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Dealing with Insurance Companies After an Injury Accident

If you were hurt in a car crash caused by another driver, it’s natural to assume that insurance will pay for the medical expenses and other damages to help restore your life.

But insurance companies are motivated by profits, not by helping consumers who pay for their services. In fact, insurance adjusters are trained to look for ways to limit potential payouts or deny claims altogether.

The San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Scott Carr Law Firm understand how critical your initial dealings with insurance companies can be to your claim. Saying the wrong things or agreeing to the first settlement offer can affect your ability to recover the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident caused by a negligent driver, call us at 415-799-2229 or contact us online for a free consultation before you discuss the collision with your insurance provider. Our experienced car accident attorneys can help you understand your options and fight for the financial security you need.

Talking to Your Insurance Company after a Crash

After reporting your crash to law enforcement and receiving necessary medical attention, you will need to notify your insurance provider about the accident.

When talking with your insurance company about a crash, be honest but don’t volunteer unsolicited information and don’t admit fault (even if you believe you’re at least partially to blame for the accident). Your insurance agent should only ask about the basic details of the accident, including:

  • The date, time and location of the crash
  • The name of the responding law enforcement agency
  • The names and contact information for other involved drivers and vehicle occupants
  • The insurance information for other involved drivers

While you should contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after a crash, it’s also a good idea to consult with a lawyer first if the wreck resulted in significant injuries or if there are questions about who caused the accident.

Talking to Other Drivers’ Insurance Providers after a Crash

In the days following a car accident, the insurance providers for other involved drivers may call you. You are NOT legally required to give a statement to other drivers’ insurance companies.

It’s in your best interests to politely decline to answer their questions and to refer them to your own insurance provider or your car accident lawyer. Do not consent to a recorded interview, do not discuss fault, and do not provide information about the severity of your injuries.

The agents for other drivers’ insurance providers may attempt to ask you leading questions that could paint you and your claim into a corner. They may seek information they can use to shift liability or reduce the value of your claim.

Don’t Settle for the First Settlement

Accident injury victims are often faced with costly medical expenses and time away from work. Insurance companies know many injury victims need money for damages as soon as possible, and they may pressure you to accept what seems like a sizable settlement.

But insurance companies’ initial settlement offers are rarely enough to cover injury victims’ long-term needs. Even seemingly minor injuries may require extensive rehabilitation or necessitate time off work that results in lost earnings.

You are not obligated to accept an insurer’s settlement offer. The experienced car accident lawyers at Scott Carr Law Firm understand the long-range costs associated with injuries, and we work hard to get crash victims the financial security they need to move forward with their lives.

Beware Social Media Pitfalls

Following a motor vehicle crash, insurance adjusters will seek evidence they can use to limit or deny a claim. One of the first places they look is social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Any content you share could become suspect amid the injury claim process. Avoid posting details about the crash and your injuries. It’s best to simply take a break from social media until your claim is resolved, but you should at least take the following precautions:

  • Ensure that your accounts are private
  • Do not accept new friend requests until your case is complete
  • Ask family members and friends to refrain from posting anything related to your crash or your injuries

The personal injury lawyers at Scott Carr Law Firm are dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims in San Francisco, we’re here for you when you need help most. Call us today at 415-799-2229 for your free consultation or contact us

How To Appeal a Denied SSD Claim

Social Security disability benefits can help many individuals and families regain financial stability after a serious disease or injury. If you can’t work anymore due to a long-term disability, you may be eligible for Social Security disability (SSD) payments. Unfortunately, the application process is complicated and approximately 55 to 60 percent of initial SSD claims are denied. However, if your claim isn’t successful, you have the right to appeal.

The personal injury attorneys at Scott Carr Law Firm have helped many San Francisco clients successfully appeal denied SSD claims. When you schedule a consultation, we’ll discuss your situation and help you figure out the best way to proceed. To get started on your Social Security disability appeal, call us at 415-799-2229. You can also reach us through our online form.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Appealing a Denied SSD Claim

Unfortunately, more than half of all initial SSD applications are denied. This means there is a good chance that you will have to go through the appeals process even if you meet the eligibility requirements for Social Security disability benefits.

If your SSD claim is denied, you can appeal the decision. There are four different levels of appeal, and if your first appeal fails, you can proceed to the next level. 

Request reconsideration

If your SSD claim gets denied, the first level of appeal is a request for reconsideration. In this process, your claim is thoroughly reviewed by a Social Security Administration employee who was not involved in the initial decision on your claim. 

You can request a reconsideration appeal online, or you can mail the completed forms to your local Social Security office. If necessary, you can add new or updated medical information that wasn’t included in your initial application.

Attend a hearing

If your claim isn’t approved through the reconsideration request, the next step is to request a hearing. You can initiate the hearing request online. This hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge (ALJ) who was not involved in the decision on your initial claim or your reconsideration request.

The judge reviews your case and makes a decision based on evidence and witness testimony. Your hearing may be held in person at a local hearing office or via video conferencing.

Request an Appeals Council review

Even if the ALJ denies your appeal during a hearing, you may still be able to get your claim approved. The next step is to request that your case be reviewed by the Appeals Council. You can make the request online. The Council decides whether to review your case, and there are three possible outcomes:

  • Your case is reviewed by the Appeals Council
  • Your case is returned to an ALJ for further review
  • Your request for review is denied

If the Appeals Council determines that the previous decision on your case complied with Social Security regulations, it may deny your request. 

Pursue a federal court review

The final appeal option is a federal court review of your claim. To pursue this option, you must act with 60 days of when you received the decision from the Appeals Council. It is not possible to request a federal court review online; you must file a civil lawsuit in a federal district court. This process can be complicated and take a long time, but you might get a positive decision on your claim.

If your initial SSD claim is denied, a lawyer can help you through the appeals process. Working with an experienced attorney may help reduce the time and stress of your appeal.

Why Do SSD Claims Get Denied?

If your SSD claim gets denied, the letter you receive should indicate the reason. There are many common issues that can cause an SSD claim to be rejected. 

Lack of adequate work history

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough to pay into the program. This is similar to how Social Security retirement benefits work. To be eligible for SSD payments, you must have built up at least 40 work credits and have earned 20 of them within the last 10 years leading up to your disability.

No qualifying long-term disability

SSD benefits aren’t available for short-term conditions or partial disability. To be eligible, you must have a condition that meets these requirements:

  • Significantly limits your ability to perform work-related tasks
  • Is expected to last for at least 12 months or is terminal
  • Is found on the SSA’s list of disabling medical conditions

If your condition isn’t included in the list of impairments, you may still qualify for SSD benefits if you can prove that your disability prevents you from working.

Too much income

You can only qualify for disability payments if your condition prevents you from being engaged in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). The SSA has an income threshold; if you exceed that amount, you don’t qualify for SSD benefits. For 2021, the SGA limit for non-blind individuals is $1,310 per month. For blind individuals, the monthly SGA threshold is $2,190.

Ability to find other work

Even if your disability prevents you from working in your chosen career, you may not be eligible for SSD benefits if the SSA determines that you can get a different job. When reviewing your claim, the SSA considers your age, education, career history, skills, and medical condition to determine whether you are able to work. If it determines you can get work in a new industry, you may be denied SSD benefits.

Failure to work with medical professionals

The SSA makes a determination about your condition based on medical records. If you don’t have an adequate record of your medical history, your application may be denied. 

Your records must show that you have sought medical treatment for your condition and have been following your doctor’s orders. If you are refusing to work with medical professionals, the SSA may decide to reject your application.

Substance abuse or criminal activity

If your disability was caused or exacerbated by alcoholism or substance abuse, the SSA may deny your claim. Additionally, you may be ineligible for SSD benefits if you are convicted of certain crimes or if your injury occurred while you were committing a crime.

An experienced disability attorney can help you with your initial application to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and have all the documentation and support you need. 

An SSD lawyer can help you appeal your denied claim

If you can no longer work due to a disability, you may qualify for SSD benefits. Unfortunately, the application and appeals processes are often overwhelming and frustrating.

At Scott Carr Law Firm, we have the knowledge and experience to guide you through any level of appeal. We’ll review the specifics of your case and give you clear guidance about your legal options.

For help appealing your denied SSD claim, call Scott Carr Law Firm. We serve clients throughout San Francisco.

To reach our team, call 415-799-2229 or use the online form.

Common Questions about Trucking Accidents

Accidents involving large commercial vehicles or semi-trucks are dangerous due to their size and weight.

But in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, some trucking regulations are being lifted or even changed, which may increase the risk of trucking accidents.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, call Scott Carr Law Firm at 415-799-2229 or contact us online. Our team of truck accident lawyers serve clients throughout San Francisco.

We’re dedicated to helping truck accident victims and providing accurate, up to date information on trucking accidents. We’ve put together answers to frequently asked questions on trucking accidents below.

How many trucking accidents are there in the United States?

Out of the approximately 450,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2017, there were 4,237 fatal crashes (one percent ) and 344,000 injury crashes (23 percent), according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

From 2016 to 2017, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased 10 percent. The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by five percent, while the number involved in property damage only crashes increased by three percent.

Why do trucking accidents happen?

Distracted driving and driver error often play a part in most motor vehicle accidents, including trucking accidents.

Other factors in trucking accidents include:

  • Driver-related factors such as impairment due to fatigue or illness
  • Speeding
  • Another vehicle, person, animal, or object in the truck’s lane, leading to loss of control
  • Vehicle-related factors such as tire issues, faulty parts, or inadequate maintenance

Where do crashes involving large trucks usually occur?

The majority of all fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2017 occurred in rural areas (57 percent). The second most common location for trucking accidents was interstate highways (27 percent), followed by rural interstate highways (13 percent).

When do trucking accidents usually occur?

Nighttime, from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, was the most common time of day for trucking accidents. The vast majority of both fatal crashes (83 percent) and nonfatal crashes (88 percent) occurred on weekdays, from Monday through Friday.

Why are trucking accidents so dangerous?

Because of their size and weight, the consequences of a truck crashing can be much more severe than a smaller vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a “large truck” as any truck with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds, excluding buses and motorhomes.

When a vehicle of this size and weight loses control on the road, collides with another vehicle, or collides with a stationary object, the damage can be serious.

Furthermore, large trucks sometimes carry cargo like flammable liquids and hazardous materials. When this cargo spills in an accident, it can be even more dangerous for those involved or bystanders present.

 In fact, hazardous materials cargo was present on three percent of large trucks involved in fatal crashes, and two percent of those in nonfatal crashes in 2017.

Are truck regulations changing due to COVID-19?

Yes. On March 13, 2020, the US Department of Transportation issued a national emergency declaration for commercial vehicles delivering relief in response to COVID-19, or the coronavirus. It’s the first time the FMCSA has issued nationwide relief. The national emergency declaration is in effect until April 12 or until it is terminated.

The declaration provides “hours-of-service regulatory relief” to drivers, meaning they’ll be exempt from hours of service rules if they’re transporting freight to provide relief of the virus.

What cargo is covered under the emergency declaration?

Relief supplies transported by truck drivers may include:

  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectant, and other supplies to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Livestock and food for emergency restocking of stores
  • Equipment and supplies needed to establish and manage temporary housing and quarantine facilities
  • Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services
  • Persons for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes

If a driver is transporting a load of relief supplies mixed with other, unrelated materials, they’re generally still covered under the declaration’s new rules.

What does the emergency declaration mean for truck drivers?

The national emergency declaration stipulates that once a truck driver has completed their delivery, they must receive a minimum of 10 hours of off duty time if transporting property. If transporting passengers, they must receive a minimum of 8 hours of off time.

Prior to this national emergency declaration, drivers were only permitted to work 14 hour days, and could spend only 11 of those hours actually driving. These regulations no longer apply.

What are some of the risks due to the changing regulations?

Because of COVID-19, truckers are needed more than ever to transport emergency supplies. The national emergency declaration is meant to meet demand for supplies, but it can also increase the risk of trucking accidents.

Shelter-in-place is in effect, leaving roads mostly clear of traffic without people commuting to work. That frees up roads for truck drivers, but there are other dangers present. With less strict rules on driving time and breaks, drivers may be driving while exhausted or distracted from working long hours. And if they become infected with COVID-19 while on the road, it may spread unknowingly if drivers aren’t taking proper precautions.

How can an attorney help after a trucking accident?

If you or a loved one are involved in a trucking accident, our injury attorneys at Scott Carr Law Firm based in San Francisco can help. It’s not always clear who is at-fault in a truck accident, and changing regulations due to COVID-19 can complicate matters even further.

A truck accident lawyer at Scott Carr Law Firm can help you understand your options and fight for the compensation you deserve.  Call Scott Carr Law Firm today at 419-799-2229 to get started today. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to clients throughout San Francisco.

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