Car Crash Justice: Useful Legal Tips for Accident Victims

Driving on highway

Anyone engaged in an automobile accident is likely to be going through a tough time, regardless of what caused the accident. All too often, people are involved in car accidents, and those who suffer injuries must overcome shock before taking any kind of action. Regrettably, there are scenarios in which victims may find it challenging to proceed and seek remedy from the responsible party or parties.

After an automobile accident, what would you want protection from? Everyone out there who has their financial interests at stake is attempting to keep you from receiving the recompense you rightfully deserve. This may include resolving issues with the at-fault person, the insurance company, or both. Fortunately, after an accident, there are a variety of options available to those who want to safeguard their legal rights. Keep these things in mind if you get injuries in an accident that was caused by someone else’s carelessness.

Get the right information from the other driver

One of the most important things to do after an accident is to collect information from the other driver. Your attorney and insurance company will need to contact the other driver to establish carelessness and liability. If you want to sue for compensation after an accident, you need to be sure you have all the facts. Gather the following information while speaking with the person involved, as well as any witnesses:

  • Number of license plate
  • Information from a driver’s license
  • All necessary contact details
  • Details of the insurance coverage

All of these things can be useful when talking to your insurance company or lawyer about who should pay for your injuries after an accident. For example, to avoid accidentally entering the wrong person’s home address, it’s a good idea to snap a picture of their driving license.

Speak with witnesses

To win a lawsuit involving a vehicle collision, you must have solid proof. Having another witness to the accident is a great piece of evidence to have. These people can prove to be invaluable allies when fighting for your recompense. Take note of their contact details. The insurance company will need them to learn more about the accident, and the factors that contributed to it. In most cases, it is better to have witnesses whose evidence is consistent with your own to support your argument.

Take pictures

Determine if carelessness caused the accident by examining the accident site. For instance, the other car’s tyre markings can indicate that they were going too fast and had to stop. Or a government agency can face responsibility for failing to properly implement traffic lights. Taking pictures of the wreckage of both yours and the other car might serve as evidence of where the accident happened.

If you want to pursue legal action, you must document your injuries by photographing them. Part of establishing culpability is demonstrating that you did have harm due to someone else’s carelessness. Additionally, take photos of little objects that can be useful later on, such as a security camera on a pole, the current weather, a tree obstructing your view, etc.

Seek medical attention

The rush of adrenaline that occurs just after an accident could dull the sensation of any injuries that you may have sustained. This leads some people to fail to seek medical attention after an injury or to claim they feel well after the accident. However, injuries are usually present, and you simply can’t feel them yet, so it is crucial to get medical help right away. The person may not feel the effects of the pain for many hours or even days. You should seek medical assistance promptly to begin treatment before the injuries worsen.

If you let the other side’s lawyers argue that you sustained injuries in a different place, they will have a better chance of winning the case. They can try to argue that you weren’t injured because you didn’t go to the hospital immediately.

Get legal help

Unless you take action, nothing will happen. A lawsuit is your only option to compensate for the harm you’ve endured. To save yourself the trouble and worry of going to court, consult with accomplished Silver Spring Car Accident Attorneys, for instance, about the possibility of settling your case outside of court. Your injuries could be far worse, and you might have to go to court to receive what they’re really worth. That’s where seasoned attorneys can help. They will collect evidence, write a demand letter and complete all necessary legal files and documentation to help you resolve your claim successfully.


Photo by Mike Bird

Notify your insurance company

No matter who is at blame in a car accident, the fastest way to resolve the matter is to contact your insurance provider. If anything happens that might make your insurance go into effect, you have a responsibility to inform your provider as soon as possible. Your auto insurance coverage might be at risk if you do not notify your provider. Remember that just because you notify them does not imply you are required to submit a claim. For example, you should consult an attorney or insurance agent to learn more about the potential benefits and drawbacks of submitting a claim, including how it may influence your car insurance rates.

Watch out for your words

Refrain from making any statements at the site of the accident, regardless of your emotions or thoughts on the accident’s cause. Resist the urge to place blame on the other motorist. Facts may emerge later on that disprove your initial belief, even if you feel you’re at fault. However, your statements at the accident site might be used against you if you acknowledge fault there.

If you don’t want the police or your insurance company to become involved, don’t guarantee anything to another motorist.

Types of compensation

Victims of car accidents may seek compensation by submitting a formal claim to the appropriate legal authorities. If the plaintiff’s case goes to trial and they are successful, they may be able to collect one of three forms of compensatory damages to make up for the harm they suffered because of the car crash.

Economic damages: Victims get economic damages to compensate them for the money they lost as a result of the accident. Repairs to one’s car, medical bills and missed wages are all examples of such costs.

Non-economic damages: Compensation for non-economic losses seeks to compensate the sufferer for emotional distress. Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, sadness and emotional pain are all examples of such harm.

Punitive damages: The court may impose punitive damages, the exact amount of which might vary depending on the gravity of the wrongdoing, if the responsible party’s conduct was wilfully destructive and negligent. Instead of just paying the victim for their losses, punitive damages seek to penalize the person who is responsible for the accident.

How to pursue a personal injury claim

To avoid going to court, the injured party might try to settle with the insurance company or at-fault party. This involves negotiating a specific sum of money to cover the damages. The victim knows exactly how much money they can expect to get, so it’s quicker and simpler than going to court, and there’s less danger involved. But you run the risk of accepting a settlement that is lower than what the court might order.

If a settlement cannot be reached, the next step is to take the matter to court, where the judge will decide on the amount of compensation due. Whether they do it on their own or with legal representation, harmed parties must gather evidence and complete the appropriate papers at this stage.

Is there a time limit?

You usually have two to three years from the date of the accident to file a compensation claim. There is no time restriction if you are serving as a litigation friend for someone who is unable to claim themselves because of psychiatric or physical impairments. This can happen because of a preexisting ailment, or injuries sustained in a car crash. You may file a claim on behalf of a minor who is less than 18 years old when the damage occurs up to the day they turn 18.

What not to do

Some of the most common mistakes people make after an accident include:

  • Not staying where you are: There may be legal consequences for fleeing the scene of an accident.
  • Admitting guilt: Be careful not to say anything that the other driver could regard as a confession of guilt when you exchange information with them.
  • Accusing others: Accusing the other driver or pointing fingers at them is also not something you should do. The police and your insurance providers should handle this matter.
  • Talking to an adjuster: Depending on who was at fault in the accident, an insurance adjuster may contact you for a statement. You should think about how communicating with the adjuster would influence any potential personal injury claims related to the accident.

Being involved in a car accident is never fun. The immediate aftermath of an accident is a time of intense emotion, which may make it difficult to focus on the right steps to take. However, there are things you can do to protect yourself and be ready for a lawsuit or insurance claim after a car crash.

Top photo by Taras Makarenko

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