Car Accidents: What You Should Know
I was in a car accident. Should I call the police?
Yes. First, make sure that you are in a safe place. Then call the police to investigate the accident. No matter how minor the accident, it is important to contact the police so that a record of the accident will be created. Often times you may not experience injuries from the accident until days later. Having a record of the accident will make it easier for you to pursue a claim if you are injured in the accident.
Should I use my cell phone to take pictures at the scene of the accident?
Your first priority immediately after an accident should be your health and safety. If are too injured, or if it is dangerous to take photographs, do not do so. If you are in a position to take photographs, they may be useful if you decide to pursue a claim. You may want to consider photographing the property damage and the position of the vehicles.
I was injured in a car accident. What should I do now?
First, be sure to get the medical attention you need. Next, consult an attorney as soon as you, or your loved ones, are able. Immediately after a car accident, the involved insurance companies will reach out to you and attempt to obtain a statement. It is important to speak with an attorney before giving any written or oral statements to insurance companies or investigators. When you consult with an attorney at Hassett & George, we will analyze the facts and evaluate whether or not you have a valid claim. We will alert the insurance companies of our involvement and stop those companies’ from seeking a record statement that can only benefit the insurance companies. We will protect your interests from day one.
I was injured in a car accident and an insurance company is offering me a settlement. What should I do?
You should consult with an attorney to determine whether the settlement offer is fair and reasonable. Insurance companies like to settle claims immediately after an accident for as little as possible. Once you accept that settlement offer, you lose your ability to pursue your claim further; even if your injuries worsen. If you have any questions regarding a settlement offer, contact the attorneys at Hassett & George.
What is personal injury law?
Personal injury law, sometimes referred to as tort law, refers to the legal remedies and defenses involved in civil lawsuits brought as a result of someone’s act or failure to act. In a successful personal injury claim, the one who caused the injury compensates the one who suffered the losses.
Every personal injury claim has two basic issues-liability and damages. Was the other party responsible for the accident, and, if so, what is the nature and extent of your damages? If you can prove liability and damages, you will be awarded compensation for your loss.
If my injuries were caused by someone else, will they be held liable?
No two cases are alike. However, if you were injured as a result of the acts of another, you may pursue a personal injury claim against that wrongdoer. In our society, people are expected to act responsibly and avoid putting others at risk. In a personal injury case, the injured party must show that a reasonably prudent person in the defendant’s position would have acted differently under the circumstances. The injured party must show that the defendant was negligent.
Examples of negligence include: (1) car accidents caused by drunk drivers; (2) car accidents caused by a driver not paying attention (i.e. using a cell phone); (3) dog bites that occur when a dog owner does not properly secure his or her animal; or (4) medical complications resulting from a doctor’s carelessness. In each instance, the responsible party ignored the risk posed to others, and as a result, the plaintiff was injured.
What’s an example of negligence in a car accident?
A driver has a duty to use reasonable care to avoid injuring anyone he or she meets on the road. If a driver fails to use reasonable care and as a result of that failure injures you, then the driver is responsible (liable) to you for those injuries.
When I hire an attorney, does that mean a lawsuit is filed?
No. Hiring an attorney does not mean that a lawsuit has been filed. Often times personal injury claims do not result in a lawsuit. The majority of claims settle prior to needing to file a lawsuit. In a typical personal injury claim, the injured person has two years to file a lawsuit. If the parties are unable to settle the dispute, a lawsuit can be filed to pursue the claim through the court system.
What happens if I file a lawsuit?
When you file a lawsuit, you become the plaintiff, and the person who injured you becomes the defendant. The first phase of a lawsuit is called discovery. During discovery, lawyers for each side typically begin gathering facts through exchange of documents, written questions (interrogatories) or depositions (questions that are asked in person and answered under oath). After discovery, many cases get settled. Only a small percentage of personal injury cases go to trial.
What does it mean to settle a personal injury case?
Settling a personal injury case means that you agree to accept a certain amount of money in return for dropping your lawsuit against the person who injured you. You can settle a case at any time, whether a lawsuit has been filed or not. Your lawyer will help you decide whether accepting the settlement is in your best interest. The decision to accept a settlement is ultimately your decision. If you decide to accept a settlement, you will be required to sign a release absolving the other side of any further liability.
What will I get if I win my personal injury case at trial?
If you succeed at trial, that means that a judge or jury awards you money, known as damages, for your injuries. Depending on the facts of your case, you can be awarded different types of damages at trial, including payment of past medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, future wages, physical disfigurement or disability, and physical pain and suffering.
How much is my case worth?
An experienced personal injury lawyer can assess how much a case may be worth. That requires the attorney to meet with you and discuss the facts of your case, including how you were injured and the injuries that you sustained. Each personal injury case is unique and must be evaluated on the specific facts of that case.
Does a personal injury lawsuit have to be filed within a certain amount of time?
Yes. Every state has certain time limits, called “statutes of limitations,” that govern the period during which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. In Connecticut, the statute of limitations for most personal injury matters is two years; however certain personal injury claims may have a shorter statute of limitations and other claims may have a longer statute of limitations.
Click here to find more information regarding statute of limitations in Connecticut: https://statelaws.findlaw.com/connecticut-law/connecticut-civil-statute-of-limitations-laws.html
Do I have a case?
To find out if you have a case, contact Hassett & George for a free consultation.