Car Accident Injury? Call (203) 877-9911
Attorney Mark DellaValle represents individuals injured in car accidents throughout the state of Connecticut? Whether you were injured in Bridgeport, New Haven, Norwalk, Milford, or any other area of Connecticut, call Mark for a free consultation and get on the road to recovery.
I was just in a car accident, what should I do?
If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident with another vehicle there are certain steps you should take:
– Stop. Do not leave the scene of the accident. You could be charged with a crime if you do so.
– Determine whether you, any passengers or the other operator require emergency medical attention. If so, call 911.
– Call the police. The police officer will prepare a report to determine who caused the collision, obtain important information about the other driver and his automobile insurance company and contact medical personnel and a towing service if needed.
– Take photographs of the other vehicle and accident scene.
– Get the names and addresses of all parties and of any witnesses.
– Even if your car is drivable you may also wish to call a loved one to the scene as you may be too emotionally upset to drive.
In many instances you may not feel any pain or discomfort until a day or two after the collision. In that situation you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Finally, contact an experienced attorney who handles personal injury claims. It is not advisable to take on an insurance company by yourself. There are also important time deadlines to bring a personal injury claim.
The accident wasn’t my fault, do I have to report it to my insurance company?
Yes, as most auto insurance policies require you to do so. Even if you believe the other driver was completely at fault you should notify your own auto insurance company as the other driver may not have insurance or may not have sufficient insurance to compensate you for all the physical harms and losses you suffered as well as the property damage you sustained to your vehicle. Further, you may have medical payment coverage commonly referred to as “med pay” on your own auto insurance policy which would cover your medical bills up to the amount of coverage you purchased. For example if you have $1,000.00 in med pay, your own auto insurance would cover up to $1,000.00 of your medical bills.
What do I do if the other person doesn’t have auto insurance?
Probably the most important coverage you have is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage known as “UM” or “UIM”. UM/UIM is mandatory coverage that must be included on all policies in Connecticut. So, if the other driver did not have insurance or did not have sufficient coverage to compensate you for all the harms and losses you suffered you can make a UM/UIM claim against your own auto insurance company. Remember, you are paying premiums for this mandatory insurance coverage in the event something like this happens to you.
Will my insurance go up if I make an uninsured motorist claim?
They shouldn’t. Typically, insurance rates rise if you are at fault for a collision. In this situation you are merely making a claim for something you not only are entitled to do under the policy but also have been paying mandatory premiums for, namely UM coverage.
In addition, you probably will be making a property damage claim for your vehicle. As a claim has been made to repair your car, adding a UM claim to take care of your injuries shouldn’t make any further difference in your policy rates. Finally, if your rates do increase at renewal time you can shop around with other insurance companies as most of the major companies take turns offering the lowest rates to attract new customers.
When should I contact a lawyer after a car accident?
If you are involved in a minor fender bender that only involves property damage to your car you most likely do not need a lawyer. However, if you are feeling pain, discomfort or tightness you should be examined by a doctor to diagnosis and treat your injuries. In these injury cases it can be beneficial for you to contact an experienced attorney who handles personal injury claims. Remember the insurance company’s duty is to their shareholder’s bottom line. As such, you would benefit from having someone fighting on your behalf. In most situations the sooner you get to an attorney the better as an attorney can help gather and preserve evidence for your claim and deal with the insurance company on your behalf so you can concentrate on getting better.
The other driver’s insurance company wants me to give a recorded statement. What should I do?
Often after a car accident the at fault driver’s insurance company will request a recorded statement which could be used as evidence against you in the event a lawsuit is filed. Other times they will request an authorization to obtain all your medical records which can include sensitive materials. While most representatives of the insurance companies are polite their duty of loyalty is to their insured and their shareholder’s bottom line.
If you are asked to either give a recorded statement of sign an authorization it would be to your benefit to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney so your rights are protected.
Under Connecticut law all personal injury claims are handled on a contingency fee basis so there is no up front payment due for an initial consultation.
Who pays my medical bills after a car accident?
If you have medical payment coverage “med pay” on your own auto insurance policy then it would pay your medical providers up to the amount of coverage you purchased. If you do not have med pay then you would use your own group health insurance. It is important to note that the at fault driver’s insurance company normally will not “pay as you go” for your medical treatment. The reason is simple – you do not want the at fault person’s auto insurance company to dictate your health care decisions.
What do I do if I don’t have health insurance?
Unfortunately, many people injured in car accidents do not have med pay or health insurance coverage. In these situations your lawyer may be able to help. Your lawyer may be able to work with your health care provider to ensure you get treatment by providing a “letter of protection” The letter of protection will allow you to receive treatment with the understating that your health care provider will be paid upon the resolution or settlement of your personal injury claim. Typically you and your lawyer would sign the letter of protection which is a contract between you and your health care provider ensuring payment for treatment upon the conclusion of your case.
How much do I have to pay a lawyer?
Under Connecticut law all personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis meaning the lawyer’s fee is contingent upon getting you a recovery. No money is paid up front by the client. Typically, the fee is one-third of the recovery plus any costs incurred in bringing the case.