What should I do if I am in a car accident?
The first thing that you should do if you are in a car accident is call 911. This gets medical personnel on the scene so that they can give you and anyone else in the car accident the medical attention they may need. If the 911 operator you speak to does not dispatch police, the next thing you should do is call the police, exchange information with the other driver, and wait at the scene of the accident. It is important that you do not admit liability for the car crash and that you do not leave.
If you leave the scene of the accident, you could face criminal charges — even if the car accident was not your fault. For more information about what to do if you are hit by a driver without insurance, see Wisconsin Car Accident Laws 101.
Should I talk to the police if I am in a car accident?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, it is important that you are respectful and cooperative with police. Do not, however, take blame for the car accident or make accusations. Instead, stick to the facts.
How much will it cost to talk to you about my car accident case?
Unless we win your case, nothing. Because I work on a contingency basis, I do not accept any fees for my legal services unless a case is successfully won. In addition, I offer free, no obligation legal consultations for all types of car accident cases. In general, my clients pay a specified percent of the recovery (which varies based on the unique circumstances of the case). For more information about how a qualified personal injury lawyer can help you, see the Milwaukee Car Accident lawyer page.
How soon after a car accident should you get a lawyer?
If you have suffered any type of injury at all, you should contact a lawyer immediately. In fact, even if you feel fine it is in your best interest to discuss the event with a lawyer. Contacting a lawyer immediately after a car accident can help you start building your case and preserving the evidence you will need to win it. Having a lawyer on your side early can help you retain evidence, find witnesses, and answer questions you may have about insurance policy terms, the value of your claim, and more. For more information about what to do if you are hit by a driver without insurance, see the Wisconsin Car Accidents Information Center page.
What about my insurance company? Should I tell my insurance company about my car accident?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, you need to notify your insurance company of any auto accident you are in. Most insurance companies stipulate that their policyholders report any car accident, and failure to do so can result in loss of coverage (and compensation) for the accident.
When dealing with your insurance company, be sure to follow the same general guidelines that you would when dealing with the police: Do not accept blame, do not make accusations, and stick to the facts of the accident. It is also usually a good idea to consult a lawyer BEFORE you provide any other information to your insurance company. For more information about what to do if you are hit by a driver without insurance, see Wisconsin Car Accident Laws 101.
What about the other driver’s insurance company? Should I talk to the other driver’s insurance company?
No, not at all. Instead of contacting the other driver’s insurance company yourself, you should hire a personal injury lawyer to contact them for you. An experience lawyer will know how to handle the many “trick” questions an insurance company may ask, which can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and suffering. For more information about what to do if you are hit by a driver without insurance, see Wisconsin Car Accident Laws 101.
What about recorded statements? Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company?
No, or at least not until you hire a personal injury attorney and discuss the case with them. While you may be obligated to cooperate with YOUR insurance company and provide a statement to YOUR insurance company, you are not obligated to do so for the other driver’s insurance company. The only reason that the other driver’s insurance company would want to get a recorded statement from you would be to use it against you, in the hopes of reducing or eliminating your claim.
It’s important to remember that insurance company claims adjusters are professional negotiators who are trained and skilled at asking questions designed to elicit answers that will hurt your case. Their goal is to make liability questionable, to make medical claims seem unfounded or fraudulent, and to help the insurance company avoid paying for the full extent of a victim’s injuries.
Since most people are not skilled or experienced enough to deal with insurance company claims adjusters, it is in your best interests to get the advice of a personal injury lawyer before recording a statement or discussing your case with any insurance company.
What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
Although the state mandates that all vehicles on the road be insured, approximately 15% of Milwaukee, wisconsin, car accidents, car accident lawyer, car accident attorney, car accident questions, car accident faq” the vehicles driven in Wisconsin are not insured. If you are in an car accident that involves an uninsured driver, it is still possible to recover damages if you have PIP coverage (personal injury protection coverage) on your insurance policy. While navigating a PIP insurance claim can be difficult (because insurance companies typically do not want to pay out for damages if they can find a way not to), hiring an experienced accident lawyer can help those who are in accidents with uninsured drivers win their cases.
For more information about what to do if you are hit by a driver without insurance, see Wisconsin Car Accident Laws 101.
What should I do if the other driver’s insurance company calls me?
It is important to remember that you are not obligated to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver’s insurance company tries to contact you, it is in your rights to advise them to contact your lawyer. Simply give them your lawyer’s name and contact information, and advise them to direct all future inquiries to him or her. Under no circumstances should you provide any information about your case or your injuries.
For other information about what to do after a car accident, see Wisconsin Car Accident Laws 101.
What do I do if the other driver’s insurance company denies liability?
Because liability is an easy thing for insurance companies to dispute, they typically will dispute liability — even if their driver is at fault. This is why it is important to be clear with the police about the facts of your case and to have a good car accident lawyer on your side. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you build your case so that the other driver’s insurance company can’t just deny liability to ruin your case.
For other information about car accident lawsuits, see the Wisconsin Car Accidents Information Center page.
What if I am partly to blame for the car accident? What if the accident was partly my fault?
If you have been in a car accident, it is important to remember that what you think you remember may not actually be true. And, while it may seem honest and honorable to accept blame for an accident that you think you may have caused, those who have been in an accident are rarely in the best position to figure out why an accident happened. Instead, it should be left to the police and professionals to assign blame. Instead, contact an accident lawyer and do not admit or accept blame — it could be used against you later.
For other information about car accident cases, see the Wisconsin Car Accidents Information Center page.
Why do I need a car accident report?
A car accident report (also called a police report, or uniform crash report) provides your lawyer with valuable information about the other driver(s) involved in your car accident. Car accident reports give your lawyer information like other driver’s insurance company and how police recorded your case. If the police report is inaccurate, your attorney can contact the investigating officer(s) to help set the record straight (and save your case).
What if the other driver’s insurance company asks for my medical records?
You should never release your medical records to the other driver’s insurance company or the other driver’s insurance adjuster. If you are asked to do so, consult your lawyer immediately. For other information about what to do after a car accident, see Wisconsin Car Accident Laws 101.
How can I get my car repaired after a car accident?
How you get your car fixed after a car accident depends on what type of car insurance you carry. For instance, if you have the right type of coverage, your insurance company may just pay for the repairs to your car upfront. Then, instead of asking for money from you, they may go after the other driver’s insurance company for repayment. This is the case when a subrogation lien for property damage is used.
What should I do with the estimate/appraisal?
Typically, after a car accident you will take your car to a garage or auto body shop for repairs. The shop will then evaluate the damage and prepare an estimate (also called an appraisal) that estimates that amount of damage to the car and how much it will cost to repair it. This appraisal is important because 1) it can be used to corroborate or discredit your claim and 2) the insurance company will use the appraisal to determine whether its worth paying to fix your car.
Once you have the repair estimate, give it to your car accident lawyer. If the other driver’s insurance company is paying to fix your car, you may also need to give them a copy of the estimate.
Will the other driver’s insurance pay for a rental car? How pays for a rental car after a car accident?
This depends on a number of factors, including who is at fault, what kind of coverage the drivers carry, and whether liability is being disputed. If you have rental coverage from your own insurance company, you may be better off talking to them to get your rental car. If you do not, however, you may still get a rental car from the other driver’s insurance company — it just may take some time for them to authorize it.
Should I contact a lawyer even though I feel fine after my accident?
Yes, you really should. There are many injuries that do not manifest immediately after a car accident. Instead, what will happen is victims will feel fine for a few days or weeks and THEN they will start to experience pain or problems. This could be due to internal injuries that they were unaware of, or because the specific type of injury that they have suffered takes time to show symptoms. In any event, after a car accident you should 1) always get medical attention and 2) make sure that you mention any problems and/or pain you are experiencing. Not only will this help doctors more accurately diagnose and treat you, it will help support your case should you ever need to sue for damages.
For more information about car accident injuries, see Common Car Accident Injuries, Overview of Car Accident Injuries and Minor Car Accidents Can Cause Long-term Injuries.
Who pays for medical bills after a car accident?
Like many things when it comes to car accident lawsuits, this can depend on a number of factors. Ideally, the insurance company that represents the liable driver would pay for all medical bills upfront and without any delays. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case and many times the at-fault driver’s insurance company will dispute liability. When this happens, it can be better to have your car insurance company pay for your medical bills and then seek reimbursement for your losses from the other driver’s insurance company as part of your settlement. It is best to discuss your options with your car accident lawyer, so that you have sound legal advice on your side.
For more information about car accident injury compensation, see the Wisconsin Car Accidents Information Center page
What if the insurance company is disputing my injuries?
It is common for insurance companies to dispute both liability and injury claims because, quite simply, they do not want to lose money. This is precisely why it is important to have an experienced accident lawyer on your side. A good lawyer who knows your state’s personal injury laws can help you get what you deserve.
My doctor says that I will never fully recover from my car accident. What does that mean for my case?
If you have suffered permanent injury in a car accident, you are not alone. Unfortunately, many people are permanently injured in accidents that were not their fault. These people may live with constant pain, physical difficulties, or mental limitations in perpetuity for the rest of their lives. In these cases, it is your lawyer’s job to make sure that everyone involved in evaluating your case recognizes the very real ways that your quality of life has been affected due to the car accident.
When it comes to both short-term and long-term injuries caused by a car accident that was not your fault, you are entitled to seek damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, lost future earnings, loss of normal life, and much more.
It is important to continue medical treatment until your doctor tells you that you have reached MMI (maximum medical improvement), which is “as good as it’s going to get” in terms of improvements from medical treatment. If you do not, the insurance company can try and dispute your claim. Once the doctor says you are at MMI, your accident lawyer can move forward with your case. For more information about car accident injuries, see Common Car Accident Injuries, Overview of Car Accident Injuries and Minor Car Accidents Can Cause Long-term Injuries.
What about the time I lost from work due to a car accident? Can I get reimbursed for time off work because of a car crash?
Yes. If you are the victim of a car accident that was not your fault, you are entitled to damages to cover the cost of not just your medical bills, but of your lost wages too. This includes wages lost due to needing to see the doctor or being under various medical restrictions. In fact, if you have to change jobs due to your car accident (or lose your job due to an auto accident), you are entitled to seek damages for any money lost there too.
To receive compensation for lost wages, it is important to carefully document any and all time lost from work. Be sure to get timesheets, pay stubs, and any other documentation from your employer that shows when you missed work. For more information about the types of compensation you can receive, see Typical Damages in Automobile Accident Cases.
I wasn’t driving the car but was still hurt in a car accident. Can I make a claim in a car accident if I was a passenger?
Yes. If you are injured in a car accident that is not your fault, you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries, even if you were not driving a vehicle at the time of the accident. Just like the at-fault driver’s insurance company is liable for the other driver’s losses, they are responsible for your losses as well. If, however, you are involved in a multi-party suit with many people making personal injury claims, your medical expense recovery may be limited based on how many people are claiming injuries and the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy limits.
The other driver left the scene of the accident. What should I do if the other driver leaves?
If the other driver leaves the scene of the auto accident, you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident. What you need to do is try to get whatever information you can about the other driver’s vehicle — the license plate number, make and model of the vehicle that are driving, a description of the at-fault driver, or anything else that authorities can use to track down the driver.
Even if you are unable to identify the driver who hit you, if you have PIP coverage or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, you may still be able to get compensation for your losses. This is why it is important to have some sort of PIP and/or underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
For more information about car accident cases, see the Wisconsin Car Accidents Information Center page.
What are the minimum insurance requirements in Wisconsin?
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, minimum liability coverage amounts for the state of Wisconsin are a follows:
$10,000 for property damage
$25,000 for injury or death of one person
$50,000 for injury or death of more than one person
In addition, operating a motor vehicle without insurance can result in a fine of up to $500, and offering fraudulent proof of insurance can result in a fine of up to $5,000. If requested by law enforcement at a traffic stop or site of an accident, drivers and owners of motor vehicles are required to show proof of insurance.
It is important to remember that even though the state of Wisconsin requires anyone operating a vehicle to have liability insurance, approximately 15% of Wisconsin drivers are not insured. This is why it is important to purchase a car insurance policy that will protect you in the event that you are in a car accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver.
What if someone dies in a car accident? What happens if a driver’s negligence kills someone?
A car accident lawsuit that involves the death of someone are often called a “wrongful death case.” Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit is pursued by the deceased person’s family (who are known as “wrongful death beneficiaries”). Wrongful death beneficiaries may be entitled to compensation for lost income, funeral costs, other economic losses, and pain and suffering due to the loss of love and companionship of the deceased. For more information about car accident law, see the Wisconsin Car Accidents Information Center page.
How soon do I have to file my car accident case? How soon after a car accident should I file my personal injury lawsuit?
This varies from state to state. In Wisconsin, victims typically have up to three years to file their personal injury claims (although this can vary based on the circumstances of individual cases). This is another reason it is good to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side — a qualified personal injury lawyer can help make sure that you file your personal injury lawsuit n time and avoid the statute of limitations. For more information on Wisconsin’s statute of limitations, see Questions about Car Accidents and Injury Claims.
How much is my case worth?
How much your personal injury case is worth depends on many factors, including the cause of the car accident, the severity of your car accident injuries, if your earning potential has suffered, how much money you have lost in wages, how much you have in medical bills, if you are likely to incur future expenses due to the accident, and more. Depending on the particulars of your case, you may even be entitled to punitive damages. For more information on how much your personal injury case is worth, see How Much is My Case Worth?
Get a Free Legal Consultation with a Milwaukee Car Accident Lawyer
For a Milwaukee car accident lawyer who understands Wisconsin’s personal injury laws, call Milwaukee personal injury lawyer Karl Gebhard. Karl Gebhard offers free legal consultations for all types of car accident lawsuits, and he has experience pursuing both economic and non-economic compensatory damages for his clients. Because he works on a contingency basis, attorney Karl Gebhard does not accept any fees for his legal services until the case is won.
For your free personal injury consultation, call today at 414-873-6550.