OVER 400 Legal Answers to Frequently Asked Questions to a Variety of California Injury Issues and Legal Problems Associated with California Accidents

What is my case worth? What should I do after a bicycle accident? My car's brakes didn't function properly, do I have a case? Should I sign the insurance company's proposal? Some of your questions may have been answered already on Mark Blane's website. However, San Diego county accidents happen all the time, and all sorts of different questions about different injury scenarios can be raised by a person who is injured. As a result, this personal injury website is dedicated to answering your frequently asked questions about a variety of injuries, your legal rights, and what procedures you should follow. Just browse our frequently asked questions (FAQ) section (below) and look them up. If you have other or more specific questions, just send an email (Contact Us) and you will receive a reply without delay!

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  • CALIFORNIA VEHICLE ACCIDENT "IMPACT FORCES" CAUSING PROPERTY DAMAGE: What is a MIST designated bodily injury claim in regards to a minor impact car accident claim for bodily injuries?

    Allstate insurance came up with program known as MIST or "Minor Impact Soft Tissue." This means "scorched earth" tactics are utilized on any MIST designated case that has retained an attorney.  These cases are usually bodily injury claims that tend to have minor impacts of at least $1,500.00 in property damage or less; these claims are "pigeoned-holed" as being minor soft tissue injury cases without reviewing one single shred of medical evidence.

    Impact forces that cause lower property damage are naturally scrutinized more closely by the insurance companies because their odds increase that they can use this evidence against an injured person if their bodily injury claim ever goes to a jury trial. The defense lawyer will exploit the fact that the property damage was low or not visible in front of the jury. By doing so, they second argument is there is no way the person could have been injured as bad as they are claiming.

    You will need to retain a lawyer to litigate these types of claim in either upper level court, or file them in California small claims court to obtain fair settlement value. 

  • PROPERTY DAMAGE: How is the actual fair market value of a vehicle determined under California law?

    Under California law, the actual value of a car is the amount that the car was worth at the time that it was damaged or destroyed. The amount of the car value is known as it's fair market value.

    Unless the car is brand new or a collector's item, this value is usually less than the replacement value -- that is, what it would cost to repair damages to the vehicle with materials of similar kind and quality.

    You can find the actual value of your car by going to a library or bookstore and referring to a Kelley Blue Book. Or, you can find similar vehicles that are being sold in your area (within 50 miles of your zip code) with local auto trade magazines, or online.  You can also find the value online at the Kelley website at www.kbb.com.

  • SAN DIEGO CALIFORNIA PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM: I was involved in a San Diego car accident, can you help me with my property damage claim?

    Absolutely, and I have been helping my injured San Diego car accident clients with their property damage claims successfully since 1999.

    Remember, I generally do not charge a fee for my legal services in helping an injured client (one who sustained bodily injuries) for any aspect on their property damage claim.  On occasion, I may take a fee from the insurance company (not my client) for assisting on the subrogation of such claims.  However, this is not every case and I only do so to help communications between insurance companies.  

    I decided to not charge my clients directly on their property damage claims as a courtesy to my clients by allowing me to handle everything for them.  Both their injuries and the damages to their car or personal items. For more complete information on what I can and cannot do, please feel free to either email or call me directly. 

  • CALIFORNIA LOW PROPERTY DAMAGE BODILY INJURY CLAIM: I was injured in a California motor vehicle accident and had very little damage to my vehicle. The at-fault insurance company is now denying my claim asserting I could have not been injured given the small property damage amount to my vehicle. What are my options now?

    Sadly, more and more insurance companies are implementing a policy of denying bodily injury claims outright, or only offering a nominal sum to settle, when the property damage is below a certain monetary amount, like $1,000.00.  Some insurance companies group these claims into what is called a MIST case.  MIST stands for "minor impact soft tissue."

    The first thing you should know is that there is no credible scientific support for the proposition that injury potential can be determined based on the extent of property damage caused to the vehicle. However, these "low damage" cases may be difficult to prove in court because jurors often believe that injuries cannot occur in low speed crashes; especially when the defense blows up photographs of the small vehicle damage.  When the vehicle damage is below $1,000.00, you sometimes cannot even see the physical damage.

    Even worse, insurance companies, who are usually in the better position to hire experts, will often hire self-proclaimed "experts" to help them spread the myth that low damage means little or no injury. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few suggestions:

    1.  First, take your car to another reliable automotive shop to determine the full extent of damage. Quite often, most of the damage will be hidden and an expert will need to dissemble the rear bumper and check the vehicle for all possible signs of impact.

    2.  Second, you must adequately document all damage and all evidence that a collision occurred. This means taking photographs and compiling a thorough repair estimate.

    3.  Third, do not repair the vehicle or accept a property settlement until you have spoken to an attorney.

    4.  Finally, you need to hire experienced counsel because a lawsuit is probably inevitable. My law office has successfully handled many claims involving "low damage" collisions. Please email me directly or contact my office if you wish to discuss your claim further.

    More Legal Questions About Car & Motorcycle Accidents?

    Do you have more legal questions about car & motorcycle accident cases?  Return to the Auto & Motorcycle accidents in California Frequently Asked Legal Questions page. 



  • PROPERTY DAMAGE: Should I agree to let my motor vehicle be repaired by the body shop the insurance company picks?

    In most, but not all, cases in which the claims insurance adjuster is telling you where to take your motor vehicle to get repair estimates the body shop and the insurance company have a very close working relationship.  Sometimes, the body shop gives low estimates (and sometimes poor quality repair work) to claimants so it can get high volumes of referral work from the insurance company.  This situation or working arrangement  usually means big savings for the insurance company.  However, it can also mean trouble for you if you get your car or motorcycle back and it does not function properly or the repair work looks bad (sometimes the new paint does not match the old paint).  You must be extremely cautious in these situations.  At my law firm we have seen terrible paint jobs and awful body work.

    If you agree to take your car to an insurance referred body shop, you should make sure everything appears good (outside and inside) BEFORE you sign the property damage release of work from the body shop.  If you notice problems soon after (the sooner the better), you should immediately contact the insurance company and request a "supplemental check" on repair work.   

    More Legal Questions About Car & Motorcycle Accidents?

    Do you have more legal questions about car & motorcycle accident cases?  Return to the Auto & Motorcycle accidents in California Frequently Asked Legal Questions page. 

  • CHULA VISTA CALIFORNIA LOW PROPERTY DAMAGE CAR ACCIDENT CASE: Why is my California bodily injury case scrutinized closely by the insurance company when I have low property damage to my vehicle?

    The main reason this is done is because insurance companies know they have a better chance of winning the argument to a jury that your injuries are not too serious if you have extremely minor damage to your vehicle.  Of course, there are narrow exceptions to this; for example, I once represented a Chula Vista lady who had a lumbar surgical fusion just two months prior to her low property damage car accident.  I was successfully in arguing that even the tiniest tap to her bumper aggravated her prior medical condition.  The point here is to be aware that low property damage can be an issue to your injury claim, but not always.  You should consult with an experienced California car accident lawyer if you feel you might have minor property damage.

    Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Auto Accident Attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Firm devoted to representing families of injured persons of automobile accidents. If you or someone you love, has been injured or killed in San Diego County, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your FREE copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information, insights, and secrets that will help you protect your legal rights.  It normally sells for $16.95; however, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.

  • CALIFORNIA PROPERTY DAMAGE SETTLEMENT OFFER: Should I accept the insurance Claims Adjuster's quick Settlement Offer regarding my vehicle's property damage?

    Sometimes an insurance adjuster will inspect your car's damage and then use a program on his/her mobile lap top to calculate how much the insurance company believes it will cost to get your car fixed.  They will issue a check right there on the spot - it is extremely important that your agreement to settle quickly also means that if any reputable body shop finds it cannot repair the vehicle for the estimate provided to you on the spot, that a "supplemental" inspection can take place for a "supplemental" payment or check.  This is important, as you do not want to be tricked into settling your property damage for less than it is actually worth to repair.

  • PROPERTY DAMAGE FROM A CALIFORNIA CAR ACCIDENT: What happens if I am involved in a California car accident and my car is totaled, but I owe more on the car than it is worth?

    First, you should check your finance agreement to see if you have GAP insurance protection which will cover you for the difference between the fair market value (FMV) of your car, and what you owe.  

    Second, If you lease a vehicle, and do not finance, GAP insurance protection is automatically in built into the lease agreement.  Since the insurance company is only responsible to pay you for the FMV of your car if it is totaled, the above answers are the only way you are able to get covered.  It is important to review your finance agreements NOW in order to make sure you are protected in case the above issue arises.

    One final note on the above two items; it is very important that a California consumer periodically review their insurance coverages.  This should be done yearly so if any family changes have taken place, or lifestyle changes, any additional insurance coverage can be addressed proactively.  Remember, insurance coverage is like a "hospital gown" in that you only "think you are covered." You should be proactive and KNOW that you are covered by always reviewing what you have and do not have.  As mentioned above, GAP insurance is very very important but also, equally important if not more so, is having plenty of uninsured motorist coverage!