A car accident resulting from the negligence of another driver can be life altering. Depending on your level of first party coverage, you stand to lose time from work, the grave inconvenience of not having ready transportation, and worse yet, if you are injured in an accident you could be facing mounting medical bills, additional time from work or even job loss, and the possibility of temporary or permanent disability. If you have been involved in an auto accident you do not have to face the at fault party, their insurance carrier, or defendant attorneys alone.
After an Accident
Immediately following a loss, many driver believe the most important steps are to call the police and then the insurance carrier for each driver. There are additional steps, however, that victims should take to ensure that the facts of the loss are documented and that preliminary medical attention is on the scene to ensure injuries are stabilized and accounted for. So, what should you do in the event of an accident?
1. Secure detailed information from any witnesses. In the moments, hours, and days following an accident, people are often advised by a relative or friend. Oftentimes, versions change and people tend to get further and further from admission of the facts, especially when they are the liable party. Securing the information of independent witnesses ensures that if there is a dispute there is a third party who can advise of their account and offer clarification.
2. For the same reasons listed above, it is imperative to secure photos of the scene, the damages, and the actual collision.
3. Call the police, your insurance company, and legal representation. In the days following a collision, involved parties are typically inundated with calls from insurance companies, shops, and investigating officers. Hiring representation from the onset ensures you have a liaison who can minimize the number of times you have to give your statement of the loss facts and can also block attempts by the insurance company to settle your bodily injury claim prematurely.
4. Take photos of any bruises, lacerations, or any objective injuries. Should your claim become a litigious matter, it will help to provide evidence to the insurance company of the permanency of your injuries.
Your insurance company or attorney will guide you on the many steps to repairing your vehicle, reimbursing you for your loss of use, and handling your injury claim, but it is important that as the involved party you cover as many of these steps as physically possible in the time following an automobile collision.
Damages that Can Be Recovered
Auto insurance commercials and agents do a comprehensive job of discussing the property damage portion of a loss. In the event you suffer property damage or injury as the result of someone else’s negligence there are several damages that you may be able to recover. Bodily injury claims combine lost wages, medical bills and time lost from work. Health insurance, workman’s compensation, paid time off and many other factors are unique to each individual and victims need to understand the many ways in which they can recover as a victim. In terms of vehicle repairs, victims are entitled to repairs and loss of use, meaning that you are entitled to alternate transportation for the time yours is reasonably under repair. Alternate transportation should be comparable to the vehicle in which you were driving, which means if you were driving a large SUV to accommodate your children the third party carrier should work to ensure you are able to replace your vehicle within the same size and class. A similar rule of thumb applies to the parts used in the repair of your vehicle. You can expect that if you are forced to settle for used parts that they are of the same like, kind and quality of the part requiring replacement. The extent to which you recover should hinge on the level of information you receive from your insurance adjuster, but some considerations like the now potentially diminished value of your vehicle are not necessarily covered by every company and require experience and knowledge in the industry: this is where a professional can be major asset.
How an Attorney Can Help
Simple auto collisions involving minor facts and damage and no injuries can generally be handled without the involvement of an attorney. However, when questions arise, investigations start to drag, and medical bills begin to mount an attorney can be your best advocate to navigate the complicated world of auto insurance claims. Your attorney will generally recover a portion of your bodily injury settlement, so without having to incur an upfront cost you gain the knowledge and support of a trained professional who can advocate on your behalf and when you are suffering physically, emotionally, and financially after a loss, having that kind of friend in your corner can mean the difference between a perpetually damaging experience and getting back on your feet again. Most attorneys will offer a free consultation and this can be an imperative step towards recovering from the trauma of an automobile accident.