You never think it will happen to you until it does. You’ve become accustomed and complacent driving your car every day, twice a day for work. You know your car, you trust it. The only car accidents you come across are the ones that hold you up in traffic. You’ve passed by so many that you don’t even think that it could happen to you, until, one day, it does.
Accidents can be devastating. Being able to get compensation is the first step to moving on. Don’t let the big companies minimize your suffering, hire a lawyer. Accidents that happen between you and a truck, for instance, can be horrific. If the passengers in the car even survive, their injuries are at best crippling, and likely affect them for life; and at worse, fatal. When something like this happens, you will want an 18-wheeler lawyer Baton Rouge to represent you. They have 100% client satisfaction guarantee, meaning that if within thirty days you are not happy with their work, you won’t owe them anything.
Don’t get blindsided by insurance companies trying to reduce what they owe to you. Hire a lawyer who will fight for you and get you fair compensation for your pain and loss.
You never want to be responsible for the accident, as this will make your premiums go up. If you are a careless driver, and end up causing many accidents, you might find yourself permanently uninsurable. If you have been in an accident that wasn’t your fault, don’t panic. Follow these steps to get you the help and information you need:
- Assess Damage
Car collisions can be fatal. They can cause permanent injury. They can cause permanent disabilities. When you are in an accident, the first thing you want to assess is the state of yourself and your passengers. If anyone needs medical attention, is not responsive, or you are concerned in any way for their wellbeing, call emergency services immediately. If you are well enough, check on the other driver and determine their state.
Unless they confirm that they are okay and don’t need medical assistance, it is always safer to call for an ambulance. There are a lot of complications that can occur during an accident and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Unless the car accident occurred in a deserted road, you will likely have to relocate so that you are not obstructing traffic or endangering other drivers. If the accident has occurred on a highway or a very busy road, it is always advisable to call for help from the police who can safely redirect you to an area where you can fill out a report and gather information.
- Exchange Information
To receive compensation (or to make compensation) you will have to exchange information. This is information you will then have to give to your insurance companies. You will need the name, license plate, and car make/model at the very least.
Evidence is crucial when you are making a claim. Take photos of as many areas of damage as you can for documentation, collect the contact information of any police officers involved and from any eye witnesses. Doing a thorough job now will protect you in the long run.
Car accidents are always stressful. Try to stay calm and collect as much evidence as possible. Further, never admit blame. If you admit blame there is very little that you can do to protect yourself from a legal standpoint, unless you and the other driver are okay with settling it without your insurance companies. For instance, if you had rear-ended another car, the blame will fall on you. If the damage was cosmetic, and under $700, try to settle it between yourselves. That way no one’s premiums will go up.
In the Case You Need Legal Help
Insurance companies, as a rule, don’t want to pay you what you are owed. If you are experiencing difficulties getting your fair compensation, you don’t have to worry. Hire an attorney that will fight for you. Hiring an attorney does not mean that you will have to go to court, either. In fact, most cases are settled outside of court, which is the less stressful and quicker option, and so it is can be the best.
Going to court will always provide an uncertain outcome. Lawyers will always push to settle outside of a court for this reason, as well as the fact that they are paid out of the settlement. You don’t have to directly pay them anything! Their fee is a percentage. If, however, you are not happy with a settlement, you do have the right to press the case and present it in front of the judge.
Here are a few things you should know about the process:
- A lot of work will be done behind the scenes. This is the time when your lawyer builds your case for you. You might not hear from them, but you do have the right to know the status of your case. Always use a reputable lawyer that will respond to you promptly.
- Nothing will or can happen while you are recovering. You don’t have to worry about court dates or trials or anything else while you are recovering. An attorney must wait until your condition has stabilized first. After you are better your lawyer can include your medical bill and report in your case.
- Get an Offer. This is when you first receive an offer of compensation from the insurance company. Once you have the offer, you can choose how you want to proceed. This is a negotiation process.
- If you agree with the offer, accept it. You will then be paid what you are due (minus your lawyer’s fees).
If you don’t accept the offer:
- If you don’t get fair compensation, and you want to press the case, your lawyer will file a lawsuit. This is to demand arbitration. Defendants will then have thirty days to respond.
- Once all defendants have responded and answered to the lawsuit, you enter the discovery proceedings. Dispositions are taken of experts, witnesses, and those who were directly involved. This can be a long and complicated process, depending on how many people were involved in the accident.
- A Trial is scheduled. Your Trial will be scheduled in accordance to ow busy the Court is, you may feel frustrated at the time it takes, but it is out of the hands of your lawyer.
Protecting Your Finances
After an accident, you may be unable to work. During this time, you may face debts and other financial difficulties. It is best to contact your creditors as soon as possible to notify them of your accident and ask for them to suspend their payments until you can return to work. Telling them in advance is the only way to receive leniency, as most creditors will understand your predicament and make necessary arrangements.
Note, you might have to provide evidence of your accident, such as a medical record. You can also have your attorney contact your creditors to not only verify the accident, but to also make arrangements to take what they are owed from your compensation.
Always Go to The Doctor
You can suffer in pain after an accident, but unless you have medical proof of your injury, you will have a hard time claiming compensation. Further, injuries that might not seem severe might have caused a complication. Always get checked out after an accident. Even an injury like whiplash is better to be documented than not.
Never Discuss Your Case
Discussing your case can complicate matters. It is always best to only talk about your case to your lawyer and doctors – in other words, people who are legally obligated to keep silent on your behalf. You do not want anything you have put on social media to jeopardize your case.
Never Sign Without Your Lawyer
As a general (and golden) rule, you should never sign anything regarding your case without first discussing it with your lawyer. The last thing you want is to have signed off on a loophole that throws your whole case out or reduces the amount of compensation owed to you. You have hired a lawyer for a reason, and that is to make sure that you present the best possible case.
Document all expenditure related to your accident and send your lawyer copies of every bill, regardless if your health insurance or any other insurance has already paid for it. These copies will provide good evidence for your lawyer to use.
Notify Your Lawyer of Any Changes
Ensure they know when you are released from the hospital, are ready and fit to return to work, and any other changes that impact your case or their way of contacting you. At this time consider your attorney to be your best friend; they need to know everything relative to the accident from your medical bills to any other expenses incurred because you have had the accident. The more they know, the better they will be able to defend you.