What should I do immediately after an accident?
What should I do in the days following the accident?
The other driver's insurance company has contacted me. Who's side are they on?
Not yours. The other driver's insurance company has 2 goals. First, they want to protect their insured (the person who caused your injury), and second, they want to pay you as little money as possible.
I didn't go to the doctor right after the accident, but now I am feeling some pain. What should I do?
Go to the doctor and seek medical treatment. If you have health or auto insurance you may be able to get them to pay for all or part of the treatment. If you don't have insurance, go to the doctor anyway. Some doctors and clinics will wait to be paid out of a settlement if they know that you are represented by an attorney and that your injury was someone else's fault.
The accident happened a week ago. My neck hurts and the other driver's insurance company has offered me money. Should I take it?
Be very careful. Insurance companies make a profit by keeping money and investing it, not by paying it to injured victims. An early offer is very often only a fraction of the real worth of the injury. We recommend that you accept no offer until you are sure you know the full extent of your injury, and how it's going to affect your life. Remember that once you accept an insurance company's offer, you will never get another dime from them. This will be true even if you later discover that your injury is much worse than you first thought.
The driver who caused my injury didn't have car insurance, but I do. What can I do?
Notify your own insurance company. Every car insurance policy sold in New Hampshire has what is known as uninsured motorist coverage. This covers you when another driver caused the accident, but has no insurance, or has less insurance than you do.
Will my insurance company pay me for my pain and suffering under uninsured motorist coverage?
They should. Your own uninsured motorist coverage is there to protect you when you are injured by an uninsured driver. This protection is not limited to just medical bills; it includes the value of your pain and suffering as well.
The other driver has some insurance, but not enough to cover my claim.
If the other driver does not have enough insurance to pay for your claim, then your own under-insured motorist insurance may pay you. It works like this: Suppose your policy has a limit of $300,000 and the other driver's policy is limited to $100,000. Your claim is worth $150,000. The other driver's policy should pay you $100,000, and the remaining $50,000 would be made up by your own under-insured coverage.
I don't have health insurance. Can I get my medical bills paid?
If you have your own NH auto insurance, then your policy has what is called "med pay". The amount of this med pay coverage varies from policy to policy. Its purpose is to make your medical payments for you, or to reimburse you for payments you have already made. If you eventually settle with the driver who caused the accident, or his insurance company, you will not be required to reimburse your own company for any med pay you have received.
How much time do I have to pursue a claim?
You have three years from the date of an accident to bring a lawsuit for damages arising out of the accident. It is always better to involve a lawyer early in the process to help develop your case, keep track of your injuries and expenses, negotiate with the insurance company, and if needed file your claim in court and represent you.
I can't afford a lawyer. What can I do?
Whether or not you think you have a case, it costs nothing to talk with us and find out. If you have a case and we represent you, you will not have to pay us a legal fee unless and until we recover money for you. Call us. We'll be glad to talk to you about it.
This information is intended to be a guide only. If you think you have been involved in an auto accident you should get professional legal advice from an attorney.
September 8th, 2014