Tuesday, May 22, 2018

After the Accident: Steps to Take When You’ve Sustained Injuries

My husband was hit by a motorcycle a few years ago. Fortunately he didn't sustain any injuries other than being covered in scratches from thorns (a real miracle) so he didn't need to do any of these steps. However, unfortunately many people aren't as lucky, and many do get injured in car accidents, and it can cause them problems. If this happens to you, hopefully this post by Nancy Evans will help you figure out your next steps.

You’ve been involved in a car accident and have sustained injuries through no fault of your own. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll be out of work for a while to recover. You’ve got some money in savings and some sick time you can cash in, however, it's probably not going to last very long. Your car is likely wrecked, medical bills are adding up, and although you may have adequate insurance coverage, the process for getting compensated accurately can be long and tedious. The trick to getting some peace of mind is to act swiftly and follow these important steps.

Consult with an Attorney
Even accidents where the person at fault seems obvious, the process for getting compensated for your injuries can still be perplexing. Personal injury laws are very complex and vary depending on where the accident took place. To understand the process and to get help, it is best to consult with a skilled attorney. Look for an attorney who is experienced in the city and state your accident took place. So, if your accident was in White Plains, NY, you’d search for a personal injury lawyer White Plains NY rather than one based somewhere else. Or you could visit Stephen Babcock's website for legal help.

During your consultation, you can ask questions as they pertain to your accident and injuries, their professional experience, and the services they can offer you to get some resolve. Keep in mind you’ll need to consult with them soon as the statute of limitations on personal injury suits can range from a year to six years from the date of the accident. Since most attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee, money shouldn’t keep you from reaching out.

File a Claim

If you haven’t done so already (which is understandable if you had serious injuries), it is time to file an insurance claim. You’ll need to contact your insurance provider and give them the details of the accident. If you have the other party’s insurance information, this should be provided to your insurance company as well. They may ask you questions to help them understand the root of the accident. You should never answer anything you’re unsure of without your attorney present as an admission of fault or guilt can ruin your chances of being compensated for damage and injuries. From there, your insurance agency will walk you through the next steps of getting estimates to have your vehicle taken care of.

Gather Supporting Documents

You’ll need to have your paperwork in order to file a claim, negotiate a settlement, or file a personal injury lawsuit. This includes the other driver’s information, photos from the accident of your vehicle, photos of your injuries, medical reports, police reports, and witness accounts. Your attorney can help you in gathering some of this documentation, and may even be able to find evidence of fault that you weren’t able to retrieve like video recordings. You’ll need to submit all of this information to your attorney, your insurance company, and quite possibly, the insurance company of the other driver.

Wait for Negotiations

Once all the information has been gathered and statements are on record from both parties there will likely be a discussion to negotiate a settlement offer. Insurance companies have high-powered attorneys on the payroll that they hire to reduce their out of pocket costs. This means offering you a lump sum of cash to avoid going to court. While the number may sound large in nature, it is never a good idea to accept an offer without your attorney present. They are best equipped to determine if it is close to what you’ll need to survive financially and continue getting the medical care you need.

Consider Filing a Suit

If you’re unable to reach a settlement amount that you’re happy with you’re going to need to consider going to court. Though it can take some time before you receive what you’re entitled to, it is often the only course of action to take if you want to get justice. Your attorney will go over the likelihood of you winning a case and help you decide whether it is right for you. From there, your case will be filed and your side of the story heard before a judge. Should you win the case you could be compensated for things including damages, cost of current and future medical bills, lost wages, time lost from work (or the inability to return), and property loss.

Being in an accident is a very traumatic experience. These anxieties are only heightened when you’ve been seriously injured. Though you could very well complete this process on your own, it should be remembered that personal injury laws are very complex and insurance companies have some of the best legal defense money can buy. To truly get what you’re entitled to, it is often best to hire a personal injury lawyer. Each of the above steps will put you just a bit closer to finding closure and moving on.

See my disclaimer.