Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
Answers you can trust from an experienced Texas attorney
Car wrecks happen suddenly, but dealing with the consequences can become a full-time job. You may be recovering from your injuries for weeks or months - and the financial consequences of lost wages, medical bills and other expenses can last much longer than that. Between dealing with medical professionals and insurance companies, you may find it overwhelming. An experienced car accident lawyer can help.
- What should I do right after a car accident?
- Should I talk to the insurance company?
- If I feel OK, do I still need to see a doctor?
- My health insurance will pay my medical bills. Do I really need to file a claim?
- Can an attorney help me after a car wreck?
- How much is my case worth?
- Will it take long to resolve my case?
These questions and answers should give you an idea of how to proceed. However, every case is different. That's why we recommend that you reach out to Chad Jones Law, P.C. right away after your crash. We offer free consultations throughout the Bryan-College Station area, and if you can't come to our office, we can come to you. Call 1-800-64-JONES.
First, make sure the scene is safe. Call emergency services and assist if you are trained to do so. Even if there is no imminent danger at the scene, you want the police to investigate and file a report - a critical piece of evidence if you later need to file a claim.
Exchange insurance information and contact information with the other motorists involved in the wreck. Get contact information for any witnesses and the badge number of the police officer investigating the accident. Keep your comments to anyone else at the scene brief, and don't say anything admitting fault for the wreck. Just stick to the facts of what happened.
Seek medical help immediately, even if you feel fine. Be sure to document any medical visits. Tell the doctor who sees you that you were in a car accident.
You do need to notify your insurance company in a timely manner; otherwise, they may deny your claim. Again, stick to the facts of what happened. You're not required to answer their questions.
Finally, contact us right away. We can work with your care providers to demand the treatment you deserve and negotiate with the insurance on your behalf. Retaining an attorney can often make your claims process smoother and protect your legal rights.
Other than notifying your insurance company that you were in a wreck, no. You're not required to answer their questions, and you're not required to speak with an insurance company representing another motorist. Remember that the insurance companies are not on your side. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible, and they'll use anything you say for that purpose.
If you retain Chad Jones Law, P.C. to represent you, we can handle the negotiations with the insurance companies on your behalf. We can notify the insurance carrier that you have retained an attorney and that they should direct further inquiries to our office. If an insurance company tries to contact you, politely decline to answer and remind them that they can speak with your attorney.
Absolutely. It's common for car wrecks to cause injuries with delayed onset symptoms, such as traumatic brain injuries or damage to internal organs. Seeing a doctor right away is the best option for your health. Tell the doctor who treats you that you were involved in an accident, and follow his or her instructions.
Getting medical help right away may also help your legal case. If you wait three days after the wreck to see a doctor, the insurance company may later argue that you could have been hurt during that three-day span rather than being injured in the car crash itself. The sooner you see a doctor - and document the appointment - the better off you are.
While health insurance is a good way to get your medical bills paid right away, it usually isn't the best long-term solution. Health insurance companies are usually reluctant to pay for medical expenses resulting from a car accident, as that should be up to the car insurance company. Your health insurance carrier may want to be reimbursed for those expenses - and if you can't pay them back, your premiums may increase, depending on your policy.
Also, remember that health insurance only pays for a portion of your care. You'll still be responsible for co-payments and deductibles, whereas a car insurance claim can often pay for the full cost of your medical care up to the policy limit. Health insurance also won't reimburse you for lost wages, pain and suffering, or other expenses associated with the wreck.
Yes. Contacting Chad Jones Law, P.C. as soon as possible after your wreck can help you in a number of ways:
- We can negotiate with the insurance on your behalf, so you can focus on your recovery.
- We can work with your healthcare providers and arrange for your medical bills to be paid through an attorney's lien, if needed.
- We can thoroughly investigate your wreck and fight for full compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Because we handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don't get paid unless we win, there is no up-front cost and no obligation. We offer a free consultation. And if you do choose to retain us, we can see you through from start to finish.
Because every case is unique, there is no single answer to this question. However, your compensation for a car wreck can include the following:
- Medical bills, including the full cost of treatment for injuries sustained in the wreck.
- Lost wages while recovering from your injuries.
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress.
- Property damage whether to your vehicle or other property.
- Modifications to your home if you are permanently disabled.
- Lost earning potential if you are unable to work or need to work reduced hours.
If the conduct that led to your wreck was especially reckless or intentional, we may also be able to pursue exemplary damages - called "punitive damages" in some other states - which are additional payments made by the at-fault driver to send a strong message that his or her actions were unacceptable.
That depends on the case. In general, we begin negotiating with the insurance company after you have completed your medical treatment, and from that point forward it usually takes three to six months to reach a fair settlement. We pride ourselves on working quickly and efficiently for our clients; however, it's important to remember that your case needs to be resolved with a favorable result for you. That's because you often only get one settlement.
If your case goes to trial, it will typically take one to two years before we actually go before a judge, although a case can, and often does, settle in that intervening time. While this may seem like a long time, you can be rest assured that you can count on us every step of the way - and we won't charge you a cent unless we recover on your behalf, even if that takes months or years.