Following a car accident, injury victims can take certain steps to maximize the amount of compensation they may be able to recover. Accidents and subsequent injuries lead to many expenses that can quickly add up, from medical bills for initial treatment to ongoing medical care.
To help maximize compensation for car accident injuries, the following are some specific steps that victims should take.
Stay at the Accident Scene if Possible
If victims require immediate treatment after a car accident, they should seek it before taking any other steps. If injuries are minor, drivers and others should stay at the scene of the accident and report the accident to the police. Additionally, drivers should exchange contact and insurance information, including names, phone numbers, email addresses, and insurance providers.
Calling the police is also crucial, as police can file an official report that may support a future claim. Also, it’s important to avoid admitting fault at any point when speaking with other drivers and passengers or the police. Even if a victim wasn’t at fault, saying “sorry” or admitting fault in some other form could severely hinder his or her case.
Capture Evidence at the Scene
In addition to exchanging details and contacting authorities, people involved in the accident should take photographs or record video footage of the scene. This evidence could show the specific injuries resulting from the accident, along with vehicle and other property damage. It may also help indicate how the accident took place based on the positions of the vehicles immediately after impact and the type of damage and injuries that resulted.
If victims are unable to capture evidence immediately after the accident, they should attempt to return to the scene as soon as possible, as evidence of the accident may still be present.
Ultimately, this evidence could help reconstruct the event and help support a claim or lawsuit.
Collect Witness Information
After gathering information from the people directly involved in the accident, accident victims should retrieve information from witnesses who saw the accident take place. These parties may offer a perspective that reinforces victims’ claims and helps prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident.
Witnesses may also come in the form of both people and CCTV footage from nearby security cameras. Both of these sources may be invaluable in building a successful case.
Receive Treatment for Injuries
With all necessary information gathered, it’s time to seek treatment for injuries, even if they aren’t severe. Whiplash and other types of injuries could seem harmless at first, but latent symptoms may develop in the days or even weeks following the accident.
Not only could injuries become more serious and life-threatening if left untreated, but neglecting to seek medical treatment after an accident could also hurt a car accident claim. If doctors diagnose and treat an injury too long after an accident, the other driver, his or her insurers, or attorneys may claim that the injury wasn’t serious, or that it was unrelated to the accident.
Get in Touch with Insurers
Victims of accidents should contact their own insurance company to report the accident, even if they aren’t liable. Individuals can then discuss their injuries and any vehicle or property damage they sustained from the accident with an adjuster. In many cases, any failure to contact insurers following a crash could lead to policy cancellation, among other legal repercussions.
While it’s often necessary to speak with adjusters, it’s in individuals’ best interest to speak carefully when discussing accident and injury details. Like the other driver’s insurer, the victim’s insurer will attempt to seek the lowest possible settlement to minimize payout. This is why it’s crucial to avoid making any statements that include admissions of fault or details about pain or emotions regarding the accident. Instead, individuals should only relay the basic facts of the case, which could go a long way in further building their case. Victims may also want to consider consulting with an accident attorney before making a statement.
Retain All Medical Bills and Other Documents
From the initial police report to ongoing treatment after an accident, victims should keep and organize as many documents on their case as they can. Doing so can provide a strong backing for a claim or lawsuit, and make it easier to calculate both economic and non-economic damages. To help maximize the amount of potential compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, individuals should also keep a pain journal, which can describe in detail how they feel as they recover.
At the same time, accident victims need to avoid social media and speaking to others about the accident, keeping all correspondence between insurers, medical professionals, and injury attorneys.
Taking all of these steps could significantly help victims recover the highest amount of compensation possible in a car accident case.