What if I am injured in an automobile accident?
What determines who is responsible in an automobile accident?
Figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. And for vehicle accidents, there is a set of official written rules telling people how they are supposed to drive and providing guidelines by which liability may be measured. These rules of the road are the traffic laws everyone must learn to pass the driver's license test. Complete rules are contained in each state's Vehicle Code, and they apply not only to automobiles but also to motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
Should I release my medical records to the driver's insurance adjuster?
No. Medical record releases should only be signed under limited circumstances and after consulting with a qualified personal injury lawyer. If your medical information gets into the insurance adjuster's hands, it could potentially hurt your case.
What happens if the cause of the automobile accident is not clear?
It is sometimes difficult to say that one particular act caused an accident. If you can show that the other driver made several minor driving errors or committed several minor traffic violations, then you can argue that the combination of those actions caused the accident.
If I file a personal injury claim, do I have to go to court?
If another driver's insurance company agrees to pay what your attorney believes your case is worth, and you wish to settle for that amount, then your case will not go to court. Some cases do require a formal trial proceeding, however, in either situation, hiring a law firm with experience in handling personal injury cases is critical.
If I don't feel injured after an automobile accident, should I see a doctor?
Both you and your passengers should consider seeing a doctor after an accident. The doctor may recognize injuries, sometimes serious, that are not apparent to you. The charges for a doctor visit and medical treatment may be covered by your insurance. It is not recommended that you settle claims from an accident until a doctor has seen you and advised you about the extent of your injuries.
What if I believe the accident was partly my fault?
You are probably not in the best position to assess how or why the accident happened. Defective equipment in your vehicle, a malfunctioning traffic signal, or another driver's intoxication are among many possible causes of an accident, which your attorney can investigate and evaluate. Accepting blame and apologizing to another driver may be used as evidence against you at trial. Leave it to a judge or jury to decide who is at fault.
Can I still win my case if my memory of the accident now conflicts with things I might have said at the time of the accident?
It's very common for people to say things at the time of an incident that they later realize were inaccurate. Sometimes, a witness may misstate what you said about how the incident took place. You might have a hard time explaining how it is that you now remember things differently than you did at the time of the incident, but if you consult with an attorney, he or she will have experience handling such a situation, and can help find support for your side of the story.