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Motor Vehicle Accidents

The term “motor vehicle accidents” encompasses a wide variety of situations, including, but not necessarily limited to: car accidents, truck accidents (big rigs/semis/tractor-trailers), motorcycle accidents and any other accident involving a motorized vehicle. Loosely speaking, the term “motor vehicle accidents” could even include boat accidents, airplane accident, railroad accidents, etc. But, usually when we refer to “motor vehicle accidents” we are primarily speaking about the first group of situations.

Regardless of the type of motor vehicle accident, serious injuries often occur as a result. In addition, motor vehicles often need repairs or need to be replaced.

Injuries- If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side can be vitally important. VanDerGinst Law has the experience necessary to ensure that your rights are properly tended. A good rule of thumb is that if your injuries warrant medical or chiropractic attention they likely warrant an attorney’s attention as well.

Don’t be fooled by a kindly insurance adjuster. They may seem nice enough and fair enough. But, the bottom line is that they work for the insurance company and their job is to get you to settle for as little as possible, as quickly as possible. They are not there to inform you of your rights or to give you a reasonable offer of compensation for your injuries. Even though you are the victim they will often try to make you feel like the villain. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can properly guide you through the process.

What to do if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident

  1. If your accident occurs on a roadway that is not heavily traveled you may want to leave the vehicle where it comes to rest until police can be called. That is more important in situations where you anticipate an argument as to who was at fault. Leaving the vehicle may allow police to do a more thorough investigation. However, if the accident occurs on a busy roadway you may want to move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic so that no other accidents occur. But, only do this if it can be done safely.

  2. Be sure to call the police. Too often, accident victims feel they can simply exchange insurance information with the other driver without calling the police. This is usually a mistake. It can lead to arguments about liability.

  3. When emergency personnel arrive, if you have been injured, do not refuse transportation to the emergency room. People are often more injured than they realize at first. Delaying medical attention or driving yourself to the hospital can often do more harm. Plus, an unscrupulous insurance adjuster may try to argue that a refusal of transportation or immediate treatment is an indication that you were not injured. That simply is not true.

  4. Get the immediate medical attention you require and schedule any necessary follow up treatment.

  5. After receiving any immediately necessary medical attention contact VanDerGinst Law as soon as possible. There will be a multitude of things that should be done as soon as possible after the accident in order to maximize your financial recovery. For instance:

    1. Insurance companies use a variety of computer programs to assist in their process of adjusting accident claims. VanDerGinst Law knows what steps are considered important to those computer programs in order to ensure full compensation.

    2. We will conduct an investigation, secure accident reports, speak to witnesses, take relevant photographs, and secure all necessary evidence about the accident and your injuries.

    3. We will contact all the relevant parties and “put them on notice” with respect to the injury claim.

    4. We will help get your care replaced or repaired.

    5. We will get you a rental vehicle until your car is replaced or repaired.

    6. We will contact your medical providers and secure all of your medical records and bills.

    7. We will coordinate treatment with your treatment providers, if necessary.

    8. We will coordinate all insurance, Medicare and/or Medicaid benefits, if available, to get your medical bills taken care of.

    9. If no insurance is available we will try to set up liens with medical providers so that they will continue to provide services and hold off on payment until your case is resolved.

    10. We will compile lost income information.

    11. If you were on the job when the accident happened we will coordinate benefits with the appropriate worker’s compensation insurance.

    12. We will compile out of pocket information.

    13. We will secure whatever experts are necessary to solidify the case.

    14. At the appropriate time we will attempt to secure a settlement on your claim. If the other side is unreasonable we will file a lawsuit or explore other alternative dispute resolution avenues like arbitration or mediation.

    15. If a lawsuit is necessary we will prepare for trial and present the best possible case and persuasive arguments.

  6. DO NOT give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster for the other side. In fact, it is best if you can avoid conversations with the adjuster altogether.

  7. NEVER sign anything without having us review it.

  8. Journal any events that you miss out on due to the accident.

  9. Chronicle your injuries with photos, if possible.

  10. Then we represent you, your primary job will be to get well. You focus on following your doctor’s orders. We will take care of the rest.

What if a death occurred as a result of the accident?

Losing a loved one as the result of someone else’s negligence is clearly one of the most devastating things that a family can go through. The emotional loss is huge. But, the financial loss, especially if the loved one was a bread winner, can also be tragic.

In that event, the need for a personal injury attorney may be even greater. We understand what those who are left behind go through. We are here to help. In addition to handling all of the relevant points that are discussed above, we will:

  1. Obtain the coroner’s report.

  2. Open the estate.

  3. Secure an expert economist to evaluate the loss of financial support for those left behind.

  4. Secure any other necessary experts.

What if you were on the job when the accident happened?

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident while you were working you may have a worker’s compensation claim. If someone else’s negligence caused that that accident you may also have a claim against that person.

To obtain worker’s compensation benefits you do not have to prove who was negligent or that you were not the cause of the accident. You simply have to show that the accident happened while you were on the job in the course of your employment. If that is the case we can help you obtain your worker’s compensation benefits. Those benefits can include medical payments, lost wages and disability type payments.

In addition, if the accident was due to someone else’s negligence we can pursue additional compensation for pain suffered as a result of the injury and other types of compensation not covered by worker’s compensation benefits.

What about property damage?

When your motor vehicle is damaged in an accident, you will want to have it replaced or repaired and on the road again as quickly as possible. VanDerGinst Law can help you.

Who decides where my motor vehicle can be repaired?

If the party responsible for causing the accident has insurance, that company will want to get any damages repaired for as little as possible. As long as the repairs are made with reasonably workmanlike quality they can suggest where the work should be done. However, if you prefer the work be done somewhere else your decision should be given deference. But, if that repair shop has a higher bid than others the insurance company may argue that you must pay the difference. There is often a need to negotiate.

Will I be charged for towing or storage of my vehicle?

The insurance company of the person who caused the accident is obligated to pay towing and storage costs, according to what is reasonable in your area. If the vehicle is declared a total loss, the insurance company should pay to have it moved to a wrecking or salvage yard. If you refuse to allow the company to move your vehicle, you may be held liable for any storage or towing fees.

Who decides if my vehicle is repairable or “totaled”?

The insurance company of the liable party decides whether your vehicle is not worth repairing. If the cost of the labor and parts exceeds the market value of your vehicle, the company can declare it a “total loss” and pay you the market value. Market value is determined by the fair market value of similar vehicles in your area, or from an independent source such as the Kelley Blue Book. If you want to keep the vehicle after it has been declared a total loss and you have been paid, you may be able to do so if you pay the salvage value to the insurance company.

Who pays the bank loan if my vehicle is financed?

You will still be liable for any loans on the vehicle. If the fair market value of your vehicle is less than the outstanding loan, you are still required to pay the entire amount of the loan.

Do I get a rental vehicle while my vehicle is being repaired?

If the other driver caused the accident, then you can expect their insurance company to pay the costs of providing you with a rental vehicle. The vehicle will be a substitute for your own vehicle, that is, a vehicle of similar quality. If you want your own insurance company to pay for it while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced, then payment depends on several factors. If you caused the accident, check to see if your own insurance coverage includes rental vehicles. Many policies do not include rental vehicles unless it is specifically stated. Be sure to check with your own insurance company about insurance coverage on the rental vehicle, no matter who pays for its rental. Additionally, many companies will not rent vehicles to drivers under a certain age.

If for some reason you are not able, or do not want to rent a vehicle, you may be entitled to a per diem amount of money for the loss of use of your vehicle.

I just paid for my license plates. Do I have to pay for new ones?

After prorating the amount of any registration fees that are unused, the insurance company should compensate you, as well as any transfer fees for the new registrations.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death as the result of a motor vehicle accident, call VanDerGinst Law at 1-866-843-7367 or click here for a FREE online case evaluation. The initial consultation is FREE of charge. If we do not win your case, there is NO ATTORNEY FEE. In many cases a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. So, please contact us right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.


 



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