At VanMeveren Law Group, P.C., in Fort Collins, we have the skill and proven experience to help you through this. We encourage you to contact us today to arrange a free consultation about your specific situation with an experienced attorney. Call 970-372-0149 or 866-649-6775. Based in Fort Collins, we serve clients throughout Northern Colorado.
Read Our Frequently Asked Questions To Learn More About Your Options
You had no reason to know you'd be injured. But now that it has happened, you undoubtedly have many questions about what your rights are and how to move forward with your life.
General Personal Injury
What should you do after an accident?
The most important thing is of course to get any medical treatment that you may need. If the injury is obviously serious, you or someone else should call 911 so you can go to the emergency room. Keep in mind, however, that even if you don't think you are seriously hurt, some injuries — particularly brain injuries — can take longer to show themselves fully. So even if you don't go the ER right away, you still may need to get your condition checked out by a doctor of your choice.
Besides getting medical attention, what else should I do after a car accident?
There are several useful steps you can take if you are able. For example, in addition to exchanging insurance information with the other driver, you could take photographs of the scene after the accident, including the vehicles and drivers. It would also be good to take notes about what happened and even make a drawing.
In a car crash, how can I prove the other driver was at fault?
Our firm is skilled in accident investigation, and we know how to build your case. But taking pictures and jotting down notes about the events can be very helpful later on. That is why we encourage you, if possible, to document what you believe occurred during or immediately before the crash.
How important is insurance in injury cases?
Insurance issues are very important in injury cases. This is especially true in car accident cases, where dealing with insurance adjusters to get fair value for your claim is critical. Insurance issues can also arise in cases involving dangerous property conditions, such as when homeowners insurance provides coverage for injuries caused by animal bites or other conditions that put others at undue risk of harm.
What should I do before an accident?
- Make sure you have underinsured motorist coverage on your auto policy.
What should I do when an accident happens?
- Call 911.
- Use GPS to identify and record your location, note weather and road conditions.
- Photograph damages to all vehicles involved.
- Photograph any distinctive features of the road or intersection.
- Photograph other drivers involved.
- Photograph driver's license and insurance card of other drivers involved.
- Complete list of people involved: info of other drivers, witnesses and reporting officers.
- Draw a sketch of the line of travel of the involved vehicles, indicating how the collision occurred.
- Make notes as to what you were doing just before the accident and every detail of what you saw, heard and felt directly after the accident occurred.
- Record all comments made by involved parties and witnesses.
- Provide your insurance and driver's license information to the other drivers.
- Do not talk about the accident or discuss how the crash occurred with the other driver. If injured, seek medical care immediately.
- When you have gathered all the case info, email it to us for free advice on your legal options.
Questions About Attorney Counsel
What will it cost to retain an attorney?
Nothing. Most personal injury attorneys charge nothing up front and wait for payment until a settlement or verdict is reached, and this is how our law firm operates. In the event that no recovery is made for you, we do not charge for our services. Most people do not realize attorneys spend a significant amount of time and money on your behalf hiring investigators to survey the accident scene, interviewing witnesses, paying court filing fees, and spending a significant amount of time analyzing your case - all before receiving payment.
In a personal injury claim, what am I entitled to be compensated for?
Subject to some exceptions, a person who sustains an injury due to the negligence of another is entitled to be compensated for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Aggravation of a pre-existing condition
- Lost wages and/or loss of earning capacity
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Pain, suffering and other "noneconomic damages"
- If you are married, your spouse may be entitled to compensation for their loss of consortium.
Should I talk to other driver's insurance company? What if they call me?
Never give an oral statement to the others side's insurance company. If you are contacted, be polite, but decline to talk. Insurance companies' claims adjusters are professional negotiators with extensive experience. Claims adjusters are well-trained by insurance company lawyers to ask questions in a manner designed to hurt you and help them. Simply say "thank you for calling but I am not prepared to discuss this matter with you at this time." Your attorney will determine the best way to proceed.
What happens if I am in an accident and the other driver does not have insurance?
If an injured person has uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on their own insurance policy, he/she may be able to make a claim for their UM benefits. An injured person can make a claim for UM benefits if the driver responsible for the accident did not have insurance, or did not have enough insurance to cover the damage sustained by the injured person in the accident.
Should I move the car to the side of the road before the police arrive?
Yes. You should always protect the scene of the accident to avoid additional collisions. Do not allow your car to obstruct the road if it can be moved. Warn approaching cars by raising the hood of your car and using your car's hazard warning lights. In addition, for nighttime accidents, place flares or reflectors on the road if available.
Questions About Physicians And Medical Care
I have a prescription for medication. Will the pharmacy bill my insurance company?
Most pharmacies do no bill the auto insurance companies for medication. You will need to pay for the medication first and wait until the case settles to be reimbursed the money you paid out. If you have health insurance, depending upon your plan, they may front the cost and request to be reimbursed from any recovery. If you have medical payment coverage on your own insurance, these benefits will reimburse your out-of-pocket costs.
Should I go to the emergency room?
Not all injuries following a car accident are immediately identified. For this reason, you should always call 911 and be transferred to a hospital by ambulance, if you feel any pain or discomfort. If you are certain that your injuries are minor, you may simply want to get checked out by your family physician. Most physicians offer X-ray and other diagnostic procedures and will be able to treat mild to moderate neck pain, back pain, headaches, etc.
Can I choose my own doctor?
After an auto accident, you may seek treatment from a licensed doctor or chiropractor of your choice. Your auto insurance should pay for your medical bills regardless of what doctor you see. If you do not have a relationship established with a doctor, your lawyer may have a referral for you.
Can I see a specialist immediately?
Yes. You do not need a referral to see an orthopedist, neurologist or other specialist. These doctors are well-trained to diagnose and treat headaches, back, neck, and all other pain and problems you may be experiencing.
What kind of treatment is available?
- Medication — Anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers, and pain medication are typically prescribed.
- Conservative care — Includes chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, hot and cold therapy, electric muscle stimulation, etc.
- Physical therapy — Exercise, stretching and strengthening.
- Injections — Includes cortisone injections and pain blocks.
- Surgical care — If conservative measures fail, the decision to proceed with a surgery is one you and your doctor will need to explore.
Questions About Towing And Property Damage
Does my insurance cover towing?
Towing is an add-on to most insurance policies. Unless you purchase this extra coverage, you will be responsible for the towing charge, but can ultimately recover this money from the at-fault person. The towing from the impound yard to the auto body repair facility may be provided by your insurance company or the body shop.
Will the towing company bill my insurance directly?
No. In most cases you will be required to pay the towing bill and then be reimbursed if you have towing coverage.
Can I choose the tow company and where my vehicle will be towed?
Yes, but with a few exceptions. The tow company you choose must be on the scene of the accident within 20 minutes of the call. The tow company will almost always tow your vehicle back to their own lot unless you have a prior relationship with them. They will usually not release your vehicle until the towing bill has been paid. A few auto clubs have preferred tow companies and locations where vehicles are towed to.
Where will my car be towed to?
If your car cannot be driven after the accident, it will be towed by the towing company that responds to the police call for car removal. Towing companies are usually called on a rotating basis for car removal so your car will be towed to the impound yard of the responding tow truck. You will be given information at the scene stating where your vehicle was taken. If you are taken by ambulance to the hospital, a police officer will usually follow up and bring the information to the hospital. If you are unsure where your vehicle was towed to, call the police department for that information.
Questions About Insurance Coverage And Claims
Is minimum required insurance enough?
No, minimum limits coverage will not cover any major accident. In Colorado, drivers are only required to have $25,000 of liability coverage per person and $50,000 per accident. If you are sued, your personal assets may be taken. This is why it is very importance to carry underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
How can I save money on my insurance premium?
Shop around. Rates can vary by several hundred dollars. Maintain a good driving record. Avoid traffic tickets and accidents. Take a driver's education course. Many insurance companies give discounts to educated drivers. Discounts for safety equipment. Airbags, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices can decrease your rate. Choose higher deductibles. Higher deductibles will decrease premium.
Will my insurance rate go up after my accident?
Maybe. Insurance companies use many factors to determine your premium. Traffic violations, age, gender, residential neighborhood, miles traveled, prior accidents, and other factors may affect your rate. Different insurance companies use different methods to determine premiums. If you are a good driver, have no traffic violations, and haven't had an accident in years, then a new accident will probably have little effect on your rate.
Questions About Treatments Like X-Rays And MRIs
I have a prescription, but can I choose an imaging facility?
An X-ray or MRI prescription works in the same manner as a drug prescription. You can have your X-ray or MRI performed at the imaging facility of your choice. A prescription is required for an X-ray or MRI diagnostic test.
Will I have to remove my clothes?
As a precaution, a gown may be required due to metallic fasteners and metallic fibers in clothes.
I'm afraid of being in tight spaces. Is there an open MRI design?
Many MRI facilities now have modern equipment with a more open design to accommodate patients who are claustrophobic or obese. If you think that open MRI equipment would be better for you, please call ahead to the MRI facility to ensure that they can accommodate your needs with open MRI technology.
I have piercings. Do I need to remove them?
All metal objects need to be removed including earrings, dentures, hearing aids and all piercings. Metal objects will obscure inside bodily structures and make it difficult for a radiologist to read the films. By remembering to remove these items at home, you will save time, keeping your appointment on schedule.
When do I get the results?
Results of your X-ray or MRI test will usually be available within two to three days. Your prescribing physician will give you an explanation of the results.
Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this application is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established
Take Action: If you have been injured due to someone else's negligence, don't be shy about getting help to pursue the full and fair compensation you need. Give us a call today to schedule a confidential consultation with a lawyer. Or, if you prefer, complete the online form.