Although there are 222 million licensed drivers in the United States, that doesn’t mean every motorist makes responsible decisions while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, another driver’s negligence can result in a horrific accident that might culminate in serious injuries for others. If you have been injured in such an accident, it’s imperative that you contact a reputable auto accident attorney to assess your options and to protect your rights.
Some people who have sustained harm in a crash may be reluctant to contact a car accident lawyer or to take further action against a potentially responsible party. Others may be under the impression that filing a claim with their insurance company will be the only necessary step. Without assistance from your auto accident attorney, you may not have a chance to receive the compensation you deserve. In today’s post, we’ll discuss a few scenarios that might warrant the filing of a personal injury claim and what you should do immediately following a car crash.
The Aftermath of an Accident
After a car crash, you should receive medical treatment for any injuries, document the scene, obtain contact and insurance information for other drivers and witnesses, and file a police report. In addition, you are typically required to let your insurance company and/or the insurance company of the at-fault party that an accident took place. Even if you do not plan to file an insurance claim with your insurer, you must still report that the accident happened. This must be done as quickly as possible; some insurers require you to do so within 48 hours of the accident. You should be honest with the insurer about the extent of your injuries and the circumstances surrounding the accident, as any falsehoods can later be used against you during the investigation of the incident. The insurer will then open a claim and will begin investigations. The insurance adjuster will need proof that the other party was at fault for the accident. More than likely, your auto accident attorney will advise you not to speak to the responsible party’s adjuster without his or her presence in order to protect your rights.
When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In most cases, an auto accident attorney will recommend that their client file a personal injury claim when the auto insurer offers a settlement that is too low. High healthcare costs, missed work, and long-term pain can all add value to a case. If your lawyer feels that the settlement offer is simply not sufficient, they may recommend filing a suit instead. They may also recommend this course of action if the at-fault driver doesn’t have car insurance coverage at all.
In most cases, it’s best to pursue a personal injury claim if the settlement offer is substantially lower than the valuation of your case. In other words, a thousand dollars’ worth of difference may not warrant a lawsuit. But if the difference between the offer and your case’s valuation is $10,000 or more, you’ll at least want to consider enlisting help from legal services and filing a personal injury claim. Otherwise, you could end up paying for necessary medical expenses out-of-pocket and potentially leaving money on the table.
Of course, if you are found to be the driver at-fault, it’s not in your best interests to attempt to file a personal injury claim against another driver. However, many car accident cases cannot be decided in black-and-white terms. If you’ve been injured in a claim and think the accident might have been partially your fault, you should still obtain help from a reputable attorney to ensure your rights are protected going forward.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car crash, contacting a lawyer should be near the top of your list. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please contact our offices today.