Car accidents happen in an instant, and being prepared for what happens after the wreck can be impossible. Your injury will determine how fast you can get your life back to normal again. At least one facet of your experience can be somewhat predictable, however. Read on to find out what might happen when it comes to taking legal action and being compensated.
The Importance Of Medical Treatment
Not all accidents call for medical treatment. If you are fortunate enough (relatively speaking) to be uninjured, you may be able to rest up at home and miss little to no work or other obligations. If you have been hurt in more than a minor fender-bender, however, it's best to be checked out by a doctor. If you fail to seek treatment, not only are you putting your health on the line, but you may be damaging your ability to be paid compensation.
Make An Evaluation Of Your Damages
Just as all accidents don't call for a trip to the hospital, all accidents don't call for taking legal action. If your car was damaged but can be repaired and you were relatively uninjured, you may be satisfied with what the other driver's insurance offers you in payment. Make sure that you know the full extent of your injuries and that you don't have other expenses such as lost wages from your job before you accept the money. You are agreeing to never pursue the matter in return and you cannot resend that decision.
Gather Your Paperwork
If you decide to pursue a case against the other driver (and their insurance company), you will probably need professional legal help. Make an appointment with an auto accident lawyer and prep for the meeting by gathering paperwork. You will need evidence to prove your case and your attorney will need to have enough information to make a decision on whether or not to represent you in the matter. Stay on top of the mountain of paperwork already accumulating by sorting it into file folders. A portable file case is convenient and can be carried anywhere with ease. You will need to access and keep:
- The accident report
- Information about the other driver and their insurance company
- Your medical records
- Receipts of all expenses you incur
- Proof your income (pay stubs, income tax returns)
- Damage estimates
Speak to an Attorney
At your first meeting, your attorney will evaluate your information and will either accept your case, refer you to another attorney or advise you to take what has been already offered. Most personal injury attorneys are paid from the proceeds of your settlement or from a successful court judgment, so no upfront money is required to get your case up and running. Having legal representation means that you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back to normal again. Additionally, your attorney understands the personal injury process and is experienced in gaining you the compensation you need and deserve.