Car accidents can happen to anyone. It does not make a difference if you’re old or young, female or male. Accidents can occur at any time and have the potential to turn your life upside down. While some accidents might not cause injuries, it doesn’t mean the driver will escape without any consequences. When serious injury or fatal accidents occur, it’s important to know the correct steps to take to protect your health, finances, and peace of mind.
Be Examined by a Physician
It’s important to get a diagnosis from a doctor right away. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to receive compensation from the liable party. Go to the hospital via ambulance immediately even if you’re not sure if your injuries are serious. Delayed treatment may lead the insurers to dispute the validity of your claim.
File a Police Report, Gather Evidence
Report any accident to the police immediately. Having a complete copy of all paperwork, including a copy of the police report, will be crucial when it comes time to apply for compensation from your insurance company to make sure you get a fair car accident settlement. Be sure to take pictures of accident locations with your smartphone, documenting weather conditions, vehicle damage, debris, and witness information.
Many times, after a serious accident, the police will tow the vehicles in order to clean up traffic and get everything back to normal. After they tow the vehicles, you probably won’t get a chance to take pictures of how they were positioned. Take some quick pictures with your smartphone to document how they were positioned prior to the tow trucks coming in.
Call Your Insurance Company
When you’re involved in an accident caused by another driver or party, file a claim with your insurer. If you have collision coverage under your policy, your own insurance will help you get your vehicle fixed and back on the road as soon as possible. After you file a claim, your insurer will contact the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident, who will then communicate with you.
The Investigation Begins
It’s imperative to have injury lawyers that will work on your behalf. Once you’ve received an initial consultation, you’ll be led through the next steps:
- Medical and liability investigation
- A demand for settlement
- Your case is settled or a lawsuit is filed
- Discovery, mediation, and trial if deemed necessary
Insurance companies often try to settle cases for amounts that are well below what the applicable law would require. The insurance company attorneys know that if they can get you to accept a low settlement offer, they save money. Many people accept these offers having no idea the insurance company has taken advantage of them.
If the insurance company refuses to offer you a reasonable amount for your claim, your own lawyer can help. Your settlement team can gather evidence in support of your claim, argue on your behalf, and even take your case to court when necessary.
If Your Case Goes to Trial
The vast majority of personal injury car accident cases are settled out of court. But if civil court is required, a date will be set as soon as possible after the mediation process fails. This can take place as much as a year or more after your case was filed.
In a civil court case, the injured person must prove that the other driver was negligent, which will involve a parade of witnesses and testimony, but if you’ve made it this far, you might have a larger settlement coming your way. Being determined and patient will often pay huge dividends once you let the process unfold.