Follow this 5-step guide to ensure that you deal with the legal and financial consequences of an accident in a safe and effective manner.
1) Get Medical Attention
Even if you don’t notice any pain or you believe that you only suffered minor injuries, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention after an accident. Some common injuries such as whiplash can have a delayed effect for 24 hours or more after the accident. Additionally, not seeking proper medical attention can lead to claims of contributory negligence or failure to mitigate (which means failure to make your damages or loss as small as reasonably possible) even if the accident was not your fault, which can reduce your settlement claim.
2) Consult A Lawyer
A car accident is a very stressful and traumatic experience, and that’s why it’s crucial to contact a personal injury lawyer right after the car accident. The lawyer’s first priority is to ensure that your medical and legal documentation is filled out correctly. Additionally, your lawyer can help you report the accident to the local authorities accurately, ensuring that everything is taken care of for you to receive a fair settlement deal from the insurance companies. Also, your lawyer can help you avoid doing things that may hurt your future personal injury claim.
3) Report the Accident
An important step after the collision is to contact the local police authorities. This is crucial because the police can only begin their investigation into the accident once a report has been filed. The report is also used for filing your insurance claim and to determine your legal liability and proof of fault. Your lawyer can help you file the police report and ensure that you receive a copy of it. Also, if there are physical damage to either vehicle over a certain money limit, you may be legally obligated to report the accident to the police.
4) Collect Other Details
If there is another party that was involved in the accident (whether it was their fault or yours) make sure to collect their contact information as well as other crucial information, such as: the make of the car, the license number, and the name of the insurance carrier and their policy number. Your lawyer is well versed in negotiating with insurance companies and will need these details in order to help you obtain a fair settlement. Avoid saying anything to the other party that may later hurt your personal injury claim, such as apologizing, saying sorry or discussing how the accident happened or discussing whose “fault” the accident was.
5) File A Claim
The last step is to file a claim with your insurance company. It is important to do this as soon as the incident occurs. The request is called an “Auto Insurance Claim” or a “Proof of Loss” that is filed with your insurance provider who in turn compensates you for the damages incurred due to the car accident. Your lawyer can assist you in submitting your claim accurately and effectively. It is important to include the required information such as the name of the other driver, as well as the date and time of the accident.
Keep these steps in mind so that you are aware of what is the best course of action should you ever be involved in an auto accident. If you have any questions about the process, our practiced experts at Hajduk Gibbs will be more than happy to assist you.
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