Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit FAQs
June 18, 2014
Motor vehicle accidents can leave you injured, frustrated and stressed out, especially if you were obeying the law and driving carefully when you were hit by a negligent or reckless driver. In the aftermath of these accidents, you may have questions about your rights, what type of compensation you are entitled to and what you need to do in order to get your case started.
In this article we’ll give you answers to some of the questions frequently asked by motor vehicle accident victims. Although the answers provided here are general, you can easily get more precise answers regarding your case by contacting the Portland motor vehicle accident attorneys at the Savage Law Firm.
Q: How do I know if another driver is to blame for the accident?
A: There may be some clear indications that another driver caused the accident. For instance, if the other driver is cited or arrested by police, they likely violated the law, and their negligence was likely to blame for the accident.
If, however, police didn’t issue tickets or make arrests after the accident, other drivers may still be considered to have been at fault. Meeting with an attorney and discussing the specific events of the accident will be crucial to determining whether the negligence of other motorists contributed to the accident and your rights to compensation in such cases.
Q: What should I tell my insurance company when I report the accident?
A: First of all, don’t wait to call your insurer after an accident. Your auto policy likely has some strict guidelines about how soon after a motor vehicle accident you are required to report that accident to the insurance company (and not complying these terms could cause problems later).
When you contact your insurance company to report the collision, only disclose the facts of the accident – such as when and where the accident happened, the drivers or other parties involved in the accident and whether you have already sought medical treatment for your injuries.
Do not, however, get tricked into accepting any blame for the accident, and don’t try to make any assignment of blame. What you say to your insurer could later be used to devalue your claim, so do your best to only mention the facts and nothing else. If you feel like you are being asked a question that may impact your claim or rights to compensation, you can simply say that you don’t know the answer or cannot answer that question at this time.
Q: Should I wait to get my car fixed or see a doctor?
A: In general, no. It’s usually best to pursue any car repairs and medical treatments necessary. That being said, however, it’s also important that you keep copies of all repair orders, bills, doctors’ reports and other documents associated with vehicle repairs or medical treatments as evidence for your case.
While such documents can provide critical evidence of the severity of the damage done to you and your vehicle, they can also be essential to establishing how much compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Q: How much is my motor vehicle accident case worth?
A: The specific value of a case will vary according to the damage and injuries caused by the accident. When trying to determine the value of your claim, it’s best to speak with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer who can review the details of your case and give you a more specific answer regarding your likely entitlements to compensation.
Q: How long do I have to wait for compensation in my case?
A: The length of time that it takes to resolve a case will depend on a number of different factors, including (but not exclusively limited to):
- Whether one or more other motorists were involved in (or were to blame for) the motor vehicle accident
- Whether insurance companies try to undervalue or dispute your claim
- Whether other forms of negligence – like a vehicle manufacturer’s negligence – may also have contributed to the accident (These cases are typically far more complicated, as they require proving the nature of the vehicle equipment failure and going up against corporate attorneys for car makers to get compensation for injured people).
The only quick answer here is that you should expect to wait at least a few weeks and potentially even months for your compensation to come through. You should also know that the first settlement offers from insurers or others are often far less that you deserve, so holding out and fighting for what you deserve will be key to getting the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
Q: How long after an accident do I have to file a lawsuit?
A: In Oregon, you will have two years from the date of the motor vehicle accident to file your case. Although this can seem like plenty of time, and some people may want to deal with their injuries before filing a case, don’t wait until the last minute to initiate your claim.
In fact, the sooner you take action, the more evidence there will likely be to support your claim – and, as a result, the stronger your case will likely be.
Q: What challenges or issues should I be prepared for?
A: The challenges or issues that can impact a particular case will vary from case to case. In general, however, some of the most common challenges that accident victims face when it comes to getting the compensation they deserve involve dealing with insurance companies, as insurers will usually be looking for ways to undercut compensation or deny claims entirely.
This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to have an experienced motor vehicle attorney fighting for your rights and standing up to insurers on your behalf.
Q: What should I bring when I meet with an attorney about my case?
A: If you have time to prepare for an initial consultation, do your best to get together all documents and evidence you have associated with the accident. Specifically, some of the important documents to bring with you can include:
- The police report for the accident
- Letters or any documents from your insurance company
- Pictures of the accident you have taken
- Any bills, reports or documents from your doctor regarding your injuries and treatments
- Repair orders, bills and other documents related to the damage to your vehicle and the necessary repairs
- Any documents from your employer regarding missed work or lost wages.
Portland Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm
Have you been hurt in a motor vehicle accident? If so, don’t hesitate to contact the Portland motor vehicle accident attorneys at the Savage Law Firm. Since 1977, we have been dedicated to providing each of our clients with personal attention, respect and the highest quality legal services.
We realize how devastating traffic accidents can be, and our lawyers are here to aggressively defend injured people’s rights to both justice and compensation.
Portland & Seattle Lawyers
Our Portland motor vehicle accident attorneys encourage you to learn more about your rights and case by setting up a free initial consult. To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page.
We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.