After you’ve sustained losses or injuries in a car accident due to the negligence of another, you have the right to recover fair and adequate compensation. Most often, compensation will be paid out to an accident victim by the at-fault driver’s insurance company through a settlement, but there are situations when a car accident victim will fight for compensation through a lawsuit.
Following a car accident, you may be overwhelmed with pain and wondering what to do next. In order to protect your rights after an accident, it is imperative to prioritize documenting evidence and be proactive.
Just as a court reporter documents everything in the courtroom, so should you after a car accident. It is incredibly important to keep a log of every piece of evidence and event stemming from the accident.
After a collision, immediately seek medical attention from an ambulance or any professional health care physician. Not all injuries are easily identified following a collision, meaning some injuries may appear in the hours and days following a crash. Whiplash, back pain, neck pain, migraines, and soft tissue injuries are common after a collision.
Promptly seeking professional health care can help identify any potential injuries, including long-term injuries. In addition to keeping receipts, make note of each and every medical appointment and expense, including gas mileage to and from appointments.
Police involvement after an accident can help strengthen your claim and right to compensation. After a collision, do not hesitate to contact police enforcement. Depending on your state, you will need to report the collision to the police within 24 hours, but ideally, immediately after the crash so the police can take note of the scene of the collision.
“Record the name and badge numbers of any officers who respond to the scene and the names and employer of any emergency responders,” note injury lawyers at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP, “Find out from where you can acquire a copy of the accident report.”
Police reports can be vital in a car accident lawsuit, offering up concrete and official details of the scene.
Photos & Statements
Before leaving the accident scene, take as many photos and videos as possible. Capture images of each car, the road, signs, lights, and any obvious injuries. It is also recommended to write down exactly what happened, how you felt, and any other pertinent information; this can be written on a notepad on your phone or with a piece of paper and pen.
Take note of any witnesses and ask for their contact information. Ask if they would be willing to make a statement and what they saw happen.
After a collision, it is vital to be proactive. By actively controlling the situation, you can prevent being taken advantage of and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Many insurance adjusters and insurance companies don’t want to pay or try to get off the hook by paying out as little as possible. Don’t let them take advantage of your situation. Send follow up emails, make touch-base calls, or check on the status of your claim.
You have the right to know how your claim is being handled.
Meet with a Lawyer
If you feel your settlement offer is unfair, reach out to a car accident lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys who handle car accident claims offer free consultations for prospective clients to explore their legal options.
A car accident lawyer can help recover evidence, consult with professionals, handle conversations with the insurance company, and ultimately fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries and property damage. Many attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t get paid until they recover compensation for a client.
Be Your Own Advocate
The hours, days, and weeks after a collision can be stressful, especially if you were the victim of a negligent driver. After a crash, you must be your own advocate.
By documenting all relevant evidence and being proactive, you can strengthen your injury case and enforce your right to fair and adequate compensation.