ccidents happen. According to the National Safety Council, there are about 10 million car crashes each year in America. From minor scrapes and bruises to more serious injuries, around one-quarter of all crashes result in a trip to the emergency room. If the accident was not your fault, it is important to explore you legal options as soon as possible. Here are ten tips from auto accident attorneys to help you get the money you need to pay your injuries.
1. Go to the hospital. If you have been hurt in an auto collision, it is imperative to seek out medical attention ASAP. Don’t worry about your vehicle or about filing a police report until you have seen a doctor. The medical report you will receive at the hospital will also be an invaluable piece of evidence in a future legal claim or lawsuit.
2. File a police report. If you don’t have a police report, your chances of successfully pursuing a legal claim are poor. Why? Because the information that’s included in the report can be used to establish the other driver’s negligence. Without these facts, it’s basically a case of he said, she said.
3. Keep all medical records. Since most car crash claims seek restitution for medical expenses, it’s important to keep all hospital and doctor bills as evidence of what you owe as a result of the accident.
4. Get repair estimates. If you have been hurt in a crash, odds are your vehicle is also in pretty bad shape. To determine the actual amount of property damage you sustained, it is important to obtain a couple of repair estimates.
5. Don’t deal with insurance companies alone. It is not at all uncommon for the injured party to be contacted by the insurance provider of the at-fault driver. They may even make you an initial offer to try to settle the matter before it becomes a legal claim or lawsuit. Although negotiating with insurers is part of the process, you should have auto accident attorneys do the haggling for you.
6. Don’t sign anything without legal advice. In order to receive what you are owed, lawyers for the at-fault driver may ask you sign documents or contracts that release their client from liability. You should NEVER sign such a form without speaking to a lawyer about its legal ramifications.
7. Don’t delay. Depending on the laws of your state, you might not have much time to file a legal claim or lawsuit. That is why auto accident attorneys strongly suggest that you get organized before the statute of limitations has expired.
8. Don’t settle on your own. While it may be tempting to save some coin by negotiating your own settlement, odds are it won’t work out in your favor. Experienced attorneys have the knowledge and skill to get you a significantly higher settlement.
9. Find the right lawyer. There are many types of personal injury lawyers who specialize in different kinds of cases. Some might focus on slip and fall cases, while others concentrate on medical malpractice. If you were hurt in a car crash, you want an attorney who knows how to investigate and pursue these kinds of cases.
10. Discuss all fees and costs with your lawyer. While it is true that almost all auto accident attorneys work on a contingency basis, their fees may vary based on what they are asked to do. For example, they may receive a much higher percentage of the final settlement should the case go to trial. As such, it is important to discuss all fees in your initial consultation with prospective attorneys.