This Blog was brought to you by the Carabin Shaw Law Firm in San Antonio
Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accidents
Car accidents can be a challenging and stressful experience, and it’s important to have a clear understanding of the necessary steps to take and the legal aspects involved. In this article, we will address some frequently asked questions regarding car accidents, personal injury claims, insurance coverage, and legal representation. By familiarizing yourself with these FAQs, you can better navigate the aftermath of a car accident and protect your rights.
What issues will I face in making a personal injury claim for injuries sustained in an automobile accident?
A personal injury claim for injuries sustained in a car accident is typically based on negligence or recklessness. The key issues that often arise in such claims include:
a) Liability: Determining who is at fault and to what degree.
b) Damages: Evaluating the injuries or losses caused by the accident.
c) Insurance Coverage: Understanding what the insurance company will cover after the accident.
What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?
If you find yourself involved in a car accident, follow these important steps:
a) Stop: It is crucial to stop at the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene can result in legal consequences.
b) Call for help: If there are injuries, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, contact the police and follow their instructions.
c) Notify your insurer: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Also, inform the other driver’s insurer about the accident.
d) Avoid signing anything: Refrain from providing statements or signing any documents if an insurance adjuster appears at the scene.
e) Gather information: Collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved, including witnesses.
f) Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t feel immediate pain, it’s important to see a doctor to assess any potential injuries.
g) Contact an attorney: If you’ve been injured, it’s advisable to consult with a lawyer to ensure a fair settlement from the insurance company and protect your rights.
An insurance company is offering me a nice settlement. Should I take it?
It is highly recommended not to accept any settlement offered by an insurance company without consulting an experienced auto accident lawyer. Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and aim to protect their interests. Seeking legal advice ensures that your rights and interests are safeguarded, as insurance companies often try to settle for minimal amounts and discourage you from obtaining legal representation.
If I rear-end another vehicle, am I at fault?
In most cases, if you rear-end another vehicle, you are considered at fault. Texas law stipulates that drivers must maintain a safe distance and be able to stop safely if the vehicle in front suddenly stops. However, there are exceptions, such as when the other driver makes an unexpected stop or if a chain reaction occurs. It’s important to note that fault in a car accident can sometimes be shared between parties, depending on the state’s comparative negligence laws.
My doctor notified me that I have a permanent injury as a result of my automobile accident. What does this mean?
A permanent injury refers to an injury that will either last for the rest of your life or for a significant period beyond the settlement of your claim. In such cases, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party or their insurance company for all current and future medical expenses related to the accident.
What should I do if I didn’t feel hurt at the scene of the accident but experienced pain afterward?
If you believe you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention promptly, even if you initially feel fine. Inform your medical provider about any discomfort, pain, or potential injuries resulting from the accident. Some injuries may not manifest immediately, and delaying medical treatment can complicate your personal injury claim. Promptly seeking medical attention not only ensures your well-being but also strengthens the link between the accident and your injuries in your claim.
Can I still recover damages if I was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident?
Wearing a seatbelt is required by law in most states for both drivers and passengers. If you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, it can potentially affect your ability to recover full damages for your injuries. Insurance companies may argue that your failure to wear a seatbelt contributed to the severity of your injuries. However, it’s important to note that fault primarily lies with the negligent party, and personal injury laws vary from state to state. Consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand the potential impact on your claim.
If I was hit by a commercial vehicle, is the employer also responsible?
In cases involving accidents with commercial vehicles, it is possible for the employer to be held responsible. Employers can be held liable for the negligent actions of their employees under the doctrine of vicarious liability. This means that if the employee’s actions occurred within the scope of their employment, the employer may share responsibility for the accident.
If I have been injured in an automobile accident, will I have to go to court to get a fair settlement?
The majority of car accident cases are resolved through settlements outside of court. An attorney will work with the insurance companies involved to negotiate a fair compensation amount. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, your attorney will be prepared to represent your case in court. The goal is to ensure you receive the rightful compensation for your injuries and losses.
If I was injured in a car accident, do I need to hire a lawyer, or can I handle the claim myself?
While there is no legal requirement to hire a lawyer for a personal injury claim, it is highly recommended. Insurance companies and their attorneys are skilled in minimizing payouts and protecting their own interests. By hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer, you level the playing field and have someone who will advocate for your rights and fight for fair compensation. They have the knowledge and expertise to navigate the legal complexities, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, take your case to court.
In a Nutshell
Car accidents can have significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences. By understanding the key aspects of personal injury claims, seeking immediate medical attention, and consulting with an experienced attorney, you can protect your rights, secure fair compensation, and focus on your recovery. Remember, having proper legal representation is crucial to ensure that your interests are well-protected throughout the process.