About six million car crashes occur in the United States each year. These crashes cause about three million people to sustain injuries.
Another two million people are permanently injured, which often leads to disability.
Are you struggling to pay off your medical bills alone? Are you missing work as a result of your injuries? The cost of your medications and treatment could start piling up.
By filing a claim for a personal injury case, you can receive the compensation you deserve! The actions you take immediately after the crash can impact how much you receive, though.
Keep reading to discover the steps you need to take to win a car accident case and maximize your settlement. With these tips, you can react promptly after an accident. Gathering the proper evidence and working with a qualified attorney can make all the difference.
Read on to learn more!
After the Crash
Remember, the actions you take immediately after your car crash can make or break a personal injury case. Understanding what steps to take before a crash can help you respond with your best interests in mind.
Here are the most important steps to take for personal injury cases involving car crashes.
1. Get to Safety
First, get to safety. If you can move your vehicle, turn your hazard lights on. Move to a safe, nearby location that’s out of the way of traffic.
Make sure it’s safe to move your vehicle. If you’re unsure, wait until the police arrive. They can assess the situation and provide instructions.
While you wait for the police, do not leave the crash site. Leaving could lead to more legal issues, especially if someone was injured or killed.
2. Call for Medical Assistance
Between 20 and 50 million people are either injured or disabled after an accident worldwide. About 4.4 million people in America are injured seriously enough to need medical attention.
While at the scene of the accident, take the time to assess your injuries. If someone was seriously injured, call for medical attention right away.
You might not start feeling pain from the crash until weeks afterward. For example, whiplash can cause neck, shoulder, and back pain.
It’s essential to visit a medical professional for personal injury cases. Only they can assess your injuries and determine the course of treatment. Your lawyer will use this information to build your case.
When you visit any physician, make sure to keep track of:
- Chiropractors and physical therapists
- Emergency room visits
Your personal injury lawyer will use this information to calculate a total for your claim.
3. File a Police Report
Remember to call the police right away. In some states, you’re legally obligated to file a police report after a crash. Your lawyer will use their report for your personal injury case as well.
The police will note any property damages. They’ll also report any injuries or deaths that occurred as a result of the crash.
Make sure to take down the officer’s name and their badge number. Request a copy of the police report before they leave.
4. Gather Evidence
While you wait for the police to arrive, take the time to gather evidence. This step is crucial for building all types of personal injury cases.
Write down the other driver’s information, including:
- Phone number
- Insurance number
- License plate number
- License number
- Car make model, and year
Record the day, time, and location of the crash. Then, start taking photos. Photo evidence will strengthen your case.
How were the cars positioned? Are there signs of crossroads nearby? Photograph all damage to your car and body, too.
Did anyone witness the crash? Get their information as well.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
While at the scene of the accident, make sure to call your insurance company. They might have you use an app to start your claim while at the scene.
Ask them any questions about filing your claim before hanging up.
6. Consult an Attorney
There are over 135,221 personal injury lawyers and attorneys in the US. Don’t rush to choose the first lawyer you find, though. After all, they might not have the experience and expertise you need.
Personal injury cases cover a lot of different incidents, including medical malpractice or slip-and-fall incidents. Some lawyers work car crashes but prefer to help motorcyclists.
Hiring the wrong lawyer could impact the outcome of your case. Instead of rushing to hire someone, use these tips to find the best attorney for your car crash lawsuit:
- Hire someone who is licensed to practice law in your area
- Check the local bar association website to verify they’re licensed to practice
- Make sure they specialize in car accident personal injury cases
- Determine how long they’ve practiced and how long they’ve specialized
- Ask friends and family for referrals or check online using the Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms list
- Read online reviews about each attorney
- Determine how many personal injury cases like yours they’ve won recently
- Determine their overall track record
Many lawyers offer a free consultation to review the specifics of your case. If you meet them in person, ask any questions you have left. Make sure they’re a strong communicator, too.
Do they seem confident in taking your case? Don’t believe anyone who makes guarantees.
Ask about their fee structure, too. Look for a lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis.
Make sure to get an attorney right away. You don’t want the statute of limitations to lapse. Otherwise, you could miss your chance to file a lawsuit and receive compensation.
Building Your Case
Once you find your lawyer, you can start building your personal injury case. These steps will help you prove the other driver was negligent. For example, did the other driver:
- Violate a traffic law
- Drive using a defective vehicle
- Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Maybe a pothole or hazard on the road caused the accident. A malfunctioning traffic signal could cause the accident, too.
Your lawyer will build your lawsuit by completing the following personal injury case checklist.
1. The Investigation
Your lawyer’s liability and medical investigation will help strengthen your lawsuit. They’ll conduct a thorough investigation into the accident. Meanwhile, you’ll get time to heal from your injuries.
As you heal, your lawyer will gather information regarding your treatments to submit to the insurance company. If you require long-term treatment, your doctor can file a report.
This step sometimes takes time. Your lawyer might wait until you receive a future prognosis to determine the extent of your injuries. Filing the report too soon could reduce your claim.
2. Settlement Demands
Once your condition has plateaued, your lawyer will submit a demand for settlement on your behalf. Insurance companies usually make the first offer.
Then, the negotiations will start. These negotiations can go on for some time until your lawyer feels confident the insurance company won’t offer more.
3. Settle or File
Once you receive the final offer, you’ll need to make a decision. Do you want to settle the personal injury case or file a lawsuit?
Some people rush to settle because they don’t feel comfortable filing a lawsuit. Unfortunately, insurance companies know this. They often offer low amounts in their initial offer as a result.
Make sure to consult your personal injury lawyer regarding your case. Have they pursued types of personal injury cases like yours? What was the outcome of those cases?
Your lawyer can help you determine whether the offer is fair or if you should continue with a lawsuit.
4. The Discovery Period
If you decide to file a lawsuit, you’ll enter the discovery period. This gives your lawyers time to learn more information and further build your case. Discover includes:
- Requests for documents
Depositions allow your lawyers to ask questions to anyone involved in the crash, including:
- Police offers
- The doctors that treated you
Interrogatories allow them to send written questions to opposing counsel.
They can also request our medical records and photos at this time.
5. Mediation or Trial
A mediator could help resolve the situation to reach a settlement that’s ideal for both parties. The mediator has no power about the outcome. Instead, they try to help by getting both sides to agree on a number.
If meditation doesn’t work, you’ll go to trial. This might not occur until a year after you file your lawsuit. The trial gives your lawyer a chance to prove the other driver was negligent.
In order to prove negligence, your lawyer will need to show the driver failed to use care that would have otherwise prevented your injuries.
To support your case, your lawyer will use the evidence they gathered during discovery.
Then, the duty will determine who was negligent for the crash. Only 10 out of 12 jurors have to agree to reach a verdict for your case.
Receive Compensation After a Crash: How to Win a Personal Injury Case
Don’t try to pay off your medical bills after a car crash alone. Instead, consult a lawyer and build your personal injury case. By working with an attorney, you can receive compensation.
Then, you can pay off your medical bills and losses without worry!
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