What if I’ve been hurt in a car accident?
Get the name and address of the driver of each vehicle. The owner of the vehicle may not be the same as the driver, so be sure to also get the name and address of the owner of each vehicle involved. The license plate number of all vehicles involved should be recorded. Lastly, the name of the automobile insurance company for each vehicle should be obtained. When possible, get the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of any eye witnesses to the accident. The passengers in all vehicles involved can also provide vital testimony.
If there is any type of injury, police should be called to investigate the accident, and prompt medical attention should be obtained. The police officer will write a report including the details of the accident as well as the nature and extent of any damages and injuries. Insurance companies usually will require that a report of the accident be obtained before providing any benefits.
You also want to take a photo or write down anything that may have contributed to the accident. Note the weather conditions at the time of the accident. Take pictures of anything that may have obstructed the view of the driver (i.e., overgrown bush, poor sign placement, etc.)
It is important to immediately contact your own motor vehicle insurance company to report a claim, however, it is wise to speak to an attorney before giving any details about your injuries or treatment or before providing a statement to your insurance company.
If you are seriously injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, don’t talk to any representative of the other driver’s/owner’s insurance company until you have sought the advice of your own attorney. If you do obtain the services of an attorney, he or she will be able to help you determine who you should talk to while continuing to protect your own interests. Once you have signed a contract with an attorney, he/she can also speak directly to the insurance company on your behalf.
What if I was involved in an Uber or Lyft accident?
What if I have been injured by a drunk driver?
What if a car crash results in a Wrongful Death?
How will I pay all my medical bills?
What issues will I face in making a claim for my injuries sustained in an auto accident?
- Liability – who is at fault and to what degree
- Damages – injuries or losses caused by the accident
Who determines who is responsible for a traffic accident?
Figuring out who is at fault in an accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. For traffic accidents, State traffic laws provide guidelines by which liability may be measured. These rules apply not only to automobiles but also to motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. In some cases, a driver may be liable for an accident even if he/she was obeying, for example, the posted speed limit, if traveling at the posted speed was unreasonably careless given the weather or traffic conditions at the time.
Can I sue for negligence if I was hit by someone who was texting while driving?
Studies have shown that distracted driving through the use of electronic devices such as cell phones, text-messaging, Facebook applications, etc., is just as dangerous, if not more so, than driving under the influence. According to research performed by the National Transportation Safety Board, texting while behind the wheel increases the risk of an accident by a staggering 2,300 percent. Because of the immense dangers involved with texting while driving, there is a national trend developing to allow individuals hurt by such a distracted driver to sue for punitive damages.
In Florida, a defendant may be held liable for punitive damages if they engaged in intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Gross negligence means that the defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.
A Collier Circuit Judge Hugh Hayes recently granted a motion from a Naples widow to seek punitive damages from a driver who is accused of texting while driving when he struck and killed 62-year-old bicyclist James Caskey Jr. in August 2008. The defendant, Lawrence Daniels’ phone records show that he checked his voicemail, sent text messages, and received text messages just prior to this accident.
Furthermore, in 2008, a Miami-Dade jury awarded $8.8 million to the family of Myriam del Socorro Lopez who was killed when a speeding and weaving driver crashed into her vehicle. The defendant, Luis Cruz-Govin, was a habitual texter and phone records show that he sent a text message two minutes before paramedics were called to the scene.
Despite the known dangers of distracted driving, the National Transportation Safety Board has found that texting while driving is increasing. Many people involved with researching and dealing with issue are calling texting while driving the new DUI. Although the Florida Legislature has made numerous attempts to pass bills that would ban texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, no such law has currently passed.
What does it mean if my car was totaled?
I was in a car accident, and the insurance company told me my car was totaled. The insurance company is not offering me enough for my car. What can I do?
Just like when buying a new car, the best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge. The internet is your best resource. Kelly Blue Book and NADA are the standards in the industry to find the actual cash value (ACV) of your car. Check out the classified advertisements in your local newspapers, search websites like Craigslist, and check with the car dealerships in your area. Look for the prices of cars similar to yours and submit them to your company, if the prices are higher than the company’s offer. The insurance company’s estimate must be based on the local market.
Do I still have a claim if I was not wearing a seat belt?
Who pays to get my car fixed after I have been hit in an accident?
I was in a car accident, and it wasn’t my fault. The other driver’s insurance company won’t do anything with my claim because the driver has not reported the accident. Doesn’t that insurance company have an obligation to pay my claim?
What is an Emergency Medical Condition?
I was involved in an automobile accident, and the insurance company has not yet inspected my vehicle or authorized a rental vehicle. Isn’t there a time limit on how long an insurance company can take?
How do I get a rental car after an accident?
Is a traffic ticket admissible in court?
Who pays for my rental car while my car is being repaired?
The insurance company wants to repair my car with non-factory parts. Can it do this?
Will I be penalized for choosing my own body shop?
What should I do if an insurance company calls and asks for a statement?
- Why the insurance company is calling for a statement
- What the insurance company is likely to ask you
- Recommendations on how to answer those questions and protect your rights
It is best to consider calling a lawyer before your return any calls to the insurance company.
Should I go to the hospital?
Where can I go for medical help?
Many doctors may not want to get tied up in the litigation process. Other doctors receive a substantial amount of income from insurance companies and do not want to risk that source of revenue. Some doctors feel that the risks of medical complications, and therefore medical malpractice, are substantially increased when dealing with the complexities associated with an accident injury. Some doctors simply do not like working with attorneys, regardless of the underlying injury.
Based upon our substantial experience, the attorneys at The Ruth Law Team are able to identify those qualified doctors who are willing to accept responsibility for the medical care of the injured despite the probability that it will involve litigation against the insurance industry.
What do I do if I think I have a concussion from my car accident?
Go to the emergency room if you have any of the following:
- Bleeding or laceration from an impact
- Loss of consciousness for more than two minutes
- Vomiting more than once
- Agitation or restlessness
- Severe headache
- A delayed loss of consciousness
- Confusion several minutes after the accident
- A child that has lost consciousness at all
- Memory loss
- Repeating things over and over
- You are taking Coumadin (warfarin), Aggrenox (aspirin and dipyridamole), Plavix (platlet inhibitor, clopidogrel)
If the injured person fails to regain consciousness after 2 minutes or has a very severe injury, do NOT move the person and try to prevent movement of the neck. Call 911.
If you are unsure of the severity of the injury, immediately go to the emergency room.
Do I have to talk to the other driver’s insurance company?
How long does it take to settle my auto accident claim?
Do I have to talk to my insurance company?
How long does the insurance company have to settle my car accident claim?
Should I try to settle with the other person’s insurance company?
Here are some questions you should ask:
- Do you know the full extent of your injuries, or might there be some late developing symptoms?
- Do you know how long the effects of the injury may last?
- Do you know how difficult the recovery process might be?
- Do you know what therapy may be needed or what it will cost?
- Do you fully understand what the long term impact of your accident or injury might be on your ability to earn a living, enjoy recreational activities, play sports, do household chores, and so forth?
- Do you understand what is customarily awarded for the “pain and suffering” you endured, the loss of companionship and the extra care your family members provided?
- Do you know how much income you might lose, regardless of any disability insurance you have, both terms of the time you are out of work and afterwards?
- Do you know what portion of money paid to you by the other driver’s insurance company will go to your own health/auto insurance company, union, or employer health plan for expense reimbursement they paid on your behalf?
- Do you know how much money is traditionally recoverable by persons who are similarly injured who have legal representation?
Although you may have the answers to these questions, the other driver’s insurance company may never tell you the truth. Remember, anything you say to the other side’s insurance company can be recorded and used against you. Speak with a knowledgeable attorney regarding what you are entitled to recover.