Having a car and being able to drive is no longer a luxury, but more of a necessity these days. With so many people on the road, traffic has increased. Unfortunately, this also means that there has been an increase in accidents. In 2019 there were 40,000 fatalities and another 4.6 million injured in car crashes. Because car accidents are becoming more common, it is a good idea to know what to do if you get in a car accident. It is also important to know how to find the best accident attorney. Read below to learn more.
What to Do After an Accident
Although it is not easy to stay calm when you are in a car accident, you have to think logically and follow certain steps. Here is the general steps on what you should do after an accident:
- Stay on the scene of the accident.
- Check on other victims of the crash but don’t try to move anyone who is severely injured unless it is necessary. Call 911 if any victim needs medical attention.
- If your vehicle can be moved, do so to avoid unnecessary traffic buildup and other possible accidents.
- Exchange insurance information and driver license information
- Take pictures of the accident
- Call the police if necessary. They will collect necessary information.
- Get medical attention for any injuries or pain you experience after the accident.
Insurance and Medical Records
Right after you leave the scene of the accident, you need to report the accident to your insurance company. If the accident was the other drivers fault then you have to also report the accident to the other insurance company. You have to be ready for a lot of questions and a lot of paperwork to submit the insurance claims. Your auto insurance provider may assign a deadline to the submission of important papers like:
- Police report or incident report
- Medical records indicating treatments you received immediately after the accident.
- Permanent medical records to prove that you didn’t have the pain and discomfort prior to the accident.
- Contact information and proof of any other insurance that you have.
- Receipts and bills for therapies and medical treatments gotten due to the accident
- All insurance forms that you are requested to fill and sign
What a Lawyer Can Do for You
The job of an accident attorney is to ensure that you are compensated for all of the losses you suffered due to the accident. In the case of a simple fender bender, you can exchange insurance information with the other parties involved and seek compensation by reporting the accident to your insurance provider. But if the damages and injuries sustained are severe, be sure to seek legal guidance. Your attorney’s specialties should include :
- Loss or damage to property
- Personal injury
- Wrongful death
- Liability Determination
- Investigative resources to get evidence for your case
- Federal, local and every other law that may affect your case
- Case preparation which includes gathering evidence to support your case
- Experience in negotiating with insurance providers for the best settlements
Accident attorneys don’t get paid upfront. You pay for their services only after a settlement is reached and disbursed. Ensure that you specify the payment structure when you sign a contract for your lawyers services.
It is recommended that you get in touch with an auto accident attorney immediately you discover you’ll need one especially the following situations:
- You or someone covered under your policy is a victim of severe injuries. This is why it is important to seek immediate medical care as internal injuries cannot be detected easily.
- You foresee high medical costs and the need for long-term medical attention for injuries caused by accident.
- You might be a victim of severe losses, including property damage and lost wages.
- Your insurance carrier is offering an early and fast settlement. Don’t sign any papers until you get legal guidance from an experienced attorney.
- Disputed liability or situations where the insurance company denies you any payment or settlement or the other party has filed a lawsuit.
Property Damage Valuation
Ensure that you adhere to your insurance carrier’s instructions with respect to towing, repairing and storing your damaged vehicles. They often have preferred adjusters who they will hire to determine the condition and residual value of your damaged vehicle.
If you are not satisfied with the estimate provided by the adjuster, you can hire a qualified third party to assess the damages, but this will be at your expense. Make a list of all vehicle features, accessories and other personal property that were damaged or lost as a result of the accident.
Getting an optimum settlement may involve a lot of negotiations. Hiring an experienced attorney can help you get the best settlement that will help you move on with your life. An experienced attorney in this kind of cases should be able to see your case through to the end.
Getting a settlement might take a while. It can take a few weeks to a few years depending on how complex your case is. Most of the time the initial offers your receive are low ball offers. An experienced lawyer would definitely know this and move on to further negotiations. Inform your attorney of your goals whether it’s a quick settlement or a larger one which can take a long time. Make sure that your lawyer understands and supports your goals.