I Was Injured in a Car Accident. What Now? - Part 2
Following a serious accident, the physical and emotional damages may feel like more than you can bear. However, the more purely financial damages of an accident—the cost of medical and rehabilitative care, the cost of pharmaceuticals, and loss of income—will need to be addressed at some point. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you anticipate the full extent of the present and future damages you sustained in your accident. From there, an attorney may help you build a comprehensive legal strategy intended to recover any and all those damages from the party responsible for your injury.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of a third party, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your suffering and related expenses by filing a personal injury claim. In order for your claim to be legitimate, you will have to file it within a certain period of time. This window is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies depending on the state and the crime committed, but usually floats between one and six years. Although there are instances in which the circumstances surrounding the statute of limitations will vary, in general:
- The statute of limitations begins on the day the accident occurs or when the crime is committed.
- You can not file a personal injury claim after the statute of limitations has run its course, nor can you be prosecuted for a crime.
I was injured in a car accident in Rhode Island. What now?
Being involved in a car accident is alarming for more than one reason. Not only have you suffered a traumatic event, but the aftermath of a car accident can be confusing. You are hurt, vulnerable, and trying to navigate your way through an often-complex insurance claim system with no clear direction. Insurance adjusters may seem friendly over that phone and act like they want to help, but are they really putting your best interests first?
At the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD., the number one question we hear from victims of car accidents is, “what am I supposed to do now?” It is a fair question. There is no one guiding you through the process of filing an insurance claim, no one giving you advice on what to do if you’ve been hurt by a negligent driver, and no one looking out for you when the medical bills start rolling in, and you’ve missed work due to your injuries.
The attorneys with the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD. want you to know that step one following a car accident in Rhode Island should be to contact an experienced car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the post-car accident process and help you get the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. You may not have all the answers after a car accident, and that’s okay. Turning to someone who can give you the legal advice you need is the most important step you can take. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Rhode Island, contact us by calling (401) 444-4444 for help.Steps to Take Following a Car Accident
A car accident is a stressful event. From the moment you realize a collision is going to take place, the adrenaline starts to course through your veins. You are no doubt frightened and anxious and in pain; however, the next steps you take can make a significant impact on your health as well as the strength of your insurance claim or lawsuit. It is important to take a few calming breaths and try to clear your head. Next, try to follow these helpful suggestions:
- Call law enforcement or 911: If you or anyone else has been seriously injured, call for emergency services immediately. Your health and safety are the number one priority. Law enforcement can also secure the scene and make a report about the accident that may help you down the line.
- Collect contact information: Make sure to take down all the important information from the other driver, such as name, driver’s license information, car insurance information, and license plate numbers. It is also extremely helpful to gather the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Document everything: If you are physically able, make sure you take pictures of the damage to the cars, debris from the accident, any skid marks that may be present, or damage to the surrounding area. Try to get as many different angles as you can.
- Report the accident: Drivers involved in an accident that results in injury or death, or causes damage to a vehicle that makes it incapable of normal and safe operation, must report the accident to the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles within 21 days.
- Contact your insurance provider: Give only the basic information about the accident to your insurance provider. Facts only.
- Avoid social media: Do not post about your accident or injuries on any social media platform.
- Contact an attorney: Getting an attorney on your side immediately is the best way to secure crucial evidence and negotiate a fair settlement for compensation.
Drivers need to understand that Rhode Island is a “fault” car accident state. That means that the person who is at-fault for causing the accident bears the responsibility for any resulting damage. Living in an at-fault state gives drivers involved in serious car accidents a range of options for recovering compensation after an accident. A driver may pursue compensation in the following ways:
- Filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Filing a claim with their own insurance company
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
Many people assume they only need an attorney if they want to take the other driver to court. That is incorrect. An attorney can gather evidence to help strengthen your claim and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. Insurance companies may take advantage of the fact that you are in a vulnerable physical and financial situation. Having a lawyer working with you means you have the benefit of a strong negotiator who can work to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. In the event an insurance company doesn’t want to negotiate in good faith, an attorney can take the at-fault party to court.
Rhode Island is also considered a “pure comparative negligence” state. So, any driver has the ability to recover damages from an accident; however, their damages will be reduced according to their share of negligence in causing the accident. If you are in an accident and it is deemed you were 20 percent to blame for the crash, you are entitled to collect the total amount of damages calculated minus 20 percent. Even if a driver is found to be mostly at-fault for an accident, they can still recover damages. However, that driver or their insurance company is still on the hook for the other parties’ losses.Find Out More About Your Rights Today
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident, it is important to talk to an attorney about recovering financial compensation for your losses. A skilled attorney is a valuable asset that can help you get the damages you are entitled to.
I was injured in a car accident in Texas. What now?
A car accident can be extremely traumatic both physically and mentally. Not only have you been involved in a physical accident, but dealing with the steps after the accident can be mentally overwhelming and stressful. What you should do post-accident is often unclear and chaotic, but the lawyers at Steckler Wayne Cochran PLLC. have outlined the steps you should take in order to have the best personal care, and easiest time filing a claim with your insurance.
Call the Police: It is important that you contact the police immediately. You and your passenger’s personal safety and health is of the utmost importance. Also, by contacting law enforcement you are creating an incident report which can help your case later on.
Seek Medical Attention: Depending on the severity of the injuries, you should seek treatment with a medical professional as soon as possible. It is important to report all details of the accident, to the doctor so they can give you the best treatment possible. You should also mention all injuries, minor or serious, so that you can potentially avoid any permanent damage to your brain, nerves, and muscles that might go untreated. The doctor will provide you with a detailed description of your injuries which can possibly contribute to your case later on.
Take Pictures: Take pictures of the accident, the damage to all vehicles, the surrounding setting, the other driver’s car insurance information, their driver’s license, license plate numbers, injuries to yourself and your passengers, and anything else you might find important to refer back to in the future. It is important to remember that pictures can help you present exact information and can oftentimes be more impactful than words.
Exchange Information: Either write down or take pictures of the other driver’s personal information, especially their driver’s license, license plate, car make, model, color, and car insurance. Also present your information to them as well. This can help you regarding insurance payment, and any possible need for a witness to the accident.
Keep track of information and personal injuries: You should consider writing down all personal injuries you face which resulted from the accident and both the physical and psychological effects that the accident caused. Also in the case that you go to trial, it will be important for you to have all your files and accounts organized in a file.
File a Motor Vehicle Accident Report: If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident involving personal injuries, death, or property damages exceeding around $750 in the State of Texas, you must report the accident to the Department of Transportation within 10 days if the accident was not investigated by a law enforcement officer. If you choose to file a claim against another driver, you must follow the Texas Statute of Limitations regarding motor vehicle accidents. This statute states that the injured party has two years from the date of the car accident to file a claim against the responsible party. If you are filing a claim against a government transportation such as a public bus, the time limit is shorter (within 60 to 90 days of the accident).
Contact Attorney: At this time, it is important for you to contact an attorney. Having an attorney by your side will give you a much greater chance at receiving settlement compensation. If you don’t have a personal injury lawyer or are having trouble finding one, consider calling Steckler Wayne Cochran PLLC. at (972) 387- 4040 to schedule a consultation with an attorney. They will be able to help you secure information and give you a professional opinion of where you stand legally.
Call Insurance Company: Finally, you may file a report with your insurance company. Provide details of the accident with them, but make sure you stay clear of taking blame and stick to providing facts only. Although you may think that you are to blame for the accident, you should allow the attorneys and insurance company to determine who is and isn’t at fault. This is important because the state of Texas is a “fault” state, which means that insurance companies determine fault in an accident before they provide coverage.
Texas Car Accident Laws: The State of Texas is a “fault” car accident state. This means that the person who is at fault for the damage caused during the accident is responsible for paying for all resulting damage whether it be to the car to the victims. Under the Texas’ fault system, all drivers must carry minimum insurance amounts at all times, which are as follows:
- $30,000 per person for bodily injury
- $60,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 for property damage
This standard insurance will pay for the victim’s medical bills and property damage if you are at fault for an accident. Likewise, the other party’s basic insurance will pay for your damages if they are at fault. Texas is a “modified” comparative fault state, which means that you receive nothing at all if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the crash.
I was hurt in a car accident in Tennessee. What now?
Take a few seconds and assess the situation. Most importantly, begin with yourself. If you believe you are injured, determine whether you can safely exit the vehicle under your own power. If you are unsure, wait until you can better assess the situation or wait for help to arrive. Do not move your vehicle unless it is a serious hazard or you are told by the officer. If you are able to exit the vehicle, then do so and check on any other persons involved.
Contact the authorities. If witnesses are present, ask them to wait for law enforcement to arrive. If they refuse or are unable to wait, get their contact information. The police may request or need it later. Even if they speak to police, it may be a good idea to save the witness's contact information in case they are omitted from the police report. Always report the wreck to local law enforcement. Do not agree to exchange information and leave the scene without contacting law enforcement unless explicitly directed to do so by the authorities. If you are able, take photos of the scene and all vehicles involved.
Do not forego medical treatment if injured. If injured, request transport to the nearest emergency room. Do not remain at the scene or decline medical attention just because you are concerned about leaving your vehicle or other personal property at the scene. The authorities will secure your vehicle before clearing the scene. Although it sounds counterintuitive, it cannot be understated - follow the instructions you are provided at the Emergency Room. If instructed to follow-up with a physician or other provider, do so.
Property damage. We find that clients' first concern is often the property damage to their vehicle or their lack of transportation. The other driver's insurance carrier owes their insured the obligation of investigating the wreck before making any payments or agreeing to make any reimbursements to you for losses or expenses incurred. For this reason, it may be best to present a claim through your own insurance company. Even if you are required to use your deductible, it may be possible to recoup this later from the at fault insurance carrier. If nothing else, you may save yourself significant delay.
After the wreck. It is important to understand that injuries do not always manifest themselves until time has passed. There is nothing wrong with getting checked out just to be sure. If you do not initially treat at the emergency room, but later feel pain or are concerned you may be injured, follow-up with a physician. Do not ignore those symptoms.
Follow your physician's instructions. Treat until you are discharged. This is important to ensure you make a full recovery from your injuries. Also, if you intend to make a personal injury claim, a failure to follow physician's instructions, missed appointments or stop treating prematurely can be detrimental to your claim.
Hire an attorney. If you do make a personal injury claim, consider hiring an attorney. The law can be difficult to navigate without competent representation familiar with the process. For example, it can be dangerous to discuss your injury claim or provide a statement to an insurance adjuster without someone available to prepare, counsel and protect your rights. Also, there may be additional coverages available which you are not aware of or able to locate without an attorney. Do not, under any circumstances, agree to resolve your case before you are aware of the full extent of your injuries. A rushed resolution can cause you to forfeit other monetary reimbursement you may have otherwise been entitled to receive. It never hurts to consult an attorney to be sure. Our firm provides free consultations to victims of car crashes and other events that cause personal injuries.
Beware of the statute of limitations. Finally, be aware that if you are unable to resolve your claim voluntary, you have a limited amount of time within which to file suit. Failure to file suit may result in your claim being barred for all time.
I was Hurt in a Car Crash in Virginia. What now?
Check yourself and passengers for injuries. If you or anyone in your car is seriously injured, do not move. For serious injuries, wait for emergency medical personnel.
Call 911. Even if the collision is minor, you should always call the authorities so that there is an independent witness and a record of events, statements, location, and damage to vehicles. The police will gather the information required to create a police report and issue any necessary citations. 911 will also dispatch ambulance and emergency medical personnel if there are injuries.
If you are in an unsafe situation or are interfering with the flow of traffic, move your vehicle off the roadway to a safer location. If your vehicle is not interfering with the flow of traffic, remain where you are. Always turn on your hazard lights and use flares if they are available.
Document the damage. If it is safe, take pictures and/or video of all vehicles involved, the damage to the vehicles, and the accident scene. If you are unable to take pictures or video at the scene, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
Exchange contact information with the other driver and, just as importantly, any witnesses to the accident. Many cases rise or fall based upon the testimony of an eyewitness or independent bystander, so make sure to get their information! The information obtained from the other driver should include:
- Full name and contact information, including address
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver's license and license plate number
- Type, color, and model of the vehicle
- Location of collision.
Seek medical treatment. Unless you are sure that you were not injured in the accident, seek medical attention. Even a minor collision can cause injuries and often these injuries are not immediately apparent. The failure to seek prompt medical assistance will be held against you if you later make a claim for personal injuries.
Notify your insurance company. Even if you believe you were not at fault for the accident, most insurance companies require that accidents be reported immediately, and require your full cooperation. Your insurance will also be able to tell you whether you have coverage that may assist you. For example, Medpay is an optional coverage many people have that can help with out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Consult with a personal injury attorney. Under Virginia law you may be entitled to monetary damages if you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another person. An attorney can advise you of your rights and make sure they are protected.
Commonwealth Law Group
Virginia Office in Richmond