When looking at road safety facts, roughly 4.4 million people in the United States get into a car accident each year, leaving them with moderate to severe injuries. If you’ve suffered damages from a car accident, you shouldn’t have to pay for any of them out of pocket.
While the stress of an accident is already plenty to deal with, you still need to do what you can after an accident to get the compensation you deserve. Don’t end up paying for damages caused by a negligent driver. Our lawyers explain what you can do after an accident.
Car Accident Damages Are Expensive
Highway safety is essential, but unfortunately, negligent drivers cost roughly $474 billion in damages in 2020 alone. Car accidents can leave you with lots of property damages, medical bills, and other costs that can put you under severe financial stress. After a car accident, you should take the proper steps to ensure that you don’t end up responsible for these costs.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
Here are some critical steps you should take after getting into a car accident.
The first and most important step after an accident is to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you. Call emergency services to get the proper help you need before you do anything else. If you find yourself largely unscathed by the accident, you may want to check on anyone else involved.
Report the Accident
Report the accident to the local authorities as soon as you can. When the police arrive, they will document the events of the accident and provide you with assistance. Their report will come in handy when it comes time to make your personal injury claim.
Get Information From Others Involved
Once the police have arrived, you’ll need to exchange insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. The basic information required will be their name, license plate number, and driver’s license number. Additionally, you’ll need to collect their insurance information.
Remember that when you’re talking to other drivers, do not admit guilt in the accident. Even so much as apologizing can be used against you in court. It’s best to simply not discuss responsibility for the accident at all. Stick to obtaining information and be as neutral as possible.
After everyone is safe and you’ve collected information from the other party, it’s time to gather evidence if able. The first thing you should do is take photographs of the accident. It’s essential that you do this before the vehicles are moved off the road by police.
Be sure to take a lot of photos highlighting vehicle damage as well as the scene where the accident occurred. If there are any witnesses, get their statements down and contact information. Also, check to see if any CCTVs in the area may have captured your accident on tape.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Get in touch with a reputable and experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Insurance companies are not your friend, and they will do whatever they can to avoid paying you the full compensation you need. With an experienced car accident attorney by your side, you’ll have someone in your corner who’s willing to fight for your settlement.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Typically, you only have two years to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. Keep in mind that this isn’t reflective of every state. Generally, states have a two-year provision, but other states can have as much as four years and as little as one. This is why it’s best not to dwell after your car accident and get legal help quickly.
Even though car accidents have an expiration date, that doesn’t mean you should rush recklessly into filing your claim. It’s in your benefit to build a strong case first before filing. The stronger case that you have, the easier it will be to negotiate with the insurance company.
Why Should I Contact a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
As stated previously, insurance companies aren’t on your side. An insurance adjuster may claim that hiring a lawyer after your car accident is a foolish decision. In reality, they’re just trying to get you to forgo legal representation, so they have an easier time forcing you to settle for less.
When you retain an attorney to help you after a car accident, you even the playing field. If you don’t have extensive legal experience or knowledge of personal injury law, you put yourself at an extreme disadvantage.
Insurance companies often have strong legal teams and a seemingly endless amount of resources at their disposal. With an attorney fighting on your behalf, you can match them and win fair compensation for your accident. Always look for a car accident attorney that has a strong case record and excellent client testimonials.
Don’t Wait to Take Action After a Car Accident
Time is of the essence after a car accident. While you shouldn’t rush to file your claim, that doesn’t mean you should wait too long either. Don’t let evidence and memory fade into obscurity with each passing day. Act fast so you can win proper compensation for the damages you sustained.