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4 Simple Tips for Dealing with Insurance Companies

When you are recovering from an accident, the last thing you want is to be given the run around during the confusing claims process by insurance companies. Here are 4 simple tips to keep your claim on track and what you need to know to settle your claim.

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Don’t Make Friends with Insurance Adjustors

Your insurance adjustor may seem very nice to you and make you believe they have your best interest at heart, in truth this is to get you to trust them. By using this strategy, they can get you talking with your guard down and you may say something that could put your claim in jeopardy.  Adjustors represent the insurance company and their interests, not yours. Their main objective is to settle the claim for as little as possible without taking your injuries into account.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Retaining a personal injury attorney, you will have an ally with your best interests in mind. In most cases, hiring a personal injury attorney can help you cover your medical bills and damages by working to agree on a higher settlement amount from the insurance company. By retaining an attorney, it helps to even the playing field with the insurance companies so your best interests are protected.

Handle Communications Efficiently

To make sure the insurance company handling your claim takes you seriously, make sure to respond to all communications in a timely manner. Putting off communicating with the insurance company may show them you are not taking the claim seriously. There are usually timeframes in which you can file a claim. The earlier you file a claim, the better. Also, while you are communicating with the insurance companies, do not negotiate with them. Leave this to your personal injury attorney.

Know the Damages You Want to Recover

Knowing the damages of your case before negotiations begin with the insurance company is vital in making sure you receive best settlement possible. You must have documentation and evidence to support your claim for the damages you state. Your attorney will help you identify the sources of damage and tell you what documentation you will need to provide.

If you were injured in an accident, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

Fault versus no-fault car accidents on Ohio/Michigan border

You live near the border of Ohio, a fault state, and Michigan, a no-fault state. Thousands of commuters cross the state line daily during rush hour, making the roads ripe for car accidents. So, what happens when the involved drivers are from different states?

Loss Adjuster Crouching Down Taking Photograph Of Damage To Car.

Fault insurance

Most states including Ohio are fault states, meaning the insurance company for the at-fault driver pays damages caused by the at-fault driver. However, it may deduct compensation in an amount proportionate to the other driver’s portion of fault.

Liability coverage pays on behalf of the at-fault driver for the other person’s harm and property damage. Policies generally cover the car owner and family members who live with the car owner. Sometimes liability follows the driver and other times it follows the vehicle, so check your policy closely before letting others operate your vehicle.

No-fault insurance

No-fault insurance protects a driver who causes personal injury or property damage from getting sued. The Michigan no-fault policy provides the following:

  • Unlimited medical benefits
  • Wage loss benefits
  • $20 per day for replacement services

Even under no-fault laws, the driver who causes personal injury or damage can be sued under defined thresholds. Michigan has a serious injury threshold, so injuries that meet the law’s criteria could be grounds for legal action.

Drivers from different states

Determining just payment when one driver is from Ohio and the other is from Michigan can be tricky. Here is how insurance should be handled:

  • Ohio accident

Generally, the situation will pan out as if both drivers were from Ohio. The victim can collect for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and inconvenience.

  • Michigan accident

An Ohio resident who is injured in a car accident in Michigan may be able to make a claim for no-fault insurance benefits. The victim might be able to make an additional claim for pain and suffering damages if the injuries meet the Michigan serious injury threshold.

If you were injured in an accident involving parties from both Ohio and Michigan, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Car accident attorney Charles C. Contrada can help you navigate the tricky nuances of these claims. Call Contrada & Associates at 419.841.4400 for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

3 Ways Sports Equipped Contrada as a Personal Injury Lawyer

Contrada’s experience playing college football, coaching, and leading a recreation center gives him an extra edge as a personal injury lawyer.

On October 14 and November 5, 2015, Tom Cole interviewed Charles V. Contrada, car accident lawyer, on BCSN Sports Flash. The conversations centered around how sports are key to helping youth develop long-term career skills.

Contrada played football at Kenyon College and graduated before completing law school at the University of Toledo. He was President of the Sylvania Recreation Corporation for 5 years and served as a board member for many more.

Three characteristics from Contrada’s sports background directly augment his effectiveness as a personal injury attorney in the courtroom:

1. Competitiveness

As Cole asserts, “Clients all say the same thing: ‘Charlie fights for us.’ You go into the courtroom and, like you’re putting the pads on, you’re playing to win.”

2. Preparation

It is not only what Contrada does in the courtroom that leads to success, but also how he prepares. He explains, “Look at the coaches… they practice every day during the week because they are preparing for that particular game. That’s also true with trials.”

3. Grace Under Pressure

Contrada references great quarterbacks that remain calm and collected regardless of the situations they face. “[In light of the] heavy emotion that might be happening, you’re cool as a cucumber and trying to think ahead of the other side,” says Contrada.

Contrada is braced to go head-to-head with your opponent in the courtroom. If you have been involved in a car accident in Michigan or Ohio, contact attorney Charles V. Contrada at 419.841.4400.

View the Sports Flash episodes on YouTube:

Car Accidents Involving Leased Vehicles

Your leased car was just involved in an accident, what now? When you are in an accident with a leased vehicle, there are a few specific extra steps to be aware of as you are not the actual owner of the vehicle.

1) Call 911

Report the accident to the police, even if it is relatively minor and even if you are at fault. A police report is very important in resolving disputes and establishing facts and faults.

2) Document the damage

When your leased vehicle is involved in an accident, the terms of the lease agreement will determine what you are required to do, and will spell out your obligations to the leasing car. The leasing company will most likely require that you document any damage to the vehicle.

3) Call your Insurance Company

Even if the accident was not your fault, your own insurance company can help make the process of filing your claim against the other driver and their insurance company much smoother. Your insurance company will set up to have an estimate of repair costs done at an approved professional body shop. Since your vehicle is a lease, repair work must be done in a way that your vehicle is restored to like-new condition meaning all parts must be OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer).

Since the damage was done to a leased vehicle, it is up to the leased vehicle company to get the car repaired.  However, if the car is totaled and you own the car, then you must:

1) Contact the lien holder

If the insurance company has deemed your vehicle a total loss, you then must contact the lien holder (the company that leased you the vehicle) and ask what the current payout is for your vehicle.  You should be able to determine this information from your leasing agreement. Then arrange for your insurance company to pay the lien holder directly.

2) Check to see if you have GAP insurance

Check your lease agreement to see if it includes GAP insurance. If it does, it will cover the difference between the insurance payout and the amount owed on your lease contract.

3) Make any additional payments if necessary

If you do not have GAP insurance and the amount of the car is worth less than the amount the lien holder requires, you are then required to pay the difference.

4) Continue to comply with the terms of the lease until the title is cleared.

You must continue to comply with your lease terms until the title is cleared. Title clearing happens after the car is totaled as the car is processed by the lien holder and the insurance companies. During that time, you must continue to make your lease payments as agreed. Your lien holder will notify you when you are released from your lease contract and are no longer required to make payments.

If you have been involved in a car accident, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

 

School Bus Accidents

Back to school is right around the corner. As parents, you entrust your child’s school bus driver/school district with their safety to and from school. As a parent, getting a phone call saying there was an accident involving a school bus your child was riding on and they were injured is a nightmare coming true. Since school buses are not required to have seatbelts, your child could be at risk for greater injury if a school bus is involved in an accident.

When it comes to accidents involving a school bus, there are a few different scenarios. There are accidents caused by other drivers and accidents caused by the school bus driver. Your child may be entitled to compensation for each scenario.

School Bus Accidents Caused By The Driver

When there is a school bus accident caused by the driver of the bus being distracted or not paying close enough attention, you as a parent may be able to recover compensation from the school district since they should be covered by their insurance policy. You will probably need a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate through this process as a school district is considered a government entity making it a long and challenging process. In addition, there are usually multiple claims by many parents being asserted.

School Bus Accidents Caused By Other Drivers

If your child was injured in a school bus accident by another vehicle, you also may be entitled to recover some compensation from the at-fault parties insurance company. You may need to have your child’s medical expenses covered and possibly compensation for your child’s pain and suffering.

With an experienced personal injury lawyer like Charles V. Contrada, he will help you:

  • Investigate and gather evidence
  • Put together medical bills, photographs, witness statements, copies of insurance policies, the accident report, etc to support your claim
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • File a lawsuit and try the case if necessary
  • Prepare a minor settlement in probate court if necessary

If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

New Ohio Laws for Teen Drivers

Ohio has taken another step in their “Drive Towards A Safer Ohio Initiative” with passing a new law that restricts teens with a probationary license. It is intended to increase the level of experience for teenage drivers under 18.

Research conducted by AAA shows that teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident between the months of May and September when school is out. Their research also shows that teens are significantly more likely to be involved in car accidents after 9 p.m. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20-year-olds in the United States every year.

This new Ohio law has placed more emphasis on the experience of teenage drivers rather than just going by their age. The new law puts restrictions on what hours teen drivers are allowed to drive in and how many passengers they can have in their car.

This new law was put into effect on July 1, 2015. It states that probationary drivers under the age of 18 will have these restrictions during the first 12 months after receiving their license.

  1. No driving between midnight and 6 a.m., unless that driver is accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  2. No driving with more than one nonfamily member in the vehicle.
  3. All passengers must wear a seatbelt at all times.
  4. No use of mobile/cellular communication while driving.

Previously, teenage drivers who had a probationary license had restrictions based on their age, not experience. This new law applied to all drivers under 18 years of age with a probationary license. The new law has expanded the restricted times of driving from midnight to 6 a.m. from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

Ohio hopes this new law will help teenage drivers become more responsible behind the wheel while they gain the learning experience necessary to become successful drivers.

If you or your teenage child have been involved in a car accident, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

Accidents Involving a Low Speed Vehicle

Summer is here and there is a good possibility that you will see a Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) driving around your neighborhood. LSV’s are small electric vehicles, similar to golf carts that are street legal.

To drive legally, your LSV must pass an inspection, be registered and titled by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and insured. You must also have a valid driver’s license. An LSV can only go up to 25 mph and is only allowed on roads or highways that have a 35 mph posted speed limit with the exception of crossing a street with a higher posted speed limit.

Since your LSV is street legal, you will need to have the proper insurance. There are specialized policies available for an LSV. Talk to an insurance agent to see what policies will fit your needs the best. I cannot in good conscious advise you to buy this type of coverage online. Talk to someone knowledgeable especially the first time you purchase this type of insurance.

What happens in an accident involving an LSV?

LSV’s can be very dangerous to the drivers and passengers, even under normal operating conditions. Even though LSV’s are equipped with seat belts, windshields, turn signals, brake lights, and mirrors, they do not have windshield wipers, doors, airbags or side impact door beams. They do not have to meet the rigid safety standards that today’s cars and trucks must meet. LSV’s are also not crash-tested by the federal government and their safety records have not been checked on a regular basis.

Since their design and use on roadways shared with other cars, trucks and SUV’s, the potential for serious and even deadly injuries exist. While driving an LSV on the road, always pay close attention since you are at greater risk for injury than other motorists in full-sized vehicles.

If you were injured in an accident involving a full-sized vehicle that was not paying attention or did not see you, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

Accident with an Uber Driver

What is Uber?

Uber is a very popular rideshare service in most major cities in the United States. Uber is similar to a taxi service but the difference is Uber does not own, operate or control their cars and do not hire drivers directly, the drivers are considered independent contractors by Uber.

You were in an Accident with an Uber Driver

Have you been in an accident because of an Uber driver? If you have, the aftermath can be very confusing and difficult to navigate alone. It can be a tricky subject since it depends on a variety of circumstances ranging from was the Uber driver on duty with passengers, if the driver was on their way to pick up a passenger, or if the driver was off-duty.

Hiring a personal Injury attorney will help you get to the bottom of what the Uber driver was doing at the time of the accident. These scenarios will help identify if the drivers personal insurance will cover the accident or not. Since Uber is not a car service/taxi company, insurance coverage is like the Wild West. It was not until this past March Uber started offering additional coverage for Uber drivers who were on duty and driving between passengers.

Since Uber calls itself a technology company, not a transportation company or car service, it allows the company to place more blame on the driver, which makes it very difficult for other drivers, pedestrians and even passengers to file complaints with Uber. Uber is notoriously difficult to reach. There is no customer service phone number, only an e-mail address which makes communication difficult and frustrating.

Car Insurance if you are an Uber Driver

Being an Uber driver has its perks. You can set your own hours, meet lots of people, and drive all day if in the comfort of your own vehicle that is what you enjoy doing, plus you get paid for it. Even though Uber has a lot of upsides, there are downsides you need to be aware of, especially when it comes to your insurance policy.

Most personal insurance policies have an exclusion stating that the policy will not cover you if you are driving for hire. Uber does provide some additional coverage when you have an Uber passenger in your vehicle (1 million dollar additional coverage). Just recently, Uber now offers additional insurance when you are driving for Uber without a passenger in your vehicle. If you do not have the additional Uber coverage, you may want to consider adding a commercial policy or find an insurance company that offers a rideshare policy. With the popularity of Uber skyrocketing, insurance companies are now starting to offer additional rideshare coverage for these types of drivers. Since insurance policies can be difficult to fathom, you should check with your insurance agent to see what the best option is for you.

If you have been involved in a car accident with an Uber driver, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.

Driving Safely in Construction Zones

If you live in Northwest Ohio or Southeast Michigan you probably have noticed that there is construction on almost every major highway in our area. Driving in construction zones can prove to be dangerous and hazardous. Knowing the proper way to drive in a construction zone can help prevent accidents and save the lives of construction workers and other motorists.

Speed

When driving through a construction zone, it is important to slow down & comply with all posted speed limits. In Ohio, if the speed limit sign has a white background that is the official speed limit. If the speed limit sign does not have a white background, it is only a warning. Drivers should also comply with all road crew flaggers for the safety of the workers in the construction zone. Don’t resume normal speed until you see the “End Construction Zone” sign.

Space

When driving in a construction zone, knowing the space around you can help prevent accidents. Always leave room with the car in front of you and the cars around you. This allows you to leave yourself an out in case you have to quickly brake or make an evasive maneuver. Do not tailgate the car in front of you. If traffic stops suddenly, you are in danger of rear-ending the car in front of you. Avoid passing on the shoulder for the safety of the construction workers and your car could be damaged by construction debris that is on the shoulder.

Also, watch for signs in construction zones warning you about new traffic patterns. For those who commute to work through a long term construction zone, you get used to driving the same way, when there is a new traffic pattern, be alert and ready for new changes in the road. Lastly, keep eyes out for construction vehicles pulling on and off the roads, especially slow trucks entering the interstate from the median.

Stress

Driving in constructions zones can no doubt be frustrating. Always keep your cool. Getting frustrated will only lead to an accident.

Pay attention! Staying off your phone, not changing radio stations, staying in your lane and looking for brake lights ahead can help keep you driving safely through a construction zone. Concentrate on the road and not the construction. This will help keep you, other vehicles around you and the construction workers safe.

Defensive Driving for Motorcyclists in the Spring

It’s officially spring and with the weather warming up most motorcyclists are chomping at the bit to get out on their bikes for the first ride of the New Year.  Whether you’re a newer motorcyclist or an experienced one, it’s always best to keep refreshed on defensive driving tips to make your ride as happy and accident-free as possible.

Defensive Driving

The only way to ride safely on a motorcycle is to drive defensively. Based on Charlie’s 30 plus years of experience and backed up by AAA, most motorcycle collisions are caused by drivers who say they did not see the motorcycle. The best way to make yourself noticeable to the other drivers around you are to wear bright colored clothing, keep your headlights on at all times, always signal when your intention is to make a turn or switch a lane, avoid driving in other motorists blind spots and use your horn if you think other drivers are not aware of your presence before you make any moves.

Weather

Spring time weather can also play a big role in riding your motorcycle safely. The weather can be very unpredictable in the spring. Quick rain showers, melting snow, muddy conditions and glare can wreak havoc on motorcyclists by making the roads slick and hazardous. Roads are the most slippery after a quick rain shower because oil and dirt rise to the surface and have not had a chance to be washed away.  Spring storms can also come quickly and can be severe at times with high winds. If you are on your motorcycle and get caught up in one of these storms, find shelter or stop under an overpass until the storm passes.

Road Conditions

Motorcyclists also need to be aware of road conditions as well during their rides. Potholes are everywhere, road cracks and puddles can also make for very dangerous riding conditions. Hitting a pothole on a motorcycle can cause the rider to easily lose control and can cause serious damage to the bike itself. If you find yourself going into unfavorable road conditions, do not slam on your brakes or try to swerve as that can cause you to lose control, slow down as much as possible when driving over that road hazard. Don’t be fooled by a small puddle, they can easily hide a large pothole. Always be aware of your surroundings, stay focused and look for these types of hazards to avoid.

Last but not least, always wear a helmet whether it’s the law or not. Many bikers have told Charlie they feel safer driving without a helmet because they can hear and see better. Perhaps that is true for some, but I see the brain injuries and medical scans if they are hit. Helmets will help save your life if you ever find yourself in a motorcycle accident. Helmets are required by law in Ohio for people 17 years and younger.

In Michigan, the choice is yours to wear a helmet or not if you meet the qualifications, which are you have to be 21 years of age or older and have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process and assist you in dealing with insurance companies and the company of the party involved.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a motorcycle accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with motorcycle accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.