There’s no doubt that a majority of drivers will eventually be involved in an auto accident. In fact, statistically speaking, the average American drivers will file one vehicular accident claim every 19 years. Unfortunately, many people who suffer in these accidents do so because of another driver’s negligence. When this is the case, the victim is dependent on that driver, and their insurer, to cover the damages related to the accident. For a person to ensure that they receive the best possible outcome after being injured by another’s negligence, there are a few things that they need to do after their accident.
1. Call the Police
The first step is the most obvious: call the police. Even if injuries seem minor, it is important for there to be a legal record of what took place. This document will later show exactly what happened, regardless of what the negligent driver begins to claim, in the words of law enforcement. It’s important to ask a police officer to make a report if they’re not already doing so. This step is vital for future accident claims.
2. Collect Information
Collecting the right information is also important for an accident victim. This obviously includes the name, address and insurance information of the negligent driver, but the victim should also get contact information for witnesses on the scene. Not all witnesses will choose to stay until police arrive, so quickly getting these individuals’ information will ensure that third-parties can later attest to the fact that the negligent driver caused the accident.
3. Keep Tight Lipped
A person will obviously be rattled immediately following an accident, but they need to still watch what they say. They should only discuss the accident with police officers, and the accident is all that they should discuss. Nothing should be said that could cast a shadow of suspicion that the victim may have been partially liable for the accident. In addition, it’s vital to not make a statement to an insurance company until after step four has been completed. Wherever you live, it is important to watch what you say and hire an attorney. If in the Tar Heel state for instance, find a North Carolina auto accident attorney who will help you with your dealings with the insurance companies involved.
4. Contact an Attorney
Contacting an attorney is arguably the most essential step in ensuring just compensation after becoming an auto accident victim. Insurance companies usually take advantage of individuals without legal representation, and they do this for one reason: they know they can.
The average person wants to get a settlement as quickly as possible, and they often don’t know how much they’re entitled to. This makes it quite easy for an insurer to offer a low-ball settlement. When an attorney is involved, on the other hand, insurers know that they could face huge financial obligations, and even bad faith penalties, if they aren’t fair with a settlement. This will usually lead them to make a quick and fair offer.
5. Keep Track of all Expenses
Accident victims have a whole load of worries taken off of their mind after hiring an attorney, but they still need to keep track of all expenses related to their accident. This obviously includes bills, whether paid or not, for hospital visits, medical treatments and prescriptions. If a person is unable to work, it’s also vital for them to get copies of previous pay stubs or W-2s to show the wages they’re losing. It’s even pertinent to keep vehicle mileage records for trips to and from the hospital. These records can all go toward increasing a potential settlement.
Being injured due to another person’s negligence is a very disheartening experience, and this experience is only made worse when a person doesn’t receive proper compensation for that injury, be it property, physical or emotional. Fortunately, an accident victim has a decent amount of control over just how fair their settlement ends up being. By taking just a few proactive measures, a victim can ensure that they’re taken care of after their accident.
Kelly Kovacic is a paralegal who knows how important it is to get the proper help after an auto accident. The North Carolina auto accident attorney firm, Auger & Auger Attorneys at Law, know their state laws and have 35 years of litigation experience to help you get your life back on track.