Prepare for the Unexpected
No matter how good of a driver one is, eventually, the chances of being involved in an auto accident are staggering. In fact, on average, a person will have to file an auto accident claim every 17.9 years. Keep in mind, this is only for an average driver, and if you are prone to accidents, drive irresponsibly, or live in a city where others do, you may have to file more accidental claims throughout your lifetime.
In addition, one needs to be aware of modern-day scams that are likely to take place in their city. For example, truck drivers are often subject to scammers who want to be rear-ended, ran off the road, or side-swiped, and thus purposefully put themselves in harms way. As ludicrous and dangerous as this is, it is a reality for many drivers that they might one day face. Nevertheless, with the advent of dash-cams, cell phones, audio recordings, and most importantly, an auto injury attorney, fighting against auto accident cases is now easier. Whether you made a mistake and would like to get help in fighting your accident, or were the victim of an auto insurance scam, these 10 tips can help you win from the get-go. It’s important to start talking to an auto accident attorney the first chance you get, and consult with them about different state laws as well. In addition, in all auto accident cases, the number one priority is your safety.
1. Keep Your Cool
Road rage is a serious crime on the rise in the United States. In fact, NHTSA and the Auto Vantage auto club shared statistics that showed that 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, and 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm. As we mentioned earlier, safety is your number one priority, and being victim of a road rage incident prior or following an accident is the last thing you want to do.
Stay in your car until you are sure that you are safe, and call the police immediately. Even if you want to get out of your car and say “I’m sorry” or “That was my fault” to avoid any further altercations, hold off on saying anything until police arrive or your attorney tells you to do so. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you will say other hurtful things to a driver, keep your cool, and remember that anything you say during your interaction with the other driver might be used against you later on. It’s best to remain calm and not say anything other than what is necessary to obtain and gather information. Always use your auto injury attorney and their advice.
2. Begin Gathering Information Immediately
Once you’re sure you have not said or acted in any way to incriminate yourself further, you can begin the process of gathering information about the accident itself. Get car insurance information and contact information about the other driver, and make sure to see what car insurance service they use. Some insurance services are more reputable than others. In addition, if the other driver does not carry insurance, this could prove costly for you and the other person, and can lead to a drawn-out legal battle for settlement.
Take photographs of the scene of the accident, what might have caused the accident, and any other evidence of the setting such as traffic signage. Yield signs, broken down traffic lights, ill-placed stop signs, document all these things. In addition, document any new damage on your vehicle, both inside and outside. Sometimes, when filing a claim, the insurance company will also want to know if the other party had, for example, children in their vehicle. You should also be aware of any other damage of the other party, and document their damage as well. Finally, make sure to write down everything you can remember about the accident. In addition to helping you document your case, hand-writing information about the accident can help you remember details more vividly in case you need to recall them later on. How long the police or ambulance took to arrive, what color the traffic light was, what the other driver was doing or wearing, any of these can help make or break your case later on.
3. Seek Medical Help Immediately
Seeking medical help right after an accident is not just for your insurance benefit, but also because it is essential to get checked after an accident. Car accident injuries, such as concussions, memory-loss, back and spinal injuries, and so on might not become apparent until later on. In fact, concussions can even be fatal if they remain unchecked. For this reason, be sure to not only be checked at the scene of the accident with an ambulance crew, but also go to your primary care physician.
Some auto insurance representatives might recommend you go to their own doctor and cannot go to your primary care physician. This is false, and it is important to your to you auto injury attorney in order to know what your options for medical treatment are. Sometimes you will not have this option, if the accident is bad enough. Nevertheless, follow-up appointments, physical therapy, medications, even time spent in a skilled nursing facility recovering are all possibilities for medical treatment. It will be crucial to document these visits regularly, in order to maximize your injury settlement later on.
4. Get the Opinion of Trusted Experts
As mentioned earlier, documenting an accident is essential, and with an accident scene comes witnesses. In the aftermath of the accident, it is always crucial to interview as many witnesses as possible, and also to make sure your auto injury attorney interviews police, auto-body mechanics and engineers, doctors, even psychologists that can all help make your auto injury case stronger. In addition, make sure to get reliable contact information for all witnesses should they need to testify in court later on. Your auto injury attorney will provide more help with this, and can possibly act as a liaison for witneses. These witnesses could be subject to be interviewed by other experts as well.
5. Tow Your Car to the Correct Place
Once you’ve documented, interviewed, and made sure you are safe, the next step will be to transport your car to a safe location. Transportation rentals might make this step a little more tricky. When dealing with car accidents involving rented cars, make sure you first and foremost purchase their collision damage waiver, or CDW, prior to driving. Always consult the help of an auto injury attorney and let them know of the situation with the rental agency. Second, make sure to call the rental company directly right after an accident to know what steps to take following the accident. You want to make sure you either tow your car back to the rental shop, or to their preferred automobile repair shop. Many times, you will be responsible for the auto accident care as the car is still in your possession. Use a trusted towing company, and be patient.
If your accident is involving your own vehicle, the same rules apply. Whether you’re towing your car to your own homes garage addition or towing it to your personal auto mechanic, make sure the vehicle does not gain additional damage than what is already done. In addition, research the auto repair shop thoroughly, and keep your auto injury attorney up to date on where the vehicle will remain.
6. Be Diligent with your Vehicle Repair
After towing, you cannot simply leave a car damaged. In addition to making your case last longer, leaving a car damaged and without proper maintenance can lead to maintenance neglect, which can eradicate your insurance policy completely. When dealing with auto accident care, it’s best to research the automobile repair shops around your neighborhood, as well as compare price estimates. In addition, make sure to stay on top of repairs that could increase in cost overtime, such as a broken windshield.
Make sure to stay in touch with both the repair shop and your insurance company, document, pay for, and examine the repairs once they are done. If you are found to be at fault, you will pay the deductible first. If you are not, then make sure to work with the insurance company to be reimbursed for your payments.
7. Choose a Law Firm that Covers Front-End Costs
In addition to paying for repairs, other front-end costs after an accident can involve investigations, filing fees, and costs of interviewing witnesses among others. Choosing a law firm that has a great auto injury attorney, as well as covers front-end costs can minimize the headache of dealing with an accident. In addition, these law firms fight to win, and thus, pay out of their own pocket in order to maximize payouts for both you and your auto injury attorney. These law firms are worth considering when you find yourself in an accident.
8. Let the Lawyers Handle the Insurance Company
You will have to talk to your insurance company throughout this entire situation. However, never speak with any insurance agency representatives, even your own, without consulting your auto injury attorney. This is simple, insurance companies are not your friends. They sometimes will twist your own words, and make you admit or say things that can be damaging, even to the very end of the legal battle.
It’s best to let the law firm handle the insurance agencies, check back with you on what needs to be done, and give you follow-up information about your case. Without knowing who to consult, what to say, how the system works following an accident, etc., you open yourself up to unnecessary complications.
9. Have as Many Tools to Help you Prior to an Accident
As mentioned earlier, documentation is key when being involved in an accident. Investing in a dash-cam that films both inside and outside your vehicle can be immensely helpful following an accident. As well as filming what lead up to an accident, dash-cam footage can also help gather information about a driver should they decide to leave the scene of the accident. Also, if you find yourself being accused of rear-ending someone due to a scam, a dash-cam footage can prove your innocence in seconds.
Unfortunately, you have to have one installed in your vehicle already. Similarly, having an auto injury attorney on hand already, following scheduled maintenance that reduces the likelihood of accidents on your vehicle, and a good driving record can all help. These tools can help make your accident case stronger, and prove your innocence by showing you are indeed a responsible driver and keep up-to-date on your vehicle.
10. Research your Insurance
Whenever you are choosing auto insurance, research valuable information, such as the deductible price, policies that could affect your claims, and additionally quotes for pricing. Knowing the ins and outs of your insurance before you get into an accident can help not only in calculating costs, but also in documenting an accident case. Always review your coverage, and choose the most coverage for an insurance plan. Put simply, minimal coverage leads to minimal the least protection. Finally, choose a top-rated insurer in your area, and avoid insurance companies with annual rates that sound to good to be true. Chances are, they probably are scams.
Takeaways for Accidents
Safety should always be your number one priority when dealing with an auto injury and accident case. However, keep these ten tips in mind and get in touch with an auto injury attorney as soon as possible, in order to minimize your stress, and maximize your payout. Keep up-to-date with maintenance, practice safe driving, and invest in the time and tools it takes to protect yourself against an accident before it happens.