It can happen to anybody. You followed traffic rules to a tee, you did whatever you could to stay safe. And yet, someone decided to ignore the rules and hit you. You’re stuck with serious medical bills and you already know you’ll need to put together a lawsuit.
Knowing what to do for a case before you need to know what to do can make your life a lot easier. If you were recently hit by a car or just want to know what to do if you end up in an accident, this step-by-step guide will help you get the most out of your case.
At The Scene of the Accident
The first step to getting the information you need about a car accident is to get as much information about the driver as possible. Here’s how you can do this:
- If the driver stopped, ask for insurance information, the make, year, and model of their car, and a contact number. Getting information will allow you and your attorney to contact their insurance company and hopefully get a settlement. If you were driving, this also can help you recover money for car repairs and avoid an insurance penalty.
- If they didn’t stop, call the police and report a hit and run. Tell the police the license plate number (if you have it), the color of the car, the make of the car, and the model. The more information they have, the easier it will be on them.
- Call the police. A police report can prove vital to your suit. Make sure to get a fully detailed report, along with officer numbers.
- Ask witnesses for their contact information. The more witnesses you can get, the better your case will be.
- Note the location, time, date, and details of the crash. Many people choose to write it down or take videos with their cellphone describing the action.
- Take photos of the car(s), areas, and injuries affected by the accident. Photographic evidence often says far more than simple written records do. By providing photos taken the day of the accident, you offer a level of proof that other forms of evidence can’t.
- Call a lawyer. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the better.
Getting Medical Care
When you get admitted for medical care, it’s important to notify the hospital staff of the matter. Make sure to call an attorney who can help get the documentation they provide about your injuries and the costs related to them.
If your attorney gives you any special recommendations or instructions, follow them to the letter. They often will work with doctors and you to ensure that all the correct documentation is performed before the case.
You may need to have multiple visits in order to get enough evidence of injury for your case. If this is the case, make sure to document the time, place, and name of every doctor and specialist you see.
Were you seriously traumatized by the accident? Did you have to attend counseling with medical professionals or get medication for the emotions you felt after the accident? If so, getting paperwork proving your trauma can be a vital part of your evidence collection.
If you have extreme trauma, your car accident settlement should also include mental health care. By alerting your lawyer and getting documentation, you make it possible to get the settlement amount you’re truly entitled to.
After Your Release
Once you have been treated for injuries, it’s time to do damage control on your life.
- Discuss wage loss with your employer. You will need to follow up with your employer about your missed days and address any lost hours or wages. If you are subsequently let go from your job as a result of your injury, it’s important to discuss this with your lawyer.
- Call witnesses and get their statements on the accident. Witness statements matter in the court of law. Doing this provides excellent evidence for your case!
- Call your bank, doctors, and insurance companies to determine the costs incurred by the accident. Documenting the money you paid makes it possible for judges to offer a reasonable car accident settlement price and will also help them rule the judgment in your favor.
- Check in with your lawyer for any additional followup requested. In most cases, your lawyer will have additional requests for information that you should furnish. It’s best to listen to your lawyer and do the necessary followup.
Why Does Collecting Evidence Matter?
Though car accidents seem fairly cut and dry to most people, the truth is that it’s never that easy when you’re in court. Judges haven’t seen what you (or others around you) have seen, and while medical bills often “speak for themselves,” it still can be difficult to ascertain who is truly to blame.
Over the decades, there have been many car accident settlement cases that didn’t offer people compensation for their injuries–and most of them were due to a lack of evidence. Judges don’t know what happened, and can only go with what they personally are shown during the case.
The more evidence you have to prove that a car accident is not your fault, the better your case’s outcome will probably be. By making a point of collecting evidence, you are building up a solid case against the person who injured you.
Choosing The Right Lawyer
Getting a lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable in personal injury cases drastically increases your ability to navigate the legal world. The office of Scott Senft is fully staffed with experienced, highly educated attorneys who can help you create a solid case.
If you have recently been injured by a car accident, calling us is a wise step. Together, we can create a legal case that can help you get the compensation you deserve.