If you are in an auto accident and have been injured, then you will want to file an insurance claim against an at-fault driver. Maine is an at-fault state, meaning that an injury victim can only recover repayment for their injuries — and any associated costs — if they were not the ones at fault for an accident.
Maine is also a comparative negligence state, meaning that the at-fault driver can reduce the amount they owe if they can prove that the injury victim somehow contributed to their own injury. If the other driver can prove that fault was shared 50-50, then no one can make a claim.
When filing a claim, it, therefore, helps to have an auto accident attorney at your side to help represent your case. They can help you determine fault and interact with insurers during the claims process.
Here is what you can expect during your auto accident case from the time the accident happens to the time a settlement is agreed upon:
At the Accident: Police File a Report, And Statements Are Made
Immediately after the accident, police should be called to file a report. The police officer will take statements from all people involved in the accident. They will also take statements from witnesses. They will also observe the physical evidence at the scene.
If the statements and evidence point towards one conclusive narrative, then the police officer will likely assign fault, writing a citation (ticket) to the at-fault driver. Sometimes, fault will not be assigned until an investigation is completed. The police may also decline to assign fault if there is no obvious fault in the incident.
After the accident, you should seek immediate medical care for any injuries. If you can, you should gather photographic evidence and witness statements before you leave the scene. You must always make a statement to police before leaving the accident scene unless you are being evacuated by EMTs.
After the Accident: Working With an Auto Accident Attorney to File a Claim
After the accident, you will assess the extent of your injuries and make a cost estimate for your total losses resulting from the incident. You and an attorney can then draft a demand letter laying out your case for an injury claim and explaining the full costs you want to recover. This letter is sent to the insurer of the at-fault driver, and the insurer can either choose to honor your claim, deny it, request more information or send a counter-offer. If they deny your claim, you can dispute the claim denial with the help of an attorney.
Sometimes, determining fault of an accident is not so easy. Courts and insurers usually defer to the police report, but sometimes new information comes to light that makes the police report less black-and-white than it appears.
In some instances, the injured driver must prove that they were not the one at fault or that they did not contribute fault in the accident. Examining the circumstances alongside evidence and witness statements, you and your lawyer can dispute any allegations of fault or reduce your contributory fault, thus helping you recover more money for your injury.
If you have been injured in an auto accident and want help deciding what to do next, you can contact Lowry & Associates at 207-775-3819 or fill out our free case review form. Dial the number you see above or complete the brief contact form below, and you will receive a free case review that can help you decide what to do next.