Tort is one of the major divisions of law. Unlike a crime which is a public wrong. Tort is defined as a “civil wrong” and in auto accident Tort Law allows the injured person or his dependents to sue the wrong-doer for damages and losses incurred as a result of the auto accident.
What should I do after my auto accident?
Auto Accident – First Step
- Get medical attention immediately
- Make sure your immediate injuries are taken care of, as well as a full checkup to identify any potential injury you might not notice after the shock of an accident.
- Follow your doctors’ advice
- Complete all recommended therapy and take all medications as your doctor prescribes.
- Keep all records
- Do not trust your memory. Write down facts including injuries to persons injured, the other driver’s name, license number, date of birth, and insurance company information, names and telephone contacts of any witness at the scene, identities of other driver’s car, police and investigator information. Take photographs of the accident scene including skid marks and also take distance measurements of cars and objects.
- Keep a diary
- Make a detailed note of everything about the accident as soon as you can, including all details about how it happened, who came from what direction, etc.. Also continue to keep a diary about how you are feeling and the progress of your injuries, time spent going to doctors, lost sleep, events missed, time lost from work, and any other impact your auto accident has had on your life.
- Police reports
- Before lodging police reports of the accident, consult your lawyer first.
- Do not make any statements
- Only talk about the accident with your doctor and your lawyer. Do not make any statement to other drivers, insurance companies and insurance adjusters. With your own insurance company, only report the time and place of the accident until you speak with your lawyer.
- Do not sign anything
- This is critically important. The insurance company may call you and try to talk you into a lowball settlement. They may say that your injuries were minor, and you aren’t entitled to very much or any money at all. I probably need not tell you that they do not have your best interests at heart. At least speak with a lawyer first in an initial free legal consultation who will review your case and tell you where you stand.
- Keeps all bills of expenses incurred including money paid for special food during treatment.
- Any kind of discomfort, inconvenience, and embarrassment can factor into negotiating a settlement.
Frequently Asked Questions in auto accident cases
Q: I was hit by a commercial vehicle or someone driving in the service of an employer. Is the employer also responsible?
Quite possibly, yes. The employer may be liable for the employee’s negligence under the doctrine of vicarious liability, where the company is responsible for negligent acts committed during the course and scope of normal activities in service to the company. If the individual does not have enough insurance to cover all of your personal injury and pain and suffering claims, it can be helpful to your chances of getting a fair settlement if there is another party with liability.
Q: Will my premiums increase if I make a claim?
An insurer cannot increase your premium rates solely because you or one of the insureds under your policy made a claim and was paid unless it is determined that you or the insured was at fault.
Q: How do I prove who was at fault in my car?
Experienced lawyers normally have an extensive process and analysis methodology to establish responsibility for the accident. Legally determining who is at fault in a car accident is a critical step in protecting your rights and medical bills.
Q: Can I be compensated for lost wages after missing work from my auto accident injury?
Yes, you can, but, the paper work on lost wages compensation can be tricky and if you don’t get it done right, you can lose out.
Q: I was charged with a crime in my accident dangerous or reckless driving, can a lawyer help me?
If you were injured in the accident, and you believe that another driver was at fault, then your defence lawyer should be able to help you will with all aspects of your case. If you case does not involve your own injuries, then you’ll need a good defence lawyer.
If you are charged with an offence, you will not necessarily be found at fault for insurance purposes. Similarly if no charges been filed against anyone, this does not necessarily mean that no driver involved in the accident was at fault.
Q: How long do I have to file a lawsuit after an auto accident?
Generally, the statute of limitations for Automobile Personal Injury cases is 3 years. However, if you think you may have an injury claim, you should speak to a lawyer right away to make sure all evidence is preserved and recollections are fresh in your mind. It may be more difficult to win a case the longer you wait. This is because witnesses may not be traceable to give evidence in court. Sometimes, witnesses even if they are willing to come to court, they may not be able to recall the accident and this may jeopardize your case.
Q: How much should I pay my lawyer to take up my case?
You can always work out a fee structure with your lawyer. Normally, lawyers here may need you to pay some upfront charges and may wish to collect the balance of his fee after your claim is settled. This can ease your financial burden until claim is settled.
Personal Injury Settlements: 5 Ways to Increase Car Accident Claims
- Recovery Time
To determine how serious your injuries are, the insurance companies will look at the length of your recover time. They want to know it your injuries affected your life for a just a few days or for months. The reasoning behind this is simple. The insurance companies think that the longer it takes you recover from an injury, the more serious it must be. The more serious your injuries appear, the higher will be your injury settlement. The best way to documents the length of your injuries is with your doctor’s medical reports. These types of injuries may include scarring, broken bones, permanent disabilities, lost of limbs etc. since these injuries can severely impact your everyday life, they get higher personal injury settlements.
- Lasting Injuries
Some injuries can have a long term and even permanent impact on your life. These types of injuries may include scarring, broken bones, permanent disabilities, lost of limbs etc. Since these injuries can severely impact your everyday life, they get higher personal injury settlements.
Another way insurance companies determine the seriousness of your injuries is by checking if you are taking any prescribed medications. Having to take medications show that your injuries have been causing you pain and discomfort. If you are taking medication, you should note all the symptoms you have been experiencing. This can include severe headaches, chronic pains, inflammation, joint pain etc. You can then include these notes as a part of your auto insurance claims.
- Physical/Emotional Pain
To get the most of your personal injury settlements, you should try to paint a complete picture of how you were impacted by you injuries. Simply saying that you were injuries does not show the level of pain and discomfort you may be experiencing in your daily life. The same injury can have a different impact on different people. For example, a visible scar can cause a teenager extreme embarrassment. Being stuck in a wheel chair may prevent a mother from taking care of her kids. A stiff neck can prevent someone from enjoying a good night sleep.
All of these things are not obvious consequences of an injury. That is why it helps if you document both the physical and emotional impact of your personal life. You should keep a journal that detail how you were affected by your injuries. In your journal, you should describe the activity you are doing and the physical/emotional discomfort you felt. The more clearly you describe you injuries, the better the chance of you getting higher personal injury settlement.
- Life Disruptions
Besides the physical discomforts you experienced as a result of your injuries, your injuries may have come at the worst possible time. Your injuries may have caused you to miss a meaningful event such as:
- Missing a friend’s wedding.
- Not being able to graduate.
- Unable to go on family vacation.
Although you cannot place a specific ringgit value on any of these events, they still should be compensated.
Some events are considered more meaningful than others. Missing a one-time event, such as a wedding, would be considered more “valuable” than missing time at your weekly softball game. The amount of money you get will depend on how convincingly you can argue the significance of each event. If you want to get more money from your personal injury settlements, then you need to show your evidence of you pain and suffering. Following these 5 guidelines will help increase your auto accident claims.
In Brief, Do Have The Following Facts In Hand!
- the name of the registered owner’s insurance company and his/her auto insurance policy number;
- the make, model, year, registration and license plate number of the vehicle; and
- detail regarding the accident, including:
- the driver’s name and driver’s license number (if the driver is not the registered owner);
- the date, time and location of the accident;
- the extent of any injuries;
- the number of the passengers involved, if any;
- the extent of damage to the vehicle;
- your description of the accident;
- the names and driver’s license numbers of the other drivers, as well as the names of their insurance companies and their auto insurance policy numbers;
- the license plate and vehicle identification numbers of the other vehicles; and
- the name and badge number of the investigating police officer, if the accident was reported to the police.
In Malaysia, the court can award both the loss of expectation of life under Section 8 of Civil Law Act 1956 and loss of dependency under Section 7 of Civil Law Act 1956.
For dependency claim, it is important to adduce evidence that the deceased was gainfully employed at the time of his death and that this income was used to upkeep his dependants.
The court has to assess how much and for what period or further period the deceased would have made payments to his dependants had the deceased not met his untimely death.
To be successful in dependency claim, two conditions need to be proved before a dependant could maintain a suit of damages.
Who are the dependants in a fatal accident claim?
Section 7 of the Civil Law Act 1957 governs dependency claim. The purpose of the dependency claim under section 7 (2) of the Civil Law Act 1957 is to provide the widower or widow and dependants who are parents or children of the deceased with some capital sum which would with careful management would be sufficient to provide them with the material benefits of the same standard and length of time as would have been provided for them out of the earnings of the deceased had the deceased not been killed or died of the accident.
Motor accident claims or personal injuries claims involves complex law and normally requires specialized knowledge or specialization in this field. The lawyer must not only be an expert in this area of practice, but, the lawyer must also possess the required negotiation skills to deal with insurance companies and lawyers representing insurance companies.
If you’ve been injured in any kind of a motor vehicle, car or auto accident you can call us for legal assistance at VOONSLEGAL, Suites 35.2 & 36.2 Hock Kui Commercial Centre, Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce, 93150 Kuching, Sarawak, or through handphone 014-9688319 or office: 082-235899 or fax: 082-235929 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is absolutely no obligation and we shall offer you some free advice.