Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. I got into a car accident, what do I do now?
First, immediately contact the police if no one contacted them yet. Be advised, however, that the police may not be able to write a report in some circumstances (for example if the accident occured on a private parking lot).
Second, call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and start a claim. You will be asked a number of standard questions necessary to open your claim.
Third, if you are experiencing any pain (no matter how minor), schedule an appointment with your doctor right away.
Finally, schedule a free consulatation with a personal injury attorney. An attorney will be able to answer any additional questions you may have about the insurance company's claim process as well as provide a basic assessment of your claim.
- 2. How is my claim evaluated by insurance companies?
Generally, when evaluating any bodily injury claim insurance companies look at following factors:
(a) Who is at fault. If they think you could be partially at fault for the accident, they will attempt to reduce the total amount of compensation accordingly.
(b) Amount of property damage. This includes repairs estimates for your car and for the car of their insured. Insurance companies often treat accidents with small property damage (less than $1,000.00) as minor accidents. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
(c) Injuries you sustained. The more significant the injury, the higher the compensation.
(d) Types of doctors you saw and treatment you received. Insurance companies often attempt to discount diagnostic tests such as CT-scans, MRI, X-rays, etc. As a result, they may try to reduce the value of your claim if many diagnostic tests were required to determine the exact nature of your injuries.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Many other factors are taken into consideration by insurance companies and attorneys. A good personal injury attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on every aspect of your case thus providing you with the maximum possible compensation.
- 3. Do I need an attorney?
This question is very hard to answer without knowing the specifics of your particular case. In general, if you or your passengers sustained any injuries in the accident, it's best to hire (or at least consult with) an attorney. Otherwise, you risk not receiving a fully unbiased evaluation of your case and may potentially settle for much less money than your claim is worth.
- You might not be aware of all the types of damages you can recover,
- You might get tripped up by insurance issues,
- You might not have the leverage to persuade the insurance company to pay the full amount,
- 4. What can an attorney do for me?
In most cases, we will help you as follows:
(a) Assist you in getting your property damage claim settled quickly (thus allowing you to get your car fixed)
(b) Evaluate and investigate your claim by reviewing medical records, accident photos, obtaining witness statements, etc.
(c) Work with your medical providers by giving them timely information about available Personal Injury Protection insurance, health insurance and other ways to pay your medical bills
(d) Prepare and send a demand package to defendantís insurance company and conduct aggressive settlement negotiations on your behalf
(e) If necessary and desired, file a lawsuit on your behalf and diligently work on your case through all stages of the litigation process including negotiations, mediation, arbitration and, if needed, a trial.
- 5. I do not feel any pain after an accident. Do I need to see a doctor?
After an accident, people are often in shock and do not immediately feel pain. It can often take several days before obvious pain starts to develop (this is especially true with back and neck pain). As such, we always recommend that you immediately schedule an appointment with your doctor a few days ahead.
If you do not feel any pain, you can always cancel the appointment later on but, in case you do feel pain, you will be sure that your doctor will be available to see you without any delays.
- 6. What does "contigency fee basis" mean?
Contigency fee basis is a fee agreement between your and your attorney whereby you do not pay unless your case is settled. Upon settlement, attorney's fee is deducted from the settlement amount (as a pre-determined percentage of that amount). In other words, when you hire an attorney to handle your car accident claim, you do not pay attorney fees out of pocket!
All personal injury cases handled by our law firm are accepted on a contingency fee basis.