California Auto Accidents: Has Your Insurer Done Right By You?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Watch any television advertisement for an insurance company and you’ll see agents showing up at an auto accident scene at 4 a.m. and paying claims on the spot – not to mention saving thousands of dollars a year on premiums to boot. Unfortunately, those advertisements don’t represent what really happens after you’ve been in an auto accident. So, has your insurer done right by you?

How do insurance companies treat customers in California?

That’s the question we asked Matthew Nezhad, a California attorney whose practice is dedicated to handling personal injury claims and cases for injury victims throughout California. Here’s what he told us:

Insurance companies generally use a delay tactic in trying to resolve claims. Initially when you talk to their representatives, they indicate that they’re on your side and they’re trying to process this claim to help you. However, their best interests are obviously their shareholders, so they do not want to give you the maximum amount that you are owed or an amount for which you should be compensated. They use delay tactics in handling the claim and they may want to take a statement from you.

We always tell our clients not to give a statement unless you are in the presence of an attorney. They’re likely to ask you for a lot of things and they will tell you that if you give them this information, it will make it an easier process for you. However, that’s not true. They basically want to delay the claim as much as they can and frustrate you to a point where you say, ‘You know what? I’ll just throw in the towel. I give up. I don’t want to go after anyone. I don’t want to do anything. Let it just be. I’ll try to even take care of it myself if I need to because it’s too frustrating.’ This is why you need to contact a car accident attorney immediately afterwards.

Forty days to act on a California claim

Did you know that insurance companies have time limits to adjust auto accident claims in California? While that’s true, many companies find ways around it, according to Nezhad. He explained, “Generally speaking, [insurance companies] have 40 days in which to accept or deny the claim, in part or in whole, from the time that they get the claim. However, while you may report the claim and provide all of the information they’ve requested, a lot of times they’ll use tactics to delay the claim process such as requesting all sorts of documents they don’t need. That gives them the opportunity to extend the time they have to respond to your claim.”

That’s why he says it’s very important that you just don’t sit there thinking that they’re taking care of it and you can just wait until they inform you. You definitely want to take action immediately. An experienced California car accident attorney will be able to evaluate your situation and provide you with options.

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