Do I really need a lawyer?
Many accident victims prefer to avoid lawyers. Some victims feel like they will ultimately get less if they have to also pay an Attorney. Victims also try to handle their own claims hoping that the insurance company involved will settle promptly and fairly.
Unfortunately, not all insurance companies respond in that manner. Remember that insurance companies are in the business of making money. Their obligation is to their stockholders and policy holders, not to victims. Read also: Accident dangers for St. Louis motorcyclists.
Negotiating alone or waiting until the insurance company "makes an offer" can be frustrating and costly. One wrong move--one mistake--can cost you thousands of dollars. Delay or guessing about the value of your case can result in the loss of valuable rights. You should at least consult with an Attorney before deciding to represent yourself.
What steps should I take if I am involved in a car accident?
- Stay on the scene.
- Make no statements to the other driver(s) or passengers.
- Immediately write down any statements made by the other driver(s) or passengers.
- Call 911 if someone is injured, or contact the police to report the incident.
- Consult with an Attorney immediately to protect your rights before contacting your insurance company.
- Contact your insurance company, but politely refuse to sign paperwork or give a statement immediately. Your attorney will assist you through this difficult process.
- Obtain the names, addresses and contact details of witnesses and others who responded to the scene.
- See your doctor for a check-up, you may be hurt and just do not know it.
- If you doctor does give you treatment, follow all directions or you could put your full monetary recovery in danger. Read also: Work zone accidents are common and dangerous.
Should I accept the settlement my insurance company is offering?
Not without consulting an Attorney. You should be very cautious with the first figure your insurer offers. Do not cash any checks given to you by the insurance companies involved without first allowing an Attorney to review the paperwork. Even if you feel that the offer reasonably compensates you, it is very important to consult with an Attorney before accepting any funds.
If I crash into the back of another vehicle, am I at fault?
Normally the driver who rear-ends another vehicle is considered to be at fault for the accident, as they have failed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. However, you may be the victim if the other driver stopped suddenly without apparent cause or warning, or if you were involved in a multiple vehicle collision. Contact your attorney to find out more about your rights. Read also: Car Accident Settlements In New York.
What if I am the victim of a drunk driving accident?
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident where the other driver had been drinking, your position is somewhat different than with typical accident victims. While you have the same rights as a normal accident victim, you also have a potentially stronger claim and a higher possible recovery. The drunk drivers act of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol opens doors which are normally closed to typical victims.