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This article, and the others listed above, are originals written by Rolando Pasquali. Many were published in legal journals and in newspapers of general circulation. Each article is based upon general principles of California Law in existence at the time that it was written. The law constantly changes. Therefore the articles, including this one, may contain information which is out of date. Also, even a small difference in facts can change how the law applies to any situation. No information in this article or anywhere on this website constitutes legal advice. These articles do not create an attorney-client relationship between you and this office. If you need legal advice, contact this office or an attorney in your area

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Free Information If You Are Hurt In An Auto Accident


by Rolando Pasquali

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Tip: Rolando Pasquali has worked both for the insurance companies and against the insurance companies. He has has successfully fought bicycle accidents, motorcycle crashes, auto-pedestrian injury cases, and multiple vehicle complex auto accidents. Rolando has defended drivers insured by CSAA Insurance, State Farm, and Aetna Casualty & Surety Company. He has represented Budget Rent-a-Car in serious auto accident litigation. Rolando has beaten insurance companies in automobile cases, in court, and in Uninsured Motorist Arbitration. He has experience representing victims of careless drivers as well as auto passengers. Attorney Rolando Pasquali has successfully handled bicycle cases, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian injury, and car crashes. He has presented, and faced off against, toxicology experts, human factors experts, and accident reconstructionists. His winning jury trials have ranged from torts: low impact rear-enders; to prosecuting high speed head-on freeway collisions involving permanent brain injury, multiple victims & wrongful death because of the drinking driver.

Here's what he says that you should do if you are involved in an auto accident:

Most of us have, at one time or another, collided with another vehicle while driving. Here are some tips that every driver needs to know.  

Stop at the Scene

    California law makes it a crime, punishable by imprisonment, if you don't stop at the scene of an accident and identify yourself. This law applies even if the accident only caused auto damage.

Identify Witnesses

    It's unfortunate, but many accidents result in claims by one person against another. Everyone knows to get the name and address of "the other guy" but drivers often forget to identify witnesses. Witnesses to the accident, especially witnesses not connected with either car (so-called "independent witnesses") will be critical later on. If you're going to present a claim, you'll want them in order to prove your case by corroborating your side of the story. If a false or exaggerated claim is presented against you, they're the best protection you could ask for.

Identify Insurance

    Three types of insurance apply to an auto accident. (1) The insurance policy covering the other car (the owner's policy); (2) If the other driver isn't the car's owner, they might have their own policy of insurance which will usually cover them while driving someone else's car; (3) Your own policy of insurance.

    Look at the other driver's auto registration, If the car's owner is different than the driver, get the names and policy numbers for each person's insurance. Later on, check with your insurance agent. If you have a claim which exceeds the other side's insurance limits, you'll need to know if your policy covered "Uninsured Drivers" (situations where the other guy didn't have insurance) as well as "Underinsured Drivers" (situations where the other driver's insurance isn't enough to cover the size of your claim). In either of these situations, your insurance company actually "steps into the shoes" of the other driver and pays you on their behalf.  

No Fault Insurance

   If you or any of your passengers is injured, check with your insurance company to find out if you had "Medical Payments" coverage. This insurance is actually no fault in nature. Your company will pay your medical bills regardless of whether or not the other guy had coverage and regardless of whose fault the accident was. It usually covers you from the first dollar of medical expenses.

The Other Car’s Insurance Company

    Some drivers identify themselves but refuse to give out the name of their insurance company. Here's how to get it. Ask your insurance company to file an "SR-1 Form" with the California DMV, this filing triggers an automatic investigation. DMV will contact the other driver and ask for proof that they were in compliance with the state's financial responsibility laws at the time of the accident. If the other driver fails to provide DMV with proof of insurance or similar coverage, their driver's license is automatically suspended for a full year. In order to avoid this penalty, drivers will give their insurance company's name and policy number to DMV. That information, in turn, is available to you as a driver involved in the accident. Simply wait 30 days and request an "SR-30 Form" from DMV.    


- by Rolando Pasquali

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