Proactive Legal Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Negligence does carry legal consequences. If you were injured by a careless driver, it is important you take steps to protect your legal rights.
Step 1: Call the Police
The first thing to remember if you are in an accident is that it is generally recommended to call the police, even if no one suffered injuries that required immediate hospitalization. The police report is an important investigative resource for a personal injury attorney.
In addition to describing each party’s contact information, the police report will briefly summarize the accident and potentially identify other witnesses, surveillance footage, or other sources of evidence. Your attorney will rely on this report in seeking evidence to support your theory of the other driver’s negligence.
Step 2: Have Your Attorney Deal with the Insurance Companies
The next thing to remember after an accident is that you do not have to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company on your own. In fact, it may be advisable to simply have your attorney correspond with these insurance personnel. Since you, as the accident victim, could be a potential plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance adjuster has a stake in resolving the matter before an official complaint is filed in court. Yet rarely will that initial settlement offer be in your best interest or represent the full compensation that you deserve.
Step 3: Document Your Medical Treatments
Your medical expenses are one component of the damages you may request in a civil lawsuit. We also recommend documenting all medical treatments and services you receive after the accident. Although most health care providers rely on electronic medical records, your personal narrative will be a useful reference for you and your attorney. In the event you do not negotiate a pre-litigation settlement with the insurance company, this narrative may be helpful in refreshing your recollection in the event you testify at trial.