When you’re involved in a car accident, your mind is probably racing with questions and concerns. Who will take care of my medical bills? How long will I be out of work? What about the damage to my vehicle? These are all valid concerns and you should take proper actions to address them
After an accident, you want to know what your legal options are and how best to exercise them. The average person might not know that he or she has a right to seek compensation for his or her injuries and damages or even that they can file a personal injury lawsuit. Some people might think ‘no big deal, I was only in a little fender bender.’ However, there is legal action that can be taken to help you with your injuries, finances, and time lost.
Filing a Police Report
One of the first things you should do after an accident is to file a police report. Whenever there is property damage, injuries caused by a car accident, or if a driver leaves the scene, this needs to be reported personally after a car accident to the police. Not only does this give you proof that it happened, but it applies pressure on those involved in causing the accident not to leave before authorities arrive. A police report also provides information about who was at fault and might help with insurance claims later on as well as any potential litigation against those responsible for your injuries.
Contact Your Insurance Company
To have your vehicle repaired or receive compensation for damages, you must contact your insurance company after an accident occurs. You will also have to file a claim with your insurance company if you are injured in an accident. Just because the other driver involved is insured does not mean that your injuries are covered by his or her policy. Unless they have specifically excluded it, most policies offer medical coverage for you and passengers in your car as well as any pedestrians who happen to be on or near the road when the accident occurs. Your policy may also provide liability coverage for damage done to other people’s property during an accident.
Hire an Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident, or if someone has been hurt or killed because of the negligence of another driver, you should hire an attorney. While some attorneys can be costly and can sometimes take a big share of your compensation from the other party, it’s worth it to hire one. Having a lawyer on your side is beneficial when dealing with insurance companies and especially so when trying to file a personal injury lawsuit if someone was responsible for the accident. It is also advisable to contact your lawyer before calling your insurance company. Your lawyer will then be able to give you expert advice to get the most out of your insurance premiums, which oftentimes can be used for medical bills and vehicle repairs.
Do Not Accept Any Settlement Offers
After an accident occurs, there is always a temptation to accept an offer made by the other driver or their insurance company without even consulting with an attorney. This is highly inadvisable. It’s best to wait at least until all of the bills are paid before settling on any offers whatsoever. Do you want to make sure that your injuries are permanent? Have they fully healed? What about your financial situation after paying your medical bills and for any property damage? Were there any other issues like lost wages or emotional distress that need to be addressed?
After all, you can’t get your time back and if you accept an offer too early, it might not account for the amount of stress you went through after the accident it happened. Just because someone else was responsible for your injuries doesn’t mean they should get off easily or at all. Accepting a quick settlement could prevent them from paying for what they did wrong and having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side will help ensure this does not happen.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the other party caused the accident in part because of their negligence, you have about two years from their date of occurrence in which to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Generally, this is done through your attorney who will be able to help determine if they are liable for your injuries.
You or your lawyer will send them a “Demand Letter” before any court proceedings begin that states what kind of compensation you need and why you think they should pay it. This letter gives the defendant the chance to settle out of court rather than force litigation upon them. If no settlement can be reached, then it proceeds to trial where both sides present evidence to support their case.
Knowing your rights and the best actions to take after a car accident can help you minimize any financial and emotional burdens that you might face. It will allow you to focus on the more important things in your life. Keep in mind all these legal actions that you are entitled to so that you can get back to enjoying your life while getting the compensation you deserve.