Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accidents
Reliable answers from an accomplished accident attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you may have many questions. You may not know what to do next or how to get your medical bills paid. Over the past 25 years, we've been there with thousands of people who were asking the same questions.
Attorney Mark Morse is a longtime leader in his field and a frequent lecturer and instructor for other attorneys. He's the car accident lawyer other lawyers trust to answer their questions, and he has reliable answers for you as well.
- What should I do at the scene of an accident?
- Do I need to talk to the insurance company?
- Do I have to see a doctor? I feel fine.
- How much is my case worth?
- What if my accident involved an out-of-state driver?
- Do I have to go to court? How long will my case take to resolve?
- Should I accept a financial offer from the insurance company?
Remember that these questions and answers are intended for general informational purposes. For specific legal advice on your individual case, we strongly recommend that you contact the Law Office of Mark B. Morse, LLC as soon as possible. A consultation with Attorney Morse is only a phone call away. Call (401) 831-0555.
Unless you need to leave to seek emergency medical attention, you absolutely must stay at the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime in Rhode Island. Call emergency services and assist if you are trained and able to do so. Your first priority is to make sure the scene is safe.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. You'll also need to get contact information for the investigating police officer and any witnesses to the accident. However, keep your comments to anyone else at the scene brief, focusing on the facts of what happened. Don't say anything that could be construed as admitting fault for the accident.
Take pictures of the accident scene with your camera or smartphone. Skid marks, property damage and any visible injuries are critical pieces of evidence.
Seek medical attention, even if you don't think you're hurt. This is the best option for your health - and your legal rights.
Call your insurance company in a timely manner to report the accident. Again, keep your comments brief. Even your own insurance company may use anything you tell them against you, especially if you admit fault for the accident.
Finally, contact us as soon as possible. Getting an experienced attorney on your side right away will lead to the best possible outcome.
You do need to notify your auto insurance company in a timely manner that you were involved in an accident. Otherwise, they will most likely deny your claim. However, you do not need to answer their questions, and you certainly don't need to talk to an insurance company representing another motorist at all. Instead, contact us right away. Once you get Attorney Morse on your side, we will contact the insurance company and tell them to direct all further questions to our law firm.
You absolutely do. Many car accidents cause internal injuries or traumatic brain injuries, which can have delayed-onset symptoms. The best option for your health is to be seen by a doctor right away to ensure that you aren't seriously hurt. Moreover, if you wait to seek medical attention, an insurance company could use that delay against you.
Make sure you comply with your doctor's instructions and document any medical appointments, including mileage and travel time to and from each appointment. This will become important evidence if you later need to file an insurance claim or lawsuit.
That depends on the individual facts of your case. Some of the damages (financial compensation) you may be entitled to recover include:
- Medical expenses due to the injuries you sustained in the accident.
- Lost wages while you were recovering from your injuries.
- Property damage, including your vehicle and any other belongings.
- Replacement services, such as yard work and childcare that you are unable to perform due to your injuries.
- Pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress.
- Lost future earnings if you are permanently unable to work or need to work a "light duty" job.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. Essentially, if we can prove that you suffered real losses due to the accident, we may be able to get compensation. If your accident was caused by particularly reckless or intentional conduct, such as drunk driving, you may also be awarded punitive damages, which are additional damages designed to punish the at-fault driver.
Tracking down an out-of-state driver can be difficult, which means you'll definitely need an experienced attorney on your side. At the Law Office of Mark B. Morse, LLC, we've represented many Rhode Islanders injured by out-of-state drivers. We also represent out-of-state drivers who were injured in accidents while driving in Rhode Island.
Depending on the circumstances, we may need to retain a local attorney from the driver's home state to move your case forward. If that's the case, we will split our fee with the other law firm, so you will not have to pay more.
That depends on the case and on the insurance company's willingness to cooperate. Negotiations usually take anywhere from three to nine months from the time you complete your medical treatment; if your case goes to trial, the court date may be one to two years away, though we can still reach a settlement at any time.
We're committed to reaching a speedy resolution for our clients as long as we can still get full compensation, but some cases do go all the way to trial. If that happens in your case, you will have a board-certified civil trial specialist on your side, and we'll take the time to prepare you every step of the way.
Not without speaking with Mark Morse first. Insurance companies routinely offer "lowball" settlements to try to settle out claims quickly, and once you've accepted their offer, there is very little we can do. That's why you should always review your settlement offer with an experienced car accident lawyer before making a decision. In most cases, the amount the insurance company is willing to offer is much less compensation than you need - and much less than they will be willing to pay once you have an accomplished attorney on your side.