Motor Vehicle Accidents Law

Car Accidents FAQ

Car accidents injure more than 2 million people every year in the United States, and the aftermath of an accident is often more challenging and costly than you would expect. After the initial impact, a car crash can significantly disrupt your normal daily activities.

There are a few important personal and legal car accident questions you must address first. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions regarding car accidents.

Do I Need to See a Doctor After an Accident?

A car accident is a traumatic event for most people. Even if you think it's a minor accident and you don't have any immediate symptoms, a great deal of force occurs from even low-speed collisions, and you may experience pain and injury later.

Your body releases endorphins and adrenaline during the impact, which can increase your energy level while decreasing the level of pain you feel. However, feeling fine immediately after the accident does not mean that nothing is wrong. Once the chemical rush subsides, you may begin feeling the pain.

Because of this, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident. Even with a small level of discomfort, your doctor can assess whether you sustained serious injuries. Your doctor can also monitor symptoms that may arise from potential injuries.

Additionally, if you later decide to file a personal injury claim, it could be crucial to your case to demonstrate that you sought medical treatment within a reasonable amount of time after the accident. Waiting too long to see the doctor may give the insurance adjuster or the party at fault a reason to argue that your injuries were not that serious or that they were incurred during some other event.

What Happens if the Accident Was Partly My Fault?

Even if a car accident was partially your fault, you could still be entitled to receive compensation in many states. However, you should not discuss your actions leading up to the accident with anyone before speaking with an experienced car accident attorney. A personal injury lawyer can also help answer any car accident questions you may have.

Should I File a Lawsuit or Let the Insurance Company Handle It?

Most car accident injury claims are settled out of court. In such cases, both sides may agree on a settlement before either ever files a lawsuit. However, there are several factors to consider before accepting a settlement offer.

You may not recover all the money you need for medical bills by going through the standard insurance process. Getting into an accident with a driver who either does not have insurance or has insufficient coverage could leave you in a financial bind.

Working with your insurance company might not always provide the best result. Insurers should have the best interests of policyholders in mind, but many are still looking at the bottom line and trying to find ways to reduce payouts. Therefore, they may settle quickly to avoid paying additional expenses.

Should I Release My Medical Records to the Insurance Adjuster?

As your claim progresses, you might begin to negotiate with the insurance company by issuing what's known as a demand letter that requests adequate compensation for your injuries and medical expenses. In response, the insurance adjuster may want all documentation of your injuries, including any medical treatment. In some situations, an insurance company or lawyer might ask you to submit to an independent medical examination.

Typically, your demand letter would have included copies of the medical records connected to the injuries you sustained in the accident. Unfortunately, this type of request may be an attempt to acquire records about your medical history. In such cases, the adjuster may seek to find something that they can use to discredit your claim. Any request for information not related to your personal injury case is most likely unreasonable, and you should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney before you comply.

Should I Go to Court?

There are circumstances under which pursuing the matter in court is advisable. Perhaps the insurance company has not responded to your demand letter. And even if there is a response, maybe the offer is unreasonable for the harm you have sustained.

If you are having doubts about accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be your best or only option for an appropriate level of compensation.

Do I Need an Attorney?

Most people resolve their car accident claims, even those involving personal injury, without litigation. However, even when things are generally handled with negotiation, an experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you about appropriate settlement amounts and terms.  And if your injuries are serious or you haven't been fully compensated for your medical expenses, you will want to consult with a car accident lawyer.

Especially if you've already decided that a personal injury lawsuit is best for you, you won't want to do it alone. An experienced injury attorney will be familiar with your state's personal injury laws, able to accurately assess your car accident claim, and can guide your through the complicated litigation process.