If you’ve recently been in a car accident, you might be wondering what to do next. The days and weeks after the accident can pass by in a blur as you try to recover from the damage done. In the initial moments after the impact, you might be worried about the damage done to your car and loved ones riding in the vehicle with you. Once this initial panic goes away, there are other concerns that are likely to follow. What kind of damage was done to the car, how much repairs will cost and how you’ll pay your bills when you miss work are all issues you’re likely to have to deal with in the coming weeks and months.
The good news is that there are steps you can take after a car accident occurs to help you get the compensation you deserve from the other driver and their insurance company. Here are some of the best things you can do after an accident to protect yourself.
Take Photos to Document Damage
Before moving your car from the scene of an accident, inspect it to see what damages were done. Once you move the car, the other person can claim the damage is unrelated or was made worse by your moving the car. Take photos of the damage done to the car, but don’t stop there. Photos of the accident scene and how the cars ended up after the impact can be very important for your case if there is a need for litigation. If there is any dispute about what happened before the damage occurred, these photos can prove the accident happened the way it was described. The location of the impact on the car’s body, as well as the final resting position and direction of the cars, can illustrate the events of the day long after it has gone by.
Once you’ve determined how much damage was done to you, the services of a personal accident attorney can be helpful. With training and education in the local law, an attorney can help you compile a list of any damages you may have missed. Some of the common damages that vehicle owners might overlook include:
• Physical injuries that require medical treatment
• Mental stress or trauma from the accident that requires therapy or counseling
• Lost wages or loss of employment due to missed work after the accident
• Loss of property destroyed in the accident
• Court costs and legal fees
With an experienced eye, a lawyer can help you determine the total of all current and future damages. These costs can be proven so you can get them covered by the other driver or their insurance company. While the other driver may not have a lot of money to pay you with, their insurer is likely to have the resources to cover any damages you can prove.
Get Information from Witnesses
Having the name and contact information of witnesses to the accident can mean the difference between winning or losing in court. Most accidents take place in front of people, whether they are walking down the street, grabbing some lunch at a nearby restaurant, or driving along beside you. Finding these people in the time after the accident occurs might be impossible, so take some time to ask if they saw anything and how you can get in touch with them if needed. Your insurance company or attorney can then get in touch and take a statement from these people before your case goes to court. In some cases, these statements can be enough to stop the case from going to court in the first place. With proof that your account is true, the other party or their insurance company might decide they cannot win in court.
See a Medical Professional
If you are feeling pain as a result of the accident, don’t delay going to get medical attention. Not only can accident related injuries get worse over time, going to a doctor is the only way to ensure there is a record of how hurt you were by the accident. Having these documents signed off by a medical professional will help your case if you end up going to court. Even if you only deal with the insurance company, this proof will only help you get what you deserve.
In some cases, dealing with medical records is where personal injury help can be most useful. A qualified law office can collect all of the documentation needed from every doctor’s visit to provide what you need in court. Keeping track of all this paperwork on your own can be tedious and difficult on your own, especially as you try to recover from your injuries.
Contact a Qualified Attorney
Before talking to the other person or their insurer about whether you were at fault or how much you are owed in damages, take the time to speak to a lawyer first. They can advise you on the best way to proceed so you don’t end up legally liable for anything. Many insurance companies have a full team of lawyers that they will contact to deal with your case. These attorneys are only interested in minimizing how much the insurer pays out. Having a lawyer of your own on your side to offer personal injury help and expert advice evens the playing field and keeps you from being shortchanged in the settlement you receive. The personal injury lawyers can review all of the facts of your case and give you the best course of action to get the end result you want.
If you have recently been in a car accident, don’t delay reaching out to a personal accident attorney. The qualified legal advice they can give you is vital in the time right after a car accident. The personal injury lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers are here to help you at this difficult time. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help with your case.