Ray Padilla Law, APC awarded ARAG’s 2018 Elite Service Award

We are always happy to help our clients with such important legal matters and their kind words drive us to keep improving.  The following is just one client review that helped us receive such a tremendous award.

 

“Mr. Padilla LISTENED!!! I am working on a family trust for my Disabled son before I retire. Mr. Padilla was comforting, reassuring and EXTREMELY helpful in guiding me thru the best choices I could make for my son. He was UNDERSTANDING and provided me with experience of others in my situation. He actually made me feel VERY CONFIDANT in my decisions and stated numerous times, that my son would be very well taken care of with the Trust I am leaving him. I was so IMPRESSED with him and his demeanor, that I have already referred 4 people to him. I know that 3 have contacted him already.” – Tamar G.

Attorney Ray Padilla Again Recognized as Rising Star for 2019

 

San Diego car accident attorney Ray Padilla has been selected for the second year in a row for inclusion in the list of 2019 San Diego Rising Stars by Super Lawyers®.  

 

Super Lawyer’s Rising Stars recognizes the best up-and-coming attorneys in the state and qualifying lawyers must be 40-years-old or younger. Attorneys are selected for inclusion by being nominated by their peers and evaluated by a research team. Nominated lawyers are evaluated and ranked by point totals, with only those with the high total points selected for inclusion, an honor reserved for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. Only 2.5% of attorneys in San Diego receive this distinction.

Should you or a loved one be injured in a car accident or as a result of someone else’s negligence, feel free to contact Ray Padilla Law, APC at (619) 431-1187 to speak with Attorney Padilla directly.

The Person Who Hit Me Doesn’t Have Insurance

As the title suggest, this is for the most part, never a good thing.  However, with the right amount of planning and knowledge, you may still be able to recover for the injuries that you have suffered.

I’ve Just Been in a Car Accident and the Person At Fault May Not have Insurance or Sufficient Insurance

The first thing you need to do is seek medical treatment if you are hurt.  Nothing is more important than that.  Once you’ve been seen by a medical professional, you can begin to figure out what to do next.  The first step would be to start looking for a qualified car accident attorney as it is almost never recommended to go up against the insurance companies alone.  The next thing you’ll want to do is find your own insurance information, specifically your declaration page, which states what coverage(s) you have been paying for every month.  What you will be looking for is whether you’ve been paying for Uninsured Motorist Coverage and/or Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?

Let’s assume that the person who crashed into you doesn’t have any insurance at all.  Assuming you’ve been paying for Uninsured Motorist Coverage, you’ll be able to make a claim against your own insurance up to the limits that you have previously agreed to pay for.  This can be as low as $15,000 and up to $1 million or more.  No, this should not affect your insurance premium and you shouldn’t hesitate to proceed this way since that is exactly why you’ve been paying your monthly premium for.  Depending on the severity of your injuries, this can make the world of a difference between you not being able to be compensated at all for your injuries, to having you be fully compensated, assuming you have sufficient coverage.  While even your own insurance will fight you (preferably you and your attorney) every step of the way in order to pay you the least amount possible, it is important to have and pay for such coverage.  No they are not on your side, not good neighbors and you’re certainly not in good hands.  If you have the means, at a minimum you should carry $100,000 in coverage.  This can sometimes be as low as $7 a month depending on the insurance company.

How Does Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?

Now let’s assume that the person that crashed into you only carries the minimum state legal limits of $15,000.  Let’s further assume that you’ve accumulated $40,000 in medical bills and have had to endure hand surgery to fix your wrist that you broke on your steering wheel during the crash.  Getting $15,000 from the other person’s insurance is in no way shape or form going to make up for what they’ve taken from you.  Here is where Underinsured Motorist Coverage comes in.  Hopefully you’ve planned ahead and elected and have been paying for at least $100,000 in Underinsured Motorist Coverage.  Once your attorney is able to recover the $15,000 from the at-fault insurance company, your attorney will then be able to attempt to recover for you as much of the difference between $15,000 (which you have already recovered) and $100,000 (or whatever limits you’ve been paying for).  Here that would $85,000 to attempt to make you whole again.  As you can see, there are options for you out there, so its important to keep calm and seek out the appropriate help.

There are many pitfalls along the way and intricacies which can limit and at times prevent you from being able to recover from your own insurance despite paying for the coverage if the right steps are not taken.  As such, you should seek an experienced attorney to assist you.

If you need help or have questions with regard to your recent car accident,  the attorneys at Ray Padilla Law, APC will be happy to discuss your potential case with you for free. Call (619) 431-1187.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered a substitute for advice from a qualified attorney. If you require legal assistance, we highly recommend you speak to a qualified attorney. By reading this post, you agree this information is for informational use only and agree to hold Ray Padilla Law, APC harmless for any losses or damages as a result of this information.

Trouble Getting Your Car Repaired After An Accident?

People work hard for their cars.  Whether its a part-time job while still in school to get that first used car or the luxury car you’ve worked so hard for in your adult life, cars are special.  Getting cars repaired or paid for can be the difference between staying in good standing at your school or job and thus, it is important to deal with the insurance companies efficiently and correctly.

Picking a Reputable Shop

In California, you have the right to select your shop of choice and you DO NOT have to use one suggested by the insurance company.  The first thing that will usually happen is that the insurance company of the person who hit you will send out a person to investigate the damage.  that person will then come up with an estimate (usually minimal and incomplete) and will give you a copy of that estimate to take to a shop of your choice and sometimes they will give you a check for the amount of the estimate.  With that said, it is important to find the right place that will do the work right and seek out verifiable damages.  When you take your car to the shop, they will then do a full inspection (put the car up on a lift) and find damage to the vehicle missed by the initial inspection.  From that point on, the shop will deal directly with the insurance company so that the insurance company can verify the additional damage and approve the costs of fixing it.  You do not want a body shop in Tijuana handling this.

How Will You Get Around While Your Car is in the Shop?

While your vehicle is in the shop, you have the right to a rental paid for by the insurance of the person that hit you.  Most insurance companies will not pay for insuring the rental vehicle, so you should review your own insurance to see if a rental vehicle is covered to prevent you spending money unnecessarily.   Don’t forget that you’re entitled to a vehicle of the same quality.  What if you have a second vehicle that you can use?  You are entitled to the loss of use of your vehicle while it is in the shop.  This is generally arrived at by figuring out what the daily rental value of your car is.  For example, if you drive a 2015 Nissan Altima, the rental value might be $30 per day.  If your car is in the shop for 10 days, you would be able to assert a claim for $300.

The ins and outs of when the vehicle is declared a total loss will be dealt with in a future post.

If you need help or have questions with regard to your damaged vehicle,  the attorneys at Ray Padilla Law, APC will be happy to discuss your potential case with you for free. Call (619) 431-1187.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered a substitute for advice from a qualified attorney. If you require legal assistance, we highly recommend you speak to a qualified attorney. By reading this post, you agree this information is for informational use only and agree to hold Ray Padilla Law, APC harmless for any losses or damages as a result of this information.

Concussion or Loss of Consciousness From a Car Accident

A blow to the head can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  These injuries can happen in many different ways, but many people sustain TBIs during a car crash.  It is not uncommon for people in a car accident to hit their heads on the steering wheel, window or dashboard.  The troubling thing is that some people are misinformed and believe that all concussions cause a loss of consciousness, and thus, if they didn’t lose consciousness they assume they’re fine.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Concussions and loss of consciuosness can lead to nausea, dizziness, blurry vision, confusion, head aches both severe and mild, behavioral changes, and forgetfulness following the injury.  What is especially concerning is that some of these symptoms may not arise until several days, weeks and sometimes even months after the car crash.  As you can imagine, this can become problematic when attempting to show that the car accident was the cause of the injuries and symptoms that a person is now suffering from.  However, most important is the need for treatment as the symptoms previously mentioned, if left untreated and sometimes even with treatment, can have hugely detrimental effects on the person’s relationships, career, mental health and life in general.

Early Detection is Important

In recent years, new techniques and advances in technology have allowed these injuries to not only be recognized but detected early on.  The most severe the brain injury the more easily it is detectable; however, most brain injuries come in the form of mild traumatic brain injuries “MTBI.”  As such, it is important to have a proper medical evaluation done to rule out such an injury.  After a car accident, people are happy to be alive and soaring with adrenaline so it is not always clear to them whether they may have suffered a concussion or loss of consciousness.  Thus, if you or someone you know is experiencing similar symptoms following a car accident be sure to seek help.

Every symptom is worth treatment and merits relief from it.  The attorneys at Ray Padilla Law, APC will be happy to discuss your potential case with you for free. Call (619) 431-1187.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered a substitute for advice from a qualified attorney. If you require legal assistance, we highly recommend you speak to a qualified attorney. By reading this post, you agree this information is for informational use only and agree to hold Ray Padilla Law, APC harmless for any losses or damages as a result of this information.

How to Stay Safe During Summer Road Trips

Every summer, millions and millions of families across California and the United States hit the road on family road trips.  If you will be doing the same, keep safety on your mind.

California law states that each child must be properly restrained in a child safety seat, booster seat or other restraint system in the back seat, until the child is 9 years old or at least 4 feet 9 inches in height.  Exceptions are:

  • When there is no rear seat.
  • The rear seats are side-facing jump seats.
  • The child passenger restraint system cannot be installed properly in the rear seat.
  • All rear seats are already occupied by children under the age of 12 years.
  • Medical reasons require that the child not ride in the rear seat.  The court may require satisfactory proof of the child’s medical condition.

Additionally, the law states that a child may not ride in the front seat of a mother vehicle with an active passenger air bag if the child in: under one year of age, weighs less than 20 pounds, or is riding rear -facing in a child passenger restraint system.

Finally, nothing works better than setting the right example.  If you wear your seat belt, so will your children.  The California Highway Patrol website offers much more information on how to stay safe on the roadways.

 

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered a substitute for advice from a qualified attorney. If you require legal assistance, we highly recommend you speak to a qualified attorney. By reading this post, you agree this information is for informational use only and agree to hold Ray Padilla Law, APC harmless for any losses or damages as a result of this information.

Ray Padilla, Esq. Recognized as Rising Star by Super Lawyers

San Diego personal injury and car accident attorney Ray Padilla has been selected for inclusion in the list of 2018 San Diego Rising Stars by Super Lawyers®.  

Mr. Padilla has helped many injured clients in a variety of personal injury matters.  Recently, Mr. Padilla was able to attain $250,000 for a Riverside mechanic who suffered a leg injury when a malfunctioning car lift gave way and injured his leg.  Additionally, he obtained $175,000 for a Jones Act Seaman who injured his wrist due to the actions of the negligent captain who operated the vessel dangerously and without regard for the safety of his crew.

These are only some of the victories that Attorney Padilla has recently had.

Super Lawyer’s Rising Stars recognizes the best up-and-coming attorneys in the state and qualifying lawyers must be 40-years-old or younger or have practiced law for less than 10 years. Attorneys are selected for inclusion by being nominated by their peers and evaluated by a research team. Nominated lawyers are evaluated and ranked by point totals, with only those with the high total points selected for inclusion.

Should you or a loved one be injured in a car accident or as a result of someone else’s negligence, feel free to contact Ray Padilla Law, APC at (619) 431-1187 to speak with Attorney Padilla directly.

 

Low Impact Car Accident – Don’t Be So Quick To Determine That You’re Fine

Typical Scenario After A Minor Accident

Anyone who has ever been involved in a car accident, no matter how small, knows that immediately after the crash they feel many different emotions.  You get a rush of energy, you worry about others in the car, you may get angry, nervousness might creep up, happiness that you’re not terribly injured, etc.  All of these feelings and emotions (mainly the adrenaline) overshadow some of the pain or injuries that you may have suffered in the immediate moments after a car accident.

Most people get out of the car, go check to see if the other person is fine, tell the other person that they’re not hurt, check the damage and if the damage is not terrible they exchange insurance information and go on their way.  When the person who hit you then speaks to their insurance, you can be sure that their insurance will want an exact play by play of what you did and said immediately following the accident.  They will then try and use all that information against you later once the adrenaline has worn off and your symptoms develop.

The Science Behind A Minor Accident

Scientific data shows that the impact does not have to be very significant to cause an injury to your spine.  The article on whiplash injury published in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery on June 30, 2009, points out that 90 percent of whiplash injuries occur with speeds less than 14 mph.  It also explains that many crash tests done with human subjects have shown results concluding that a car crash with a velocity of just 2.5 mph was sufficient to cause symptoms.  Interestingly, a speed of 8.7 mph was required to cause visual damage to the vehicle.  Injuries they point to are not only symptoms of neck pain and stiffness,  but also forgetfulness, post-trauma disorder and even depressive symptoms after six weeks.

Even a low impact accident is worth speaking to an attorney about, especially if you develop symptoms after first feeling fine.  The attorneys at Ray Padilla Law, APC will be happy to discuss your potential case with you for free. Call (619) 431-1187.

 

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered a substitute for advice from a qualified attorney. If you require legal assistance, we highly recommend you speak to a qualified attorney. By reading this post, you agree this information is for informational use only and agree to hold Ray Padilla Law, APC harmless for any losses or damages as a result of this information.

 

Living Trust 5, 10, 15, 20 Years Old? Your Estate May Contain A Problematic A/B Trust

To put it simply, recent estate taxes changes have made most A/B trusts not only unnecessary for approximately 99% of Americans, but also extremely problematic and with many unintended consequences.  The problem is that most couples don’t find out that they have this type of trust until it is too late.

Is my Living Trust an A/B Trust?

First, it is important to learn what an A/B trust is.  Think of the “A” part as representing “above-ground” or the surviving spouse and the “B” part as representing “below-ground” or the deceased spouse.  Mainly beginning five years ago (2013) all the way back to the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, spouses drafted A/B trusts to not only avoid probate but also to reduce their estate tax liability.  The problem is that most spouses with these types of trusts, either never really knew what their real purpose was, were never told, forgot, or failed to keep their trusts updated to keep up with the changing tax landscape.  So when one spouse dies, the trust instructions direct that the deceased spouse’s interest in the trust be transferred to the B trust, commonly referred to as the “bypass” or “exemption” trust (if you see these words referenced in your trust then you likely have an A/B trust.)  What does this mean and what problems does this create?

  1. More often than not, if not all the time, the surviving spouse doesn’t have authority to withdraw the principal from the B trust.
  2. Surviving spouse can’t amend the B trust.
  3. A majority of the people we speak to never follow the instructions required by the trust immediately following the death of the first spouse. 
  4. Most people tell us they didn’t even know they had to do anything.
  5. Simply following the instructions in the trust can be very tedious and costly. 
  6. Surviving spouse can have difficulties selling assets.
  7. Managing the A/B trust after the death of the first spouse can be very costly – preparing taxes and ensuring that property is kept separate from that of the surviving spouse.

The problems and unintended consequences don’t stop there as there are many more not listed.

If Both Spouses Are Still Alive, It May Be Time To Amend The Trust Before Its Too Late.

In 2013, some dramatic changes were made to estate taxes that made only a small fraction of people subject to federal estate taxes.  Currently the estate tax exemption amount is $11,200,000 per individual and $22,400,000 for married couples.  The estate tax is now also “portable” between spouses, accomplishing the same purpose as a bypass trust.  This means the if the first spouse to die does not use all of his or her $11,200,000 exemption, the estate of the surviving spouse may use it (provided the surviving spouse makes an “election” on the first spouse’s estate tax return.)  Thus, unless you are married and combined own more than $22,400,000 in assets, an A/B trust is most likely unnecessary.  These types of trusts can still be useful for people in second marriages who want to avoid their new spouse disinheriting their children from a previous marriage.

Do You Have An A/B Trust That You Wish To Amend?

All too often these days our office is seeing more and more people coming to us to make changes to their trust only to find out that they are not legally able to if their spouse has died.  Review your trust and be sure to have Ray Padilla Law, APC or another qualified attorney advise you on the proper steps to take to avoid all of the above.

 

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered a substitute for advice from a qualified attorney. If you require legal assistance, we highly recommend you speak to a qualified attorney. By reading this post, you agree this information is for informational use only and agree to hold Ray Padilla Law, APC harmless for any losses or damages as a result of this information.

WHAT CAN ACTUALLY HAPPEN WHEN A PERSON DIES WITHOUT A TRUST (INTESTATE)?

Each individual’s situation is different; however, if you’re like me, you learn better by using and evaluating examples. Therefore, below, I’m going to go through a pretty standard example that we see and hear about. Please understand that this is meant to be a quick overview of the general process and is not meant or intended to be a step-by-step process on how this should be done.   This is not legal advice on how to do an estate administration and the advice of a qualified estate administration attorney should be sought.

 

The first thing that will need to happen is that someone will have to apply, qualify, and be appointed Administrator of the Estate of the decedent. Second, an inventory, accounting and appraisal of the estate will need to be done. Attorneys and other professionals will likely need to be hired.

 

For this example, we will say that the decedent’s estate was made up of a home, savings, IRA, and some stocks as well as personal property such as jewelry which added up to $1,000,000.

 

Notices will have to go out to all potential interested persons as well as creditors. Taxes will need to be paid, property sold, and most significantly, fees will have to be paid. The attorney compensation is statutory which means that the law dictates (for the most part) what the legal fees will be. For this million-dollar estate, they break down as follows:

 

FEE COMPUTATION
4% of the first $100,000 $4,000.00
3% of the next $100,000 $3,000.00
2% of the next $800,000 $16,000.00
1% of the next $9,000,000 $0
Total $23,000.00

 

Thus, for a $1,000,000 estate, the attorney fees alone would be $23,000. That does not include the administrator fee to the administrator/representative that will be the same amount as the attorney fees as well as all the other court fees and financial services costs. Please note that for every additional million in the estate, the fees just mentioned would go up by $10,000.

 

Finally, the remaining funds will be distributed according to California’s intestacy succession laws. This could have a great result by having, for example, your children receive the remainder, or a terrible result by having an estranged sibling get everything.

 

As can be seen from the forgoing, failing to set up a living trust can end up having tremendous financial consequences that can dwarf the cost of setting up a living trust.

 

Attorney Ray Padilla is the founder and President of Ray Padilla Law, APC