AUTO ACCIDENT INJURY ATTORNEY
Serving All Delaware Auto Accident Cases
Why should I see an attorney after an automobile accident?
Dealing with insurance companies after an automobile accident can be difficult. It can be difficult to receive compensation for injuries as well as property damage. Sometimes it is difficult to have your lost wages and medical bills paid. An attorney can assist you in seeking a fair settlement and can make it easier to receive compensation for property damage, lost wages and medical bills.
Do attorneys charge for initial visits in personal injury cases?
Although some attorneys may, we do not. Also, in automobile accident cases, most attorneys charge only for recovery against third parties. No-fault insurance is usually handled by the attorney without charge unless a proceeding is required to get the benefits.
What should I bring to meet with an attorney?
• Name and contact information of your adjustor and the other driver’s adjustor
• Your employer contact information
• Photos of the vehicle
• Your insurance policies (automobile and homeowner’s)
• Everything you have written down about the accident
• Medical treatment information
• Medical documents relating to the accident
• Doctor contact information
• Health insurance information
• Driver Information Exchange report
• Any correspondence between you and any insurance company
• List of all doctors you have seen in the past 10 years
If I am in an auto accident, should I call my own insurance company?
You should put your insurance company on notice of an accident as soon as possible after the accident. You want to make sure that you have coverage. You should make sure to get the name of the claims adjuster and the claim number so that you will have this information handy when you see an attorney. If you have been in an accident in which you are injured, you should obviously first seek medical treatment. Give the healthcare provider all of the information you have with regard to insurance. This means you should provide information regarding your automobile insurance, your healthcare insurance and any other insurance which may be applicable, such as worker’s compensation or Medicare. When you see your attorney, you will want to make sure that you tell the attorney all the possible sources of payment for your medical bills as your attorney may need to coordinate those benefits for you.
What is no-fault insurance?
No-fault coverage, also known as PIP, is the coverage you have under your own insurance company for payment of medical bills and lost wages after an automobile accident. Delaware law requires coverage in the minimum amount of $15,000, although it is recommended that you have a higher amount since current medical bills can be quite expensive. After an accident, your insurance company may automatically send you a no-fault application after you have spoken with the adjuster. Quite often the insurance company does not do this and the attorney must request it. It is best to have the attorney prepare the no-fault application for you so that the form is filled out properly.
I have been in an accident and the insurance company for the person that hit me wants a recorded statement, should I give it to them?
You should not talk to the insurance company for the other driver until you have spoken with an attorney. Your attorney will probably advise you not to speak to that adjuster at all, and the attorney will do so himself or herself. Such recorded statements are often taken inaccurately and are not under oath. Your attorney will usually advise you not to make such recorded statements at all.
If I am out of work due to an accident and I use vacation or sick time, will I get paid for that?
Under the best of circumstances, it normally takes at least 2 or 3 weeks to get lost wages set up under no-fault insurance. Therefore you may find yourself using your sick leave or vacation time to meet the bills at the end of the week. Once no-fault is established, you will be paid for your sick time and vacation time used. Often times the attorney will need to make sure this happens since insurance companies sometimes do not understand this.
If I am injured by an automobile accident while I am at work, am I also eligible for worker’s compensation?
If you are injured at work while driving an automobile, you are eligible for both worker’s compensation and no-fault benefits. You also may be eligible for short-term or long-term disability. You should make sure that your attorney is aware of all of these so that the attorney may coordinate benefits for you.
What should I do about property damage after my car has been in an accident?
In most cases it is best to use your own insurance company to pay for the property damage to your vehicle. If your vehicle is drivable, some insurance companies have drive-up services which make an immediate estimate and will pay for the repairs to your vehicle. However, it frequently occurs that the damages to your vehicle are more than the value of your vehicle. Your insurance company should pay you the fair market value of your vehicle, less any deductions. Usually the insurance company will offer you an amount close to the fair market value, but sometimes insurance companies will try to get away with making a payment which is much less. You should discuss this with your attorney to see if you are getting a fair deal from your insurance company. The attorney may need to intervene.
My vehicle has been totaled and it is sitting on a storage lot, what do I do?
You should try to work out arrangements for payment of your vehicle as soon as possible after the accident. When a vehicle sits on a storage lot, it starts to accumulate storage charges. Normally the insurance company will pick up the storage charges for a reasonable amount of time. However, if the amount of time becomes unreasonable they may deduct the amount of storage from the amount of payment to you.
What if I do not have property damage insurance on my vehicle?
Often times, especially with older vehicles, people decline collision insurance on their own vehicles. Thus, the only way you will get paid for the accident is to look to the other insurance company for payment. Because the other insurance company will want to satisfy themselves that they are responsible, this may take several weeks to establish. You will want to make sure that the car is removed from any storage lot, since you may begin to accumulate very substantial storage charges.
After an accident, should I take photos of the damages to my vehicle?
It is a good idea to take photographs of the damage to your vehicle. If the vehicle is drivable, sometimes your attorney or someone in the attorney’s office will take photos for you. While these photos may or may not be admissible in a proceeding, they certainly are useful in negotiating your claims.
What is uninsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage covers you for an accident which is caused by an uninsured driver. Sometimes the driver of another vehicle may be insured but runs away from the scene of the accident. You are also covered for uninsured motorist in that case as well.
What is underinsured motorist coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage pays you when you make a claim against a third party who does not have sufficient coverage to pay your claims. For example, the third party may have $15,000 coverage. If your coverage for underinsured motorist is greater than $15,000, you may collect all of the damages up to the limits of your policy. It is a good idea to carry underinsured motorist coverage at least in the amount of $100,000, since there are many drivers who only have $15,000 in coverage. Because of current high medical expenses and the potential for your being out of work a substantial period of time, underinsured motorist coverage is cheap but valuable coverage.
If I am in an auto accident, should I go to the emergency room?
If there is any doubt at all about your injuries in an automobile accident, you should go to the emergency room right away. It is often a hassle to go to the emergency room because you may spend several hours there. It is a good idea to be patient, since the documentation in the emergency room may be very important as you pursue your claim. Sometimes you may feel only a slight injury at the time of the accident, but three or four days later the pain becomes very severe. If there is no documentation at the time of the accident, it may prejudice your claims in the future.
How long do I have to make a claim for no-fault coverage?
The statute of limitations for no-fault is two years. There are a few exceptions which may extend that period, but basically all treatment has to occur within two years after the accident.
How long do I have to file an automobile accident case?
The statute of limitations for automobile accidents against third parties is two years.