How soon do I need to notify MY insurance company about the accident?
You will need to notify your insurance agent as soon as possible. They may need to process a portion or all of your claim. Please advise them you have hired Carabin & Shaw PC, Injury Lawyers as your legal counsel. Do not give any type of recorded statement to your agent or carrier without our firm being present.
Should I speak with the other person’s insurance company if they contact me?
Do NOT discuss your case with anyone until you have met with a representative of Carabin & Shaw PC, Injury Lawyers, If you are contacted for information about the accident, tell the insurance company that you have a lawyer and have them contact us. This is vital to your case. The defendant’s insurance company may try to blame the accident on you.
What are some things I should NOT do?
You should NEVER admit fault for the accident to anyone, including the other driver, passengers, relatives, and/or police officers. You may have signed a citation from the investigating officer. This action was not, however, an admission of guilt. Do NOT disclose the amount of insurance coverage you carry. This fact could make you a target for lawsuits from other drivers.
Who is responsible for my medical treatment and expenses?
The at-fault party of the accident and/or their insurance company is ultimately responsible for paying your bills. In the event the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may help in paying medical expenses and other damages if you contracted this coverage. Expenses may also be paid from PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage if you have paid for this coverage or if the driver in the auto in which you were a passenger had this coverage.
What happens if the other party is not insured?
If you have insured your vehicle, you may also have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You will need to get Carabin & Shaw PC, Injury Lawyers a copy of your insurance policy as soon as possible so we can determine the amount of coverage available and seek compensation from your insurance company. Getting us all of your available insurance paperwork in a timely manner will help to protect your rights.
What do I do if I am unable to work due to the accident?
You may be entitled to submit a claim for lost wages from injury due to your accident. If you receive a “unable to work” order from your Doctor you may, according to the facts in the case, be entitled to recoup lost wages. Do NOT take time off from work without a written order from your doctor. You may hurt your case. Use the lost earnings worksheet to help you identify your lost wages. It is important to keep track of your lost wages, since your employer will probably not do this for you.
Do I really need a Lawyer?
According to the laws, you have the right to legal counsel to protect your rights when someone’s negligence has caused damage to you and/or your property. Hiring an injury lawyer sends the insurance company the message that you are serious about your claim. You will also have the security of having your personal rights protected. The at-fault insurance company may try to tell you that you do not need a lawyer. The person giving you that advice is probably not a lawyer and may even be breaking the law by attempting to practice law without a license. We have seen many instances where an adjuster for the at-fault insurance company convinces a claimant that they do not need a lawyer, only to be stuck much later, with an unresolved claim. Most times, it is too late for us to help that claimant. We are of the most help when you come to see us immediately after the accident.
Will I need you to file a lawsuit?
The majority of cases settle before there is a need for a lawsuit. In certain circumstances, a lawsuit becomes necessary like when the at-fault insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith. If we can not settle your case satisfactorily we will advise you on taking your case to Court.
How much money can I expect for the property damage to my car?
You should be offered either the amount that it will take to restore your car to its condition prior to the accident, or the fair market value of your car if the car is considered totaled. There are different methods used by insurance companies to determine these values (see Section Ten). Carabin & Shaw PC, Injury Lawyers is prepared to assist you in making sure these values fall within the scope of fairness provided by the law.
How long will it take to settle my case?
All claims are handled individually and on a case-by-case basis. No two cases are exactly alike. In general, the finalization of your claim is determined by your length of treatment and time of rehabilitation. We will proceed promptly with your claim as soon as your doctor(s) have released you from treatment. Once you are released by your doctor, usually your case can be resolved in 60 days if litigation is not necessary.
How much money can I expect to receive from my case?
No lawyer can accurately estimate the value of your case until all facts have been discovered and reviewed. Unknown factors can sometimes come up or problems arise that may change the financial value of your case. No matter what the circumstances may be, Carabin & Shaw PC, Injury Lawyers will consult with your treating doctors and other pertinent experts to give you an estimate that we feel is legally fair and reasonable. We will then work hard to get you what we feel is fair and reasonable in the quickest way possible. (See “How Much Can I Expect?”) If you would like to sit down with Mr. Shaw, he may be able to give you case value ranges.