Car Accident Lawyer
Every 12 seconds, someone dies in an automobile accident. Every 14 seconds, an auto accidents results in an injury. On average, there are more than 6 million car accidents annually in the United States. 3 million people are injured in car accidents each year, and 2 million of those people suffer from permanent injuries. Additionally, there are around 40,000 deaths each year due to car accidents.
Our firm is dedicated to fighting insurance companies for compensation for injuries caused by car accidents and motorcycle crashes. If you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car or motorcycle accident, contact us.
Auto Accident FAQ
In the absence of extraordinary circumstances it is not advisable to do an investigation of the facts of an automobile accident on your own. First, an experienced investigator knows the important steps to take and the best way to gather the needed information or proof. Second, your activities as an “investigator” will be characterized later by an insurance company adjustor or attorney as proof that you were determined to make a claim no matter how serious the injury turned out to be. Third, a professional investigator can testify effectively to interviews and other results of his efforts as a witness independent from you. Fourth, your energies immediately after an accident that results in an injury should properly be directed to other matters, such as seeking medical treatment.
A claim made against another driver or vehicle owner is called a tort claim. It is usually based upon the concept of carelessness or negligence, although it can also be based upon an intentional or reckless act. There are three categories of issues that typically arise in a tort claim after an automobile accident:
- Insurance Coverage
Liability refers to the question of who is at fault and to what degree. These are very important questions. Did the other driver exceed the speed limit? Did you fail to stop at a stop sign? Were the brakes on the truck properly maintained? These are the kinds of questions that must be answered by solid proof. The insurance company defending your claim obviously wants to minimize or eliminate the fault of its driver and maximize your fault.
Damages refers to the injuries or losses that were caused by the accident. You are only entitled to compensation for those injuries and losses. This is where the detailed records and, if necessary, the testimony of your treating doctors becomes important. It is also the responsibility of your attorney to document the ways in which you and your family have been impacted, in the past and in the future, by your injuries. Insurance coverage is frequently not as simple as might be expected. Often there are disputes over which of several coverages is first in line. There are also efforts by the insurance company to deny or defeat coverage. And, where uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM) is involved, there are multiple issues that must be resolved to assure maximum financial recovery. The entire area of insurance coverage is virtually a minefield that is best not entered without a competent attorney.
You should talk to a car accident lawyer and a law firm that has the experience, dedication and ability to maximize your compensation and minimize the frustration, delay and confusion that you will experience in making a claim for an injury.
There are many ways to select a doctor, but the primary goal in the selection process remains the same–to be treated by a competent physician who is genuinely interested in maximizing your physical and emotional recovery and is prepared to provide the necessary assistance to you in making any claims that prove necessary. The latter point is extremely important because some excellent treating doctors are not prepared to provide detailed reports or to give testimony about their treatment. A good starting point for medical care is your primary care physician or family doctor. He or she is usually very familiar with your state of health prior to the accident and can more easily recognize the nature and extent of the injuries caused by the auto accident. Often, your family doctor will make a referral to a specialist, such as an orthopedist (bone and joint) or neurologist (nerve). In making the referral your family doctor is usually knowledgeable about the qualifications of the available specialists and their willingness to provide care to accident victims. Another possibility is to consider the recommendation of an emergency room physician who has evaluated you immediately after your accident. Friends, relatives and neighbors are also good sources for good treating doctors. They may know firsthand an excellent physician who has helped them in the past. An experienced personal injury attorney has interacted with many of the doctors in your community over the years. He or she should be able to literally provide a list of conscientious physicians in various medical specialties for your consideration. After you retain an attorney it is wise to inform the attorney of any planned change in doctors because the attorney may be able to provide useful information about a doctor’s competency to treat a particular condition.
There are some steps that you should take as soon as possible after an automobile accident in order to protect your rights. These steps are particularly important if you or a passenger in your car has been injured.
- Obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses. Report the accident immediately to the police and your insurance company. Cooperate with the police in preparing an auto accident report. Photograph the exterior and interior of the autos involved in the accident. See a physician if you are having any pain without delay. Get legal advice before filling out insurance documents or giving recorded statements to any insurance company or meeting with any insurance company representative. Photograph your injuries. Gather all automobile insurance policies in your household for evaluation by an attorney. Get legal advice before signing any check or document from any insurance company.
- Call Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes for a free consultation if you do not have an experienced car accident attorney.