Car accidents are physically and emotionally traumatic. In the immediate aftermath, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do, who to call, and who to trust.
At Kherkher Garcia, LLP, our car accident lawyers understand the fear and frustration that follows car accidents. We help injury victims explore their rights and legal options on a daily basis. We know what it takes to build a strong case and get maximum compensation.
FAQs about Car Accident Claims
It is only natural to wonder what you might do if you or someone you love is injured in a car accident. Below, our lawyers offer some insight into the most commonly asked questions that our team receives about car accident claims.
What Should I do Immediately After a Car Accident?
In the immediate moments after a car accident occurs, it can be difficult to know what to do. The most important thing is to stay as calm as possible. There are some things you can do after a car accident to protect yourself and others, and begin to protect your legal rights. This includes:
- Check yourself and others for injuries. If you or anyone else is injured, call 911 or your local emergency number.
- Move your car to a safe location if possible. If you cannot move your car, turn on your hazard lights and leave the vehicle until help arrives.
- Exchange information with the other driver(s). This includes your name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
- Take photos of the accident scene. This includes damage to the vehicles, the road, and any other relevant details.
- Call your insurance company. Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Here are some additional tips for while at the accident scene:
- Stay calm and don’t argue with the other driver(s).
- Don’t admit fault.
- Don’t sign anything without reading it first.
- Get medical attention if you are injured, even if you don’t feel like you need it.
- Hire an attorney if you believe you have been injured due to the negligence of another driver.
Should I Call the Police After a Car Accident?
It is generally a good idea to call the police after a car accident, even if you don’t believe it is serious. Some reasons that police presence can be particularly helpful at an accident scene include:
- Police can help ensure that the accident scene is safe and secure.
- Police officers will document the scene from an objective perspective.
- If there is tension between parties, police officers can assist with defusing the situation.
- If there are injuries, police officers can begin assistance while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
- Police officers can obtain information from witnesses and others near the scene to help document what led up to the accident.
Should I Seek Medical Attention After a Car Accident, Even if I Don’t Feel Injured?
It is generally recommended to seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you don’t feel injured immediately. Some injuries, such as whiplash or internal injuries, may not manifest symptoms right away but can become apparent in the hours or days following the accident.
Here are a few reasons why it is important to seek medical attention:
- Hidden Injuries: As mentioned, certain injuries may not be immediately noticeable. A healthcare professional can perform a thorough examination and conduct any necessary tests to identify any underlying injuries.
- Documentation for Insurance Claims: Seeking medical attention creates a record of your injuries and their connection to the accident. This documentation can be crucial for insurance claims and legal purposes, should you need to pursue compensation later.
- Preventing Complications: Early medical intervention can help prevent potential complications or worsening of injuries. Prompt treatment can lead to a faster and more complete recovery.
- Peace of Mind: Even if you are fortunate enough to escape a car accident without apparent injuries, having a medical professional evaluate you can provide reassurance and peace of mind. It can help alleviate any concerns or lingering doubts about your well-being.
It is better to be safe and have a professional assess your condition to ensure your health and wellbeing are not compromised.
How Do I Report a Car Accident to My Insurance Company?
No one likes filing insurance claims. Insurance adjusters are often difficult to work with, and they make it clear that they represent the best interests of the insurance company, rather than you. Still, it is necessary to report a car accident to your insurance company. Here are some tips for how to make this process as smooth as possible:
- Gather Necessary Information: This includes the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as the names and contact information of all drivers involved. You should also have your insurance policy number and driver’s license number handy.
- Call the Insurance Company: You can usually report an accident by calling your insurance company’s customer service number. Be sure to have all of the necessary information gathered before you call.
- Provide a Detailed Description: Tell the insurance company what happened, who was involved, and any injuries or property damage that occurred.
- Answer Questions: The insurance company will likely ask you a number of questions about the accident, such as what caused the accident and who was at fault. Be sure to answer all of their questions honestly and to the best of your ability.
- File a Claim: Once you have spoken to the insurance company, you will need to file a claim. This will usually involve filling out a form and providing additional information, such as estimates for repairs or medical bills.
It is important to report a car accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that your claim is processed quickly and that you receive the benefits that you are entitled to.
What Information Should I Collect From the Other Driver(s) Involved in the Accident?
When you’re involved in a car accident, it is important to gather accurate information from the other driver(s) involved. Here’s a list of key information you should collect:
- Full Name: Get the full name of the other driver(s) involved in the accident.
- Contact Information: Obtain the other driver’s phone number and address.
- Insurance information: Request the name of the insurance company, policy number, and contact details of the other driver’s insurance provider.
- Driver’s License: Write down the driver’s license number, expiration date, and the issuing state or country.
- Vehicle Information: Record the make, model, year, and license plate number of the other vehicle(s) involved.
- Vehicle Description: Take note of any distinguishing features, such as color, visible damage, or other characteristics.
- Witnesses: If there are any witnesses to the accident, try to obtain their contact information, including names and phone numbers. Their statements may be valuable for insurance claims or legal proceedings.
In addition to gathering information, you can also use your smartphone or a camera to capture photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible damage. If possible, take pictures from various angles.
How Does Fault Determination Work in Car Accidents?
Fault determination in car accidents is the process of determining which driver or drivers are responsible for the accident. This is important because it determines who is liable for the damages that resulted from the accident.
There are a number of factors that can be considered when determining fault in a car accident, including:
- The actions of the drivers involved
- The road conditions
- The weather conditions
- The presence of any traffic laws or ordinances that were violated
- The testimony of witnesses
- The physical evidence at the scene of the accident
In most cases, the police will investigate a car accident and issue a report that includes their findings on who was at fault. However, the police report is not always determinative of fault, and the parties involved may still need to file a claim with their insurance companies or go to court to resolve the issue.
What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance or is Underinsured?
If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or is underinsured, you may still be able to recover compensation for your losses. There are a few different options available to you, including:
- File a claim with your own insurance company. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, your insurance company may be able to help you recover some of your losses. However, keep in mind that UM/UIM coverage is not required in all states, and the limits of coverage may be lower than your liability coverage.
- File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or is underinsured, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them to recover your losses. However, this can be a lengthy and expensive process, and you may not be successful.
- Seek government assistance. In some cases, you may be able to get financial assistance from the government to help cover your losses. For example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be able to provide assistance to victims of natural disasters, and some states have programs that provide financial assistance to victims of car accidents.
Can I File a Car Accident Claim if the Accident was Partially My Fault?
Yes, you can file a car accident claim if the accident was partially your fault. However, the amount of compensation you may receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 25% at fault for the accident, you will only be able to recover 75% of your damages.
The laws governing car accident claims vary from state to state. In some states, you may be able to file a claim even if you are found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident. However, in other states, you will not be able to file a claim if you are found to be more than 50% at fault.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer if I’m Involved in a Car Accident?
Whether or not you need to hire a lawyer after being involved in a car accident depends on the circumstances and the severity of the accident. While it is not a legal requirement, there are certain situations where it can be beneficial to have legal representation. Here are some factors to consider:
Severity of Injuries
If you or any passengers have sustained serious injuries or long-term disabilities as a result of the accident, it is generally advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney. They can help you navigate the complexities of medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and potential long-term impacts on your quality of life.
Fault and Liability Disputes
If there is a dispute over who was at fault for the accident, or if multiple parties are involved, having a lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure a fair settlement. A lawyer can investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf.
Insurance Claim Issues
If you encounter difficulties with your insurance company, such as a denial of your claim, a lawyer can assist you in understanding your policy, challenging the denial, and pursuing a fair settlement.
Car accident laws can be complex, and navigating the legal process can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal system. A lawyer with expertise in personal injury law can guide you through the process, ensuring that you meet any required deadlines, file the necessary paperwork, and protect your legal rights.
If you are seeking fair compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages, a lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to maximize your chances of obtaining a fair settlement.
It is important to note that every situation is unique, and the need for a lawyer will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Consulting with a personal injury attorney during a free initial consultation can provide you with a clearer understanding of whether you require legal representation.
What Compensation am I Entitled to if I was Injured in a Car Accident?
If you were injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of the accident.
Here are some of the types of compensation you may be entitled to:
- Medical Expenses: This includes the cost of your medical care, such as doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and prescription drugs.
- Lost Wages: If you were unable to work due to your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages.
- Pain and Suffering: This includes the physical and emotional pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the accident.
- Property Damage: If your car was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are a means of punishing the person(s) at fault for their negligence or carelessness. They also serve to deter others from acting in a similar way.
If you were injured in a car accident, it is important to speak with an attorney to discuss your legal options. An attorney can help you understand your rights and can represent you in negotiations with the insurance companies or in court.
How Can I Learn More about My Rights?
The best way to learn more about your rights and options after a car accident is to consult with a skilled personal injury lawyer. At Kherkher Garcia, we offer free consultations to every potential client. If you want to explore your rights and see if you qualify for compensation, we can help.
Find out more by contacting the team at Kherkher Garcia today. Call us at 713-333-1030 to get started.