Car accidents are sad but real – we cannot turn our faces from them simply because we don’t want to visualize one happening. Let’s hope that no one ever has to go through this mess, but even as we cross our hearts in prayer, hoping that our wish comes true, we know that it is improbable.
Accidents happen, period.
So, how should we deal with them? Half of the problem is solved if know to handle it and what to do after a car accident. Car accidents often leave people in a state of shock, sometimes in agony, and other times completely incapacitated. If you can, then you should act immediately after an accident to secure evidence for your personal injury claim.
This article will provide details on how to do that and how we handle the insurance companies, insurance adjusters, and negligent drivers all for your personal injury claims.
You’ve been hit. Check for any injuries, does anything hurt? If yes, then how much? Try to ignore the pain if possible and analyze everything with a clear mind. Ask your passengers if they were hurt. Then take a look at your vehicle and assess the damage.
If you were hurt pretty bad, you may need help getting out of your car. Any bystander who witnessed the event may already be on the way to help you, if not, then request them to lend you a hand. With help, take note of everything.
Informing the police about an accident, whether it is minor or major, is both a necessity and a legal obligation. Don’t delay calling 911, and if you can’t, ask someone else to do so. You must be at the scene (unless you require immediate medical assistance) when the reporting officers show up. Make sure that they are aware of the accurate accident scene location of the automobile accident so that they can get there in an expedited manner.
When they do, tell them all that you can remember about the incident. Share any evidence you may have regarding the incident – including pictures, the model of vehicle the driver was driving if they take off, plate number type, any insurance information changed, and request them to share a copy of the police report with you. Keep your copy of the vehicle incident report at hand because the insurance adjuster will want to see those.
It is a legal requirement for the parties involved in an accident to exchange information with each other. This includes sharing your names, driver’s license information, license plate number, contact information, insurance provider, and so on.
However, there are some scenarios where this may not be possible.
Sometimes, an at-fault driver may panic and flee the scene. Not fulfilling the legal obligation of information exchange and fleeing an accident scene is called 'hit and run.' Legally, it is a misdemeanor and can turn into a felony if the accident was severe.
In other cases, the at-fault driver may be drunk, otherwise incapacitated, or dangerous. If such one of these is true, avoid going near them. Also, don’t chase after a hit and run driver, even if you can. It is a possibility that they might be dangerous.
However, if the driver is a regular person and willing to cooperate, go ahead. Just don’t discuss the blame, even if he brings it up – you can say that the insurance adjuster will decide who’s to blame (and it is indeed the insurance adjuster who assigns blame).
Before the cops arrive, you must gather your strength and collect evidence. Take photos of your vehicle, all the damages it sustained, your injuries, those of your passengers, the accident scene, and anything else that can help with the accident details.
You should also approach any eyewitnesses and request them to share their contact information. If things move to a court of law, you lawyers can prepare these people as witnesses to help solidify your claim.
You should also scan the scene around you, are there any surveillance cameras? If yes, then you can ask their owner for a copy of the footage which will be a major addition to your evidence list.
If you are feeling intense pain and agony, don't delay visiting the doctor. In any case, you only have 72 hours to seek medical attention after an accident to make it count – so don't procrastinate. Your doctor will diagnose any trauma or injury, allowing you to add those details to your car accident claim.
Not all injuries are visible injuries. You won't know the extent of damage until you are checked out by a doctor. In emergency situations, you will want someone to get statements for you and the badge number of the police who show up at the location of the accident.
You should also keep hold of all of your medical bills especially the charges for any physical therapy, surgery, psychiatric sessions, and so on. The costs of medicines will also fall under this umbrella.
Apart from medical bills, you should also keep a tab on all of your losses. The accident may have caused you severe agony, forcing you to take a few days off from work. If that was the case, you can factor in any loss of income that resulted due to the accident.
If the event somehow affected your ability to earn in the future, this will also become a factor. Similarly, the event must have necessitated some out of pocket expenses such as getting your car repaired, hiring a caretaker for your home, paying a nanny to look after your children, and so on.
If you lost a loved one in the accident, that will also become a huge factor when determining fair compensation for your losses.
In short, keep proof at hand of any losses that resulted due to the accident. Even have an estimate for damages done by a collision repair shop, but don't begin the repair process until the insurance adjusters have made a determination on the amount they will pay out for your property damage.
Once you’ve handled the rest, approach an insurance professional for the at-fault party, preferably with your attorney. Address all the facts before them, share all the details, let them know how this accident caused you harm and pain. File your personal injury claim with the insurer, augmented by all the proof and documentation that you gathered.
Let your lawyer do most of the talking because whatever you say or do can be used against you. If you’re going in alone, be very careful about your words, think twice before you speak anything to insurance agencies.
In a perfect world, the insurer would not make you wait, but accident settlements can take some time. And, there is no guarantee that the insurance adjuster will agree to a fair settlement. Insurance companies have been known to downplay the sufferings of accident victims to pay less.
If you feel mistreated, leave the building, and get your lawyers on the forefront.
Having a team of competent car accident lawyers on your side can help tip the scales in your favor. You were wronged, you were not at fault, you suffered due to someone else’s negligence, you should not suffer anymore. Lawyers are a valuable asset in both settling the matter and taking things to the court.
They will help you practice your legal rights, explore your options, and seek fair compensation.
Typically, lawyers factor in your pain and suffering by multiplying your economic losses by a number up to five depending on the intensity of your pain. This way, you get the reimbursement you deserve. Thus, your compensation for a car accident can be maximized by having a competent lawyer by your side.
No one should have to go through this mess alone. Car accident settlements can be tricky even if the other party is clearly at fault. A team of competent attorneys can help guide you through the process, and if need be, file a lawsuit on your behalf in a court of law, pretty much anything that it will take to win your case.
Calhoun, Meredith, and Sims, PLLC has some of the most competent professionals in the legal realm, and we are more than ready to represent your case and win for you.
Consultation is free so don’t hesitate to reach out, and we only charge our clients when we’ve won the case, so there is no need to worry about money upfront.