If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should see a doctor right away. Why? Because you may not know the extent of your injuries right away. A small ache could be nothing, or it could become something significant later on. Only a doctor can tell you for sure. You should also see a doctor because if you decide to bring a legal claim against the at-fault driver or another party, you will need documentation of your injuries and what you did to fix them.

Maybe. Your case may settle before your attorney files a lawsuit, or it may go all the way to a trial and a jury verdict. The majority of lawsuits are settled before they get to trial, but what happens in your case depends on the facts, the law and the parties involved.

Your attorney can speak with you about this, but even attorneys can’t necessarily pinpoint what your case is worth until it’s close to a resolution. Many factors influence the outcome, including the circumstances of the accident, the state of the drivers involved and the insurance companies. So do your medical bills, your loss of income and the nature of your injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer can work with you to decide whether to pursue legal action and how to proceed.

Maybe. Some states have no-fault insurance laws. This means that you may be able to make some recovery of economic damages from your own insurance company. In other states, if your fault is found to be over a certain level, it’s more difficult to recover compensation. Speak with an attorney in your state to find out what you’re entitled to.

It’s best to speak with an attorney right away. The time limits for taking legal action vary by state, and they may also be affected by your insurance policy. The nature of your injuries may even change the amount of time you have to bring a claim.

Before you accept anything — or sign anything — from an insurance company, be sure that you are aware of your legal rights and options. Accepting a check may mean that you are giving up your right to sue later on if you need extra medical care or you have to miss a lot of work. Consult an attorney before you negotiate with the insurance company.

Even though your state may require all drivers to carry a certain level of auto insurance, that doesn’t mean that everyone follows the law. This is why some states require insurance companies to offer drivers uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If your insurance policy has this feature, then it may compensate you for some of your losses.

If you’ve been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, there may be parties other than the at-fault driver who share responsibility for what happened.

For example, if the accident occurred because the other driver was drunk, and a business served alcohol to the visibly intoxicated driver before the accident, your state’s laws may allow you to hold the business liable. Or if a defect in one of the autos caused or worsened the accident, the vehicle manufacturer may be responsible for the injuries that resulted. Or a third party may have left debris in the road that caused one of the drivers involved in the accident to undertake a risky driving maneuver to avoid collision. Or if the owner of the car driven by the at-fault driver negligently allowed the driver to use the car, the owner may be liable, too.