Your First (And Hopefully Last) Car Accident: 10 Things You Must Know Before Proceeding With Your Case
Car accidents happen in the blink of an eye, but their effects can linger indefinitely, leaving people unable to function or perhaps suffering from nightmares for years to come. When you've been in an accident, everything seems a blur and you're usually left wondering what to do and who to turn to, particularly if this is the first wreck you've experienced. Don't let the shock of what has happened cloud your judgement. You need to think fast, understand your options, and get help from all the right sources.
1. You Really Do Need An Auto Accident Attorney
Most especially if you sustained an injury, even a minor injury, it's essential that you seek advice from a qualified accident attorney from a place like the Labine Law Firm. The police can't advise you, other parties may misadvise you, and insurance adjusters are usually out for their own interests. An accident can alter the course of your life, including career and family goals; thus, taking measures to protect your own interest immediately should be your top priority.
2. A Delay Could Mean Denial
You might feel inclined to put the accident behind you as quickly as possible, without fully investigating whether or not you've sustained any lasting injuries. While that's understandable, it could be costly. There are time limits on filing a claim, following an accident, but there's no time limit on painful complications or psychological harm, which could develop at any point in the future. Protect yourself fully, by avoiding delays and discovering all your options as quickly as you can. You can always decide later to cancel your legal claim; however, you can't decide to initiate one, once the allotted time has passed.
3. You Shouldn't Talk About Your Case In Detail
Be careful about revealing sensitive information to others, especially if you like to post selfies on social media. For example, an innocent photo of you sitting in a boat could look like you're out gallivanting on the water, even though your injury claim indicates you can't walk well. No details or images should be freely distributed without approval from your legal team.
4. You Shouldn't Settle Without Legal Advice
You're likely to be approached by an insurance adjuster, particularly if the other driver or parties in the accident were grossly negligent or otherwise face serious repercussions for their actions. An adjuster, looking to shut you down quickly and quietly, may look to settle, whereas your attorney will know the amount is considerably less than what you can and should receive.
5. You Should Keep Up With Medical Appointments
No matter how tedious or repetitive your treatments may seem at times, it's vital that you follow all medical advice and keep every appointment. These engagements help to build your case, by documenting injury-to-recovery periods and procedures, along with aiding doctors in predicting exactly how you'll be capable (or incapable) of participating in life and work in the future.
6. Your Accident Should Be Well-Documented
Whatever the circumstances of the crash, it's crucial that all evidence regarding it be collected and given to your auto accident attorney. Beyond police reports, any witness statements, photographs or surveillance footage, auto repair records, and small details you may remember later are all important to building a solid case.
7. All Medical Treatment And Missed Work Must Be Recorded
Your accident attorney needs to know if there are any changes to your medical treatment, like being referred for physical therapy, having a cast removed or pain medication increased. Everything about your injuries can impact your life in one way or another and that, in turn, could change the details of your case. For example, if you're going to miss more work than originally thought or won't be able to return to your trade at all, your lawyer will likely seek more compensation on your behalf.
8. It's Important To Talk To Your Auto Insurer
Most auto insurance companies won't raise your rates for a first time accident that wasn't your fault; however, there are too many variables with accidents and policies to know for sure. That's why it's important for you to make actual contact with your insurer, such as over the phone or in person, and discuss the impact of the ordeal on your rates. If you find out they're going to charge you more for insurance, even though the accident wasn't your fault, it may be a good idea to shop around when your policy is up for renewal.
9. When In Doubt, Call Your Lawyer
Car accident lawyers understand the complexity of cases, but they're also aware of what you're going through personally. If you have questions about getting a new job or about someone contacting you (regarding the accident), call your lawyer right away. Even if something seems trivial, it's better to know for sure what to do and to hear reassurances from the person who will represent you in your case.
Hopefully, your medical and legal cases proceed with few complications, allowing you to get back to your usual life relatively quickly. Whatever the outcome of an accident, though, you need the sharp and knowledgeable guidance of a good lawyer. When you have that, everything else should fall into place.