When you think of the word “stress,” what usually comes to mind? Long hours sitting at a desk? Listening to customers complain? Possibly. But one of the most stressful situations in life is being in a car accident, whether it’s your fault or not. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by police officers and paramedics. When things are hectic, you might not remember everything correctly or forget to mention important information. You may fear that your word isn’t good enough against the defendant’s, but if you’re prepared, you can protect your legal rights after a car accident.
1. Medical Assistance
The first thing you should do after an accident is to seek medical treatment, no matter how minor it might seem. You’ll want to make sure your injuries are documented so you can file the proper paperwork when necessary.
Sometimes, even if you feel fine at the time, injuries don’t show themselves until later on. Ignoring them could affect your case and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember to take pictures and write down everything that happened as soon as you can and keep copies for your records.
2. Call A Lawyer
If you’re ever in a car accident, the first thing you should do is call an attorney. A lawyer will help protect your legal rights and negotiate with insurance companies on a fair settlement that covers damages.
Another reason why you should seek legal advice is that you will need someone to help you understand any official documents. Additionally, a lawyer will be aware of the statute of limitations for car accidents in Nevada, or wherever the accident occurred. You wouldn’t want to miss out on your chance to seek compensation due to a simple mistake.
Car accident lawsuits are complex, so it’s important to have an expert on your side who knows what they’re doing.
Focus on New York: If you’re in upstate New York, William Mattar, a Syracuse car accident lawyer, can help protect your legal rights and negotiate with insurance companies on a fair settlement that covers damages.
3. Gather Evidence
Whenever possible, try to gather as much evidence as possible about what happened during the accident. If there are witnesses, be sure to get their contact information so you can ask them questions at a later date, since memory tends to fade over time.
Keep in mind that the defendant may try to shift the blame onto you or claim that his or her car malfunctioned. If there is video footage available of the accident, this will help support your claim and prove that he or she was at fault. If you can’t get your hands on video footage, try to find images of the defendant’s car after the accident.
Sometimes, there are sensors on cars that tell whether brakes were activated before a crash. If these sensors show no activity prior to the car crash happening, you have evidence that proves that he or she was not braking.
4. Take Pictures
Pictures are worth a thousand words, so use them to your advantage. Photograph the scene before you move anything in an effort to preserve the evidence for later on.
If possible, take pictures of any property damage done to your car and write down everything that was damaged. Having pictures of car damage or personal injury will also be helpful. These things can come in handy if you file a formal report or lawsuit.
You can also take photos of any paperwork like insurance cards, registration, or driver’s licenses so you have copies for reference when it comes time to negotiate a settlement.
5. Report The Accident To Your Insurance Company
In order to ensure that your insurance premiums do not go up, it’s important to report the car accident to your insurer as soon as possible. If you need a copy of a police report for this purpose, ask a police officer how to obtain one.
It’s also recommended that you file a claim with the defendant’s insurance company if your injuries caused you to miss time from work. Your employer can provide more information on this subject.
Check your policy to see what types of damages you’re covered for and who is responsible for the accident. If you have health insurance, file a claim for medical expenses if they are not paid for by your auto insurance company. Always carry insurance cards with you so you can easily provide them when necessary.
You should always do your best to protect your legal rights after being involved in an accident. It’s important to have someone to help you during stressful times like these, so don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Every state has its own laws about what needs to happen after an accident and there are several ways you can protect your legal rights as well as receive compensation for damages caused by the other driver. Having assistance in dealing with insurance companies makes the process go much smoother and it can help you to get back on your feet as soon as possible.