It can take months or even years to resolve a personal injury claim after a car accident. However, the steps you take in the hours or days following the accident can dramatically impact your odds of successfully recovering compensation for your injuries. The right steps can protect your rights and maximize your chances of recovery. The wrong steps can take an otherwise strong claim for compensation and reduce your odds of recovery.
Knowing what to do after a car collision is never easy. Thankfully, you have the right to guidance from a dedicated attorney throughout the injury claim process. Consider the following steps on how to protect your rights after a car accident.
BE SURE TO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION
The first and most important step after a car accident for a victim is to see to their medical needs. Seeking medical care after a car wreck is about more than protecting their health and wellbeing. They can also protect their legal rights by seeing a doctor following a car crash.
Seeking medical treatment after an accident is important to a personal injury because it creates a paper trail. The medical records that result from these doctor visits can corroborate an injury victim’s claims.
Injured motorists that fail to seek medical treatment could put their claim in jeopardy. Not only would they lack documentation of their injuries, but they also could open the door to the defendant claiming the injuries are exaggerated.
DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT SCENE
Outside of medical treatment, an injury victim should also focus on documenting the scene of the accident. Crash scenes do not last forever, so there is little time to waste in tracking down as much evidence as possible.
This documentation typically starts with photographic evidence. Pictures of the crash scene, the vehicles, and the injuries can be powerful evidence at trial. In addition to photographs, obtaining contact information for independent witnesses is also valuable. Often, the testimony of witnesses that are unrelated to either party can sway a jury more than most other types of evidence.
DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR CASE
Outside of some limited exceptions, it is never in the best interest of a person involved in an accident to discuss their case. Avoiding these discussions can help protect a claim for compensation. This starts by limiting discussions with the other driver. By law, exchanging insurance information with the other driver is required. However, that should be the extent of any discussion. This includes not just the specifics of the accident but also any expression of regret or remorse about the crash. Any statement to that effect could be construed as an admission of fault.
It is also vital to avoid speaking with the other driver’s insurance company. While the insurance adjusters are sure to call, a person involved in an accident is under no obligation to speak with them.
CONTACT A LAWYER
One person you should speak with after a car crash is a personal injury attorney. In fact, hiring skilled legal counsel is the best way to protect your legal rights after a crash.
Your attorney can investigate the circumstances surrounding your crash and attempt to resolve your claim through a settlement. If a settlement is impossible, your attorney can file suit and prepare your case for trial. Reach out to a hard-working personal injury attorney right away to get started with your claim.