Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Car Accidents
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injury in Alabama and Georgia. When people are injured in an auto accident due to someone else’s carelessness, an experienced auto accident lawyer can guide them through the confusing process of recovering compensation for their injuries.
Read these frequently asked questions on car accidents for more information on what to do if you or a loved one is injured in a car accident.
What if the person who caused the wreck doesn’t have insurance?
If you have car insurance, you probably have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. That means that your insurance should pay compensate you for your damages even if it wasn’t your fault. The amount of coverage depends on how much you requested when you purchased your policy. You may be able to “stack” coverage, which simply means that your coverage may be more than the policy says depending on how many vehicles you have on that policy.
What if the insurance company for the person who caused the accident wants to talk to me?
The insurance companies generally want to lessen the amount that they have to pay on every claim. You should realize that the insurance adjuster is hoping to gather information from you or get you to say things that will reduce their liability either by creating questions about fault or about the extent of your damages. You should speak to an experienced car accident attorney before speaking with an investigator or adjuster, even for your own company.
Should I make a claim on my insurance even though I am not at fault?
You may have purchased coverage that will pay for damages that you sustain even if you are not at fault. You can make a claim with your insurance company, but then they have the right to pursue the person at fault (and their insurance company) to the extent that they make payments on your behalf. You can look at your insurance cards to see if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to determine whether your insurance may pay for your personal injuries if the at fault party doesn’t have insurance. You should speak to an experienced car wreck lawyer before making that claim to ensure that doing so is in your best interest.
What if I’m not sure who is at fault?
The liability or fault for a car accident is not always clear and whatever the investigating law enforcement report says does not always determine fault. Experienced car accident attorneys regularly work with independent investigators and experts to determine liability and fault with accidents. Don’t assume who is responsible. And don’t acknowledge your liability without speaking first with an experienced car accident attorney.
Do I need to get a copy of the police report?
The accident report prepared by any investigating or responding law enforcement agency is public record. You have a right to obtain a copy (though you may have to pay a small fee). Your attorney can also get a copy as part of his or her investigation of the accident. You may be approached by individuals purporting to be investigators or off-duty or retired law enforcement personnel who tell you that they have some inside means of getting you the report. Be careful about talking to anyone about your accident other than those assigned or authorized by your attorney.
Should I sign my title over to the insurance company?
If the damage done to your vehicle exceed what the car is worth, the insurance company may consider it “totaled”. If they pay you for what is left of your car – its salvage value – then the company is entitled to the title. However, if a death or serious injuries have occurred, the vehicle could be evidence and may contain information which is important in establishing liability and responsibility for the death or injuries. In that case, you do not want to accept those funds and do not want to relinquish control of your vehicle. You should speak with an experienced car accident attorney before agreeing to accept any monies toward settlement of your claims and before signing over title to the vehicles involved.
Should I go ahead and get my car repaired or get paid for it before my claim is concluded?
Many times, an insurance company is willing to pay the property damage claim before the personal injuries portion of a claim can be determined. But sometimes, an insurance company may hold off on paying for the property damage in order to put pressure on you to settle the personal injury claims as well. You should speak with an experienced car accident attorney before agreeing to settle any claim and certainly before signing any paperwork related to any claim.
Will my health insurance pay my medical bills?
Your health insurance company may pay your medical bills even if the accident was not your fault. But they may be entitled to reimbursement out of the proceeds of any settlement. Your attorney can deal with your health insurance company and their claim for reimbursement. You may also have medical payments coverage through your automobile insurance. If so, that might cover some medical bills that are not covered by your health insurance, like deductibles.
What damages am I entitled to as a result of my car accident?
Whomever can be shown as responsible or liable for the car accident can be held responsible for the damages caused as a result. Such damages include compensatory damages such as any out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, medical expenses, hospital bills, ambulance bills, emergency room bills, doctors’ bills, medications, prescriptions, physical therapy, chiropractors, x-rays, deductibles, and physical pain and suffering or mental anguish, and may also include punitive damages. An experienced car wreck lawyer can help ensure that you receive compensation for all of the damages to which you are entitled.
Can I be compensated for my lost time at work?
If you are in a car accident which result in you missing time from work, you may be entitled to recover your lost wages. An experienced car wreck lawyer can help ensure that you receive all the damages to which you are entitled, which may include lost wages.