FAQs about Car Accidents in San Diego

You don’t have to hire a San Diego Injury Attorney, but if there are questions about fault in an accident, if you or a loved one is seriously injured or worse, or if you are dealing with significant property damage, it’s very wise to consult with a lawyer in San Diego. If you pursue a claim on your own, you may end up with less compensation than you would by retaining legal counsel. That’s why insurance companies don’t want you to hire an attorney. In fact, a 1994 study by the Insurance Research Council found that injured people using lawyers received over twice as much money as those without lawyers – and that was 20 years ago. Experienced attorneys know how to fight back against insurance companies that want to minimize compensation for victims.

You can pursue compensation for lost wages from the person who caused the accident. The amount, however, will be paid to you at the end of the case, as part of a lump sum settlement. What do you do in the meantime? You do have options. If you did not carry separate private disability insurance, you may be entitled to compensation prior to the end of the case. The California State Disability Insurance (SDI) is a partial wage-replacement plan for California workers provided by the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD). The program is state-mandated and funded through employee payroll deductions. SDI provides short-term benefits to eligible workers. Workers covered by SDI are covered by two benefits: Disability and Paid Family Leave. There are a number of requirements, but the following are some of the main ones:

  • You must be unable to do your regular or customary work for at least eight consecutive days.
  • You must be employed or actively looking for work at the time you become disabled.
  • You must have lost wages because of your disability or, if unemployed, have been actively looking for work.
  • You must have earned at least $300 from which State Disability Insurance (SDI) deductions were withheld during a previous period.

For claims beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014, weekly benefits range from $50 to a maximum of $1,075.

An individual’s weekly benefit amount is approximately 55 percent of his or her earnings up to the maximum weekly benefit amount. He or she may receive up to 52 weeks worth of Disability Insurance (DI) benefits. The daily benefit amount is calculated by dividing an individual’s weekly benefit amount by seven. The maximum benefit amount is calculated by multiplying an individual’s weekly benefit amount by 52 or adding the total wages subject to State Disability Insurance (SDI) tax paid in an individual’s base period, whichever is less.

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Hiring an attorney has big advantages for several reasons. According to a Rand Corporation study, Automobile Accident Compensation,” attorneys are very skilled at negotiating larger settlements than an average claimant because of knowledge and experience. First, adequate compensation is rarely awarded to claimants in automobile accidents until or unless they retain an attorney to protect their legal rights and to get them the compensation to which they are entitled. Second, retaining an attorney adds credibility to the client’s threat to file suit, to pursue a claim to trail, and to negotiate a larger payment. Thus, a client gains more experience, more knowledge, and more negotiating credibility and power.

In a 1994 study, the Insurance Research Council found that injured people using lawyers received over TWICE as much money as those without lawyers. And this is AFTER paying the lawyer’s fees!

Never accept the first offer from an insurance company. Just because an adjuster makes an offer doesn’t mean it’s fair or that you have to accept it. You may feel pressure to accept quick money for your losses. They may try to push you, force you, threaten you or guilt you into signing documents or making a hasty decision. You don’t have to put up with that! Contact us today. We’ll handle the details. That way you can focus on what matters most: feeling better and getting on with your life.

When you’re dealing with accident-related injuries or the sudden loss of a loved one, we don’t think it’s fair for you to have to worry about whether you can afford an attorney. End of story! Ronald B. Laba is a San Diego contingency fee attorney. That means you pay nothing until we win your case. Period. From the moment you contact the Law Offices of Ronald B. Laba for a free case evaluation until we obtain a favorable verdict or settlement on your behalf, you don’t owe us a dime. If you win, we get paid a percentage of the settlement or verdict. Contact us today.

The replacement parts don’t have to be brand-name parts, but the insurance company must guarantee that the part is equal in kind, quality, safety, fit and performance, according to California regulations. To learn more, visit the California Department of Insurance website.

Yes. A consumer is entitled to:

  1. Select the auto body repair shop to repair auto body damage covered by the insurance company.  An insurance company shall not require the repairs to be done at a specific auto body repair shop.
  2. An itemized written estimate for auto body repairs and upon completion of repairs, a detailed invoice.  The estimate and the invoice must include an itemized list of parts and labor along with the total price for the work performed.  The estimate and invoice must also identify all parts as new, used, aftermarket, reconditioned or rebuilt.
  3. Be informed about coverage for towing and storage services.
  4. Be informed about the extent of coverage if any, for a replacement rental vehicle while a damaged vehicle is being repaired.
  5. Be informed of where to report suspected fraud or other complaints and concerns about auto body repairs.
  6. Seek and obtain an independent repair estimate directly from a registered auto body repair shop for repair of a damaged vehicle, even when pursuing an insurance claim for repairing the vehicle.

For more information, visit the California Department of Insurance website.


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