After Car Accident Guide: What You Must Know
The moments following a car accident can be difficult to navigate, especially if you consider some of the potential obstacles that may exist. There’s the unfortunate situation of dealing with the responsible party and insurance company when shock and adrenaline are still running high.
For any individual harmed in a car accident, there are things that they must know following a crash in order to protect their rights in the most effective manner possible. It’s imperative for individuals to know what steps to take.
Because there are a number of legal difficulties involved, failure to protect your rights may mean that you are unable to seek compensation after the accident. There are common pitfalls that people encounter that harm their case.
In order to give potential accident victims the knowledge they need, our Michigan car accident attorneys put together a guide that can help you after an accident so you know what to do, what to expect, and what must be done to pursue legal action.
Step 1: Exchange the Necessary Information
One of the first things that happens in nearly any accident—except when a driver is responsible for a hit and run—is the parties will exchange the necessary information to help move forward with a claim. Typically, this means these documents will be involved:
- Driver’s license: Of course, operating a vehicle requires the driver to have a valid license. Without this, the driver responsible could be facing serious problems.
- Proof of insurance: Insurance information is what helps injury victims seek damages for the pain they have endured. This insurance information should include the contact information necessary for your insurance company to reach out to that of the negligent party.
- Contact information: You’ll want to ensure your insurance company has all the information to reach out to the other party to determine liability.
Make sure you take down all information accurately and in its entirety. You don’t want to run into any potential issues because of a missing number on the contact information.
Step 2: Speaking with Witnesses at the Scene
In many cases, accidents are witnessed by pedestrians, other drivers, or individuals who may have been in a nearby building. These people can be beneficial to you if you pursue legal action because they can help back up your story.
Witnesses may be questioned throughout the process if the legal counsel of both parties deem fit, but regardless, their information can be important to provide to the insurance company, which is looking to determine who may be liable.
When you approach witnesses, first ask if they saw what happened in the accident and if they are willing to provide their information for the case. If they do, make sure you give their contact information to your insurance company and your lawyer.
Step 3: Speak with Authorities
For most accidents, especially serious ones, the proper authorities are called out to the scene to help remove cars from the road and talk to the parties involved. As with many situations, these conversations and the observations by the authorities are put in a report of the accident.
The accident report can be very beneficial for you when moving forward after an accident. This is because the accident report may contain statements made by you, the other party(ies) involved, and the witnesses, as well as observations of the officer.
This can help show if the negligent party accepted liability, or if they are making contradicting statements after the fact. It’s important to be as truthful as possible during this entire process so all information is accurate moving forward.
Step 4: Take Pictures to Help Your Case
You want as much evidence as possible that can be used to your benefit when pursuing legal action against the negligent party. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this can be very true when proving negligence.
Be sure to take very clear pictures of the following:
- The scene of the accident: Take pictures of the area where the accident happened including missing or broken traffic signals, the conditions of the road, and tire marks on the ground. The tire marks can help tell the story of what exactly happened.
- The damage to the vehicles: While it may not seem like the most concrete evidence, there are some situations where the damage and position of the vehicles can help to tell the story of the accident.
- The visible injuries you have sustained: Some injuries may be internal and cannot be documented by photos. However, if you have any visible injuries, be sure to take pictures of them to show to your insurance company and your legal team.
Photos are very beneficial in proving that you did in fact get into a car accident and sustained injuries as a result. These are just part of the legal process that can occur due to a car crash caused by someone else’s reckless actions.
Step 5: Get Medical Attention Quickly
It’s unfortunate, but many people fail to seek medical attention immediately following an accident because they don’t feel the effects of the crash right away. This is one common mistake people make because injuries may not be immediately apparent.
Some injuries may take hours or even days to really show and by that time, the negligent party’s insurance company may claim that the injury was sustained in a separate incident. This makes seeking legal action quickly imperative.
Not only can you begin treatment for any ailments that you may have after the accident, but you can get medical records that can have statements by your doctor specifying the cause and severity of your injuries.
Step 6: Speak with a Lawyer
Legal matters are complex. People don’t know what rights or options they have after an accident and there are a number of potential ways in which they can damage their own claim for compensation. However, you can get help.
Hiring a lawyer after a car accident is one of the most effective ways to protect your rights and help you seek justice against the individual(s) who have wronged you. This is because a lawyer fully understands the law and ways to use evidence to show fault.
A lawyer can protect you from making statements that may be turned against you and guide you through the process. Insurance companies are looking to pay the least amount possible, but hiring a lawyer means seeking maximum compensation for the damages you’ve sustained.
Why Hire a Michigan Car Accident Attorney from Fieger Law
Since 1950, our team of Michigan car accident lawyers at Fieger Law has maintained a strong dedication to protecting the rights of the injured throughout the state. We understand how powerful representation can help someone move forward after an accident.
If you’ve been injured, you should know that you have rights and that the negligent party should be held fully accountable for their actions. You deserve to have the representation necessary to seek maximum compensation.
Our firm is recognized as a leader in the community, garnering more record-breaking settlements and verdicts than other firms in the entire nation. We have the resources and legal prowess necessary to handle any car accident case, no matter how simple or complex.
Call us today at (800) 294-6637 and discuss your rights and options with a skilled attorney who is ready to fight for you.