Steps You Should Take After a Car Accident to Protect Your Rights
In the United States alone, over six million car accidents occur each year. One in 3 of these accidents will lead to some kind of personal injury to the occupant; out of that figure, 2 out of 10 will involve fatal injuries.
If you are ever involved in a car accident, you should immediately seek medical attention. Some injuries do not show symptoms until much later on. A medical professional can give you a proper diagnosis and inform you if you have sustained any internal injuries.
The legal challenges that follow can be hard to overcome. That is why we have felt it necessary to prepare a list of steps for you to take in order to ensure that your legal rights are protected. An experienced car accident attorney can help you with this as well.
Call the Police and Medical Responders
Immediately after an accident, it’s essential to call 9-1-1 so that both police officers and medical responders are dispatched. Even if you believe that the accident was minor and no injuries were sustained, it’s vital to gather this information immediately after an accident.
Involving the police is a major part of the documentation process. The police report has a lot of weight when filing your claim. Never wait too long to call the police after the accident; in most cases, the party that caused the accident will try to keep the police out of the ordeal. However, in order to protect your rights, you need all the documentation you can get.
A police report often comes with documentation of evidence and testimonies at the accident scene. It also comes with evidence of fault. While insurance companies don’t necessarily decide liability solely based on police reports, it’s one of the most vital pieces of information in the decision-making process.
Begin Documenting the Scene
Immediately after a car accident, the scene will be chaotic. If you are uninjured and able to walk and think clearly, you should try to utilize this time to collect evidence yourself. Try to document as many details at the scene of the crash as you can. Additionally, gather evidence on what happened just prior to the accident. Having solid evidence can greatly boost your ability to win a claim.
Speak to Any Witnesses
Try to get as many details as you can from those who saw the accident. If possible, gather the contact details and ask them if they are willing to make verbal or written statements on what happened. Solicit as much information as you can from those who were there moments before, when, or immediately after the accident transpired. The more witnesses that you can get on the record, the better your chances of obtaining the compensation you need.
Take Photos of the Scene
Thanks to modern technology, your phone probably has a camera with good resolution. Take photos that have a reference date to ensure that they can be authenticated for legal purposes. If your phone was damaged, ask witnesses if they are willing to take photos on your behalf.
Take pictures of the scene, your vehicle, the other vehicle, and any injuries that you suffered. If there is a traffic sign or light that might have led to the accident, take pictures of it too. Look for signs of road marks or damaged property and document those as well.
Remember that there is no such thing as too much evidence.
Seek Medical Attention
If you did not get checked out my medical responders at the scene, ensure that you visit a medical facility as soon as you can. The hospital records, the medical bills, and the doctor’s notes are the best evidence that you had injuries sustained during the accident.
Whether you have to deal with a no-fault or at-fault insurer, having a set of medical records related to the accident can help to ensure the case is processed much faster. It also ensures that there is solid evidence, which is almost impossible to refute.
Follow what the doctor tells you strictly. If the doctor restricts your activities, adhere to the recommendations.
When it comes to paying out insurance claims, perception can play a major role in whether you are paid. If a claims attorney thinks you are malingering, he or she can immediately deny the claim and it could become a lengthy lawsuit.
Get Repair Estimates for Damaged Property
After documenting the scene and getting the medical care that you need, start collecting estimates for the damage to the vehicle. Be aware that all insurance adjusters will require an independent assessment of the damage. However, if you already have an estimate with you, you can make a better argument for the required repairs and the costs.
Be Persistent, Professional, and Patient
An insurance adjuster has to deal with hundreds of claims at any time. While your claim is your priority, it is unlikely that it is for them. Ensure that you stay persistent but professional. Make follow-up calls often to check your claims.
Avoid Signing Anything
Immediately after the accident, the insurer of the at-fault driver may try to offer you a lower amount of compensation than you are actually entitled to. In the confusion, as you recover, you might be tempted to sign these documents.
However, once you sign, you can never claim any more money from them. This might leave you in a bad situation, especially if the damage to the car and your injuries turn out to be much worse. Get the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney before signing anything. Your attorney can help you decide what’s in your best interest.
Speak With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you feel that the adjuster is delaying your claim, it is time to get in touch with a car accident attorney. In some cases, the mere involvement of personal injury attorney will help the adjusters process your claim much faster. The money spent on an attorney could be money that is well spent in the end. It is especially so if you are facing the possibility of long-term wage loss and medical care.
Get in touch with the experienced and compassionate legal team at Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci today. We have processed millions of dollars in claims in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas and we will work hard to do the same for you. We work on contingency fees, so you don’t have to pay anything unless we help win your case for you.
Contact Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci at (833) 600-0125 to protect your rights.