Why Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer is Critical
There are so many reasons that a car accident lawyer is a critical part of your accident recovery team. Car accidents often result in devastating physical and emotional injuries that require months of rehabilitation and recovery. In some cases, injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash can result in permanent impairments that affect your ability to work.
Navigating the insurance roadblocks after a serious car wreck or fatal collision can be intimidating and overwhelming — especially when you are also trying to heal or grieve.
What happens if you miss important deadlines or documentation opportunities during this stressful period and can’t get compensation because of it?
Ensuring that doesn’t happen is what a good personal injury attorney does for you.
Our trusted personal injury lawyers have the confidence and experience to handle your insurance claim. Don’t go through this situation alone.
We regularly represent clients in underinsured and uninsured motorist claims, MedPay or PIP disputes, bad faith insurance claims, and other insurance disputes.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to the negligence of another driver, a Nampa car accident lawyer can fight for you. We can handle all the details of your claim, allowing you to focus on healing and moving on with your life.
Why You Need A Car Accident Lawyer
Once an accident is over, you are not out of the storm. Accidents usually mark the beginning of a period of turmoil, rather than the end of it, which can be very stressful to navigate. After the accident, you may need to deal with insurance claims, the determination of fault, fair settlements, proof of injuries, court filings, and much more. The quality of your life after the accident will depend on the exact details of your situation; no two situations are going to be identical.
Get help navigating all of this by hiring an experienced car wreck attorney who is familiar with laws in your area. Lawyers are aware of the shortcuts insurance companies try to take to settle claims for FAR less than what is rightfully owed, and they also know the best experts to bring in as expert witnesses to prove your case.
Speak To an Attorney Today For Help With Your Case
If you were injured in a car accident, you may be unsure where to turn. Medical bills, the loss of your ability to work, and the pain you are experiencing can be overwhelming. As the stress builds up, you might lose track of what you need to do next in order to proceed with your accident claim.
Fortunately, a Nampa attorney can help you get compensation for your injuries from the responsible driver. Going through this process alone can cause more stress than necessary; allow our experience to be a comfort during this difficult time.
Let our knowledgeable attorneys help you seek justice for your injuries.
Skaug Law attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you do not have to worry about fees until we recover compensation for you.
You can call our office seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Call today to get started on your claim.
Helpful Car Accident FAQs
The legal time limit for filing a lawsuit in court for an accident, or the “Statute of Limitations”, is 2 years for personal injuries and 3 years for property damage.
This may seem like a significant amount of time, but it can disappear more quickly than you might think, between an investigation into the accident, negotiations with insurance, your medical treatment and preparations for a legal case. The sooner you begin to take action, the better your odds of successful physical and economic recovery.
The timeline for filing a claim after a car accident with your insurance is usually much tighter. Unless your injuries leave you unable to do so, you are often expected to file your claim with your insurance within about three days of an accident. In this time period, you should arrange a visit with a doctor and get in touch with a Personal Injury Attorney.
This will help ensure that you get the treatment you need for your injuries – including injuries you may not immediately know about – and that your attorney can help you to make sure that everything in your claim is handled properly.
When determining who should pay damages following a car crash – fault is one of the biggest factors considered.
Idaho follows a practice referred to as ‘Proportional Comparative Fault’, where ‘fault’ is a driver’s responsibility for an accident through negligence.
Negligence in this instance refers to when a motorist fails to take reasonable measures to protect themselves and those they interact with on the road. If you are found to be partially at fault for an accident, up to a limit of 50%, the amount of fault you were determined to be responsible for is reduced from your damages when determining your compensation.
If you were found to be more than 50% at fault for an accident, you will not be able to recover damages in the State of Idaho.
For example, if you were found to be 20% at fault for an accident with $5,000 in damages, you would (at most) be able to recover $4,000 (80% of the damages, with 20% reduced for your fault in the accident). The other party would not be able to recover damages, because their fault for the accident was greater than 50%.
Similarly, if you were both found to be equally at fault for an accident (50% each), neither party would be able to recover damages from their accident.
Car crashes come in many forms, none however are no-fault in Idaho.
Automobile accidents could occur in many different ways and, many times, through no fault of your own. These could include:
- Rear-end collisions, which often result in serious head and neck injuries from rapid acceleration and deceleration
- Head-on collisions are the most serious kind of accident and result in catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries
- T-bone accidents, in which the side of a car is crushed. These often result in back and hip injuries for the driver and passengers
- Sideswipes are particularly dangerous for passengers, and they frequently involve trucks or commercial vehicles with limited visibility
- Lane crossovers are results of driver inattention or falling asleep at the wheel. Results include head-on collisions
- Rollovers are often the result of defective brakes or steering systems; they cause paralysis, serious fractures, and head injuries
In each of these scenarios, the determination of fault is going to be an important part of ensuring you get proper compensation. We pride ourselves on bringing in the right expert witnesses to ensure all accidents are properly analyzed for fault, and we can help you gather the documentation needed to prove the cause of your injuries.
Your first priority after an accident is to ensure everyone’s safety. If possible, to do so, pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road (as near to the scene as possible) and check to see if anyone is hurt. Call emergency services if necessary, and also call the police to file an accident report. Do not leave the accident until the police have arrived and finished their report.
If you are in a condition to do so, you will also want to gather the following information:
- The names and relevant personal information of those involved (license plates, contact info)
- Insurance information + policy numbers
- Photographs of the scene
- The name and contact information of witnesses
While it is not absolutely necessary to gather this information yourself, as a professional investigator will also likely try to gather this information, it can nonetheless be useful in making sure that evidence to support your claim isn’t lost in the bustle following an accident.
When you are allowed to leave, you will want to contact your doctor in order to be checked and treated for injuries, including those you may not be aware of. You will also want to contact an injury attorney, to help you form your case and to assist you in dealing with insurance, and your insurance to alert them that you have been in an accident.
The short answer to this question is, “yes”. You should try and make sure that you see a doctor after an auto crash as soon as reasonably possible, ideally within a day or two of your accident. The adrenaline from an accident can lead to overlooking your injuries, and the impact from even a relatively minor accident can result in injuries that you may not be aware of at the time.
Because you may not have the opportunity to properly brace yourself for the impact from a collision, your body may suffer from whiplash or other kinds of damage even if the accident did not result in significant damage to your car. It is important to your recovery that you address these as soon as possible before they can be unknowingly worsened through time or other activities.
Insurance companies are very likely to check to see if you promptly sought out medical attention after an accident. Failure to promptly seek medical attention after an accident can make negotiating with insurance more difficult, and can damage your claim if you eventually decide to take it to court if the other party claims that your injuries were not from the accident and may have come from somewhere else.
With the rare exception of motorists who want to post an indemnity bond, most vehicle owners will require a certain minimum amount of liability insurance in order to legally drive within the state of Idaho. This insurance covers the property damage, medical bills, and other expenses that might be incurred from the accident by the other driver.
- $25,000 – Bodily injury or death for one person
- $50,000 – Bodily injury or death for one accident
- $15,000 – property damage for one accident
Unless they have signed a waiver otherwise, insurance plans should also cover an amount equal to your bodily injury coverage in uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage can help to pay for expenses related to the accident in the case that the other driver does not have insurance.
Unlike many other states, including No-Fault states, Idaho does not have personal injury protection insurance available. Instead, Idaho has an optional type of insurance called ‘Medical Payments Insurance’, or ‘MedPay’, which covers the payment of medical bills (and only medical bills). Unlike personal injury protection in other states, this does not cover other expenses that may stem from your injuries.
If the cost of your damages outside of medical bills, such as the loss of wages or additional required assistance due to your injuries, is not covered by the other driver’s bodily injury Insurance or your own uninsured motorist coverage, you may be forced to pay additional costs out of pocket. It is often these kinds of situations where your case may need to go to court in order for you to receive the compensation you need to properly recover from your accident.
Driving a vehicle in Idaho without the protection of either insurance or an indemnity bond is considered a violation of Idaho’s motor vehicle financial responsibility law. Violations of this law can have several requirements, including:
- A $75 fine for the first violation
- A fine of as much as $1000 for further violations within the next 5 years and/or
- A jail term of up to 6 months.
These penalties, while obviously severe, are still comparatively minor compared to the financial burden you might encounter if you are in an accident while uninsured. Having to cover the costs of an accident entirely out of pocket can be a heavy burden for anyone, and so it is always a good idea to make sure that your insurance is in order and up to date annually.
The penalties for leaving the scene of a vehicle accident are steep, and are one of the many reasons that you should report them and remain until the police have arrived to file their reports, even if you’re in a hurry or feel like the accident might not be that big of a deal.
The penalties for being found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident include:
- Up to $5000 fine
- Up to 5 years in the Idaho state penitentiary
- 1 year suspension of driver’s license, where you are not allowed to drive at all.
This combination of factors can be absolutely crippling. No-one wants to spend years in prison over a fender bender, so it is absolutely crucial to remain on the scene after a car accident until the police have allowed you to leave.
The state of Idaho limits non-economic damages, such as emotional distress and disfigurement, to an amount determined by the average annual wage according to Idaho Statute 6-1603. This number changes on July 1st every year. At the time of this writing, the current limit is $250,000.
However, economic damages, such as your medical bills, loss of wages, and other calculatable expenses (such as required assistance stemming from your injuries) are not capped. Still, it can be difficult to negotiate with stubborn insurance companies, especially if the other side tries to place the fault on you.
An experienced attorney may be able to help you to successfully negotiate a settlement that will best help you in recovering both physically and financially, as well as supporting your legal needs if you feel that you have been treated unfairly and need to take your case to court.
If you have been involved in any type of car collision when an injury has occurred for you or another party involved, it is worth getting a lawyer involved on your side. While you may think the insurance company will help you sort things out, it is important to remember the insurance company has their own lawyers and adjusters working on every single claim that comes through.
Filing a claim with your insurance company is a reasonable next step, but you have no way of being sure you are being treated properly if you don’t have the right experience with accident claims. An experienced lawyer can provide this expertise.
When it comes to determining fault, you also may face some problems with your insurance company or with the insurance company of the other party. Determining fault differs by state, and Idaho has a modified comparative fault law. This means that damages are awarded based on the division of fault, so it is essential you prove the fault was not yours.
For example, let’s say it is determined that Jenny is to be held responsible for 80% fault and Sara is responsible for 20% fault. If Sara files a claim against Jenny for the accident, she will be able to receive up to 80% compensation. If Sara had not been able to prove that Jenny had more than 50% fault on her side, she would not have been able to make a claim due to Idaho’s modified comparative fault law.
Proving fault can be difficult to do without the right resources, but a qualified attorney can bring great expert witnesses to the team to prove your case. Legal representation is a great way to feel more secure in your case.
Without a lawyer on your side, it will be easier for insurance companies to utilize unfair loopholes and policies against you. Accident attorneys are trained to spot these actions, and they can fight for your rights. Your lawyer will become a key tool to help you ensure you are getting fair compensation from a car crash claim.
Overall, it is worth hiring legal representation in any situation where fault and damages need to be determined to ensure you do not end up being unfairly blamed or held liable for a situation that was out of your control.
This is one of the most commonly asked questions about any type of settlement, but the answer is not very helpful because the settlement you can expect depends largely on two factors:
- Injury severity
- Amount insurance company is willing to pay
The amount people typically receive from settlements depends on the situation, but it is best to call us to assess your circumstances.
Insurance companies will always be trying to pay out as little as possible. While injuries that have a larger effect on your quality of life are going to result in larger offers from the insurance company, the offers do not always fairly balance out the damages affecting your life.
There are many factors that must be considered when determining what type of settlement should be expected or accepted:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering compensation
There are a lot of factors insurance companies will take into consideration when making their offers, and their calculations won’t always be clear to you. Having an experienced lawyer on your side to help you determine what type of settlement should be expected can make a huge difference.
If you have been injured in a vehicle collision, you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner they are aware of your situation and involved in talks with the insurance companies, the better.
While it is possible to do the basic next steps after an accident such as taking pictures, going to the doctor, and filing your base claim without a lawyer, they can help you make the best choices. Lawyers know how important timing is in these types of cases, and they know what type of documentation is required from healthcare professionals along the way.
By having a lawyer sooner rather than later, they’ll be able to help you ensure everything you do is going to stand up in a civil court case if necessary, and that can make all the difference as you are mediating a settlement with the insurance companies.
If you’ve been in a minor car accident, this is the process you should generally follow:
- Stop the car and make sure everyone is okay.
- Call emergency services if necessary.
- Take pictures of the scene before cars are moved from the road, if possible.
- Document any injuries, and exchange contact information with the other part.
- See a doctor as soon as possible even if you do not believe you have sustained any serious injuries.
- File a claim with your insurance company.
- Call an experienced attorney for a free consultation to find out if having a lawyer on your team for this minor accident makes sense or not.
Of course, the exact situation your car accident occurred under may change what you should or should not do in this situation. The key thing to remember no matter what is that you should be documenting every single thing that happens.
Even if you don’t end up needing all of this proof, it is always better to have too much documentation on hand than not enough. Without the right proof, after all, you might never be able to prove your side of the story.
Most legal representatives work on what is known as a contingency basis. This means they do not charge a fee unless they help get a positive settlement in your favor. Then, the fee charged is typically either a determined amount or a determined percentage; this amount will be decided when you start working together.
The injury attorneys here at Skaug Law are happy to do free consultations with those who are dealing with auto accident cases. In these consultations, we can tell you more about what our process typically looks like, what you can expect, and answer any questions you might have about our services.
We could help you seek compensation for your losses from the at-fault party. An attorney could work to recover compensation for damages such as:
- The ambulance, emergency room, and hospital bills
- Present and future medical care, rehabilitation, medication, and assistive medical devices
- Loss of income and earning capacity due to an inability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You could also recover compensation for any property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing a vehicle.
Let a car accident lawyer in Nampa review your claim and pursue compensation for your damages.