Auto accidents come suddenly and unexpectedly and can affect your life in many ways. The first few moments after an accident can be the most important in protecting your rights. There are some things that you can do to protect yourself immediately after an accident including:
- Report the accident to law enforcement
- Get contact information from everyone involved and any witnesses
- Get statements from witnesses
- Seek medical attention even if you do not think you are injured. After an accident you may be in shock or have injuries that you are not aware of
- Take photos of the accident scene and any injuries
- Do not admit guilt
- Write down everything that happened and everything that you remember about the accident as soon as possible, before your memory fades
- Speak to an experienced auto accident attorney right away
As time goes on after an accident your life will be affected in many ways. You may have expenses, such as vehicle repairs, and suffer physical and emotional consequences, or miss work. Some things that you can do to help with your case include:
- Keep all receipts for any expenses related to the accident, including auto repairs and medical bills
- Keep a journal of how the accident affects your everyday life including any physical and emotional pain or limitations
- If your job is affected, by causing you to miss time at work, change duties, or even lose your job, keep a record of this as well, including all lost income
Do not assume that you were at fault. Many factors are involved when determining fault, and there may be circumstances involved which you are not aware of. Elements of fault include:
- Traffic laws
- Defective vehicles
- Defective or faulty traffic signals or signage
- Driver impairment
If you receive a ticket that does not mean you are at fault. Always talk to an auto accident attorney before paying any fines or pleading guilty. You could hurt your case by doing this or open the opportunity for the other driver to sue you.
Insurance companies will often try to play on your emotions and offer a quick settlement. They do this in an attempt to pay an amount less than you are entitled to. Always talk to an attorney before accepting any kind of offer. If you accept the offer you give up your right to pursue the matter further. Insurance companies may also try to get your medical records. Never turn this information over without talking to an attorney first. Remember that just because they ask for something does not necessarily mean you have to comply. In some cases you will be required to provide medical records, but giving over too much information can hurt your case.
Sadly, the other driver may not have been insured. If your policy includes “uninsured motorist coverage” then your insurance will cover your injuries if the other driver was at fault. Collision coverage will cover damage to your vehicle no matter who was at fault. If the other driver has no insurance you can try to sue them, but even if you win you may never get paid.
If you have or a loved one has been in an auto accident, contact an experienced auto accident attorney right away by finding your state below.