Know Your Rights And Options After A Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident can upend your life and leave you feeling uncertain about the future. How do you begin to heal? How will you pay for medical bills? Should you accept the insurance company’s settlement offer?
Thankfully, help is available. John K. Green, Attorney at Law is an Omaha-based firm representing clients who have been injured in car accidents caused by the negligence of another driver. With over 40 years of experience, our attorney is ready to answer all your questions and help you seek full and fair compensation.
Frequent Questions About Auto Accidents
Below are answers to some of the most common questions clients ask after a car accident. For additional questions you may have, simply contact us to take advantage of free initial consultation.
Can I file a lawsuit if I was partially at fault for the crash?
In many cases, yes. Under Nebraska’s comparative negligence doctrine, if you were deemed mostly at fault (50% at fault or greater), you cannot recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit. But if you are found to be less than 50% responsible for the accident/injuries, you can seek damages. However, the full amount of damages will be reduced by your comparative negligence (your percentage of fault). If you were 10% at fault, for instance, you could recover 90% of the total damages you were seeking. Don’t assume you were primarily to blame! The insurance companies (or a jury) will determine the degree of fault of each party.
How much information should I give to either insurance company (mine or the other driver’s)?
You need to be very careful about how much you say to insurance agents or claims adjusters before speaking with a lawyer. Insurance companies are in business to make money, which means they look for any reason to deny claims or reduce the payout. If you are asked to give an official statement before you know the full details of the accident, your own words could be used against you later. You are required to report that an accident happened — when and where — but do not go into detail about the cause of the crash, what you were doing at the time, or the state of your injuries. As a rule of thumb, do not sign any waiver, accident statement or settlement offer without legal counsel.
I’m not sure whether I was seriously injured. Should I go to the hospital?
If there is any question, you should see a physician as soon as reasonably possible. Even if you don’t feel pain right after the accident, you may feel differently once the adrenaline wears off. Many victims do not feel the effects of whiplash, fractures or other injuries until hours or days later. Getting a medical examination is the best way to either verify that you are not injured or to document injuries if you have them. These records could be important later when settling an insurance claim or seeking compensation in a personal injury suit. If you delay medical treatment after a crash, the defense will question the severity of injuries or whether they were caused by the accident.
The driver who hit me did not have car insurance. What rights do I have?
You could sue the driver directly, but if they don’t have insurance they may not have personal assets worth pursuing. The good news is that you probably have coverage for this scenario under your own auto insurance. You can file an uninsured motorist claim up to the limits of your policy.The same coverage kicks in if the other driver has insurance but not enough to cover all of your damages. Read more about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
I was injured in a car accident caused by a police officer. What are my legal options?
Police officers involved in car chases still owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road. Nebraska law holds cities strictly liable for innocent third parties injured or killed during police chases. You can learn more by visiting our police chase accidents page.
I was struck by a drunk driver. Does his criminal prosecution affect my ability to file a personal injury lawsuit?
You can pursue a personal injury lawsuit regardless of any criminal charges, and regardless of the outcome of those proceedings. If the driver is convicted, evidence from the criminal prosecution can usually be used to strengthen your personal injury claim. For more information, visit our drunk driver accidents page.
Contact Us To Learn More In A Free Initial Consultation
There’s no substitute for case-specific advice. That’s why we are pleased to offer free initial consultations to all prospective clients. To get started, call our office in Omaha at 888-508-7557 or fill out our online contact form.