Q. I can’t afford to pay a lawyer by the hour.
How much will it cost for me to hire one?
a.All of our injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means we don’t ask for money until the case settles. Once the case settles, we take a percentage of the gross recovery. If we do not recover money for you, you owe us nothing.
Q.Can I still make a personal injury claim if I am partly at fault for the accident?
a.Yes. Even if you are partly at fault for the accident, in most cases, you can still make a claim. Your fault may reduce the value of your claim, but it does not bar you from pursuing the claim.
Q. What if the insurance company offers me a settlement before I hire an attorney.
a.Before accepting a settlement, it is always in your best interest to consult an attorney. An attorney’s expertise is vital for accident victims when an insurance adjuster is trying to settle the case. Adjusters work for the insurance company – not for you – and their job is to settle the matter for the lowest possible expense to the company. Since a consultation is free, it won’t hurt to ask us if we can help.
Q. If I am in a motor vehicle accident, do I have to stop?
a.Yes! No matter whether you have hit a pedestrian, a moving car, a parked car or someone’s property, always stop if you hit something with your car. If you do not, no matter how minor the damage seems to you, you may be guilty of “hit and run” – even if the accident was not your fault.
Q. Should I take pictures of the accident scene?
a.It’s a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your vehicle, because a picture is worth a thousand words. After an accident, a set of pictures of both vehicles can protect you from a claim by the other party that the damage to their car was more extensive than you reported. Also, the pictures can help you with your own insurance company in documenting the damage to your vehicle. Take shots from multiple angles and locations, as if on the points of a compass, to construct an accurate diagram of the collision.
Q.What should I do after an accident?
a.The first thing to do at the crash site is to determine the extent of driver and passenger injuries. If the accident is a fender bender, emergency medical care might not be necessary. In minor accidents, resist the temptation to settle up with the other driver on the spot. You may have suffered injuries which do not develop systems until days or even weeks after the accident.
» If you are involved in an accident involving any injury at all, no matter how minor, call for medical assistance and the police as soon as possible. Doing so will provide proof of the accident and will allow for an immediate investigation of the scene of the accident. The police will advise you whether it’s required to move the crashed vehicles from moving traffic, and an investigating officer will take statements of the drivers and passengers involved.
After everyone is out of danger and any medical and police help have been summoned, obtain the following:
- Drivers’ names of all vehicles involved
- Drivers’ license numbers, addresses and phone numbers
- Drivers’ insurance companies and policy numbers
- License plate number, color, make, year and model of all cars involved
- Registered owners’ names and addresses of all vehicles involved
- Full name, address and phone number of occupants in any of the vehicles
- Full name, address and phone numbers of any pedestrians or other parties involved
- Full name, address and phone number of any witnesses to the accident
- Police officer’s name, department and badge number
- Actual location of the accident
You should be aware of and record notes about the following:
- If any of the drivers appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, notify the police or other emergency personnel immediately.
- Was medical assistance rendered at the scene of the accident?
- What kind of personal injuries were reported shortly after the accident?
- Did anyone say, “I’m not hurt.”?
- What time of day did the accident occur?
- What were the weather conditions at the time of the accident?
- Was anything wrong with the vehicles before the accident, such as a broken headlight or brake light?
- Did any damage result to the vehicles because of the accident? What parts of the vehicle were damaged?
- Did any of the vehicles need to be towed from the scene of the accident?
- How did the accident occur?
- Did anyone accept responsibility for the accident, or make any of the following comments?
- I am sorry, It was my fault
- I was speeding
- I was on my cell phone
- I wasn’t paying attention
- I was not wearing my glasses
- Something distracted me
- I’m tired
- I was running late for work
- I’m in a hurry
- My coffee had just spilled
- I should have seen you
- I’ve been taking these pills
- My eyesight isn’t what it used to be after dark
- Were any of the drivers involved driving while working or driving a company owned vehicle?