Passengers

What should you do following a car accident?

Many people wonder what is the best thing to do after a car accident to help preserve their case and make sure they are crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s. Here are the top things you should do following a car accident to make sure everything goes smoothly in case you have a personal injury car accident case and need to hire a Seattle car accident injury lawyer.

  1. Take pictures of the car accident – there is nothing more telling of how a car accident actually happened then a picture of where each car is right after the car accident and the damage to each car. Make sure to take pictures of the road, your car’s placement, the other car’s placement, and the damage to each car. These pictures can tell who is at fault, how hard the impact was, and the conditions of the road at the time of the collision.

2. Get witness contact information – some times car accidents may seem cut and dry but that all can change when the other driver talks to their insurance company. A witness who saw the car accident that may be in another car or a pedestrian can help convey what actually happened in the car accident and who had the red light or who had the right of way. Getting their phone number could be the difference in who is deemed at fault. These people may leave once they see everyone is ok or have things under control so it is important to look for these people quickly.

3. Call the police – it’s not always necessary to have the police come to a car accident and exchanging information may work just fine, however, it is important to call and file a police report if you are hit by someone and they leave the scene without exchanging insurance information or they don’t have insurance, as you may need to by contract law due to your car insurance and uninsured motorist policy, that you will need to use. Police reports are not 100% determinant of who is at fault for a car accident as the police did not actually see the car accident happen, however, they can act as another witness who saw the scene of the car accident and collects witness information and insurance information strengthening your case.

4. Exchange information with the other driver – It is very important to get the other person’s insurance information at the scene of the car accident. If the person says they don’t want to go the insurance route, you should push for their insurance. Not going the insurance route can severely hurt your case if you are injured and need to find the person to determine if they actually had insurance so that you can use your uninsured motorist insurance policy to cover your damages.

Most people try to avoid insurance because they don’t want to hurt the other driver financially, but this is the reason everyone has insurance so they don’t have to pay anything more than their premium every month or 6 months. Not going the insurance route only hurts the injured victim and doesn’t save the other person money, who otherwise would have only had to pay an increase in premium for a car accident that was their fault. You pay more going this route as it is much harder to for you to get your bills paid timely and get the compensation you need and deserve for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage caused by the other person in the car accident.

5. Call an ambulance or take yourself to urgent care – If you are injured in the car accident, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor immediately to make sure you are ok. Car accidents can cause severe injuries to your neck, brain, and other parts of your body that need to get checked out right away. It’s best to go to urgent care right after a car accident if possible to get checked out. You can go the next day if it is too late at night. Urgent care usually has less people and can get you evaluated quicker than the emergency room. If your car is not driveable and you are severely hurt, call and ambulance immediately.

6. Call a Seattle car accident injury lawyer – It is important to preserve your case and make sure everything is in line and a Seattle car accident injury lawyer can make sure you are doing everything necessary with your insurance company to do this. Additionally, the defendant’s insurance will not pay for your medical bills until you settle with them (unless you were a pedestrian, bicyclist, or passenger and the at fault driver had personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance coverage), this is why it is extremely important to know how your medical bills are going to be paid without having them go to collections and have a plan. A personal injury lawyer will be able to give you all the options to make sure your medical bills get paid or are not sent to collections. Options include using your car insurance personal injury protection (PIP) policy to pay for your medical bills, medical insurance, or having the provider wait to get paid out of the settlement.

7. Call your insurance company and report accident – It’s very important that you report the car accident to your own insurance company to set up your claim and document your case. You most likely have insurance coverage that you will need to use to help your case so you need to report it to your insurance company. Your rates should not go up because of a car accident that was not your fault. If for some reason they try to say that your rates are going up, you should talk to an agent on the phone and tell them you are going to go to another insurance company. I am sure they will change their minds and keep your rates the same, they want your premium every month.

If you or someone you know were injured in a car accident, give Cherin Law Firm, PLLC a call today for a free consultation on the phone 206 850-6716.

Andrew CherinWhat should you do following a car accident?
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Seattle Passenger in a car accident, whose fault?

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If you are injured in a Seattle car accident while riding as a passenger, you have many options for recovery but probably have many questions.

Who is at fault for the car accident and whose insurance can I go after?

Determining who is at fault for the car accident is the first step to determining who will pay for your injuries. If your driver is at fault for the car accident, you can go after their insurance policy to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering – even if they are related to you.

This is a good benefit that some people do not take advantage of because of fear that the family member or friend will have to pay this amount. This could not be further from the truth. The insurance company may pay you $10,000 or more and the family member or friend will not have to pay a penny of this amount. The worst that could happen is if their insurance premiums go up a few dollars per month, in most situations.

If another car is at fault, passengers injured in a car accident can go after the person that hit their driver’s car directly. Passengers are entitled to pain and suffering, medical bill compensation, and lost wages, among other possible damages. People that are responsible for your injuries will not pay for your medical bills up front, unless you are going after the driver of your car and they have PIP insurance. However, it is a good idea to not settle your case until you are fully healed. This means that you must find another way to pay for your medical bills right now until you are healed.

Who will pay for the passenger’s medical bills now though?

Personal injury protection (PIP) is an auto insurance policy that pays for medical bills and lost wages while you are awaiting a settlement from the responsible party. PIP is available to passengers under the driver of the car’s auto policy if the driver has paid for PIP insurance. Additionally, you can use your own auto insurance policy PIP to cover your injuries if there is no other PIP available to you or you have exhausted it all from the other policy.

Another option to cover your medical bills right now is your own medical insurance. Medical insurance will deny the claim at first unless they know no other medical coverage is available to pay for your bills. Medical insurance generally doesn’t cover massage bills and usually has limited chiropractic allowance.

A third option is to pay on a lien to medical providers. Most physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists will allow you to pay them back out of the settlement. However, most if not all of these places will require you to have a personal injury lawyer representing you to accept this arrangement so that they can guarantee through the car accident injury lawyer that they are paid.

How long will it take to get a good settlement?

Contrary to some thinking, hiring a personal injury lawyer does not mean filing a lawsuit in most cases. In fact, most cases can be settled within 2-3 months of an injured person being discharged from treatment and feeling 100% again.

Additionally, hiring a Seattle personal injury lawyer is not super costly and in most instances gets you more money than you could on your own even after a lawyer’s fee is taken account of. Seattle car accident injury lawyers are paid out of the settlement so you never have to pay them out of pocket. Call today for a free consultation.

Andrew CherinSeattle Passenger in a car accident, whose fault?
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