What should you do if you are in a car accident? What if the car accident is your fault? What if you are only partially to blame? If you are involved in a car accident it is time to take steps to protect yourself.
Several steps should be taken prior to operating a motorized vehicle such as checking your tires, brakes and lights to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. But what about after an accident, what steps should you take immediately after the car accident?
Eight steps to take if you have caused a car accident:
1. Make sure that all parties in the accident are safe. If someone needs medical assistance, call 911. Do not move anyone who is injured unless they are in imminent danger.
2. Contact your insurance company immediately. If you are involved in a car accident or if you have been sued after a car accident, call your insurance company and find out if you liability coverage provides legal representation. If you do not have insurance you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer to review and defend your personal injury claim.
3. Whether you have caused the accident or not, take pictures of the accident scene. Photographs can be strong evidence which can be used to prove your innocence or to prove that the other driver is partially responsible for the car accident.
4. Gather information from all of the drivers involved in the accident including their name, phone numbers, license plate numbers and insurance information.
5. Gather witness names, phones numbers and statements.
6. Do not admit fault. You may think the accident was completely your fault, but you need to allow the courts to make the legal determination for fault.
7. Talk to your car accident lawyer to find out how your state determines compensation. In some states you may not have to pay compensation to another driver in a personal injury claim if you can prove that the other driver was partially at-fault for the accident. In other states the plaintiff may not be entitled to compensation if they are more than 50% or 51% responsible for the accident.
8. If the insurance company agrees to make a settlement offer and forego a personal injury trial, discuss the pros and cons of this option with your defense lawyer. Under some conditions, it may be wise to settle a claim and avoid the costs of going to court
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have insurance coverage you should be provided with a lawyer. Do not wait to get the help you need. Do not seek your own legal counsel without first finding out what the insurance company will do for you.
If you do not have car insurance or your coverage does not provide a personal injury lawyer, it may be time to find your own personal injury defense attorney. Personal injury defense lawyers are your advocate if a personal injury claim is filed against you. They will advise you of your rights and advocate for you. They will review the personal injury claim, monitor the process, respond to allegations and legal requests and review information and discovery from the plaintiff’s attorneys.