Car Accident FAQs
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about auto accidents.
A car accident is an overwhelming experience, it’s common not to know what to do or who to call next. While the experienced car accident attorneys at Tippens & Zurosky are always available to speak with you, here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about car accidents.
Q. What should you do if you are involved in an automobile accident in Charlotte?
The first thing is: Stay as calm as possible. When an automobile accident happens, adrenaline kicks in, and the heart starts pumping, especially when our loved ones are involved. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you! Instead follow these steps to be prepared, and keep the legal rights of you and your loved ones protected.
Check on your passengers and the drivers, assess how serious the injuries are to those involved, and see how bad the damage is to your own car. Call for medical attention immediately. Do not try to move someone complaining of an injury, especially if it is to their neck and back. Immediately call the police and if the police officers are not doing a report, request that one be done. Make sure you get the names and badge numbers of the police officers, state troopers, or sheriff’s deputies that have responded to your accident. Do not move your vehicle until directed to do by the responding police officer.
Q. How much information do I need to file a claim?
Gather as much information as possible at the scene, including obtaining personal information from the driver that hit you. If they are denying responsibility for the accident, take pictures of the accident scene, and the vehicles – ideally before the vehicles are moved, and speak with independent witnesses who saw the accident. Get their names, addresses, and phone numbers, and when you speak to the investigating police officer, make sure that he or she has this information and preferably talks to the witnesses at the scene.
Q. Should I go to the doctor after a car accident even if I feel fine?
It is common for back, neck, and head injuries to get worse over time, and not heal properly without medical treatment. Another problem with delaying your medical care is that the liability automobile insurance company for the negligent party may argue that your injuries are not related to the accident caused by their insured. Also, the more time that passes between an automobile accident, and the first time you see a medical professional, the doctors may be less able to say that your injuries are related to the automobile accident.
Q. The other driver’s insurance company wants to do a recorded statement. What should I do?
Don’t Do a Recorded Statement!
Often right after an automobile accident, the at-fault insurance company for the driver that hit you will call and want to do a recorded statement. It sounds simple enough because they only want to ask you about what happened. Like most things in life, nothing is ever simple, and that definitely includes recorded statements! In a contributory negligence state like North Carolina, it only takes 1% of fault on your part for the insurance company to deny your claim. And, remember, the police officer does not “assign” fault on the police report, so the one that is looking to place the blame on you is…you guessed it the other driver’s insurance company! Insurance adjusters are specially trained to do what is best for their company, and what is best for their company is not paying your claim. Insurance adjusters are also trained to ask you the right questions in the right way to let them take the position that you were negligent. Don’t do a recorded statement, and instead call Tippens & Zurosky so we can help you!
Q. What if the at fault driver doesn’t have car insurance?
If you are hit by an uninsured driver, your uninsured motorist coverage steps into the place of the absent liability insurance company of the at-fault driver. You might think that your insurance company is going to bend over backwards to help you navigate your uninsured claim. But, as has been discussed previously, your insurance company is in the business of making money. How much money they make is simply the difference between the amount of premiums they collect, and the amount of claims that they pay out on. And, that includes your uninsured claim!
It is normal to think that because you are dealing with your own insurance company that they will treat you fairly, or even better than any other claimant. But in actuality, your uninsured motorist claim is treated by your insurance company just like any other claim. You have to prove your case to your uninsured automobile insurance company just like you would if you were dealing with the at-fault drivers’ automobile liability insurance company.
Q. Why shouldn’t you settle with the insurance company?
We Can Generally Negotiate a Higher Settlement on Your Behalf: Insurance companies set what is called a reserve for every claim. A reserve is simply the amount of money they think they are going to have to pay to settle your claim. Naturally, if an attorney is involved the reserve is generally set higher to account for the fact that the attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf, and litigate the claim.
Speaking with Insurance Companies Can Be Difficult: We are in the business of dealing with insurance companies, so let us talk to them on your behalf. Insurance adjusters are trained to help save their companies money, and sometimes this is at your expense. Let’s face it if an insurance company can find a way to not pay on a claim, they are going to do so. It’s good business for them and bad news for you.
Q. Why should I call the car accident attorneys at Tippens & Zurosky?
After the accident, and after you have sought the necessary medical attention, contact the Charlotte auto accident attorneys at Tippens & Zurosky at (704) 343-0018, to schedule a consultation so that we may assist you. We will deal with the insurance company for the person that hit you, and also investigate if there are benefits under your own insurance policy that you may be eligible to receive such as medical payments, or personal injury protection coverage. Remember, insurance companies basically do two things: collect premiums, and pay claims. The difference is their profit! Insurance companies have trained adjusters whose job it is to minimize your claim and save the insurance companies money. Let the Charlotte auto accident attorneys at Tippens & Zurosky help you level the playing field.