If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’re likely to be facing a prolonged recovery period, forced time away from work, and high medical bills. Despite all these sudden pressures, If you wish to recover compensation for your losses from the driver who caused the crash, it’s important to act promptly. Follow the steps laid out below and consult with an experienced car accident injury lawyer in San Antonio, who can guide you through the entire legal process.
Ask a Lawyer: 7 Steps To Take After a Car Accident
Gather As Much Evidence As Possible
As you read this article, the day of your crash may already have passed. But if you’re still at the scene, perhaps checking on your phone what steps to take, then make sure you collect as much evidence as possible while you’re still there. Any evidence you gather may become extremely valuable in a subsequent insurance claim or lawsuit. A police report is often one vital piece of evidence, so always call the police to the scene.
Also, speak to eyewitnesses and request their contact details. Sometimes eyewitnesses can wander off before the police arrive, so it’s best to politely approach them yourself. And take pictures of everything: the positions of the cars, vehicle damage, road debris or skid marks, nearby signposts, injuries, and anything else of potential relevance. Take photos from various angles, both close-up and also from farther back.
Keep Calm and Control What You Say
In the moments, hours, and days following the accident, you may become upset or angry, especially if the other driver caused the crash. You might even feel guilty if you believe that you somehow contributed to the accident, which may or may not be the case. Whatever your emotional state, it’s essential to keep a cool head. Otherwise, you may say or do something rash that could scupper the value of your claim.
When communicating with the other driver, their insurance company, the police, or anyone else, never say “I’m sorry” or express any potential admission of fault. Also, avoid discussing the details of the crash with anyone except your attorney. Likewise, avoid discussing the details of your injuries with anyone except your physician and attorney.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
Directly following an accident, you may feel physically unharmed. Nevertheless, it’s important to seek immediate medical care.
Sometimes serious car accident injuries such as neck injuries from whiplash or traumatic brain injuries only begin to manifest symptoms days or even weeks later. But without a doctor’s report directly following the crash, your attorney may have a hard time connecting your injuries to the accident and proving the at-fault driver’s liability for your medical bills and other damages.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders Precisely
When filing an insurance claim or pursuing litigation, you’ll need to prove the full severity of your injuries. If you fail to follow your doctor’s instructions, the other party’s insurer or legal team may claim that your injuries weren’t as bad as you say. So rest as much as you’re instructed to, take all prescribed medicine, and attend all scheduled follow-up appointments.
Start Writing a Crash Journal
After a car crash, not all health-related damages are physical. You may experience depression, anxiety, or other emotional and psychological problems.
It’s a good idea to keep a journal in which you document everything you can remember about the car accident. Keep updating the journal daily with all the details of your physical injuries, changes in your mental state, and recovery process. This journal may later serve as a terrific source of evidence in court.
Decline Any Initial Settlement Offers
You may have already contacted the other driver’s insurance company, or the insurer may have gotten in touch with you. In situations where the fault of the other driver is readily apparent, the insurer is likely to offer you an immediate settlement offer.
When injured victims are facing mounting medical bills and lost wages, this initial settlement offer can seem tempting. However, it’s almost always wise to decline the initial offer. Insurers frequently low-ball injured victims, hoping they’ll accept before learning the full damages that they have a legal right to pursue. At the least, never accept a settlement offer before consulting with an experienced car accident attorney.
Hire a Car Accident Injury Lawyer in San Antonio
In most car accident cases, the sooner you speak to a lawyer, the better. An experienced attorney can help you get to grips with the situation, explain your legal options, and guide you from there. They can take over all communications with the other party’s insurance company and ensure that you don’t make any unwitting mistakes that ruin the value of your claim.
Your attorney can collect evidence, build a strong case, negotiate with the insurer, and even represent you in court if needed. Learn more here about how a seasoned local San Antonio car accident attorney can help you recover a full and fair settlement.
The aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful and bewildering experience, but if you follow the steps laid out in this article, you’ll be on a good track to recovering your finances and returning to life as it was before the crash.