Have you been injured in a car accident? The immediate aftermath can be a confusing time. Along with the emotional turmoil, you may be unsure what to do next. Will you be disabled? How much work will you miss? In many cases, you may face a completely new quality and reality of life.
That’s why it’s vital for car accident victims to follow a few simple post-collision tips. These can preserve evidence and help you obtain the best possible compensation. They can also make your personal injury lawyer’s job a lot easier.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Knowing what you should do in the wake of a car accident can help your personal injury lawyer in many ways. Here’s what you should do.
1. Call 911 in Case of Injury or Significant Damage
If your accident is serious, calling 911 as soon as possible increases the chances of survival for everyone involved. In certain instances police may be required, such as when there are physical injuries or if someone is suspected of being intoxicated.
If it’s just a fender-bender, call your collision reporting centre. They can advise you as to necessary next steps.
2. Evaluate Your Injuries
A car accident can cause serious physical damage, including concussions and spinal cord injuries. In these cases it’s best to hire a personal injury lawyer. Doing so will give you a better understanding of how much compensation you deserve as well as the claims process.
Complex personal injury cases that involve car accidents can result in substantial damage awards which insurance companies are not keen to pay. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to pursue your case to protect your interests.
3. Collect Evidence
The scene of the accident will contain evidence that can help prove who’s at fault. Also, it can help jog your memory about the incident.
Of course, your primary concern should be the well-being of everyone involved. But when it’s safe to do so, collect evidence on the scene, albeit without disturbing physical evidence in which police may be interested.
If you have a cellphone, take photos and record video and/or audio from witnesses describing what happened. Remember to keep these conversations short and factual, and refrain from arguing about what happened. Just record the witnesses describing the events of the incident. Also take down the names, phone numbers, insurance details and license plate numbers of all individuals and vehicles involved. All of this can come in handy when filing an insurance claim.
4. Contact Your Car Insurance Provider
It’s vital that you submit a claim to your insurance provider within seven days of the accident, but it’s better to do it within 24 hours. Failing to do so may result in you being denied your claim.
These are the details and documents you should give them:
● Your insurance policy number
● The date, location and time of the accident
● The model, year, make, registration and licence plate number of both the vehicles involved in the accident.
● A detailed description of the incident
● The names and contact information of all parties involved
● Numbers of the auto insurance policies and names of the insurance companies of the drivers involved
● The extent of the damage
● The name and badge number of any investigating officers
Generally, the individuals involved in the accident are eligible to receive standard benefits, regardless of whether they’re at fault. However, if you sustained permanent injuries because of the negligence of the other driver, you or your immediate family may be able to sue the at-fault driver for compensation.
5. Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Consulting and hiring a personal injury lawyer immediately after a car accident can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. And knowing your rights are protected gives you ample time to focus on your recovery.
It’s best to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience handling cases like yours as they’ll be familiar with how to help with your insurance claim. Additionally, they’ll be able to figure out the exact damages you’re eligible to collect which can come as a result of:
● Reduced earning capacity
● Lost wages
● Medical bills
● Punitive damages
● Diminished quality of life.
Keep in mind that different provinces have different deadlines for making a personal injury claim, meaning you have a limited time to settle yours. When that time is up, you may lose the opportunity to file a lawsuit altogether. Remember, your insurance provider has no obligation to help you settle the claim before that time is up, making it all the more necessary to hire a personal injury lawyer.
6. Don’t Admit Fault
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, residual guilt may make you want to admit that you caused it, whether or not you’re actually at fault. Don’t! You may think admitting fault will defuse the situation, but you’ll be doing yourself more harm than good. What’s worse, it can land you in serious legal trouble as admitting fault can be used against you if someone involved in the accident is making a substantial claim.
A car accident can cause you stress, despair and confusion, not to mention injury. In its aftermath it’s best to remain calm and work through the tips outlined here. Having to follow up with the at-fault driver and dealing with your insurance company can be difficult to manage while you’re trying to recover. That’s why it’s vital to seek out both qualified medical professionals and a qualified personal injury lawyer regarding any questions or concerns. They can ensure you a speedy recovery and any compensation you are due.