Information from Our Kansas City Car Accident Attorneys
Auto accidents account for a high percentage of personal injury claims in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every 10 seconds someone in America is involved in a car accident and more than 100 fatalities occur each day on our nation’s roadways. At our personal injury firm, we understand that the days and weeks following a serious car accident are traumatic, stressful, and overwhelming, and we have provided the following information to help you be prepared and aware of how to protect your legal rights.
- What can I do at the scene of the accident?
- What steps should I take in the days and weeks following an accident?
- How do I know who is responsible for the accident?
- Who pays my medical bills and car damage?
- Do I need an auto accident attorney?
- After a car accident – DO’s and DON’Ts
- Auto accident statistics
What can I do at the scene of the accident?
First, stop. Stop as soon as you can without obstructing traffic. You do not want to be charged with a “hit-and-run,” even if the car accident was not your fault. Hit-and-run penalties are severe. You may have your driver’s license suspended, be fined, or sent to jail. You must also exchange information with the other driver – your name and driver’s license number, the vehicle identification number of the car you are driving, the name and address of the car’s owner, the name and address of your insurance company, and your insurance policy number.
If someone is seriously injured, call for an ambulance. Do not move the injured person unless necessary as moving may exacerbate the injuries. Call the police. When the police arrive, cooperate by supplying your name, address, license number, and insurance information.
Keep accurate notes at the scene of the car accident. The more information you have the better. Note all significant facts; memories fade quickly. If you have a camera available, take pictures. Keep your notes and information strictly to yourself. In case of a death, serious injury or property damage, consult a car accident attorney as soon as possible.
What steps should I take in the days and weeks following the car accident?
DO NOT sign any document without talking to an attorney. DO NOT accept a settlement without consulting an auto accident attorney. Also, because every state has statutes of limitations and procedural requirements that place deadlines on when you can file a lawsuit, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Statutes of limitations differ from state to state and depend also upon the nature of the claim. In Arizona, Missouri, and Kansas, the car and auto accident attorneys at Cullan Law can help you understand these deadlines and make sure your rights are protected.
How do I know who is responsible for the accident?
Proving that an auto accident is someone else’s fault can be very important. You may need to prove the accident was another person’s fault not only to the other person’s insurance company but also to your insurance company or even in court. Simply saying you know it wasn’t your fault is not sufficient. You need of evidence that shows someone else was negligent or careless and that this carelessness caused the accident. The auto accident attorneys at our firm have advanced training in accident reconstruction and engineering. They utilize this experience to build a strong case for our clients and hold responsible parties accountable for auto accidents. In addition to car accident cases, our firm handles all types of motor vehicle claims, including those involving semi truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, distracted driving accident, drunk driving accidents, and railroad accidents.
Who pays my medical bills and car damage?
That depends on who is at fault, whether you and the other driver have insurance, and what kind of insurance you have. There are two major types of automobile insurance: liability and collision.
Liability – If you are to blame for an accident, your liability insurance will pay the other driver for property damage and personal injuries up to your policy’s limits. If you are not at fault, the other driver’s liability insurance pays for your car damage and personal injuries up to the policy limits of the other driver’s policy.
Collision – Collision insurance pays for damages to your car no matter who is at fault, minus the policy deductible.
You may have other insurance, too. Your health insurance, for example, may pay your medical bills. Also, your automobile insurance may have medical payments coverage. If so, it can pay the cost of necessary medical treatment for you and your passenger up to the medical payment policy limits.
If the other driver caused the accident and is not insured, your own policy may make up the difference for your personal injuries and damages. If you do not have these kinds of insurance or if your damages are more than the policy’s limit, you can sue the other driver.
For more specifics on your coverage, contact your insurance company as well as an experienced car accident attorney. Our car and auto accident attorneys have the experience and resources to thoroughly evaluate your claim and ensure your rights are protected.
Do I need an auto accident attorney?
Yes. If you are seriously injured in a car accident, you can find yourself quickly thrown into our complex legal system. Insurance companies representing the party at fault have a team of adjustors, investigators, and attorneys working against you.
Many accident victims, already physically and financially stressed, choose to delay hiring a personal injury attorney or attempt to represent their own legal interests. Experienced auto accident attorneys understand the complexities of our legal system, however, and can ensure that you receive maximum compensation under the law for your injuries.
After a Car Accident – DO’s and DON’Ts
Our firm has provided the following information to help you be prepared in the event of an auto accident.
What to do after a car accident:
- Immediately call for medical help if someone is injured.
- Call the police.
- Exchange information with the other parties involved.
- Report the car accident to your insurance agent as soon as possible.
- Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Collect any physical evidence at the scene of the accident.
- Gather details from the accident: draw a diagram of the accident; note the date and time; the type of weather; and the location of the accident including any landmarks.
- Call an auto accident attorney.
What NOT to do after a motor vehicle accident:
- Panic. Remain calm and call for help.
- Leave the scene of the accident.
- Discuss the auto accident with anyone or blame anyone, including yourself.
- Wait. The longer you wait, the harder it will be.
- Speak to anybody from the at-fault person’s insurance company before consulting a car accident attorney.
- Sign any papers given to you by an insurance company or agree to a settlement until you get legal advice.
Auto Accident Statistics
The car accident attorneys at our firm understand the devastation that can occur as a result of serious auto accidents. Our dedicated medical-legal team is committed to restoring security and quality of life for victims and their families. We are also focused on preventing injury to others, and recent auto accident statistics confirm the importance of this goal:
- 6 million auto accidents occur each year in the United States
- nearly 3 million auto accident injuries
- 40,000 auto accident fatalities
- 38% of fatalities involved alcohol
- 8% of fatalities involved pedestrians
- 63% of fatalities were attributed to not wearing seat belts
- 28% of traffic accidents are caused by distracted driving
If you or a family member is involved in a serious auto accident in Missouri or Kansas it is important to contact our car accident attorneys as soon as possible. Our highly-trained team can help investigate and prepare your case to ensure that your rights are protected. Please contact Cullan & Cullan today to learn more.