The busy lives we lead sends us in many different directions all throughout the day, as we move to and from work, school and home. Unfortunately, all of this travel increases the number of cars on the road and makes car accidents more likely today than ever before. The vast majority of car accidents are not difficult to resolve, but those that are serious can take months or even years to close. Fortunately, the law provides automobile accident victims with many different ways to seek compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. The following is an overview of what you should do following a car accident. If you or someone you love has been hurt in an automobile accident, it is beneficial to speak with a personal injury attorney for accident advice.
What To Do Right After An Accident
The first few moments right after an accident are usually confusing, with everyone’s emotions running high. However, what you do during this time frame could make or break you if you need to file a lawsuit later on. Below are some things you should do right after an accident to protect your best interests:
- Call 911
- Obtain Copies Of Police Reports
- Take Pictures Of The Accident Scene From Different Angles
- Document Your Injuries With Pictures
- Keep All Medical Records Related To Your Injuries
- Ask The Other Driver For Their Contact Information, Driver License Number And Insurance Card
- Obtain The Contact Information For All Accident Witnesses
While it is impossible to tell if you will need to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit right after an accident, doing these few things will increase your chance of success if you must later on.
What Not To Do After An Accident
It is important to do the right things after an accident. However, it is just as important to learn what not to do so you can preserve your right to file a lawsuit if needed. Some examples of things never to do after an accident are:
- Say I’m Sorry
- Admit Guilt
- Fail To Call 911
- Speak With The Insurance Company Without Legal Representation
While it may seem natural to apologize after an accident, it could be misconstrued as an admission of guilt if your case goes to court. In addition, speaking to the insurance company is a huge mistake without an attorney. Most insurance adjusters appear sympathetic, but it is their job to reduce the amount of money paid out in accidents. Anything you say to insurance adjusters, the other driver or eyewitnesses can be used against you in court at a later date.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
Car accidents that do not cause serious physical injuries or permanent disability may not require the services of an attorney to resolve. However, you may need an attorney if:
- Your Injuries Are Extensive
- Your Medical Bills Are Exceptionally High
- You Are Disabled After The Accident
- You Cannot Return To Work
- Home Health Care Is Required
- The Insurance Company Stops Paying For Your Medical Bills
- The Insurance Company Refuses To Offer You A Fair Settlement
Being involved in an accident is stressful in the best of situations. If you have sustained severe or ongoing injuries it is in your best interest to get the advice of an attorney before it is too late. Every state has a specific time frame in which you are eligible to file a claim against the at fault driver and his insurance company for your injuries. Failing to file your lawsuit within the appropriate time frame could mean you cannot have your case heard in court. Personal injury cases are complex and best handled by lawyers who have experience in both settling cases and taking them to trial. Hiring a lawyer can ease your mind in a difficult time, so you can begin to look forward to a brighter future.