It can be overwhelming and scary when you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident- whether a bicycle, motorcycle, car or truck. The hours after an accident are typically filled with confusion. If you or someone you know is involved in an accident, having the knowledge of what to do in those following few hours will save you time and money in the long run.
After a wreck, you need to make sure that everyone is okay. If needed, call the police and have an ambulance treat anyone who needs it. From there, be sure to document the scene. Photos are crucial. Take photos of the scene, both cars involved, any injuries, the other driver’s license and the driver’s insurance information. You may be able to drive your car away from the accident scene, but if not, make sure that you know which tow yard or body shop your car is being taken to. If your car has to be towed away, you should call your personal auto insurance and let them know where it is, even if the wreck wasn’t your fault. This helps you mitigate your damages and get into a fixed or new car faster!!
You may walk away from the scene feeling fine and have an aching pain set in a few hours later. This is normal! It’s important that you get treated for your injuries if you feel that they won’t improve on their own.
The first hours and days following a wreck is crucial. It’s best to get an attorney involved right away.
If you were involved in a wreck because of someone else’s negligence, their insurance company is responsible for putting you in a rental car! Unfortunately, there are a lot of different rules and regulations that the insurance company needs to follow and oftentimes their timeline for getting you in a rental car does not match up with the urgency that you feel. At McKinney Vos PLLC, we know how important it is for you to get a working vehicle as soon as possible. We recognize that your life stops without transportation and we’re here to help!
The first question that you need to answer is where your car is. This impacts how soon the insurance company will get you into a rental vehicle. Is your car with you and drivable? Is it at the shop being fixed? Is it at a tow yard? Do you know where your vehicle is?
The insurance company has a right and a duty to investigate liability after a wreck. This process may include a statement from their insured, inspecting the site, checking the vehicles involved and more. The insurance company will not pay for your vehicle to get fixed or for you to be in a rental car until after they have completed this process. Unfortunately, the process could take up to weeks to complete and we know how frustrating that is!
At Mckinney Vos, we pressure the insurance company to complete their investigation as quickly as possible in order to get you in a rental car and back on the road ASAP.
There is a lot of information out there to suggest that all insurance companies and all adjusters evaluate every case the same way. That is simply not true. Every company and every adjuster within every company look at things differently.
Adjusters are tasked with evaluating our demand packet and estimating what a potential jury will give you based on what the law says you are entitled to for your specific case. Keep in mind, what happens at the courthouse is important because that filing suit is the alternative to settlement. The adjuster’s goal is to make you an offer that entices you to settle your claim and forgo suing their driver. If they make you an offer that is too low, then they’re forcing a lawsuit. If they make an offer that is too high, then they have to answer to their managers and explain why they are paying more than what a jury is likely to award.
When making an offer adjuster look at a whole slew of things including, your medical bills and records, the severity of your injuries, the level of pain that was reported and if it improved with treatment, if you’ll need future medical treatment, the prognosis of your recovery, whether you missed time from work, whether you missed out on social functions due to your injuries, the amount of property damage, etc.
In order to maximize the offer and your recovery, McKinney Vos PLLC works with you to ensure we present a complete, persuasive demand the first time!
I’m sure you expect a personal injury firm to say, Yes! Every accident resulting in an injury needs an injury attorney!
We know the decision to hire an attorney depends entirely on the details of your case and what you want to achieve in doing so.
All plaintiff firms require the following three things before taking a case:
While your recent accident may check all of the boxes, not every injury case needs an injury attorney. Depending on your motivation for getting legal counsel, sometimes hiring an attorney can actually get in the way of achieving those goals.
For example, let’s say you’re rear ended at a stop light. The impact isn’t hard, in fact, you barely noticed it. You pull over and the other driver immediately apologizes. They offer you their insurance card and call their insurance company while on scene to take responsibility for the crash. The next day, your neck hurts and you take some Tylenol. Eventually, the pain goes away after a few days and you don’t need medical treatment. Or if you do, it’s one brief visit with your family doctor.
The scenario above meets all of the requirements for an injury case – injury, fault, and insurance. However, if you’re goal is to pocket as much money as possible, then it might not be in your best interest to hire an attorney given the costs associated with legal representation.
Attorney fees can rage anywhere from 33.33% – 45% of the recovery from the other side plus legal expenses. After paying attorney fees and costs, you’ll likely end up with less in your pocket than if you handled the claim on your own. To decide whether you need an attorney or not, you should to weigh the expense of an attorney with the complexity of the case.
Full disclosure, the scenario above rarely, rarely happens. More often than not, the other driver admits that the accident is their fault while at the scene but change their mind when they’re speaking with their insurance company. Instead of rear-ending you, they claim that you cut them off without a turn signal and they didn’t have time to stop. All of a sudden, a clear-cut car crash turns into a nightmare.
Keep in mind, even in the “perfect-world scenario”, there is still a benefit to hiring an attorney in the sense that you don’t have to jump through any hoops. For some, it’s worth paying attorney fees and costs just to have someone else deal headaches after a car crash. Again, the decision to hire an attorney depends entirely on what you hope to achieve in doing so.
Regardless, there are specific scenarios that will almost always benefit from attorney involvement:
You’ll notice that in the “perfect world scenario,” the neck pain was fleeting and went away without extended medical treatment. Because the pain went away relatively quickly, the damages associated with it – medical bills and pain and suffering – are manageable.
Injuries that require a visit to the emergency room, hospital admission, extended therapy with a chiropractor or physical therapist, and/or surgery have higher damages associated with them. The medical bills are higher, the recovery time is longer and more painful, the physical impairment and disfigurement may be permanent, etc.
For cases involving serious injuries, the insurance company is motivated to push you to resolve your case as soon as possible. They’ll entice you with a low-ball offer in hopes that you’ll settle before knowing the full extent of your injuries and required medical care.
Once you resolve your claim, you cannot go back to the insurance company and demand more money. Once it’s closed, it’s closed. In order to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of, it’s important to get a personal injury attorney involved as soon as possible if you been seriously injured in an accident.
Something to keep in mind, everybody responds differently to trauma. If you’re in an accident with a friend or a family member and they’re not injured, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be injured. The best thing you can do for yourself is to listen to your body and get the medical care you think is best.
You’ll also notice that in the “perfect world scenario,” there was only one other car involved and the facts of the crash were fairly straight forward. You were stopped and they hit you from behind. The waters get a little bit muddy when three or more vehicles are involved.
Everyone has a point of view of what happened. When there are multiple drivers, it is difficult to know who is telling the truth of what happened. You may be sure about what you saw, but did you see the whole thing? More often than not, you only have a piece of the puzzle and that piece needs to be put together with everyone else’s. An experienced attorney can help sort through the mess and identify what actually happened.
Something else to keep in mind is that memories fade as more time passes and it gets harder to prove what actually happened. Hiring an attorney right away will give you an opportunity to record everyone’s statement shortly after the crash. The statements will important as the case progresses to make sure the other drivers don’t try to change their story.
Drivers that refuse to give you their insurance information, beg you not to call the cops, or have an extreme emotional reaction to an accident should set off all sorts of alarms in your head.
Drivers that are aggressive or overly emotional are often hiding something more. It could be innocuous, like they took a long lunch break and are now they’re going to be late to work, or it could be something much more nefarious, like they don’t have valid insurance or they’re under the influence. Regardless of the reason, trust your instinct and call the police as well as an attorney to help sort through the mess. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re not having to deal with that person on your own.
It never made sense to me why insurance adjusters are rude to people after an accident. You would think that the easiest way to get someone to accept a low-ball offer to treat better. What’s that adage? You get more flies with honey than vinegar.
For whatever reason, that’s not what happens. Instead, they ignore your call, make you jump through hoops to get your car fixed or see a doctor, and downplay your pain when you do manage to get them on the phone. As an injury attorney, I am glad they haven’t changed their ways because it gives you a reason to call an attorney. After a brief conversation, you’ll most certainly find out that they’re trying to sell you on something that only benefits them and their bottom line.
The best way to determine if you need an injury attorney is to define what you’re hoping to accomplish in doing so. If you are seriously injured, the other driver is not cooperating, and/or you just need a professional to take this off your plate, then hiring an attorney is the right move.
If you’re not sure either way, call McKinney Vos today for a free, no-commitment consultation. We’ll review the facts of your case and advise if legal representation is right for you.