If you have been involved in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, you may understand some of the challenges of your situation. Being involved in a car accident is often expensive, resulting in medical bills, property damage, and more – none of which should be your responsibility if the accident was someone else’s fault.
However, recovering compensation for these damages is not a simple process. Giving yourself the best chance of winning compensation starts with a few steps that you should take immediately following an accident.
To be sure, how much you can control after an accident depends a great deal on the severity of the accident. If you were badly injured and, as a result, taken to the hospital, chances are you did not have the immediate opportunity to exchange information with the other driver or interview witnesses.
That said, each of the steps we look at below may be integral to the success of your claim. If you are unable to complete these steps, we recommend working with a car accident attorney who can begin to build your case and ensure you are given the best chance of recovering compensation while you focus on getting better.
The first step to take after a serious car accident is to seek medical treatment. It might be tempting to try to “walk it off,” but your injuries may end up being far more serious than you realize.
Not seeking immediate medical treatment may also hurt your claim. If you neglect to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, but then later claim your injuries were serious and expensive to treat, your delay in seeking treatment might seem suspicious.
Even though some injuries – such as whiplash – may not cause symptoms until hours or even days after an accident, delaying medical attention could still make it more difficult to recover the compensation you need and deserve for your damages.
Talking to the police after an accident is important because it solidifies the facts about the accident – where and when it happened, who was involved, what injuries and damage were caused, and more. In many ways, it is akin to a medical document: you may claim that an injury occurred, but if there is no medical documentation to prove it, it may be impossible to substantiate that the injury did in fact happen.
The same is true of police reports. If the police are not called, it will be all too easy for another driver to claim that the accident never took place, which can put you in a very difficult position.
You should also get the other driver’s information as soon as possible, including their:
Obtaining this information ensures you are able to contact them in the future and file a claim with their insurance company.
Witnesses can be an invaluable resource when pursuing compensation. While the reason for some accidents might be obvious, in many cases it is not so clear why or how an accident happened. The other driver, along with their insurance company, may argue that it was your fault.
However, if you can talk to witnesses after the accident occurred – and get their contact information – they could play a big part in helping to substantiate your side of the story. That said, this needs to be done as soon as possible; the more time that passes, the more difficult it will be to find witnesses and for them to remember important details about the accident.
Accidents are usually cleaned up quite quickly to remove debris from the road and allow regular traffic flow to resume. While this is important for the safety and convenience of other drivers on the road, it can make it difficult after the fact to prove some important facts about an accident, such as the condition of the road or the exact location of the vehicles after the accident.
Even something as small as a skidmark or bent guardrail could be an important indicator of how the accident took place – which is why anyone involved in an accident should do everything they can to thoroughly document the scene of the accident as soon as possible.
While you might not be certain how serious your injuries are or if you would be able to recover compensation for your damages, you can be sure that the other driver’s insurance company is already looking into the accident.
Their goal will be to pay as little compensation as possible, if any, which will involve doing everything they can to poke holes in your claim. While doing all of the things we have already discussed are important for defending your rights, hiring a car accident attorney who understands how to build a case and negotiate with insurance companies is often a crucial next step.
At the Karl Truman Law Office, we understand how tricky and manipulative insurance companies can be, and it is our goal to level the playing field, providing the legal guidance, resources, experience, and negotiating skill you need and deserve.
While you may expect the other driver’s insurance company to treat you fairly after an accident, the fact of the matter is that this is not guaranteed and there is simply too much at stake to rely on their goodwill. Insurance companies are for-profit organizations that prioritize their bottom lines.
We’re here to help by holding them accountable, ensuring injured Kentuckians have the legal support and resources they need to fight for maximum compensation. For a free consultation, please call our Louisville, Kentucky office today at (502) 222-2222.