Car accidents are frightening events and can be a big disruption to your life. Someone may have been severely injured, or you could have lost the use of your car.
In these situations, one of the last things on your mind might be shopping for a lawyer. But an attorney can help you recover money for your damaged property and medical expenses.
This article will cover what you need to know about getting legal help after a car accident.
Assuming you are healthy enough, before leaving the scene of your car accident, you should collect:
- License plate numbers
- Driver's names
- Driver's addresses
- Driver's insurance information
- Telephone numbers for all other vehicles involved in the accident
You should also collect the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any potential witnesses.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine immediately after an accident, seek medical attention ASAP. Some injuries may not be apparent right away but could manifest later.
By seeking medical attention, you can establish a record of any injuries sustained in the accident. This documentation can support your claims and help establish the extent of your damages.
Research Your Attorney
Selecting an experienced attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Research attorneys by reviewing their track records, areas of expertise, and client testimonials. Choose someone who specializes in personal injury or traffic accident cases. They will be more familiar with the intricacies and nuances of this type of claim.
Assessing Your Case
Whether you had a fender-bender or were part of a huge pileup, you may need the help of an experienced attorney to resolve your claims or defend yourself against accusations that arise in the aftermath of an accident.
When you meet with an attorney to discuss your accident, prepare to give them the information necessary to make a preliminary assessment of your case. Prepare to discuss the incident in detail.
To provide your attorney with a strong foundation for your case, gather as much evidence as possible. Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any property damage. Document any lost wages or expenses incurred due to the accident. Get copies of medical records, police reports, and other relevant documentation. The more comprehensive your evidence, the better your attorney can build your case.
Your discussion with an attorney should include all information needed to understand the situation. This includes:
- The condition of the road
- The weather
- The time of day
- The exact location of the accident
- A description of the other people and cars involved
- A description of the accident itself
This information can be found in the police report. It will help determine who is at fault for the accident and whether there may be defenses invoked by the negligent party.
Who Is to Blame?
You should inform your attorney if the police were called to the scene, whether a police report was filed, and if traffic violations were issued to any of the involved parties. The attorney will also want to know:
- Whether an ambulance or other emergency response team came to the scene
- Whether photographs were taken
- Whether television or other news crews were on the scene
The identity and contact information of witnesses is also helpful. This information helps determine whether it will be easy or difficult to establish that your version of events took place, or if another party is likely to prevail in advancing their story.
What Are Your Damages?
There is evidence that will impact the amount likely to be recovered. This includes information about:
- Any medical treatment received
- X-rays or other scans
- Follow-up treatment
- Any diagnoses
Assessments of your property damage, repair estimates, and other documents that calculate your financial loss may also be useful to show the strong impact of the accident and validate the injuries received.
Car Insurance and Its Role
Car insurance plays a huge role in the aftermath of an automobile accident.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
In some cases, the driver responsible for the accident may not have insurance, or their insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover the damages caused. In these situations, your own insurance policy may provide coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists. Your attorney can go over the coverage options in your policy to make sure you receive proper compensation.
Dealing With the Other Driver's Insurance Company
After a motor vehicle accident, you will likely be in contact with the other driver's insurance company. Remember that insurance adjusters are primarily concerned with minimizing their company's financial exposure.
Be careful when providing information to the adjuster. Avoid making statements that could be used against you in your personal injury claim.
The Claims Process
The claims process can be overwhelming, especially when you're dealing with injuries and property damage. However, an experienced car accident attorney can help you communicate with insurance adjusters and negotiate a fair settlement. They will also advise you on your options if the insurance company denies your claim or offers a low settlement figure.
Gathering Information for an Auto Accident Insurance Claim
To build a strong car accident claim, gather all medical bills, repair estimates, and photographs of the accident scene and damages. Providing this information to your car accident lawyer and the insurance company can help substantiate your auto accident claim and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome in a personal injury case.
FAQs on Car and Motorcycle Accidents, Legal Options, and Compensation
Below, we will go over some frequently asked questions about car accident injuries. Remember, an attorney can answer these questions and more during a free case evaluation.
- What is the statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death cases? The statute of limitations varies by state. Some states have personal injury statutes of limitations shorter than wrongful death statutes of limitations. Meet with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after an accident to make sure you don't miss the deadline for filing your case.
- What options are available for families who have experienced fatalities in car accidents? Families who have lost a loved one in a car accident may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver or party. This can provide compensation for funeral expenses, loss of income, emotional distress, and other damages.
- What should I do if I am involved in a motorcycle accident? After a motorcycle accident, seek immediate medical attention for any serious injuries. Contact your insurance company and see an attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents.
- How are payouts determined in personal injury cases? Payouts in personal injury cases are typically determined by the extent of the injuries, the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and other factors. Settlements can be negotiated with the at-fault party's insurance company, or if necessary, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed to pursue fair compensation.
- What should I do if I receive a settlement offer from the at-fault driver's insurance company? Before accepting any settlement offer, speak with an attorney to make sure that the offer fairly compensates you for your injuries and damages. Your attorney can help negotiate a higher payout if appropriate.
- Do I have to pay upfront for an attorney in a personal injury case? Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay upfront. They only receive payment if they successfully recover a settlement or judgment on your behalf.
- What types of compensation can I seek in a truck accident case? In a truck accident case, you can seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Your attorney will help you determine the appropriate amount of compensation based on the details of your case.
- Can I seek compensation for whiplash injuries in a car accident? Yes, you can seek compensation for whiplash injuries sustained in a car accident. Whiplash is a common injury resulting from rear-end collisions. It can cause long-lasting pain and discomfort. An attorney can help you pursue fair compensation for this injury.
- Can I file a personal injury claim if I was injured in a work-related car accident? If you were injured in a work-related car accident, you might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Depending on the circumstances, you may also have the option to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. Consult an attorney to discuss your specific situation and legal options.
Car Accident Victims: Get Legal Help From an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you were involved in a car crash, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer for legal representation. An auto accident attorney can help you maximize your recovery if you're injured or defend you if you're at fault. Many accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that your lawyer only receives a fee if you're awarded damages or receive a settlement.
Get an initial consultation from an experienced car accident attorney. Don't wait to get legal advice about your car accident case.