What to Do After a Car Accident That is Not Your Fault
If you are currently at the scene of an accident and are unsure what steps to follow, here is what to do.
- Check yourself for injuries, especially in the neck, back, or head. If you feel pain in these areas, do not let anyone move you.
- If your injuries allow it, check others for injuries.
- If there are any injuries, call an ambulance, and ask for the police as well.
- If you are able, collect evidence, i.e, photos, videos, and a voice note statement of what happened.
- Collect witness details.
- At any point, call a personal injury attorney.
For a more in-depth guide, read on.
Car Accidents in the United States
There are an incredibly high number of road users across the United States. Every single day millions of drivers hit the roads and, unfortunately, a small percentage of these will be involved in a car accident. Accidents involving motor vehicles are the most common reason for an individual to bring a personal injury lawsuit.
For those that have been involved in car accidents, it can be a scary time. The crash itself can be terrifying, leaving mental trauma and physical injuries, and often resulting in serious pain and emotional scars that may never heal.
On top of this, you may have to take time off work, which can lead to lost income, and you may have medical bills that are quickly rising. This can leave victims feeling overwhelmed and anxious about their financial security.
Thankfully, if you have been injured in a car accident in Texas, and it was caused by another party and their negligent behavior, you may be entitled to pursue compensation and the recovery of all the damages you have incurred as a result.
For the best chances of achieving this, you should always involve a personal injury attorney at the earliest possible moment. Their job is to help victims like you pursue what is rightfully owed to them.
Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works
Here at Chris Morrow Law, PLLC, we handle car accident cases on a weekly basis. We can help you prove that the at-fault driver was liable for your damages and will negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Car insurance companies are much more likely to respond in a fair and reasonable manner when you have a reputable attorney behind you.
We will investigate on your behalf, calculate your damages, file your paperwork and ensure you are kept educated and informed throughout.
By doing this, we give victims the opportunity to remove themselves from much of the process, allowing them to focus on their recovery and mental health.
We believe that all victims deserve reliable compensation and the opportunity to pursue a car accident claim if they have been involved in a car accident that was not their fault.
In order to offer this opportunity to all victims, we work on a contingency fee basis, a fee structure that allows us to represent clients with no up-front costs. You do not pay for us to represent you, or if we lose your case. You simply pay a percentage of any settlement we can win for, removing the risk from you, the client.
We offer a free consultation and initial case evaluation to all victims, giving them the space to ask questions they need to ask. Our attorneys will look at your case and inform you if it is worth pursuing. If it is, we can begin right away.
Part of our ethos is our belief that reliable representation should be available to all victims, no matter what financial situation they are in. In order to achieve this, we offer a free consultation and case evaluation to all clients. This is no-strings-attached and allows victims to at least receive some free, unbiased legal advice regarding their case.
What To Do at the Accident Scene
Check For Injuries
The most important thing to do in the aftermath of the accident, is to check yourself for injuries to the neck, head or back. If you feel pain in these areas, you could have a serious injury and you should make sure that you do not move, or let anyone move you until an ambulance can attend the scene.
Call An Ambulance
If there are any injuries whatsoever, you need to make sure an ambulance is called immediately. They are the only ones qualified to deal with any injuries. Even if on the surface, people seem okay, remember, adrenaline and shock mask even the most serious injuries.
Do not take a chance; call an ambulance and let them assess the injuries.
Besides the medical treatment they can offer, an emergency accident report filled out by the ambulance team also serves as a way to prove causation, which is an important aspect of your case.
Call The Police
Following any car accident, the police should be informed. As the accident occurred on the roads, they will need to assess the damage and make the road safe for other users. It becomes even more important if you suspect a drunk driver was at fault. The police will administer a BAC test, and this is important evidence. They will also file a police report.
In order to prevent the other driver’s insurance company from reducing their liability and ultimately, their payout, you should try to collect as much evidence as possible. The at fault driver’s insurance company will have a hard time disputing your claims if you have photos, videos and a statement of what happened that can be corroborated by other witnesses.
Exchange Information and Witness Statements
With an insurance claim, witness statements can prove to be extremely strong pieces of evidence. If you were lucky enough to have eyewitnesses that are co-operative, you should make sure you speak to them as soon as possible. Collect as many of their details as possible and if they are willing, make sure you collect a statement of what happened in their eyes. This is a good way to ensure they remain reliable as when your attorney speaks to them, they can just confirm what they have already said.
Collect their name, email, address, and phone number if they are willing to give you them.
Seek Medical Attention
You should always seek some form of medical attention after an accident, even if you did not require any help from the ambulance team. Causation is an important aspect of any personal injury claim, and to prove it; you will need to prove your injuries were inflicted as a direct result of the accident.
By seeking medical attention close to the accident, it is harder to dispute that your injuries did in fact occur due to the accident.
Call Your Own Insurance Company
Some insurance policies require you to inform the insurance company that you were involved in an accident within a certain time frame. You need to remember that your car insurance company may not have your best interests at heart. Do not admit fault or tell them that you feel okay. This applies to the other driver and their insurance company too.
You may need to make use of your insurance coverage, which means you will need to inform your insurance company you were involved in an accident. Make sure you do not admit fault in any way, shape, or form, and keep it vague.
What Different Types of Compensation Are Available to Me Following a Car Accident?
When a victim has suffered from car accident injuries, there are a number of damages they can incur as a result. Your car accident lawyer will need to calculate what these damages are worth so they can try to negotiate a settlement from the other driver’s insurance company.
Fortunately, if the accident happened because of somebody else’s negligence, you are entitled to recover all damages you have suffered.
To calculate these damages, your attorney will first look at the economical damages you have suffered and then the non-economic damages.
The economic damages you have suffered are the ones that will have or will cost you physical money to handle. Property damage and lost income, as well as medical costs, will have clear figures that you have had to pay to sort. These are the easiest to sum up and are hard to argue, as long as you have kept the invoices, bills and receipts.
Your non-economic damages are much more difficult to place a value to as they are subjective. Your attorney will need to decide what they believe these damages to be worth in regards to your injuries.
Non-economic damages include things like your physical pain and emotional trauma. It also includes things like a loss of enjoyment of life, which can encompass any changes to your way of life.
Here are some of the non-economic and economic damages you should make yourself aware of:
Claiming for Medical Bills
Medical expenses will quickly add up if you have been involved in a serious accident and have serious injuries. Even if you have medical insurance, it may not be enough to cover a long period of expensive treatment after your car crash.
With a skilled car accident attorney, you may be able to claim back all of your medical expenses. This accounts for your past and your future costs. This means that if it is likely you will require long term treatment, your attorney will claim for what they believe you will need to cover these costs. To work this out, your attorney may need to speak to medical experts.
It is really important that you keep a comprehensive record of all your medical expenses and bills. When it comes to calculating your damages and evidencing your claims, this will help massively.
We also recommend keeping a daily diary of how you are feeling, how much pain you are in and what treatment you have received.
Claiming for Income Lost Due to the Recovery Process
When a car accident occurs, it is likely that the victims involved will need to take time off work to deal with the emotional trauma and the physical injuries they have received. This may be time for treatment or it may simply be time off work to focus on mental health.
For many, this will result in a loss of income that can be anxiety evoking, especially with medical bills alongside.
Through your personal injury claim, you will be able to pursue the recovery of all lost income. This includes any income that you may miss out on in the future. If your injuries mean you are going to need further time off work or that you may never work again, your attorney will pursue the recovery of this.
Claiming for Pain and Suffering in Austin
Pain and suffering cover a victim for the emotional trauma, mental stress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life they may have suffered because of the accident.
Loss of enjoyment of life covers you if you can no longer do the things that you used to love doing. If you cannot go fishing, ride a motorbike or do any other hobby that you used too, you deserve to be compensated for your losses.
Here are some examples of what could classify as pain and suffering:
- Anxiety around cars/roads
- Post-traumatic stress
- Emotional distress
- Sleep issues
Claiming for Property Damage
If you have suffered property damage as a result of the car accident, such as your car being totaled or damaged, you will need to recover the costs to replace that property. This covers you for personal items in the car at the time of the accident too.
Claiming for Losing a Loved One
The most tragic outcome you might suffer as a result of a car accident, is the loss of a loved one. When this happens, the families loved ones or spouse can raise a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation on behalf of the deceased.
While no financial compensation will ever bring the deceased back, it can provide the family with financial security while they grieve and will also cover the funeral costs.
Car Accident Injury Lawyer FAQs
Do I Have a Valid Claim?
The best way to know if you do in fact have a claim, is to contact a personal injury firm immediately. They will evaluate your case and inform you if you may be entitled to compensation. It is unethical for any law firm to say you have a case without asking some vital questions.
If I am Offered a Quick Settlement, Should I Take it?
You should always discuss any offer of settlement with your attorney. Often, the at fault driver’s insurance will offer you a low ball offer immediately after the accident in the hopes you take it, forgoing the chance of further negotiation.
What are Punitive Damages, and How do I Claim Them?
Punitive damages can only be awarded by a judge, meaning the case must have escalated to a lawsuit in court. They are awarded if the judge believes further punishment needs to be meted out for gross negligence or malicious intent.
How Long Do Personal Injury Cases Take to Settle?
The period of time that it will take for your case to settle will depend upon the complexity of the cases and the skill of your attorney. Simple cases may be over in under a year but complex cases could take several.
Will My Case Go To Court?
Neither side will want to proceed to a court battle in the majority of cases as they get very expensive. If a fair and reasonable settlement can be negotiated, there is a good chance your case will avoid the courtroom.
However, in cases where your liability is not 100% clear, or the other party believes they may win the case against you, they may opt to drag it out and fight you in court. This can often occur when the payout looks like it is going to be substantial.
This is the reason why retaining a skilled and experienced attorney is a crucial decision. They should have excellent negotiation skills and strong litigation skills as well. This will ensure they can handle your case in all its forms.
What Should I Say If The Other Party’s Insurance Company Calls Me?
You should always remember that no insurance company wants to pay out. This means neither yours, nor the other party’s insurance company is truly on your side. If they contact you, mind what you say and advise them that you wish them to liaise with your attorney going forwards. This helps you to avoid admitting fault or liability.
Call Chris Morrow Law, PLLC – The Attorney That Works
When you are fighting a car accident case, you will be doing so against a car insurance company that most likely employs an entire team of skilled loss adjusters and attorneys. They have one sole job, to reduce your payout and the only way to level the playing field is to hire your own aggressive advocate.
When you get in touch with our team, we can assign an attorney, one that will help you to fight against these legal teams. Once you have skilled representation from a reliable attorney, you ensure that you are treated fairly.