I was just in a car accident, what should I do?

Frequently Asked Questions:

1.   I was just in a motor vehicle accident, what should I do?

First thing, of course, take care of yourself.  If you’re in the hospital, contact friends and family and ask for help with pending household issues (children are cared for, pets are fed, employer on notice, etc.).  After things are taken care of on the home front, here are some important first steps:

If the police did not speak to you after the accident, which is common if an ambulance transported you to the hospital, make sure you file a crash report of your own.  This is important to make certain your version of events counter-acts any version offered by the other driver.

Also, put your insurance company on notice.  Again, at this point, there may be only one version of events.  Make sure your version is heard.

Next, contact a reputable lawyer.  There are plenty of lawyers that advertise personal injury services.  Make sure you hire ones that focuses on personal injury, rather than merely dabbles in it.  From there, you should be in good shape. 

Last, time is of the essence.  Make certain these first steps are accomplished within a few days of your accident, rather than weeks. 

2.   I wasn’t taken to the hospital, but I’m beginning to feel pain a day later. What should I do?

A lawyer should never give you medical advice.  If a lawyer tells you what medical attention to get, or tells you to see a particular doctor for treatment, you may have retained an unethical lawyer susceptible to even more unethical acts.   If you’re feeling pain, and you wish to have it treated, that of course is your decision.  The lawyer’s job is to make certain your medical bills are paid by any funds immediately available to you, or alternatively, submit them to your health insurer. 

3.   The insurance company called me. Should I talk to them?

If it’s your insurance company, you certainly need to report the accident.  In most instances, a brief summary of what happened is sufficient, including any medical attention you received or complaints of pain you’re having. 

Beyond these general statements, be careful about giving any further detailed information.  Even if it’s your own insurance company, saying the wrong thing can sometimes get you into trouble later on in your case.  This is why it’s imperative to retain a personal injury attorney as soon after the accident as you can. And by no means, give detailed information to the defendant’s insurance company.  This could prove fatal to your personal injury claim.

4.   I was hit by an Uber or a Lyft driver. Do I sue the person or Uber and/or Lyft?

Uber and Lyft both have insurance policies that trigger in different ways, depending on whether the driver was traveling with a passenger, on his/her way to pick up a passenger, or alternatively using the vehicle for personal use.  An experienced personal injury attorney will orchestrate the claim in the correct manner. 

5.   I was driving for my employer when the accident happened. Does that matter?

If you’re injured while working you may have a worker’s compensation claim.  This is a special type of personal injury claim that aims to compensate you through a trust of money preserved for injured workers.

In addition to making a worker’s compensation claim, you also may have a third party claim against the driver that caused the accident.  This would provide additional compensation above-and-beyond that which your worker’s compensation claim offers.

6.   I was hurt, and now I’m getting medical bills in the mail. What should I do?

If there’s PIP or Medpay insurance available, submit the bills to either of those two policies.  PIP and Medpay are essentially insurance policies that offer payment of medical bills irrespective of whether you’re at fault for the accident or not.  If PIP or Medpay denies payment, then your health insurance should cover the bills.

7.   Why would I submit the bills to MY insurance when it’s the other driver’s fault?

Good question.  The other driver’s insurance will likely pay the bills in one form or another.  If you’re insurance – whether car insurance or HMO – pays your medical bills, it will then make a subrogation claim against the defendant’s driver’s insurance for reimbursement.  It all happens behind the scenes and you may not even know about it.  Also, if you do file a lawsuit, your health insurance company may seek compensation from any insurance settlements and/or jury verdict proceeds.

8.   The driver who hit me did not have insurance. What do I do?

You likely will have the opportunity to file an uninsured motorist claim.  This is when you file a claim against your own insurance policy to compensate you for the accident.  Most Massachusetts insurance policies have uninsured coverage, as well as Rhode Island ones.

9.   My insurance company wants a “statement” from me. Do I have to do it?

The insurance company can’t force you to do anything, but they may deny coverage if you fail to cooperate.  It’s best to hire a lawyer before agreeing to take part in an oral statement. 

10.   My neighbor got $100,000.00 in a car accident case and he wasn’t even hurt. Will I get that much?

Every case is different, and compensation depends on the insurance policy available, the assets of the defendant, the severity of your injuries, the amount of your lost wages, and numerous other factors, including the competency of your attorney.  More likely than not, however, your neighbor is not telling the truth about his settlement.

 

Combies Hanson, P.C. is a Boston-based personal injury law firm handling throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including the following:

Abington, Avon, Braintree, Bridgewater, Brockton, Canton, Carver, Cohasset, Dedham, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Easton, Foxborough, Freetown, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Holbrook, Hull, Kingston, Lakeville, Mansfield, Mattapoisett, Marion, Marshfield, Middleborough, Milton, Norton, Norwell, Norwood, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Quincy, Randolph, Raynham, Rochester, Rockland, Scituate, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Wareham, West Bridgewater, Westwood, Weymouth, Whitman, Acton, Amesbury, Andover, Arlington, Ashland, Ayer, Bedford, Bellingham, Belmont, Beverly, Billerica, Bolton, Boxborough, Boxford, Brookline, Carlisle, Burlington, Chelmsford, Chelsea, Concord, Dunstable, Danvers, Dover, Dracut, Essex, Everett, Framingham, Franklin, Georgetown, Gloucester, Groton, Groveland, Hamilton, Harvard, Holliston, Haverhill, Hopkington, Hudson, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Manchester, Marblehead, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Medford, Medway, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Milford, Millis, Nahant, Newbury, Natick, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Norfolk ,North Andover, North Reading, Northborough, Peabody, Pepperell, Plainville, Reading, Revere, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Sherborn, Shirley, Shrewsbury, Somerville, Southborough, Stoneham, Stow, Sudbury, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Wellesley, Wenham, West Newbury, Westborough, Westford, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, Winthrop, Woburn, Wrentham, Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, Harwich, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, Dorchester, South Boston, East Boston, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, North End of Boston, South End of Boston, Chinatown, Chestnut Hill, Roslindale, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Allston, Cape Cod, Brighton, Martha’s Vineyard

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