings.  The most challenging aspect of a loss of earning capacity claim is figuring out what you would have earned in the future if not for the debilitating injury. To calculate your damages, you would deduct what you might earn with your injury or disability from that amount. It’s typically necessary to hire a financial or economic expert who can help figure out these amounts. These experts can determine a range of what your loss of earning capacity claim is worth. Should your loss of earning potential claim go before a jury, the court grants the jury leeway to determine the amount you should be awarded. Jury members can use their common sense, which can be helpful or a hindrance, depending on the trial. How to Claim Lost Wages from a Car Accident Once you have all your evidence and documentation, you will present a demand package to the defendant’s insurance company. When you are represented by an attorney, your attorney will handle this step. All evidence is submitted to the insurance company to review, and you have to wait for a response. The demand package has a letter outlining everything about your case, including how you were injured, why the defendant is responsible, and what damages you sustained. Your attorney also includes a monetary amount you wish to resolve the case for. If the defendant’s insurance company refuses to talk about settlement values or if an adequate settlement offer is not made, your attorney may advise filing a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers When you have questions on how to claim lost wages from a car accident, Beliz Law Firm stands ready to help. We know how difficult proving damages can be in a car accident claim. We can help gather evidence and build the strongest case possible. If we need to hire experts for a loss of earning capacity claim, we have a network of reputable professionals we can call. If you pursue a claim independently, you might miss out on the valuable compensation you need. With nearly two decades of experience assisting injured car accident victims in California, we will fight for the maximum compensation in your lost wages claim. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Happens If an Uber Driver Causes an Accident?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

You have rights if you’re a passenger in an Uber vehicle that gets into an accident and you suffer injuries. You likely have many questions including, What happens if an Uber driver causes an accident? Pursuing a claim involving an Uber vehicle can be confusing and complicated. If you need assistance following an Uber accident, contact the California car accident lawyers at Beliz Law Firm. We can help you pursue a claim against the responsible parties and fight for the maximum compensation possible.  What If My Uber Driver Causes An Accident? As a passenger in an Uber, it’s highly unlikely you have any percentage of fault in the accident. You are an innocent party unless you did something that distracted the driver and caused them to lose control. That means you should not have to pay for your own injuries and time off work. However, you must prove who is at fault for the collision to collect compensation. If the Uber driver caused the collision, Uber’s coverage would likely be the primary insurance responsible for compensating you for your injuries.   Uber Insurance Coverage  Uber has several periods of coverage depending on what the Uber driver was doing at the time of the accident.  Period 1: The app is turned off, or the driver is offline.  During this period, the driver’s personal insurance should be the primary insurance and cover damages incurred by a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist.  Period 2: The app is turned on, and the driver is available or waiting for a ride request.  Uber has third-party liability coverage during this period if the driver’s insurance won’t extend coverage. Applicable limits are $50,000 in bodily injury per person or $100,000 for bodily injury in one accident, and $25,000 in property damage coverage per incident.  Period 3: The Uber driver is on their way to pick up a passenger or is transporting a passenger at the time of the accident.  If you’re a passenger in the Uber vehicle, you will fall under this section. Uber’s policy limit during this period is $1 million in third-party liability insurance. If the other driver is at fault and has no insurance, this Uber policy should allow you to access uninsured motorist coverage.  Whose Insurance Pays If My Uber Driver Got Into an Accident? Knowing who to pursue a claim against is crucial. The Uber driver’s own car insurance policy likely won’t pay for your injuries. That’s because personal auto insurance policies usually have exclusions when the car is used to hire. You likely have a claim against Uber and maybe the other vehicle’s driver depending on the circumstances.  California is a comparative negligence state. That means the Uber driver and the other party could both be responsible for the accident and collect compensation from each other’s insurance companies if they suffered injuries. Consider a situation where the Uber driver is 10% at fault, and the other driver is 90% at fault. If the Uber driver is injured, they could collect up to 90% of their damages from the other driver. As an innocent passenger, you are entitled to pursue a claim against all responsible parties. California has joint and several liability, which means you have the right to pursue compensation from any defendant, regardless of whether they were 100% at fault. Consider the example of the Uber driver being 10% liable. You can collect your entire settlement amount from Uber, and then Uber can pursue 90% reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company.  Unfortunately, suing an Uber driver for the accident doesn’t mean Uber will automatically pay you for your injuries. You might be caught between two insurance companies fighting over which one will pay you. This situation is something we often see in car accident claims. Insurance companies always want the other company to pay rather than paying and seeking reimbursement after the fact.  This back-and-forth can be very frustrating for an innocent passenger. That’s one of the many reasons you should hire a lawyer if you’ve sustained injuries in an Uber accident. You deserve to have your injuries paid for and to not be caught in the middle of an argument between insurance companies over who will pay for your injuries.  Contact a California Uber Accident Lawyer  If you have questions about “what happens if an Uber causes an accident” and how to pursue compensation, Beliz Law Firm is here to help. With nearly two decades of experience assisting injured car accident victims, we know how to build a strong case. Uber-related accidents are more complicated than your average car accident. Not every law firm has the necessary experience with them to help you get the compensation you deserve. Beliz Law Firm does. We understand the nuances of these types of claims and how to navigate them.  Please contact our office today to schedule a free case review to learn more about how we can help you. 

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What To Do If You’re Hit by a Drunk Driver in California

| Read Time: 3 minutes

You must contact 911 immediately following an accident involving a drunk driver. The police need to respond to the scene. If it appears the drunk driver is trying to leave the scene, get photos if possible, and take down their license plate number.  If your injuries are severe, you might need emergency medical assistance at the scene. Do not downplay your injuries or refuse medical help. You might be injured worse than you realize. Internal injuries are common in severe collisions, and adrenaline can prevent you from immediately feeling pain.  Cooperate with law enforcement when they arrive, but be cautious about what you say at the scene. Do not say anything that could lead the officer to conclude you are partially responsible for the accident. While the other driver might appear drunk, you won’t know they are intoxicated until tests confirm that.    The other driver’s insurance company will try to convince you to give a recorded statement about the accident. You should not give a statement without legal representation. The insurance adjuster is looking for any statement or evidence they can use to deny your claim. Even if the insured driver was drunk, the insurance company wants to reduce or eliminate their financial liability.  California Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in California can vary depending on the circumstances. Here’s a look at the various limits:  Adult in a non-commercial vehicle—0.08% or higher; Driver under 21—0.01% or higher; Vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license—0.04% or higher;  A driver who is on DUI probation—0.01% or higher; and Passenger for hire in the vehicle at the time—0.04% or higher. Even someone whose BAC is under the legal limit can be impaired. People who consume alcohol and get behind the wheel can have impaired judgment and slower reaction times, even if they are legally allowed to drive.   Can I Sue if I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver in California? Yes, you can file a lawsuit against the drunk driver if their insurance company doesn’t adequately resolve your injury claim. In some instances, the drunk driver’s insurance company might deny coverage. If that happens, you can present a claim to your own insurance company, provided you have uninsured/underinsured coverage.  Even if the state files criminal charges, you still have the right to pursue a civil claim. These are two separate actions in two different court systems with unique burdens of proof. A criminal case against the drunk driver involves a loss of freedom, while a civil case involves financial compensation.  Like other types of personal injury cases, you only have a limited amount of time to file a drunk driving lawsuit in California. If you miss the deadline, the court will likely dismiss your entire case. That means you’ll collect no compensation for your injuries, no matter how solid your case is. In most cases, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Some situations can alter the filing deadline, but it’s not guaranteed you will have additional time.  When you hire a lawyer to represent you, they will help you meet important filing deadlines. Your attorney at Beliz Law Firm will be the one calculating filing deadlines, not you.  Types of Recoverable Compensation  A car accident victim can recover compensation for economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages compensate you for financial losses such as medical bills or lost wages. Noneconomic damages compensate you for emotional or psychological harm caused by an accident. Every case is different, but there are a few types of injuries plaintiffs commonly seek compensation for in car accident claims, including:  Medical expenses to date, Future expected medical costs, Lost wages, Future loss of earning capacity, Pain and suffering, Mental anguish, Loss of consortium, and Property damage.  Cases involving a drunk driver may be eligible for a unique type of compensation called punitive damages. The law reserves punitive damages for only select cases that involve intentional acts or egregious behavior. Drunk driving can qualify as an intentional or egregious act. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer rather than compensate the victim for their injuries. An experienced attorney can help determine if you qualify for punitive damages.  Contact Our California Car Accident Lawyers  If you were hit by a drunk driver in California, you have rights. The legal team at Beliz Law Firm can help. We know how terrifying an accident with a drunk driver can be. You deserve to receive the maximum compensation possible. With nearly two decades of experience assisting injured car accident victims, we know how to build a strong case. We’ve helped numerous victims of drunk drivers get the justice they deserve. To learn more about how we can assist you, contact Beliz Law Firm today to schedule a free case review.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Can an Auto Accident Settlement Exceed the Policy Limit in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Even though, as a whole, people drove less in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, auto accidents were unfortunately widespread. Distracted driving accounted for approximately 14% of all car accidents resulting in injuries in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA). Also in 2020, over 1,100 people lost their lives due to alcohol-related car accidents in California. NHTSA estimates that in 2021, over 4,000 lost their lives in a traffic accident. Car insurance serves to help make sure that a crash victim receives a minimum amount of compensation for their injuries and damages. But what if the damages are more than the insurance policy limit? Can an auto accident settlement exceed the policy limit in California?  California Insurance Policies and Limits California has special laws when it comes to car insurance. By law, individuals can carry traditional motor vehicle insurance or provide proof of financial responsibility in lieu of insurance. This allows individuals flexibility to choose how they would like to cover car accident liability. Additionally, it protects the public by requiring individuals to secure a method to compensate car accident victims for losses.  Types of California Insurance Policies California allows drivers to carry the following types of liability policies:  Car insurance from a licensed insurance provider;  Self-insurance certificate issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV);  Evidence of a $35,000 deposit with the DMV; or $35,000 surety bond issued by a business licensed to operate in California. Some individuals may qualify for a low-cost insurance program. This program improves access to insurance coverage to individuals who can’t afford traditional car insurance. In return, however, the policy limits and coverage are less than those of traditional insurance.  California Insurance Policy Limits California’s drivers must provide evidence of the following minimum amounts of financial responsibility in case of an accident: $15,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident;  $30,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in an accident; and  $5,000 minimum coverage for damage to the property belonging to others in the accident.  If the individual carries a low-cost automobile insurance policy, the following limits apply: $10,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident;  $20,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in an accident; and  $3,000 minimum coverage for damage to the property belonging to others in the accident.  These are the minimum amounts of coverage that California’s drivers must carry or bear responsibility for. But drivers can opt to take out policies with higher coverage amounts.  Can an Auto Accident Settlement Exceed the Policy Limit in California? It depends. Part of the insurance contract is that the driver agrees to pay the insurance company X amount in exchange for the insurance covering losses totaling X amount or less.  Typically, insurance policies and limits represent the highest amounts that the insurance company may agree to pay if there’s an accident.  In California, you have to give the at-fault insurance company one opportunity to resolve the claim within their limits by sending over enough information to show the limit amount should be tendered. If the insurance company disagrees and does not pay, then the insurance policy limit is open.    You can still negotiate with the insurance company and at-fault parties to reach a settlement agreement that works for everyone. Additionally, if you have underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may cover some of your damages.  Having an experienced auto accident lawyer to help you increases your chances of recovering. The Beliz Law Firm helps people like you negotiate with the insurance company. We’re not afraid to go to court to help victims and their families get the compensation they need and deserve.  What Are My Options If My Damages Exceed the Insurance Policy Limits? Some car accident injuries like traumatic brain injury can incur a lifetime cost for medical treatment of thousands to over $1 million dollars. Aside from medical costs, you or your loved one may be missing out on wages, enduring pain and suffering, and going through other hardships because of the accident. Do you have options?  If you’re unable to negotiate a suitable settlement outside of court, filing a lawsuit may be your best option. If you go to court, the money award you receive isn’t limited by the insurance policy limits. California’s personal injury damages laws set how much you can receive from the at-fault party or parties.  Under California law, you may be entitled to full, fair, and reasonable compensation for the damages that the at-fault party caused. This includes direct damages, like to your car and your body during the accident. Additionally, you may receive compensation for the harm to you, your life, and your family because of the accident. In other words, compensation for your pain and suffering and lost wages. Unfortunately, just because a court may award you damages does not mean you will be able to collect them. Underinsured drivers often lack the resources to pay a judgment. Your attorney can investigate to help you determine whether filing a lawsuit will be worthwhile. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, you can make a claim with your own insurance company up to the limits of that policy. A lawyer can help you navigate claims with both the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company. Hiring a knowledgeable and trustworthy auto accident lawyer helps you maximize the recovery you receive.  The Beliz Law Firm—Trusted By Southern California Since 2011 Car accident victims need someone they can trust on their side. After all, insurance companies want to save money and at-fault parties aim to pay as little as possible. Meanwhile, car accident victims and their families must pay the price of an accident that wasn’t their fault.  Without an attorney in their corner fighting for them, victims may unknowingly sign away their rights to compensation and accept a car accident settlement...

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Are Common Uber Accident Settlement Amounts?

| Read Time: 6 minutes

Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft continue to gain popularity in Southern California and around the country. Uber drivers transport passengers, packages, food, and more. More people signing on to be drivers means more cars on Los Angeles and Orange County roads. Additional cars on the road mean a greater chance of an accident. Pursuing a personal injury claim involving an Uber driver can be complicated. Understandably, injured victims want to know California’s average Uber accident settlement amounts.  Unfortunately, every case is different, which means Uber car accident settlements will vary greatly depending on the circumstances. Your potential case value depends on individual factors. Uber is not always responsible for paying your damages either, which could also impact your compensation. If you suffered injuries in an accident with an Uber driver, contact the California rideshare lawyers at the Beliz Law Firm today. To help you better understand how much your potential settlement could be, here’s everything you need to know about pursuing an Uber accident claim in California. Uber Insurance Policies Rideshare companies understand that accidents happen, so they have large insurance policies to cover potential Uber accident settlement amounts. Uber has paid damages to injured rideshare passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, other motorists, and bicyclists. However, Uber policies don’t necessarily cover every accident involving an Uber driver. That is why we recommend hiring an attorney to assist you. Uber insurance policies only become primary in certain instances based on what the Uber driver was doing when the accident occurred. Uber liability coverage for an accident depends on the driver’s status. The breakdown is as follows. The Uber App Is Turned Off, or the Driver Is Offline If the Uber driver does not have their app turned on or they are offline, then the Uber driver’s personal auto insurance policy would be primary for the accident. The Uber Driver Has the App Turned On or Is Waiting for a Ride Request The Uber policy will provide coverage when the driver has the app turned on or is waiting for a ride. Usually, during this phase, the Uber driver’s personal auto liability policy denies coverage. However, the Uber policy coverage is lower in this type of accident. Applicable coverage is $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury for all parties in one accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. Uber Driver Was on a Trip or Traveling to Pick Up a Ride In accidents involving a driver with a passenger in the vehicle or en route to pick up the passenger, the Uber policy would apply with higher limits of up to $1,000,000. Factors that Impact a Potential Uber Settlement in California Various factors will impact your potential Uber accident settlement payout. It’s crucial to take the appropriate steps to build the best case possible. The more substantial evidence you have, the more money you may receive from a settlement or trial award. Type and Severity of Injuries One essential factor in your claim involves your injuries. If someone has soft tissue injuries that heal within three months, their case will be worth significantly less than a case where the victim has a spinal cord injury with permanent paralysis. Following a car accident, timely medical treatment is a necessity. Even though serious injuries may not be apparent immediately after a collision, pains and injuries may increase over the days and weeks following. Insurance companies will argue that you must not be that hurt because you waited weeks to see a doctor. Or they might allege something else happened in the meantime that caused your injuries, not the accident. Liability Liability is another factor that can impact your potential Uber settlement in California. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can still collect a portion of your damages, even if you are partially at fault. However, your Uber accident settlement would be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if a jury determines you are 20% at fault, you will receive 80% of your damages. If the jury decides you are 70% at fault, you will only receive 30%. Determining liability for an Uber-related accident can be challenging. Complicated factors, such as what the Uber driver was doing when the collision occurred, and your role, can significantly impact your potential Uber accident settlement. If you were a passenger in an Uber vehicle and another vehicle was at fault for the accident, you would need to pursue a claim against the negligent motorist. If applicable then you may be able to bring an underinsured motorist claim against Uber to be fully compensated for your injuries.   To maximize an Uber accident settlement payout, you need to build the strongest liability case possible. It doesn’t matter whether your claim is against Uber’s insurance company or the insurance company of another driver; the claims adjuster will do whatever possible to pin most of the liability away from them. Total Amount of Damages The total amount of damages also impact Uber accident settlement amounts. The more damages you have, the higher your case could be worth. Damages can be divided into two main categories—economic and non-economic damages. Your economic damages include tangible financial losses such as medical expenses both past and future, property damage, and time off work. Non-economic damages are harder to calculate because they are more subjective. They are pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and more. When you have the Beliz Law Firm representing you, we will work tirelessly to provide evidence of your damages.   Liability Plus Insurance Policy Limits Plus Damages Equals Settlement Amount The Amount of Liability Coverage The amount of settlement will depend on the combination of liability, the policy limits, and the damages. The higher percentage of liability on the Uber driver with higher insurance limits plus serious injuries may lead to a greater settlement value. However, the opposite is true. The lower percentage of negligence on the Uber driver with the lowest limits of insurance and soft tissue injuries that...

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Is the Statute of Limitations in a California Car Accident?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Recovering after a car accident can take a long time. Hospital stays can take weeks, while physical therapy can take months or years. Processing and overcoming the trauma and pain of a car accident can take even longer.  However, if you plan to file a lawsuit because of the accident, you can’t wait forever. California has a strict deadline for filing claims called a “statute of limitations.” In most cases, the statute of limitations in a California car accident case is only two years.  Therefore, if you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, you need to act quickly. Don’t let the statute of limitations in California make your claim untimely. Contact a knowledgeable Long Beach car accident attorney today.  What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in California? Section 340.8 of the California Code of Civil Procedure contains the statute of limitations for car accidents. For most civil lawsuits for losses caused in a car accident, the statute of limitations in California is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, the court will most likely throw out your case.  That said, this two year statute of limitations does not apply in every situation. One exception applies to car accidents involving government entities. For example, if you were rear-ended by a police vehicle and suffered injuries as a result. Since this is a claim not against a private citizen but a government entity (i.e., the police), a different statute of limitations would apply. Instead of two years, you would have only six months after the accident to file your claim.  Other circumstances can extend the statute of limitations. If a minor child is injured in a car accident, the statute of limitations clock doesn’t start ticking until they are 18 years old.  Two years may sound like a long time, but claims take time. Injuries may need time for treatment plans and diagnoses, and determining fault may need the consultation of experts to parse through the data and witness statements. Your attorney has a lot of work to do gathering evidence and building your case. So it’s never a good idea to wait. Instead, you should reach out to a qualified car accident attorney right away. Why Is the Statute of Limitations Only Two Years? There are several good reasons why the state limits the statute of limitations to two years. For one, limiting the time period to two years helps ensure that sufficient evidence is available. As any attorney or police officer can tell you, evidence degrades over time.  Witnesses move, pass away, or simply forget key facts because memories fade over time. Physical evidence, like documents and photographs, can be lost or destroyed. As the amount of evidence decreases, it becomes harder and harder to get a fair outcome in a case. Capping the statute of limitations to only two years also gives people a sense of finality. If there were no statute of limitations, people could bring lawsuits over events that occurred 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.  What If I Didn’t Know I Was Injured Until a Long Time After the Car Accident? Sometimes, people feel perfectly fine after a car accident. Because they don’t see or feel any effects after the crash, they assume that they’re healthy and don’t go to a doctor. However, car accidents cause all kinds of hidden traumas, like spinal trauma and closed head injuries. Some of the injuries take months or even years to develop.  If you were injured in an accident and waited too long to bring your claim, you may be ultimately barred from receiving recovery from the negligent party.    Consequently, if your injury appeared months or years after the accident, you will need to consult with a qualified legal professional who will help determine whether your claim is still viable and able to file a lawsuit. I’m Short of Cash Right Now. How Can I Afford an Attorney? Many people wrongly assume that they have to pay attorneys an hourly fee. Although attorneys are sometimes paid by the hour, you can sometimes hire them on a contingency fee basis. In a contingency fee arrangement, you pay only when the attorney resolves your case in a favorable monetary outcome. Your attorney will receive a certain agreeable percentage of the payout.   This method allows you to get legal representation even if you don’t have a lot of extra money available to pay upfront fees. It also means that the attorney gets paid only if they win money for you. After damages award money comes in, the attorney takes the agreed-upon percentage as their fee and the rest after disbursement of costs and medical bills will be given to you.   Don’t Wait Another Day to Get Justice. Contact Us Today.  Surviving a car accident is incredibly stressful. It can also be devastating to your finances and physical and mental well-being. However, do not miss your opportunity to recover compensation for your losses. You deserve to be compensated for your pain, suffering, and lost wages. So act quickly and call an attorney today.  Michael A Beliz, Esq. is a dedicated and experienced personal injury attorney who can help you obtain justice. Over the course of almost two decades, Mr. Beliz has represented clients in countless car accident cases. Thanks to his stellar representation, his clients have received some amazing results over the years. If you want a qualified and compassionate attorney to represent you, look no further. Give us a call or contact us online to set up an appointment.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Can a Pedestrian Ever Be at Fault for a Car Accident in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Many people think that accidents involving pedestrians mean that the driver is always at fault. However, that is not always the case. Understandably, prospective clients want to know, Can a pedestrian be at fault? Liability differs in every case, and yes, a pedestrian can be at fault in a car accident. You often hear the saying that “pedestrians have the right of way,” but that isn’t necessarily always the case. Drivers and pedestrians have a duty to act as a prudent person with reasonable care. Failure to do so could result in potential negligence against a pedestrian in an accident claim. If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by a negligent party, speak with an experienced California pedestrian injury lawyer at the Beliz Law Firm. Pedestrian Accidents in California Pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks in California. When a pedestrian fails to comply with the crosswalk or pedestrian laws, the driver may have the right-of-way. The law doesn’t protect pedestrians when they violate the law, such as jaywalking between vehicles. That means pedestrians can be legally at fault for causing a crash.  An example would be a pedestrian who darts out between two parked cars in front of a vehicle, causing the driver to crash into the parked cars. In this case, the pedestrian might be liable for the damage to those parked vehicles. Other examples of situations where pedestrians might be liable in an accident include: Crossing at a crosswalk, but violating a traffic law such as crossing on a red light when it says don’t walk; Walking on a bridge or highway where pedestrian traffic is prohibited; or Acting recklessly, negligently, or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While pedestrian traffic is prohibited in places such as a highway or freeway, it doesn’t mean a driver can hit someone and have no fault. A motorist may break down and walk to a call box or get off the highway to get assistance. Drivers still have a duty to be cautious and avoid striking them. Shared Fault for Pedestrian Accidents Pedestrian accident liability is sometimes split between the driver and pedestrian, where both parties are deemed to be partially responsible for the accident. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can collect a portion of your damages in an accident, even if you are primarily at fault for the collision. Even in cases where it might appear a pedestrian is clearly at fault, it’s possible the driver will still have some liability. For example, maybe a pedestrian jaywalked, but the driver was distracted and speeding or under the influence of alcohol. The defendant’s insurance company will do their best to put some if not all the liability on you, whether you’re the driver or pedestrian. Even if they can prove only 10% or 20% liability, it means they can reduce their exposure and potential payout. For example, if a jury finds you 15% at fault, you would collect 85% of your damages. It also means the other party would be able to pursue 15% of their damages from your insurance. How a California Pedestrian Injury Attorney Can Assist You If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, retaining a skilled California pedestrian injury lawyer is essential. You need a legal advocate on your side who can protect your rights and help you fight for the maximum compensation in your case. When you retain the Beliz Law Firm to represent you, we will immediately open an independent investigation. Our team will order your medical records and police report, speak with witnesses, and do a scene investigation. In some cases, we may need to hire an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist. This expert will review the facts of the accident. They will prepare a report deciding whom they believe to be at fault for the collision. They can also testify on your behalf should your case eventually go to trial. An accident reconstructionist’s report can be a crucial part of your case. We will also handle all communication and settlement talks with the other party’s insurance or legal practitioners. Insurance companies rely on the fact that you don’t do this for a living. Adjusters will rarely ever offer you the total value of your claim. Instead, they will do their best to minimize your payout and put the majority of the blame on you when investigating pedestrian accident liability. Should the other party’s insurance fail to negotiate or refuse to accept any liability, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact a California Pedestrian Attorney Today If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a California auto accident with a pedestrian, contact The Beliz Law Firm. We have nearly two decades of experience assisting injured victims just like you. We understand the applicable laws and tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying damages. Our firm has the skills and resources available should you choose to proceed with preparing a case for trial. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We will review your case, help you identify the liable party, and assess what your case is worth. Let us determine the best course of legal action and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What are the Laws in California Regarding a Pedestrian Hit by a Car?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

It’s dangerous out there being a pedestrian. Not only do you have to worry about California’s crumbling sidewalks, but distracted and aggressive motorists show very little respect for pedestrians. According to one source, pedestrian deaths account for 22% of all traffic fatalities, so it important that pedestrians protect themselves. At the Beliz Law Firm, we receive a common question: “I got hit by a car while crossing the street. What are my rights?” In this post, we will explain how the law protects pedestrians in California and what to do after a collision. Hitting a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk All motorists must operate their vehicles with sufficient care. This does not mean that they must be perfect, but they must use due care so as not to injure anyone—including pedestrians. When drivers fail to be sufficiently careful, they are negligent and legally responsible for the injuries they cause. Examples of negligence include: Failing to stop Running a red light Trying to scoot around a pedestrian Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone while driving Backing up without checking in the rearview mirror California Vehicle Code § 21950 confirms that both pedestrians and motorists owe each other a duty of care. The code specifically states that motorists who are approaching a pedestrian in any marked or unmarked crosswalk must slow down their vehicle and take any other action necessary to avoid hitting a pedestrian. However, the Code also says that pedestrians must not rush in front of a vehicle so that they create a hazard. Pedestrians also cannot delay traffic while in the crosswalk. If a driver fails to operate their vehicle carefully, and they injure a pedestrian, then the pedestrian can sue the driver for compensation. However, if the pedestrian did not exercise care, they might not have a lawsuit. Use Common Sense Pedestrians and motorists can protect everyone’s safety by using common sense and not being in a rush to get somewhere. Simply wait for vehicles or pedestrians to get through the crosswalk before heading across. The California Driver Handbook implores pedestrians and motorists to exhibit courtesy to each other, which will reduce the chances of an accident. Of course, some accidents are unavoidable, and pedestrians should do everything possible to protect their right to compensation. For example, you should do the following after getting struck: Contact emergency services to have an ambulance come out. Take pictures of anything, such as damage to the car that hit you, or the area where you landed. If you are in extreme pain, ask someone else to take these pictures with their camera. Contact the police to come out to the accident and write up a police report. These reports will contain important information. Identify any witnesses to the collision. Get their names and contact information. Promptly seek medical attention. The more information you find, the greater your case for compensation. If you are too injured to collect anything, then ask for help or have your lawyer look for this information as soon as possible. Contact Us Today If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, laws in California protect you. These laws allow injured pedestrians to hold negligent drivers accountable when they negligently injure other people. At the Beliz Law Firm, we meet with many people who have suffered devastating injuries in pedestrian crashes, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and permanent nerve damage. We know how stressful it is to be in pain and possibly unable to work. To speak with an attorney, please reach out to us today. One of our pedestrian accident lawyers can meet with you to discuss your case. Avoid delay. California law gives injured pedestrians a short amount of time to request compensation after a crash.

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