Many questions come up after a South Dakota accident, but some are asked more often than others. Here are the top ten questions that our law firm hears on a regular basis.
Top Ten Questions We Receive From Car Accident Victims
1. Should I sign forms provided to me by the insurance company?
One of the most frequent things that happens after an accident is that the insurance company will contact you and request information. The insurance company may ask you to sign “authorizations” so that it can get your medical records and wage information. Signing these authorizations is usually a bad idea. Also, federal law prevents insurance companies from obtaining medical records without your permission.
2. Should I sign any other papers provided to me by the insurance company?
Signing any papers, or providing any kind of information to the insurance company, at least at the beginning, is a bad idea.
3. Do I need an attorney?
Not every case requires an attorney. If you have a very small injury and you’re going to heal quickly, you may not need an attorney. However, if you have any sort of significant injury – if you may lose income, your job, or have future medical bills – then hiring an attorney is almost always a good idea.
4. How much will an attorney cost?
Many attorneys charge by the hour. However, in most accident cases, other attorneys, including Swier Law Firm, charge a contingency fee, which means you don’t pay the attorney unless you win your case. If we win your case, we charge a percentage of the money recovered. Usually, this percentage is around 33 to 40 percent.
5. How long can I wait to file my personal injury lawsuit?
In South Dakota, the statute of limitation imposes certain time limits on how long you can wait to file a personal injury lawsuit. Essentially, you only have a certain period of time after you are injured by the actions of another person to file your claim. Under South Dakota law, an action for personal injury must be brought within three years after the accident occurred.
6. I was involved in an accident in Sioux Falls and the other driver has no insurance. What can I do?
In South Dakota, if you are struck by a driver who doesn’t have insurance, your uninsured motorist (UM) insurance pays for injury expenses for you and any passengers in your vehicle up to your policy limits.
7. After my automobile accident, I lost time from work – can I be reimbursed?
Yes. In South Dakota, even if you used sick leave or vacation, you are entitled to be reimbursed for this time off work.
8. I was involved in an accident near Brookings and the other driver had insurance – but not enough to cover my losses. What can I do?
In South Dakota, underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance coverage pays benefits for the injuries of you and any passengers in your car if you are involved in an accident caused by a driver who has some insurance, but not enough to cover the losses that resulted from the accident.
9. What is my case worth?
This is a difficult and complex question that depends on several factors.
First, we have to determine who was at fault. If the other person was 100 percent at fault, this is pretty easy. However, not all cases are this simple. There might be an accident where you and the other person may have both been at fault.
Second, we determine your medical bills and lost wages.
Third, we determine any future medical bills.
Fourth, if you can’t work, or if you have to take a job that pays less money, we determine your past and future lost wages.
Fifth, damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and impairment are considered. However, these damages cannot be calculated with a computer. Instead, it becomes important to hire a good attorney to determine these damages.
10. How long will my case take to finish?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this question. Each case is unique. Typically, an accident case will take over 12 months to complete. However, if you don’t hire the right attorney, this time can double or triple.