Storer & Steen Discuss What To Do After A Car Accident And Other FAQs.
Following are some of the most common questions people have asked us after they have been in a car, truck, bicycle or motorcycle accident. Remember that everyone's situation is unique and this information is not meant to be taken as legal advice. For answers to your specific questions and to schedule a free initial consultation with our firm, call our office in Boise at 208-323-0024.
What Should I Do If I Am In An Accident?
Most importantly, get treatment for your injuries and then call us immediately! If you are unsure whether your injuries need treatment, see a doctor just to be safe. Do not hesitate to go to the ER if you feel it is warranted. You can call Storer & Steen if you are not sure what type of doctor you should see. You must also exchange insurance information with the other party involved in the accident. Make sure you get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all witnesses. A good witness can go a long way in helping your case. Another important tip is to not post anything on social media. Your comments may be misinterpreted and may later harm your case.
It is helpful to document your injuries and write down how you are feeling each day, as well as the dates and results of each doctor visit. This helps us know how much to claim or demand for your pain and suffering. If possible, take photos of the accident scene and your injuries (bruises, etc.) immediately following the incident since this can bolster your case by providing graphic evidence of you injuries. It is also wise to take photos of your injuries as they heal. Make sure to also request a copy of your complete insurance policy handbook (usually about 20 pages), not just the declarations page (usually a single page).
How Much Can I Recover for My Injuries?
The answer to this question depends on many factors. Every car accident case has two components: liability and damages. Even if you were partially at fault, you may still be eligible to recover compensation although the amount of damages may be reduced in proportion to the degree of fault of the parties .
Typical damages in car accident cases include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, mileage while driving to treatment, permanent disfigurement, and sometimes punitive damages based on the particularly egregious behavior of the at fault party (ie DUI cases). It is not enough that you incurred a large amount of damages. You must also prove that the accident was the cause of your injuries. This requires a doctor's opinion. Proving damages in a courtroom requires experience and legal knowledge. Do not attempt to do this on your own. Storer & Steen will fight to recover the maximum amount of compensation.
What if I Was Involved in a Hit-And-Run? Who Will Pay?
To recover under your uninsured motorist coverage in a hit-and-run case, there must have been actual physical contact between the vehicles or else you must establish the existence of the other vehicle by clear and convincing evidence. These rules are strict in these cases in an effort to prevent fraudulent claims. Idaho generally requires “uninsured motorist coverage” (UM) on your own policy to cover this type of situation. The claim requirements regarding UM coverage are complex and are often designed to make your claim process difficult to understand for a non-attorney. It is unwise to go at this alone. Please call Storer &Steen at 208-323-00254 to review your case so that no deadlines are missed or conditions in the claim process overlooked.
What if the At-Fault Party Doesn't Have Insurance?
Idaho generally requires “uninsured motorist coverage” (UM) on your own policy to cover this type of situation. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you may still recover your damages. Unless you rejected this coverage in writing, it is likely part of your insurance coverage. Don't assume that you are without options. Please call Storer &Steen at 208-323-00254 to review your case so that no deadlines are missed or conditions in the claim process overlooked and help determine the best path forward.
What if My Damages Exceed the At-Fault Party's Insurance Policy Limits?
Many people in Idaho have automobile insurance policy limits of $25,000/$50,000. This means the amount of insurance coverage available is up to $25,000 per person, but only up to a total of $50,000 per accident no matter how badly or how many people were injured.
If you are injured and the damages exceed the policy limits of the at-fault driver, you may be able to recover additional compensation through your own “underinsured motorist coverage” (UIM). The claim requirements regarding UIM coverage are complex and are often designed to make your claim process difficult to understand for a non-attorney. It is unwise to go at this alone. Please call Storer &Steen at 208-323-00254 to review your case so that no deadlines are missed or conditions in the claim process overlooked.
What if I Was Partially At Fault?
Even if you were partially at fault, you may still be able to recover compensation. If your case proceeds to a jury trial, your recovery will be reduced by the amount of your comparative fault. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 and found to be 25 percent at fault, your recovery would be reduced to $75,000 based on your pro rata degree of fault.
I Have Health Insurance. Can I Still Recover?
Yes. Even if your health insurance provider paid for a portion of your medical bills for your accident-related injuries, your health insurance provider will be put on notice that you are represented by an attorney so that it has the opportunity to assert a lien for reimbursement on your potential recovery. We will negotiate a lump-sum payment amount with your health insurance provider to resolve the lien as well as any other outstanding medical bills incurred as a result of the accident, should there be any.
Can I Still Recover If I Wasn't Wearing My Seat-belt?
Yes. In Idaho, failing to wear your seat-belt or even receiving a citation for failing to wear your seat-belt is not admissible to show liability for the accident. There are situations where you damages may be reduced if it is shown by the at fault driver that your injuries would have been reduced had you been wearing a seat belt.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
You must settle your claim of file suit within two years in Idaho, five years in Utah. Uninsured and underinsured claims generally allow for a five year statute of limitations.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company?
The decision to speak with the insurance company is up to you. However, you should keep in mind the other person's insurance company will look out for their interests, not yours. The questions will be framed to extract information from you that may be manipulated to make it look like you were at fault for the collision. The adjuster may ask you to make a recorded statement to help them determine who was at fault. This statement may be used in court. You should always discuss this with the attorneys at Storer& Steen before speaking with an insurance company.
Contact Us With Your Car Accident Questions
To learn more about your options following an accident, whether it be a car, motorcycle, truck bicycle or any other type of accident or injury, call us at 208-323-0024 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also email us at LawDocStorer@gmail.com.