Most of us think we know what to do if we get into a car accident. However, when the car accident actually happens, you may be unclear exactly what to do. In some accidents, you may be injured, and not able to think clearly. In other accidents, you may be doing exactly what you are supposed to when something goes wrong, and you are unsure where to turn for help.
Do I have to stop if no one was injured?
Even if no one was injured, you are required to stop at the scene if you were involved in the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident can lead to an arrest and criminal conviction. Even if it looks like there was no damage, you cannot just leave the scene without leaving your contact information for the property or vehicle owner.
Do I need to give my insurance information?
After an accident, you should provide your driver's license information, and insurance information. You should also make sure you get this information from the other driver. The other driver may plead with you to not call the police, or not to deal with the insurance company. They may even offer to give you cash for your repairs. However, make sure you understand what is at stake if you don't report the accident.
The other driver may be uninsured, driving on a suspended license, or driving under the influence. The driver may be risking a driving violation or criminal charge. However, you need to make sure you are protected in the event of an accident. Failing to report an accident could leave you with expensive medical bills if you later find out that you were injured in the accident. In some cases, the other driver will later file a claim, blaming the whole accident on you.
Do I have to call the police?
If the accident was minor and no one was injured, you may not have to call the police. However, if anyone was injured, if the car needs to be towed, if a driver refuses to give their information, if they are drunk, or leave the scene of an accident, you have to report the accident. If you are unsure whether to call the police, you may want to err on the side of caution, and make the call. An accident investigation may later help your insurance and legal claims.
When should you get medical attention?
If you suffer any significant injury, make sure you get immediate medical attention. Automobile accidents can cause internal damage that you may not be able to see. Other injuries like neck and back injuries can take a couple of days before you become aware of the damage. The earlier you seek medical attention, the greater chance you may have that the medical staff identifies your injuries. This can prevent a minor injury from getting worse if it goes undiagnosed.
Do I have enough insurance?
Unfortunately, the question of whether you have enough insurance may be too late to address after an accident. Drivers in Maryland are required to carry a minimum level of liability insurance. For minor accidents, the minimum coverage will usually cover any personal injury or property damage. However, for serious injuries, the at-fault driver's insurance may not be enough to cover the injuries, leaving them personally liable for damages.
What if the other driver is uninsured?
If the other driver is uninsured, and you have uninsured motorist coverage with your insurance company, then your insurance company may cover the costs of your medical bills and property damage. However, if you don't have uninsured motorist coverage, you may have to file a lawsuit to get the uninsured driver to pay for your injuries. Talk to your attorney about how to file a claim so you are compensated after an accident with an uninsured driver.
Do I have to report the accident to the insurance company?
Most insurance policies require the insured to report a car accident. You may be required to report the accident immediately. The insurance company will then generally initiate their own investigation into the accident.
Do I have to talk to the other insurance company?
You don't have to talk to the other insurance company, and in most cases, it is better if you avoid dealing directly with the other insurance company. They may try and trick you into saying something that they use to deny your claim, or reduce your settlement offer. The easiest thing to do is tell them to talk to your lawyer. Your attorney can deal with the insurance company so you don't have to.
Should I accept the insurance company's settlement offer?
Before you decide to accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, you should ask your attorney to review the offer. Even if the offer seems fair at the time, it may not appropriately reflect the extent of your injuries, and the long-term effects it may have on your health and well-being.
What happens if my insurance company doesn't believe my claim?
If your insurance company doesn't believe your claim, you may not want to waste time trying to convince them, but you should not just accept what they tell you. Talk to your attorney about making sure you are compensated for your injuries, even if the insurance company doesn't believe you.
Can I afford an attorney?
Many people don't hire an attorney because they don't think they can afford one. However, an experienced accident attorney may cost you nothing up front, and they won't take any payment until they win your case. Additionally, many attorneys offer a free initial consultation, so you should feel confident in talking to an attorney without having to worry about paying anything out-of-pocket.
For Any Other Questions
If you are unsure if you should file a lawsuit, or want to know if you can be compensated for your injuries, the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian may be able to help. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with automobile accident cases throughout Maryland. We will fight for your rights to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.