You do your best to stay safe on the road. You are an alert and cautious driver. You make the well-being of others your priority and take no unnecessary chances while driving. This is not an attitude shared by everyone. There are some drivers who will never understand the hazard posed by speaking on the phone or to passengers when behind the wheel or by breaking traffic rules and regulations. If you have been injured in an accident that owes to such recklessness, you should think carefully about your legal options.
In the Aftermath of a Car Crash
But first things are first. There are certain actions you will need to take after an accident. During the first few seconds after a crash, you may not be entirely sure of where you are and what has happened. Once your mind has cleared and you are able to focus, you should do the following:
1. Check out yourself and your passengers
You should first evaluate your own body after an accident. You may feel no immediate pain, but you should rub your hands over your body to ensure there is no bleeding. In some cases, the trauma of an accident leaves people numb to pain. You should then check the state of everyone in the car with you.
2. Call 911
You will then need to call emergency services. You should do this even if you believe others already have.
3. Exchange information
If you are alert, conscious, and able to walk, you should go check on the people in the other car. If no one has been seriously injured, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
4. Document the damage
You should also take pictures of the damage on your mobile phone. You should get close-up and wide-out shots of the dents made to your car. And you should take photos of the entire accident scene.
5. Admit no fault
Once the police arrive and begin to take statements, you should not admit fault for the accident. You should not make any assumptions about the role you may have played in it. And if you know that the other driver’s recklessness caused the accident, you need only state the facts that you witnessed. There is no need to divulge any intention to take legal action.
6. Go to the emergency room
Even if you came through the accident unscathed, you should have yourself examined by an emergency room doctor. They will be able to detect any internal injuries you may have.
7. Contact your insurer
You will at some point need to call your insurance company. However, you should contact a car accident personal injury lawyer first. They will advise you of your legal rights as a policyholder. It is important to be clear about these before speaking to an insurance representative—even your own.
If the accident was clearly the fault of the other driver, a representative from their insurance company will try to contact you either in person or over the phone. They may offer you a low settlement and expect you to take it. You should commit to nothing until your car accident personal injury lawyer has had a chance to look at it.
If your injuries were relatively light and your expenses and losses minimal, it may be wise to take such an offer. However, if you were badly injured you may need more money.
The Financial Burden of a Car Accident
Car accidents cost a lot of money. If you were severely injured in an accident, you may need to spend some months going through a range of medical procedures and interventions. You may also need to go through an extended period of physical rehabilitation therapy. When you are fit enough to go to work, you may find that you cannot put in the hours that you used to. In the worst case, you may be pushed out of your profession altogether.
The stress and strain on you and your family can become overwhelming. You need help, and the people who are responsible for the accident should help offset some of your bills and expenses.
How an Auto Injury Lawyer Can Help
Car injury law firms help people like you get the compensation and justice they deserve. Such car injury law firms are staffed by west coast trial lawyers who have handled many cases like yours and know how to build a case against an insurance company that refuses to pay a fair settlement.
Here are some of the things your auto injury lawyer will do:
Your lawyer’s first move will be to gather all the facts concerning the accident. They will go beyond the accident report submitted by the police. They will track down witnesses to the accident and re-interview them. Or, in some cases, interview them for the first time. Some people wish to have no dealings with the police, but they may not mind speaking to a civilian. And there may be one witness who captured the entire accident on their mobile phone. Your lawyer will get their hands on the footage and use it to shore up your case.
Your lawyer will also employ forensic experts. They will bring in an auto accident reconstruction professional to develop a simulation of the accident. This can be done by using the position of the dents, marks, and debris left on the respective cars and at the scene. Your lawyer will also get statements from medical experts that explain the nature of your injury and the debilitating condition it has left you in.
This may be enough to convince the respondent to offer you a higher compensation package. But if it isn’t and they insist on going to court, the West Coast Trial Lawyers you hired will be prepared for that as well. They have the experience and expertise to prove that the accident was the fault of the other driver, that it caused you serious injury, and that you are owed a specific dollar amount in damages.