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Causes of action for injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions include claims based on: a tortfeasor’s (the responsible party) individual liability for the tortfeasor’s own acts and omissions; vicarious liability; contract; an injury to another (i.e. derivative claims); based on wanton and wanton conduct; and the right of subrogation. Negligence is the most often pled cause of action based on a tortfeasor’s own acts or omissions that give rise to a personal injury claim arising out of a motor vehicle collision.

What is important to recognize, however, is that not only the other driver that collided with your car or the driver of the car you were a passenger in might have been at-fault, but the negligence of others who were nowhere near the accident when it occurred may give rise to a cause of action against them. Other persons or entities may also be vicariously liable for the negligence of the at fault driver, meaning they are liable simply because of the type of relationship they had with the at fault driver or because of a contract insuring you. Derivative claims are claims made by persons not based on injuries they suffered in the collision, but are based on their relationship to someone who was injured or killed in the accident and the damages sustained as a result of the effect of the accident on that relationship. A cause of action based upon the willful and wanton conduct of a tortfeasor is one for punitive damages, intended to deter and punish.

Claims made by or against a minor may be brought by or against the minor through a next friend, usually a parent or guardian. In cases where it appears that your damages may exceed the insurance policy limits of the at fault driver, it is suggested that you bring a claim against as many parties as can be named consistent with the facts, rules of ethics and the economic practicalities of the case.

You may ask why do this in cases where an insurance policy will cover both the at-fault driver and, for example, another party brought in under a theory of vicarious liability, but yet will provide the same amount of coverage regardless of whether just the at-fault driver was sued, or both the at-fault driver and the vicariously liable party were both sued. One reason is that the vicariously liable party,such as an employer or parent, may have assets to satisfy all or part of an excess judgment that the at-fault driver does not have. A second reason is that any party at risk of losing personal assets will have an incentive – that a judgment proof at-fault driver would not have – to put pressure individually or through excess counsel on the insurer to settle within policy limits by making telephone calls, writing letters and showing up at a settlement conference. This increases the chances of the case settling, with the insurer paying a higher amount. Also, in cases that do not settle under such circumstances, the insurer may be willing to provide its insureds with a protection letter providing coverage without limit in order to avoid a bad faith claim being asserted against it for not settling within policy limits.

While this is a lot of information, the main takeaway is that if you’ve been injured, there may be parties that are responsible for your injuries that you were not aware of and should be held accountable. The personal injury lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman know this and are here to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

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:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

 

 

Auto Accident LawyerBest Time To Enlist Services Of An Auto Accident Lawyer
When I meet with my clients, I am always surprised when I hear what the insurance companies have told them.

I hear about how the insurance companies want people to sign medical releases and give statements before they even have a chance to talk to an auto accident lawyer. I hear about how the insurance companies pressure people to settle their cases before they have even started receiving treatment for their injuries. I hear about how the insurance companies encourage injured people not to seek an auto accident lawyer.

It is unfortunate, but it is true: if the insurance companies did what they were supposed to do, then auto accident lawyers like Kidneigh & Kaufman would not be in business. Because the insurance companies so rarely do the right thing, it is important that you have the experienced auto accident lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman, P.C. working on your behalf.

After someone is injured in an auto accident, dealing with an insurance company can be very difficult and confusing. Most people simply do not even know where to begin, which is why it’s so important to have an experienced auto accident lawyer to guide you through the process.
I recently had a young man as a client who was seriously injured in a rollover accident. He had never been in a car accident and never had to deal with an auto insurance company. After attempting to handle things on his own for a while, he decided to contact the auto accident lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman to help him through the process.

He had incurred significant medical bills from the ambulance and the emergency room and did not know how he was going to pay his out of pocket medical expenses.

Luckily, his auto accident lawyer was able to determine that there was $5000 in medical payments coverage that could be applied to his out of pocket medical expenses. His auto accident lawyer also figured out that the young man had $20,000 in medical payments coverage under another policy that would pay for any additional out of pocket expenses. Now this client no longer has to worry about how he will pay for his medical bills thanks to his auto accident lawyer at Kidneigh & Kaufman.

Contrary to what many people think and what insurance companies would like you to believe, receiving fair compensation for your injuries is not as simple as calling up the insurance company and sending them a copy of your medical bills. An experienced auto accident lawyer can provide you with direction and help you obtain a fair settlement for your injuries. Kidneigh & Kaufman’s auto accident lawyers know the law and know how to deal with the insurance companies.

Do not talk to the insurance company unless you talk to an auto accident lawyer first.

That recorded statement you agreed to give to the friendly insurance adjuster could later be used against you as evidence that you were partially at-fault for the accident or your injuries were really not that serious. If you are hurt in an auto accident, call the experienced auto accident lawyers at Kidneigh & Kaufman immediately so they can guide you through the process and get you a fair settlement on your case.

Auto Accident Lawyer,Car Accident Lawyers

Car AccidentPlease place this in your car with the insurance card and registration

DO NOT move your vehicle unless it presents a danger to you or others.

Tell the other driver not to move their vehicle.

ALWAYS
Call the police at the scene (unless snow alert conditions – then file a counter report). DO NOT let the other driver talk you out of it!

Write down the other driver’s name, address, work and home phone numbers, and the vehicle owner’s name, address, and phone numbers

Find out the other person’s insurance information: name of company; policy number; agent’s name and phone number.

Note the make, model, and license number of the other vehicle.

ALWAYS
Record the names, addresses, and work and home phone numbers of witnesses!

ALWAYS
Notify your own insurance company as soon as possible, even if you are not hurt or at fault.

ALWAYS
Take pictures of your car’s damage and any visible injuries you have.

It is a good idea to keep a small notebook and pen in your car at all times so you’ll be able to write down all the necessary information you’ll need in the event of an accident.

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