Any time someone is involved in a car accident, it’s easy to see how they would be overwhelmed with shock and confusion. This makes it difficult for many individuals to understand what comes next in the process and how they should proceed after the crash.
However, it’s important to note that the steps you take following a car accident can be crucial in how the situation plays out. If the proper steps are not followed and you’re not looking for the correct and most important details, you run the risk of sabotaging your own rights.
Because you want to give yourself the most favorable chance at taking legal action when the other party’s negligence resulted in the accident, be sure to follow these steps closely and know what to look for to help build your car accident claim.
Looking at the Right Information to Help Your Claim
The items you need after a car accident can be difficult to obtain if the responsible party is not willing to work with you in an amiable manner. However, you should start with the license plate, make, and model of the vehicle the other party was driving. This can help your insurance identify the potential driver.
If the responsible driver is willing to exchange information, you want to be sure that you get their driver’s license, contact information, and insurance coverage. These all have the information that you want to report back to your insurance company—or legal team—to help facilitate the discussions regarding the claim.
In some situations, the other driver may perform a hit and run, or they’re unwilling to provide you with their information, or they simply don’t have insurance coverage. In these matters, having as much information as possible can be helpful should you need to file an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance provider.
Looking at the Proper Authorities to Whom to Report the Accident
You’ll be reporting the accident to your insurance company and letting them know about the entire situation, but you also want to report the accident to the local authorities. This is especially true if the accident resulted in serious injuries and damage to the vehicles.
The proper authorities can help with removing the vehicles from the road and getting the necessary medical treatment on scene should it be needed. However, having the authorities at the scene of the accident helps documents their findings, statements from both parties and witnesses, and more.
These accident reports can help you should you need to file the claim with your insurance company—or even further, a lawsuit against the negligent party. These reports may be the first accounts of what was said or experienced, and they prove as important pieces of evidence.
Looking at the Damage Sustained—Both Vehicles and Passengers
Make certain that you take photos of important items to help you build your case. If you’re physically unable to do so, you can ask for help in getting this accomplished. You want to make sure you’re getting photos of:
- The scene of the accident and any evidence of negligence
- The damage done to your vehicle
- The damage done to the other vehicle
- The visible injuries you and / or your passengers sustained
These photos can be a helpful addition to your evidence. Accident reconstructionists and claims adjusters can use these to help determine who was at fault and potential value of the damages stemming from the crash.
Looking at the Need for Medical Attention
One big part of a car accident is the potential for injury. Far too often, those involved in car accidents suffer severe and catastrophic injuries. Because of this, it’s extremely important for anyone who has been in the crash to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t feel any pain immediately, you should still see someone to get checked out as the adrenaline and shock of the accident could be masking the pain. It’s common for many individuals to experience the pain only days after the accident occurred. By then, the other party may try and claim that you were injured in a separate incident.
Getting medical attention also means medical records which can be used to help navigate the claims-filing process. These medical records can go a long way in proving you sustained harm as a result of the accident.
Looking at the Legal Matters Involved
While you may not initially think that the crash can be a big deal, imagine filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company only to have it denied and refused the compensation you deserve?
This is something that happens often after a car accident, but it’s not something that is right. Auto insurance companies are large, profit-based corporations who may often try to devalue the claim of the injured in order to protect their own bottom line.
As such, you should have a lawyer who can recognize the tactics these companies use and combat them in a way that favorably positions your claim.
Our St. Louis car accident attorneys work hard because we know this can be a frightening time for all individuals involved. You should have to suffer the aftermath of a car accident caused by negligence and our team stands at the ready to help you protect your rights.
Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth is a father-son team with a staunch dedication to our clients and their rights. You can count on us to fight for your best interests and guide you in your pursuit of the compensation and justice you need and deserve.
Call our firm today at (800) 391-4318 to speak with a legal advocate about your potential rights following a car accident.