The time right after a car accident is chaotic, with significant emotional distress and often severe physical injuries. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, allow a DC automobile accident attorney to help you through this challenging time.
An experienced legal advocate can handle questions from investigators and insurance companies and explain your situation to creditors while you focus on regaining your health and life. At Johnnie Bond Law, we understand the difficulties you face and we are ready to support you and fight for fair compensation to make up for your losses and prepare you for the future.
Automobile Accident Claims Through Insurance
If your accident is the fault of another driver, you will need to deal with your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance. It is possible that an insurance company will offer a fair settlement for your claim.
However, insurance is a business, so initial settlement offers usually provide far less than a victim is entitled to receive. A knowledgeable DC automobile accident lawyer could evaluate the circumstances and determine an approximate value for the claim based on legal precedent. This gives you a guideline to evaluate the adequacy of any settlement offers you receive.
After an insurer has seen that you have evidence to support a claim in court, they are more likely to settle a claim for a fair amount. You should receive enough to cover your medical expenses and lost wages, meet future medical needs, and compensate you for the pain and suffering you have endured.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents in the DC Area
Car accidents might result from bad weather, damaged roads, or medical emergencies, but negligent drivers are quite often the most obvious cause. Some common reasons for auto accidents caused by other motorists include:
- Distracted or careless driving (such as using a cell phone)
- Aggressive or reckless driving (including road rage)
- Passenger distractions
- Drug or alcohol impairment
If another driver is responsible for an accident that caused you severe injury, don’t wait to contact an automobile accident attorney. Serious injuries can result even from low-speed collisions, and symptoms may not become evident until days after the accident. Get a thorough medical exam and let your advocates at Johnnie Bond Law take care of the insurance companies so that you can concentrate on taking care of yourself.
What You Should (and Should Not) Do After an Auto Accident
Here is a checklist of things to do directly after an accident, if possible:
- Contact the police right away
- Alert emergency personnel about any injuries to yourself or others
- Do not say you’re sorry or say anything that could be taken as an admission of guilt (the insurance company or other driver may use this against you later)
- Gather the other driver’s name, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate, and insurance information
- Collect witnesses’ names and phone numbers
- Take photos of the accident site, including all involved vehicles, if you are able
- Do not leave the area until the police have made a report
- Undergo a thorough medical exam to determine the extent of any injuries
- Seek medical attention for any pain, even days after the car crash
If you are unable to take photos at the time due to your injuries, send someone to the site to take pictures of the accident scene and vehicles involved. Pay close attention to skid marks and signs of damage.
Consult an Auto Accident Attorney Experienced with Claims in the DC Metro Area
You can trust Johnnie Bond Law to handle your automobile accident claim with courtesy and professionalism. Our law firm has the knowledge and experience needed to get insurers to provide proper compensation for your injuries, whether through a settlement or litigation. Get in touch via our online contact form, or call us at 202-683-6803 to schedule a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accidents
How long do you have to get a lawyer after a car accident?
The laws of the DMV don’t set a time limit on when you need to obtain a lawyer, but they do establish a time limit for filing a lawsuit for injuries from an auto accident. In DC and Maryland, you must prepare and file your claim within three years. In Virginia, you only have two years to file. So you should work with your attorney long before that deadline in order to achieve success with your claim.
When should you hire an attorney for a car accident?
The sooner you hire an attorney, the more assistance you can receive. A legal advisor can be helpful in the first few moments after an accident and continue helping long after the accident.
Your lawyer can talk to investigators and insurance companies on your behalf so you don’t have to deal with them or worry about saying something that could jeopardize your case. Your attorney can give you advice and help you collect the fresh evidence to prove liability so you can receive compensation. Your lawyer can help you find the right doctors so that you get the treatment you need to recover. An experienced auto accident lawyer can assist in so many ways that it makes sense to hire one as soon as possible after your accident. And it will not cost you any more to do so because of the contingent fee system.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for a car accident?
Auto accident lawyers in the DMV usually work on the contingent fee system. They receive payment based on a percentage of compensation recovered in the case. That means you pay nothing up front to hire a lawyer, and your attorney will usually pay legal fees and costs on your behalf. When you win, your attorney will take reimbursement for fees and collect the percentage you agreed to from the award money.
Because the fee is based on your recovery, you do not pay more based on the amount of time your attorney provides assistance, and your lawyer is motivated to work hard on your behalf. If your attorney does not recover compensation for you, they do not get paid either.
Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?
It is particularly important to hire an attorney to protect your rights when you are not at fault for causing an accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may be quick to offer you a settlement, but the amount they offer is usually far less than the true value of your claim and may not provide enough to cover your expenses and future needs, let alone the pain and suffering you have endured. An attorney will work to get you the full amount to which you are entitled.
How long does it take to settle a car accident case?
Every case is different. Generally, before we can settle, we need to be sure you have reached your maximum level of recovery. Then we can establish the value of your claim. If the insurance company agrees to pay a fair settlement, then the process can conclude quickly. If not, we continue negotiating and presenting evidence until we either reach a fair agreement or take the case to a judge. It could take a few months or considerably longer.
Is it OK to talk to the other driver’s insurance company?
It is never a good idea to talk to the other drivers’ insurance provider. They will be looking for any excuse to deny paying the claim and could trick you into saying something that hurts your case. It is best to have your lawyer communicate with them on your behalf.
Can I sue the other driver for causing the accident?
If you or your legal team collects evidence to show how another driver caused the accident, then you can file a lawsuit against that driver. You can also seek compensation from any other parties who might have contributed to the cause of the accident.
What kind of damages can I seek to recover?
You can seek both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include monetary losses such as medical expenses, costs for future medical care, wages lost due to time off work, and diminished future earnings. Noneconomic damages cover losses like pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and inconvenience. Often the value for intangible losses represent the greatest portion of a damage claim.
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