Car Accident FAQs
The aftermath of a major car accident can be chaotic and confusing, and it’s natural not to know who to talk to or how to act in such situations. A personal injury attorney can protect your rights. The Billings car accident lawyers at Heenan & Cook, PLLC, have been in the business of protecting accident victims in Montana for more than 40 years. Here are our answers to some of the most common questions we’ve received about what to do after a car accident:
Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
- What Type of Auto Insurance Should I Get?
- Should I Speak with an Insurance Adjustor Following an Accident?
- Should I Hire an Attorney to Settle My Case?
- What is My Case Worth?
- Do I Have to Pay to Talk to an Attorney About My Accident?
What Type of Auto Insurance Should I Get?
Auto insurance carriers in Montana offer various coverages for different circumstances. The main ones are property, liability, medical payments, uninsured, and underinsured. Property covers the vehicle. Property coverage should be enough to cover the costs of your vehicle. Liability covers the other person’s vehicle and injuries if you cause an accident.
The amount of liability coverage is largely tied to the assets you have. In other words, if you have a million dollars in assets, and you injure someone in a motor vehicle collision, you want to have enough insurance to protect those assets. Medical payments coverage is a “no fault” coverage that covers medical bills related to the collision. Given the soaring costs of medical care, it would be wise to purchase as much med pay coverage as you can afford.
Uninsured coverage covers you and your family if you are injured by someone without insurance. Sadly, we see all the time drunk, drugged or simply negligent drivers without any insurance at all. Buying uninsured coverage is basically buying insurance for the jerk who is driving around without insurance. It is a wise investment, and we recommend you buy the most uninsured coverage you can afford.
Underinsured coverage is like uninsured coverage, except it covers you or your family when the person responsible for the accident doesn’t have enough insurance. Montana drivers are required to be insured up to $25,000. At the time that limit was set decades ago, $25,000 covered a significant portion of medical bills and lost wages. Today, it wouldn’t pay for even a basic surgery or ER stay. Thus, we recommend buying the maximum amount of underinsured motorist coverage that you can afford.
Should I Speak with an Insurance Adjustor Following an Accident?
All vehicles in Montana are required to have auto insurance. Sometimes you may receive a call from an insurance claims adjuster as soon as the same day of your car accident. An insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. Keep this in mind while talking to the adjuster. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to protect the financial interests of the insurance company he or she works for. The adjuster accomplishes this by denying as many claims as possible and convincing accident victims to settle for low compensation for injuries and property damage.
During your conversation with an insurance adjuster, everything you say can affect your case. Saying the wrong thing, such as admitting fault or stating you weren’t injured, can have disastrous consequences. If you notice symptoms of an injury a few days after a car crash, for example, your insurer may deny your claim since you already gave a statement to an insurance adjuster that you had no injuries. Avoid putting yourself into these harmful situations by allowing a personal injury attorney to advise you or speak with claims adjusters on your behalf.
Should I Hire an Attorney to Settle My Case?
Attempting to handle your own claim can expose you to risks such as mismanagement and losing your opportunity to recover damages. You may miss important deadlines, fail to understand the full scope of the law, or miss a critical change to maximize your settlement. You can often discover if an attorney is worth the cost during a free consultation, when the attorney can help you understand your options moving forward and give you honest, reliable advice.
There are dozens of federal, state, and local laws your vehicle accident case may involve. The best way to protect your rights after an injurious accident is to work with an attorney who can investigate your case, gather any evidence, and defend your rights. Many attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t have to pay unless you win a settlement.
What is My Case Worth?
This is one of the most common questions we receive. There is no black and white answer to this question. Every case is worth a different amount depending on the damages involved. We can say, however, that we will be persistent and aggressive in helping you recover the fair and reasonable compensation you deserve. We have the power to handle both settlements and litigation and can decide your case in the manner that will earn the most favorable result. As a results-driven law firm in Billings, we have what it takes to help you pursue compensation. View our past case results.
Do I Have to Pay to Talk to an Attorney About My Accident?
Don’t let fear of having to pay attorney’s fees stop you from seeking help after a vehicle accident. Like most law offices, Heenan & Cook, PLLC, offers completely free initial consultations with our attorneys, over the phone or in person. You can gather more information about your case and our services at no cost or obligation. Call (406) 651-8888. or get in touch online to schedule your appointment.