According to the NHTSA, approximately 2.6 million passenger vehicle occupants are injured each year in traffic accidents, accounting for 95 percent of all injury-causing accidents on the roads.
Regardless of circumstance, getting into an auto accident can be a life-changing event that demands immediate attention. It’s important to know your rights and to take action as soon as possible. Struggling with where to start? We can help.
What To Do
The golden rule of post-accident scene settings is a simple one: do not admit fault, no matter what. Anything you say or do, even to a paramedic or a stranger, can be used against you in the court of law. So even if you may think you were at fault in the aftermath, let the dust settle and have a few important conversations before you move forward. AND MAKE SURE YOU TAKE PICTURES!
After everyone is okay, conversations have been had, pictures have been taken, next comes in the form of an accident report: anything involving damages over $500 will need to be reported in writing by yourself or with the assistance of a police officer at the scene itself.
After this, it’s important to report your accident to your insurance company right away. If you don’t report the accident expeditiously, your insurance provider might be within their rights to deny you protection or compensation.
After you report the accident, speak with your agent about the details of your policy: are your damages covered? Injuries? What are the next steps? Cooperate fully with your agent and your insurance provider in order to ensure the optimal outcome.
What NOT To Do
Possibly more important than what you should do, there are a few things that you absolutely should not do!
Do not under any circumstances sign anything for the other driver or their insurance company without having a lawyer read it first. Only once a trained legal specialist has reviewed the document and concluded it would be in your best interest should you sign them. Additionally, do not give any type of statement, whether written or recorded, without first talking to a lawyer and he or she being present for the meeting being recorded.
Lastly and above all: do not admit fault or culpability, regardless of circumstance! We have these legal systems in place in order to ensure fair and just outcomes for all parties; it’s important we trust them and let them do their due diligence before deciding things like who was at fault or similarly impactful results.
Medical Help & Claims
If you sustained injuries in the crash, whether slight or severe, a similar rule of thumb applies: seek help as soon as possible. During the conversation with your insurance agent, ask specific questions about your coverage. What is covered and what is not? Is there a fiscal cap to your coverage? Go into the process with an awareness of your policy and anything you may need to cover on your own.
Also vitally important: document the entire process. Make sure to keep records of medical bills, doctors’ notes, or any time taken off of work. These documents could be crucial for any pending legal matters revolving around the crash.
Above all else, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. There is no need to fight this battle on your own, and there are legal professionals who will work diligently towards the fair and just ruling that you deserve.
Have you been injured in a car or truck accident and are now in need of legal advice to fight a claim or get what is deserved? Our team at Markesbery & Richardson can certainly be of assistance. Our practice has been around for over 30 years and we’re proud to provide a professional level of service in an approachable, personable way.
The first step towards peace of mind is a conversation. Let’s talk.