What to Do If You Find Yourself in a Car Accident
One of the most challenging, and potentially devastating, events that can happen in your life is involvement in a car accident, caused by someone else’s negligence. You may very well face a myriad of medical problems following the accident, and some of them could be extremely serious.
Further aggravating an already serious situation is the fact that you will also likely face legal challenges. In addition to having the medical consequences of injuries caused by someone else, you must be proactive and take affirmative steps to protect your vital legal rights and interests following a car accident. So what do you do next?
The Immediate Aftermath
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, certain steps should be taken to protect your legal interests. Indeed, “immediate aftermath” means immediately after an automobile accident. Unfortunately, you may be in no position to undertake the necessary gathering of evidence following an accident on your own. Therefore, it may be necessary to seek out assistance from bystanders or others in your vehicle who are able and willing to help.
Following a car collision, it is vital to document the accident scene as fully as possible. You cannot rest upon the assumption that law enforcement will appropriately document the accident scene. The police may, in fact, not do a thorough job in this regard. Moreover, there is no guarantee that you will be able to later access the evidence that the police may collect at the accident scene.
Therefore, one key step to take after a car accident is getting photos or a video of the scene. This includes images of the accident scene from all possible angles, together with shots from a distance, as well as other shots closer up. In addition, if doing so will not interfere with the work of first responders, injuries should also be visually documented with photos or a video. If necessary, these injury photos should be taken as soon as possible after the first responders have completed their work.
Next, make sure the names and contact information of all witnesses is collected. If possible, a concise statement should be taken from all witnesses. This step can also be accomplished utilizing video.
Furthermore, do not admit fault or legal liability. Simply gather as much of the necessary facts and images as you can. Also, contact your insurance company and 911 if injuries warrant immediate medical attention.
A helpful tool to think about creating before you’re in an accident is a cheat sheet of information to obtain at the scene (i.e. driver’s name, license plate number, telephone number and insurance carrier) and keeping this list in your glove compartment.
Retain a Law Firm
Another step you should seriously consider taking in the aftermath of an automobile accident is retaining the services of a skilled, experienced personal injury lawyer. Malpractice and personal injury lawyers have the training, experience and background necessary to provide you with effective representation following a car accident. This includes aiding you in negotiating a fair and reasonable insurance claim settlement or, if necessary, representing you as a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit.
The first step in retaining the professional services of a law firm following a car accident is scheduling, what is known as, an initial consultation. An initial consultation with malpractice and personal injury lawyers provides you with an opportunity to obtain an overall evaluation of your case. This includes a discussion of what to expect during the claims settlement process and what happens if you reach the juncture at which you become a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit.
You will have the opportunity to raise any questions you might have about your case. As a general rule, no fee is charged for an initial consultation.
Marrone Law Firm, LLC is a leading personal injury law firm. Contact us today for a free consultation. We will gladly walk you through all the necessary steps, and provide you with effective counsel, so that you can successfully move forward with obtaining a fair amount to compensate you for all of the damages you have sustained.