After calling police to the scene of the accident so they can gather evidence and prepare a police report, seeking medical attention for injuries should be the first step taken to ensure your health and safety. Once you have taken care of any potential medical needs, immediately contact an auto accident attorney so he or she can direct you in the future of your case.
If I have been injured, what are my rights?
If you are not the party at fault, then you have the right to acquire compensation for your injuries. Each case varies, so compensation will depend on factors involved in your particular case. Contact an auto accident attorney as soon as possible so they can make the most of your claim.
How long does an auto accident claim take?
Determining a generalized time-frame for the duration of any case is difficult. An auto accident claim could settle in a matter of a few months, or it could take years to reach a settlement. Also, not all cases go to trial due to parties reaching a settlement outside of court, which may decrease time. However, cases that do go to court may experience lengthier time frames. The biggest factor in how long a case takes is how much medical treatment is necessary to get you back to your pre-injury condition.
What if a client does not want to go to court? Can an auto accident attorney still assist them?
Absolutely. The majority of cases will settle without ever going to court. Filing a lawsuit is always the client’s decision. You still need an attorney, whether you intend to go to court or not. One of the most important jobs of the attorney is presenting the client’s claim to the insurance company properly from the start and negotiating it for the client. In some cases, it will not be clear whether the case is the type that requires a trial. In other cases, it will be immediately apparent to the attorney that a lawsuit will be required. Going to court can be an intimidating experience; however, skilled trial lawyers will take care of communications between the court and insurance companies for you and handle the trial process so you need not worry about it.
What questions should I prepare to answer during a deposition?
Your attorneys will meet with you before a deposition and prepare you fully for the deposition, so do not fear. Generally the following is reviewed to prepare you for a deposition:
How did the accident happen?
Were there any witnesses to the accident?
What medical treatment did you have?
How has your job been affected by the injury?
How has your injury otherwise affected your life?
Have you previously been involved in any other lawsuits or legal claims?
Do you have any preexisting injuries?
What is the purpose of a “letter of protection”?
If an individual involved in an accident does not have insurance, he or she might have to seek alternative means to receive medical treatment. Also, the negligent party’s insurance will not pay the injured party until the case is settled. In order for the injured party to continue receiving medical treatment incurred from the accident, he or she can have a “letter of protection” signed by his or her auto accident attorney stating that medical costs will be paid out of a settlement once a settlement is reached. The medical provider will then continue with treatment without receiving payment for the time being. However, if the injured party does not receive settlement, this generally does not excuse them from paying medical bills (although in some instances it will, particularly with chiropractic treatment).
Why are my prior injuries and medical conditions relevant to my case?
Insurance companies will not pay for injuries unrelated to the accident or injuries that occurred prior to it. Aggravations to your preexisting conditions can be successfully recovered for, however. Often in a claim for bodily injuries, an insurance company will blame the injuries and medical treatment on preexisting conditions, whereas your attorney will fight to establish that, even though there is a preexisting injury, it was aggravated by the auto accident and the medical treatment received was due to that aggravation. It is important to fully disclose preexisting conditions to your attorney so he or she can resolve claims successfully and argue on your behalf. If you do not fully disclose this information, it can and will most likely damage your claim and weaken your case.
How much is my case worth?
Each case is unique and determining worth depends on the case’s components: severity of injuries, medical treatment received, amount of medical bills, length of time receiving medical treatment, insurance limits, other details of the case, and who or what is the defendant.