No matter how you slice it, there are two ways to handle a road accident. The right way will get you and your vehicle back to normal as soon as possible.
The wrong way will be a long, drawn-out process involving disputes with the other party about who is at fault and you’re never sure if you’ll be compensated.
Selecting the right way involves being smart from the moment the accident is over. How? Follow these tips for handling an accident the smart way.
Take video/photographic evidence of the accident scene
Of course, this depends on whether you are physically well enough to do this. Once you are, collect this evidence with your mobile phone. This is especially important if you believe you weren’t, or it is demonstrably obvious, that you weren’t at fault. This forms the basis of any case you may have against the other party.
Have a medical examination done
Once you’ve collected your evidence, get a medical exam, even if you don’t feel ill or think you have injuries. You should do this because you want to be able to establish that your injury is related to the accident. This way, if you decide to pursue a suit against the other party, you would have established the correlation between the two.
Get a police report
Add to your store of evidence by getting a copy of the police accident report. The police will make an assessment and determination of fault for the accident. Make sure you have the police record your version of how the accident occurred.
The police report represents independent documentation of the facts of the accident. Should your matter reach court, it helps you avoid your case coming down to “he said, she said”, where it’s just your word against the other party.
Do not admit liability for the accident
If you’ve done all of the above, you’ve been playing your cards right. Don’t spoil it by saying anything to the other party at the scene of the accident, other than collecting their contact and insurance details.
You don’t want to do anything that could be construed as admitting fault for the accident. This will affect the strength of your case and your credibility.
Get a lawyer
It is likely the other party’s lawyers and the insurance company have reached out to you. Do not negotiate with them directly. For one thing, they’ll be trying to get you to accept the lowest payment possible. You may be entitled to a larger amount.
The other thing is, if you accept a settlement prematurely, you may find that treating your injuries may exceed that amount. Worse, you won’t be able to take them to court at a later date.
Prevent this by getting a lawyer. Several lawyers specialize in personal injury matters like this car accident attorney in Richmond who can review the facts of your case. Your consultation is likely to be free and if a lawyer takes your case, you’ll only be charged if they win.
Having a personal injury lawyer is the smart bet after a road accident. They will increase your chances of winning your suit, as well as the size of your eventual settlement.
Keep all your documentation related to the accident in a safe place
You need to help your lawyer as much as possible and this is the primary way you can do it. From your first medical assessment right after the accident to all of the expenses arising out of the accident, track and secure your paperwork.
Keep all bills you incur for vehicle repair, medicines, and therapy. Also, keep a record of any pain or emotional discomfort you may be experiencing as your recovery proceeds.
Get out of your lawyer’s way
Turn all this information in a timely fashion when your lawyer asks for it. Let your lawyer take it from here. They will take care of filing court documents and collecting any other evidence for you. All you need to do is concentrate on your recovery.
They will also represent you in meetings with the other party. If you decide to accept a settlement, your lawyer will handle the negotiations in consultation with you. However, you should take whatever advice your lawyer offers on the amount offered.
If you go to trial, again follow your lawyer’s lead, as they have experience with the presentation of this kind of case. Additionally, don’t exaggerate your injuries or misrepresent any other aspect of the case before the court.
To recap, there is the smart way and the not so smart way of handling a road accident. The above is the smart way. Follow it for a successful and stress-free aftermath.