When clients come to car accident lawyer Alan LeVar to talk about their possible claim at a free initial consultation, they’re often surprised to hear they have a case. And in many unfortunate instances, they were so sure they didn’t have a claim that they neglected to take a few simple steps that could have greatly increased their chances when pursuing justice and compensation.
Our Arkansas car accident lawyer understands that the immediate aftermath of your accident can be chaotic and confusing. There’s a lot going on, and even something as seemingly helpful as dashboard camera footage can be complicated by legal filings.
That’s why it’s important to protect yourself by taking proactive steps after your car accident that will make your personal injury lawyer’s job easier.
If you’re an Arkansas resident and want to learn more about pursuing your case from a car accident lawyer, please call The Law Offices of Alan LeVar today at (888) 220-7068.
What Our Car Accident Lawyer Recommends
The good news is that the right steps after your car accident are also easy steps. They basically entail some common sense decisions and basic precautions.
Here’s what to do- and not to do- after your car accident:
- Don’t admit fault: In the immediate aftermath of your accident, speak to the other driver. Get his or her insurance information. Be polite and don’t cause any conflicts, but don’t admit to any fault.
- Get medical attention: The purpose of this is two-fold. First, and most importantly, you need to look after your health. Many of the injuries associated with car accidents take a while to show up and their symptoms can be minor at first. That doesn’t mean you aren’t hurt. Second, it’s important for the success of any future claim that you have records of medical care. If EMTs were called to the scene, let them examine you. If they weren’t, see a doctor immediately.
- Document everything: You can never have too much information or too much evidence. Take as many photos of the accident scene as you can. Make sure the police are called to the scene and get a copy of the accident report. And get copies of any medical records generated while you were receiving medical attention.
- Don’t sign anything from the insurance companies: The insurance companies have two interests: closing your case as quickly as possible and doing so as cheaply as possible. They’re not looking out for you. Don’t sign any of their paperwork or accept any settlement offer before you…
- Speak to a car accident lawyer immediately: Even if you think the accident was simple, even if fault seems obvious, even if you don’t feel hurt, you should still come to The Law Offices of Alan LeVar to talk about your claim. Our car accident lawyer can help you deal with the insurance companies, investigate your accident to determine fault and then pursue a case on your behalf.
And don’t ignore the “immediately” in that last tip. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in Arkansas is three years, and a fresh case is much easier for our car accident lawyer to investigate. Moving quickly will prove tremendously beneficial to you.
What to Do After an Accident
Being involved in an accident can leave you stunned and traumatized. It is easy to freeze and not know what to do next. Depending on how seriously you may be injured, do the following if you are able to.
- Be sure you are in a safe spot. If you can move your car to the shoulder, do so. If that is not possible, put on your hazard lights.
- Check to see if it is safe for you to get out of the car. If so, put the car in park and turn off the engine. Set the hand brake. Get out of the car and check on other parties who are involved to see if anyone is hurt.
- Call 911. Be sure and report if anyone is injured. The 911 operator will likely ask you this question. Ask for the police to be sent.
- When the police arrive, report what happened. Even if you think you did something wrong, it is important for you not to admit fault. Allow law enforcement to objectively assess the situation and write their own report.
- In some cases, in minor accidents where no one seems to be injured, the police will not come to the scene. If this is the case, then you should go to the police department to file a report.
- Gather as much information as possible. This includes getting names of all drivers and passengers. Exchange insurance information. Note the make, model and license plate number of all other involved vehicles. Get witness statements if you can. Take the badge number of officers that come to the scene. Take pictures of the cars and the accident scene if possible.
- Contact your insurance agent and file your claim for damages.
Process for a Car Insurance Claim
After being involved in a car accident, there is a lot that you have to do besides obtain medical treatment for injuries. You also need to file an insurance claim. Yet you may be wondering what is involved in the process as many people have no idea what the insurance company will do. Here is the basic process of what goes on when you file an insurance claim.
Right after the accident, you need to gather as much documentation about the accident as you can. Obtain police reports, take pictures of the accident, and speak with witnesses. Write down the date and time of the accident as well as all license and registration information from the other driver.
Next, you will file your claim with the insurance company. They will ask for all the information you have for the accident. Then they will assign a claim adjuster who will investigate the accident details. The claims adjuster will also review your policy as well as the damages to your vehicle.
By this time, the claims adjuster will have your medical bills paid as well as authorize repairs for your vehicle if it is not a total loss. You won’t have to wait until after the claim payment is offered to pay your bills or car damages.
At the end of the process, the claims adjuster will determine who is at fault for the accident. There are three possible outcomes to the situation:
- The other driver is totally at fault for the accident
- You may be entirely at fault
- Both drivers will share partial liability
These factors will determine the amount of compensation you may get. You may be offered a smaller settlement if the claim adjuster finds that you are partially at fault.
If you have suffered a significant injury, you should seek legal representation. An experienced attorney will be able to negotiate a claim payment with the other driver’s insurance company that covers your current medical bills as well as future medical treatments you may require. You should also consider hiring an attorney if you have had your claim denied because the claims adjuster believes you were liable for the accident. The attorney may be able to gather evidence and investigate the accident to prove you are not at fault as they can negotiate for a fair settlement.
If you live in Arkansas and you’ve been in an accident that was someone else’s fault, our car accident lawyer can help. Please contact The Law Offices of Alan LeVar today for a free consultation.