Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accidents
Below are just a few of the questions I am often asked by clients upon being involved in an automobile accident. I can only highlight a few here, so if you’ve been involved in an accident, please feel free to call a lawyer at Atwell Law, LLC, to schedule a free consultation.
Q. The accident was not my fault. Should I call my insurance company to report it?
A. Yes. While the car crash may not have been your fault, you may not yet know whether the person who hit you has accepted fault and reported it to their insurance provider. Your policy may have certain coverage that can assist you. That being said, I would advise that you be cautious about providing anything more than the most basic details of the accident prior to calling me as there are occasions where you may have to make a claim against your own policy.
Q. The insurance company of the person who caused the accident keeps calling me. Should I talk to them?
A. No. I would advise that you call me first to discuss the details of your case. Remember, if you have a case that will ultimately result in you receiving compensation, it is likely that the insurance company will be providing payment. As such, in any conversation you have with them, you may be unwittingly providing them with information that can be later used against you.
Q. They requested a recorded statement. Is that OK?
A. No, for the same reason I outlined above.
Q. My car is wrecked and I need to get to work and visit the doctor. Can I get a rental car?
A. It depends. I would need to take a look at your insurance policy and speak with your adjuster to determine what type of coverage you have. Additionally, the at-fault insurance company may provide a rental car for a limited time if a determination has to be made as to whether your automobile is totaled.
Q. My insurance company asked if I will be making a PIP claim. What is PIP?
A. Under Maryland law, unless you waive coverage, all automobile insurance policies provide a minimum coverage (usually $2,500) of personal injury protection, or PIP. This can be used to pay some of your medical bills or even a percentage of your lost wages, regardless of who’s at fault. This is not the same as making a claim against your policy, so you should take advantage of the coverage.
Q. Should I take pictures of my car?
A. Absolutely. I always ask my clients to obtain plenty of pictures of the vehicle and the damage. Walk 360° around the car taking pictures. Once the car is fixed by the repair shop or declared totaled by the insurance adjuster, you may not get the chance. If your car has been towed, go to where it is being stored and do it there. It can be very important.
Q. I have some pretty bad bruises as a result of the accident. Should I take pictures of those?
A. Absolutely. Don’t assume that the doctor will take pictures of the bruising because they will likely not do so. Take the pictures yourself or have someone do it for you if you can’t. I ask my clients to take them at different intervals throughout the healing process to show the extent of bruising. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. A picture says a thousand words.
Q. I’m not really the suing type and I’ve never had the need for an attorney. The person who hit me apologized at the scene and seemed very upset. Do I really have to sue them?
A. Maybe, but possibly not. Accidents are called accidents for a reason. Other than on a rare occasion, the person who hit you did not mean to do so. Often, people are simply in a hurry and are not paying attention to what they are doing. Other times, however, the person may be speeding, texting or drunk. These people did not mean to hit you either, but they did. They can’t take it back, and if you’re injured, you can’t undo that either. You can, however, attempt to receive compensation for what you had to go through or what you will have to go through as a result of the accident. Most claims that are made are settled prior to filing suit. Once a lawsuit is filed, most cases settle prior to having a trial. Despite these facts, you need an attorney who is prepared to go the distance to protect you.
Q. What’s this going to cost?
A. You will not have to pay me anything for a fee unless I obtain a settlement or win in court. It’s called a contingency fee, which means that you will pay me a percentage of what I am able to obtain for you.
Do You Still Have Questions?
I hope I was able to answer a few of your questions. If you need further help, I encourage you to send me an email or give me a call at 410-443-0403 to discuss your individual situation so I can assist you.