Injury and Accidents

What should I do if I’ve had a car accident?
SAFETY SHOULD BE YOUR FIRST CONCERN. Call 9-1-1 if someone has been injured and wait until police or fire personnel arrive. Warn coming drivers by placing accident flares appropriately or activating hazard lights on both vehicles if possible. Pull vehicles off to the side of the road if appropriate. Once the space around the accident is secured, exchange information with the other driver. Gather the other driver’s name, address, phone, and driver’s license number; insurance name/policy number/agent contact; car make, model, license plate number; photos of damaged property, scene of accident, surrounding area. Note current weather, roadway conditions, sight-obscuring contributors like overgrown vegetation, skid mark measurements, and any other factors that may be important in determining the facts and causes of the accident. Take photos at the scene if possible or return with a camera immediately after the accident to take photos. If the other driver resists giving information or flees the scene, do not confront or challenge them. Instead, note their car make, license plate, and direction they are heading along with a quick description of their appearance and clothing to share with the police. After the accident, immediately contact your insurance agent, file a police report, and be seen by a physician if you are injured.
What if the weather prevented me from getting a police report about my accident?
Sometimes during inclement weather, motorists will be advised to share information with other drivers and only contact police if there are serious injuries. If this is the case and the other driver can provide appropriate insurance information, gather and record all information and photos as recommended in “What to Do”. Contact your insurance agent and file a post-accident police department by printing the form from the police department website and mailing it back. You can also visit Police Department headquarters and file a post-accident report.
Do I need to contact an attorney after a car accident?
The answer to this will depend on the extent of the accident and what injuries were suffered by the participants. You may not need an attorney if you had a fender-bender where no one was injured and both parties are insured. If the car accident had any serious or unusual components like death, serious injury, non-insurance issues, inappropriately low insurance adjuster estimates, major property damages, or inaccurate police accident reports, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you get the best result.
Following an accident, I’ve been contacted by attorneys who want me to hire them; should I?
Columbus Find a Lawyer was created so that consumers could know a little bit about who they are contacting before the first conversation. Using Columbus Find a Lawyer, you can more easily compare the laywers who are writing to you with some who are not, on the criteria that matters to you. Selecting the right lawyer is very important; you want to match lawyer expertise to your legal need. It can be very helpful having an experienced personal injury lawyer representing you after a car accident, especially if the other driver has a lawyer or if negotiations need to be conducted with insurance adjusters. If you think you need legal help, you should not feel intimidated about interviewing more than one lawyer (before hiring someone) to see if you feel like they have the necessary expertise and whether you can work together to resolve your issue. As you make your decision, remember that it will be important to make a choice somewhat quickly, before evidence deteriorates and memories fade.
What kind of things will a good personal injury attorney be able to help me with?
They can assess the facts of your case with the benefit of years of training and experience. They are likely to understand issues about your case that you didn’t realize were important. They can investigate and interview potential witnesses. They will understand quickly what your case may be worth to insurers and can negotiate the best settlement for you. They can represent you in court should your case go to trial. Having legal representation informs the insurer and other parties that you are taking the accident or injury seriously and this may encourage quicker resolution.
I was not at fault for my accident. Will the other driver’s insurance pay my bills?
Most states have a fault-based or “tort liability” system of car insurance. This means that insurance companies will pay depending on each party’s level of fault. If you were found to be completely free of responsibility for the accident, the other driver’s insurance will typically be responsible for paying your damages.
I was found to be partly at fault for a car accident. How does this affect the insurance claim?
The insurance claims adjuster will consider what your “percentage of fault” for the accident is and make a decision based on that. Having experience with the factors an insurance adjuster typically takes into consideration, a personal injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance company, advocating a lower percentage of fault for you.
I don’t have car insurance and was rear-ended by someone. Will their insurance pay for repairs?
The most likely answer is no. Driving while uninsured is against the law and this will be held against you. The insured motorist’s attorney is likely to assert that you were at fault because you drove uninsured and you should therefore be financially responsible for their property and physical damages as well as your own.