There are many things to consider after you or a loved one has been injured because of the negligence of another. This page consists of some of the most frequently asked questions we have encountered from those who have been in an accident.
Should I Call The Police After An Accident?
After you have been in an accident, it is a good idea to call the police to come to the scene. The police will create an official accident report of the incident. This report will document what happened in the accident as well as the accident scene. Even if the accident is relatively minor, you may still want to call in law enforcement so as to protect your legal rights in any subsequent disputes over liability.
In addition, if you have been the victim of a crime such as a hit and run or if you were injured by a drunk driver, you will want to contact the police to report the incident.
Who Will Pay My Initial Medical Expenses?
Immediately following an accident, if you are injured, seek medical attention. It is important to see a doctor if you have injuries from the accident for two reasons. First, you need to make sure you get the medical treatment that you need. There is no need to make your injuries worse by delaying the treatment you need. Second, by seeing a doctor you are making sure to document the injuries you have sustained as a result of the accident.
If you have been in an accident, especially a serious one, you may be in the hospital and rehabilitation for quite some time. Initially, you are going to have to cover your medical expenses. You can do this either by using your own insurance, or if you don't have insurance you will have to pay for the expense out of pocket.
Should I Talk To The Other Party's Insurance Adjuster?
Insurance companies are looking to limit their liability and lower the amount of money that they are going to have to pay out to cover accident expenses. It is important to remember this when speaking to the opposing party's insurance company, as the insurance adjuster is going to be looking out for the best interests of his or her employer. It is also important to keep this in mind because the insurance company may use any statements that you make against you. Remember, the other driver's insurance company is going to be looking to limit its liability as much as it can so it will be watching for anything that you say or do that it can use to shift some of the blame for the accident or your injuries onto you.
For this reason, having an attorney right from the outset of the claims process is a good idea as your attorney will be looking out for your best interests and will fight to get you fair compensation from the insurance company and responsible party for your injuries.
When Can I Contact An Attorney?
You can contact an attorney immediately after you have been in an accident. An attorney can help you through the claims process, deal with the insurance companies, and represent you in court should you choose to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries. If you are hesitant to contact a lawyer because you are worried about the fees the attorney may charge, it is important to note that many personal injury attorneys, including Jeremy Rosenthal, work on a contingency basis in car accident cases. This means that you do not pay any attorney fees unless your case has a favorable outcome.
How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit Against The Person Responsible For My Injury?
If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit, one of the things that you will need to keep in mind is that you must bring your claim within a certain amount of time. The amount of time that you will have to file a lawsuit depends on the type of claim that you have. The time limit is called a statute of limitations.
For motor vehicle accidents, in Colorado, a person has three years to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. C.R.S. 13-80-101 (2016). For other personal injury claims, such as a slip and fall, the statute of limitations is just two years. C.R.S. 13-10-102 (2016). It is also important to note that there are things that can toll, or pause, the time limit set forth under the law. If you believe you have a claim, then you can still contact an attorney to discuss your case, even if you believe you may be outside of the applicable time frame.
Do I Have To File A Lawsuit?
The short answer is it will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. A lawsuit need only be filed if you and the party responsible for your injuries cannot come to an agreement about any compensation you are seeking for your injuries. If you and the opposing party can reach an agreement that will satisfactorily cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering, then there may be no need to resort to using the civil court system.
One thing to keep in mind is that most lawsuits do not go all the way to trial. The vast majority of civil cases settle prior to going to trial. So while you may need to file a lawsuit to preserve the statute of limitations or because you and the opposing party weren't able to come to an agreement outside of court, it doesn't mean that you will necessarily be going to trial.
Are There Alternatives To Going To Court?
One way that the parties in a lawsuit can reach a settlement agreement without having to go through the time and expense of a trial is to go to mediation. Mediation is “[a] method of nonbinding dispute resolution involving a neutral third party who tries to help the disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable solution.” Black's Law Dictionary 1070 (9th ed. 2009). The parties can use mediation to resolve the entire case or to reach an agreement on particular issues so as to narrow the amount of things that need to be litigated at trial. In some states, mediation is mandatory prior to trial.
What If I Get Hit By A Driver Who Is From Out Of State?
If you have been injured in an accident by an out of state driver, then you may wonder if and where you can file suit against the person responsible for the accident. In order to be able to file suit against a person, the court that you are seeking to file in must have personal jurisdiction over the opposing party. Personal jurisdiction means, “[a] court's power to bring a person into its adjudicative process.” Black's Law Dictionary 930 (9th ed. 2009).
Essentially, personal jurisdiction is required because a person cannot be sued just anywhere. The court has to have some power over the person in order for it to enforce a judgment against him or her. The rules of jurisdiction can be quite complicated and an experienced attorney will be able to assist you and make sure you file you lawsuit in the appropriate court.
What Kind Of Compensation Can I Recover For My Injuries?
In a personal injury case, the damages that you recover through a settlement agreement or a jury verdict are designed to compensate you for your injuries and make you whole. There are three main categories of damages in injury cases: economic damages, noneconomic damages, and punitive damages.
The first two categories of damages are designed to compensate you for losses related to the accident and the injuries you have suffered. Economic damages typically include things like past and future medical bills and past and future lost wages. Noneconomic damages typically include things like pain and suffering and loss of consortium. The last category of damages is punitive damages. Unlike economic or noneconomic damages, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for past bad behavior and deter any similar future actions.
Contact A Colorado Auto Accident Attorney
An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can help you with your personal injury case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident or suffered another type of injury then please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal. Jeremy has over a decade of experience representing clients in Colorado personal injury cases and his practice is devoted exclusively to this area of law. He offers a free consultation for all potential clients. Call his office today to discuss your case, or fill out the online form here.