Accidents happen every day, whether they are car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycling accidents with vehicles, pedestrian accidents, or slip and falls while in shops or stores.  It is important in personal injury cases like these to know what rights you have.  It is also important to know your responsibilities in order not to lose your right to compensation.

This includes what you must do at the accident.  You must cooperate with the police as far as accident reporting.  This seems counter intuitive if you may be at fault, but it is the law.  It can also get confusing when law enforcement is also investigating a potential crime and this law seems to conflict with your fifth amendment right against self incrimination.  Basically, when law enforcement meets with you to investigate a crime, you must give a truthful statement.  Law enforcement, if they decide to investigate you for a potential crime, should state that they are “switching hats” and beginning a different kind of investigation.

Your responsibilities when you are in an accident are also different to your own insurance company and to the other driver’s insurance company.  You usually don’t have to worry to much about this at the accident itself, but immediately afterwards.  This is where an attorney can help you.

After an accident, you can have several claims that cover different costs you incur, including a claim on your Personal Injury Protection (or “PIP”) policy.   You could also have a possible claim against the at fault party’s insurance for Bodily Injury.  If the other party doesn’t have insurance, or the cost of your injuries exceed the at fault party’s policy, you may even have a claim against your own insurance company if you have Uninsured Motorist (or “UM”) coverage.  In some cases, the at fault party can be sued directly.  This is often the case with commercial related accidents.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Shawn L. Hungate, Attorney at Law, at shawn@hungatelaw.com or at 407-846-1LAW (1529) with any questions you may have.

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