An auto accident can shake up your life and add a great deal of unexpected stress. If you were injured in that accident, it is an even more difficult and confusing time. Karns & Kerrison can help shed some light on the unknowns. Below, our Rhode Island auto accident attorneys answer common questions that injury victims have after a motor vehicle accident.
If you would like to discuss your specific situation, contact our firm online or call (888) 281-3100.
What do I do if I am in an auto accident?
Never leave the scene, make certain that the police have been called, and if you were injured make sure an ambulance was called. Depending on the severity of your injuries and the facts of the case, try to gather as much information as you can, including the location of the accident and the address. If you have a cellphone, take pictures of the vehicles. If you are involved in an accident with a large tractor-trailer, get the company names of the tractor and the trailer. Attempt to gather as much information as you can. Although no one wants to be in an accident, it is very important to carry a pad of paper and a pen in your automobile for this reason.
When the police come to the accident should I talk to them?
Always talk to the police and never admit liability.
What do I do about my injuries?
Make certain that you seek immediate treatment whether it's an ambulance to the hospital, getting yourself to the hospital, going to a medical walk-in or contacting your primary care physician. Tell whoever examines you every pain and injury you have from the accident. In addition to getting immediate care, it is also extremely important to get follow-up care.
What do I do about property damage?
If your vehicle is not drivable, make certain you find out where they tow your vehicle. Make certain you have your automobile appraised. If you have rental on your insurance policy and your automobile is not drivable then get a rental car. If you do not have rental on your automobile policy than wait until liability is established.
Should I contact my insurance company after an auto accident?
Yes, as you are under a duty to cooperate with your insurance company. Not only to protect yourself from your own damages but also if the other motor vehicle occupants are placing a case against you, your insurance company will help protect you.
Should I contact the other driver's insurance company?
No, you should immediately contact a lawyer to represent you as speaking with the other insurance company can do nothing but hurt you.
How soon after the accident should I contact a lawyer?
Immediately. An experienced Rhode Island car accident lawyer can deal with both your insurance company and the other driver's insurance company and help you straighten out property damage, towing, storage, and rental.
What will it cost me to contact a personal injury lawyer?
Karns & Kerrison does not charge unless we are successful and we charge a percentage of what we get you. You will never get a bill as the case proceeds. We do not take a percentage of the property damage money. We charge a percentage of the rest of the settlement that we get you at the end of the case. If we are successful, in addition to the percentage we charge, we also get reimbursed our expenses such as the cost of obtaining the medical records and bills. We do not charge for expenses unless we are successful.
Will I have to file a lawsuit and go to court?
Often cases can be settled without filing a lawsuit or litigation. However, if the case will take three years or longer, it is important to go into a lawsuit as there are statutes of limitations on the length of time you can pursue your case without it being placed into a lawsuit. In addition, if there are other complications, such as who was at fault or your injuries as related to the accident, then you should bring a lawsuit so your lawyer can use litigation to prove fault.
Why is it important to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately?
Evidence must be obtained and protected. This includes getting the police report, getting pictures of the scene and all of the motor vehicles involved, and gathering all the insurance information, including the coverages on your household vehicles and the coverages on the other vehicles involved in the accident. In addition, it is important to gather all the medical evidence, including injuries that you may have had before the accident that were aggravated and what new injuries you sustained directly from the accident.
What insurance do I need on my motor vehicle?
It is important to have sufficient coverage on your vehicle not only to protect yourself from claims by the other motor vehicle occupants but also to make certain that you have sufficient coverage on your household vehicles that can help pay your damages.
The coverages that you should have are as follows:
- Liability: An amount that will protect you and your assets if someone places a claim against you. Although there are state minimum requirements, it is a good idea to purchase insurance beyond the minimum requirement such as $50,000.00 per person/$100,000.00 per accident or $100,000.00 per person/$300,000.00 per accident.
- Property damage: You should purchase enough property damage coverage to protect you if someone places a claim against you for damage to their motor vehicle.
- Collision: If you have a loan on your motor vehicle you should purchase collision coverage in case you are at fault in the accident and the other motor vehicle insurance will not pay then you can collect your own collision on your motor vehicle.
- Uninsured property damage: This is a good thing to purchase if the other motor vehicle that causes the accident is not insured and you can have your vehicle paid for if you buy this type of coverage.
- Uninsured and underinsured bodily injury coverage: This is very important to purchase if you are struck by another motor vehicle without coverage or without sufficient coverage to pay for all of your damages. If there is no other coverage, you can collect your un-insured insurance and if there is other coverage that is not sufficient you can collect your underinsurance. It is a good idea to match the amounts of coverage you buy for this to what you purchase for liability coverage.
- Medical payment: This is important to buy as medical payment helps you pay for your medical bills.
Once you have the basic insurance, buying the above extra coverages and increasing the amounts of the coverages will not increase your bill that much, and it is certainly extremely important to have these coverages or at least price them and see if you can afford them.
What am I entitled to for damages if I am injured in an auto accident that
is not my fault?
The following are some of the damages that you are entitled to:
- Medical bills for treatment for injuries from the accident
- Medical bills for reasonably expected future treatment from the accident
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Payment for permanent injuries
- Payment for mental anguish, anxiety, and depression that is related to the accident
- Loss of an ability to participate in personal, social, and athletic activities
- Recovery to a family member who has been affected by your injuries
- Payment for damage to your automobile, including towing, storage, and rental
It is important to note that if the other motor vehicle insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover all of the above damages, then your automobile insurance policy will cover what is not covered such as using your medical payment, using your un-insured insurance and underinsurance bodily injury coverage, and using your collision coverage. For this reason, it is important to purchase the various coverages as listed above.