Tupelo Car Accident Lawyers Protecting the Right of Clients Hurt in a Car Accident in Tupelo, MS
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that an auto accident takes place every 10 seconds in the United States every day. Car accidents often result in significant damage for everyone involved, and victims may often be dealing with injuries that require hospitalization or time away from work. If you have been hurt in a car accident caused by someone else, you need to know the steps you can take to recover compensation for your material damages as well as pain and suffering.
What Are My Rights After a Car Accident in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, individuals hurt in a car accident may be entitled to receiving compensation for their losses, which typically includes medical bills and vehicle repair or replacement costs. This is usually done through the at-fault driver’s insurance, but your own insurance company may also be able to provide payment to cover your bills, then go after the at-fault driver’s insurance for reimbursement.
However, the process does not always go smoothly. The other driver’s insurance company can quite often deny claims and try to place the blame for the accident on the victim. Sometimes even your own insurance company does not provide enough to cover all your bills, or you may find the at-fault driver did not have auto insurance or was underinsured. When you come across these types of obstacles, your next step should be to contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible. You may have a case and may be able to take the at-fault driver (or their insurance carrier) to court and seek compensation for your damages.
What Are the Steps You Should Take After a Car Accident?
After an accident, your priority is to get medical help for any injuries sustained by you or anyone else involved in the accident. Do not delay getting medical care even if your injuries do not appear to be serious, as the momentary adrenaline resulting from the accident can often mask injury symptoms, and you may not feel anything for days, even weeks after the accident.
You will also want to file a police report right away. When a police officer is dispatched to the accident scene, he or she will interview everyone involved and fill out a police report, which may include important information about the accident and what may have caused it. Get a copy of the police report for your own records. You should not leave the scene of the accident before speaking to a police officer. If the accident was minor and an officer was not dispatched to the area, you will want to fill out a police report as soon as possible.
If possible, collect your own evidence by taking pictures and videos of the accident, and writing down the contact information of any witnesses. Document your injuries, the damage to your car and the damages to the other person’s car, the position of the vehicles, skid marks, road conditions, and anything else that may be relevant. Don’t forget to exchange insurance information with the other driver. You will also want to retain a car accident attorney as soon as possible and keep track of all important documents for your case, such as medical records, bills, a copy of the police report, and evidence from the crash site.
What Should You Not Do After Being Involved in a Car Accident?
The main goal of an insurance company is to protect their profits, and giving out large settlements to accident victims does not work in their favor. Thus, they may employ several tactics to reduce or eliminate their liability. A common tactic is to ask the victim for a recorded statement, then take what you say out of context and try to use it as an admission of guilt on your part. Do not speak with the other party’s insurance company without consulting your attorney first. If you choose to talk to them, be very careful with what you say. Something as simple as apologizing may be used against you as an admission of guilt.
Likewise, it is best not to discuss who may have been at fault for the accident. You may want to wait for the police report or ask the insurance adjuster to speak to your lawyer instead. Last but not least, be honest about your injuries. Exaggerating your injuries and pretending that they are more severe than they really are can work against you, as insurance companies can and often will carry out their own investigation about the accident. On the other hand, trying to hide your injuries and minimizing their severity is not a good idea either as you may find yourself receiving a smaller settlement than what you really need to take care of your damages.
What Kind of Damages Do Car Accident Victims End up Dealing With?
A car accident is a traumatic event with both material and emotional consequences. An accident resulting in significant injuries will most likely mean the victim will need medical care, resulting in a growing pile of medical bills – everything from an ambulance ride to emergency medical care, hospitalization and rehabilitation can add up quickly, even when the individual has medical insurance.
In many cases, the injury is severe enough that it prevents the victim from going to work and making a living. This means he or she will likely be dealing with lost wages, which makes it harder to maintain their standard of living while bills continue to arrive. The victim’s vehicle may be in need of extensive repair, or may be deemed a total loss and need to be replaced altogether. All of these financial setbacks are considered economic damages and are included in the settlement amount you may receive.
Economic damages are easily documented, but an accident can impact much more than a person’s finances. The stress of the accident itself, the pain caused by the injury and the emotional trauma and suffering that the victim has to deal with can also deeply impact that individual’s quality of life. Sometimes, the recovery process is equally painful. These subjective aspects are referred to as non-economic damages (also known as “pain and suffering”). Many personal injury lawsuits for a car accident seek to reimburse the plaintiff for both economic and non-economic damages.
Do I Need to Notify My Insurance Company About the Accident?
Shortly after an accident, you should contact your insurance company to report the accident. Each insurance carrier may have different rules concerning how much time you have to report an accident, so check the terms of your auto insurance policy. In general terms, the sooner you report, the better. Make sure to only state the facts, describing the accident, damage to your vehicle, and the extent of your injuries, and do not make any statements concerning liability.
In addition, as mentioned above, be careful if you get a call from the other driver’s insurance company. Even if they seem friendly and compassionate at first, they are likely just looking to get you to say something that can later be used against you to reduce the value of your claim or deny it altogether. You are not required to speak to the other driver’s insurance carrier. If you are not comfortable speaking to them, you may refer them to your attorney.
What Should I Do if the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Refuses to Pay?
In a perfect world, the other driver’s insurance carrier will work quickly to give you maximum compensation for your injuries. The reality, as we know, is usually drastically different from this ideal scenario. Many claims may be denied the first time around. If your claim is denied, you have the right to an explanation of why the insurance has declined to pay for your claim. You should then consult your attorney, who can better guide you on how you may appeal their decision. A denial from the at-fault driver’s insurance does not necessarily have to mean you have reached a dead end.
It is also common for insurance carriers to generate a low settlement offer the first time around, and then try to pressure you into accepting it. This is because it is not in their best interest to give out large settlement checks, so if they can close out your claim as cheaply and quickly as possible, the better it is for their bottom line. It is usually a bad idea to accept their initial offer, and you are not required to do so. Always consult your attorney before accepting or declining a settlement offer.
Finally, if you are having problems dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, seeking the help of an attorney should be your next step. There is no reason to try to deal with everything yourself. Your attorney can provide essential guidance and take over laborious tasks such as filling out forms and handling insurance calls. In addition, a car accident attorney is typically skilled in negotiation and can navigate around the common tactics insurance companies may use to reduce their liability, thus increasing your chances of receiving maximum compensation.
At Rundlett Law Firm, PLLC, our car accident attorneys understand the struggles that may follow a car accident, especially when it comes to being stuck at home or at the hospital and unable to pay your bills while you are recovering. Our legal team provides top-notch representation for car accident victims in Tupelo, MS and surrounding areas. They have dealt with countless car accident cases and achieved successful outcomes for their clients, and are well prepared to help you with your case inside or outside the courtroom. Our firm is dedicated to treating every client with respect, compassion and professionalism, while aggressively fighting on their behalf to secure the compensation they deserve.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, Rundlett Law Firm, PLLC is here to help you. Reach out to our Tupelo office by calling (662) 502-5195 and scheduling a no-commitment case analysis with our car accident attorneys to learn your options and see how we may be able to help you.