it was late afternoon/early evening and my parents were out for their daily walk. they were crossing a street (not in a cross walk) my father was a little ahead of my mother in a motorized scotter. my mother was hit by a car that seemed to be coming fast and she was killed. Police reports says driver did not see any pedestrians. driver gave blood for a drug/alcohol test and it came back positive for drugs (marijuana). driver states that he smoked early in the morning. also driver is required to wear corrective lens and he was not at the time of the accident. police reports states that the pedestrian is at fault (my mother). can you please tell me if we should legal file a claim with the drivers insurance?
8 Answers from Attorneys
you don't file with 'insurance', you file a personal injury/wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and registered owner of the vehicle, asap. The attorney will have to fight about the poor police report, but that is not uncommon. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. I’ll be happy to help fight and get the best outcome possible/
You can file a claim with the third parties' insurance, but if you want to keep from getting tricked by the insurance company, you may have to have an attorney assist you.
I am sorry for your loss and your father's. I would recommend that you seek legal representation against that driver. Not only was that driver negligent for the accident in causing her death, there would be a potential for driving under the influence if the driver was found to be a DUI rather than just having a trace amount. A DUI may bring the issue of potential punitive damages if the facts lead to te proof of being intoxicated rather than just trace amounts. Either way you both have a wrongful death claim. These can require litigation and to obtain a full measure of damages you want that representation especially in dealing with the other driver's insurance company. Having been in claims and a national claims trainer at Farmers Insurance before becoming an attorney, I know how these adjusters and claims managers think. Regards, Bob Worth (818) 222-2433
You should get a qualified attorney to help you on a contingent fee
It's important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Make sure to bring along all relevant documents, photographs, records, bills, etc.
I would advise against speaking to the other party's insurance carrier until you've had an opportunity to consult with an attorney. The same goes to your father. Your father should also make himself available for the legal consultation.
Once you've had an opportunity to consult with an attorney (or several attorneys), then you will be in a better position to understand what options are available and what the best course of action might be. There is no obligation to use any of the attorneys that you speak with.
The purpose of the legal consultation is two-fold: (1) educate yourself regarding the law and (2) interviewing the attorney to see whether he/she is suitable for you.
Best of luck to you!
The loss you have suffered is devastating. Please accept my sincere condolences. As to your question, I agree with the other attorneys here that you should definitely pursue the individual who caused this accident.
Most importantly, however, is the question of fully investigating the case to see if there are any additional parties that may share responsibility. The average motorist's insurance policy is going to be woefully inadequate to compensate your family for the loss you have suffered. California law, however, allows you to pursue not just the motorist, but potentially other parties as well, if they contributed in some way to the accident.
The possibilities are complex and depend a lot on the facts of each individual case, so for more details, please contact me and I can explain how the law might apply in your particular situation. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone toll-free at (877) LION-FOR-LAW (546-6367).
Filing a lawsuit should not be your first response, unless you are right up to the statute of limitations.
Get yourself the best personal injury attorneys that will take your case. Be sure they regularly go to trial on their cases. More likely than not, a top notch personal injury litigation law firm will recover the limits of the automobile driver’s policy without filing a lawsuit.
If you have strong litigation law firm with a good track records in the courts, the insurance company isn’t likely to refuse to pay the policy. If they do refuse, they expose themselves and the auto driver to a judgment in excess of the policy limits. It’s called “exposing the policy”. If the policy is “exposed” a really good personal injury law firm is likely to recover even more than the policy limits for the family.
What I am suggesting is a well-known tactic of the better personal injury litigation law firms. Most personal injury law firms rarely go to trial.
There is another issue I’d look at if we were on the case. Why did your parents cross where they did? If the street was set up so that they needed to cross at a more dangerous place because they were on their scoters and the street wasn’t set up properly, there may be a “dangerous roadway” issue and a possible claim against a governmental agency. Claims against a California governmental agencies require a notice of claim within 180 days.
Seek assistance from the best personal injury attorneys you can as quickly as you can.
All of the answers are correct.You should contact an attorney ASAP. Delay can only hurt not help.