State Farm is the largest provider of car insurance in the nation. In fact, nearly 17% of all insured drivers have insurance through State Farm. For this reason alone, there is a good chance that if you are involved in an accident, at least one of the involved drivers will have State Farm insurance. Navigating the insurance process after a car accident can feel somewhat daunting, and it can be hard to know where to start. You may be relieved when a State Farm agent calls to “get the ball rolling,” but if you are not careful, that ball would roll straight down hill. An experienced lawyer for State Farm accident claims will have extensive experience negotiating claims with State Farm agents and knows their tricks and has access to the same insurance information that they do. State Farm profits fell by over 30% this past year, so you can imagine that they are being even more tight-fisted than usual. If there is a way to decline coverage, they will find and take it. This makes it even more critical to have an experienced advocate on your side who can fight to make sure that you get the coverage you deserve.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, physically and financially. It is not possible to be prepared for something as jarring and life-altering as a car crash, and you should not have to be. It can be even harder to accept that most car accidents are avoidable, and that your injuries never would have happened if not for someone else’s carelessness. The good news is that there are avenues to recover for your injuries. Below is a list of injuries that we frequently help clients receive coverage for. If you believe you may be experiencing one of these injuries, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Soft tissue injuries
Trauma to cervical spine
Brain swelling or hemorrhage
Broken or fractured bones
Contusions and lacerations
This list is not intended to be comprehensive. Whether or not your injury is listed it is important to contact a lawyer to get information on how to move forward and get the coverage you deserve.
Do I Need to See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
Yes. Regardless of whether you are visibly injured or do not believe you are seriously injured, it is important to seek medical care after a car accident. Many people are worried about overreacting so they wait to see if aches and pains experienced after the accident will go away, and do not mention them to police at the scene of the accident or seek medical attention. This can present a major problem later on when the pain becomes far more severe and they finally decide to seek medical attention.
Even a delay of a few days can cause complications in getting coverage because it makes it look like you did not think your own injury was serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. The delay in evaluation and treatment can also be used by the State Farm insurance agent to claim that the injury could have been caused by an intervening cause, unrelated to the car accident. In general, the longer you wait to see your doctor the more of a toll it will take on your claim.
Another reason to always see a doctor soon after an accident is that many injuries, such as whiplash and soft tissue injuries, can take several days to fully develop symptoms, but may be immediately apparent to a doctor. Most people also experience a rush of adrenaline after a car crash that reduces their ability to feel pain. This means that you may be feeling mostly okay in the aftermath of a crash only to be hit by a wave of pain several hours later or the next day. If you are silently suffering from a life-threatening injury, such as a brain bleed or organ damage, during your peak adrenaline time, you may miss a life-saving opportunity for medical intervention.
It is important to remember that there’s really no such thing as a car accident that is not serious. All car accidents take a serious toll on the entire body due to the force exerted upon impact, this force hits the spine and neck especially hard, which are fairly vulnerable to injury. For this reason, it is important to not overthink it and just to adhere to protocol, seeking a medical evaluation after any car accident. It should always be taken seriously.
Can I Sue After an Ohio Car Accident?
If you have been in a car accident that was not your fault and have suffered serious injuries and financial damage as a result, you likely have standing to bring a personal injury lawsuit. The easiest way to determine whether you have a valid car accident claim is to consult with an attorney who can review the facts of your case, however, we can go into some general information here.
First, in order to have standing to bring a personal injury lawsuit you must not have been primarily responsible for the accident. The other driver must have been at fault, and must have been negligent in causing the accident. We will explore the concept of negligence more below. You must also have suffered injuries that required medical treatment and resulted in financial damage. For instance, if your injuries required you to receive medical attention, be hospitalized, have surgery, or miss work, these are all bases for recovery. Your financial harm should be documented, and it is a good idea to keep track of all expenses incurred as a result of your injury as you recover from your injury.
Establishing Negligence in Ohio Car Accidents
Ohio is a comparative negligence state. This means that even if the other party was not 100% at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover from them for your injuries, provided you were not the primary cause of the accident. You can still receive a damages award if you are partially at fault for the accident, the award that you receive will simply be reduced by the amount of fault that you are determined to have contributed to causing the accident. For instance, if you were found to be 10% at fault for causing the accident and were awarded $10,000 in damages, you will recover $9,000 of those damages, equal to the full $10,000 less than 10% of $10,000 ($1,000) that you contributed to the accident. If you are hesitant to pursue legal action because you are not totally blameless in the accident, it is still important to talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can defend you against the presumed amount of liability and argue for the other party to be found to have a higher percentage of liability.
Your lawyer can also give you an idea of your odds of success, what your total damages may be, and whether it still makes sense to move forward legally. Many people take comfort in knowing that they still have standing to bring a claim even if they are not entirely without fault. After all, many times fault is incurred as a result of how someone responded to someone else’s reckless driving, such as sideswiping a car in another lane in order to avoid a reckless driver. It is hard to avoid any liability at all as accidents do involve some component of accident. However, it is important to still hold reckless and negligent drivers accountable for their conduct.
Damages for a Car Accident Claim
If you have been in a car accident claim, you are likely rapidly accumulating damages, ranging from medical bills to lost wages and the cost of replacing your vehicle. While you may want to make it through the gauntlet of current challenges before you stop to take a breath and get legal help, it is actually better to get help sooner rather than later. The faster you get a lawyer on your side, the sooner they can start working on getting you a fair settlement that will cover your increasing expenses and allow you to resume the standard of life to which you are accustomed.
The point of personal injury lawsuits is to restore you to the position that you would have been in had the accident and related injuries never occurred. This includes compensation for all expenses incurred as a result of your injuries as well as anticipated future costs if you will require ongoing or long-term treatment, lost wages, reduced earning potential, property damage, and other damages that your attorney can help you identify and recover.
Because there are so many different factors involved in determining damages, it is always a good idea to talk to an attorney after an accident as they can review the circumstances of your case and give you a more accurate assessment. They will also guide you with regard to which doctors and specialists to see and what information you need to get in order to have a clear idea of how much your injuries will actually cost to recover from. Your lawyer will likely also advise you to have your car properly appraised. It is important not to assume or ballpark damages as this can result in accepting an offer that is too low to actually cover your necessary expenses moving forward.
A good lawyer will make sure that you don’t accept a settlement that will not meet your needs. Given that personal injury lawyers, such as car accident lawyers, generally work on commission, you can trust that they have a vested interest in getting you the highest possible settlement.
Strengthening Your Claim After a Car Accident
There are some things you can do after a car accident to strengthen your claim as much as possible. These actions begin at the scene of the accident, where you can document the accident, damage to the vehicles, their license plates, and collect information from the involved parties. It is also important to get the names and contact information for any witnesses who may have observed the crash. Making a police report will also strengthen your claim, and mentioning any pain or injuries you are experiencing will also help build your claim.
Another way to strengthen your claim after an accident is to seek medical attention as soon as possible and retain all documentation from the visit as well as the cost and billing information. After that, you should contact a lawyer so that they can assess your claim and start working on a strategy for recovery. You should also maintain an injury journal. In this journal each day you should record your pain level as well as any symptoms that you are experiencing. You should also make note of any costs you have incurred as a result of your injuries, such as medical appointments, transportation to and from medical appointments, and medication.
If you were unable to work due to your injury or medical appointments you should include that fact as well as your lost wages. If your injuries impacted your ability to do daily activities, such as driving, cleaning, or cooking for yourself, be sure to include this as well as any expenses incurred as a result. This journal becomes a solid record of documentation supporting your claim and will be invaluable when it comes time to calculate your damages.
Contact the State Farm Insurance Claim Lawyers at the Law Firm of Kruger & Hodges
If you have suffered serious injuries and financial harm due to a car accident that was not your fault, you do not have to navigate the process alone. The experienced car accident lawyers at the Law Firm of Kruger & Hodges have extensive experience handling State Farm Insurance claims and know how to get you the maximum settlement to which you are entitled. Contact the Law Firm of Kruger & Hodges today to schedule a consultation