We prepare for sudden and unpleasant incidents every day. This is why we check our smoke alarms, update our insurance, and pay attention to the safety brief when boarding a flight.
However, one thing that very few of us actively prepare for is getting into a car accident.
Studies tell us that we should be preparing. The number of car accidents in the US has risen dramatically in recent years across every state, with a number of car wreck causes being to blame.
If and when you get into a car accident, you may need to call a car wreck attorney. An attorney can ensure that you get any damages that you be entitled to, especially to cover medical bills, lost work, or emotional damages.
However, your success is never guaranteed. Make sure to read this essential guide on how to ensure the best chances of success when filing a claim.
What To Do At the Scene
No matter which way you slice it, a car wreck is a dangerous, traumatic event. If you find yourself in an accident, the first thing you should do is get to safety.
If you are able, you should exit the vehicle and get enough distance from the car in case of fire or explosion. The next step is to call 911. Even if you feel fine, you should also call both the police and medical services.
You do not know if you, your passengers, or those in the other vehicle have serious internal injuries or trauma, so seek medical attention immediately.
You will also need to speak to the police, as your police report is the most important piece of car wreck information when it comes to filing you claim.
If you can, grab your emergency car kit. Make sure to take out the flares and banners to clearly mark the scene of the accident so that other drivers will see it. This is essential for safety and due diligence.
Finally, you will need to exchange information with the owner of the other vehicle involved in the accident. You should get their full name, contact information, insurance number, license plate, and the make and model of their car.
One thing you should never do is arrange a deal with the other driver at the scene. Such “handshake deals” have no legal basis and will destroy your chances of a successful claim with your car wreck insurance further down the line.
Collecting Evidence for Your Claim
When you file a claim with a car wreck lawyer, you need to report car wreck details to them. The best way to boost your chances of a successful case is to gather as much evidence as possible.
The more information you have, the more your lawyer can fight your case on your behalf. Here’s what you need to do to gather information to support your case.
Take Photos From All Angles
The more photos you take of the accident, the more evidence you might find. Take a photo of the car wreck from every possible angle. Make sure to look for any signs of fuel leakage, and take plenty of photos of the other driver’s car.
Take a To-Scale Photo
Scale is the easiest way for a lawyer or judge to get a sense of the damage. Taking a photo of scrapes and damages next to, say, a coin, will show how large that damage is and will play a very important role when your case is being decided.
Take Pictures of the Surrounding Location
Your environment plays a crucial role in your car wreck lawsuit.
Did the accident take place at an intersection? In the countryside? At a pedestrian crossing? Are their skid marks on the road, indicating high speed and sudden braking?
These are crucial questions that can be answered by taking lots of photos of the environment around the crash,
Take Pictures of Interior Auto Damage
It is easy to focus on damage to the exterior of your car, but this only tells you half of the story. Interior damage can say a lot about injuries or the potential for injuries, as well as any reckless behaviour on behalf of the other driver. Make sure to snap photos of the airbags and shattered glass.
No matter why you are filing a claim, you need to carefully document your injuries. Your injuries will have the greatest influence on the damages you could be awarded. Even if you think your injuries are minor, document them extensively. Take photos of injuries, write down any pain you feel, and keep any medical documentation from the hospital.
Document All Interactions With Authorities
Make sure to request a copy of the police report at the scene of the accident, if possible. Document your interactions with paramedics and any other authorities that might be present at the scene. What they say will have an impact on the success of your case, so don’t miss a thing.
License Plate Information
This might seem obvious, but it bears repeating. Get the license plate of the other car involved in the accident. But that’s not all.
Make sure to photograph license plates of any witnesses at the scene, as some witnesses might have left the scene early before you can get their contact information.
Finally, let’s not forget about insurance. The most important things to capture are the other driver’s insurance number and the name of their insurance provider. This will prove essential further down the line.
Call Your Insurance Company
before you call a lawyer, call your insurance. Car wreck insurance is designed to cover the costs of an accident in terms of damage and medical expenses. For a smooth claim, provide all of the information and evidence mentioned earlier in this article. The more information the insurer has, the quicker they can process the claim.
Why Call a Car Wreck Attorney?
You might be wondering “if I have insurance, why do I need an attorney?”. Unfortunately, insurers do not always deliver in the best interests of their customers. This is why your best approach might be the legal one.
Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friend
It might hurt to hear, but it’s the truth. Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses. They are not charities and will always prioritize their bottom line over individuals. This is just business.
As such, insurers will do what they can to avoid paying claims. If your insurer does not respond or rejects a claim, do not hesitate. Call a lawyer and file a suit immediately.
It’s a fact that many of us do not have valid auto insurance. In fact, 28 million American drivers are uninsured, which equates to one in eight people on the road.
Insurance is not a legal requirement in many states, and all of us experience lapses in coverage from time to time. If you don’t have insurance, only a lawyer can help you recover costs from a car wreck.
The Immense Costs of a Car Wreck
Put simply, there are costs from a car wreck that an insurance company will not even consider. They might agree to cover repair costs and medical bills (if you’re lucky), but that’s it.
What about emotional damage? What about months of lost work as a result of injuries? What about reputational damage (for example, if you’re driving as part of your job).
These costs can easily reach six or seven figures, and a lawyer will help you to recoup these.
In the aftermath of an accident, you need a partner. You need someone who can support you and make you feel listened to. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not very good at this.
A lawyer will be your partner, your advocate, and the support that you need during an incredibly challenging time.
Choosing a Car Wreck Attorney
Simply Googling “car wreck attorney” will throw up millions of results. So, how do you find the right one for your specific case? Here’s what to look for when selecting an attorney.
Are They Local?
This might be the most important factor. Make sure that your attorney is from your area. A local attorney knows the traffic laws, knows the cops, and knows the judges. They will know how to file your claim quickly and get the results you deserve.
Every state is different, and only local lawyers know how things work. You can find out more about the benefits of hiring a Texas attorney for accidents that happen in Texas, for example.
What Is Their Experience?
A lawyer might be the best medical malpractice lawyer in America, but that doesn’t do you any good if that lawyer has never won a car wreck case.
Always make sure your lawyer has a successful track record of filing and winning claims like yours. This will give you a much higher chance of success.
Get a Reference
Don’t take their word for it. Always request that your lawyer sends you detailed references from previous happy claimants. The more the better. Remember, if your lawyer is half as good as they say they are, they will have no problem with suppling you with a thorough list of references.
Do Your Research
Of course, you shouldn’t just get all of your information from the attorney. Make sure to put on your detective hat and do some research around any lawyer that you are considering. Read any and all reviews that you might find online.
Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile and reach out to an online reviewer to find out more about their experience. This is also an opportunity to shop around and see what the local attorney market looks like.
Understanding Their Fees
Let’s not forget about those fees. Some accident attorneys will charge you upfront for their time. However, most attorneys these days will operate on a “no win, no fee” basis. With this, you do not pay anything upfront for your lawyer.
In addition, you do not pay anything if your case is unsuccessful. You only pay if the lawyer wins your case, and that fee will usually be a percentage of your winnings. This means that you are never out of pocket when seeking the legal representation you deserve.
Will They Have Time for You?
This might seem like a given, but you should never assume that an attorney will be able to devote sufficient resources to your case. They might be overstretched.
They might not think that your case offers a big enough payday for them to prioritize. That’s why you should speak to your attorney before you take them on. Ask them how well-staffed their practice is.
Urge for an honest answer about how much time they will be able to devote to your case. Will they pick up the phone in the middle of the night? If they cannot say “yes” to this question, consider finding someone else.
Will I Go to Court?
You will most likely not have to go to court if you file a car wreck suit. Less than 5% of cases ever go to court, and nearly all of them will be settled outside of court.
Of course, some people might want their day in court, but most prefer to know that their attorney will take care of things, allowing the individual to recover and get back to their lives.
Be Prepared for All of Life’s Surprises
Accidents happen. While this cannot be avoided sometimes, preparing is always an option. By understanding how a car wreck attorney can help you, you can be prepared for the possibility of a car accident.
By taking the right steps and finding the right lawyer, you can ensure a successful case and get the compensation that you deserve. For more tips on how to stay prepared for life’s surprises, we have got you covered.
Make sure to consult our daily guides and hacks for Money, Business, and Lifestyle to find out how you can always be one step ahead, no matter what life throws at you.