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Car Accident FAQs

Being involved in an automobile accident is a time of extreme emotions, chaos and confusion. It can be overwhelming trying to deal with the aftermath – from doctors and hospitals to insurance companies and everyone in between.

Where do you Start When You Have Been in a Car Accident?

What do you need? Who do you talk to? More importantly, who do you NOT talk to. To help you start to make sense of it all, here are some frequently asked questions about car accidents.

To find out more about how this applies to your situation, contact the knowledgeable car accident attorneys at Nash & Franciskato for a free, no-obligation review of your case.

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FAQ

What information should you collect after a car accident?
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While you may think you will know what to do, often the chaos and confusion of an accident makes it easy to forget, especially when injuries are involved. Try to collect as much information as possible and use this list as a guide.

  • Name(s) and address(es) of driver(s) and driver’s license information
  • Names and addresses of passengers
  • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers (cell, work and home, if possible) of any witnesses
  • Name(s) and address(es) of registered owner(s) of the motor vehicle
  • Insurance company name, address, telephone number, and policy number
  • Location of the car accident along with the date and time
  • Details about how the accident occurred
  • Personal perceptions of whether the driver(s) appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Description of the vehicles involved including the make and model
  • Document any injuries, including minor ones, for yourself and others
  • Document any damages to vehicles – yours and the other driver’s (you may want to draw a diagram of the accident and damages to both cars for reference)
  • Names of responding police offers and number of police report

If you have a camera readily available, take pictures to document the accident.

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After a Car Accident

Should you go to the doctor after a car accident?
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You may feel fine after an automobile accident; however, injuries received during the accident may not be immediately apparent. Some injuries may not be noticeable for at least 12 to 14 hours or may not show until days or even weeks after the accident.

It is advisable to at least touch base with your regular physician letting him or her know about the accident. At that time, be sure to mention any complaint or discomfort you may have no matter how small. Let your doctor evaluate the importance of any symptoms and determine if they may be caused by your accident.

Do you need to notify your insurance company?
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Most insurance companies require policyholders to report every car accident in a timely manner. Failure to do this could result in the loss of coverage for the accident.

Keep your statement as objective as possible and avoid talking about who might have been at fault.

Should you hire a lawyer after a car accident?
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When serious injuries or even a death has resulted from a car accident, the best course of action is to at least consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The car accident attorneys at Nash & Franciskato will advise you on the course of action to take, help determine who is at fault, answer questions about your insurance policy’s terms, work to obtain you the maximum amount of compensation possible, and much more.

What if the other driver has no insurance or it was a hit and run?
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All states require a minimum  amount of insurance on a vehicle; however, an estimated one in seven drivers in the U.S. is uninsured. For that reason, most insurance companies offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).

UM/UIM covers you in the event that the person who causes the accident does not have any insurance or does not have enough insurance to pay for your injuries and damages. A hit and run driver, for instance, is legally considered an uninsured motorist since you are not able to get his or her insurance information.

In the state of Missouri, uninsured motorist coverage is required; underinsurance is not.

What does “no fault” and “at fault” mean?
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“No fault” liability laws make everyone involved in the car accident responsible for their own damages. There may be, however, exceptions to these laws when someone sustains a serious personal injury or property damage exceeds a specific amount.

“At fault” liability laws require the person who caused the accident to pay damages for all parties involved.

The state of Missouri uses a “fault” system when it comes to financial responsibility for injuries stemming from a car accident.

What determines fault in a car accident?
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There are a few situations in which one driver is usually assumed to be at fault.

  • in a rear-end collision involving two cars, the driver in the back is almost always legally liable
  • drivers turning left are almost always at fault in a crash involving another vehicle that was going straight
  • drivers who hit pedestrians and bicyclists are usually found at fault

Other common negligent activities that may indicate driver fault in a car accident include:

The lawyers at Nash & Franciskato will help determine who is at fault in your accident.

Do you have a claim if the accident is partly your fault?
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Even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you still may have a claim. In Missouri, a principle called comparative fault is used to determine compensation in auto accident lawsuits.

What this means is that if you were partly at fault, the amount you can collect is reduced by the amount of fault you bear. For example, if it were determined that you were 40% at fault for the accident, the amount of damages you would receive would be reduced by 40%.

The best course of action is to consult with a personal injury attorney knowledgeable about car accidents and your state’s laws.

What if the other driver’s insurance company offers you a settlement?
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If you are sure that the amount of money offered will cover all of your costs and injuries, there is nothing wrong with accepting the settlement; however, if you accept a settlement and then find that you have additional expenses, you will not be able to pursue legal action for additional monies.

The attorneys at Nash & Franciskato will evaluate settlement offers to ensure you obtain the maximum compensation for your situation.

Should you give insurance companies a recorded statement?
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You are obligated to cooperate with your own insurance company and provide a statement; however, you are NOT required to give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company.

Unfortunately, insurance claims adjusters work for the insurance company, which means they look for ways to save the company money. They are well trained to ask questions that may end up hurting your claim – making the liability questionable, establishing that your medical claims are unfounded – to avoid paying a claim.

If a claims adjuster from the other driver’s insurance calls, politely tell them that all communications will be handled through your attorney.

When serious injuries or death is involved in your car accident, it is better to hire an experienced auto accident attorney. Without knowing it, you could say something that the insurance company may misconstrue or twist to mean something else.

What can you be compensated for?
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The type and amount of compensation you may be entitled to depends on the nature of the accident and the extent of your injuries. If the accident is due to another’s negligence, you may be able to receive:

  • medical bills, including emergency room, surgical procedures and other hospital costs associated with your injuries
  • lost wages resulting from your car accident injury
  • costs of rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • disability or disfigurement
  • pain and suffering
  • wrongful death, including loss of companionship and loss of financial support
  • other out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the accident
  • punitive damages might also apply if the accident was caused by another party’s negligent behavior or if it were caused by a defect in the vehicle

Our legal team will substantiate the financial needs for you and your family and build a case that addresses your full range of injuries and expenses.

Can you be reimbursed for time you take off work because of your car accident injuries?
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Yes, if the other driver is at fault you should be able to be reimbursed for any time you missed due to doctors’ appointments or any medical restrictions.

Be sure to document these instances and obtain any documentation from your employer,  such as time sheet reports, pay stubs or other company documentation available to you indicating you have lost wages as a result of the accident.

As part of your case, we will also look at whether you are entitled to future lost wages and loss of wage-earning capacity if you are unable to return to your current job.

What if your injuries are permanent?
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Car accidents can result in many types of injuries, some of which can be permanent. That may mean you will live with constant pain, physical limitations or even mental limitations for the rest of your life.

These limitations may affect your quality of life,  such as:

  • preventing you from engaging in normal daily activities
  • preventing you from engaging in activities you enjoy
  • causing long-term mental anguish or emotional distress
  • preventing you from returning to your current work situation
  • forcing you to find other work or a new career

The attorneys at Nash & Franciskato build this into your case, making sure you are compensated for those quality of life impacts caused by your permanent limitations and injuries.

As a passenger, are you entitled to make a claim?
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The short answer is yes. The liable party’s insurance coverage should cover passengers’ losses regardless of whether the passenger was in their insured care or in the other driver’s vehicle.

Whether you were a passenger or driver, the car accident attorneys at Nash & Franciskato will help you recover for your injuries.

What if the other driver’s negligence caused someone’s death?
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An accident that results in someone’s death is typically referred to as a wrongful death case where a claim can be pursued on the deceased person’s behalf by family members known as wrongful death beneficiaries.

The wrongful death beneficiaries may be entitled to compensation for things such as funeral costs, loss of companionship, and the economic loss suffered as a result of this person’s death.

The attorneys at Nash & Franciskato have represented numerous families after tragic, fatal car accidents in the Kansas City area. We offer compassion and we deliver action that gets results.