Auto accidents happen so frequently we tend to take them for granted, and many of us will become involved in an accident at some point in our lives. Auto accidents can be very dangerous, however, and victims of serious accidents often face severe injury, permanent disability and even death. When an auto accident occurs as the result of another driver’s reckless behavior, faulty auto parts or poorly maintained roads, your family finances shouldn’t be compromised to pay for your medical treatment. An auto accident personal injury claim may help you obtain the financial compensation to which you are entitled by law. Experienced auto accident attorneys will have handled many auto accident cases and can help with your claim.
What Causes Auto Accidents?
Auto accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the leading causes of accidents include:
- Drunk driving;
- Driver inattention, speeding, and running red lights;
- Defective or dangerously designed automotive parts;
- Defective product design;
- Dangerous road conditions.
Auto Accidents and Insurance Companies
After obtaining immediate medical attention and filing a police report, informing the insurance company is often the next step for those involved in an accident. You might assume that if the accident was another other driver’s fault, the insurance company for the other driver will handle your bills. However, insurance companies do not stay in business by paying out substantial amounts of money in damages; their goal is to minimize financial loss by offering a low settlement or denying the claim. You may be pressured into signing a release before you understand the full extent of your injuries – and you can easily sign away your right to take legal action without realizing it.
If the other driver lacked adequate insurance coverage, you face additional challenges. The law varies from state to state, and drivers don’t always understand whether their policies include underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. Experienced auto accident attorneys will review your policy carefully to determine if you can file a claim against your own insurance company for damages.
Documenting your accident
Once the accident has occurred, there are certain steps that you need to take in order to start documenting what could eventually result in your filing a car accident personal injury claim against the offending party (defendant). Here is a checklist for organizing the information should you decide that consulting with a personal injury attorney is a necessary step to recover damages.
At the time of the car accident you should obtain:
- The other driver’s personal information – name, address, license number, insurance company, vehicle tag number, etc.
- Photos of the accident – Ideally, you or someone else will have a camera and can take photographs of the scene of the accident, your injuries, and the vehicle damages.
- Police report – If the police were called in, they will have filled out a report regarding the car accident and should provide you with a copy of it.
- Information from witnesses present – Get a record of all witnesses’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, and even their e-mail addresses if they have one.
After the accident, you’ll want to keep track of the following:
- Car repair bills or estimates;
- Discomfort, emotional distress, fatigue, inconvenience, pain, and tenderness;
- Lost time at school;
- Lost time on the job;
- Medical expenses;
- Out-of-pocket expenses directly associated with the car accident;
- Photographs of your injuries at different points in time;
- Witnesses’ statements (should be acquired before too much time has elapsed since the car accident occurred).
Auto Accident Lawyers
If you have been seriously hurt in an auto accident, contact an experienced auto accident attorney today. You have only a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so you must act quickly. Insurance company representatives will move swiftly to protect their own interests – do not sign any statement or release without speaking to a car accident attorney first.