Property Damage Repair and Insurance Fraud (reported by CNN tonight)

CNN Reports Insurance Companies are Defrauding Consumers

Tonight on CNN it was reported that insurance companies are forcing automobile body repair facilities to use used and broken parts to fix your damaged vehicle. The reason is to save these insurance companies money.

If auto body repair shops refuse to use substandard parts to repair your vehicle, their owners are reporting that these same insurance companies are threatening to direct business to other shops who will agree to improperly repair your car. Consumer lawyers are now filing lawsuits against these insurance companies to force them to stop putting profits over people and to properly repair their insured’s vehicles.

You have the right to have your car properly repaired. There is no reason in the world, other than greed and profits, for your insurance company to use substandard and even dangerous parts to fix your car. And there is no excuse in the world to place broken or substandard parts on your vehicle placing your life, and the life of your family at risk.

California Citizens Have Rights

In California, consumers have rights and in this 6 minute podcast, we share 6 things you need to know and do when getting your car repaired after a collision.  We also share info and contact information giving you easy access to the California Department of Consumer Affairs  (Bureau of Automotive Repair) and the California Department of Insurance (Consumer Services Division) that you can use to help protect your rights and the safety of your family.

If you think you are the victim of property damage repair by an insurance company, contact the above agencies or an experienced lawyer to help. The bottom line in these types of case is to make sure your car is safely repaired to that you life, and the lives of those you care about are safe. Use the player below or click here to listen to the podcast..

8 Things You Can Do to Help Your Orange County Personal Injury Attorney Get the Best Result in Your Case

Here are 8 reminders to help you and your Orange County personal injury and wrongful death lawyer win your case. These are important tips so please share using the social media buttons.

Bad Insurance Companies- Recognize anyone on the list?

According to the American Association for Justice, these 10 insurance companies have the worst track record for denying claims and causing unjust harm to consumers.

While this information may be surprising to some consumers, people and families who are victims of insurance bad faith know the reality all too well. Take a couple of minutes, read this free report, and decide for yourself…

Related blog post…

“How Insurance Companies Put Their Best Interest Before Your Own”

“The Ten Worst Insurance Companies”

Radio Interview- “How to Find, Interview and Find the Perfect Lawyer for You”

Three Good Ways to Find a GREAT Lawyer!

3 Good Ways to Find an Excellent LawyerThe first thing you need to do is find a good lawyer. Here are 3 ways to do just that!

You only have one chance to win your case. Having the right lawyer protect your rights is critical to your success.

In personal injury and wrongful death cases, choosing an experienced lawyer who has an excellent reputation, will make the other side’s insurance company and defense attorney think twice about how they handle your claim. Getting the right lawyer to protect your legal interest will help you maximize the value of your case and get the results you are also entitled to.

In personal injury cases, injured consumers need an experienced attorney who has a strong passion for your case, your legal rights, and who specializes in representing people and families involved in personal injury and wrongful death. This means an attorney who is experienced and has a good reputation for strong settlements and high jury verdicts. We’re talking about a personal injury and wrongful death trial attorney who enjoys practicing law and enjoys taking cases to trial.

Why is this so important? Because skill, ability and reputation for trying cases are critically important when it comes to investigating, litigating, settling or trying a personal injury case. Successful trial attorneys carefully balance and implement focus, expertise, perseverance, native ability and an affinity for negotiation and litigation that frankly, not every lawyer can muster.

It’s important to understand that the lawyer you eventually hire to handle your case is actually working for you… not the other way around. Your best interest should always come first.

So, what’s the best way to find a good lawyer? Well, here are our favorite 3 ways…

Approach No. 1- Personal Referrals From Qualified Sources

First of all, keep in mind that the right lawyer for you is someone who not only can provide you with the correct answers to all 9 of these questions. It is also someone you are comfortable with and who you can trust. If the attorney has made a good first impression with you, there’s a pretty good chance that he or she will also make a good first impression with the other side (insurance companies and defense attorneys) and if necessary, also to a judge and jury.

How do you find this attorney? What resources are available?

The first thing we recommend that you do is look for an attorney who is recognized as being one of the “experts” in your town or area. Someone who meets all of the qualifications described in this book, and then some.

If you have friends or family who you respect and who are very satisfied with experiences they had with a personal injury attorney, you may want to start there. If you know a good lawyer who handles other types of legal matters (for example, estate planning or criminal defense), ask him or her for the names and numbers of the top 2 or 3 lawyers in town who handle the type of law that you need help with. In personal injury and wrongful death cases, good lawyers know who they would hire if they needed the “best” personal injury lawyer in their area and most lawyers would be happy to share these names with you.

Friends at work and even company supervisors or bosses may also be able to provide you with one or more names. Personal referrals are a great way to go. We have an excellent database with the names of highly rated personal injury and wrongful death attorneys all across the United States. Feel free to contact us if you would like the names of a couple of lawyers in your area to interview.

Approach No. 2- Visit These Websites

If you are unable to get a personal referral from a trusted friend or professional acquaintance, go to the Martindale-Hubbell (, American Association for Justice (, The National Trial Lawyers ( or AVVO ( web sites and do a search for the type of lawyer you need. The above sites primarily are focused on personal injury and wrongful death.

Hint- at the Martindale site, limit your search to “AV” rated lawyers. As mentioned below, a top “AV” rating is a good indicator of the lawyer’s ability, reputation and ethics. It identifies a lawyer and firm as having (1) very high to preeminent legal ability and (2) the highest level of expertise, experience, integrity and overall professional excellence.

Did someone you trust in Approach No. 1 give you a couple of names? If so, then you may also want to use the above web sites to research each lawyer and find out what their independent ratings are.

Approach No. 3- Contact Your Local Attorney Organization (Bar)

Another good way to find an experienced lawyer is to contact the local bar association (the local lawyer organization) in the town or area were you need legal help. This is a great way to find a lawyer in another state.

Call the bar association and ask for the names and numbers of the past two presidents of that organization. Next, contact the law offices of these individuals and ask the question, “Do you handle personal injury cases (or whatever type of legal matter you need help with)?” If not ask, “Who would you hire to represent your family in a personal injury case?”

These lawyers are extremely busy. While you may not be able to speak with the attorney directly, his or her secretary or assistant should be able to share the names and numbers of outstanding personal injury lawyers with you who practice in your home town. Again, this is a great way to find a top-notch lawyer in another county or state.

Related Post: “Nine Questions You Should Always Ask Every Lawyer You Interview in a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Case”

Final Tips

1. Just because someone “knows” and shares the name of a lawyer with you doesn’t mean that lawyer is any good at practicing law or trying cases. Use the above steps to investigate further.

2. Regardless of who is recommended to you, make sure you are comfortable with the lawyer and able to “connect” with him or her. Some lawyers have dynamic personalities and are exciting to be around. Others have the personality of a wet dish rag. Following these tips to make sure you find the right lawyer to help you with your case.

I Have Just Been in an Accident. What Should I Do Next?

orange county lawyers at jackson and wilson 03-15-13This is one of the most common questions we’re asked. Here’s our response. We hope it helps (here is a podcast version of this post explaining 5 things you should NEVER do after an accident)

First of all, it’s important that you immediately stop your vehicle. This applies to automobiles, motorcycles and trucks. If you’re on a busy road or freeway and your vehicle, pull off to the side of the road where it is safe.

Do not leave the scene of the accident. Collisions can happen to anyone, even the most careful drivers. Having said that, there is never a valid excuse for failing to stop after an accident. Also keep in mind that in most states, hit and run offenses are felonies, with increased penalties is someone has been injured in the accident.

Q: After I have stopped what should I do?

A: Check each person involved in the accident to see if they have been hurt. Call the police (911). Call an ambulance if necessary.

Q: If someone is hurt should I try to help?

A: Yes. If the person is seriously injured, do not attempt to move him or her unless it is absolutely necessary to protect the person from further injury. Get someone to call the police or 911 if an ambulance is needed. Do what you can to make the injured person comfortable until paramedics or the police arrive.

Q: Once the injured people are taken care of. What is next?

A: You and the other driver(s) must exchange information. You will want the driver’s name, address, phone numbers, driver’s license number, insurance carrier, policy number, agent, and a phone number for the agent. You will be expected to provide the same information to the other driver(s). Keep in mind the more information you can obtain from the other driver(s), the better. Use your smartphone to take pictures, videos and record statements.

Q: What information about the motor vehicle do I need?

A: You need to note the make, model and year, its color and license plate number. Be sure to check the expiration date of the license plate.

Q: Do I need to get the same sort of information from the passengers in the other motor vehicle?

A: Yes. You need to obtain the name, address and telephone number of each passenger in the other motor vehicle. Take a moment to observe each of the passengers, where they were sitting or riding and whether they appear injured or unharmed by the accident. Look for slurred speech, glassy eyes and difficulty in remembering when you talk to them and note how they appear.

Q: What should I do if there were witnesses?

A: Before the witnesses leave you should obtain their names, addresses and telephone numbers. You should record where the witness was when the accident occurred and if possible a short statement of what the witness observed.

Q: I’ve got the witness information, the other driver’s information and a list of the passengers. What now?

A: As briefly mentioned above, if you have a camera or cell phone camera, take pictures and videos of the accident scene. Take pictures of the motor vehicles, the street in both directions for the accident (including skid marks, if any), any stop signs or other traffic signals or signs. Also take pictures of the accident from the direction of travel of each of the automobiles involved. A video camera is especially useful in recording the behavior of the other driver, which may be useful if the other driver has been drinking or using drugs. Take pictures and videos of license plates and anything else that may be relevant to the collision.

Q: What should I do if I do not have a camera or smart phone with me?

A: Make a diagram of the accident, indicating the direction each motor vehicle was traveling, the speed of each, and what happened. Measure any skid marks. Record the condition of the street (wet, dry, under construction, lots of gravel, big potholes) and signs restricting the free flow of traffic. Record the posted speed limit and anything else that will help you remember later what occurred prior to the accident.

Q: I can get a camera when I get home. Is there anything I need to take a picture or video of?

A: Take pictures of the damage to your motor vehicle as soon as you can. Take close-up and farther away pictures to show the damage. Take pictures of yourself and any passengers in your motor vehicle who were injured. Again take full body pictures and close-ups to show the injuries. You can never take too many pictures or videos.

Q: Should we move the motor vehicles?

A: Whether you should move the motor vehicles depends on the severity of the accident and where it occurred. A serious accident with injured people should be left alone until the police arrive. You may have to direct traffic around the accident, set flares or station someone in a position to warn oncoming motorists. A fender-bender during rush hour that threatens to tie up traffic for miles might be moved out the driving lanes after you have determined that no one was hurt.

Q: What should I do if I have an accident in a parking lot?

A: In most states the police will not respond to an accident in a parking lot that does not involve personal injury. The parking lot is private property and the minor accidents there are generally outside the jurisdiction of the police. You should exchange personal, driver’s license and insurance information with the other driver.

Q: If the police do not come and investigate the accident what should I do?

A: Complete all of the above steps. You should also make a report of the accident within 24 hours at the nearest police station. The counter report, sometimes called a cold report, should explain the accident and identify the parties involved.

Final Comment…

Do NOT post anything about the collision, who was at fault, or your injuries on social media. Keep in mind that anything you share online is potential evidence that can be used against you. Things get misinterpreted by others so why take a risk. Here’s a warning list about social media that we share will all new clients that you may want to review.

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