Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
We're here to help you through every step of the process
The aftermath of a car accident can be one of the most difficult times of your life. While taking time away from work and recovering from your injuries, you might have to deal with complex legal questions and insurance companies that don't want to pay you what you deserve for your crash. At Szantho Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping people injured in car accidents. That's why we compiled this information about some of the most frequently asked questions about auto accidents.
While we're happy to provide this general information, it's important to understand that that every accident is unique. To make sure your accident receives the attention it rightfully deserves, contact us to schedule your free case evaluation. We're eager to learn more about your specific accident and how we can help you. Call 866-853-2462 right now.
- I was just in a car accident. What should I do at the scene?
- Do I need to see a doctor after my car accident?
- How can a lawyer help me prove the other driver was at fault?
- I was in a rear-end accident and the other driver was clearly at fault. Do I still need an attorney?
- How much is my car accident claim worth?
- Should I answer questions from the other driver's insurance company?
- Should I take a settlement offer from the insurance company?
- The driver who hit me doesn't have insurance. Now what?
- Why do I need to contact you right away?
I was just in a car accident. What should I do at the scene?
The actions you take immediately after your car accident involving another vehicle can make a dramatic difference. That's why it's critical that you take the following steps. Otherwise, you might not be financially reimbursed for your crash or could even face criminal charges.
- Remain at the scene of your accident. If you leave, you could be arrested.
- Call the police and demand they respond to your crash.
- If someone appears hurt, tell the police to send an ambulance immediately.
- If your car is not obstructing traffic, leave it right where it is until the police arrive.
- If your car is not in a safe place, take a photograph of your accident, then move your vehicle.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- If someone saw your accident, talk to them. And make sure you get the witness's contact information (full name, phone number and address).
- Take photographs of your accident. Take pictures of skid marks, property damage and anything else at the accident scene. This evidence can be a critical part of your case and can disappear quickly.
- When talking to the other drivers, witnesses or the police, stick to the facts. Don't make any statements admitting fault, even if you think you were at fault. You're likely not in a good position to judge. Anything you say could be used against you in the future.
- Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident, but again, stick to the facts and don't admit liability.
- Contact our law firm right away for advice regarding your legal options.
The sooner you call, the faster we can start building your case.
Do I need to see a doctor after my car accident?
Yes. Make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you feel fine. Accidents often cause internal injuries that can take days or weeks to become readily apparent. Being evaluated by a medical professional right away is the best decision for your health. Also, if you wait to see a doctor, an insurance company might use that delay against you and attempt to deny your claim for benefits.
How can a lawyer help me prove the other driver was at fault?
In order to collect damages for an accident, you need to prove that you were injured as a result of another driver's negligence. Irresponsible drivers cause accidents for many reasons, including speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, reckless driving and falling asleep at the wheel. Each type of negligence has particular types of evidence that we carefully look for after every single accident. As your attorney, we will aggressively investigate your accident and find the facts you need to prove the other driver was at fault. It's also important to understand that waiting to take legal action could jeopardize the outcome of your case. Evidence can disappear quickly. Witnesses sometimes change their stories. That's why we act fast to collect evidence and aggressively pursue leads.
For instance, we often look at the pattern of skid marks at an accident site. Those skid marks can indicate if the other driver was speeding, driving erratically or crossed the center line before your accident. If there aren't any skid marks, the other driver could have been asleep or texting while driving and didn't even attempt to stop. We also regularly interview eyewitnesses or review their statements, especially if they reported seeing the driver weaving, which may indicate drunk driving or distracted driving. Our legal team also often pores over police reports and other documents for signs that the other driver may have been speeding or otherwise disobeying traffic laws. Every piece of evidence matters. And the more we find, the better our ability to obtain a sizable settlement or judgment in your favor.
I was in a rear-end accident and the other driver was clearly at fault. Do I still need an attorney?
Rear-end collisions often seem straightforward at first. Another driver crashed into the back of your car. End of story, right? Don't be so sure. Often, insurance companies will use a wide range of tactics to reduce or deny your claim. For example, they may argue that because the collision happened at a low speed, your injuries couldn't be due to your accident. That's why it's critical that you have an aggressive attorney on your side, fighting for your best interests. Attorney Andras Szantho has the discipline, determination and experience you need to stand up to the insurance companies. We know how the system works and we will not rest until justice is served.
How much is my car accident claim worth?
There's no set amount of damages for car accidents. Each one is different. That's why it's important that you have an experienced attorney with a strong track record of success. Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the injuries you or a loved one sustained, you could be entitled to thousands or even millions of dollars in compensation.
Common injuries that often result in large claims include:
- Brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Back injury
- Neck injury
- Broken bones
In each case, you may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical bills, physical therapy and lost wages while recuperating. If you sustain a permanent disability or disfigurement, you may be entitled to further compensation for lost earning potential or quality of life. Compensation for pain and suffering can also be substantial, especially if the accident leaves you with chronic pain. In addition to these medical-related costs, your auto accident claim could include property damage and other costs directly related to your accident, such as towing and storage.
And worst of all, many insurance companies are constantly looking to pay accident victims as little money as possible to settle claims. They often prey upon drivers' unfamiliarity with the system and deliberately overlook some sources of compensation in order to reduce their own liability. That's why you need our law firm on your side. We can review all the circumstances surrounding your case and fight for every dollar you're owed.
Should I answer questions from the other driver's insurance company?
Absolutely not. We advise you to be wary when dealing with your own insurance company, and they're at least nominally on your side. The other driver's insurance company is there to protect their client and their own financial interests. Any information they get from you will likely be used against you. If the other driver's insurance company calls you, call us right away. Get attorney Andras Szantho on your side, and direct the insurance company to talk to us.
Should I take a settlement offer from the insurance company?
Most insurance companies look for any way to pay accident victims as little as possible. If they offer you a settlement soon after your accident, it's probably because they want you to take it before you have enough time to carefully review your case. Many drivers find themselves stuck with thousands of dollars in medical expenses and car repairs bills because they settled for less money than they actually needed or deserved.
Don't accept a settlement offer until you've completed your medical treatment. Otherwise, there may be additional medical costs that aren't included in your settlement. Instead, contact our law firm. We can carefully review your offer with you before you decide whether to accept it. Often, the initial settlement offer from an insurance company turns out to be much less than they're willing to pay. We know how to demand more money. And if the insurance company doesn't cooperate, we're prepared to take them to court and fight for your rights.
The driver who hit me doesn't have insurance. Now what?
Even though car insurance is mandatory in New Mexico, many drivers choose to drive without insurance. If one of those drivers causes an accident, you may have no way of getting damages (financial compensation) from them. You could also be involved in an accident with a driver who does have insurance, but doesn't have enough coverage to pay your claim.
If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, you may be able to collect damages from your own insurance. The uninsured driver may also be covered under a spouse's or employer's policy. Nevertheless, cases involving uninsured and underinsured can be very complicated and challenging to handle. We can help you make sure your insurance company provides the coverage and assistance you need after your accident.
Why do I need to contact you right away?
Filing a car accident claim is a time-sensitive process. There are strict deadlines that need to be met. Otherwise, you may lose your right to sue for damages. In most cases, you have up to 3 years in New Mexico to take legal action after your accident. Just as important, evidence can disappear quickly after an accident. Physical evidence often gets cleaned up. Witnesses' memories fade. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin investigating your accident and building a strong case.
Any statements you make to another driver, a witness, a police officer or an insurance company can be used against you in the future. Once you have us working for you, you can direct any requests for comments about your accident to us. We have years of experience dealing with insurance companies and know which information can be potentially damaging to your case. Finally, keep in mind that insurance companies are always looking to settle claims for as little as possible and keep cases from going to trial. We're not afraid to go to court. We know how to stand up to insurance companies and win. That's why we're eager to meet with you.