Read these 10 Vehicle Accidents Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Personal Injury tips and hundreds of other topics.
If the other driver in an automobile accident did not carry insurance, you may make a claim against your own personal auto policy. However, understand that you then become the claimant, and if you are attorney-represented, it will delay matters further. You may find out the other driver does not carry insurance. You must tell your own carrier this, and go through your carrier to repair your car if you wish, less your deductible. If you are a pedestrian and are struck by a driver, you may also make a claim under the uninsured motorist section of your policy. If your damages for personal injury (monetary, for medical bills and treatment, and general damages - pain and suffering), exceed the liability limit of the other person's carrier, you may also turn to your own policy if you carry this type of insurance. The same standards apply. treatment length, whether it is accident-related, and whether it will have some permanent impact on your health are all factors to consider when the company will settle with you. The company will settle with you, whether you have an attorney or not. They will not pay you more money if you have an attorney. They should pay you what they owe you. You may wind up with less if an attorney gets involved, due to the agreed-upon fees charged by the attorney by you.
In different states, liability statutes vary. Comparative negligence is a factor in percentage rates. For example, if you are 80 percent at fault, don't expect to receive anything other than a denial letter from the other person's insurance carrier. Each state has its own jurisdicational guidelines, and its own judicial interpretation of those statutes. You do not need a lawyer to explain them to you. Your personal auto agent can explain why you can or cannot expect to collect from the other party's carrier. If you have first party collision coverage on your own policy, you may make a claim against your policy, repair your vehicle, less your deductible, and have your insurance company attempt to collect your deductible from the other carrier via your insurance carrier's subrogation department. However, it may be awhile before they are able to do so. In some instances, liability is usually accepted by the other person's carrier. For example, rear-end accidents, pedestrian hits, and hitting parked and unoccuppied vehicles are usually paid in full. Left turns, intersection accidents, multiple car accidents, or where conditions weren't clear at the time (be they weather, who was driving, if there was coverage at the time) are harder to determine, and may be harder to determine. Coverage issues with the other party are totally out of your control, so it is usually best to go through your own carrier, as the coverage issue may not be sorted out in time for your vehicle to be repaired without you meeting the burden of mitigating your own damages, which is what the other party's company expects you to do. Again, you are expected to take action in a way that any reasonable person would do to mitigate, or lessen, his or her damages, and not incur excessive expense.
It's a very scary experience to be involved in an accident, but the most important thing is to make sure that you are not hurt physically or require immediate medical attention. Many times you will call the authorities or someone will call them for you, and if you feel at all unwell, allow an ambulance to take you for medical help. If you had a smaller accident, still insist on calling in the police. This is a good way to make sure that your statement goes onto an official record. If you need to hire a lawyer later, having documentation of the accident will help your case. Never leave the scene of an accident, no matter how small, until you have made sure that both parties are all right and that insurance information has been exchanged.
When you bring an attorney into the negotiations, insurance companies are more likely to take notice. If you have a lawyer and your insurance company contacts you instead of him/her, make sure you don't give a recorded statement to them. Instead, consult with your lawyer before giving statements or signing any paperwork. Don't accept any checks marked "final payment" without conferring with your lawyer, these checks once signed can be used by the insurance company as proof that you agreed to accept that amount as total compensation. It is often better to just refer all communication from your insurance company to your attorney so that they can handle the details.
It is important to know whether or not you live in an owner liabilty state. If you do, you could be liable for damages caused by the negligence of anyone who is driving your motor vehicle with your direct or implied permission. This is the single most important factor when lending your car.
The following states are no fault states, which means the auto insurance policies are slightly different than other states: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah and the District of Columbia. No fault insurance means that there is a system in place that requires all drivers to have auto insurance and there are limits on the amounts of money you can sue other drivers for. Under no fault policies, your own insurance company pays for part (or most) of the damages incurred (regardless of who caused the accident). There is then limited liability on the part of the person who caused the accident. Be sure to do research on your own state to see exactly how the no fault laws apply to you.
Sometimes, auto accidents are not the fault of either driver. Accidents can be caused by equipment in your car that malfunctioned, or other faulty parts of your automobile. Car defects are the responsibility of the car manufacturer, if you can show that the company was the cause of the defect. These can happen during manufacture, design, or even shipment. Accidents that could be caused by a car defect should be researched - there are usually recalls on vehicles that have known defects. If in doubt, a capable auto accident attorney can help you with claims against car companies.
Many people are injured on boats and personal watercrafts.
The boat owner is liable for any injury caused by the negligent operation of the vessel, whether the negligence consists of a violation of statutes of the state, or in the failure to observe ordinary care in the operation of the vessel.
The owner is not liable unless the boat is being used with his or her expressed or implied consent. It is presumed that the boat is being operated with the knowledge and consent of the owner if it is driven at the time of the injury by his or her son, daughter, spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, or other immediate member of the owner's family.
To protect yourself as an owner you should always make sure you have the proper insurance for the boat. Depending on the size of the boat, this insurance may be written as part of your homeowner's policy or a separate marine insurance policy. Like auto insurance, every company's policy is different, so it is important to understand what the particular policy covers before you purchase it.
When you are involved in an auto accident, you'll have more damages to track besides your car or medical bills. It's important to keep track of other expenses you've had because of the accident. Make sure to keep records of lost days of work, all medical bills and prescription bills, even food and hotel bills you might have had from being stranded somewhere. When you file your claim with your auto insurance company, give them copies of all the bills you've paid in relation to your accident, and make notations as to why they were related. That way, if the insurance company refuses to pay for something, you have a record of what you've sent them.
Most insurance companies offer uninsured motorists coverage. Some companies do not offer underinsured motorist's coverage. You should purchase insurance only from a coverage that offers both types; personal injury damages may well exceed the limits of coverage available under a negligent parties' insurance.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|