Car accidents happen every day and, surprisingly, in any place. In your case, it’s your first accident, so you may not know what to do after the occurrence. Doing everything right and legally softens up the subsequent procedures and practices, such as evidence collection and claim compensation. As it might be stiff to think clearly, this guide takes you through the legal tips to follow after your first auto accident.
You may have caused a minor or a major accident. Either way, you must not move an inch away from the accident scene, regardless of the accident’s severity. Remaining at the location eases the accident assessment as well. Leaving the scene could result in charges and pricey penalties. In some states, you may face imprisonment for such a simple mistake.
Your health should be your top priority. Car accidents cause sprains, fractures, and whiplash, especially in children. If there are any physical injuries, take the victim to the nearby hospital’s emergency room for assessment, treatment, or admission when necessary. Reports show that in the United States, nearly 20% of the 144.8 million emergency room visits involved an injury in 2017. Ensure to secure any receipt after treatment to help you claim compensation from the other party.
Even if the police write their accident report, you must make your own. Further, you can request a copy of the police report after investigations. Take your car damage and the general accident scene. Do not forget to ask the witnesses for their take on what happened before, during, and after the accident. At all costs, avoid roadside discussions since the other party can use the statements against you in court.
If you can, get to safety while waiting for the police to arrive. Police officers ensure that everybody is safe, evaluate who’s at fault, and manage the basic logistics like automobile removal. Before then, move to the roadside, as staying on the road puts you at risk of more danger. Make sure you use road flares to alert other drivers using the same route. In the case where you can’t move your car to the side, put on the hazards to serve as alerts to other motorists.
After you confirm that everybody is out of danger, exchanging details with the other party is crucial. Ask for full names, contacts, and driver’s license details. Also, write down the visible car characteristics such as model, color, maker, and number plate for easy recognition. The information is helpful for compensation, charges, and legal documentation purposes.
Surprisingly, accidents happen not only on roads but also in the parking lots. Approximately a vehicle is parked 95% of the time in the United States. The more parking time increases the accident occurrence probability. Once you are involved in an accident in the parking area, it’s legal to notify your insurance agents for quick accident valuation for the appropriate compensation.
You need to hire a lawyer after your first auto accident since you may be on the fence about how to go about a court proceeding. If you already have one, contact and inform them about the accident in due time for convenience.
The jury decides your case in court depending on the evidence presented before them. After winning the case, the judges may order the other party to pay off the damages and pain and suffering incurred. After the judges award $100,000 in total damages, you’re only entitled to receive 80% if they find you partially responsible for 20% of the accident. The jury reaches this amount after applying the modified comparative negligence law.
It’s crucial to follow the legal processes to see whether you’re at fault or not. All the above tips are legal either at the current, adjacent, or next stage after the auto accident. Following the legal steps puts you in a better position for compensation, legal proceedings, and claim procedures.