It is never too early to learn what to do after a car accident for safety’s sake, but do you know how to protect your interests legally?
When you receive an injury from a car accident, you need to know that your legal interests are as safe as your person is. The first things you ought to do after a crash are therefore to make yourself safe and to call in the emergency services. After this, your next call should be to seek out legal representation. Why? Without the protection of the law, you could find yourself accused of fault in the accident. If you were just a bystander, you could lose out on your chance to claim compensation for your medical bills.
Now that we have established the importance of taking legal action when you have suffered from a car accident, let us discuss what comes next. What legal actions should you take to protect yourself before the whole situation becomes unmanageable? Here are five legal actions that will protect you after a car accident – and why you should do them ASAP.
The 5 Legal Actions You Should Take After a Car Accident
There are ways to protect yourself from the force of the law if you are in an accident. Here are the five actions you can take to start that process.
1 – Make a Police Report
The first actions you take will determine your guilt in the eyes of the law. Every single car accident requires reporting in the USA. It is a criminal offense not to report your accident, even if it was a minor one. Go to the police station within 72 hours of the accident to report its occurrence or you could find yourself facing charges equivalent of hit and runs. The law requires that you report incidents as soon as is practical for you to do so. You mut report incidents which include a death within 24 hours of its occurrence or potentially face criminal charges. Ideally, you would call the police to the scene of the accident as soon as it happens. However, the court might grant you some leniency if you were in a place where reporting the accident was impossible.
The law states that you should not tow or move anything at the scene of the accident without the prior consent of the superintendent on the scene. So, if you do get into an accident and you cannot report it immediately, do not try to interfere with the evidence. You can read the letter of the law via Cornell.
2 – Hire a Lawyer
Not just any lawyer, either. You should not be hiring your family lawyer to protect you from an accident. Get a specialist on the case. A car accident lawyer is best, but one with experience in personal injury is better. You can file yourself and you can choose to forego representation, but it is a categorically terrible idea. You do not know the law or the loopholes that could help you like a lawyer does. You do not know what forms to fill in or when you need to file them. Representing yourself without legal knowledge is the quickest way to lose a case. If you don’t want to suffer further, spare yourself the trauma and contact a specialist car accident and injury firm like woclleydon.com.
3 – Talk to Witnesses
You can talk to the other driver if both of you are calm and safe. However, they might record anything you say to them to use against you later. Do not admit any fault or guilt at this point. Do not apologize. Ask if they are safe and exchange insurance details with them. You need their name and contact info, their insurance company’s name, their policy number, their license plate number, their license number, and the type, color, and plate of the vehicle. This is a lot of information, yes, so gather as much of it as you can.
Talk to the other witnesses and ask what they saw. Take their names and their contact details to give to your own insurer later. You can pass all this information to the police, too.
4 – Gather Evidence
If you want to give yourself the best chance at a successful claim for damages, you need to gather evidence about your accident. To do this, you should take pictures from multiple angles and of all the damage caused, not just your own vehicle. You should take pictures and videos of marks on the road and damage to street furniture. You should only do this once everyone is safe.
If your injuries incapacitate you at this time, a friend or relative could do this for you. Ideally, however, hiring a lawyer who knows what to look for is your best course of action. They can see to your interests even if you are unconscious or in hospital.
5 – Go to the ER
Legally speaking, you want to create as much of a paper trail regarding your accident as you can. Leaving a paper trail starts when you speak to the police, who will document the time of your accident and what they think happened. Next, you should go to the ER even if your wounds are minor. There are two reasons for this. The first, that shock can hit you after the accident and impact your health. The second, that you get an accurate record of the injuries you sustained from the accident. This begins a paper trail of its own wherein you can claim back compensation for attending appointments to resolve these health issues later down the line.
A Lawyer is Your Best Choice
Hiring a car accident lawyer is the best way to protect your interests from the outset of an accident. Make sure you are safe, call the emergency services, complete all the legal actions outlined above, and get a specialist lawyer. It is the best way to ensure a good settlement that is worthy of your pain and suffering.