Car Accidents: 10 Steps to Take to Protect Your Rights
Car accident cases are some of the most prominent in the civil justice system because crashes involving negligence happen frequently. As such, many people go through the process in hopes of recovering compensation and moving forward after they sustain an injury and property damage.
In any legal matter, the steps you take can be crucial in protecting your rights. From the moment the crash occurs, the things you do will play a role in how successful you can be filing a lawsuit. To protect your rights, you want to ensure you’re doing all the right things and avoiding some common pitfalls that damage claims after a crash.
We want individuals who suffer injuries in car crashes to know the most effective ways to safeguard their best interests. Here are 10 steps that you can take after a crash to protect your right to legal action against the negligent party.
- Move Your Vehicle to the Side of the Road
- Ensure Your Passengers are Okay
- Recognize the Situation
- Get Valuable Information
- Report the Accident
- Have Authorities on Scene
- Speak with Witnesses
- Take Helpful Pictures
- Get Medical Help
- Speak with a Legal Representative
Call our firm today to discuss your rights: (503) 543-1114.
Learn more about the steps below.
1. Move Your Vehicle to the Side of the Road
Even after an accident occurs, you may find yourself in harm’s way. Not everyone is willing to stop or slow down when approaching a crash. You must stay inside your vehicle until it is safe to get out and assess the damage.
If you can, move your vehicle to the side of the road. If your vehicle is inoperable, you may want to wait until emergency services reach your location before getting out of the car. It can be dangerous as other drivers try to continue their commute.
2. Ensure Your Passengers are Okay
If you have passengers in your vehicle, ensure they are okay. Be sure to indicate any injuries they sustain when you call for emergency services. Reporting injuries can help get paramedics on the scene who can start providing treatment.
Once you know your passengers are safe, you can proceed to the next step.
3. Recognize the Situation
Unfortunately, many different situations cause car accidents. One of the most serious is driving under the influence. Not only is this a dangerous act that results in countless car accidents each year, but it also makes for a volatile situation after the crash.
Approaching a drunk driver who is responsible for your crash can be daunting. He or she may not feel their pain, and they can be in an aggressive state. You must recognize if the other driver is drunk or otherwise aggressive before making contact.
If you believe that intoxication is a factor in the crash, and it would be hard to get information, call for law enforcement before anything else.
4. Get Valuable Information
Once you know you’re in a safe position, you want to ensure that you’re getting the other driver’s valuable information. Here is a list of things you want to get from the negligent party:
- His or her driver’s license number
- His or her contact information
- His or her license plate number
- His or her insurance policy information
The information you receive from the negligent party is crucial to pursuing your claim.
5. Report the Accident
Report the crash to the local authorities and your insurance provider. There are numerous benefits to reporting the collision, including the following:
- By reporting the accident to the authorities, you can receive emergency help on the scene. The officers can help with blocking off traffic, moving vehicles to the side of the road, and getting medical services.
- By reporting the accident to your insurance, you can start the claims filing process. If negligence is involved, your insurance company will reach out to the other party’s provider to determine what happens next in the process.
6. Have Authorities on Scene
Authorities can help in multiple ways. First, the officers can keep tension to a minimum to get to the bottom of the situation. The officer can also speak with both parties, witnesses, and others on the scene to receive everyone’s statement.
The officer will put together the accident report, which is something your lawyer can use to help prove negligence.
7. Speak with Witnesses
If you have a chance to speak with witnesses as well, you should do so. Ensure to get their contact information so you can provide it to your insurance company and legal team. Witness testimony can be very beneficial as evidence.
When you speak with the witnesses, make sure it’s okay for your insurance company to contact them. You also want to make sure their statements are consistent, so they’re not jeopardizing your claim.
8. Take Helpful Pictures
You can use specific pictures to help build your claim. First, take pictures of where the accident occurs and the scene around it. You might be able to show signs of negligence, including tire marks, if the other driver had to slam on their brakes after speeding.
You should also take pictures of all internal and external damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s car. By having these photos, you can have an accident reconstructionist look at the details of the damage and help show negligence.
Finally, you should also take photos of your physical injuries. These images can show the insurance adjuster what damages occurred to your person.
9. Get Medical Help
If you need a paramedic on the scene, be sure to express it when reporting the accident to the authorities. You can get medical help from the paramedic immediately to start your recovery. You may also go to the hospital or emergency room following the crash if your injuries don’t manifest immediately.
With medical help, you can start any treatment you need. You can also receive medical records that aid in your pursuit of compensation. Medical records can show that your injuries were a result of the accident and the other party’s negligence.
10. Speak with a Legal Representative
When you need to file a claim, it’s beneficial to speak with an attorney about your rights and options. Having legal counsel in this process can help you from the very beginning, especially if the insurance company tries to deny your claim.
Legal representation can protect your rights when you need it most. You’ll understand what steps to take throughout the process and what to look for when the insurance company tries to take advantage of your rights.
At The Gatti Law Firm, we help you from start to finish. We know the aftermath of a car accident can be devastating and how much you need justice. We’ll build a strong case strategy with a focus on helping you obtain the outcome you deserve.
Allow our Salem car accident attorneys to protect your rights and hold negligent parties accountable during one of life’s most challenging times. We’re here for you every step of the way, and we’ll go the extra mile on your behalf.
Call our firm today at (503) 543-1114 and speak with our team in a free consultation. We’re committed to your needs and have recovered millions over the years.