Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: If I’ve Been in a Car Accident, do I Need a Lawyer?
A: It depends. If you did not suffer any injuries in the accident, you may settle your insurance claim without need for legal help. However, if you or someone you know were injured in the accident, the claim becomes more complicated. As the injured victim, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party for your medical costs, pain and suffering, and other losses. Insurance companies have high-paid lawyers and experts who will fight against you to make sure you get as little money as possible. Statistically, people represented by lawyers get three times more settlement money than people who do it themselves. So, while you don’t need a lawyer, having legal representation can ensure that you receive the compensation you are owed. If you’re not sure if you need a lawyer, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Q: How Much Will I Have to Pay a Lawyer for Help After an Auto Accident?
A: The great thing about our personal injury lawyers is that we only get paid if we win your case. Our fee is a percentage of the amount of money that we recover for you. This allows you to choose the best lawyer for your case, without worrying about paying big legal fees. Rest assured, our fee will not amount to more than the sum paid to you (35% is standard, but may vary depending on the case). And, you never will have to pay anything up front or out of pocket.
Q: What Types of Expenses Can I Get Reimbursed For After a Car Accident?
A: In addition to medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your vehicle, you may get reimbursed for:
- emotional distress
- pain and suffering
- loss of enjoyment (if you can no longer enjoy or participate in activities, hobbies, sports, etc.)
- loss of property in your vehicle or on your person at the time of the accident
Q:What Should I Do Right After a Car Accident?
A: We suggest you:
- Remain calm and remain in your vehicle (unless it’s too dangerous to do so)
- Turn on your hazard lights
- Call 911 even if your accident seems minor
- Seek medical attention for any injured drivers or passengers
- Unless necessary, do not move the vehicles until the police arrive
- Never leave the scene of the accident
- Write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of all parties involved, including any witnesses
- Make sure you write down the names and badge numbers of any police officers that are investigating the accident
- Photograph the vehicles and any injuries sustained by you or your passengers
- Do not admit fault
- Immediately notify your own insurance company of the car accident
Do not discuss the accident with anyone except the police or your own insurance agent or representative; you are not required to give a statement to anyone but the police and your insurance company
Q:What Should I Do in the Days Following My Accident?
A: Here are the steps you should take:
- Obtain a copy of the accident report prepared by the police
- Obtain a property damage valuation from your insurance company
- Write down all visits with doctors and other healthcare providers and keep a journal of any symptoms or pain you experience. Also, get copies of all test results, medications, treatments, and any other relevant medical information
- Keep a detailed list of any out-of-pocket expenses you incur
- Record days of missed work or other activities in which you were unable to participate
- Never accept a settlement offer from an insurance carrier unless you have consulted with a lawyer
Q: What is the Difference Between Full and Limited Tort?
A: The tort option on your auto insurance policy determines your ability to pursue legal action in the event of an accident. If you have full tort, you may pursue compensation regardless of the severity of your injuries. Limited tort, on the other hand, limits your right to sue. If you have limited tort, you may only sue the at-fault party for the cost of your medical bills, but not for pain and suffering (pain and suffering often make up the bulk of a personal injury case). However, there are some exceptions:
- If you are hit by a drunk driver
- If you are a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle
- If the defendant’s vehicle is registered out of state
- If you were riding in a commercial vehicle
- If you were riding with a resident relative or spouse who has full tort and you were injured as a passenger in their vehicle
- If the defendant is uninsured
- If your accident resulted in death, permanent severe impairment of a bodily function, or disfigurement
Under any of the above circumstances, you would be given the benefits of full tort.
Q: If the Other Driver Flees the Scene, What Can I Do?
A: Under Pennsylvania law, you must stop and call the police immediately after an auto accident. But sometimes, a driver may be scared or believes they have done something illegal and would flee the scene. This is considered a crime and comes with a hefty fine, especially if an injury is involved.
If you are a victim of a hit and run, your first step after calling the police is to write down as much information as you can about the vehicle. This includes the color, make, model, and license plate number. Any detail about the other driver’s vehicle will help police find the driver.
Q: What Happens if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
A: If the other driver does not have insurance, it’s important to contact a Scranton auto accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys to see what options are available for you. In this case, you may be able to recover some of your compensation by filing an uninsured motorist claim. This coverage will pay any medical bills or property damages when the at-fault driver does not have insurance.
Q: Should I Notify My Insurance Company After an Auto Accident?
A: Yes. Even if you think you may file a lawsuit down the road, it’s important to let your insurance company know about your car accident in Scranton. But be careful with how much you tell the carrier. Keep to the general facts of the case such as the date and time the accident occurred, where it happened, and any contact information of those who are involved. Don’t ever mention who is at fault, even if the other driver was clearly in the wrong. And whatever you do, don’t give a recorded statement until you consult with your Scranton car accident lawyer.
Q: Even If I Wasn’t Injured, Should I Go See a Doctor Following an Auto Accident?
A: Yes. Getting into a car accident in Scranton is one of the most stressful times in your life. With your emotions running high and adrenaline pumping, you may not realize you were injured. You should always get checked out by a doctor, if not immediately after the accident then within the next couple of days. You never know if you received an internal injury until it’s too late.
Q: Should I Accept an Offer From My Insurance Company?
A: In many situations, the insurance company will offer a lowball sum that barely covers the costs of your accident. Before accepting any offer, speak to your Scranton car accident attorney. Our attorney will go through all your costs and give you a fair estimate of what your settlement offer should really be.
Q: Can I Request More Money to Cover the Costs?
A: Yes, you have the right to negotiate with the insurance company. But remember, the insurance company is not your friend and will try to pay your claim with the lowest amount possible. It has its own attorneys working with them to keep payments at a minimum, which is why you should contact an auto crash attorney for your claim.
Q: Can I File a Car Accident Lawsuit to Obtain More Money?
A: There’s no straight yes or no answer to this question. Each accident is different — from a minor fender bender that causes a head injury to a multi-vehicle accident that you walk away from with just a broken arm. That’s why it’s always essential to speak with an experienced Scranton car accident lawyer to learn your options and whether you may get more money from your claim.