The Many Types of Automobile Insurance Coverage and Policies

Auto insurance coverage come in a variety of types, and what you pay for determines how much coverage you have in the event you are involved in an auto accident. Understanding the differences in coverage you can purchase and have purchased is essential if you want to be properly insured and to understand what exactly you are insured for. The following is a basic guide to help get you started:

Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

Bodily Injury Liability (BI)

Covers physical harm (including death) caused by you to another person (i.e. you caused the accident). This coverage is meant to protect you if someone decides to file a personal injury claim against you. In California, the minimum limits are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. What this means is if you were to cause harm to someone else, the maximum your insurance would pay is $15,000 for each person you harm, but no more than $30,000 total for all the victims of the accident. In situations where there are multiple passengers and/or victims to an accident, their damages are prorated and calculated by the insurance company based on their medical bills and treatment. In serious accidents, this amount may not be sufficient and where the injuries are aggravated – this may expose your personal assets. As such, it is important to protect your assets if you have any by buying higher bodily injury coverage. Coverage can range from $15,000 (per person)/$30,000(aggregate per accident); $25,000/$50,000; $100,000/$300,000, or even higher. Some coverages are available for $250,000 per person and even up to $1,000,000 per accident.

Property Damage (PD)

Designed to cover damage you might inflict to someone else’s property. The property may be someone else’s vehicle, but could include other items, like fences, fire hydrants, houses, etc. This coverage is meant to protect you if someone decides to file a property damage claim against you.

Collision Coverage (COLL)

Protects your car if it is damaged by another vehicle or object. Usually, this coverage is not required by the state, but can be required if your vehicle has been financed through a lending agency, or is leased.

Comprehensive Coverage (COMP)

Also known as “Other than Collision” (OTC), this insures your vehicle and, to a limited extent, other vehicles you may be driving from losses resulting from circumstances other than collisions. Common circumstances include: damage from flooding, fire, vehicle theft, etc. This coverage also protects you if vehicle is stolen. This coverage is usually required if you are financing or leasing your car.

Medical Payments (Med Pay)

Medical payments coverage typically referred to as “Med Pay” provides some coverage for medical payments made in connection with medical treatment received. This is paid by your insurance company when there is coverage. However, it is reimbursable if there is a settlement against the defendant’s insurance company. This coverage is typically sold in increments of $1,000 or $5,000.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI)

If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, this will cover you, your passengers, other drivers on the policy and unlicensed members of your household. It provides you with protection in the event you are injured in an accident that was not your fault and the at-fault party does not have auto insurance. It also covers you if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident (provided you obtain a police report).

Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIM)

This policy covers the same individuals as the above (UMBI) for accidents that are not their fault. This policy applies when the party who caused your accident has insurance, but the bodily injury limits are not sufficient to fully compensate you for your injuries. For example, if you have losses of $35,000 and the other side has insurance that pays only $25,000 per person, then they would not be able to fully compensate you for your losses. If you have UIM-BI coverage through your own insurance company in excess of the defendant’s coverage of the stated example of $25,000, then you would be able to pursue the excess from your own insurance company. The excess or difference would be $10,000 in this case.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD)

Covers property damage to your vehicle sustained by an uninsured driver.
While these coverages are not required, they can save you a lot of money in the long run. These coverages are typically very cheap, and if you get a sufficient amount of coverage, it can protect you and your loved ones from being financially responsible for any injuries you or they sustain.

Deciding on Deductibles

Typically speaking, the higher the out-of-pocket deductible (what you pay), the less your monthly insurance payments; and the higher your monthly insurance payments, the greater the deductible. When picking insurance, be sure to factor in how much out-of-pocket costs you can afford if you are involved in an accident.

Look at Insurance Limits

What insurance you choose determines the extent of your coverage. For instance, you might inflict damage to someone else’s property that far exceeds the amount of coverage you possess. In such a scenario, you will have to pay the difference. Though it’s hard to anticipate your future needs, be sure to pay for as much coverage as you can reasonably afford. Doing so can save your wallet some future heartache.

Get Insured

Most states have strict laws requiring you to carry some form of auto insurance. If you are not insured, you could be one accident away from having your life and finances ruined. Having insurance means you can drive with a greater peace of mind.

If you have been injured in an auto accident and have questions regarding your automobile insurance policy, call us today.

What are Attractive Nuisances and What Liability do they Create?

What are attractive nuisances? It’s usually used in reference to property owners who maintain items or objects on their premises that have the potential to “attract” or lure interested parties who, unfortunately, suffer harm or injury as a result of contact with the item. Some owners view their property as sacred ground and believe any trespasser injured within its perimeter got what they deserved; unfortunately, the courts take a more objective stance, citing the principle of “Premises Liability” law, which states that a property owner has a legal obligation to make his property reasonably safe for invitees, licensees, and trespassers. It’s easy for owners to forget their responsibilities – that’s why the law offices of Akiva Niamehr LLP offer the following advice.

Private Property that Poses a Hazard or Dangerous Condition

How many times have you driven down a cul-de-sac and seen a rusty old jalopy wasting away in someone’s driveway, or worse still, resting on a lawn! The eyesore is painful enough, but then you notice the homeowner has conveniently left engine parts, crankshafts, batteries and other blunt items around the vehicle as well. The problem is, kids like to turn car parts into laser blasters, body armor, and time machines. If a child were to suffer an injury while playing with his junk metal, the owner could be faced with a stiff lawsuit on his hands. But don’t think simply moving the items to the backyard is enough. Certain municipalities have strict codes and regulations about what can be maintained on one’s property. To play it safe, keep spare parts locked up, and your vehicle covered from curious eyes. Consult local laws to ensure your compliance.

Sometimes getting rid of old furniture is such a hassle. Isn’t it easier just to leave it on the lawn, and let someone take it off your hands? WRONG! For example, large freezers can be death traps for small children who like to crawl inside and see if they can visit “Narnia.” Think sofas are soft and harmless? Think again. If a child pulls a Cirque Du Soleil, he can bust a spring, and suffer a nasty cut. If you have furniture you want to be rid of, call the Goodwill, or dispose of it in a safe manner. Don’t leave it on your lawn.

Slipping Hazards

It’s summer again. And you don’t really want to deal with the kids on such a hot, sticky day – good thing you bought a “Crocodile Mile with a boomerang bump, that sends kids flying!” Now you can set it up on the front lawn, turn on the sprinklers, and let your little ones play with the neighbors while you enjoy a nice Mai Tai on the side. But what happens when the kids go home? Do you put “Crocodile Mile” away? Or do you, like many people, leave it on the lawn for another day?

If you answered “yes” to the second question, then you could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit. Leaving toys on the lawn is a sure-fire way to attract children; but you should be extra vigilant when it comes to those that require adult supervision. Astro-jumps, slip-and-slides, trampolines – these are all items that should never be left unattended or without safety precautions. Protect the safety of your children and their friends – keep these items off the lawn without an adult present.

Other Hazards

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of owning a half-pipe, you know how difficult it can be to keep skaters from sneaking into your backyard. Sure, it’s in your backyard, mostly hidden from sight, but in the event of a terrible accident, the law is likely to decide that your half-pipe easily constitutes an “attractive nuisance.” When it comes to large objects such as this, many municipalities have strict building codes. Were a trespasser to suffer an injury, and it was found that you had violated such codes, your chances of defending yourself against a lawsuit are greatly diminished. If you absolutely must be the proud parent of the next Tony Hawk, research local law before building a half-pipe.

Swimming Pools

Perhaps the most common type of attractive nuisance is the domestic swimming pool. Eager eyes will wait for neighbors to leave just to hop over the fence in the hope of taking a dip. Sometimes, the owner of a pool makes too easy – leaving gates unlocked, or failing to close them. Once again, local law varies on the necessary precautions pool owners must take — that’s why it’s important to play it safe. Lockable covers are a good way to secure your pool when you’re away. Also, be certain that all gates and doors are properly locked; that way, if an accident were to occur, you minimize your liability.

Injuries Resulting from Attractive Nuisances

Perhaps you’re starting to realize that children are especially prone to becoming victims of attractive nuisances. Not surprisingly, youth and inexperience are contributing factors in many injurie. But as a property owner, your responsibility is to ensure that trespassing children are reasonably safe from injury. Chances are, if you eliminate the nuisance, you can eliminate any unwanted tragedies as well.

If you or a loved one were the victim of an attractive nuisance, give our legal experts a call.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

It is one of the first questions you ask after being injured by a reckless driver, or having slipped on a puddle in a grocery store. A cursory look at insurance company websites would have you believe lawyers are greedy individuals with an insatiable appetite for money, willing to exploit your misfortune for profit. These companies encourage claimants to deal with them directly for fair settlement, and often sound convincing to young adults who lack experience in such matters. What they fail to mention are the many benefits that come with having a personal injury lawyer at your disposal. The personal injury lawyers of Akiva Niamehr LLP offers some helpful information when considering to hire a personal injury lawyer.

How Severe is Your Injury?

Under the law, an injury victim is entitled to fair compensation for pain, suffering, loss, and other damages, regardless of the severity of the injury. Most of these can be measured in monetary terms, such as continued medical expenses, and unpaid leave from work. Tangible, chronic, debilitating pain, loss of limb, loss of life, or mental anguish all increases the value of your claim for monetary compensation.

Insurance Companies are not Your Friend

To survive financially, insurance companies are always looking to minimize their liability. If they absolutely have to pay, they like to pay small. This means their first offer is more beneficial to them than to the claimant. Enticed by the prospect of fast cash, many will accept the settlement, not realizing they are entitled to more money. Countless stories abound of individuals who have settled before seeing a doctor, only to discover a chronic, injury-related medical condition later on. Having spent most of their settlement, they find themselves saddled with increasing medical debt, only to wish they had contacted a personal injury lawyer in the first place.

In such a case, a lawyer will have the foresight that many individuals lack in the face of an appealing settlement, and can advise the client on how best to evaluate and plan for unknown, injury-related contingencies. More importantly, a personal injury lawyer can ensure that the insurance company’s offer is commensurate with the nature of the injury. Retaining a personal injury lawyer is a sure-fire way to let an insurance company know they cannot take advantage of you.

Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Fees

One scare tactic used by insurance companies is to convince the injured party that hiring a lawyer will mean exorbitant fees and outrageous legal costs. “What’s the point in hiring a lawyer if most of your settlement will wind up going to your lawyer?” they caution. First-time victims and young adults unfamiliar with the ways of insurance companies especially fall prey to fears of mounting legal debt.

The reality, however, is that many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis — this means that no retainer (or up-front fee) is required, and a lawyer will defer all fees and will only recover in the event that you win your claim. The personal injury lawyers at Akiva Niamehr LLP handle all of their cases on a contingency basis. If you don’t win, neither do they. For this reason, personal injury lawyers will evaluate your case to see if you have a strong legal claim before they decide to represent you.

As such, if you are the victim of an injury, you have little reason to worry about being able to afford legal representation, and should consider it a necessity.

Contrary to what the insurance companies would have you believe, when it actually comes time to pay, your legal fees often represent only a fraction of your total settlement. Since the settlement you obtain with a personal injury lawyer is significantly greater than what you would be offered without a lawyer, the amount of compensation you walk away with is still higher than settling with the insurance company on your own.

Higher Settlements and Recoveries are Obtainable with an Attorney

Don’t fall prey to insurance company misinformation. If you are injured, a personal injury lawyer will be able to do the emotional and physical legwork you are in no shape to handle. You are entitled to full compensation.

Don’t settle for less. Contact our law firm today to get in touch with one of our aggressive personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.

About Bicycle Accident Injuries and Medical Treatment

Bicycle accidents are increasingly frequent. With automobile vs. bicyclist accidents, the injuries can be devastating and often are. Whether a vehicle or car is making a left turn and can’t see an oncoming bicyclist proceeding straight through an intersection or whether a car rear ends and hits a bicyclist off his bike, there are many different scenarios and circumstances that can occur and can give rise to a legal claim of negligence and liability as a result.

Bicyclists are often the injured party, as a bicycle even with a high force of impact can do less damage to an oncoming vehicle than an automobile or vehicle can. Since this is often the case, bicycle accident victims often find themselves severely injured or debilitated given the extent and severity of the impact. In terms of property damage, we typically see bicycles significantly damaged and coming undone.

Medical treatment for a bicycle accident victim could include chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, pain management and more. In serious injuries that result in bodily limb amputation or broken bones or fractures, the treatment would be more extensive and prolonged. It may even include the need for surgery. Neck and spinal injuries can necessitate steroid epidural injections. If you or a loved one was injured in an automobile or vehicular accident involving a bicyclist, you may want to discuss your potential claim or case with one of our professional trial and bicycle accident attorneys at Akiva Niamehr LLP. Our team of attorneys is hard at work for your legal claim while you obtain the necessary medical treatment to recover from your injuries. You can rest assured your case is in good hands.

Construction Accidents and OSHA violations

Construction accidents are increasingly common in California with the hustle and bustle of growing buildings and businesses all over Los Angeles and beyond. Frequently, construction accidents occur and an employee at a construction site is injured as a result. The injuries can range from minor to severe and life-long. When an employee or construction worker is injured on site either through the negligence of the employer through some oversight, the construction worker can pursue a legal claim for negligence.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration legal violations can give rise to a claim for negligence under certain circumstances. To learn more about the implications of your legal claim, contact our legal team at Akiva Niamehr LLP. Our aggressive litigators will pursue and advocate your case and try to obtain you justice and the compensation you deserve.

Did you Slip and Fall on Private Property?

Did you slip and fall on private property? If so, you may be entitled to compensation under a premises liability claim or cause of action if certain circumstances were present in your accident. First, you must have slipped or fallen on a person’s property as an invited guest or permitted visitor and not a trespasser. Second, your fall must have caused you injury. There must be a direct causal connection between the act or inaction of the property owner or landlord which is legally defined as “negligence” and the resulting bodily injury or harm to you.

These types of accidents frequently occur in supermarkets, grocery stores, restaurants, nightclubs and bars and much more. A spilled drink that was not properly or timely cleaned up to fruits that were stomped on in a market and were unnoticed by the patron or invited guest can give rise to legal liability for the landlord or property owner. Even stores like Target, Ralphs, the 99 cent store see these types of accidents on a regular basis. If the store employees do not have a proper protocol or follow a protocol to inspect the premises routinely (every 15 or 30 minutes perhaps), and if they do inspect but fail to clean it up in an appropriate manner and someone is injured as a result– then the store can be held liable and owe monetary compensation under California law to the injured party.

Such a legal action or claim is something the attorneys at Akiva Niamehr LLP routinely pursue for our clients in the most vigorous manner. Often times, an injured person who has slipped and fallen may suffer severe injury like a broken hip or bone or even a laceration. This would require medical treatment and even time off work depending on the nature and extent of the injury. Our team of attorneys work hard for our clients to recover all compensation you are legally entitled to under the law. This includes past and future medical treatment, lost wages or loss of income (both past and future) and damages for pain and suffering. If a loved one/spouse is involved and the injuries are quite severe or there is a wrongful death claim that is warranted, then there is damages for loss of consortium as well- which is the loss of companionship from a wife or husband.

Car Accidents: How to Survive them and Pursue Legal Action

Car accidents occur regularly and daily. On average, six (6) million car accidents occur in the United States annually. Of that number, three (3) million are injured in car or automobile accidents. Each year two (2) million sustain permanent and life-altering injuries in these auto accidents. It also has been discovered that one in seven people do not wear seatbelts.

With these statistics, it becomes apparent that not only are car accidents prevalent but their resulting injuries are real and tangible. The most common causes of traffic fatalities and car accidents include distractions like cell phones, speeding, drunk driving and bad weather.

At the law offices of Akiva Niamehr LLP, located in Los Angeles, we concentrate on providing our clients who were victims of such car accidents with excellent service and help guide them to obtain proper and beneficial medical treatment. At the same time, we pursue our clients’ legal and best interests by filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company in a timely manner to avoid any problems with having the statute of limitations run. The statute of limitations in California in a car accident personal injury case or claim is two years from the date of the car accident, where there was resulting injury. The statute of limitations for property damage only in California is three years. Every state is different with different timelines and deadlines. To preserve your interest and legal claim, it is important to consult with an attorney almost immediately after the accident has occurred- after you have obtained the necessary emergency medical attention or treatment, in serious automobile accidents.

Liability in Motorcycle Accidents

Because motorcycles are smaller than cars, only have two wheels and do not protect the driver with boundaries or an enclosure like a vehicle does, motorcycle drivers are at a higher risk when an accident occurs. Motorcycle accidents are more dangerous and the injuries can be more serious and often are.

This is due to the risks of driving a motorcycle on a road or freeway, which include less visibility to other cars, less stability and the lack of a physical barrier to protect the motorcyclist from other vehicles. Liability is determined by the standard of negligence. Was the accident caused by the motorcyclist’s action or inaction or in other words did the motorcyclist not act in a reasonable manner? Or was the accident caused by a truck or car that was negligent, did not see the motorcycle or failed to drive safely or properly in some other manner?

The determination is usually made in the first instance if for example one of the parties did not stop at a stop sign which would constitute a California Vehicle Code citation. A violation of a vehicle code citation automatically raises the assumption or inference of negligence and is legally called “negligence per se.”

In either event, either the motorcyclist will be found negligent or the driver of the other vehicle (truck, bicycle, car). In some rare occasions, both drivers can be said to be comparatively at fault. Perhaps, the motorcyclist did not put his signal on and so would be allocated 20% at fault while the driver of the vehicle was driving at such an unsafe speed (in violation of vehicle code section 22350) that he would have been unable to stop in any event and therefore deserves 80% allocation of fault. These are arguments the insurance company’s adjuster and your attorney will undertake and rehash in determining liability, especially where it is questionable.

It all depends on the factual circumstances of the accident, whether any laws were violated, whether there is a police report citing either party, whether there are witnesses, who was injured and to what extent and so on. Many considerations will be made and all of the factual scenarios will be reviewed by your attorney. For example, if a party did or did not have car insurance is also an important consideration. If a driver of a motorcycle is involved in a personal injury accident and did not have proper or effective insurance coverage, then his recovery in a legal case can be limited monetarily even if he was found to not be at fault or liable for the accident. When an injured party who was not negligent or liable does not carry insurance or the insurance was for some reason not in effect during the date of loss, the injured party can be limited in terms of his or her financial recovery against the negligent driver’s insurance company. This means pain and suffering money damages could be excluded and usually are, unless the insurance company is unaware of the coverage issue.

It is important to consult with an attorney if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, either as the driver of another vehicle or as the motorcyclist yourself.