- What do I do when an accident happens?
- Here are 5 things everyone should do if they get into an accident.
- What happens if I get into an accident with someone who does not have insurance?
- You still may be able to make a claim even if the other driver does not have insurance.
Over six million car accidents occur in the United States each year and, fortunately, most are relatively minor. As personal injury attorneys, we deal with car accidents every single day. Inevitably, a client or friend will ask me, “what should I do if I get into an accident?” Obviously, there are many different things that you can and should do depending on the circumstances, but here are 5 things that everyone should do if they are involved in an accident:
- Call the police: Surprisingly, many of our clients fail to call the police after an accident occurs. They often do not want to wait for the police to arrive or do not want to inconvenience the other driver. However, it is critical that the police are called to document what happened and determine who was at fault for the accident. Sometimes stories can change: the friendly driver who rear-ended you and said it was all his fault and that he would take care of everything later calls his insurance company and says that the accident was actually your fault because you stopped suddenly on a green light. Without a police report, it becomes a he said, she said situation. Police reports not only show how the accident occurred, but can also document the damage to the vehicles, the injuries to the parties, and the contact information for any witnesses.
- Record the details of the accident: Remember to document everything you can about the accident. The names of any witnesses, the insurance information for any vehicles involved in the accident, the contact information for the police officer are all important pieces of information. A camera phone is an extremely valuable tool in a car accident. Use it to take photos of the vehicles, the insurance cards, and any other relevant documents.
- Report the accident to your insurance company: Notify your insurance company as soon as possible if you were involved in an accident. Most insurance policies have a provision that requires policyholders to notify immediately and cooperate fully in the event of an accident. You also want to find out what types of coverage you have and what the limits are for each type of coverage you have. For example, you may have medical payments coverage, which will actually pay for your medical bills following an accident, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket!
- Seek medical attention if you are injured: If you feel you’ve been injured after a car accident, it’s important that you seek medical treatment right away. Even though you may feel fine immediately after the accident, pain can develop over the next few hours and days after the adrenaline wears off. It is also important to document the pain you are feeling following as it can be difficult to remember days, weeks, or months later. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the more difficult it can be to prove that your injuries were related to the accident.
- Protect your rights: Within days or sometimes even hours of an accident, the other driver’s insurance company may contact you to ask for a statement or to request your medical records. Before you speak to an insurance company, talk to a personal injury attorney about your case. Most attorneys will provide a free initial consultation so that you can better understand how to protect your rights and your potential claim.
Remember to drive safely and be careful so, hopefully, you never have to use these tips.
If you were injured by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to punitive or exemplary damages. These damages are in addition to your compensatory damages for things such as medical bills, wage losses, and pain and suffering. A claim for punitive or exemplary damages may arise where there is evidence such as excessive speed, alcohol or drug abuse, or other evidence of gross negligence, willful and wanton, or reckless conduct.
Keep in mind that a claim for punitive damages is not necessarily limited to the at-fault driver. For example, a claim for punitive damages would be proper if the owner of a car handed the keys to someone who was obviously intoxicated. Where the accident was caused by a defect in a vehicle, a punitive damage claim against the manufacturer may be appropriate in cases where the manufacturer did not perform standard testing, manufactured the vehicle as it did despite test results showing that would result in a dangerous product, or made optional certain items on the car necessary for safety in order to increase profits.
If you were injured by a drunk or intoxicated driver, please call the attorneys at Kidneigh & Kaufman today so they can discuss your case with you.
People often ask, what does a personal injury law firm do?
Personal injury law firms assist people who have suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence. Lots of law firms say they handle personal injury cases, but only a few can say that their practice is devoted to helping personal injury victims. True personal injury law firms, like Kidneigh & Kaufman, P.C., can handle a wide variety of personal injury cases, know the ins and outs of personal injury law, and have a reputation for getting results for their personal injury clients. Kidneigh & Kaufman, P.C. is one of the few personal injury law firms in Denver that fits all of the criteria and would like to help you with your personal injury case.
Steve Kaufman and his then-partner Jon Kidneigh started Kidneigh & Kaufman, P.C. over 25 years ago with the goal of helping personal injury victims.
Almost three decades later, Steve Kaufman is still devoted to helping personal injury victims. Over the years, the attorneys of Kidneigh & Kaufman P.C. have had the opportunity and privilege to represent personal injury clients on a wide variety of different cases, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, product liability, medical malpractice, bad faith, uninsured/underinsured claims, and legal malpractice. This length and breadth of experience in personal injury law means our clients receive representation from attorneys who know personal injury law and how to present a personal injury case in the most favorable light.
As a personal injury law firm that has been around for over 25 years, Kidneigh & Kaufman has been able to regularly obtain favorable settlements for its clients.
The numbers speak for themselves – over $65 million in settlements for its clients including several million dollar plus settlements. While other personal injury law firms have never set foot in a courtroom, Kidneigh & Kaufman has gone to trial and won, forcing insurance companies to pay 6 to 10 times their policy limits when they initially denied claims.
A personal injury law firm is best defined by the success it achieves for its clients. As an example, Kidneigh & Kaufman, P.C. had the privilege of representing a woman in a medical malpractice case in Pueblo. A sponger had been left inside the client following a cesarean section delivery, which required a surgery to remove. A personal injury settlement was easily obtained with the hospital because the nurses did not properly count the sponges that were removed after the surgery. However, the doctor refused to settle and instead, tried to blame the whole fiasco on the nurses.
Although our client had only a little more than $3,000 in bills that she had to pay out-of-pocket, she suffered greatly from an emotional standpoint.
The jury’s verdict was for $1,000,000 plus her out-of-pocket bills, which the judge then reduced according to the caps that the legislature has unfairly placed on medical malpractice cases. The doctor appealed the jury’s decision, Kidneigh & Kaufman won the appeal, and the insurance company for the doctor eventually paid in excess of $500,000 for the doctor’s negligence. This is a great example of how a personal injury law firm can help a client in need.
Call the personal injury law firm of Kidneigh & Kaufman, P.C. today to set up a free consultation regarding your personal injury case.
Kidneigh & Kaufman, P.C. represents clients in both criminal and civil matters. One of the most common criminal charges is Driving Under the Influence. The odds are that everyone knows someone who has been charged with Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Ability Impaired. A DUI or DWAI can have serious implications for individuals including potential jail time, losing your driver’s license, probation and associated costs, fines, alcohol classes, and mandatory community service. After receiving a DUI, many people do not know what to do. Even though people may not be ready to hire an attorney right away, it is important that they protect their rights after they receive a DUI or DWAI. One way people can do this is to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 7 days after receiving their DUI or DWAI. By doing so, people may be able to get a temporary license until the hearing and may be able to get their licenses back at the hearing. However, if you don’t request the hearing within 7 days of your DUI or DWAI, you will lose your right to a hearing absent special circumstances. Call Kidneigh & Kaufman, P.C. today for your DUI or DWAI case.
Like most football fans, I have been following the coverage of the Saints bounty program very closely. For those who don’t follow the NFL as closely as I do, the New Orleans Saints allegedly had a bounty program in which defensive players were to be paid for big hits that knocked opposing players out of the game. Jonathan Vilma is alleged to have participated in the bounty program and have also contributed $10,000 of his own money to the program. For his involvement in the bounty scheme, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Mr. Vilma for one full year. In response, Jonathan Vilma has filed a defamation lawsuit against Roger Goodell and the NFL based on their statements regarding his involvement in the bounty scandal. I can’t remember any other time when a player of a major sport sued the commissioner of that sport. It will certainly be a tough road for Mr. Vilma as he will have to prove that Roger Goodell knew his statements were false, acted with malice, and caused damages and personal injuries to Jonathan Vilma. If Jonathan Vilma is successful, it could totally change the relationship between the players and the commissioners office. Stay tuned to see what happens.