Your first instinct when being involved in an accident is to panic. You may have injuries and your car may be undrivable. The first thing you need to do is take care of yourself. If you are bleeding or have any other injuries, you must be checked out by a medic. Second, you need to move your car to a safe location. For instance, if the accident happened in the middle of the road, if you can move your car, you should move it to the side.
The next point of interaction should be to see if the other car is okay. You want to make sure to get everyone checked out before you do anything else. Call the police and make a report. Some areas will send an officer right out to do the report, others request that you exchange information with the driver. The most important thing you can do at this point is not to admit fault. Let the officials decide who is at fault, and make no statements that are leading or misleading to anyone.
You need to take pictures. Pictures help to tell the story and can be very beneficial in a trial. Make sure to take pictures of before and after you move the vehicle. If there were any witnesses to the scene, have them write a statement and get their name and phone number. These witness statements will help the cops and the court decide who is responsible for the accident. Get as much detail as you can in your pictures and statements; you will thank yourself later.
Go To The Emergency Room
A squad may or may not be called to the scene. However, you may not be fully aware of what injuries you are dealing with. You need to be checked out by a professional. Also, should you need to file a claim with the courts later, this will serve as documentation. It shows that you felt like you needed to be checked out by a medical team. Many people avoid seeing a doctor and it comes back to haunt them. The insurance company, for the other party, can use the fact that you did not seek medical treatment as a defense against your injuries.
Call A Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury attorney will review the case. If you were the victim of the accident, they can help you to get compensation for your injuries. You will need to set up a consultation to see what can be done. Not every accident is grounds for a lawsuit. There must be undeniable negligence on the behalf of the other driver. Random accidents happen all the time. You must have injuries and they must be guilty.
Filing A Demand Letter or Heading To Court
Once all treatments are complete for your medical bills, your attorney will put together a compensation package that they feel is reasonable. They will look at the amount of insurance that the other party had, especially in cases where the injuries are severe. Once they have the costs of your claims, they submit a demand letter to the insurance company. The insurance company will either accept or counter the offer. It is not unlikely for the attorney and insurance company to negotiate a few times trying to reach a deal. However, if no deal can be reached, then the case goes to court.
Many cases are settled out of court. Insurance companies do not like the expense of litigation, especially when they feel their client is at fault. Your attorney will bring in expert witnesses, your medical records, and bills, along with any other evidence they must support the claim. Hearings can last a long time, depending on the severity of the injuries and the difficulty of the case. Thankfully, most cases will never get that far and about 75 percent are settled before they get to this point.
The Importance Of Legal Representation
You may be experiencing lost wages, pain, and suffering, as well as issues in your private life. The attorney will take these things into consideration. Many people are eager to settle their claims and get the money. The truth is if they would have only held out just a bit longer, they would have probably gotten much more. Insurance companies strive to push you to settle your claims as soon as possible. The worst thing you can do is settle too quickly. Once they pay your medical bills, the case is officially over. You will be responsible for any new medical bills that you incur after that point. Having an attorney handle your case is significant in getting the best settlement and not having to deal with the stress of the situation.