By Michelle Eddy
Car accidents often lead to tremendous loss. In addition to totaled vehicles, victims may sustain serious physical injuries and are slapped with astronomical medical bills. Some car accidents may cause traumatic brain injuries, disfiguring injuries, and many other problems that keep people away from work.
No matter how severe or minor these events may be, drivers need to know how to seek the compensation they are due.
1. Never Accept a Cash Payment at the Scene of the Event
When drivers know that they’re at fault, and when they’re worried about how these events will affect their insurance rates, or what the legal consequences might be, they may offer to cover damages out-of-pocket.
Accepting cash payments at the scene of an accident can jeopardize your ability to obtain fair compensation. It is far better to follow due process and to get an accurate calculation of your losses.
Car accidents can leave you with:
- Lost wages
- Crippling medical debt
- Serious vehicular damages
- Latent injuries that take days or even weeks to show symptoms.
Some accidents have even left people with post-traumatic stress disorder and a lingering fear of getting back on the road. You cannot know how much a car accident claim is worth until you have been seen by a doctor, have had your auto inspected by a mechanic, and have been given an estimated time for your physical and emotional recovery.
2. File an Official Police Report
One of the most important steps to take after a car accident is filing a police report. If an officer has not been called to the scene, contact the police yourself. Responding officers document these events from an unbiased, third-party perspective.
Once you’ve contacted your insurance carrier or the insurance company of the other driver, the police report will serve as the basis for determining who was at fault or how fault should be distributed.
3. Visit the Emergency Room to Have Your Injuries Assessed
Going to the emergency room is always important after a car accident even if you don’t have any deep cuts, broken bones, or visible bleeding. There are several soft tissue injuries, internal injuries, and other problems that accident victims might not be aware of. These events’ physical and emotional shock can make it difficult to determine exactly how injured you are.
The primary goal of emergency room doctors is to ensure that you are in a stable condition before you are released. These professionals regularly diagnose concussions, contusions, soft tissue injuries, and minor musculoskeletal injuries from auto accidents such as whiplash or other forms of joint dysfunction.
For a more comprehensive view of how this jarring, impactful event has affected the health and alignment of your spine, you may want to follow up by consulting with a chiropractor as well. Any medical imaging produced during those visits can be used to bolster your claim.
4. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Although you certainly have the option of navigating the claims process on your own, car accident victims tend to be more successful in their efforts to obtain fair compensation when working with qualified attorneys.
A skilled lawyer, like this car accident attorney in Lafayette, can handle all interactions with insurance claims adjusters so that you’re never at risk of making statements or taking actions that might jeopardize the outcome of your case.
This professional can additionally:
- Accurately assess your damages based on your medical records, using historical case information, and other acceptable types of data.
- Negotiate with the at-fault driver and their insurer on your behalf.
- Help you access various forms of contingency-based medical care.
- Refer you to a trusted health care professional.
Working with an attorney will also give you more room to focus on your recovery.
5. Keep All Receipts
Car accident claims are rarely settled before the healing process is complete. Once claimants accept and receive settlement offers, they become unable to request additional funds in a courtroom.
Delaying settlement negotiations until medical treatments are complete ensures that accident victims are compensated for all their time away from work, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. So, keep all receipts and evidence of accident-related expenses to bolster your case.
There are several important legal protections in place for ensuring that car accidents do not cause lasting financial harm. With a qualified attorney, you can receive compensation for all auto damages, physical injuries, and physical pain and emotional suffering.
Taking the right steps to protect your interests throughout the claims process will greatly increase your likelihood of obtaining the full, fair settlement that you deserve.
About the Author
Michelle Eddy is a staunch consumer advocate, fresh libertarian convert, and proud mother of three. Besides her legal career, she enjoys blogging about topics related to her expertise and life experiences, like parenting, child development, education, and law. In her writings, Michelle places emphasis on helping people to fight for their rights. She also works as a collaborative editor for Laborde Earles Law Firm. Her favorite quote is: “Sir, we are outnumbered 10 to 1″. “Then, it is a fair fight”.