A Guide to Car Accident Law

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What is car accident law?

To understand what car accident law is, it’s important to first define a car accident, although it may seem obvious. A car accident is one that is intentional or unintentional and involves a motor vehicle and another motor vehicle or a stationary object. Car accident law is a subset of personal injury law and it handles claims involving damages, injuries, and the other costs associated with these accidents.

Liability and negligence are extremely important aspects of car accident law. It is necessary to determine which driver was liable (that is, at fault) for the accident. The laws involving liability vary by state and province; for example, in New Jersey, the rear driver is almost always considered at fault in rear end accidents. The only exception to this is when there is a witness to the accident that can prove that the front driver was at fault.

When should I hire a car accident lawyer?

If you’ve been in a car accident, it can be hard to know whether you need to hire a car accident lawyer or not, but there are many reasons you may want to consider doing so. A car accident lawyer can help you establish liability and help you receive proper compensation for any injuries or damages you incurred as a result of the accident. He or she can also talk to your car insurance company on your behalf and help you understand the law and what you are entitled to. You may want to hire a car accident lawyer if any of the following apply to your situation:

  1. The other driver was uninsured or underinsured
  2. You sustained a serious injury that may have long-term effects
  3. There is a dispute over liability/who was at fault
  4. You don’t feel that you were fairly compensated for your medical costs (both current and future)

I got in a car accident: What do I do now?

Getting in a car accident can be incredibly scary, even if it is just a small one. There are a few things you can do in this situation that will help you in the long term.

First, stay calm—don’t get out of the car and start yelling a the other driver, even if it was his or her fault! At this point, you’ll want to ensure your safety and that of those with you—put on your hazards, exit the vehicle, and get yourself out of traffic. Check to make sure everyone involved is okay, and call for an ambulance if needed.

Second, call the police. Even if it’s just a minor accident, and even if the other driver is asking you not to call, you will want to have a police report. Depending on where you live, this may even be the law. A police report can protect you from negative outcomes and it can help you establish liability. You should only discuss the accident with the police, not the other driver, and never admit fault or liability. Do not leave the scene without getting a police report.

Next, exchange contact and insurance information with everyone involved. Also ask the other driver for his or her vehicle identification number and driver’s license number—a license plate number may not be sufficient to make a claim. If you have a camera with you, take plenty of pictures of the scene and any damages. Take down some notes that you can refer to later, including the time, location of the accident, and a description of the other car and individuals involved; it’s a stressful time and you may forget the small details if you don’t record them right away.

Finally, call your insurance company immediately, and before leaving the scene. You want to try to file a claim before the other person does, and it’s possible that your insurance requires you to report the accident immediately. The sooner you call, the sooner your claim can be filed.

Hopefully by following the advice above, your insurance company will take care of the rest, but be sure to keep copies of all documents and pictures in case you need to give them to a car accident lawyer at a later date. Assiff Law has over 15 years of experience and has successfully settled thousands of claims for Albertans. Contact Assiff Law for more information about car accident claims.

For more info, you can also check out: New Bedford Car Crash Lawyer: How To Value Your Injuries

References

About.com

attorneys.com

DMV.org

ExpertLaw

Gawker

GEICO

HG.org

LegalCrunch

The Lakewood Scope

Zvulony and Co

Norm Assiff

Norm Assiff

Norm was awarded the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (ACTLA) President's Award for 2012--awarded to a member of the Alberta bar who has distinguished himself or herself by his or her contribution to the profession or the community, the advancement of the law or their service to ACTLA. He has appeared at all levels of court in Alberta (Provincial Court, Queen's Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal) as well as the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Federal Court of Appeal.

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The information presented on this post is not legal advice. We encourage you to perform further research on the topics described here, and if you have any questions or would like to speak to one of our personal injury lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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