What Happens When I Get Injured in a Car Accident?
If you are injured in a car accident, life can become overwhelming. Calling a lawyer for help may seem like just another thing to add to the long list of tasks you need to deal with during an already stressful time. Regardless of whether your injury is life-altering or a shorter-term interruption to your everyday life, calling a Connecticut personal injury attorney—like those at Adelman Connors & Krevolin, LLP (ACK INJURY LAW)—is vital to getting the compensation and support you need when that accident is not your fault.
When you call ACK INJURY LAW, our goal is to take away from you the stress of dealing with insurance companies, obtaining fair compensation, and the hassles that go along with those tasks. We take them off your plate and let you focus on healing. With that in mind, here is a step-by-step guide that takes you from collision to compensation when you work with our firm.
SO, YOU JUST GOT IN AN ACCIDENT…
Depending on the severity of your injury, if you are physically able to do so, it can be very beneficial to take photographs of the scene of the collision, especially the damage to the vehicles involved. Photographs are so important. These photographs often show where the vehicles came to rest and often depict a scary scene. It can be difficult to get photographs taken by insurance companies until a lawsuit is filed.
Tip – If you are unable to take photographs at the scene of the collision, try contacting a family member or a friend to come to the scene and take the pictures for you to preserve the evidence.
SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT
Whether it is by ambulance from the scene or a walk-in clinic, get checked out. If you have any pain whatsoever, get treatment right away. The most important thing is your health, and you need to be sure that you get the treatment that you need. While this does not mean that if you are involved in a lower-impact collision you need to take the ambulance to the emergency department of a hospital, even going to a walk in clinic that same day or your primary care physician’s office the next day will document the injury and can help to convince the insurance companies and, if it gets to that point, a jury, that your injury was caused by the accident.
Tip – When you get medical treatment it is imperative that you give the provider a detailed history of the collision so they can 1) treat you accordingly, and 2) so that your medical record reflects the incident that brought you there in the first place.
DON’T GIVE A STATEMENTS
Do not call the insurance company, call us – ACK. Do not give any recorded statements. As soon as you retain an attorney, the insurance company is not allowed to speak with you. Until you do retain an attorney, however, they will try to get a recorded statement and as much information out of you as possible. While your Connecticut personal injury attorney will ensure that all information given to the insurance company is true and accurate, they will also make sure that the information is given in a way that cannot hurt you later.
CALL ACK INJURY LAW AT 860-754-3222
There is never a charge for the call and you will ALWAYS speak with a personal injury lawyer. As soon as you call ACK INJURY LAW, your job is just to get better. We take care of everything else. Follow your doctor’s advice and get second opinions if you question that advice, but you do not need to worry about dealing with the insurance company—let us take that burden off your shoulders.
The first thing we will do is speak/meet with you. We can come to you anywhere in Connecticut, you can come to our office, or we can meet remotely. At this initial meeting whether in person, on the phone or by Zoom, we will get all the information we need to get your file opened and your case moving. We will be in touch to get updates about your medical treatment so that we can gather your records and provide them to the insurance company.
Tip – Never hire an attorney who tells you how much your case is worth at that first meeting or phone call. The truth is, they have no idea, they are just making up a number to convince you to hire them. Unless your injuries resolve quickly, it typically takes between six months to a year to evaluate your case and determine a fair settlement value. Unless you have made a full recovery, it generally takes one year for you to reach what is called “Maximum Medical Improvement.” This means that you probably won’t get much better from your injuries nor will you get much worse. At this one year mark, your doctors can determine your future prognosis. That is whether and to what extent your injury is permanent.
NO FEE UNLESS WE GET MONEY FOR YOU
If you are worried about the expense of hiring a personal injury attorney—don’t. At the end of the case we give you a check. You should never write a check to your personal injury attorney as we all work off of “contingency fees.” This means that we do not make money until we make money for you. In all likelihood, you will pay all personal injury lawyers the exact same percentage of your settlement as these percentages are set forth by law. Because the percentage you pay is the same whether you hire the best firm in the State or the worst, it is so important that you hire a law firm that solely handles personal injury litigation. At ACK INJURY LAW that is all we do, and all we have ever done. We maximize the results for our clients. We emphasize quality legal work over sheer advertising volume.
Over the course of the next few months, we will stay in contact with the insurance company while you treat and hopefully get better. If you need assistance paying for your medical visits, we can help you figure out how to get treatment within your budget as well as deal with your health insurance and letters of protection if necessary. You will simply keep us updated on how you are doing so we can make sure the insurance company is setting their reserves appropriately—that means we want to make sure the insurance company knows how serious your injuries are so that once your case is ready to be settled it will be easier for the adjuster on your file to get fair value for your case.
As we said above, once you either make a full recovery or you reach a point that doctor’s call “Maximum Medical Improvement” (this usually happens after about a year), we can evaluate your case to determine a fair settlement value. At Adelman Connors & Krevolin, we are 100% dedicated to personal injury litigation. Your lawyer will present your case to the entire firm. We evaluate cases with all of our attorneys and all of our staff. The firm then acts like a jury and uses our extensive experience to advise you on a fair range settlement range for your case. Statistically 90% of the cases filed settle before trial.
Tip – You should only hire a lawyer who makes it known that you are the boss when it comes to a final settlement. While the lawyer will control the tactical aspects of your case, and you should trust their judgment and heed their advice, it is always ultimately your decision whether to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company.
After we discuss the outcome of our evaluation with you, we will contact the insurance company and try to settle your case. These negotiations have no timetable. Sometimes they are fast, sometimes they are slow. Either way, your Connecticut accident lawyer will keep you updated on what is going on and what to reasonably expect.
Ultimately, we will obtain the highest offer possible from the insurance company and now it is up to you whether you want to accept that offer or if you would like us to file a lawsuit on your behalf to escalate this case to an attorney. Remember, you will have our expertise, counsel, and recommendation while considering this step.
Note – Sometimes lawsuits are filed before this point for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: uncooperative insurance companies, fast approaching statutes of limitations, and issues with who was at fault in your collision.
If you choose to accept the settlement offer, your case is over, and the insurance company has 30 days to send us your check once we return all the signed paperwork. Most cases settle at this point.
If we go down the path of a lawsuit, we handle everything, and you just continue to get better. Within the first few months we will likely contact you to complete answers to questions called Interrogatories. These are questions that the legislature has deemed standard. These questions include your personal information as well as information regarding your injuries and treatment related to the case. Do not worry, we do a first draft and then sit down with you to ensure accuracy. At the same time, the driver who hit you to cause the accident is doing the very same thing.
Sometimes cases can settle after the written information phase described above, but sometimes the insurance company will want to take your deposition. A deposition is a statement under oath. It is a chance for the insurance company to meet you, size you up as a witness to see if the jury will like you if the case goes all the way to trial. Their lawyer will ask you questions about the accident, your injuries, your treatment, and how this situation has impacted your life. If you come across as a likeable and thoughtful person, hopefully the insurance company will increase their offer to settle, and the case can be resolved.
If you are still unsatisfied with the offer on the table, we will proceed to trial. This means we will take depositions, disclose experts, and prepare for a jury. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost for these services.
There are still opportunities to settle your case before the case actually goes to trial and even once it goes to trial. There may be a mediation (both sides agree to hire a lawyer or former judge who specializes is assisting parties settle cases by giving a neutral, experienced perspective on the case) or a judicial pretrial (a conference with a judge scheduled by the Court) to assist in settlement. Most cases that reach this step, settle at this point.
In the rare event that these conferences also prove unsuccessful, the Court will schedule a date to start selecting jurors for your trial. Typically, the jury selection process will last two to three days and then the trial will begin the next day or week. That process typically lasts a couple days and the jury returns a verdict as soon as they reach a unanimous decision, usually the same day. At this point your case is over and the insurance company sends us a check in the amount of the jury verdict.