Tag: car accident

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 Get Your Car Repaired After A Car Accident

How to Get Your Car Repaired After A Car Accident

The impact of a collision can seriously damage both cars involved in the crash. Depending on the extent of the damage, the repairs can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But fortunately, if the other driver caused the car accident, it is their insurance company that will have to pay for your repairs. Here’s how to get your car repaired after a car accident:

Contact the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company

If the accident was clearly caused by the other driver, you will need to get in touch with their insurance company as soon as possible. The at-fault party’s insurance company must repair your car so that it is in the same condition it was in prior to the accident. Once they are notified of the accident, the insurance company will ask that you take the car to a repair shop to obtain an estimate for the repairs that need to be made on the vehicle.

Visit A Repair Shop

Insurance companies typically have contracts with repair shops in the community. The contracted shops provide better rates for insurance companies since they account for a significant portion of each shop’s business. But, these are only suggestions, so it’s important to remember that you can obtain an estimate wherever you’d like.

Submit the Estimate to the Insurance Company

Next, the estimate will need to be sent to the insurance adjuster who is assigned to your case. At this point, the insurance adjuster may review and immediately approve the estimate. But unfortunately, the insurance adjuster often finds something that he does not agree with on the estimate. For example, the insurance adjuster may think that a part can be repaired instead of completely replaced. If this happens, the insurance adjuster and repair shop can negotiate until they reach an agreement.

Get the Repairs

Once the estimate has been approved, it’s your responsibility to schedule an appointment at the repair shop and get your car fixed. Be sure to ask the insurance adjuster about whether or not they cover the costs of a rental car that you can use while your car is being fixed. Many insurance companies offer this coverage, which makes it easier to carry on with your life while your car is being repaired.

If you have been involved in a car accident, seek legal representation from the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. Let our team fight for the compensation that you deserve for your injuries and property damage. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Prove the Other Driver Was Speeding Before A Car Accident

How to Prove the Other Driver Was Speeding Before A Car Accident

Speed limits are designed to reduce the risk of accidents and keep drivers safe. If a driver fails to abide by the speed limit, he is putting other drivers in harm’s way. Speeding is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents, and the faster the driver is going, the more damage he can do when he collides with another vehicle. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a speeding driver, it’s important to prove the other driver was speeding in order to recover compensation for your injuries. Here’s how:

Talk to Witnesses

Be sure to ask witnesses for their contact information before leaving the scene of the accident so you can talk to them about what they saw. If you noticed that the other driver was speeding, it’s very likely that a witness did as well. This testimony can be used to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident because he was speeding in the moments before the collision.

Find Surveillance Footage

Depending on where the accident occurred, there may be surveillance footage of the driver speeding prior to the crash. For example, if the accident happened in a residential neighborhood, a homeowner’s surveillance system may have caught the driver racing through the streets right before the accident. An attorney can contact the owners of the homes and businesses in the area near the crash site to determine if any of them have surveillance footage of the other driver.

Photos From the Scene of the Accident

The photos taken at the scene of the accident could contain evidence that proves the other driver was speeding. An attorney and accident reconstruction expert will first examine the photos of the damage caused by the collision. Manufacturers and regulatory agencies conduct tests to determine the speed at which different parts of a car will crumple in a collision.

For example, a test may show that the bumper on your vehicle is designed to withstand impacts of up to 30mph. If the bumper is crumpled as a result of the crash, an accident reconstruction expert may conclude that the other vehicle was going above 30mph at the time it collided with your vehicle.

Photos could also reveal that the other driver’s vehicle left skid marks on the road. This evidence may seem insignificant, but an accident reconstruction expert can use the length of the skid marks to estimate the speed at which the other driver was traveling.

Have you been hurt in an accident caused by a speeding driver? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm right away. Our personal injury attorneys will immediately begin gathering evidence that can be used to prove the other driver was not abiding by the speed limit at the time of the accident. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

Should You See A Chiropractor After A Car Accident?

Should You See A Chiropractor After A Car Accident?

Many people who are involved in car accidents suffer from back, neck, and shoulder pain following the crash. Physicians can treat these injuries, but chiropractors are known for specifically treating soft tissue injuries located in these areas of the body. So, if you suffer these injuries, should you see a regular physician or a chiropractor after a car accident? Many car accident victims end up seeing both a physician and a chiropractor during their recovery, but it’s best to see a physician first. Here’s why:

Get A Professional Opinion

It may be obvious that you have suffered some sort of neck, back, or shoulder injury based on the symptoms that you are experiencing. But, it’s best not to diagnose your own injuries in case you’re wrong. Go to a physician as soon as possible after the accident so you can be examined by a medical professional.

Remember, chiropractors do not go through the same training that physicians do, so they will not be able to offer the same level of care. If you go to a chiropractor first, he may not be able to identify other injuries that you have suffered in the accident.

The Value of Your Personal Injury Claim

The at-fault party’s insurance company will need to see copies of your medical records in order to calculate the value of your claim. If the insurance adjuster sees that you solely went to a chiropractor after the accident, this could affect the value of your claim.

Many insurance adjusters favor treatment provided by physicians instead of chiropractors. If you only went to a chiropractor, the insurance adjuster may assume that the injury is not as severe as you are claiming. As a result, the insurance adjuster may lower the value of your claim simply because you chose a chiropractor instead of a physician.

To avoid this problem, it’s best to go to a chiropractor only if it is recommended by a doctor. Be sure to ask your doctor for recommendations so you can make sure that you go to a highly respected chiropractor in the area. Doing this will ensure that your visits to the chiropractor will not impact your ability to recover compensation.

If you have been injured in a car accident, seek medical attention first, then get in touch with a personal injury attorney. The personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will handle the negotiations with the insurance adjuster so you can focus solely on recovering. 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.

Car Accidents Caused by Road Hazards

Car Accidents Caused by Road Hazards

The vast majority of car accidents are caused by driver error or drivers that are distracted, inexperienced, or intoxicated. But sometimes, a car accident occurs due to a road hazard. What kind of hazards can cause drivers to crash? Who is liable for car accidents caused by road hazards? Here’s what you need to know:

Common Road Hazards

A road hazard is any type of dangerous condition on the road, including excessive gravel, pot holes, oil spills, uneven lanes, standing water, or debris. Some road hazards, such as ice patches or snow, are caused by environmental elements. But others, such as pot holes and bumpy roads, are problems with the actual road itself.

Who is Liable For Car Accidents Caused by Road Hazards

If you have been injured in a car accident, the first thing that your attorney must do is determine who is at fault for the crash. If the accident occurred because of a problem with the road, the government entity that is responsible for maintaining the road could be held liable.

It’s important to note that filing a claim against the government is very different from filing a claim against another driver. How? First, the claim against the government must be filed within 180 days, which is significantly shorter than the three year time limit that other personal injury victims have. Before this 180 day period is up, the victim must submit a written notice that includes:

  • Contact information
  • Brief description of what happened, including where it happened and under what circumstances
  • Information on what injuries the victim sustained in the accident
  • How much compensation the victim is trying to recover

If this notice is not received within 180 days, the government will not allow you to file a claim. For this reason, it’s important to move quickly and get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.

Other Liable Parties

The government is not the only party that could be responsible for your injuries. It’s possible that another driver involved in the accident was partly or totally to blame. If the accident was caused because of a road hazard near a construction site, the company that was contracted to do the construction may be responsible. Let an attorney analyze the details of your case to determine who should be held liable for your injuries.

Have you been injured in a car accident caused by a road hazard? If so, contact Reisch Law Firm today. Our personal injury attorneys have years of experience filing claims against city, county, and state government entities. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

How to Take Photos After A Car Accident

How to Take Photos After A Car Accident

Personal injury attorneys strongly recommend that car accident victims gather evidence from the scene of the accident if they are able to do so. Besides talking to witnesses and exchanging information with the other drivers, victims should also take pictures of the scene. Why is it so important to take photos after a car accident? What should you photograph? Here’s everything that you need to know:

Why Taking Pictures is Necessary

People who have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But without evidence, the other driver or his insurance company may argue that the accident was your fault. If it turns into a “he said, she said” argument, it’s not likely that you will recover the compensation that you deserve.

To avoid this problem, take as many pictures as possible at the scene of the accident. Why? Photos can reveal a lot about the accident, including the direction the drivers were traveling in, the impact of the collision, and the damages caused by the crash. Even if something seems insignificant to you, it could be the missing piece of the puzzle that your attorney needs to prove liability. In some cases, photos are also used to help an accident reconstruction expert recreate the collision to prove which driver was at fault.

What to Photograph

If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the vehicles that were involved in the accident before they are moved off of the road. Photograph the vehicles both up close and from a distance so you can capture the positioning of the vehicles as well as the dents, cracked windshields, and scratches caused by the collision. If the vehicles hit anything else such as a light pole or stop sign, photograph the damage caused by this collision as well.

If you have visible injuries, take photos of these as well. It’s best to photograph your injuries on a daily basis so you can show how they worsened or how long they took to heal.

Then, look around to see if there is anything on the road. Did one of the vehicles leave skid marks on the road? Is there broken glass from a window or a piece of a bumper laying in the middle of the street? Photograph this debris so you can paint a clear picture of what happened later on.

Finally, look for any traffic signs or lights that could have played a role in the accident. Try to take these pictures from far away so the picture shows exactly where the vehicles are in relation to the traffic signs or lights. This may help you prove that the accident was caused by the other driver’s failure to obey a traffic sign or light.

Have you been injured in a car accident? There’s no time to waste—seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact Reisch Law Firm today so our personal injury attorneys can begin analyzing this photographic evidence to prove liability. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.

The Importance of Waiting For the Police After A Car Accident

The Importance of Waiting For the Police After A Car Accident

It’s never a good time to get in a car accident, but some times are worse than others. If you’re rushing to work or trying to get to an important meeting, the last thing that you want to do is wait around for the police to arrive at the scene, especially if it was a minor accident. But, don’t underestimate the value of waiting for the police after a car accident.

The police officer who arrives at the scene will gather information that he needs to write an official report. This report will include the location, date, and time of the accident, in addition to details on any property damage and injuries sustained by the drivers or witnesses. The police may also include statements from the parties involved in the accident, as well as the officer’s opinion on how was at fault.

Clearly, there is a wealth of information in the police report, which is why this document can play such a big role in your personal injury case. A police report can support your version of events and prove to the other driver’s insurance company that you were not to blame for the accident. But, if you didn’t wait for the police, you won’t be able to provide this evidence to the insurance company, which may affect your ability to recover compensation.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why a police report matters in minor accidents where there are no injuries. It often takes hours—or even days—for the symptoms of an injury to appear. In many cases, what starts off as a minor symptom can slowly become worse over a matter of a few hours. So, even though you think you will not need a police report at the scene of the accident, it’s very likely that you will regret this information later on when it becomes clear that you are injured.

It’s been proven that passengers and drivers can sustain injuries in low-speed collisions. In fact, it’s possible to sustain injuries even if the car that hit you was traveling at 10 miles per hour. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to call the police and wait for them to arrive so you have an official police report that summarizes the accident.

Contact a personal injury attorney after leaving the scene of the accident. The team at Reisch Law Firm will thoroughly review your case to determine if you are entitled to compensation. To learn more about your options, schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.