In the days after a car accident, especially if you were injured, you may be feeling shaken and overwhelmed. After a car accident, it is very important to make sure you are not injured and to take the appropriate steps to document the situation for a future lawsuit.
After seeking medical attention, you should consider legal representation in negotiating with the car insurance companies and in pursuing a claim against the other driver. You may be able to settle with the other driver’s insurance policy, but if not, you could receive compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. A Washington, DC car accident lawyer can help you navigate the insurance system and legal system while you focus on recovery.
For the best chance of success, you should try to take the following steps in the days following a car accident:
The first thing you should do after a car accident is to stay at the scene. Never drive away or leave the accident. Leaving the scene of the accident is a serious offense. You may need to move to the side of the road and put your hazard lights on or else move to another safe location.
After you are in a safe location, you should call the police and file a police report. This report will serve as an accurate record of the accident. Your insurance company will be more likely to approve your claim with a police report on record, and your likelihood of success with a personal injury claim will be greater. However, when speaking to the police, be careful not to accidentally say something that could incriminate yourself. Do not accept blame or fault. Simply relate the accident as accurately as possible to the officers.
It is important to document as much information about the accident as possible. You should try to collect proof of the accident immediately after, but if you did not have the opportunity, try to document as much information as you can in the days after the accident. This includes:
Evidence is critical to the success of a car accident claim. While some evidence can be gathered immediately after the accident, other evidence will take more time to gather. Plus, if an injury is severe and required transport to a hospital, there may have been no opportunity to gather evidence. Some additional evidence that you and your lawyer will need to gather in the days after an accident:
The most important thing to do in the days following an accident is to visit a doctor. Even if you don’t think you were injured in a car accident, you should keep delayed injuries in mind. Many injuries won’t appear until days, hours, or even weeks after the accident. You will likely experience some delayed physical injuries after a car accident, such as:
Another reason to visit a doctor is so the doctor can accurately document your injuries and give you a prognosis, which is critical information should you choose to file a lawsuit. These medical records are valuable evidence for your case. You should also make it a priority to document and record all of the care you receive and the associated costs. These medical conditions can cost you thousands of dollars and it is important to keep track of these costs since you may be able to recover these expenses in a lawsuit.
Before you consider filing a lawsuit, you should attempt to have your costs covered by car insurance. In the days after an accident, you should call the car insurance company. Generally, private insurers pay about 50 percent of all car accident costs, with victims paying 26 percent, and third parties paying only 14 percent.
You will likely need to notify your own car insurance company of the accident and relay the facts of the accident to them. The insurance company may even be able to help if the other driver was uninsured or underinsured – studies from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) showed that in a 2021 study, the IRC found that 1 in 8 drivers are uninsured. Only if your insurance provider cannot compensate you fully for your losses should you consider a personal injury action.
Washington, DC and Virginia follow a contributory negligence rule, which means that if you were at fault for the collision in any way, you may not be able to recover money or your recovery may be limited. A lawyer is a valuable asset in communicating and negotiating with insurance companies on fair compensation. An attorney can negotiate with insurance adjusters for you, and if there is no settlement, your attorney will represent you at trial and will advocate for your rights. Some of the other services that a lawyer provides in a car accident case are:
If you have been injured in a car accident, one of the many experienced car accident lawyers on our team can help. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney will take the burden of proving your case off of you. Our team of lawyers will build your case and gather all the evidence necessary to win your claim and secure the compensation you are entitled to.
Our lawyers can advocate for you on a contingency fee basis, meaning that your lawyer is compensated for their services based on the amount you win at trial. Call Regan Zambri Long today or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.