Not every car accident ends in a personal injury claim; often, your insurance companies will be able to work out the settlement between themselves, based on both parties' policy coverage. But even during the initial adrenaline rush after impact, you should be planning ahead in case you need to dispute your claim in court. Taking these five steps can strengthen your personal injury attorney's argument later and help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Document the Accident Scene
After the accident, first determine that you, your passengers and the the other party are not seriously injured and call 911 to report the incident. Once the authorities are on the way, start taking pictures of the scene, including any contributing factors, such as road conditions or other vehicles. Record any injuries or statements made by witnesses and the other party, as well.
Avoid Blame and Anger
When you have just been involved in an accident, it's easy to become overwhelmed by your emotions and not think logically. If you are angry, confused or frightened, avoid making any statements that could implicate you later on. Never admit fault, and treat the other driver with respect. Not only will this keep the situation as civil as possible, but it will save you from having your own words used against you in court.
Identify Potential Negligence Factors
When courts consider a personal injury case, they often factor in comparative negligence, which distributes blame among both parties on a percentage scale. If, for example, you were on your phone at the time of the crash, a jury might decide that the other party was only 60 percent responsible for the accident and adjust your compensation accordingly. Identifying any negligence on the part of you or the other driver can prepare you to make a strong case without any surprises.
Seek Medical Treatment Quickly
If you were seriously injured in the accident, you likely will not have a choice in the matter and will be taken to the hospital immediately. Minor injuries, however, may leave you hesitating over whether or not to seek medical care. Take pictures of your injuries, even the bruises, and also compile a list. The sooner you see a doctor, the better, as it demonstrates urgency and real medical need to a court.
Record Lost Work Time and Wages
Finally, the extent of your losses in a personal injury claim may not be limited to property and medical damage. Emotional distress; pain and suffering; and loss of wages are all viable considerations to bring before a court. While the others can be harder to prove, loss of wages can easily be demonstrated through a log of missed work and any potential consequences to your career. With the right personal injury attorney and carefully presented evidence, you can fight for your rights and receive what you are owed.
For more information, contact Hagelgans and Veronis or a similar firm.Share