You’ve been involved in a car accident. You’ve moved to a safe location to exchange information and taken photos of your accident scene, been checked out by a doctor, and made it home safely. Now what? Even if your car doesn’t appear significantly damaged, it’s still wise to get it checked by a professional mechanic to inspect for damage that may be harder to observe from a visual inspection.
As you start to piece things back together, it’s also important to know what to do after a car accident to protect your rights, including your right to compensation. Read on to learn about what to expect during the aftermath of your crash and why speaking with an attorney to make sure that your rights are protected is so important.
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What Happens After A Car Accident?
If you’ve exchanged insurance information with anyone else involved in the accident, your phone may start ringing soon after the crash. Insurance representatives or attorneys representing others involved in the accident will be trying to get a statement from you. To protect your rights, you should avoid speaking with them until you’ve had a chance to speak with a lawyer who can explain your rights.
Remember that anything that you say to anyone or post online after an accident could potentially be used as an excuse to pay you less than what you deserve or even to blame you for what happened. Speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible will help to preserve your legal options and protect your rights as an accident victim.
If you’re not contacted by anyone invested in the legal or financial outcome of your crash, you may be wondering what to do after a car accident to make sure that you get paid for your losses. An attorney can walk you through each step of the insurance claims process and advocate for fair compensation on your behalf. They can also assess whether you’re in a strong position to file a personal injury lawsuit if you were hurt as a result of your crash.
If you speak with an attorney early enough in the process, you might never have to speak with an insurance representative or an attorney hired by others involved in the crash. Your lawyer will handle these communications for you.
What To Expect After A Car Accident When Filing A Claim
If your car has been damaged as a result of your accident, you’ll need to submit at least one insurance claim to recover your financial losses. Your lawyer will take different approaches based on the circumstances of the crash. For example:
- If another driver in the accident caused the crash, your attorney may file a claim with that driver’s insurance provider first.
- If the other driver was uninsured and you have uninsured motorist coverage, your attorney may file a claim with your insurance provider first.
- If there is any dispute about who is to blame for what happened, your attorney may file a collision claim so that the insurance companies involved can investigate the cause(s) of your accident and assign fault according to their findings.
There are important considerations that go into the initiation of a car accident claim that can affect your rights in the process. That’s why it’s important to work with an attorney to make sure your rights are protected.
Communicating With Insurance Representatives During The Claims Process
As you move through the insurance claim process, you may be tempted to answer calls from insurance representatives so that you can answer their questions, get paid, and move on. But it’s important to understand that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Their employees are trained to protect their employer’s bottom line.
If you admit to being at fault for the crash at any point, they may deny your insurance claim outright. If you apologize to anyone involved in the crash, they may deny your claim or reduce the value of your settlement award. If they offer you a settlement and you sign it without having an attorney review it, you may be settling for far less than your claim is worth and limiting other rights to recovery.
Experienced attorneys know what to do after a car accident and are savvy negotiators who understand the ins and outs of each state’s insurance requirements. This knowledge and experience often allows them to understand how to present the facts of their clients’ cases and to secure more compensation for clients than they’d be able to obtain on their own.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured
If your wreck caused you physical harm, you may be wondering what to do after your car accident to get reimbursed for your medical expenses. Filing an insurance claim allows you to seek compensation for property damage. To get reimbursed for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs that arise from a crash that isn’t work-related, you’ll likely need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
To recover damages for any personal injuries requires proving that, among other things:
- Another driver or other party was legally obligated to minimize your risk of injury while you were traveling.
- The at-fault driver failed in their duty because they engaged in negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful conduct.
- The unacceptable conduct of the at-fault driver actually caused your injuries.
If you aren’t sure whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit, that’s okay. An attorney can thoroughly and objectively evaluate your case and advise you of your rights and options. Then you can make an informed decision about your next steps.
What To Do After A Car Accident To Protect Your Rights: Next Steps
It isn’t enough to know the basics of what to do after a car accident. You’ll also need to speak with a lawyer about the specifics of your case before you can fully protect your rights and interests. Take time to schedule a free case evaluation with a local personal injury attorney today.
Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.