Q: Can I recover even if the accident was my fault?
A: Whether or not you will be able to recover damages will depend on the laws of your state. If your state does not consider fault with regards to some damages, some of your financial losses may be paid by your own no-fault policy insurance policy. If your state does consider fault, even if you are partially at fault, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. In that case, you will likely be required to prove that the other driver's fault was greater than yours thus reducing the amount of your compensation by reducing your percentage of fault.
Q: Who can I sue to recover my damages?
A: An accident victim, in some cases, may be able to sue parties other than the at-fault driver. For example, the car's owner may also be liable for your damages. Also, if the at-fault driver was impaired due to consuming too much alcohol, you may be able to bring a "dram shop" complaint against a business that served alcohol to the driver.
There are cases in which you may be able to bring a civil lawsuit against an automobile manufacturer or construction company, if a defect in the vehicle is found, if the roadway design or maintenance is found to have caused the accident.
If the accident involved a company vehicle or 18 wheeler, the driver's violation of rules and regulations may be the basis for a lawsuit against the driver and/or his or her employer.
Q: What is my case worth?
A: The amount of economic damages will depend on a variety of factors and must be determined by analyzing information regarding the extent of the injury, medical bills incurred, loss of income, and duration or future duration of the injury.
Q: Will I have to go to court?
A: Not in all cases. A majority of motor vehicle accident cases are settled without even filing a lawsuit or without a trial. Settling your claim will avoid the cost and delay of a trial that could result in a greater total recovery. If your case cannot be settled on satisfactorially, it might be necessary to go to trial.
Q: How long will it take me to receive my money?
A: The length of time needed to finalize your car accident injury case will depend upon a several factors such as potential future medical expenses related to the accident. The amount of time needed to heal properly may determine the length of time necessary to finalize your claim. The amount of time needed to receive your money also depends on whether your case is settled or goes to trial.
Q: What should I do if I can't afford an attorney?
A: Our law firm will review your case. If we agree to pursue your personal injury claim we may do so on a contingent fee basis. This means our firm's fee will be subtracted from any amount that our attorneys collect for you. If we accept your case on a contigency fee arrangement and no amount is recovered, then our firm receives no fee. In some cases, the client may be responsible for actual expenses, such as court filing fees or witness fees, whether he or she wins or loses.
Q: Should I see a doctor?
A: If you are involved in an automobile accident, you should seek always seek medical attention. In some cases, an auto accident injury is not immediately apparent due to shock. It is best that you go to your family doctor, a hospital emergency room, or another medical professional to obtain medical evaluation.
Q: How soon must I bring my claim?
A: Every state sets a time limitation for bringing a personal injury claim. That time period may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, such as the plaintiff's age, the type of personal injury claim, the particular facts giving rise to the injury, and when the injury is discovered. You must be absolutely certain that you know the time limitation period that applies to you, or you risk jeopardizing your legal rights.
Q: Should I accept a check from the at-fault driver or his or her insurance company?
A: You should not accept a check or sign a release from the at-fault driver or his or her insurance company until after you have conferred with an attorney. By accepting a check, it may be construed as a settlement that prohibits you from obtaining any additional amounts from the at-fault driver or his or her insurance company. You should to wait to accept a check until after you have completed your medical treatment and have been released by a doctor. That way you know you have received an amount that adequately covers your medical bills and other damages.
Keep in mind that an insurance adjuster may push you to settle the claim for the lowest possible amount and/or may discourage you from contacting an attorney. Do not delay in contacting an attorney. Consult an attorney immediately before accepting any payment, signing any release, or otherwise settling your claim to insure that you are receiving fair compensation and not jeopardizing your right to a full and fair recovery.