Getting into a car accident is one of the scariest things that most of us can imagine. The aftermath can be just as terrifying as the moment of impact. It can be daunting to think about the road to recovery. An accident lawyer will help you understand the process of settlement negotiations, filing a lawsuit, and going to court. A car accident lawyer will have the experience required to answer your questions about what to do after a car accident. Below are some basic things to know about the next steps after a car accident that is not your fault.
Get Medical Help
After an accident, get medical attention immediately. Some injuries are apparent. A broken bone will be painful and not heal correctly on its own, so you know to see a doctor. Be sure to cooperate with your medical team. You should not skip X-rays, procedures, follow-up appointments, or medications prescribed to you. You want to comply to help minimize the effects of the accident. This is called mitigation of damages.
It may be a good idea to mitigate your damages after an accident. Defence lawyers use failure to mitigate damages when calculating the damages in a car accident case. You want to set yourself up for the largest possible payout, which means dismantling a defence argument before they can even make it.
You should seek medical attention after an accident, even if you think your injuries are minor. You may not be bleeding, but you may have taken a bump to the head or violently crashed against the side of the car door during the accident. After the impact, you may have gotten a concussion or some soft tissue injury. You do not want to discount any harm you suffer after a car accident.
Getting medical attention after a car accident is vital to your injury lawsuit. Your accident injury lawyer will need an accurate medical record. You will use your medical records and medical bills to prove your pain and suffering and other damages. A non-existent or incomplete medical history will make proving your case difficult or impossible.
Keep your medical records in a safe place. They may become evidence during a trial. It may also be a good idea to keep a journal of your symptoms and how you feel daily—the more details about how the accident affects you, the better.
Do Not Talk to the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
Do not talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The other driver’s insurance company is not your friend. It is their job to get the best result for their client, and often getting the best outcome for the insurance company means leaving you in the worst place they can.
You may receive phone calls or letters from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You should not respond to that communication. It is never a good idea for an accident victim to speak to an insurance company alone. The insurance company’s legal team is savvy. Their goal is to minimize the financial loss to the insurance company. The at-fault driver’s insurance company has no legal obligation to you. The insurance company’s legal team may even fail to tell you some basic information, like the applicable statute of limitations in an injury case, that can bar you from recovery forever.
It will help if you have your legal team. An experienced accident lawyer can help you understand the legal and insurance jargon that the insurance company legal team will try to throw at you. If you have a good accident lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that a faceless insurance company is not tricking you.
Do Notify Your Insurance Company
It will help if you didn’t talk to anyone representing the at-fault insurance company, but you are required to report an accident to your insurance company. Many policies require that their insureds notify them of an accident even if it is not their fault. Most insurance policies require notification after an accident and cooperation during the investigation. Failing to report the accident to your insurance company may result in higher premiums or cancellation of your insurance policy.
Do Not Admit Responsibility
Being apologetic after something like a car accident can be a normal reaction; however, if you do not want to apologize at any point after the accident. Some people can interpret an apology as admitting fault. Insurance companies will use this as a reason to refuse to pay out any settlement or an adequate settlement. Your accident lawyer can help you understand the importance of remaining neutral when you are part of the car accident story. Accident lawyers are skilled in helping you know how to answer questions in responsive pleadings, depositions, mediations, or at the trial.
Do Not Accept a Settlement Offer Without Getting Legal Advice
If an insurance company makes you a settlement offer and you accepts it, it is final. Insurance companies defend thousands and thousands of accident claims every year, so making a decent settlement offer to a auto accident victim or their family is not a priority. Insurance companies make money by giving lowball offers to accident victims. Many insurance adjusters and lawyers rely on a victim’s ignorance of the recovery process and their rights after an accident to protect the insurance company’s bottom line.
You need an injury lawyer working for you. Your lawyer has an ethical obligation to act in your best interest. They will receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. They will share the offer with you and give you a chance to decide if you want to take it. Your lawyer will use their experience in the field to inform your decision. Your lawyer will give their opinion on whether they think that the offer is good enough to settle or if you should provide a counteroffer to the insurance company. You can trust that your lawyer is working for you and is willing to go against the insurance company and fight for you.
Keep a Record of Important Information Related to the Accident
You should keep a file of documents related to the accident. Keep your insurance claim number. Keep pictures that you have taken of damage and injuries. Keep your medical records for all the treatment you had to suffer through. Keep track of whether you had to miss work because of your injuries or if you can not get to work because you no longer have a car.
You may also want to keep a journal of how you feel as the case progresses. You can detail your emotional well-being. This type of information can prove helpful if you and your lawyer decide to pursue damages for pain and suffering.
Stay off Social Media
Posting about the car accident on social media is a mistake. Social media is an informal platform that most people use to post about their everyday experiences. The relaxed nature of social media may allow people to take their guards down. If you are not aware of the pitfalls, you may post something on your social media that can be detrimental to your accident case.
During a lawsuit, both parties will participate in something called discovery. Discovery is a fact-finding investigatory stage of a lawsuit where each case side can request information. Discoverable things include statements, pictures, videos, witness statements, and other information that may be pertinent to the case.
Social media is full of this type of evidence. An image of your vehicle, a screenshot of your comment section describing your injuries, or even a post that suggests that you are feeling better can become an exhibit at the mediation or trial. It can become a sticking point in settlement negotiations. You want to make sure that you are careful about what information regarding the case gets into the public eye. The same information your friends and followers have access to is the same information that the insurance company can get its hands on. Be careful of what you post.
Get Legal Advice
Talking to a qualified accident lawyer is essential to fully recovering after a car accident. You should contact a lawyer immediately to preserve your rights. An accident lawyer will know the laws and procedural rules that will keep you from losing a claim before you start pursuing it. For example, your lawyer will know when the statute of limitations runs and what to file to keep from missing the deadline.
Your lawyer will know what to include in your statement of claim to avoid missing out on any potential recovery. A lawyer can determine what motions to file on your behalf. In questioning and mediations, they will know how to get the best result for you.
In addition to navigating procedural issues, your lawyer will help you understand a reasonable settlement offer. They will look at your medical records, lost wages, lost the ability to earn, loss of companionship, pain & suffering, and other factors to determine if you should accept an offer or counter offer. Your lawyer is on your side and will help you understand all areas of your injury case for the best outcome available.
Auto accident lawyers can help victims of motor vehicle accidents get their lives back after an accident. An accident lawyer can assist you in negotiating with large insurance companies when you are involved in an accident. It might seem that insurance companies are on your side, but they are not. The job of an insurance adjuster or insurance lawyer is to obtain the best result for the insurance company. Your accident lawyer is on your side and works to get you the best results.
Not having a qualified accident injury lawyer on your side leaves you vulnerable and unprotected from the schemes of defence lawyers and insurance companies. Insurance companies have been in the business of defending accident claims for a long time. Their knowledge of the area can intimidate you into taking a smaller settlement amount than you deserve. Settling for small amounts or settling too quickly may turn out to be a mistake because you may not receive the benefits that you need to put your life back together after a car accident.
Having an accident lawyer on your side will help you recover damages after an accident. You must hire an accident injury lawyer to create a team of your own that fights as hard for you as the insurance company’s team does. Make sure a good accident lawyer protects you.
How Much Do an Accident Lawyer’s Services Cost?
Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. A contingency fee structure minimizes the upfront cost of legal work. It is an agreement between the accident lawyer and the client wherein a client agrees that they will pay the lawyer a percentage of the settlement amount if there is a recovery in a personal injury case.
The lawyer agrees to defer payment until after you settle. Lawyers are all subject to rules of professional responsibility. This obligates then to work in your interests only.
The use of the contingency fee structure can help people who have suffered an injury pursue the justice they deserve even if they don’t have the money to hire a lawyer. Contingency fees are an excellent option for people in those circumstances. Contact a car accident injury lawyer if you have suffered an injury in a car accident that was not your fault.