5 Questions to Ask After Being in a Car Accident
Car accidents are incredibly frightening, and victims are often left feeling overwhelmed with a lot of unanswered questions. If you have just been in a car accident, we have compiled a list of questions you may need to ask.
The best thing you can do after a car accident is to arrange a free consultation with a personal injury law firm such as Chris Morrow, PLLC. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, a free consultation will give you some clarity about your next steps.
At Chris Morrow, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal injury victims in Texas. Utilizing a long history of successful cases to draw upon, a wealth of connections and resources, and an individualized approach, we help car accident victims on a daily basis. After a free consultation, if you do continue with representation, then we will work on a no-win, no-fee basis, so you will never be left out of pocket for having experienced legal representation.
Is Everyone Okay?
After a car accident, your own health and safety should always be your top priority. Check in with yourself for injuries, and if you think you might be seriously hurt, then you should remain where you are and wait for paramedics to arrive.
If it is safe to do so, you can then check on those around you for injuries, starting in your own vehicle and then anyone else involved in the accident. If anyone has serious injuries, then you should contact 911.
Paramedics will help those that need it, and the police will attend the scene to mitigate any remaining hazards. They will file a police report which will be integral to your claim. You will also need to call the police regardless of the extent of injury if there has been serious property damage, if you have any concerns such as debris in the road, or if you think the other driver might be under the influence.
If you are not taken to the hospital by paramedics, then you should seek a medical examination as soon as possible. Your medical record is integral to your claim, and without it, you will not be able to establish that your injuries were a direct result of the accident. A medical professional will also assess your injuries and help keep you safe.
What Information Do I Need From The Other Driver(s)?
It is important to remember that any other drivers involved in the crash will be feeling as shaken as you are. If you think you could be at fault, then it is important not to admit it at this stage, as you may not have all the information relevant to your case. It is also important that you keep calm if you believe the other driver was at fault; arguments will not solve anything.
You should ask all other drivers involved in the accident for the following:
- Their name.
- Contact information.
- License plate.
- Insurance provider’s name.
- If the driver does not own the vehicle, then you will need the owner’s information as well.
If your injuries are severe and you are not able to collect this information, then don’t worry. The police will also gather this information, and your attorney may be able to get it later on.
What Evidence Can I Secure to Help My Case?
Following an accident that wasn’t your fault, the more evidence you have, the better. If your injuries allow, then you can gather evidence from the accident scene, which your attorney will use to establish the facts of your case. Evidence may include:
- Photos or videos of all vehicles involved in the crash from every angle. Pay special attention to any dents or scratches.
- A photo or video of the entire scene to give a full perspective.
- Photos or videos of anything else that could be relevant to your case such as road signs, skid marks, debris, weather conditions, or traffic conditions.
- Photos of your car accident injuries.
- Witness and passenger information. Keep car accident witness questions brief at this stage, simply ask them for their name and contact information. Your attorney may contact them later on for a statement to be used as evidence in your case.
- As soon as you can, write down in your own words how the accident occurred. Due to the traumatic nature of car accidents, it is common for victims’ memories to become clouded over time. It can be helpful to have a written record to keep hold of.
You should also continue to collect evidence in the days, weeks, and months following your accident. This will help your attorney to provide evidence for your damages, for example:
- Continue to take photos of your injuries to show your recovery.
- Keep a record of every medical appointment.
- Document all expenses related to the crash, including property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages. Your medical expenses should include everything from hospital bills and prescription costs to transport to and from appointments.
- Keep a diary detailing how the accident has affected your life, such as your levels of pain, whether you have been unable to live your life as you did before, and your mental suffering.
What Do I Do If I Think I am At-Fault?
If you think you may have contributed to the accident, then it is important not to admit fault before you speak to an attorney. You may not have all of the relevant information which could harm a potential claim. For example, perhaps you were speeding, but perhaps the other driver was under the influence.
Texas operates under a modified comparative fault doctrine. This means that even if you are partially to blame, so long as you are deemed to be less than 50% at fault, you can still claim compensation. However, your settlement will be reduced to reflect your degree of fault. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for an accident that is settled at $100,000, then it will be reduced to $80,000. Your attorney will help to ensure that you are not assigned fault unfairly and will investigate your claim to clearly establish liability.
However, if you get a ticket from a police officer, then you should sign it as you will be required to do so by law. If you are cited, it doesn’t mean you are at fault and the police officer’s opinion is not admissible in a civil claim for negligence, so you may still have a valid claim.
It is important to discuss your case with a car accident attorney before you pay fines or admit fault. Your attorney will review your claim and advise you on your next steps.
What Should I Say to My Insurance Company?
After a car accident, you will be required to contact your insurance company. You often have a limited amount of time to do this, which could be 24 hours. However, at this stage, you should not give too much information; you should simply tell them:
- When and where the accident happened.
- The other drivers’ information including name, contact information, and insurance details.
- The responding officers’ information.
Do not admit fault or downplay your injuries. You may even choose to speak to an attorney before you call your insurance company so that they can advise you.
Remember, insurance companies are large corporations driven by profit. They have large legal teams who save them money by reducing what they pay out to accident victims. Once you have secured representation, you will no longer be required to correspond with insurance companies. Instead, all correspondence will go through your attorney. An experienced car accident lawyer will know how to manage negotiations with insurance companies so that you are not put at a disadvantage.
What Questions to Ask a Potential Attorney
We recommend that all car accident victims seek a free consultation with a law firm such as Chris Morrow, PLLC. Although you do have a right to pursue a claim without representation, those who do often end up with a lower settlement. Even after legal fees are considered, your settlement is likely to be substantially more when you have the help of an experienced attorney, thanks to the skills, experience, and resources they offer.
Your attorney will take over the entire investigation and will negotiate on your behalf. That way, you can focus on what’s important – your recovery.
However, choosing the right attorney is important. Experienced representation will help ensure that all of your damages are included in your settlement. They will also help to keep your case moving forward and will strive for a quick settlement where appropriate.
At Chris Morrow, PLLC, we believe that we are the best team for your car accident case. However, we want you to be confident as well. Therefore, here are some questions you can ask a potential attorney to assess whether they are a good fit for your case.
Where are you based, and which practice areas do you cover?
It is beneficial to find a local law firm. This will ensure that your attorney has in-depth knowledge of the state laws that will affect your case. They will also have connections with local experts who could provide valuable evidence for your claim. They may have even worked with the insurance company, Judge, and court overseeing your case, which will allow them to tailor their approach.
A local attorney is also likely to have a reputation with local insurance adjusters. If they have a good reputation, then the opposition may be more willing to offer a fair settlement quickly, as they will already know that they can’t get away with less.
At Chris Morrow, PLLC, we cover Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Dripping Springs, Georgetown, and surrounding areas.
How much of your time is spent practicing personal injury law?
Many large law firms practice several areas of law, such as criminal defense or tax law. If a law firm has a primary focus on personal injury law, it will ensure that all of your attorney’s time is dedicated to helping people like you, giving them a strong foundation of experience, resources, and knowledge. Chris Morrow, PPLC, is a personal injury law firm, and we help car accident victims every day.
What level of experience do you have helping people in a similar position to me?
When it comes to personal injury law, experience is invaluable. Chris Morrow, our founding attorney, has been representing car accident victims in Texas since 1994, giving him over 25 years of experience.
You should ask your attorney whether they have helped people in a similar position to you before and whether they were successful. You should consider whether your case has any important factors, such as whether it involved a truck and whether your attorney has the specific experience required to build a robust strategy.
Can I see reviews from previous clients?
A good attorney should be happy to show you reviews from previous clients. You should also look at independent reviews, such as those found at AVO. AVVO is a review site that rates attorneys based on factors such as success rates, reviews, years in service, and awards. Chris Morrow has an AVVO rating of 9.0/10 and an average client review score of 5/5.
What would a good settlement look like in my case, and how do we get there?
After suffering a car accident that wasn’t your fault, it is important that all of your damages are considered. While some, such as your past medical expenses, are relatively straightforward to establish, others are not so easy.
A good attorney will help ensure that your future medical expenses are considered, as well as your loss of income capacity if relevant to your case. They will also establish the value of your pain and suffering damages such as loss of enjoyment in life, physical pain, and mental anguish.
An experienced attorney will be able to review your case and give you a plan for how they plan to secure the compensation you deserve.
How will I contact you if I have questions?
Although your attorney may have a full caseload, they should still manage their time so that they can give your case the time it deserves. You should know how you will contact them, and how soon you can expect a response if you do.
Do you have trial experience?
Most car accident claims don’t go to trial as it is time-consuming and expensive, and usually not in either party’s best interest. However, it is important that your attorney has trial experience so that if your case does require litigation, you won’t be left vulnerable. Attorneys have reputations, and if your attorney is a skilled litigator, then the insurance adjuster is also more likely to offer a fair settlement rather than lose more in a trial.
Chris Morrow, and the team at Chris Morrow Law have a reputation for being fierce litigators and will continue to represent you regardless of what direction your case takes. Our law firm prides itself on being able to secure a quick settlement where possible while also going the distance to secure a just outcome if necessary.
What will representation cost me?
You need to know what representation is going to cost you before you sign anything, including any fees. At Chris Morrow, PLLC, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means we charge nothing for representation upfront. Instead, we take a predetermined percentage of your settlement if it succeeds. If it doesn’t, we will not be paid anything.
Ask yourself – do you like your potential attorney?
While experience, fee structure, and availability are all important factors, it is also important that you like your attorney. You may be spending considerable time with them discussing sensitive issues. Your free consultation is a chance for you to meet your attorney and decide if you feel comfortable and confident.
Chris Morrow PLLC – The Attorney That Works!
If you are concerned about what questions to ask when in a car accident, then do not hesitate to contact Chris Morrow, PLLC, today.
Auto accidents are incredibly traumatic, and no victim should have to navigate the legal process of claiming compensation alone. An attorney from our law firm will take over the entire process to fight for the settlement you deserve, one that reflects your past and future expenses, as well as your pain and suffering.
We help car accident victims on a daily basis and we want to do the same for you. Arrange a free consultation with an experienced attorney today at 512-520-8100.