For some, wondering what to do after an accident that is not your fault, even a minor one, can be a source of confusion, uncertainty, and anxiety. Even as the bills pile up, many people hesitate, feel overwhelmed by the legal process, or even feel intimidated. Others do not want to burden the system or simply do not trust it. Others may hold a stereotype of a car accident attorney being sue-happy, settling for any amount at the victim’s expense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Maine’s preeminent car accident attorneys, Hardy Wolf & Downing, help their clients get the compensation they deserve for any injuries, damages, and expenses that result from a car accident.
Insurance companies routinely employ tactics to avoid paying what they owe. They will seek to settle claims quickly for less or even resist resolving the claim. Visiting an experienced car accident attorney like those at Hardy Wolf & Downing will protect you from an unjust settlement. Here are answers to a few important questions that hiring a car accident attorney can help you with:
What are some follow-up tasks after an accident?
Obviously, addressing any medical emergencies and injuries is of primary importance that must be dealt with immediately. Tasks after that should focus on gathering as much information as you can. The more information you have, the better it will serve you later on, whether you get a lawyer or not. It will protect your interests and also help jog your memory.
- Exchange contact information. This would include the name or names of the other driver or drivers.
- Get their driver’s license number and license plate numbers, insurance information, type of car or cars, and the makes, models, and years.
- Get any witness information. Note the road conditions and weather.
- Take pictures of everything with your phone—the accident scene, car damage, road signs, conditions.
- It’s also important, even in minor accidents, to call the police. Accident reports will aid in any insurance claim.
- Also, calling 911 will establish a record of the accident if the police cannot respond immediately.
Will a non-fault accident affect my insurance?
As the name suggests, a non-fault claim occurs when you are not to blame or liable for an accident. It allows your insurance company to recover the total cost for the claim from the person who’s at fault. In most cases, it will not affect your insurance.
Unfortunately, there are instances that non-fault claims may affect it. For example, if someone hits your car while parked and drives off, or if a deer strikes your car running across the road, there will be no one to file the claim against, which makes you the responsible party. There is a possibility that your insurance provider may increase your premiums after a non-fault claim if similar accidents have happened previously or if they think there is a more than likely risk of similar accidents happening again.
Whose insurance pays after an accident?
Determining who is at fault after a car accident decides which driver is responsible for paying damages. It is the basis for an at-fault claim. Because Maine is an at-fault state, not a no-fault state, the blame for the accident must be correct. At-fault means that the responsible party pays for damages. In reality, the insurance company of the driver who causes an accident will pay the other driver’s bills related to the collision. Fault is determined by the available evidence collected by the police, the insurance company, or other investigators.
Fault is also relative. Maine has “modified comparative negligence laws” that allow “fault,” in some circumstances, to be shared. The law means that if you are less than 50% at fault, you can collect the balance of the available percentage. For example, if it is determined that you were 20% responsible for the accident, then you are eligible to recover 80% of the damages. Comparative negligence law also means that if you are 50% or more at fault, you cannot collect any damages from the other driver.
How long do you get to file an accident claim?
In Maine, time is a factor in whether or not you can file a personal injury lawsuit and go to civil court to collect damages from a car accident that was not your fault. There is a time limit on collecting damages, expenses, and injuries related to that accident. The statute of limitations in Maine is six years from the date of the accident, which, compared to other states, is a long period of time. However, it does not mean putting off meeting with a car accident attorney. The further time is removed from the accident, the less likely evidence has been preserved, medical bills will be saved, and you will be able to remember all that happened fully. To better ensure that you will be awarded just compensation for your injuries, you should meet with a car accident lawyer as soon as you can after an accident.
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you owe to yourself and your family to consult with a car accident lawyer that has experience and expertise in personal injury law. The attorneys at Hardy Wolf & Downing will advise you, help file your claim, and ensure that you are awarded the compensation you deserve, not what the insurance company thinks you deserve.