Generally, once you have moved past the scene of your car accident, you need to be aware of some slightly less urgent, but still time-sensitive, and extremely critical points.
Number 1: See a Medical Professional
If you are sitting at home, asking, “What should I do after my car accident?” you assume you are physically fine. After all, you were able to walk away from the accident with no broken bones, and just a few scrapes and bruises.
The problem is, you are not a doctor. You are not trained to look for other signs of injury beyond broken bones, whiplash, and scraped skin. After all, it is usually the injury you do not see that turns out to be the most severe.
Do yourself and your family a favor and get checked out by a medical professional. You will sleep better at night for the effort. Plus, if you end up filing a claim or a lawsuit for physical injuries you incurred in the accident, you will need a doctor’s report that ties your medical condition to the incident.
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Number 2: Hire a Lawyer
This step must happen before you talk to the insurance provider. What you say or do not say in the course of filing an accident report with your insurance company can hurt you later in the process.
A car accident lawyer speaks the insurance provider’s language and understands the methodology these agents use when interviewing you about your accident. It is in the insurance carrier’s best interest that the agent finds you at fault for the collision or discovers some other loophole that enables them to deny your claim.
Call a lawyer early. You will thank yourself later.
Number 3: Act Soon Because Your Time for Filing a Claim is Limited
In Arizona, as in most states, you have a limited amount of time from the date of the accident in which to take legal action against the at-fault party. States refer to this time restriction as their statute of limitations.
Your car accident lawyer knows the deadline you will need to adhere to so they can present your case in a court of law.
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What a Car Accident Lawyer Does When Hired to Represent You in Your Car Accident
So far, we have given you two pretty easy steps to take following your car accident. What comes next? Nothing. Your car accident lawyer can and should handle everything else in your case.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Will:
- Visit the accident scene and gather evidence while it is still fresh
- Gather your medical records
- Obtain police reports
- Interview witnesses
- Confer with accident reconstruction specialists
- Get opinions from medical experts about your ongoing need for treatment
- Send a demand letter to the insurer detailing your damages
- Negotiate with the insurance provider
- File a lawsuit if the insurer fails to negotiate a fair settlement
- Represent you in a civil court, litigating to get you the recoverable damages you deserve
Without a car accident lawyer, you will have to take care of every one of these steps by yourself. If you do it right, it is still an exhausting process. If you do it wrong, you waste your time—and blow your chances to recover your expenses and losses.
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Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident
If another person’s negligence caused your car accident, you have the right to pursue recovery of any damages you have suffered as a result of the accident.
When you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider, or if you sue the individual in a court of law, you might receive compensation for any or all the following:
- Replacement services, such as housekeeping, landscaping, childcare
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Repair or replacement of your car
- Repair or replacement of any damaged personal property
- Medical expenses and prescription medication, including pain management
- Ambulance transportation
- Future medical expenses
- Physical pain damages
- Emotional distress
- Other emotional damages
If a family member dies in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Tips for What to Do at the Scene of Your Car Accident
It’s probably too late to incorporate these tips for the accident you just experienced, but in case you are involved in another car accident down the road, these ideas might come in handy:
- Call 911. Request that a police officer is dispatched so he can file an official police report.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Look around you. Take in everything you see and make mental notes about the lay of the land.
- Look around for potential witnesses. If possible, get their names and contact information.
- Take pictures of everything from every angle–the cars, the road, the people.
- Seek/accept medical attention.
- Do not discuss the accident until you have talked to a lawyer.
Zanes Law Will Handle Your Car Accident Claim: Everything from A to Z
The legal team at Zanes Law knows the ins and outs of car accidents. Whether your case settles with the insurance provider, or we end up litigating in an Arizona civil court, we will do everything from A to Z to represent you and your rights for compensation. Call Zanes Law today for a free legal consultation. Our number is 866-499-8989.