Following an auto accident, even one that wasn’t your fault, it can be confusing to know what to do next. If you or anyone else is injured, the first step should be clear—call 911. Then, once you’re safe, you should consider reaching out to a car accident law firm. Following an accident, an auto accident attorney can answer your questions and help you understand your rights, including if there’s any possibility of a claim or legal compensation.
No matter the size of the accident, you should contact an auto accident attorney. Even if you don’t end up having a case, a professional car accident attorney can answer questions and help you better assess the situation. They can even assist you in dealing with your insurance company, who may not always quickly or sufficiently honor your claim. When an insurance company refuses to honor a valid claim, it’s referred to as bad faith insurance, and a lawyer can help you receive compensation.
The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm is an experienced and professional Denver law firm that has won countless auto accident cases. We handle every aspect of your car accident claim so that you can focus on your health and wellbeing. In this blog, we walk you through the important steps to take following an auto accident. We then look into when exactly you need an auto accident attorney.
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WHAT TO DO AFTER AN AUTO ACCIDENT
Following an auto accident, safety should be your first priority. Make sure that everyone involved in the accident, including the other vehicle, is safe. If there are any injuries at the scene, even minor ones, call 911 immediately. Then you should move the vehicles to a safe area, which can usually be the shoulder of the road or a nearby parking lot. Once you feel secure, follow these steps:
1. Call the Police
Even if you believe the accident was your fault, it’s essential to call the police to the scene of the accident. A police report is critical for obtaining a neutral, objective version of the accident. If there’s no police report, the incident can be reduced to two competing stories and it becomes much more challenging to develop an effective case. A police report is critical documentation of the accident.
2. Exchange Information
While you wait for the police, you should exchange information with the other driver. Basic contact and insurance information should be exchanged to ensure your insurance claims can be properly and quickly processed. Again, even if the accident was your fault, you need to attain this information. In addition to their insurance, you should also get basic contact information, like a cell number and email address.
While it’s important to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, there is some information you don’t want to exchange. No matter who was at fault, never admit fault or provide more information than is needed. Remain polite and respectful, but avoid apologizing or admitting fault—these words could come back to bite you in a future case.
3. Gather Evidence
After you receive the other driver’s information, you should gather as much evidence from the scene of the accident as possible. Take pictures of your car and any other vehicle or piece of property that was damaged. Take pictures from multiple angles and snap some wide-angle ones, as well, to serve as a context for the scene as a whole. Being able to recreate the scene through photography can be extremely beneficial in a case.
In addition to pictures, try to write down statements from any witnesses. Police may do this when they arrive, but you can also gather this evidence. Remember to also attain basic contact information from any key witnesses. The more evidence you have, the better case an auto accident attorney will be able to build for you.
4. Call Your Insurance
Following a car accident, you should call your insurance and begin filing a claim as soon as possible. Contacting your insurance company will get the ball rolling on processing your claim. Additionally, the sooner you make this important call, the less likely you are to lose any evidence or forget important details.
5. Call an Auto Accident Attorney
After you’ve filed your insurance claim, consider reaching out to an experienced auto accident attorney. Even if you’re not sure if you have a case or not (or believe you may be at fault), a car accident lawyer can answer questions and help you determine what to do next. These calls are free, quick, and could make a huge difference in your ability to receive fair compensation.
WHEN YOU NEED AN AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
But when exactly do you need an auto accident attorney? Shouldn’t your insurance company handle the rest? Sadly, this often isn’t the case. Even though an insurance agency’s primary purpose is to protect your health and property, it’s important to remember that these are still for-profit companies. Your insurance provider doesn’t make money by honoring claims, and at times, may act in bad faith to avoid completely fulfilling their end of a claim.
If you believe your insurance company is acting in bad faith (which can include failing to honor a valid claim, providing only partial payment, delaying payment, or ineffectively processing the payment), an attorney can help you fight back.
Additionally, there are many other instances where you will certainly need an auto accident attorney’s professional assistance and expertise. If there are any injuries or medical costs and you are not at fault, a car accident lawyer can ensure you are fully compensated for these damages. If you believe the fault is disputable or the police report does not accurately document the accident, an auto accident attorney can be of assistance.
STATISTICS ON AUTO ACCIDENTS
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2.3 million people are injured in auto accidents in the United States. In 2017 alone, these accidents accounted for over 75 billion dollars in damages and medical care costs. Clearly, car accidents are a major issue in our country and worldwide. To better understand the scope of the issue, here are a few statistics on auto accidents.
In the United States, car accidents account for:
- 6 million accidents every year.
- 3 million injuries every year.
- 2 million permanent injuries.
- 90 deaths each day.
- Teen drivers (16 to 19) are three times more likely to be in a car accident than an adult driver.
- Texting while driving causes 1 out of 4 car accidents.
CONCLUSION – DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY FOR AN AUTO ACCIDENT?
We hope that you never find yourself involved in an auto accident of any size. However, auto accidents do occur—and if one happens to you—preparation and knowledge are essential to ensure your rights are protected. Getting a police report and filing an insurance claim are crucial steps, but that’s not enough for many cases. A professional auto accident lawyer can assess your case and determine whether or not you’re entitled to any form of compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, reach out to The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm today. We will investigate your claim and take care of all the details, including helping you obtain help for your injuries.
To schedule your free case consultation, reach out to us today (24/7) at 303-333-7285 or via our Contact page.