Motor vehicle accidents are not only violent and dangerous, but they often result in catastrophic injuries. Generally, victims of a car accident find themselves in a state of shock, not knowing what just happened, the extent of their injuries, or what they are supposed to do next.
Yet, regardless of how chaotic the scene of the crash is, you need to stay as safe as possible, and, if possible, it can help to take steps to protect your legal and financial rights. Let’s review them.
Steps to Take at the Accident Scene
Many crash victims have no idea what they need to do following a car crash. However, the actions they take following an accident are crucial for their health and safety and necessary to protect their legal rights.
If you find yourself having just gotten into a car accident:
Call 911: You need to call the police immediately after your accident. Officers can provide you with the necessary medical attention you need, and can also investigate the accident and write down their findings in their police report. This report can provide you with essential and critical evidence if you decide to pursue a legal claim for damages.
Collect evidence from the scene: If it is safe for you to do so, collect as much evidence from the accident scene as you can. Include pictures or videos of the vehicles involved, any visible injuries, skid marks on the road, weather conditions, traffic signs near the accident, and any other evidence that can help you show what happened.
Get driver information: Get the name, contact information, insurance information, and driver’s license number from every driver or individual involved in the accident.
Check for witnesses: If any witnesses were present and saw the accident, get their name, and contact information. Their statements and pictures can provide you with critical evidence that can help you prove liability and damages.
Get Examined By a Doctor, Even if Your Injuries Are Minor
Following a car accident, you may need immediate medical emergency attention. However, even if you believe your injuries are minor and decline emergency care, you should still get examined by a medical professional as soon as possible.
A doctor can check you over and verify that you do not have any hidden injuries, such as brain trauma or internal bleeding. They can also write down their findings in medical records that may come in handy in the future if you take legal action seeking compensation for your injuries, and your lawyer needs to prove the connection between those injuries and the car accident.
Be Careful What You Say to the Insurance Company
After a motor vehicle collision, an insurance company representing the at-fault party may call you. Be careful of what you say. Insurance companies are businesses and they want to make a profit. To accomplish this goal, they may try to get you to admit fault for the accident or to say something that can help them deny your claim or offer you less than you deserve to receive. That is why, following an accident, you need to tread lightly when talking to the insurance company.
It is in your best interest to only provide them with basic information about the crash and let them know that all further communications will be through your lawyer. Once retained, your attorney can handle these talks with the insurance company and ensure that you do not say anything that may hurt your claim.
Check How Much Time You Have to File Your Claim
Following an accident, verify how much time you have to file your claim. For example, in Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a motor vehicle accident claim is four years from the accident date, while in Washington, this statute of limitations is three years. However, these periods can expand or contract depending on the specific facts of the case. Speak with a car accident attorney as quickly as possible to determine precisely how much time you have to file your claim.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Following a car accident, seek legal help you can count on. Dealing with your injuries following a crash is already difficult. You should not have to tackle complicated and confusing legal proceedings and insurance claims as well. With the help of an experienced car accident attorney, you do not have to go through this tedious and complex process on your own.
An experienced car accident injury lawyer can:
Listen to you and answer questions: Following an accident, you have many worries and concerns. An attorney can answer any questions you have while also going over your legal options and representing you in any legal action you choose to take.
Investigate the accident: To be successful in a motor vehicle accident claim, you need to present reliable and relevant evidence to establish fault and damages. An attorney can start gathering critical evidence as quickly as possible, including reports, documents, and video footage of the accident. An attorney can also speak with witnesses who can help prove what happened and who was at fault.
Deal with the insurance companies and defense attorneys: Talking to the insurance company or defense attorneys is stressful. Let an experienced car accident injury lawyer handle all of these discussions and negotiations for you.
Head to trial: If the other side is not willing to make a fair and reasonable settlement offer, an attorney can represent you in court and present your case to a judge and jury.
If you were in a motor vehicle accident, do not wait to take steps to protect your legal and financial rights. Contact a knowledgeable and skilled car accident attorney today for a free case consultation.