Accident Report

Car Accident Lawsuit: How You Can Protect Yourself

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Immediately after a car accident, you probably aren’t really thinking about the possible legal battle that lies ahead. Instead, you are most likely focused on other things. The damage to your vehicle and any injuries you may have sustained probably occupy much of your thoughts. However, it is important to consider the legal ramifications immediately, as well, because you should already be taking steps to ensure the best possible legal outcome.

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At the Scene

Immediately following a car accident, there are several steps that you should take both for your legal case as well as for your physical well-being.

Stop Your Car

The first thing to do after a car accident is to pull your vehicle off of the roadway. You need to come to a complete stop and shut off your engine.

Check for Injuries

Once you are safely out of the road, you should check to see if you are injured. The adrenaline from the accident will likely mask any pain you might be feeling, so it is necessary to do a physical and visual check of your body. After examining yourself, you should check on any passengers in your vehicle.

If you have no passengers, or if everyone is fine, carefully exit your car. Make your way over to check on anyone else who was involved in the accident. If anyone is hurt, call 911 and follow the instructions of the 911 operator.

Call the Police

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If you already called 911, then the police should be heading to the scene. Otherwise, you will want to call the police now because you will need to file an accident report.

Talk to Any Other Drivers Involved

You will need to talk to anyone else involved in the accident to exchange insurance information. While doing so, be careful about what you say. Never admit fault. Avoid talking about the accident in general. You might both be nice, honest people not looking for a legal battle. However, when it comes time to file insurance claims and pay medical bills and repair costs, things can quickly grow contentious.

Gather Information From the Scene

Take pictures of everything and write down information about the cars involved, weather conditions, and anything else that could have played a role in the accident. If there is missing road signage, then the city could be liable for the accident rather than either driver. According to Biby Law, the more information you can gather, the easier time your lawyer will have when building your case.

File an Accident Report

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Talk to the police when they arrive on the scene and file an accident report about what happened. Do not lie in the report, but also don’t incriminate yourself.

After Leaving the Scene

Your job in protecting yourself does not end at the scene of the accident.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you feel like you are uninjured, it is imperative to receive a thorough medical examination after a car accident. Many injuries are hard to immediately detect. Skipping an examination only to discover a problem days later can damage any claim for compensation you might make. The delay provides for reasonable doubt about whether the accident was the cause of the injury or not.

You should let paramedics at the scene check on you, and whether they feel you need to go to the hospital or not, you should still go in to get a more thorough exam. Beyond the legal implications that can arise from delaying medical attention, there can be severe consequences for your health.

Talk to a Lawyer

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Contacting a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles is essential to your protection after a crash. A lawyer can immediately begin to advise you. They will help ensure that you don’t do or say anything that could hurt your insurance claim or your legal case should you go to court. If you were clearly not at fault for the accident, the other driver’s insurance company may try to contact you within hours of the incident. Click here to get in touch with a car accident lawyer in LA.

Insurance companies hate to pay out claims and have a whole bag of tricks to get claimants to undervalue their claims or make it so that they can deny them entirely. When you hire a lawyer, they will immediately take over all discussions with the insurance company. That way, you don’t have to worry about messing things up yourself.

Talking to a lawyer early also helps them to begin their investigation into the accident while the evidence is all still fresh.

Contact Your Insurance Company

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Whether you were at fault or not, you need to contact your insurance agency after a crash. You don’t have to go into specifics. You just need to report that you were in an accident.

Stay Off Social Media

Do not share anything about your accident on social media. Even if you think your post is harmless, it could end up coming back to bite you. When investigating an accident, social media has become a favorite tool for insurance companies and lawyers looking for material they can use. Even if your settings are private, there is no guarantee that the things you post on your account cannot be used against you in court.

Avoiding social media altogether following an accident is the best course of action. Even a post that you feel is unrelated could be used against you. For instance, if you are making a claim about an injury and pain and suffering, but you put up a post saying, “Feeling great!” a week after the accident, it will cast doubt.

Overall Advice

Anytime you are facing the possibility of any sort of legal dispute, the best thing you can do is to keep your mouth shut. The first thing your lawyer will tell you will be not to talk to anyone. Beyond social media, you shouldn’t talk to friends about the accident beyond the basics. You can tell them that you were in an accident and that you are going to live.

Obviously, your spouse needs to know more details, but most people don’t. You can fill others in on all the details once the case has settled.

What Information Will You Need For Your Car Accident Lawyer?

Being prepared for an initial consultation with an attorney is extremely important for a variety of reasons, mainly so that you can use your time during this consultation to get the best understanding possible of how you and the lawyer will be able to work together. Finding an attorney to take your case can be a surprisingly complicated process if you do it on your own, and oftentimes, people will need to go through this process on their own.

However, there is are services that can connect you with a car accident lawyer in Tampa without needing to go through all of the additional legwork of finding an attorney that covers your area of need AND who is available to take your case. By using the 1800injured.care referral service to connect with an attorney, you can focus on your personal needs and the work ahead of you.

Take a look below at some of the most important information that you should gather before an initial consultation with your attorney. Remember that once you start working with your lawyer that they will be able to advise you on the additional information you will need to gather, or will be able to gather the information on their own as you focus on your recovery.

A Copy Of Your Police and Accident Report

The accident report that the police will write will be one of the central sources of truth throughout the entire claims process and will give your attorney a good idea of what they are up against. The sooner you are able to get a copy of the police report in front of a lawyer the better since they will be able to identify any information that may be unclear or could be misconstrued so that you can begin to take steps to correct them or work around these blockers.

Contact Information and Statements From Your Passengers

If there were other passengers in the vehicle that were injured in the accident, your lawyer will benefit from knowing about the extent of their injuries, as well as their own perspective and account of the accident. Since they are firsthand eyewitnesses to the accident as well, their testimony and involvement will be helpful even though they will likely be handling their own claim process at the same time.

Medical Records Relating To the Accident

Any medical-related documentation that you can gather will be extremely informative for your attorney and will help them to get a better understanding of the situation than you will be able to do on your own. These medical records, much like the accident report, will be key documents throughout the entire process, so giving your attorney access to all of the related information as soon as possible will be a significant benefit.

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Income and Earnings Statements

Equally important to providing your attorney with a comprehensive understanding of your situation is any relevant income information, such as previous paystubs, employment contracts, or anything else that they can use to understand how much money that you are losing each day that your injuries keep you from work. You will be able to seek compensation for these losses in your claim, as well as your medical costs and any other damages, but the more financial documentation that you can provide, the more clear and compelling of an argument your attorney will be able to make. A single pay stub isn’t going to cut it. Get your tax statements, work contracts, and bank statements together to present a full picture of your financial situation.

Your Insurance Policy

If the other driver caused the accident, then you will likely be going through their insurance to seek compensation for your injuries and financial impacts. However, it is very important for your attorney to understand what sort of insurance you have protecting you regardless, as they will need to interact with your insurance company to some extent regardless of who ultimately pays your damages. Your insurance company will need to know what is going on with your claim from time to time, and your attorney may be able to help you understand what will happen next.

Pictures of the Accident

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Take as many pictures of the accident and your injuries as possible. They will help your attorney to get an idea of the severity of the situation, and they will be very useful as you move forward with settlement negotiations or if you need to go to trial. Bruises fade, scars lighten, but pictures will always show the horror and pain that you had to endure in the early days of your injuries. If you do have to ultimately go to trial, these pictures will help your case by showing the judge or jury the actual injuries that you suffered, since they can seem very abstract months—even years—down the road when it goes to court.
Use the most spectacular angles. For example, you can look through vehicle history reports on the service.

Contact Information or Statements from Eyewitnesses

If you have any contact information for eyewitnesses, or if you already have gathered some eyewitness accounts of the situation, this information will be very helpful for your attorney to have. Every additional piece of context that your attorney can bring into your case will help to strengthen your position and allow for more aggressive negotiations. The more eyewitnesses that you are able to get statements from, the less the conversation becomes about your word versus the other driver’s word, which is important if there are disagreements about fault or the cause of the accident.

A Record of Any Communications That You Have Made Related to the Accident

If you have already filed an insurance claim, contacted your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, or taken any other steps on your own, then your attorney will need to know about these contacts and ensure that they are able to incorporate those steps into their own process. This is equally important because you may have unknowingly made a statement that could ultimately come back to haunt you, such as an innocuous apology that the other insurance company uses as proof that you admitted fault (although you did not). The more information your lawyer has, the better suited they are to help you.