If you’ve ever been in an accident, you know how stressful it can be. Whether you’re injured or not, the accident was likely your fault, so insurance companies will probably be involved, which adds more to the confusion and stress when trying to sort things out. But if you want to ensure that you have done everything possible to protect your rights after a car accident, keep these tips in mind when the time comes.
1. Call an attorney
While you should always be aware of your rights as a driver, you should also know that insurance companies aren’t always looking out for your best interests. Getting in touch with an attorney could help protect your legal rights and ensure that you receive total compensation for all damages.
Even if you don’t think you need representation, it’s crucial to contact an attorney who specializes in car accident cases to get advice from someone on moving forward after being in an accident. You can contact Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer – car accident law firm, for your protection and legal guidance.
2. Report the Incident to The Police
It might seem obvious, but in most cases, you have to report an accident to law enforcement if it results in injury or property damage exceeding $1,000. It’s true whether you’re at fault or not—and failure to do so can result in legal trouble. The same applies if you were on your bike when a car hit you. Even though it may not appear serious, ensure you contact the police and document what happened. If you don’t, you could face charges with hit-and-run.
If there are witnesses, ask them to write down their information. It’s also crucial because insurance companies will often only cover damages up to some amount unless they have proof of a higher amount. Ensure both vehicles’ license plate numbers and descriptions are accurate when reporting.
3. Assess Your Damages and Injuries
After a car accident, it’s crucial to assess your injuries and whether you need medical attention. If you’re not sure about the extent of your injuries, err on the side of caution and see your doctor. Even if your injuries seem minor, they could develop into something more severe. If possible, ask another driver or passenger to come with you.
Having someone else can help corroborate your story if it becomes necessary later on. You can capture your injuries and other victims using photos and video—which is important because insurance companies may question your recollection of events. Take as many pictures as you can from different angles, including close-ups of any bruises or cuts. Your attorney can help you make a comprehensive record of your injuries. It will be helpful if you end up in court fighting for your claims.
4. Don’t Admit Fault to Anyone
Regardless of who caused an accident, you should never say anything that anyone could interpret as an admission of fault. Insurance companies are notorious for twisting your words to their advantage, so be wary—your honesty might come back to haunt you later. If you’re in an accident and someone asks if they did something wrong, reply with I don’t know; I wasn’t looking at you when it happened. It will protect you from any potential legal action down the road.
A good car accident lawyer by your side can help you through these situations and help you avoid saying anything damaging. Even if you feel like you were at fault, a reliable attorney can help prevent further complications or unwanted trouble.
5. Document Everything
There’s not much you can do once an accident has occurred, but there is one thing you can control: your documentation. Take photos of everything that happened before, during, and after an accident—from someone hitting your parked car to injuries sustained as a pedestrian.
File these images with your attorney for further action. If someone suffered injuries hurt and had to seek medical attention, make sure any doctors who saw them are part of your record. Your collection of events and evidence will help you build a case if it comes down to it.
6. Do Not Bow to Pressure to Sign Documents at the Scene
It’s common sense to get help after a car accident, but it’s not always easy to think clearly under pressure. Some unscrupulous tow truck drivers will provide accident victims with documents that waive their right to receive compensation in exchange for the release of their vehicles. Never sign anything at the scene of an accident and wait until you can review legal documents at home with your attorney or insurance agent.
Personal injury law is complicated and can get messy if you try to handle it independently. In situations where you were in an accident, it’s best to consult with an attorney who has experience with car accidents so that you can protect your rights and receive compensation after a car accident. The right lawyer will be able to walk you through each step of the process while protecting your rights and ensuring you receive your compensation in full. Keep safe on the roads and be calm!