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How Are Car Accident Cases Handled
Learn what insurance adjusters look for in car accident claims.
Insurance companies initially determine fault and liability in accident cases. Liability in auto accident cases is usually due to the negligence of the driver who caused the accident.
Negligence is, in its simplest terms, a failure to exercise reasonable care and diligence under the circumstances.
Liability can also be due to the other driver’s recklessness. In accidents involving traffic violations, there is a stronger presumption that the driver who committed the traffic offense was at fault.
Fault and liability are also based on the statements of the drivers and any eyewitnesses, the property damage to the vehicles, the skid marks, if any, Accident Reconstruction Reports and Police Accident Reports. I have my Investigator document, investigate and photograph the accident scene, the property damage, the injuries sustained and interview witnesses. I also take written statements from witnesses, police officers and preserve all physical evidence.
In some types of traffic accidents, liability is established from the type of accident itself. For instance, if you were struck by a vehicle from behind, in most cases it is the other driver’s fault because traffic laws require that drivers maintain a safe distance from the automobiles in front of them in order to be able to stop safely.
Also, drivers making left-hand turns are almost always liable in collisions where the other driver was driving straight in the opposite direction, unless the other driver was exceeding the speed limit, ran a traffic signal, or was otherwise negligent.
In some cases, liability can also be due to product liability, meaning the car was not safe and did not perform as expected as warranted by the manufacturer or retailer selling the product.
Under products liability law, when that product fails to perform as expected or injures someone, the company can be held liable and the consumer who was harmed by the defective product may seek financial compensation for injuries and damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and possibly punitive damages.
The manufacturer, retailer and supplier of parts for the product may be held responsible for the injuries and losses that are caused due to a defective product that it manufactured, produced, designed or sold.
When you are injured in an auto accident, the insurance adjuster from the negligent driver’s insurance company is likely to contact you to offer a quick and easy financial settlement of the claim.
It is important to know that the insurance adjuster represents their insured, the person who caused the injuries, damages and losses. They do not represent you and they do not have a duty to protect you and your best interests. Very often insurance adjusters will ask for information that they are not entitled to and that could be damaging to your claim. It is important that you know what information you should and should not provide to the adjuster. Do not sign a Medical Authorization.
Therefore, you should call me before you agree to a financial settlement agreement and I can review the offer relative to your injuries, property damage and any other losses, in order to assess whether it is a fair and all-inclusive offer. It is my duty to protect you, your best interests, and your legal rights now and in the future.
The Insurance adjuster will ask you to sign a Release in order to send you a settlement check. The Release is a release of all claims against them for any past, present, or future liability for your injuries. It protects them, it does not protect you. It can prevent you from all future action even if your injury becomes worse or new complications arise from the accident.
Be aware of the fact that by accepting an immediate settlement from the insurance company, you are forever releasing the other driver from all liability for your accident. The matter will be forever closed and cannot be reopened. This leaves you unprotected and financially responsible for the injuries and damages their insured caused you through no fault of your own.
For more information about your car accident case and what you need to do right now, call me directly at: 410-983-3022 and I will discuss, review and evaluate your case with you at no charge. You may also contact me by completing the Contact box on the left side of this page, or by email. You can also protect your case by reading my advice in my Free Car Accident Fact Book.