FAQ

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AUTO ACCIDENTS

What do I do if I am involved in an auto accident?

Stop your vehicle, no matter how minor the accident. If you are injured, do not try to get out of the vehicle unless it is safe. Call the police and wait for them to arrive. Do not move the vehicles until the police view the scene unless it is necessary to do so. In some accident situations, if there are no serious injuries and only minor vehicle damage, the police may not come to the scene. In that case, ask the other driver for their license information, address, telephone number, insurance company, and policy number. If at all possible, take pictures of the accident scene. Never tell anyone at the scene that the accident was your fault. Anything you say can be used against you later.

What if I am injured in the accident?

In most cases, you will be under the stress of the accident, or in a state of shock, and won’t realize the extent of your injuries. If your injuries are apparent and serious, don’t hesitate to be taken to a hospital by ambulance. If you are injured, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. When you see your doctor, tell him or her about all your injuries, no matter how minor. If possible, photograph any injuries to your body.

Do I contact my insurance company before I call a lawyer?

You should contact your attorney first. Then, you should notify your own insurance company about the accident. Your policy will require you to cooperate with your insurance company. Do not give your insurance company a statement without first consulting your attorney.

Who is responsible for paying my medical bills?

You should consult with your attorney to determine who is responsible for payment of your medical bills. If you use your insurance, you may need to pay them back when you recover from your injuries.

Do I give my own insurance company a statement?

In most cases, yes. You have a written “contract” with your insurance company in the form of your “policy,” which generally requires that you fully cooperate with your insurance company. A few instances may arise when you should speak to an attorney, if possible, before giving your insurance company a statement. This may arise in cases where the other driver has no insurance.

How long do I have to file suit for my injuries and damage?

The “statute of limitations” for bringing suit will vary depending upon the circumstances. Unless you bring a lawsuit in the proper time, you are barred from doing so. It is critical to contact an attorney for proper advice. In some cases, it may be one year, but in other cases it may be much shorter. If a “public entity” is liable, you may need to file a “tort claim” with the public entity within a few months, or you are barred from suing the public entity. Many people are confused about what a public entity is. A public entity may include the obvious, like a state, county or city government and schools, but it may also include a utility or private companies in contract with the government.