Tag: Car accident claim

Can Passengers Be Witnesses in A Car Accident Claim?

Can Passengers Be Witnesses in A Car Accident Claim?

In order to recover compensation, car accident victims must be able to prove that the other driver was to blame for the crash. To do this, personal injury attorneys conduct investigations to gather evidence that proves liability. Sometimes, the most important evidence comes from interviews conducted with people who witnessed the accident. No one may have had a better view of the accident than the passengers in your vehicle. But, can your passengers act as witnesses in a car accident claim?

Anyone who personally observed the events leading up to the accident, the crash itself, or the aftermath can serve as a witness in a car accident claim. This includes passengers in any vehicle involved in the accident.

However, the impact of any witness’s testimony will depend on the perceived credibility of the witness. On one hand, the passenger should be seen as credible since he most likely had a good view of the accident. He may have even heard the driver comment on the fact that a car was driving too close to him or speeding up behind him right before the collision. Therefore, it may be easier to believe him over a witness who was across the street when the accident occurred.

But, there are several factors that could hurt the passenger’s credibility as well. Passengers are typically either related to or friends with the driver of the vehicle. Because of this, the passenger may be hesitant to say anything that could be used to prove this person was at fault. This is especially true if the passenger was also injured in the accident. Passengers have the right to file a personal injury claim if they are hurt in an accident. If it can be proven that the other driver was at fault, the passenger can file a claim with that driver’s insurance company instead of pointing the finger at his close friend or family member.

Even if the passenger is completely honest, the insurance adjuster or jury may not think he is a credible witness due to his close relationship with the driver. But, the information that passengers may have about the accident is too valuable to ignore. For this reason, passengers almost always serve as witnesses in car accident claims.

If you have been injured in a car accident, seek legal representation from the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. Our personal injury attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence that can be used to prove liability for the crash. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Preserve Evidence After A Car Accident

How to Preserve Evidence After A Car Accident

It’s very difficult—if not, impossible—to recover compensation in a car accident claim without evidence. The at-fault party’s insurance company will expect to see evidence that proves their policyholder was truly to blame for the accident. The insurance company will also need to see proof of your injuries and any expenses or losses that you are claiming. Because the outcome of your case depends on how much evidence you have, it’s important to preserve evidence after a car accident. Here’s how:

Keep Multiple Copies of Paper Documents

Car accident victims need to hold onto documentation that is related to the accident, including medical records, police reports, and receipts. But, paper is not indestructible, so it’s important to make multiple copies of this evidence in order to preserve it. Scan everything onto your computer so you have an electronic copy of each document in addition to the paper document.

Protect Photos

Photos taken at the scene of the accident play an important role in proving liability. But unfortunately, many car accident victims make the mistake of assuming their photos are safe on their smartphones, when this is clearly not the case. If the phone breaks before the data has been backed up, the photos may no longer be accessible. For this reason, it’s recommended that you either print a copy of the photos or send them to your attorney and a trusted friend or family member right away.

Record Witnesses

You—or your attorney—will need to reach out to witnesses in the days following the car accident to find out if they heard or saw anything that could be used as evidence in your case. Once you make contact with the witnesses, ask them if they mind being recorded so you can get their statement on record.

Why is this important? It can take a long time to resolve a personal injury case, and the witnesses may forget a lot of what they saw or heard by the time you need them again. Therefore, it’s important to record their statements while their memory of the crash is still fresh so you can capture all of the details.

Have you been injured in a car accident? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm as soon as possible. Our personal injury attorneys will quickly get to work gathering evidence that can be used to prove liability in your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

What is the Seatbelt Defense?

What is the Seatbelt Defense?

Some insurance companies are willing to accept the fact that their policyholder was at fault for an accident if they have enough evidence that says this is true. But, other insurance companies won’t go down without a fight. One of the most common strategies that is used by the at-fault party’s insurance company in a car accident claim is known as the seatbelt defense.

What is the Seatbelt Defense?

Countless studies have shown that wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to protect yourself in a car accident. Despite this research, it is estimated that only 85% of people in the state of Colorado wear their seatbelts.

Now, let’s say you were injured in a car accident that was clearly caused by the other driver. If you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time of the crash, the at-fault party could try to use the seatbelt defense. This means the at-fault party will try to prove that you would not have been injured or would not have suffered such serious injuries if you been responsible enough to wear your seatbelt. Basically, the defendant is attempting to reduce his liability by saying that you were partially or totally responsible for your injuries.

The Seatbelt Defense & Comparative Negligence

Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state, which means personal injury victims may still be able to recover compensation even if they were partially to blame for the accident. But, victims cannot recover compensation if they were 50% or more responsible for their injuries. Therefore, the seatbelt defense can be used to reduce the amount of compensation awarded to the plaintiff.

For example, let’s say you suffer a concussion and broken bones in a car crash. Then, the defendant successfully proves that you would not have suffered a concussion if you were wearing your seatbelt, but you would have still suffered broken bones. As a result, the court finds that 30% of the liability falls on you, while the remaining 70% falls on the defendant. This means the amount of compensation that you are awarded will be decreased by 30%, so the seatbelt defense was successful. If the court finds that you are 50% or more responsible for your injuries, the defendant will not have to compensate you at all.

If you were not wearing a seatbelt when you were injured in a crash, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys will be prepared to fight the seatbelt defense and recover the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Things You Should Never Say After A Car Accident

Things You Should Never Say After A Car Accident

Being in a car accident can be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience. In fact, the shock and stress of being in an accident may cause you to say things that you will regret in the future. Here are some of the things you should never say after a car accident:

“I’m sorry, it was my fault.”

Don’t ever take the blame for the accident—even if you think that you were at fault. It’s possible that the other driver was partially or completely to blame, so don’t let him off the hook by accepting fault. Taking the blame will affect your ability to recover compensation in a car accident claim, so keep your lips sealed.

“I’m not injured.”

The other driver may ask how you are feeling after an accident to see if you were injured in the crash. Even if you feel fine, do not tell the other driver that you were not injured. It’s possible that you won’t discover the injuries until hours or days after the accident when the symptoms become more noticeable. But, telling the other driver that you are not injured could make it difficult to recover compensation for any injuries that you discover. It’s recommended that you never comment on your injuries until you have been examined by a doctor.

“I was distracted.”

A police officer or another driver may ask you a question about the events leading up to the accident. For example, a police officer may ask if you saw the other driver make an illegal turn. If you don’t know the answer to this question, say you don’t know. Don’t explain why you don’t know by admitting that you were looking at your phone or talking to someone in your car. Admitting that you were distracted at the time of the accident is almost the same as admitting that you were at fault.

Don’t let these mistakes affect your car accident claim. It’s best to avoid talking to anyone at the scene of the accident with the exception of the responding police officer. The only times that you should talk to the other driver are when you are asking if he needs medical attention and when you are exchanging information.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys can communicate with other parties on your behalf so you don’t accidentally say anything that could affect your claim. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Maximum Medical Improvement & Your Car Accident Claim

Maximum Medical Improvement & Your Car Accident Claim

When should you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company after a car accident? You should never accept an offer before you know the value of your claim, otherwise you won’t know how much compensation you deserve. But, in order to calculate the value of your claim, you will need to know exactly how injured you are and how the injuries will affect you in the future. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement before accepting a claim.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?

Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the point at which a victim’s condition has improved as much as it is going to improve. For some victims, this means that they have fully recovered from their injuries. For instance, someone with a broken bone will reach MMI when the bone completely heals and the cast has been removed. But for others, MMI could mean that no further improvements are expected even though the victim is still experiencing symptoms. This can happen with many types of injuries, but it is especially common with brain and spinal cord injuries.

Why Should You Wait Until MMI?

If you don’t wait until MMI to calculate the value of your claim, it’s very possible that you will underestimate how much your claim is worth. If you have a brain injury, there’s no way of knowing what treatment you will need in the future, how long you will need to be treated, and how the symptoms will continue to affect your life until you have reached MMI. Even if a doctor predicts early on that you will make a full recovery, do not accept a settlement offer just yet. Remember, doctors can be wrong, and it’s very difficult to predict how someone will recover from traumatic injuries.

To illustrate why this is important, consider this example. A mild brain injury victim may be told in the early stages of treatment that he should fully recover within a matter of months. But after one year of treatment, the victim is still suffering both physically and emotionally even though he has reached MMI. If the victim had accepted a settlement in the early stages of his case, he may not have factored in the costs of future treatment and pain and suffering. Therefore, he would have ended up settling for an offer that is far less than what he deserves.

Once you accept an offer, there’s no way to go back and ask for more money from the insurance company, which is why it’s so important that you be patient and wait to reach MMI.

If you have been injured in a car accident, do not accept an offer without talking to a personal injury attorney. The team at Reisch Law Firm will help you calculate the value of your claim so you know how much compensation you deserve. Then, we’ll start fighting to recover the full amount for you. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Car Accident Claim

Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Car Accident Claim

There are countless reasons why it’s in your best interests to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. One of the reasons is that an attorney can begin guiding you through the steps of the legal process to ensure that you don’t make any of these mistakes that could hurt your car accident claim:

Using social media.

If you are involved in any type of personal injury case, it’s recommended that you avoid posting on social media. Why? Insurance adjusters will be looking for any evidence that they can find to use against you, and they may find something of value in one of your social media posts. For instance, let’s say you are posting about going out with friends and having a good time. The insurance adjuster may try to use this to prove that you do not deserve pain and suffering compensation because the injuries are not affecting the quality of your life.

Waiting too long to get medical treatment.

Your first priority after a car accident should be seeking medical attention for your injuries. The longer that you wait, the more this mistake could impact your claim. If you wait a few days before seeing a doctor, the insurance adjuster may say that there is no way to prove that the injuries you sustained were actually caused in the accident. Don’t let this mistake affect the amount of compensation you are awarded—see a doctor right after an accident.

Not following the doctor’s advice.

After seeking treatment, it’s imperative that you follow the doctor’s orders, whatever they may be. If a doctor prescribes a medication, get the prescription filled and take the medication as directed. If he asks you to return for a follow-up, schedule one right away. If you choose not to follow the doctor’s orders, the insurance adjuster may say that you are obviously not as injured as you are claiming to be.

Forgetting to collect evidence.

You may be in a hurry to leave the scene of the accident so you can carry on with your day, but don’t leave before you have gathered crucial evidence. If you can, take pictures of property damage, debris in the road, and any traffic signs or signals that are nearby. Even if something seems insignificant—like tire skid marks on the road—take a photo of it. This may not seem important at the time, but the photos can be used to recreate the accident and prove that the other party was responsible. Without this evidence, it can be difficult to recover compensation if the other party is denying fault.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact the attorneys at Reisch Law Firm today. Our team will offer you honest legal advice and guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How Much is Your Car Accident Claim Worth?

How Much is Your Car Accident Claim Worth?

One of the first questions that clients often ask their personal injury attorneys is, “How much is my car accident claim worth?” This is a very difficult question to answer because of the many factors that can impact the value of a car accident claim. A personal injury attorney may be able to give you an idea of how much you will be able to recover, but only after carefully reviewing the details of your case.

Types of Compensation

It’s possible that you will be able to recover three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are awarded to plaintiffs who have incurred expenses or suffered losses as a result of the car accident. For example, these damages would be used to compensate victims for medical expenses or lost wages related to their injuries. Non-economic damages are awarded to plaintiffs who have experienced pain and suffering as a result of the accident. Non-economic damages are never guaranteed, but you are more likely to recover them if your injuries have seriously impacted the quality of your life.

Finally, there are punitive damages. This type of compensation is only awarded to plaintiffs in car accident cases where the defendant’s behavior was extremely negligent. Punitive damages punish the defendant for acting with a complete disregard for others’ safety.

Factors that Could Affect Your Claim

If you want to recover the maximum amount of compensation for your car accident claim, it’s strongly recommended that you work with an attorney and begin documenting evidence as soon as possible. An attorney will handle the negotiations with your insurance company so you do not get taken advantage of or persuaded to accept a settlement that is much lower than you deserve. Documenting evidence ensures that your attorney has everything he needs to present a strong case and achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Another factor that could affect your claim is your own negligence. Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state, which means your compensation could be reduced if you are partly to blame for the accident. Let’s say you were found to be 25% at fault for the accident, and the other driver was 75% at fault. If you were supposed to receive $100,000, you will now only receive $75,000. Plaintiffs who are found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident will not be able to recover any compensation.

To increase your chances of recovering the maximum amount of compensation, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Reisch Law Firm today. We will fight tirelessly on your behalf to help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.