Car accidents are one of those things that we all hope that we are never involved with, and yet whether we are or not is largely beyond our control. Even the most cautious driver in the world is always at risk from other road users. Fortunately, the majority of car accidents are minor and those involved are able to more or less walk away.
But it is also very easy for a car accident to cause serious injuries to those involved. If you are injured as the result of a car crash, and the crash was not your fault, then you can often seek compensation for any damages you incurred as a result. This includes things like medical bills, loss of earnings, and increases in your insurance premiums.
Why You Need an Attorney
If you do decide to seek compensation, you will want to hire a car accident lawyer who will be able to guide you through the legal process and ensure that you make the right moves. They will also be able to help you maximize the payout you receive. A personal injury attorney will know how to get your case through the system and ensure that it is argued correctly.
There is no legal requirement that states that you must use an attorney to make a claim but doing so will give you the best possible chance of success. Whenever you are interacting with law enforcement or court systems, you should ensure that you have an attorney with you.
Anyone who sustains long-term injuries as the result of a crash (defined as an injury that affects you for at least one year) will want to ensure that they receive compensation that accurately reflects the severity of their suffering. Permanent injuries are those that are expected to have an effect on the victim for the rest of their lives. Either type of injury can have a significant impact on the victim’s ability to work and maintain employment, as well as their finances overall.
Suing for compensation is even more important in these cases. For many people, it is the only way that they can possibly cover their expenses. In cases where a traffic accident occurs, not because of another driver’s negligence but because of failings in infrastructure, such as the lights at an intersection being out, or unstable structures failing, the state themselves can be pursued for compensation.
Establishing who is liable for a car crash will be essential for any other actions you take going forward. For example, if you make an insurance claim, your insurer will want to know exactly what happened, and whether the accident could have been your own fault. Similarly, an attorney who is going to help you pursue a potential compensation claim will need to know whether the ultimate fault for the crash lies with you or the other parties involved.
Whenever you are in a car accident, even a minor one, you should report it to the police. The police dispatcher will either send an officer to come to the scene and to take a report, or they will simply advise you that the incident doesn’t warrant an officer. If it is a latter, there are mechanisms by which you can file your own accident report. This documentation is essential for pursuing any claims relating to a car crash.
If you are able to document the immediate aftermath of the crash scene, you should do so. Get as many photos as you can, from multiple different angles. Make sure that you capture the vehicles themselves, as well as anything else relevant to the crash, including weather conditions, any stop signs or traffic lights, and the conditions of the roads themselves.
It is also a good idea to make a short video recording in which you recount what has happened. It is best to do this as soon as possible after the crash to ensure that all the detail is fresh in your mind. If there are any witnesses to the crash around you, you should also get them to relay what they saw for the camera. All of this can prove useful evidence later if you decide to pursue any claims.
Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible
Time is very much of the essence when you are pursuing a claim relating to an automobile crash. Of course, you should make sure that you and everyone else involved in the collision is safe. You should also wait for a medical examination before contacting an attorney, as the injuries you sustain in the collision, if any, will determine the course of action that your lawyers advise.
Most of the time, the driver who is at fault in the collision will contact their insurance company to inform them. The insurance company will then assign their own insurance adjuster to the case. Their job is to gather evidence about what occurred, calculate a potential payout, and try to reach a negotiated settlement. As soon as they are able to, the adjuster will reach out to you directly. Having an attorney lined up beforehand will ensure that you have someone in place and ready when you need them.
Remember, in this situation, the insurance company will not be looking out for your interests. On the contrary, they have a vested interest in finding “evidence” that the collision was entirely your fault, or at least not entirely their client’s fault. An attorney will be able to roll with all these punches and will have no trouble deflecting their blows.
The other reason for contacting an attorney as quickly as possible is so that you can avoid any issues relating to the statute of limitations on these cases. The last thing you want is for the time period during which you can make a claim to expire.
When you are in a car accident that is not your fault, you can usually claim compensation for it. If you decide to go down this route, you will want to speak to an attorney who specializes in personal injury litigation, specifically involving automobile accidents. Armed with such an attorney, you can pursue your claim as hassle-free as possible.