Injured in a Car Accident: What’s Next?
Every year, more than two million people get injured because of car accidents. Most of the injuries are severe and require expensive medical treatments. The problem is that most car insurance companies don’t offer fair settlements that can cover the full expenses that result from a car crash. A major reason why most people only get minimal compensation is that they don’t know what’s needed to be done after a car accident and have insufficient knowledge of the required legal processes.
If you have the same problem, below is a list of steps that you should take to protect your rights and seek compensation from an insurance provider.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer
Having an expert represent you is essential, so if you were hurt in an accident call an injury lawyer. Unlike the insurance company, your lawyer will prioritize your best interests and will fight to ensure that you’re receiving maximum compensation for your injuries. Your attorney will also be able to guide you through the entire claim process. An experienced injury lawyer will assist you with settling a property damage claim, getting your car repaired, receiving appropriate treatment from medical providers, negotiating with the insurance company, and filing a lawsuit (if needed).
Protect Evidence and Document Accident
It’s wise to take as many photographs as possible of the scene, the people involved, the damage to your sedan, SUV, or sports car and the other party’s vehicle, as well as anything else having bearing on why and how the accident occurred if you have a camera. Take pictures as soon as possible. You can ask a bystander or your passenger to take the photos if you don’t have a camera. Make sure to photograph the damage done to your and the other party’s vehicle. Also, don’t forget to include license plates, skid marks, lights, street signs, etc. Documenting and protecting these pieces of evidence will be of great help to local law enforcement and your car accident attorney.
Call the Police and Have a Report Made
Alerting the authorities to an accident that has just occurred is important for several reasons. First, law enforcement agents will inspect the vehicles, examine the accident scene, interview third party witnesses, and interview both parties involved in the accident as part of their preliminary investigation. As a result, they can determine which party is at fault in the accident. When proving liability, the most persuasive piece of evidence is a police report setting forth who was at fault.
Without a report coming from the law enforcement authorities, you expose yourself to a “I-said, they-said” situation. The other driver could change their story even after saying at the scene that they were at fault. The worst thing that can happen without a police report is the at-fault driver denying that the whole accident occurred, leaving you in a position where you’re asserting a claim against an insurer that takes the position that the driver holding its insurance policy wasn’t involved—don’t let this happen to you.
Obtain Contact Information of Witness(es)
If your injuries don’t prevent you from talking to any witnesses, obtain their contact information. Oftentimes, third party witnesses won’t wait at the accident scene until the police arrive. By the time law enforcement authorities make it to the scene, valuable witnesses may have already left. That can leave you in the difficult situation where it’s only your word versus the word of the other driver. You can help the police officers determine who was at fault by obtaining witness information.
Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve sustained an injury from an auto accident, receiving medical attention as soon as possible is important. Don’t just hope for the pain to go away because you’re worried about medical expenses. The longer you wait to seek out medical treatment, the more likely the insurance adjuster will argue that you weren’t hurt in the crash. Insurance providers raise that defense repeatedly, so don’t let them use that against your claim.
Insurance companies often will claim that if you didn’t go to the hospital to get treated, or that if you let a few days pass by before seeking out treatment because you were hoping that the pain will just go away on its own, that you weren’t really injured. An insurance provider can also use the fact that you didn’t seek medical attention to argue that your injuries weren’t really caused by the car accident but rather by some event that occurred before the first time you sought out treatment following the collision.
If you’ve been hurt in a car crash, you should immediately do the things listed in this article. It will increase your chances of getting full compensation for your injuries. It’s also important to remain patient throughout the process. Obtaining compensation from an insurance provider is more complicated than most people think. The process could take a few months or even years, especially if a lawsuit is required. Do yourself a favor by hiring an attorney to fight for your right.