Right after a car accident, the first thing you should do is call police and emergency medical personnel to the scene. The police can prepare a car accident report and emergency personnel can tend to anyone who is injured. The police can also oversee the exchange of necessary information between all involved drivers.
A car accident is a traumatic and scary event that can leave you uncertain of what to do to protect your legal rights. A car accident lawyer can explain your rights and help you protect them.
It Is Never Too Soon After a Car Accident To Seek Legal Guidance and Support
A lot of work is involved in proving the negligence that led to your car accident and building a strong case file that documents it. Doing so on your own can be harrowing and stressful.
Rather than dealing with the insurance company on your own, you should consider getting a car accident lawyer involved in your case right from the start. A personal injury lawyer can bring familiarity with state and local law to your case and make filing an insurance claim or lawsuit less stressful for you. They can also explain the steps you need to take to protect your right to financial compensation, which may include:
Getting Help for Anyone Hurt in Either Involved Vehicle
According to Insurance Information Institute (III) guidelines, moving your car to a safe location and getting help for anyone injured in the accident is a priority. Call 911 and accept emergency medical care if you need it.
Doing so can help document the cause of your injuries and protect your right to compensation for your accident-related medical bills.
Calling Local Police to the Scene of the Accident
You should have police respond to an accident, even one that seems minor, and even if the at-fault driver offers to pay for the damage to your car. Summoning police will result in a car accident report, which can protect your rights by capturing many of the details of the accident and its aftermath.
Your police report will include diagrams and notes from the investigating officer explaining the accident’s potential causes. It will also be viewed as objective data on the accident that tells representatives from both sides — yours and the at-fault driver’s — how the accident occurred.
Exchanging Required Information With the At-Fault Driver
To pursue compensation from the at-fault driver after your accident, you need their name and contact information and that of their insurance provider. Share this information with the at-fault driver and the police.
Avoid confronting or arguing with the driver or saying anything that might later be misconstrued or used against you. Beyond exchanging required information, you may not want to speak to anyone until you speak to a local attorney.
Collecting Information and Evidence, if Possible
Unless your injuries prevent you from doing so, collect any evidence that is readily visible at the accident scene. Take photos of both vehicles from a variety of angles and obtain contact details from anyone who witnessed the accident.
Make a note of the date, time, and location of the accident as well as road and weather conditions. Jot down the license plate number of the other involved vehicle, if possible. If your injuries are severe enough to prevent you from doing so, a witness or bystander may be able to do so for you. Your police report will also contain this information.
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What Not To Do After a Car Accident To Protect Your Right to Compensation
Social media is everywhere and is an easy way to share information. After a car accident, though, you should avoid posting about the accident on your social outlets. This includes comments, photos, and videos.
You should also avoid accepting new or unfamiliar friend requests or talking to the at-fault driver’s insurance representative. Instead, leave all communication to your attorney.
Do Not Wait Too Long To Start Pursuing Personal Injury Compensation
Your car accident case has a filing deadline called the statute of limitations. It determines how much time you have to file your lawsuit. If the allotted time expires, you may be unable to file your lawsuit at all or it could be immediately dismissed. A personal injury lawyer can help you avoid these potentially costly consequences.
Recoverable Economic and Non-Economic Damages After a Car Accident
Protecting your rights after a car accident can help your lawyer negotiate a fair and appropriate settlement on your behalf. The economic and non-economic damages you can recover generally include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Property loss
- Physical disability
- Physical disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
Your lawyer will prove the legal components of negligence that entitle you to compensation — duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages — and the evidence they collect to document them.
Recoverable Damages After a Fatal Car Accident
A lawyer can also protect the rights of your family and help you recover wrongful death compensation for the loss of a loved one in a car accident. This can include the costs you incur making final arrangements for your loved one. It can also include the loss of your loved one’s familial and financial support.
Your lawyer will explain how a wrongful death action is filed, which family members can benefit from a settlement or verdict, and how much time you have to take legal action.
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Get Legal Help After a Car Accident To Protect Your Rights
It can be difficult to know what to do immediately after a car accident to protect your legal rights. We can help. The sooner you call our car accident team at Loncar Lyon Jenkins, the better. The Strong Arm will fight for injured parties and family members who lost a loved one.
Contact one of our team members right away to get help building your case for financial compensation right from the start.