Driving a vehicle is the most dangerous thing that we do on a daily basis. Every year in the United States approximately three million people are injured in a car accident. No matter how responsible and defensive you are in your driving, there is still a good chance you will be involved in an accident at some point in your life.
The most common reaction immediately following an auto accident is shock, which may be accompanied by physical and emotional distress. After the initial shock has subsided, many victims have thoughts and questions involving how they will pay for their mounting medical expenses and financial losses.
If you sustained crash related injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you are likely wondering how to get the most money from your claim. Even a small mistake could affect your ability to get the compensation you deserve. Start building a strong personal injury case from the moment the collision happens by following this how to guide.
What To Do Immediately After A Car Accident
When an accident happens, you won’t know whether you’ll end up needing to file a lawsuit. The compensation you receive is dependent on many factors, some of which are out of your control. What you do immediately after your auto accident injury matters. There are several tips you can implement right away to maximize compensation in your personal injury case:
1. Stay at the scene of the car accident
Getting hurt in a car accident can stimulate the basic human instinct of flight or in other words, leaving to get medical attention. Although you may think this is the quickest way to get immediate medical care, it is never a good idea to drive away.
Many states legally require drivers to stay at the scene of the crash, especially when an injury or fatality occurred. Fleeing the scene could result in serious criminal or civil repercussions. If your vehicle is in a dangerous position and still able to be driven, move it over to the side of the roadway away from oncoming traffic.
2. Call the police
When you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, it is important to call the police and file a driver’s accident report. The accident report will be instrumental in determining who was the at fault party. When speaking to the police, do not admit any fault or blame others.
3. Gather as much evidence as possible at the scene
The foundation for a successful personal injury claim is being able to establish liability. The other driver’s insurance company may try to undermine your personal injury claim by arguing that you were partially at fault for the collision. If you are in good enough physical condition, gather the following types of evidence at the scene to help make your case for compensation stronger:
- Use your smartphone to write down everything that happened, while it is still fresh in your mind. Memory is notoriously unreliable, especially when it comes to details. You can refer to your notes when reporting the accident.
- Whenever possible, take pictures of all the cars involved in the collision before they are moved away from the scene. Try to focus on the points of impact and damage incurred. Make sure to get clear shots of the damage done to your vehicle before it gets repaired. It can be helpful to capture photos of license plates too, should any of the drivers have to leave unexpectedly.
- Take multiple pictures of the accident scene, including the road and surrounding area. Include photos of the road, weather, or any other conditions that may have been a contributing cause in the collision. If applicable, get a shot of any skid marks or debris left on the pavement. Property damage should be recorded as well.
- You should take pictures of your injuries, if visible at the time of the accident. Continue to document your injuries in the days following the crash too.
- Collect contact information from the other drivers at the scene. Take down names and phone numbers for everyone present at the time of the accident, including witnesses. Gather the driver’s license number, license plate tag, vehicle information, and insurance information for all drivers involved.
- Document statements made by the other driver admitting fault. If any witnesses were present at the time of admission, make sure you have their contact information.
- Take note of cameras that may have recorded the accident. Specifically, look for red light cameras, street cameras, or security cameras in the vicinity. Make sure to document their location in case the insurance company tries to deny liability.
4. Seek Medical Treatment
In the aftermath of an auto accident, it is difficult to think clearly. Car accident victims often experience an immediate rush of adrenaline, which may increase their body’s pain threshold considerably. Furthermore, some injuries do not present symptoms for days or weeks later. Even if you’re not in pain immediately after the accident, you should seek medical attention promptly.
Unfortunately, in personal injury cases the burden of proof lies with the injured party. The longer you wait to get medical treatment, the harder it is to establish that your injuries were caused by the accident. Failure to seek medical attention soon after the accident can hurt your chances of getting the most money from your claim.
5. File A Claim With Your Car Insurance Company
Car accidents are high stress situations and it is normal for injured victims to have intense emotional responses immediately after the wreck. For this reason, your insurance provider should not be the first person you call.
The best time to report the accident to your insurance company is after you have filed a police report, gathered all relevant information at the scene, and sought medical treatment. You want to convey what happened as objectively and clearly as possible. Also, it is vital to act quickly when reporting a personal injury caused by an auto accident. Do not ever tell an insurance representative that you were not injured in an accident prior to seeking medical treatment. Before speaking to any insurance adjusters, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney.
Hire A Personal Injury Attorney
The greatest misconception about hiring a car accident attorney is that you will end up with less money. However, this is simply not true. Claims representatives use a variety of special tactics to decrease the value of your claim. If you are not represented by a personal injury attorney, the insurance adjusters will try to take advantage of your lack of knowledge. Their goal is to get you to settle for as cheap and as quick as possible by asking you to sign away on deals that are not in your best interest.
The most critical thing you can do to improve the strength of your claim and ultimately get the most money from your car accident is to hire an experienced car accident lawyer. The attorneys at Florin Roebig have collected millions of dollars against insurance companies by working tirelessly on their client’s behalf.
Document Your Expenses
If you suffered injuries due that were caused by another driver’s recklessness, the most important thing to keep track of is your medical bills as well as other expenses associated with the accident. Having an accurate idea of your total financial losses will help your attorney determine the settlement amount you are entitled to. You can be compensated for any of the following medical costs as a result of the accident:
- The ambulance ride from the scene of the accident to the hospital
- The initial emergency room visit
- A long hospital stay after a surgical procedure
- Ongoing medical care with specialists
- Physical therapy or occupational therapy
- Durable medical equipment
- Transportation to and from appointments
- Home modifications necessary to assist you with mobility
- In-home care providers to help you after surgery
- Mental health treatment to deal with the emotional anguish caused by the accident
The at fault driver’s insurance policy should cover the expenses of repairing or replacing your vehicle and the cost of a rental car
It is not uncommon to have to miss some time from work after sustaining a serious injury. Lost wages can generate a huge financial burden on you and your family. You will want to keep record of the dates and hours you missed for any accident related reason. Sometimes, proving lost income can be a difficult feat, but a top-rated lawyer, such as one of the lawyers at FlorinIRoebig can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your lost earnings and employment benefits.
Don’t Talk To The Other Party’s Insurance Company
After an insurance claim has been filed, the other party’s auto insurance company will immediately begin an investigation to make a determination on liability. During this process, they will look for ways to place a percentage of fault on an innocent driver in order to limit their losses when paying out on the accident claim.
The claims adjuster will likely call you to get a statement and may insist on that statement being recorded. Remember, anything you say can be used against you later and you are not legally required to speak to the other driver’s insurance carrier. Politely decline to answer any questions regarding the accident and your resulting injuries. If you have retained a personal injury lawyer, notify the representative and ask them not to contact you again.
Stay Away From Social Media
Following a crash related injury, you may be inclined to share your experience with family, friends, or on social media platforms. However, it is important to be aware that posting to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site after filing an auto accident claim can jeopardize your chances of getting a full and fair settlement.
Even posts that are not related to the accident can be used against you by the insurance company and defense attorneys. Although it may be hard thing to do, it is usually best to take a break from social media all together until your case is finalized.
Negotiate A Settlement
It can be tempting to settle your car accident claim quickly, especially in times of financial hardship. Insurance companies will try to take advantage of your desperation by pressuring you to accept a low settlement offer.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will advise you to be patient to get the most favorable outcome. Ideally, you will want to wait until your attorney can negotiate an amount of compensation that will allow you to recuperate all accident related costs and maximize your compensation for the pain and suffering you endured throughout the recovery process.
Connect With An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
Our law firm understands that vehicle accidents are life changing events that have the potential to alter the course of your financial future. Don’t miss out on a full car accident settlement by making the mistake of not hiring a qualified, top-rated lawyer. When the insurance companies don’t agree to give you a fair settlement, we take your case to trial.
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a car or truck accident caused by someone else, call the award-winning trial attorney’s at FlorinIRoebig to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.