Car accidents are happening now more often than ever. As a result, there is a lot of online information that people should know after they have had a car accident or about to have one. People need to know what they should do and not just remain silent and accept the consequences that follow. The following are six things you need to do after a car accident, so listen carefully.
1. Contact a personal injury lawyer
The first and foremost thing you should do after a car accident is to call an attorney. You may be thinking, “the police are taking care of the accident so why should I need an attorney?” First things first, as soon as possible after your accident, you must report it to your personal injury lawyer so he or she can come and gather evidence that can help them build a strong case for you. It’s also best if your attorney comes and talks to the other party involved before they start filing lawsuits against you. If you live near the Bay Area, you should find an accident law firm in SF or somewhere that is close to you. Them being close results in inefficiencies in communication, which leads to a better outcome for you.
2. Take pictures of everything
It goes without saying that the best evidence you have of your car accident photographs. If you can prove, with photos, that it was not your fault then you are one step closer to winning your accident case. The insurance company will use your lack of proof against you so make sure to take plenty of photos. When there’s an accident no matter how big or small, do not move any objects involved in the crash until the police officer tells you what to do. It may be tempting to push a truck out of the way, but don’t touch anything if someone hasn’t told you to already! This can compromise important evidence and leave clues behind for an investigator to figure out what really happened.
3. Do not accept the insurance settlement until you talk to your attorney
After you’ve hit someone or been hit, that’s when the nerves and anxiety begin to set in. It is perfectly normal to be under a lot of stress right after an accident but do not let this get in the way of your future. The insurance company is offering you an out-of-court settlement because they know they are in the wrong and will try to offer you money to make you go away. They might also tell you that they will pay for your medical bills, but this is not always what happens. Be sure to talk to your attorney before accepting any type of settlement.
4. Do not consent to a vehicle inspection
After a car accident, people involved in the incident will be asked to check their vehicles. If you’ve been through a car accident then it’s likely that your car has visible damage or is missing some parts. No matter how badly your vehicle is damaged, do not consent to give the police an inspection of your vehicle, and more importantly, do not take any pictures of it. Letting an insurance company inspect your vehicle without legal counsel is like letting thieves dig through your pockets while you watch. If there are parts on your car that are missing or have been severely damaged, then it’s highly likely that the insurance will try to blame you for causing the accident.
5. Never admit fault
This may seem obvious but admitting fault in a car accident will only make things worse for you. You are under no obligation to talk about what happened during the accident or admit who was at fault when there are other drivers involved with you in the crash. Even if it seems like everyone saw the accident happen, and you know for a fact that it was 100% not your fault, still do not admit this to other people. If you admit fault then there’s a possibility that any witness may change their mind about what they saw. This is why having an attorney present during questioning is so important because they can advise you on what to say or not say while involved in a car accident.
6. File the claim on time
After a car accident, there is a waiting period for you to file a claim. This can range from days, weeks, even months depending on the state that you live in, and it’s critical not to miss this deadline. Filing your personal injury claim beyond the time limit will likely mean that your insurance company won’t be held liable for anything. Getting legal advice early after an accident is key because they will let you know when all the paperwork needs to be filled out and submitted. Even if there is an extended waiting period before filing your claim with the court, make sure to tell your attorney everything right away.
Lawyers across America are flooded with calls from people claiming to be injured in car accidents, but there is something you need to understand before the peace of mind comes crashing down on you like a ton of bricks. There’s no such thing as an easy case, and the only thing you can really do is contact a lawyer. Good luck with your case!