When you’re injured in a motor vehicle collision, you may feel shocked, dazed, and unsure what to do next. However, it’s important to take certain steps in the minutes, hours, and days following the accident to protect yourself and your ability to seek compensation if your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. Below are five simple but crucial steps you can take to protect your rights after a car accident.
What to Do After a Crash
After a car crash, taking these steps could help put you in a better position to pursue compensation for your injuries, repairs to your vehicle, lost wages, and more:
Contact the Police
In most accidents, you should notify local law enforcement or state police, even if the other driver tries to talk you into simply exchanging information. When police respond to the scene of a motor vehicle accident, they will usually fill out a police accident report that includes details from the accident scene, summaries of witness statements, and, in some cases, the officer’s opinion about which driver caused the crash.
Although a police accident report’s findings are not binding on a later civil claim for compensation, it often serves as highly persuasive evidence for insurance companies and juries.
Seek Medical Attention
You should either get checked out by paramedics who respond to the accident scene or see your primary physician or another doctor as soon as possible after the crash. Getting examined after an accident will allow you to document the injuries you suffered in the crash.
This can prove helpful if the at-fault driver or the insurance company tries to argue that the injuries you sustained in the accident existed before the accident or were caused by something other than the crash.
Make sure to follow all treatment instructions you receive. Otherwise, you may give the other side a basis to argue that you were not as seriously injured as you claimed.
Get Information from the Other Parties Involved
If possible, try to speak with any bystanders or witnesses to the collision. Record their contact information if they are willing to provide a statement about the collision. A neutral third party’s testimony can prove critical if your situation later becomes a “you said, they said” affair.
Do Not Speak with Insurance Company Representatives Without a Lawyer
You may be contacted by representatives from the other driver’s insurance company or from your insurance company soon after the accident. Although insurance company representatives may seem like they are trying to help you, you should remember that they are foremost interested in maximizing the insurance company’s profits, which means paying you as little money as possible for your claim.
Insurance adjusters have many tactics they use to get accident victims who aren’t represented by legal counsel to accept less than the fair value of their claim. You should refrain from talking to or providing a statement about the accident to insurance company representatives until you’ve had a chance to consult with an attorney.
Hire a Lawyer to Represent You
Although you might consider handling your car accident claim on your own, people who are represented by a lawyer often recover more compensation than those claimants who are unrepresented. An experienced car accident lawyer will provide straightforward advice about the value of your claim and your legal rights. A lawyer can also handle the entire legal process for you, aggressively pursuing maximum value for your collision claim.
How Banks Law Could Help
Following an accident, let a skilled Seattle car accident attorney from Banks Law help you get the fair compensation you deserve. Our team will assist you by:
- Collecting evidence from the accident, including accident scene photos, police accident reports, and eyewitness statements
- Taking the time to listen to your story and understand your needs and goals
- Collaborating with accident reconstruction experts to help build a persuasive case to show who was responsible for causing the crash
- Filing claims for compensation on your behalf with the insurance companies
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers to pursue fair and full compensation in your claim
- Not backing down until you receive accountability and justice for your injuries
After you’ve been injured in a car crash, contact the Seattle car accident lawyers at Banks Law for a free, no-obligation consultation to speak to a knowledgeable member of our team about your rights and legal options. You could be owed significant compensation, and we will be ready to stand up and fight for you. Call us at 206-497-HELP or reach out to us online for a free consultation