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The Top 5 Questions About Auto Accidents

BEFORE You Talk to the Insurance Company, a Lawyer, or Sign Any Documents, You Should Read This!

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1: Can I settle a car accident case myself?

A: The answer could be yes, but it depends on the type of car accident. See which accident type your accident fits into:

NO INJURIES, JUST PROPERTY DAMAGE: You probably don’t need an attorney because your case is “property damage only.” That means the only thing you’ll be discussing with the insurance company is getting your car fixed or getting a check to replace your car. Getting an attorney to deal with the insurance company for just your car would probably not be worth it for you in the end.

INJURED, NOT AT-FAULT, AND YOU WERE THE DRIVER OF THE VEHICLE: If you were hurt, and the accident WAS NOT your fault, you probably have a valid personal injury claim and will want to talk to an attorney about your auto accident. We recommend you doing so because insurance companies will try very hard to settle your claim quickly and most likely leave you unfairly compensated for your medical bills, time out of work, and pain and suffering.

INJURED PASSENGER IN ANY TYPE OF CAR ACCIDENT: If you were hurt in the accident, and you were a passenger, it probably won’t matter whether the driver of the vehicle caused the accident or not, you may still have a valid claim, and talking to an attorney would be wise (consultations are free).

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2: Can I talk to the insurance company?

A: You can, but talking to them without knowing your rights first is a sure-fire way to ruin your case, and get an unfair case settlement. You should read our free auto accident guide BEFORE you talk to them.

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3: What is my injury case worth?

A: We get this question a lot. While there are some monetary factors that can be taken into consideration, like medical bills from a hospital visit and time you missed at work, there is just no way to give a client an accurate ballpark estimate right off the bat. Why? Because an attorney cannot determine how bad your injury is, and what kind of treatment will be needed down the line. A settlement should include all related bills. Plus, insurance company offers vary, as do jury verdicts from county to county.

Therefore, an attorney should not be making you any promises for certain dollar amounts, and you probably shouldn’t hire an attorney that does.

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4: Should I Sign the Insurance Company Documents?

A: There are a number of forms the insurance company will send you. Be very careful signing anything.

Property Damage Check: Some people think they are signing a check just for their car, but in fine print they are signing away their rights to a personal injury case as well. Your property damage case and your personal injury case should be separate. You should bring with you any insurance documents you’ve received to your free consultation with an auto accident attorney, so he or she can look over the document to be sure you aren’t signing away your rights to a personal injury case.

Medical Release Form: Unless you want your entire medical history available to the insurance company, you may not want to sign this.

Recorded Phone Call: Though this technically isn’t a “form”, it is considered documented evidence that can be used against you later. Watch the video on the “auto accidents” tab above to learn more about the “biggest mistake to avoid after a car accident”.

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5: What if I am NOT injured, but have property damage?

A: If no one was hurt in your vehicle, we are very glad you are okay! However, dealing with the insurance company even for property damage can be an exhausting process.

But do you really need an attorney for just property damage? Not generally. If your car is totaled, you will get a check to cover the car. If they don’t offer you the fair value of the car, you may be able to get more by checking the value of cars with the same make and model on websites like KellyBlueBook.com, and submitting your findings to the insurance company. Hiring an attorney when there are no injuries would probably not be in your best interest, and you will typically find most car accident attorneys won’t take property-damage-only cases.

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