What to Do: First Legal Steps After an Accident

It’s not always possible to avoid accidents. After an accident, it’s important to take steps to protect your rights, i.e., by hiring a lawyer and collecting evidence from the accident scene. If you do not protect your rights (and take legal action), then you could allow the person responsible for injuring you to get away with it. Allowing them to go unpunished could lead to them continuing to be negligent, and potentially hurting somebody else.

This post will explore this topic in more detail and tell you what steps to take immediately after an accident.

Collect Evidence

The first thing that you need to do is collect evidence, ideally from the scene of the accident. One of the most common bicycle accident injury causes is dangerous driving. The same is also true for motor vehicle accidents. If you were riding a bicycle (or driving your car) and a negligent driver crashed into you, then it might not be possible for you to take evidence, because you may be seriously hurt. In situations like this, it’s a good idea to ask witnesses to take evidence on your behalf.

Contact Police

It’s usually a good idea to call the police right away if you have been involved in an auto accident. In most states, you have to report car accidents within 48 hours anyway. One of the advantages of getting the police involved is that they will create their own report, which can then be used to support your case in court. The police will probably also breath test the responsible driver, in order to ensure that they have not been drinking and are not under the influence of any illegal drugs.

Medical Support

If you have been seriously injured, then you will need medical support. The best place to get this is the hospital. A bonus of going to the hospital is that you are able to get a written medical certificate, verifying your injuries. The statute of limitations for car accident claims is usually two years. As long as you have a medical certificate proving your injuries, you will be able to make a claim at any point within your state’s statute of limitations, and still prove your injuries. It can be hard to prove injuries post-recovery without any form of written evidence. Take photographs of them, too.

Finding Lawyer

The next step is to find a lawyer. The lawyer that you hire needs to be qualified, experienced, and affordable. Ideally, you should find a lawyer that offers their services on a contingency basis. A contingency basis is when you pay your lawyer’s fees at the end of your case, once you have won. If you do not win, you do not pay. These kinds of arrangements are called no-win-no-fee plans. Make sure to read your chosen lawyer’s reviews and research them online. Ask about them locally, too. If possible, try to find out what their win-to-loss ratio is.

Making Claim

When you have found a lawyer that you want to work with, you can file your claim. The claim process is relatively straightforward. All you do is submit all of the evidence that you have collected to your lawyer via email and send them a written statement. Some lawyers might ask to meet with you in person, although due to COVID, most meetings take place on Zoom or Skype now. In this meeting, you will be asked to give a brief account. You need to ensure that your written and spoken accounts match up with each other. One of the main reasons lawyers ask for a written and a spoken account is so they can look for inconsistencies in people’s stories.

Staying Truthful

Be as honest and true to the facts as possible. Do not exaggerate, embellish, or lie. Unfortunately, it is very common for the victims of accidents to lie about their injuries, usually so that they can get paid more compensation. While the vast majority of people do this successfully and do not get caught, if you were to get caught, you could have your claim thrown out or be ordered to pay back some of the compensation you were paid. Be honest and truthful, and do not lie in any way. Lying in order to get compensation is fraud.

Having Patience

Personal injury cases can take a while to resolve. During the process, be as patient as possible, and give your lawyer space. They will get in touch with you when they need to.

When an accident happens, a personal injury lawyer is one of the first people that you need to call. However, before calling them, you need hard evidence. You can follow this post’s advice in order to get that evidence.

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