After a car crash, you should take specific steps right away to recover from your injuries and obtain the monetary compensation you need.
First, seek prompt medical treatment at a local hospital emergency room or urgent care center and follow the treatment regimen your healthcare provider recommends.
Refrain from giving a recorded statement to an insurance company adjuster since they often use these statements to undermine claims.
Next, immediately talk with an experienced car crash attorney who can file a claim or lawsuit for you to recover monetary damages. Your lawyer can also answer all your legal questions at every step of the process and work to maximize the compensation you ultimately recover through settlement or litigation. Reach out to a car accident lawyer.
If your case must proceed to litigation, your attorney can represent you at all legal proceedings, including a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing, and advocate for all your legal interests there.
Why Do Car Accidents Happen?
Car accidents typically occur when other drivers violate common traffic laws and drive in a negligent manner. Drivers might also fail to observe the road or drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Common traffic violations that lead to serious traffic accidents include:
- Failing to use turn signals or yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time
- Failing to use side-view and rearview mirrors
- Speeding and other reckless driving maneuvers
- Engaging in aggressive driving or road rage
- Tailgating other drivers
Car crashes also happen when drivers become distracted and pay attention to anything but the road. Distractions might involve smartphones, eating and drinking, or even tending to children in the back seat. When a driver fails to observe the road, they might not notice an approaching vehicle or pedestrian, causing an accident that brings about severe injuries and sometimes fatalities.
Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent (or sometimes lower, depending on the circumstances) are legally intoxicated. Drunk drivers often experience physical symptoms like disorientation, dizziness, and blurred vision. They may also experience delayed reflexes that prevent them from quickly reacting to a roadway situation.
When drivers violate road rules or engage in intoxicated and distracted driving, they may cause several types of accidents, including rear-end collisions, sideswipe accidents, T-bone collisions, overturn accidents, and head-on collisions. Head-on collisions are arguably the most serious of these accidents, as they have the highest potential of causing severe property damage, physical injuries, and fatalities.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from driver error, you should take prompt action right away, including obtaining immediate medical treatment and following through on a treatment plan.
While you finish your medical treatment, a car crash attorney in your area can begin handling the various legal components of your case, including gathering the necessary documentation to prove the case’s required legal elements.
Steps to Take Following a Car Crash
Following a car accident, you should take several necessary steps. Engaging in this process increases your chances of recovering fair monetary compensation through settlement or litigation.
Necessary post-car-accident steps include:
- Getting initial medical treatment.
- Following up with medical treatment providers.
- Refraining from providing insurance company adjusters with recorded statements.
- Talking with a lawyer as soon as possible.
You should also ask your attorney questions every step of the way so that you can make informed and intelligent decisions throughout your case.
Getting Initial Medical Treatment
Seeking initial medical treatment following a car crash is extremely important and helps prevent injuries from worsening. An accident victim may seek this treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility in the region.
At an initial medical visit, the medical provider on duty can undertake a comprehensive physical examination and order imaging studies, including CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays.
Following Up with Medical Treatment Providers
Most importantly, a medical provider can recommend follow-up medical care and treatment following an initial medical evaluation. Accident victims must follow through on this treatment as long as the medical provider recommends it.
When accident victims discharge themselves early or fail to complete all their medical treatment, insurance companies often become skeptical, believing that an accident victim’s claimed injuries are not all that serious.
A knowledgeable car crash attorney in your area can begin handling all legal components of your car accident claim. At the same time, you focus your attention on getting the medical care you need and making a full recovery from your injuries.
Do Not Give a Recorded Statement
Sometimes after a car accident, an insurance company representative will contact the accident victim and request a recorded statement. Accident victims should not provide these statements under any circumstances.
This is because insurance companies will ask for a recorded statement only if they think there is a chance of denying liability for the accident or otherwise lowering the compensation that they offer an accident victim. Providing a recorded statement will never help your case, but it can severely hurt your case and jeopardize your ability to recover monetary compensation for your accident-related losses.
Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer Right Away
In addition to seeking early medical intervention and following through with your treatment plan, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney right away. Not all car accident lawyers are the same, and you want a personal injury attorney on your side who has significant experience settling and litigating car accident claims.
Moreover, you want an attorney who does not simply settle all their cases but who has a strong track record of successfully litigating cases in the court system and taking them to jury trials and binding arbitration proceedings.
An experienced car accident attorney can also assist you with every step of the process, including investigating the accident circumstances, filing a claim, negotiating with adjusters, and, if necessary, litigating your case to a favorable resolution in the court system.
Investigating the Accident Circumstances
In some instances, it can be challenging to determine exactly how a car crash happened. When that problem arises, a skilled car accident lawyer can help you undertake an investigation of your case.
Specifically, your lawyer can gather all police reports, witness statements, camera footage, and accident scene photographs or retain a qualified accident reconstructionist who can review the evidence and piece together the facts. A lawyer can determine if you may bring a viable personal injury claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary damages for your injuries.
Filing a Claim
In addition, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim, usually with the insurance company for the at-fault party. Your attorney can file a claim by submitting all the above-referenced documents to an insurance company adjuster. In any situation, your lawyer will deal with the insurance company for the at-fault party.
However, if you suffered injuries in a phantom vehicle accident where the responsible driver fled the accident scene, you can open a first-party insurance claim with your own insurer. Similarly, you can involve your own insurance company if the at-fault party does not have adequate insurance coverage to compensate you for all your injuries and other losses.
Negotiating With Insurance Company Reps
Next, your attorney can help you negotiate a favorable settlement offer with insurance company representatives. This is typically a back-and-forth process that occurs when the accident victim’s attorney submits a settlement demand package, and the insurance company adjuster makes an offer to resolve the case.
Since most initial settlement offers from insurance companies are low, it is not unusual for this negotiation process to take several weeks or months. During this period, you should hire skilled legal counsel to represent you throughout the negotiations. Otherwise, the insurance company is more likely to take advantage of your situation and offer you lower compensation to resolve your claim.
Having skilled legal counsel on your side can also have other benefits. Specifically, your attorney can threaten the insurance company with personal injury litigation if they refuse to offer you monetary damages that fairly and fully compensate you for all of your injuries.
Litigating Your Case Through the State Court System
The litigation stage of a car accident claim begins when the accident victim’s attorney files a lawsuit in court. A defense attorney will then enter an appearance on the at-fault driver’s behalf and will file a formal answer to the lawsuit.
The parties will then participate in the discovery process, during which they will exchange various documents about the case, including medical records and medical bills, and take depositions. Settlement negotiations between the parties may also continue during this time.
In some situations, the insurance company adjuster will increase their settlement offer after the accident victim’s deposition occurs. If the case settles during this time, it will end, and the parties will not need to take their case to a jury trial or alternative dispute resolution proceeding. Your lawyer can help you decide whether a particular settlement offer from the insurance company is worth accepting in your case.
Representing You at Various Legal Proceedings
Next, a car accident lawyer can represent you in all legal proceedings in your case.
Those proceedings may include:
- A discovery deposition, where the defense attorney asks you particular questions about your car accident, the injuries you suffered, your medical treatment, and the accident’s effects on your life
- A settlement conference with the court, where the parties attempt to resolve their case, usually with the assistance of a judge or settlement officer
- A jury trial, where the parties introduce evidence in the case, and a jury decides the outcome of all disputed issues, including the total amount of monetary compensation to award the accident victim
- An alternative dispute resolution proceeding, such as mediation or binding arbitration, can serve as an alternative to a jury trial in the pending car accident case
At each of these proceedings, your lawyer will be by your side, advocating for you and helping you attain the best possible case result.
Helping You Recover Monetary Damages
As the victim of a car accident resulting from negligence, you may be eligible to recover various monetary damages.
Those damages can include compensation for:
- Related medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of the ability to use one or more body parts
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Lifetime care costs
- Embarrassment or humiliation from visible scarring
- Wrongful death damages
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Your Area Right Away
If you suffered injuries in a recent car accident, an experienced car accident attorney in your area can be an invaluable help. Your lawyer can assist you during every step of your case’s investigation, settlement negotiation, and litigation stages and work to recover the total monetary compensation you need to become whole again after your accident. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
You might feel overwhelmed at the idea of paying legal fees, but hiring an injury attorney costs nothing out of pocket. Never wait to seek a free case evaluation and learn about your options today.