Most drivers do not like to think about the possibility of getting into a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately, you will very likely have a car accident at least once in your lifetime. Knowing what to do before such a distressing event will help you protect all of your financial and legal rights.
Even if you are sorry about a wreck, do not make such statements at the accident scene. Apologizing can be viewed as an admission of guilt. Let the police investigate what happened and truthfully tell your side of the story. If the police determine you are not at fault, then you have a number of legal and financial rights especially if you were injured.
The other party’s insurance company will probably frequently call you hoping to quickly settle the situation. Even your insurance company will try to low-ball the value of your damaged car, dismiss your lost work time as unimportant and focus on paying as little of your medical bills as possible. Neither insurance company will take into account pain and suffering or the potential cost of future medical bills.
Any settlement offer you get without the help of a qualified car accident attorney is probably way too low. Insurance companies know you are distressed and probably in acute physical pain. They also know a lot about the law and unless you are a personal injury attorney you will not have that depth of knowledge. This is a good time to get in touch with a local motor vehicle accident lawyer for a complimentary consultation.
A legitimate personal injury lawyer will see you or discuss your potential case on the phone without requiring any money or commitments. In fact, a reputable lawyer will not demand any money at all until he gets a settlement. Usually, your representation contract will award the attorney anywhere from 33 to 40 percent of the settlement. While this sounds like a lot of money, remember that you will probably get a far better financial deal from an insurance company with an attorney than without legal representation. Also, your attorney is spending countless hours on your behalf to make sure these insurance companies do not further infringe upon your rights.
Unless the other driver was charged with a crime in reference to your car accident, you will unlikely ever have to go to court. A personal injury lawyer sues the other person’s insurance company in most cases and both sides want to settle the case out of court. Litigation is expensive, stressful and time-consuming so unless you want six or seven figures for a minor fender bender you will probably get a settlement check without talking to a judge or testifying in front of a jury.
If the person who caused the wreck was drunk, on drugs, driving at a rather excessive speed or has a lot of assets, your lawyer will also sue him. If a judge agrees that he was at fault, then the driver has a civil judgment entered against him. Such judgments cannot be included in personal bankruptcy, so the other driver will probably have to eventually make restitution to you.