I was in a car accident that wasn’t my fault. What do I do now?
If you were involved in an accident with a car, truck or motorcycle, the first thing you should do is take care of your injuries. The very next thing you should do is contact an accident attorney who can take care of the legal process while you focus on healing from your injury.
One of the most important things to do after an accident is to document your injuries. You also want to take photos, if possible, of the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident. This is important whether you were driving a car, a motorcycle or a truck, and even if you were a pedestrian.
An accident attorney can stay on top of all these details and let you know what is needed and when. They can also advise you about dealing with insurance companies, some of which may use deceptive methods to trick you into giving your rights away.
I was in an accident while driving a semi truck. What should I do?
If you were injured in the truck accident, the first thing you should do is seek immediate medical attention.
If you were not injured but someone else was, or if there was damage to property (your truck, another vehicle or other property), you should immediately contact an accident attorney.
There are very specific laws around truck accidents that are different from the laws for car accidents. Even if you have worked in the trucking industry for a long time, you may not be aware of all the legal requirements in your case.
In order to make sure that your rights are honored, it is best to have an experienced trucking accident attorney on your side.
I filed a claim after my car accident, but my insurance company won’t call me back. What should I do?
It’s important to know that an insurance company does not truly care about who was responsible for an accident. Instead, they care about the likelihood that they will have to pay out on a claim. If the other driver was at fault in your car accident but does not have insurance, your insurance company may look for reasons not to fully pay your claim. They may also delay the process so long that in the end, you’ll settle for much less than you deserve, simply to get the funds you need to fix your vehicle.
Having an accident attorney on your side can make all the difference to getting the fair amount of money from your car insurance policy.
An insurance claims adjuster called me and asked me to make a recorded statement about my accident. Should I do what they ask?
No. You have no legal obligation to make a recorded statement for an insurance claims adjuster. This is the case even if it is your own insurance company asking to record your statement.
If the adjuster is calling on behalf of the other driver’s insurance company, you have no obligation to speak with them at all. In fact, you should NOT speak with them.
Some insurance companies take this approach in order to get claimants to say things that will hurt their claim. Whatever you say during a recorded statement will become part of your claim and might be used later to deny you full coverage for your car accident.
It is your legal right to decline to give a recorded statement. Instead, simply tell the claims adjuster that you will send a written statement instead.
By having your accident attorney help you prepare a written statement, you can be sure that no insurance company has the grounds to deny you full coverage for your accident.
Do I really need a lawyer? Can I just file an accident claim myself?
Yes, you can file an accident claim yourself. If the injury or losses you suffered from the accident were minor, and if you are armed with all the proper information you need, then you may be able to navigate the legal process alone.
However, the legal system takes a lot longer to process an accident claim than most people realize. Filing a claim is not an overnight solution to your problem. Even if you have done all your homework, it can be incredibly stressful to wait for the court to respond to you. And if there is anything extra needed from you, such as medical records, photos or other documents, you can’t always count on the court to contact you in time.
Bottom line, it can be very stressful to file a claim alone. Hiring an accident lawyer is not only the best way to make sure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your accident, but also to take the stress off you so that you can focus on healing from your injury.
Perhaps more importantly, insurance companies generally place a higher value on cases where the plaintiff is represented by an attorney because they know it will be more costly to defend and they potentially have more exposure for a higher verdict against their insured.
What happens when I hire a lawyer?
A lawyer’s job is to work with you to present the facts of your case in a way that protects and honors your rights.
First, a good accident attorney will speak with you about the details of your accident. They will ask about how and where your accident happened, and ask questions about what happened afterward—who saw it take place, who took you to the hospital, whether the police were involved, etc.
Your accident attorney will ask for any photos or other documentation that you have about the accident. They will want to know as much as possible about any injuries or property damage that happened to you or other people in the accident. Most likely, they will contact your doctor and your insurance company to ask questions about their knowledge of what happened to you. They will also contact the police to get the police report of the accident, if there is one.
Once they have all this information, your accident attorney will put together an argument to establish your legal rights in the situation. They will also consult with expert witnesses to come up with a number that fairly compensates you for injuries you have suffered, expenses you have undergone and any income you have lost as a result of your accident,
The attorney will keep you informed on what is happening to your case within the legal system. They will give you advice on what to do as the process unfolds, and help you understand how any given decision could affect you and your family.
By hiring an attorney experienced in the kind of law that applies to your accident, you will have security that your case is being handled by someone who knows what your rights are and how to protect them in court. You will also have confidence that the outcome of your case will be as successful as it can be.
How long does it take to get financial compensation?
This is a tough question to answer. How long it takes to get financial compensation from an accident claim depends on two things: proving who is to blame for the accident and proving the extent of the damage caused by the accident.
In general, the more serious or complex your injuries are, the longer it takes for the case to be settled. That is because reaching a settlement involves getting a medical prognosis, or a prediction of how the injury will affect you over the long-term.
The case can also take longer if the person responsible for your accident is not willing to admit fault. When this happens, the law allows them time to make arguments and bring witnesses for their side of the situation. By having a good accident attorney on your side, though, you can be sure that your case is being argued in a way that does not let the other party drag the process out.
Sometimes an accident attorney may request interim payments from your opponent while the case is being argued. This is essentially an advance payment on the final settlement that is still yet to be agreed on, and it is meant to make sure that you have the financial resources you need while you recovery from your injury.
How much do I have to pay up front?
The good news is that many of the best, most competent accident attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that they only take a fee if they win a settlement for you.
An accident attorney who works on a contingency basis demonstrates confidence that they can win, and shows they have the resources to fight your case without needing money from you up front.
Harlan Law works on a contingency basis, and offers free first-time case consultations with no strings attached. If you want to simply understand the legal options that apply in your situation, contact Jordon now to speak about your case.
About Harlan Law
Our San Diego law firm is dedicated to providing the best advocacy possible for clients nationwide. Call our experienced personal injury and employment lawyers today at 619.870.0802 for your first free consultation.