I was in an accident, what’s next?
Car accidents are, unfortunately, problems car owners face. They are unpredictable, but when they do happen, we are often left dazed and confused and looking for advice on the next steps. Here’s what you need to know immediately following an accident and why calling an attorney after an accident is the right call.
What should I do immediately following the accident?
Remember that even at low speeds, cars carry immense levels of force and that after a collision, you may be in shock. Be sure to try to remain calm. Once you have a clear head, your priority should be to check if you or anyone else involved is injured. Make sure to call the authorities and alert them if anyone is injured as well.
Once you’ve assessed the situation, you should begin taking documentation. Take pictures of your injuries, damage to your vehicle, traffic lights or signs, and anything that may determine who was at fault. Additionally, consider speaking to any bystanders who might have witnessed the accident. Witnesses can be a critical asset for determining fault. Finally, at the scene, exchange information with the parties involved. Do not discuss the accident with anyone else involved and do not admit fault or offer apologies, as these may be used against you in court.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Even if you feel alright, see your doctor. Often immediately following an accident, the body is still in shock, meaning your body could be suppressing the actual extent of any injuries. Additionally, make sure you follow through on the doctor’s orders, whether they include additional tests, specialist appointments, or medication. If you don’t, insurance companies can and will use the information to downplay your potential injuries.
When to call a lawyer.
If you suffer an injury or are involved in an accident with a fatality, you should contact an attorney. With serious injuries, serious medical bills follow, and if you were injured due to a party’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation. Timeliness is crucial for personal injury claims so try to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible.
That is the most obvious scenario where you should call an attorney preceding a car accident. There are some less obvious situations where you need an attorney as well. If you were found at fault incorrectly, based on the evidence or witnesses, an attorney helps you argue against the any claim against you
Additionally, an attorney can help if an insurance company is acting in bad faith. This is when an insurance company denies you the coverage you have paid for, refuses to pay a claim or fails to pay the claim in a timely manner, whether it be your insurance company or the provider of another party involved. When in doubt, it is the safer option to speak to an attorney after a car accident to assess the situation.
Don’t wait to call an attorney.
There are many reasons not to wait to call an attorney after an accident. After the accident, insurance companies are going to want to talk to the parties involved, and they are not looking out for your best interest.
You should avoid giving a statement to an insurance company without first talking to an attorney. Insurance companies are primarily concerned with getting you to agree to a lower settlement, and are notoriously difficult and tedious to deal with. A personal injury attorney is highly experienced in these situations and can legally deal with them for you.
Keep in mind that there are statute of limitations on personal injury claims, and they vary state by state. A statute of limitation is a period of time in which you are allowed to file a claim, and once that window has passed, you are no longer entitled to seek compensation. The sooner you get in touch with an attorney the sooner they can start your claim. Don’t lose track of time, and miss out on your right to compensation.
Once you do decide to reach out to an attorney, you should gather all the documentation you have from the accident, medical bills, police reports, and be prepared to pass the information along. Attorneys will determine the value of your injury claim, and start negotiating with the insurance companies. Usually most claims end in a settlement, but if agreeable terms are not met, you and your attorney may go to trial.
Consider Calling Hann Law Firm!
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you are probably feeling shocked and uncertain. Accidents happen, and often in a split second they can drastically change lives. You shouldn’t spend time fighting insurance companies. You are supposed to be recovering.
That’s where we come in. At Hann Law Firm we build a personal injury claim around YOU. We take a personalized approach that isn’t built around maximizing our profits, but investing time, energy, and resources to fight for you. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you get the justice you deserve.