Whilst multitudes of people rely on their cars to live their daily lives, they’re not without their risks. That’s why people take driving lessons and research how to avoid common repair mistakes. Sadly, car accidents can still occur – even if your car’s well maintained and you’re driving responsibly. Should this happen, the last thing you want to do is figure out the legal process. In this article, we’ll make your life easier by discussing the basics of a car accident claim.
Appoint A Lawyer
If someone else was responsible for the car accident, it’s really important to have some professional support. Lawyers are well-versed in the law and know how to navigate the legal system. They can explain your rights and help you gather evidence to build a strong case. Also, having a lawyer by your side can relieve some of the stress that comes with going through a car accident claim.
Miami, Florida has a 2022 population of 493,652 and there are road accidents reported daily. The people searching online for an accident lawyer in Miami want to request free consultations and learn about economic and non-economic compensation. They want to know how long they have to get a lawyer and whether one can help if the accident was their fault.
Get Immediate Medical Attention
Whether or not you think you’re injured, this is the first and most important thing you should do after being involved in a car accident. Some injuries (such as whiplash) may not present themselves immediately after an accident. The adrenaline rushing through your body may also be masking pain. It’s important to be examined by a doctor so that any injuries can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. This will help ensure that your recovery is as quick and complete as it can be.
Seeking immediate medical attention will help document your injuries and their connection to the car accident. This will be important if you decide to file a personal injury claim later on. Without this, the other party could deny that your injuries were sustained during the accident. This could have a direct bearing on your ability to claim financial compensation from the responsible party.
Involve The Police And Take Contact Details And Photos
If you’re physically able, the first step after a car accident is to call the police. The responding officer will create a report detailing what happened. This can be used in the future in support of your claim. If the other driver doesn’t want to involve the police, that’s a red flag and you should take extra caution. Get the contact details of the other driver, including their insurance information. You should also seek contact information for any witnesses to your accident. They can provide invaluable testimony if your case goes to court.
If you have a camera on your phone or in your car, take photos of the damage to both vehicles. This will be helpful in estimating the cost of repairs. It’s also a good idea to take photos of any visible injuries you or your passengers have sustained. These can be used as evidence of pain and suffering damages. Also take pictures of the road, including any debris. If the road was in poor condition take photos of this too (e.g. potholes, overhanging trees, poor lighting, loose gravel).
Gather The Supporting Documentation
In terms of the medical aspects, this includes all the medical bills, treatments, and prescriptions related to the accident. If you were unable to work, lost wages should also be calculated and documented. It’s important to keep detailed records of everything from start to finish so that you have a clear understanding of your financial situation – and what to claim.
As mentioned earlier, you need to collect the police accident report, witness details, insurance information, and any other documentation that can help support your case. These materials will be essential in helping your lawyer build a strong argument on your behalf.
Involve The Insurance Companies
As soon as possible after the accident, tell your insurance company that it’s occurred. If you’ve sustained injuries, they’ll likely want to send an adjuster to investigate the accident and take pictures of the scene and any damage to your vehicle. The other driver’s insurance company may also contact you, but you’re not required to give them a statement about what happened. In fact, it’s usually in your best interest not to give one until you’ve first consulted with an attorney.
Once both insurance companies are involved, they’ll each conduct their own investigation into the accident. This may include interviewing witnesses and reviewing police reports. Based on their findings, each company will determine who was at fault for the accident.
Let Your Lawyer Do The Negotiating
You should never attempt to negotiate your car accident settlement with the insurance company on your own. Their adjusters are professionals, and they’re trained to get you to settle for as little money as possible – or to refuse a payout. Your lawyer will be able to negotiate a fair figure that covers all of your damages and losses.
If a lower compensation sum is offered early on, let your lawyer decide whether or not to accept it. If you accept the settlement figure, you may not be able to sue for more money later if it’s discovered that your injuries are more severe than originally thought. For this reason, you need to await a full medical diagnosis before agreeing on the payout. Once you accept a settlement figure, you can sign a release form and receive their payment. If you can’t agree on the amount, your lawyer can help you take your case to court.
You now know the basics of the car accident claim process. If you have a qualified lawyer by your side from day one, you’ll be able to act wisely at all times and secure a fair payout in the end. You’ll then have the knowledge that justice has been done while you focus on your physical recovery.