Here are answers to frequently asked questions about personal injury cases.
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Unfortunately, most of us will be involved in an automobile accident at some point in our lives. In such an event, you should consider the following pointers to protect your legal rights:
STAY AT THE SCENE
If you are involved in an accident involving injury or damage to property (i.e., your car or motorcycle), stay at the accident scene until the police tell you that you can leave. If you have any doubts about whether the injury is substantial, err on the side of caution as many of our clients do not fully experience the complications until a few days have passed. Be sure to ask the police officer to issue an accident report to help document the incident.
If somebody is injured, and you are trained in administering first aid, try to help; however, you generally should not try to move an injured person. Call the police immediately to report the accident and be sure to tell them that the accident involves injuries. If you are on the roadway, turn your flashers on, or use flares to warn approaching traffic of the accident.
EXCHANGE INFORMATION WITH THE OTHER DRIVER
In any accident, you should obtain the following information:
- The other driverâ€™s name, address, driver’s license number, insurance carrier and policy number, and license plate number.
- Witnesses names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
- Ask the police officers investigating the accident to provide you with a business card and incident number so that you can obtain a copy of the accident report. Most officers will provide this information to you, even if you don’t ask.
- If you are able to do so, you may wish to take notes about the accident location, weather and road conditions, speed limits, traffic control devices, and the lighting. Though police officers usually require drivers to make a written statement about the circumstances leading to the accident, you may also wish to take some additional notes for yourself. Be sure to note the direction of travel of the vehicles as well as what the cars were doing before the collision occurred. Please remember that any notes you take may need to be disclosed to the other driver in the event a lawsuit is filed by either party.
DO NOT ADMIT FAULT
Even if you think you are at fault, do not admit liability. There may be factors you are unaware of that played a role in the accident. Indeed, it may be the case the other driver did more to contribute to the accident than you think. Other than police, DO NOT make statements to anybody at the scene. When you speak to the police, tell them only the relevant facts leading to the accident. Do not draw conclusions from the facts.
GET MEDICAL CARE
Seek appropriate medical care for your injuries immediately. If in doubt about the scope and extent of your injuries, err on the side of caution. We find that many of our clients do not experience the full breadth of their injuries until a few days after the accident because of the adrenaline rush immediately following the accident. An emergency room visit helps document the incident and directly ties your injuries to the accident. Insurance companies oftentimes argue that injuries are either not related to the accident or are overstated to bolster complications. Getting the medical attention you need helps you heal properly and also closes the door to any argument that your injuries arenâ€™t as you claim them to be.
Be sure to tell your doctors exactly how you feel. For instance, inform them if you have any loss of memory, headache, blood or fluid in your ear, dizziness, tinnitis (ringing in the ears), disorientation, nausea, confusion, or any other unusual physical or mental feeling. Many people hit their heads or suffer brain injuries in automobile accidents without realizing the trauma. It is best to be safe by reporting your symptoms so that the doctor can fully evaluate the possibility of a concussion or brain injury.
There are several types of â€œdamagesâ€ that you can be compensated for as a result of an auto accident. They include:
- medical care and related expenses;
- income lost because of the accident, because of time spent unable to work or undergoing treatment for injuries;
- permanent physical disability or disfigurement;
- loss of family, social, and educational experiences, including missed school or training, vacation or recreation, or a special event;
- emotional damages, such as stress, embarrassment, depression, or strains on family relationships — for example, the inability to take care of children, anxiety over the effects of an accident on an unborn child, or interference with sexual relations; and
- damaged property.
There are many factors that relate to the value of any particular case. And itâ€™s important to remember that no two cases are exactly the same. That said, the value calculation of your case begins with a determination of the types and amounts of damages youâ€™ve sustained as a result of the accident. After youâ€™ve finished treating for your injuries, it will also be important to know if you have any permanent injuries, damages or disfigurement as a result of the accident.
After all of the damages have been calculated and the long term consequences of the accident considered, we can discuss what we believe to be a fair valuation of your case. Insurance companies oftentimes rely on formulas to determine a caseâ€™s value but they vary wildly based on the particular facts and circumstances.
Call us today (614.223.1444) for a free case evaluation.