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 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 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 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 upfront or out of pocket.
Q: What types of things 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 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.