An alarming 4.5 million American citizens were injured in car wrecks in 2018.
In some cases, both parties are to blame – but sometimes, you’re simply the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Does this describe your recent car accident?
If so, you may be in the position to file a lawsuit for your damages. When suing after a car accident there are a few things you need to do to strengthen your case and guarantee you come out on top.
Keep reading to learn what to do after a car accident if you plan to sue and tips for getting the compensation you deserve.
What To Do Immediately Following the Accident
Even though you’re likely shaken up directly following the accident, you need to try and focus and act fast. Those first few minutes are crucial for collecting vital information.
Gather as Much Information As You Can
Once the dust settles and you assess the damage to yourself and your vehicle, it’s time to start collecting evidence. Take a deep breath and try to focus on the important things.
Take as many pictures as you can using your cell phone. Photograph the damage to your car as well as any damages to the other vehicles involved.
It also helps to photograph the scene including the intersection and street signs. These can help prove your innocence later on, especially if the other driver broke local traffic laws.
Ask any witnesses if they’re willing to speak to the police and make a statement. Document their contact information if they can’t stick around. Eye-witness accounts of the incident can help support your case if you end up suing.
Assess Your Damages
One of the first things you’ll probably do following the accident is to assess the physical damage to both your vehicle and yourself. If you suspect you’re physically hurt, move slowly.
Wait for an emergency response team if you feel pain in your neck or back. Moving could do more damage.
Once you do a body scan and determine the severity of your injuries, you can exit your vehicle. Slowly walk around the car to see what areas are damaged. Although you won’t know off-hand how much car repairs will cost, you can get a good idea of what you’re up against.
Long-term, you’ll need to assess all financial damages including medical bills, insurance rate changes, and lost wages. When suing after a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for these expenses.
Avoid moving the vehicles or any pieces of your car that have broken off unless they pose a major traffic hazard. You want the police to see the scene exactly how it is following the accident. This will help them write a detailed report supporting your claims that the other driver was at fault.
If you have to move your car or other key pieces of evidence, make sure to take photographs first.
Car accidents can be very traumatic for some people, even preventing them from driving for years following a serious wreck. Emotional damages are another thing to consider when suing after a car accident.
Call the Police
Most times, one or more people at the scene of a car accident will call 911. If you’re too flustered to make the call yourself, ask a bystander to do it for you.
The police will do their own assessment of the scene, take statements from both parties and any witnesses, and photographs. Be careful what you say to the police. Although you should always be honest and upfront with law enforcement, don’t say anything that might compromise your lawsuit if you plan on suing after a car accident.
They will then generate a report, which you’ll need for both your lawsuit and your insurance claim.
Steer Clear of Social Media
The world is obsessed with social media. People post everything from vacation and holiday photos to pictures of their meals. One thing you want to avoid posting on social media is any information or photographs related to a recent car accident.
Regardless of whether or not you’re at fault, any information you post on social media could come back to bite you during a court case. You may accidentally uncover details about the crash that add doubt to your claims.
The only person you should discuss your accident with is your attorney, especially if you’re the one filing the lawsuit.
What to Do As You Prepare Your Lawsuit
Now that the initial shock of being in an accident has passed and you’ve decided to sue, you need to build your case. Here are the first steps to take.
Seek Legal Counsel
This is one of the most important steps to take after you’ve been in an accident. If you’re suing after a car accident, you’ll need professional legal representation.
Hire a car accident lawyer who specializes in cases like yours, like the professionals at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. Experienced attorneys have handled dozens of car accident cases that result in injury, which means they have first-hand knowledge of the laws and damages you’re entitled to.
Choose a lawyer who is aggressive and proactive. These qualities ensure that the lawyer works tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve including lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.
Car accident attorneys are also experienced working with insurance companies and won’t let any information or opportunities slip through the cracks.
Contact Your Insurance Company
The first call you should make is to a car accident lawyer. The second is to your insurance company.
Many insurance companies require you to report any incidents immediately and to fully cooperate with the claim process. If you have medpay coverage (medical benefits coverage through your car insurance policy), you’ll need to submit any accident-related medical bills and reports.
To file a claim you’ll need the following information:
- Policy number
- Registration number
- The name, address, phone number, and car insurance information of the other driver
- Names of any passengers in the vehicles
- Contact information and details of witnesses
Have this information readily available when you contact your insurance company to guarantee a smooth, stress-free experience. As you can see, the more information you gather at the scene of the accident, the more prepared you’ll be.
Take Fast Action When Suing After a Car Accident
Being in a car crash can be a scary and traumatic experience. If you plan on suing after a car accident it’s important to keep your cool directly following the wreck to gather important information.
Remember to photograph everything but only share the details of the crash with your attorney. Anything else you say could be used against you and hurt your chances of getting compensation.
Need more legal advice? Check out our attorney and legal page!