Frequently Asked Questions

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If you have been in a car accident and have injuries, you likely have plenty of questions about what is next. Should I hire a lawyer? How much is my car accident settlement going to be? Should I seek medical treatment? Car accidents and their related injuries can be very confusing and stressful. The more information you have, the better. This page has listed the most common Frequently Asked Questions, so you can get a better idea about next steps.

Personal Injury FAQs

After a car accident with injuries, some period of time needs to go by before you understand the severity and nature of your injuries. Even minor pain and injuries could linger for a few weeks after an accident before you can completely assess how it affects your life. More serious car accident injuries will necessitate medical treatment that may be ongoing for weeks or months. 

If you plan to make a legal claim for your injuries, how do you know how much money to ask for if you are still healing? Should you start getting your claim or lawsuit ready now? 


Actually, if you are still getting medical treatment for your injuries, you should not wait to file your claim. It is smart to get the process going now. This applies if we are talking about an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. 

The reason for this is you will eventually run into a statute of limitations to file your lawsuit. If you end up going to court, you need to stay within the statute of limitations or you will not be able to proceed. Getting your case started is one thing, but you do not want it resolved (accept a settlement) before you understand the full nature and extent of your injuries. 


With every type of lawsuit, each state has a statute of limitations that establishes a deadline for going to court. There are different deadlines for every kind of case. Most states have a specific statute of limitations for personal injury cases that can range from one to four years. If you are just doing an insurance claim, still keep your state’s statute of limitations in mind because it could eventually turn into a lawsuit. 

Once you have filed a claim with the insurance company asking for compensation for your injuries, lost work time, and pain and suffering, you will start negotiating the final settlement. You may want to have a personal injury attorney working with you to ensure you get the highest settlement possible. 

An important aspect of the negotiation process is whether you have reached maximum medical improvement or MMI. This means you are as healthy as you will be after your injuries, or you and your lawyer at least know how to assign a value to your damages as far as future medical treatments and the ongoing financial costs of your injuries. 


Keep in mind there is nothing lost by starting the claims process before you reach your MMI. Just be sure you fully understand what your past and future damages are before you settle the case. 

You need to make sure you do not accept a settlement and sign a liability waiver before you are confident you have reached MMI, or you have fully accounted for the necessary expenses for your future care in the settlement. Once you have signed the waiver, the case is settled and there is no going back. 


In cases with significant injuries, you are almost always better off by using a personal injury attorney to handle the matter. They will be familiar with your type of injury, the care you need now and in the future, and when your MMI is likely to be. 

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The last thing people want to worry about when renting a car is getting in an accident, but it does happen. So it pays to be prepared if it happens to you. If you have been involved in a car accident while driving or riding in a rental car, such as while on vacation or on a business trip, this is what you should do to protect your rights.

First, you should make sure everyone involved in the accident is ok. If anyone is hurt, call 911 right away. If there is a danger of fire or explosion from a vehicle, clear the area. Put out emergency flares if you have them and call the police. 

Second, exchange contact details with parties involved in the accident. Take pictures of the damage to the vehicles involved, as well as their position. Do not mention that you are driving a rental car as some people will try to take advantage of that. 

Third, contact your car rental company and tell them about the accident. You can probably find an emergency number in the glove compartment or on the rental agreement paperwork you got when you picked up the vehicle. Ask the rental company how they want you to proceed. But read the fine print of your auto insurance policy and any insurance that the rental company provides. 

Fourth, contact your auto insurance provider. Tell them about the accident and if they will file an accident report with the police or whether you should do it. Ask your insurance company if you have comprehensive and collision coverage that protects the car you rent. 

Also, find out what your deductible is in this situation. Most rental companies mandate that you have a $500 or less deductible or they will require you to buy extra insurance. 

Fifth, find out who is responsible for what in the claim. If you did not buy extra insurance when you rented the car, your auto insurance company is liable for paying the rental company for the care only if your policy provides first-party coverage. No matter if you were at fault or not, you need to pay the deductible to the rental company because it is entitled to have the car repaired promptly. Your insurance company is responsible for going after the responsible driver at that point. 


If your auto insurance does not have rental coverage, you owe rental expenses to the car rental company as if you still are renting the car. This means if it takes three days to fix the car, you owe three days of rental. Even if you do have loss of use coverage on your auto insurance policy, you will owe the difference to the rental car company if the limit is under what the car would usually rent for. 

If you bought extra insurance coverage from the rental car company, it is important to read the policy to know what it covers. Some rental car companies give complete coverage in any accident as long as you have paid the premium. This means the car rental company would pay for damages for the accident even if you caused it. But you might still have to pay a deductible from your own auto insurance policy. This serves as a backup form of coverage if the rental car insurance policy has low limits. 

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If you or a loved one has been injured in car accident, suffered a workplace injury, or otherwise been injured due to the negligence of another party, you may have questions about your legal rights and personal injury law in general. While speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney is the best way to get answers and legal advice, there are some common personal injury questions that many people ask that we’ve taken the time to answer for you below.

How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

What should I do if I’ve been in a car accident?

What is a statute of limitations?

How does a personal injury attorney get paid?

What does no fault mean?

How much can I get for a workers comp claim?

These are just some common personal injury questions. For more, visit our Personal Injury FAQs section.

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After a car accident, workplace injury, or other type of personal injury, you mostly likely will consult with a personal injury attorney, who can discuss the facts and circumstances of your injury and determine whether or not you have standing to file a personal injury lawsuit.

If you file a personal injury lawsuit against a party or parties you allege are responsible for your injuries, you begin the car accident lawsuit process. There will be discussions with the other party’s insurance company, attorney, and others involved in the incident. There will be an exchange of evidence, called discovery, and the two parties will attempt to reach an agreeable resolution to the case, called a settlement.

If you and the other parties are not able to reach a settlement, then your case likely would go to a civil trial, where a judge or jury would hear evidence and render a verdict, including a damages amount to compensate you for your injuries and other damages.

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Whether or not you can file a personal injury lawsuit, such as for a car accident, if you were at fault in the accident depends largely on the laws in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. Generally, if you are injured as a result of an accident that was your fault, you will not be able to make a claim for compensation unless another party was also partly to blame for the accident, in which case you might qualify for some compensation for the injuries that were not caused by your own negligence.

If you live in a no-fault jurisdiction, you are covered by your insurance company for the cost of minor injuries, regardless of who is to blame for the accident. In at-fault states, such as California, the person who was legally at-fault for the accident is responsible for damages and injuries caused by the crash, and cannot seek compensation for injuries or damage they caused.

 

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If you have been injured in a car accident or hurt while at work and are considering filing a lawsuit for damages, you may be wondering “how long does a personal injury lawsuit take?” The answer is, it depends.

No two personal injury lawsuits are the same and each has its own set of facts and circumstances. The severity of the accident or injury, the amount of damaged caused, the specific facts of how the accident occurred, and other important factors contribute to the complexity of a personal injury lawsuit. And the more complicated your case is, generally speaking, the longer it can take to wind its way through the process of a lawsuit.

While how long a personal injury lawsuit takes varies widely, most estimates place the timeline at one to two years from the time of the accident or injury to resolution of the case by either settlement between the parties or a court trial.

 

 

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If you have a back and neck injury, broken ribs, high blood pressure, or some other pre-existing injury or medical condition before you have been in a car accident or suffered a workplace injury, in most cases, you will not be able to seek financial compensation for that pre-existing condition as part of your personal injury lawsuit. The logic here is pretty simple: if you were hurt or sick before the accident, it’s hard to claim that the injury or pain was caused by the accident.

However, as with most things in the law, this is not a black and white issue. In some cases, it may be possible for an injured party whose pre-existing condition was worsened or prolonged as the result of an accident to claim compensation in a personal injury case for the degree which the pre-existing condition was made worse as a result of the accident.

The best way to understand how a pre-existing condition may affect your personal injury case is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area, who can review all the facts and circumstances of your individual situation and provide personalized legal advice in your case.

 

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If you’ve been injured in a car accident, hurt on the job, or suffered another kind of personal injury, you may be facing the scary proposition of medical bills, lost wages from time away from work, and other new realities. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can help you get financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses from the injury, but how do you know if you have a personal injury case?

The best way to know for sure is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area, who can speak with you, review the facts and circumstances of your accident, and advise you on whether or not you have a case. There is no cookie-cutter or formula for personal injury cases, as each one is different and depends on the specific facts and laws in your state. A qualified personal injury attorney in your area will be able to evaluate your claim and tell you whether or not you have a personal injury case.

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Being hurt in a car accident is a scary and potentially expensive event in anyone’s life. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, there are some important steps you should take to help take care of your physical health and protect your legal rights.

First, be sure to visit a doctor if your physical injuries are serious enough to require medical treatment. Be aware that in many cases, physical injuries such as whiplash, back and neck injuries, and other common car accident injuries are not always noticeable right after a car accident and may not appear for days or weeks after the wreck.

In addition to treating your physical injuries, it’s also important to protect your legal rights after you are injured in a car accident. If you were not at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation from a car accident settlement. Consulting with a qualified car accident attorney right away is important to help ensure that you receive the maximum compensation allowed under the law. Waiting too long after your car accident to consult with a car accident lawsuit attorney can allow witnesses to forget what they saw and other important evidence to disappear. Also, statutes of limitation in your state may bar you from filing a car accident injury lawsuit if you wait too long.

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If you are the injured party due to the result of a motor vehicle mishap and you receive compensation for your personal injuries, is your spouse entitled to any of your car accident settlement money during a divorce proceeding? The answer is yes, however how much money they are entitled to depends on when the settlement was acquired and what damages were compensated for. Generally speaking, your spouse is entitled to half of your settlement money regardless if they were even in the accident. The reason behind this is that technically any money received as a settlement during the duration of a marriage is considered community property. It’s possible that you may still receive compensation even after the marriage has ended, but if this is the result of a settlement reached during the marriage, your spouse is still entitled to half. If you are no longer married, then the non injured spouse would not be entitled to any of the settlement money. To better understand how compensation is handled during a divorce, you should consult with a personal injury attorney along with an attorney who specializes in family law. Your lawyer will most likely need to see certain court or settlement papers to discover what sort of damages were granted, and how the money was divided into every category.  

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This question can have a few different answers. Generally, you do not have to pay taxes on car accident settlements, however, some compensated damages are taxable. The compensation from property damage you receive from a car accident should not be taxed (however, please advise with your tax/financial advisor). There are multiple reasons you may receive compensation from a car accident, and this will help determine whether or not you will be taxed on your claim. You must keep in mind the things you may be compensated for such as property damage, loss of wages from being unable to work, pain and suffering due to your injuries, medical expenses as well as negligence to the at fault party, because this will differentiate what you will be taxed on.  When it comes to a tax assessment for wages lost during your time of recuperation it can be a little precarious because of the fact that you can be taxed for quite a few years on your income depending on how many years you receive your settlement. Punitive damages are typically taxable, so when discussing what type of damages you are being compensated for, be sure to ask your attorney this falls under that category. As stated above, consult with your tax advisor for a more concrete answer due to every car accident claim having unique factors and different damages.

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Car accidents are stressful. If you have been in one, you may not be thinking clearly. But there are important things to do immediately after the accident. If you can, keep the below information available in your car:

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Use extreme caution speaking with your insurance adjuster before you have talked to an attorney. The only case where you should do so is in a minor accident with less than $1000 in personal and/or property damages and you are positive you do not have serious injuries.

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After a car accident, you probably wonder if you should hire an attorney. Generally, unless you or someone else was hurt in the accident, you probably do not need an attorney to assist you with your claim.

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People who have been in a car accident with injuries should be aware of the statute of limitations for their state. The statute of limitations means that any lawsuit arising from an accident or injury must be filed within a certain period, or you will no longer be able to file a lawsuit and receive compensation.

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If you are a passenger in a car and are hurt in a car accident, your legal case is usually easier than for either driver. This is because you do not have to prove liability to be compensated for your injuries.

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Being in a car accident is upsetting, stressful and can be devastating in serious cases. If you were the at-fault driver, it can make the situation worse. You will need to deal with the damages to your vehicle and also the damages for the other party.

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Most personal injury attorneys charge you a contingency fee. This compensation system allows the injured person to hire an experienced personal injury attorney without having to pay for upfront legal costs.

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Many personal injury victims think they cannot afford to hire a personal injury attorney. They are often surprised to discover that the attorney’s payment is structured so you do not pay upfront costs, and so that your interests are aligned with theirs.

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Insurance FAQs

Driving without auto insurance is illegal in most states. States want their residents to prove they can take financial liability if they are in an accident. If you are in an accident and do not have insurance, you could have penalties including fines, loss of driving privileges and auto registration.

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The police report is an important document to have after a car accident. This document contains the circumstances and facts of a car accident as the police see it. The police report typically contains descriptions of damages to vehicles, passenger and driver injuries, witness names, and possibly a statement of who may be at fault for the accident.

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If you have been in an accident and are in an insurance company negotiation, it is important to remember one thing: It is in the interest of the insurance company to settle the legal dispute quickly and as inexpensively as possible.

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