All posts by Linda Flores

What To Do After A Car Accident

When you get into a car accident, there are certain steps you may want to take in order to help make sure everyone is safe, to follow the law and to get the insurance claim process started.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the following steps may help guide you through important decisions you need to make if you’ve been in a car accident, whether you were at fault for the accident or not.

Exchanging information after a car accident.

1. CHECK YOURSELF FOR INJURIES

If you’re injured, call 911 or ask someone else to do so. If you’re seriously injured, try not to move, and wait for emergency personnel.

2. CHECK ON THE WELL-BEING OF YOUR PASSENGERS

If you’re not too hurt to move, check on the other passengers in your car. If anyone’s injured, get on the phone with emergency services or ask a bystander to call for help.

3. GET TO SAFETY

If you’re able to, move to the side of the road or a sidewalk. If your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard where it is, pull it to the side of the road. Otherwise, leave it where it is and get yourself to safety.

4. CALL 911

Whether an accident is considered a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important — and in some states, it’s legally required. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. If the police can’t come to the scene of the accident, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself, according to the III. When you file a claim with your insurer, they may ask for a copy of the police report to help with the claims process.

Click on button to view infographic.

5. WAIT FOR HELP

Turn off your engine, turn on your hazard lights and use the road flares in your emergency car kit to warn other vehicles to slow down.

6. EXCHANGE INFORMATION

After making sure you and any passengers are uninjured, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. According to the III, here’s the most important information drivers should exchange after an accident:

  • Full name and contact information
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s license and license plate number
  • Type, color and model of vehicle
  • Location of accident

The III recommends that you avoid discussing fault when going over the facts with the other driver. When you file an insurance claim, the adjuster reviewing your claim will determine who’s at fault based on an inspection of the vehicles/property damaged, information provided by you and the other parties involved in the accident, and any supporting documentation, like the police report or photographs from the scene.

7. DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT

In order to help protect yourself, the III recommends taking the following steps:

  • Identify the officers.
    Once the police arrive, get the name and badge number of all responding officers.
  • Get a copy.
    Ask the police officers present where you can obtain a copy of the accident report. Your insurer may ask for a copy of the report when you file a car insurance claim.
  • Take pictures.
    Document the accident thoroughly by taking pictures of your vehicle from different angles, showing the damage done to both cars. It might also be a good idea to take pictures of the other car’s license plate. You may be able to share photos with your insurer during the claims process to help support your claim.
  • Take down names.
    Write down the names and addresses of all parties involved, including any passengers in the other vehicle.
  • Talk to witnesses.
    If there were any witnesses to the accident, take down their names and their contact information, as well.

To help keep all of this documentation in order, you can keep this accident information page in your vehicle.

8. NOTIFY YOUR INSURER AND START THE CLAIMS PROCESS

You may want to call your insurance agent while you’re at the scene. That way, they can tell you exactly what they will need to in order to process your claim and what to expect during the claims process.

Mi auto fue dañado en un choque y fuga. ¿Estoy cubierto? - Allstate

An accident can leave even the most seasoned driver frazzled, but following these steps may help protect you from unnecessary worries. That way, you can focus on working with your insurance company to get your vehicle repaired as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Contact us for more information.

Fault and Liability for Car Accidents

Several different factors, not all of them obvious, determine who is liable for damages or injuries resulting from an automobile accident. For instance, a motorist is seriously injured when another motorist cuts in front of her after turning onto the street. However, she may be found liable if she was speeding or made an illegal lane change prior to the collision. The decision of who pays for damages or injuries in car accidents rests primarily on motor vehicle statutes, rather than the traditional, common law definition of “fault.”

This article explains the meaning of fault in car accidents with respect to common law and motor vehicle codes, since it differs from other types of claims.

Statutory Guidance for Car Accident Liability

The automobile insurance industry lobbied state legislatures to base car accident liability more on motor vehicle statutes than on common law notions of fault. This has made it easier for insurers to challenge fault and liability when the other party in an accident has violated a traffic law, especially since liability insurance is required in all states.

For example, a motorist lacking liability insurance may not be able to collect for damages even if the other motorist was at least partially negligent for a traffic accident.

Car Accident Liability and Common Law

How Do You Know Who Is Liable in A Car Accident? - J&Y Law Firm

In its purest form, “fault” for causing an accident is either created by law or defined by common law. Common law recognizes four basic levels of fault:

  1. Negligence
  2. Recklessness or wanton conduct
  3. Intentional misconduct
  4. Strict liability (regardless of fault)

Negligence generally means careless or inadvertent conduct that results in harm or damage, which is quite common in automobile accidents. One can be negligent by failing to do something, such as not yielding the right-of-way to avoid an accident, as well as by actively doing something (such as running a red light).

Reckless or wanton conduct refers to a willful disregard for the safety and welfare of others. Strict liability may be imposed, even in the absence of fault, for accidents involving certain defective products or extra hazardous activities (such as the transporting of explosive chemicals).

Under common law, individuals who have caused a car accident have committed a “tort,” a private wrong against another (but not rising to the level of an intentional tort or crime). Those who have committed torts are referred to as “tortfeasors” under the law. Many automobile insurance policies use the word “tortfeasor” to refer to people who are at least partly at fault for an accident.

There’s rarely a question of fault when a motorist has engaged in intentional or reckless misconduct, such as drunk driving. But when it comes to general negligence, as in fender-benders or other routine accidents, establishing fault becomes more complex. More than one motorist may be found at least partially responsible. When this is the case (and there are multiple tortfeasors involved), state law dictates who must pay for damage to property and injuries to the involved parties.

Motor Vehicle Statutory Violations

Motor vehicle statutory violations Archives - iPleaders

Every state has passed multiple laws regulating the manner in which drivers must operate their vehicles upon public roads. Many of these statutes are actually codified versions of the common law, while others are the result of legislative initiative.

The important point to remember is that a violation of any of these statutes generally creates a presumption of negligence as a matter of law. For instance, most states require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Failure to do so is an act of negligence, which may affect liability in an accident.

Thus, fault in an accident may be established merely by citing a statute that has been violated. A motorist presumed to have caused an accident by virtue of a statutory violation bears the burden of proving that this act of negligence was not a proximate cause of the injuries.

For example, the motorcyclist who fails to wear a helmet suffers a serious brain injury after a motorist driving a car accidentally sideswipes him. The motorist may have been negligent, but so was the motorcyclist who didn’t wear a helmet.

The simplest way to apply the concept of proximate cause to an automobile accident is to ask whether it would be true that, “but for” the violation, the accident would not have occurred. With respect to the motorcyclist example, the helmet would not have prevented the accident but most likely would have limited the motorcyclist’s injuries. Therefore, the motorist may not be held liable for the motorcyclist’s brain injury.

Get Legal Help with Your Car Accident Fault and Liability Questions

If you think that someone was at fault in an accident you were involved in, you should have the facts of your claim reviewed by an attorney as soon as possible. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer today to learn if you may be able to collect damages to cover your losses.

How an Attorney Can Help With Your Car Accident Claim

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you might be wondering exactly how an attorney can help you. In this article we’ll cover what a car accident lawyer brings to the table, including:Related Products

  • organization and analysis of key evidence and records
  • a network of investigators and experts who can help strengthen your case, and
  • negotiation taking that will get the best outcome for your car accident claim.

What Will My Car Accident Lawyer Do?

While much depends on the specifics and the complexity of your car accident case, in general a lawyer can:

  • communicate with the other driver’s insurer
  • obtain the necessary evidence with respect to fault for the accident
  • organize your medical records and bills
  • communicate with your health care providers to obtain missing records
  • work with your doctors to make sure they provide the medical information you need so that you can prove damages in your claim
  • organize and present the evidence in order to prove liability and damages
  • negotiate with lien holders on your claim (such as health, disability, or workers’ compensation insurers) to potentially reduce the amount of those liens, and
  • negotiate a satisfactory settlement with the insurance adjuster or defense attorney.

Let’s look at a couple of these things in-depth.

Communicating with the Other Driver’s Insurer

In any personal injury case, your lawyer will open up a line of communication with the insurance adjuster for the other party (or parties) involved. The adjuster has the pocketbook, and so it is critical for a plaintiff’s lawyer to have good communications and a good relationship with the adjuster.

Obtaining Necessary Evidence of Liability

A good lawyer can help obtain all of the evidence that you will need to prove liability in a car accident claim. Although you may have already taken photographs of the accident scene, your lawyer will probably go back to the scene him/herself to see what it looks like. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, actually seeing the scene can be worth a thousand pictures.

The lawyer will make sure to get all of the accident or police reports in the case and will often speak with the investigating police officers and witnesses. A good lawyer will leave no stone unturned when it comes to obtaining evidence of liability. Learn more about proving fault for a car accident.

Obtaining Necessary Evidence of Damages

This is where a good lawyer can be essential to your case, especially when you’ve suffered significant car accident injuries.

It is critical to obtain all documentation related to your injuries, but it isn’t always easy to get your hands on those records and bills from health care providers. Although the records are technically yours, and you have an absolute right to them, sending medical records to patients and lawyers is just not a health care provider’s first priority.

Small doctors’ offices may not have the staffing or the time to respond to medical record requests on a timely basis. Large hospitals may have specific procedures that must be followed in order to respond to medical record requests. If you don’t follow their procedures (which they often don’t publicize very well), they simply won’t respond to your request.

Then, when the health care provider does respond to the request, the records may be incomplete. Any lawyer’s secretary or paralegal will tell you that they often have to request the same records more than once and that they have to follow up endlessly with the provider’s office.

Finally, it may turn out that the doctor did not use the “magic words” as to causation, prognosis, and disability in his or her notes. In order to successfully prosecute any type of personal injury claim, you must be able to prove, through medical evidence,

  • exactly what your injury, disability, or physical limitation is, and
  • that it was caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Doctors often don’t mention causation and extent of the injury or disability in their medical records. If this happens in your case, your lawyer will write the doctor and ask for a special letter in which the doctor gives his/her opinion that the accident caused your injury or disability and that, as a result of the accident, you will be hindered or disabled for a specific period of time.

Negotiating With Lien Holders

If you received benefits from a health, disability, or workers’ compensation insurer, that insurer will have a lien on your claim. A lien means that the lien holder gets paid before you do, out of any settlement or judgment you receive. A good lawyer will work with the lien holder to try to get the lien holder to reduce its lien. This is important work. Every dollar less that the lien holder takes is one more dollar that goes into your pocket. Learn more about health care provider liens on personal injury settlements.

Negotiating With Insurers/Defendants

Negotiation is a very specific skill (some might even call it an art). A personal injury lawyer is always going to be far better at settling a car accident case than a layperson would be. A good lawyer knows how much the case is worth and knows how to work the case and conduct the negotiations in order to arrive at the best outcome for the client.

When Can I Handle a Car Accident Claim Myself?

If you weren’t hurt all that badly, if you’re comfortable gathering necessary evidence and documents, and (most importantly) you’re ready and willing to engage in the settlement negotiation process, you can certainly handle your car accident claim yourself. But there’s really no substitute for a skilled legal professional’s help. Learn more about the advantage of legal representation in our personal injury reader survey results.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and you’re ready to discuss your options, you can use the chat and case evaluation tools on this page, or get tips on finding the right lawyer for you and your case.

Important Information that People Need to Know When Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer

If anyone has been involved in a car accident, he or she can need to hire a car accident lawyer. A skilled lawyer may assist them in obtaining damages arising from an accident in a vehicle or reduce the heavy amount of paperwork, red tape, and trouble often associated with claims for auto accident insurance. It may make the difference between a justly settled dispute and owing or losing substantial monetary damages to know when individuals need competent legal assistance. 

Why people need to employ a lawyer for road accidents

Sadly, car accidents are regular occurrences. Many of the collisions, in the form of a fender bender, result in minor vehicle damage and can usually be managed alone by direct communication with an insurance agent. A skilled lawyer may assist persons to obtain compensation to cover any damages suffered due to the crash, such as medical costs, missed income, and repairs to the vehicle. 

When hiring a car accident lawyer, what to look for

The Best Criteria for Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer - fathom-news

Car accident lawyers handle a variety of concerns resulting from personal injuries, unintentional death, loss of property, and determinations of liability. People should reflect on their expertise, skill level, involvement, venue, and fee structure when searching for a lawyer. The attorney should, for instance, be well versed in state and national transport regulations, know how to negotiate with insurance and health care providers, and know-how to plan and settle a case effectively. It is also important that they review the history, references, and track record of the attorney. Finally, if the car accident lawyer thinks their case has any merit, a successful lawyer would usually take the case on a contingency or no win-no fee basis, so it’s necessary to verify the standard fee arrangement of the lawyer.

When to Hire a Lawyer for car accidents

Is It Necessary to Hire an Attorney After a Motor Vehicle Accident? |  SnapLap

To prevent any expensive errors, it is best to employ a lawyer early. The period for making lawsuits for personal injuries varies from state to state. Because people can have to pay medical bills and cover missed jobs, the sooner they contact a car accident lawyer, the better. In general, within a week or two of the accident, but before making a settlement with the insurance provider, a person can contact an attorney shortly after the accident happens.

Moving forward, individuals should provide as many accurate details and data about the car crash and any accidents or financial damages as possible before speaking with a lawyer. The insurance policy, details shared at the crash scene, and medical reports, among other items, might include documentation they may want to show their lawyer after a motor vehicle accident. On a contingency or no win-no payment basis, most vehicle accident cases are treated. This ensures that they do not receive a fee if the solicitor does not win or settle the case on their behalf. On the other side, they would get a share of the personal injury settlement if the attorney wins the case.

What are The Difference Between Junior and Senior Driver’s Licenses

Automotive, Car, Dashboard, Driver, Speedometer

If you are a young driver in New York, you can gain the experience you need to be safe on the road with a junior license. Learner’s permits, junior licenses, and senior licenses allow drivers who are under the age of 18 to get practical experience on the road.

The main difference between a junior license and a learner’s permit is that the latter requires the supervision of a licensed driver who is over 21 at all times. A junior license only requires such supervision at certain times.

The Rules for a Junior Driver’s License

The following conditions apply to anyone with a junior license NY in upstate New York:

  • You can drive without a supervising driver between 5am and 9pm
  • None of the passengers in the car can be under the age of 21 unless they are members of your immediate family
  • All your passengers must wear their seat belts
  • All children under the age of 4 must ride in a federally-approved child safety seat

Violating any of these rules can lead to fines, points on your license, and insurance price hikes. If you commit a serious infraction or have two other violations, you can have your license suspended for 60 days. If you are a junior license holder who lives in the Long Island area, there are exceptions to these restrictions. You can drive unsupervised in the following instances:

  • If you are going to or coming from work
  • You are in a work-study program approved by the state
  • You are undergoing college, high school or other post-secondary schooling or training

Senior Driver’s License

Once you have completed a state-approved high school or college driver education course, you will be eligible for a senior driver’s license. To obtain a senior license, you will need to take the former and your certificate of completion to any DMV office. With a senior license, you become a teen driver with proven experience. Under the Graduated License Law, you can drive throughout New York state and in any other state in the country.

Challenging Tickets

Receiving a ticket for violating any of the restrictions mentioned above can slow your progression from junior to senior driver. If you believe you were unfairly ticketed, you can challenge it in court. You should hire a NY traffic tickets attorney to do so. Traffic police are not infallible. They can make mistakes and violate their own procedures. You have the right to defend your driving record.