According to the United States Department of Transportation, over six million traffic accidents occur every year. Auto accidents can be very serious, whether the damages to your car were small or large, your body suffers from trauma and shock at the time of an accident and the pain may not be noticeable until sometime later. The law limits the amount of time you may wait before filing your complaint. Don't deny yourself compensation simply because you took too long.
Do you know your legal rights after a car accident? Do you know the legal consequences as a result of your accident? An auto accident can alter your life dramatically. In seconds, you can be injured and your car damaged due to the negligence of someone else.
What are my immediate next steps?
The first few moments after an accident can be the most important in protecting your rights. There are some things that you can do to protect yourself immediately after an accident including:
- Do not admit guilt
- Report the accident to law enforcement
- Get contact information from everyone involved and any witnesses
- Get statements from witnesses
- Seek medical attention even if you do not think you are injured. After an accident you may be in shock or have injuries that you are not aware of
- Take photos of the accident scene and any injuries
- Write down everything that happened and everything that you remember about the accident as soon as possible, before your memory fades
- Speak to an experienced auto accident attorney right away
How can I immediately protect my rights?
You may have expenses, such as vehicle repairs, and suffer physical and emotional consequences, or miss work. Some things that you can do to help with your case include:
- Keep all receipts for any expenses related to the accident, including auto repairs and medical bills
- Keep a journal of how the accident affects your everyday life including any physical and emotional pain or limitations
- If your job is affected, by causing you to miss time at work, change duties, or even lose your job, keep a record of this as well, including all lost income
Am I automatically at fault?
Do not assume that you were at fault. Many factors are involved when determining fault, and there may be circumstances involved which you are not aware of. Elements of fault include:
- Traffic laws
- Defective vehicles
- Defective or faulty traffic signals or signage
- Driver impairment
If you receive a ticket that does not mean you are at fault. Call The Traffic Law Firm before paying any fines or pleading guilty. You could hurt your case by doing this or open the opportunity for the other driver to sue you.
How will this affect my car insurance?
Insurance companies will often try to play on your emotions and offer a quick settlement. They do this in an attempt to pay an amount less than you are entitled to. Call The Traffic Law Firm before accepting any kind of offer. If you accept the offer you give up your right to pursue the matter further. Insurance companies may also try to get your medical records.
Never turn this information over without talking to us first. Remember that just because they ask for something does not necessarily mean you have to comply. In some cases you will be required to provide medical records, but giving too much information can hurt your case.
Sadly, the other driver may not have been insured. If your policy includes “uninsured motorist coverage” then your insurance will cover your injuries if the other driver was at fault. Collision coverage will cover damage to your vehicle no matter who was at fault. If the other driver has no insurance you can try to sue them, but even if you win you may never get paid.