Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accidents
When you’ve been the victim of an auto accident, it is natural to have a lot of questions, and many people don’t know where to get the answers. If your auto accident occurred in Spartanburg, South Carolina, then you should contact a Spartanburg, SC auto accident attorney right away to get a free consultation about your case and have your questions answered. In the meantime, some of your general and most frequently asked questions are answered below.
Should I avoid talking to the police at the scene of the accident?
You should not avoid talking to the police at the scene of the accident. You should answer basic questions, but avoid saying anything that indicates fault. Say as little as possible, but do cooperate. You don’t want to harm any future personal injury claim you may have, so be careful.
When should I notify my insurance company?
Legally, you must notify and cooperate with your insurance company, not because of a state law, but because you have signed a contract with your insurance company where you agreed to do so. Thus, if you do not, you may be automatically barred from seeking compensation. You should contact your insurance as soon as possible and provide a general description of the accident. Having said that, you should not say too much or say anything to indicate fault. You do not have to give a statement to the insurance company when you notify them of the accident. Rather, you should talk to an attorney before giving any official statement.
Do I need to notify the insurance company of the other driver?
You do not have to notify the insurance company of the other driver. Rather, you should contact a lawyer and seek representation in these matters. Your attorney can handle communications with insurance companies while you avoid saying anything that might harm your claim.
What do I do if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
There are situations where you might be in an auto accident with a driver who has no insurance or who lacks the necessary coverage to address your losses. However, you should have UIM (uninsured/underinsured motorist) coverage to address this. You can file your claim with your own insurance company to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. If you do not have UIM coverage, then you can file a suit against the at-fault driver, directly. Unfortunately, if he or she lacks insurance, then he or she likely also lacks the funds and assets to pay the damages you might be awarded. Contact an attorney to learn more about your options.
What should I do if I am partially at fault for the accident?
Even if you are certain that you are partially at fault for the accident, or if you only suspect that you might be, you should never admit guilt to the insurance company or the police. You can discuss your concerns about fault with your lawyer, in private, and then discuss the best options for moving forward with the case.
How can I pay for vehicle repairs?
You may be able to get the funds to repair your vehicle from your insurance company, depending on what sort of insurance you have. Then, the insurance company my turn to the insurance company of the at-fault driver to compensate this coverage. If you do not have a policy that will address vehicle repairs, then you may have to finance them out of pocket, and/or wait until you can seek a settlement or judgment from the at-fault driver for property damage.
Should I contact an attorney?
In most situations, it will be in your best interests to contact an attorney right away. Even if your case is simple, and you don’t require legal representation, it doesn’t hurt to get that free consultation from a personal injury attorney. This is where you can discuss your case, its value, and its challenges before making any kind of financial investment in legal representation.
Should I seek medical attention if I am uninjured?
Even though you may feel like you are uninjured, it is wise to get a full medical evaluation as soon as possible. You may not require emergency assistance, but it would be better for your case to accept any emergency medical care that is offered, including an ambulance ride to the hospital, if this is advised at the scene of the accident.
Refusing transport and/or treatment can work against you later, when the defense attempts to demonstrate that your injuries do not exist or were not severe. Even if you don’t get emergency treatment, you should seek out that full medical evaluation as soon as you can, anyway. Minor pains can turn out to be serious injuries, and sometimes you’ll have no symptoms of a serious injury at all when it first occurs. You need any and all injuries to be diagnosed and treated quickly, before they become worse and before the elapsed time makes your personal injury case more difficult to prove.
What if I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident?
While there are seatbelt laws in North Carolina, these laws do not stop you from being able to seek financial compensation for injuries that occurred in an auto accident. Failing to wear a seatbelt will not even be considered a mitigating factor in potential modified comparative fault cases. Your claim will not be impacted or reduced in value because of this. The law specifically states that failing to wear a seatbelt will not be considered as evidence in any auto accident trial.
What is the statute of limitations on North Carolina personal injury claims?
In North Carolina, there is a three year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. You must file a lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident, or you will lose your right to do so. Contact an attorney right away to discuss the details of your specific case and how the statutes of limitations apply or may be altered by your circumstances.
What is the value of my claim?
The value of your auto accident claim will be affected by many different variables. For example, the extent of your injuries and property damage will be a major factor. At the same time, any future medical expenses will be factored in along with the potentially reckless actions of the defendant.
What if I was a passenger in an auto accident?
Passengers in auto accidents can file personal injury claims against the driver of the vehicle they were in or the driver of the vehicle that caused the injury. In some cases, damages can be awarded from both drivers. In cases with multiple victims, the value of the claim may be reduced to allow for all injured persons to receive compensation for injuries.