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What should I do after any kind of an accident?
If you're hurt, go to a doctor immediately. This is the best course of action for both your health and your case. Insurance companies will use it against you if you don't go to the doctor for injuries right away. When you see a doctor, it is vitally important that you tell him or her exactly what happened.
You should repeat your account of the accident to every doctor you see, and try to get as much documentation as you can. Take pictures of what hurt you, fill out an accident report if you are hurt at a store or restaurant, and make note of any witnesses that may be needed later. Contact a lawyer before giving any statements to any insurance company. There is only one reason they want to secure your statement, to try and use it against you later.
Will I have to go to court?
Most auto accident cases settle without going to court. If yours doesn't, the lawyers at Hoffman Law Firm are prepared to take your case to trial and stand by you each step of the way.
Who pays the claim? Is it the person who hurt me?
No, insurance companies pay the claims. Court rules don't allow us to mention auto insurance in court.
What should I do after an auto accident?
If you are hurt, go to the hospital and call the police. Ensure that the police officer at the scene hears your side of the events, make note of any witnesses around and get their contact information since you may need their account later. Try to take photos of the damage to your car before it's repaired.
If you go to the hospital for injuries, make sure to tell the doctors how you were hurt and to mention any prior injuries to the same body part, if applicable.
If the other driver gets a ticket, should I go to court?
Yes. If you don't go, the traffic court judge will most likely dismiss the ticket. Going to court means the other driver will have to admit he or she was at fault, or at least testify about what happened so the judge can decide. Either way, the other driver's statements may be very important to the case later.
What if the police officer puts me at fault?
It's unlikely that the police officer's determination of fault will be used against you. While it can be difficult to resolve cases where you are placed at fault, it is not impossible.
Should I speak to the insurance company?
In most cases, the insurance company has one goal: either to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. They use recorded statements as a tool to gain information to use against you, so be sure to speak with an attorney before giving a statement to an insurance company.
How will my car be fixed?
You will probably have two choices: You can either have your own insurance company fix it (they will then collect the money they spent plus your deductible from the other driver's insurance company), or you can let the other person's insurance company handle repairs to your car. Many times it is easier to let your company take care of the damage to your car.
Am I supposed to get a rental car?
If you are unable to use your car due to damage from the accident, the law allows you to be compensated for "loss of use". This means the insurance company will either give you a rental car for the time your vehicle is unusable, or it will pay you what a rental car would have cost for the time you were without your vehicle.
Who pays my medical bills?
This can get complicated. If you carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP), you may be able to be reimbursed for some of your medical expenses through your PIP coverage. You can also use your health insurance. If you use health insurance, often you will have to pay the insurance company back if you recover money on your claim.
If you can't afford medical treatment, certain doctors may agree to treat you without asking for money up front. To do that, the doctor will need to know that all parties agree about who is at fault for the accident, and that there is enough insurance coverage to pay the bill.
What can I recover from an auto accident?
In general, victims of an auto accident can recover the cost of medical bills, lost wages and more for pain and mental anguish, also known as "compensatory damages". These damages are meant to compensate you for what you lost. Sometimes you may also collect "punitive damages" or damages meant to punish the person at fault if his or her actions were willful or reckless.