Car accidents are difficult experiences to go through. They often damage your vehicle and may leave you with physical injuries. There may be financial concerns resulting from the accident, especially if you must undergo significant medical treatment that requires you to be out of work for a period of time.
If you're at fault for the accident, you may be wondering if you will be able to recover any damages at all. A lawyer will help you make sense of your situation and determine how to proceed. They will advise you of relevant laws, help you to file a claim with your insurance provider (or the other driver’s), and prepare a lawsuit if required.
Having a lawyer assist you through the process after a car wreck gives you an ally in your case. You’ll be able to lean on them for legal support and advice.
When should you contact a lawyer after a car accident? You should contact the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan for legal assistance immediately. Our services are available nationwide, and we’ll help you determine how to receive the compensation you may be entitled to. Simply fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.
What Should I Do After a Car Wreck?
If you’ve been in a car accident, there are several steps that you should follow immediately afterward to ensure that you and others are safe and that you have evidence of the collision should you decide to file a claim.
Call 911 for the Police and Emergency Services
Immediately after a wreck, call 911 for police assistance. The operator will likely ask you whether an ambulance is needed. If you or any passengers have sustained injuries that are immediately apparent, ask for the emergency medical team.
Check with the other driver and their passengers to see if they are injured (if you are able to), and let them know that you have asked for police and medical assistance.
Once the police arrive, they will document the accident scene and collect all relevant information, such as contact details of the drivers and evidence of insurance. They will likely organize the scene of the wreck and help you move your vehicle from any areas where other drivers may need to pass.
The police will prepare a report of the accident. The report will contain information about the cause of the accident and the details of everyone involved. You will need to keep a copy of this for evidence. It will be required when you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Prepare Your Own Documentation of the Accident
If you can safely move around the scene of the accident, take pictures of the cars involved and the damage sustained. Write down the license plate numbers and make and model of the vehicles.
If there were any witnesses or bystanders to the accident, ask for their contact information. They may be able to give an eyewitness account of how the wreck occurred.
Visit a Doctor as Soon as Possible
Even if you don’t feel that you’ve been injured after an accident, it’s a smart idea to see a doctor. Injuries such as whiplash, concussions, or internal bleeding may not be as apparent immediately after an accident, and symptoms may begin to appear several hours or the next day afterward.
A doctor can examine you for injuries that you may not be aware of. You’ll need a copy of their treatment report for any insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit that you decide to follow.
Contact a Lawyer for Assistance
When should you contact a lawyer after a car accident? Even if you don’t intend to file a lawsuit, it’s wise to reach out to an attorney. Most offer free consultations and will advise you if you need to take any additional steps after the accident. They will also assist you with filing an insurance claim should you need compensation for damages.
When Should You Contact a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
There are a few situations in which you should always contact a lawyer after a motor vehicle accident. These include:
You Have Been Injured
If you’ve been injured due to a car wreck, you should always seek the assistance of an attorney. Even in cases where the injuries don’t appear to be serious or catastrophic, it’s important to have the advice of a lawyer.
In some cases, injuries that initially appear to be mild may get worse over time. This is especially true for back injuries and whiplash. Initial symptoms for back conditions such as a herniated disc may seem inconsequential, but they can result in serious repercussions if not treated properly.
You’ll want the advice of a lawyer to determine whether you may need to seek future medical costs as part of your claim.
There Was a Fatality
When should you contact a lawyer after a car accident? If someone was killed as a result of the accident, always seek the advice of an attorney.
The deceased individual's family may seek some sort of legal repercussion, especially if the accident was your fault. You’ll want to have the advice of a skilled lawyer before answering any questions or making any statements.
If a loved one passes away due to an accident, a lawyer will help ensure that all evidence is properly assembled and kept safe. You will likely need to file a claim to recover damages from the insurance company or the at-fault driver.
The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Contacts You
If you have filed a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, they will likely contact you to get more information about your claim. It’s important not to admit fault, talk about your medical treatment, or provide any other details related to the crash.
Instead, allow a lawyer to talk to the insurance representative on your behalf. They will protect you from insurance companies who try to downplay your injuries or get you to accept smaller settlements than you deserve.
Your Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
If your own insurance provider denies your claim or fails to pay it within a timely manner, you should seek the advice of an attorney. They can defend your rights and work with the insurance company to come to a fair settlement.
If the insurance company refuses to play ball, your lawyer can file a lawsuit to collect the compensation that you are entitled to.
How Long Do I Have to Contact an Attorney After a Car Accident?
When should you contact a lawyer after a car accident? It’s in your best interests to contact an attorney after a car accident as soon as possible for a number of reasons. A few of these include:
Statute of Limitations
All states have a statute of limitations law that limits the time that you have to file a personal injury claim directly after an accident. In some cases, you may only have a year after the collision to file a claim.
It takes time to gather the documentation and file the appropriate paperwork. You’ll want to make sure your evidence is clear before filing. It’s also common to forget aspects of the accident as months go by, so contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
You’ll likely begin to receive phone calls from insurance providers as soon as you file a claim. Moreover, any other drivers involved in the accident are likely to file their own claims. You may hear from your insurance provider as well as theirs.
The providers might attempt to settle your case for less than you may be otherwise entitled to. They may also try to make you admit fault for the accident or indicate that injuries you suffered aren’t that bad.
An attorney will work with insurance agencies on your behalf to ensure that you are properly represented. They are aware of common tactics used by insurance companies to downplay injuries or try to establish that you partly caused the accident. You’ll want a lawyer’s help to make sure that you don’t fall prey to their strategies.
Obtain Medical Treatment
While seeing a doctor by way of a lawyer may sound odd, in many cases, an attorney can assist you with obtaining the medical care that you need.
It’s common for insurance providers to attempt to settle the costs of your injuries before you realize how much medical treatment you truly need. You may be more willing to accept the settlement early but later realize the true extent of the injuries that you’ve sustained.
Even if you are having trouble paying your current medical bills and an early settlement would be a relief, an attorney will help you continue seeking treatment while you wait for a reasonable settlement. It is possible to see the doctor with few upfront costs, and a lawyer will advise you how.