FAQ about Car Accidents
When you've been injured in a car accident in the Hazleton area, you may not know what to do next. Like most people in that situation, you probably have a lot of questions. McNelis Law will answer some of the more common ones below. If you have other questions, contact us to schedule a free consultation. Attorney McNelis has been helping people injured in car accidents get fair compensation since 1982.
- What should I do if I've been in a car accident?
- Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?
- Can I sue?
- What if the other driver's insurance company contacts me?
- What if a driver is uninsured or underinsured?
If you are able, there are some things you can do that will help document what happened.
- Notify the police, even if the accident was minor. They will talk to all parties and fill out a report.
- Seek medical treatment, even if you think you aren't hurt that badly. You could be suffering from injuries that aren't immediately obvious.
- Record important information. Write down the names and contact information of all drivers and any witnesses involved. Write down the location of the accident and the make and model of all vehicles that were involved.
- Take photos of the scene.
Also, write down a description of how the accident happened as soon as you are able to do so. Your memory of it may fade in the following days.
You are not required to have a lawyer and could choose to handle a claims process on your own. But you may not get as much compensation as you would with an experienced lawyer on your side. Remember, insurance companies are always looking for ways to pay you less or pay you nothing at all. If there is a question of liability, they could try to put the blame for the accident on you. And remember that even as they're saying you don't need an attorney, they're on the phone with their lawyers, trying to find ways to reduce their own liability.
An experienced attorney knows how insurance companies work and can help protect your rights. Attorney Edward P. McNelis has been dealing with insurance companies since 1982. He doesn't put up with their attempts to deny clients fair compensation.
If you suffer a serious injury in a car accident, you may have the option of suing the negligent driver. It can depend on the type of insurance you select-"Full Tort" or "Limited Tort." Remember, though, that even if you take legal action, it may not lead to a lawsuit. An experienced attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement with the other driver's insurance company.
There are some cases in which an insurance company may not be willing to negotiate a fair settlement. In these cases, it may be necessary to file suit. The insurance company may then increase the offer to avoid going to court. Each case is different. An attorney from McNelis Law can advise you on your options and help you decide the best way to proceed.
We advise talking to Attorney Edward McNelis before talking to or signing anything from the at-fault driver's insurance company. If you've been in an accident, the other driver's insurance company may contact you and ask you to give a recorded statement. This request may come when you are still reeling from the accident and aren't quite thinking straight yet. The insurance company knows this. They are hoping to try to get to you to say something they can spin, to make it seem like you were somehow at fault for what happened.
Remember, you are under no obligation to speak with the insurance company. When you retain McNelis Law to handle your case, we'll immediately contact the insurance company and inform them that you have retained an attorney. From that point forward, they should call us, not you, with any inquiries. If they do call you, just tell them to direct all questions to your attorney.
In some cases, the negligent driver does not have any insurance, or does not have enough insurance. You have the option of buying UM (uninsured) or UIM (underinsured) coverage on your insurance policy. In most cases, if you are hit by a negligent driver, that driver's insurance company is responsible for paying your claim. But if you are hit by a driver who is uninsured (or an unknown driver in a hit-and-run), and have UM coverage, your insurance company will pay.
If you are hit by a negligent driver who is underinsured, that driver's insurance company would pay a limited amount of your claim. If you have UIM coverage on your policy, your insurance company would cover the rest, up to your policy limit.
We recommend that all drivers get UM and UIM coverage. If you are hit by a negligent driver who is uninsured or underinsured and don't have such coverage, your options are limited. You can sue the driver, but he or she may not have the resources to pay any judgment. UM and UIM coverage are fairly inexpensive, and the protection they give to you and your family is well worth the small cost.