Injured in a Car Accident That Was Not Your Fault? Here’s What to Do Next
A car accident is a highly stressful experience. The consequences of the crash could change your life for many years to come. If you got hurt in a car accident that happened due to someone else’s negligence, you could seek compensation. All injury-related expenses can become the responsibility of the at-fault driver. The fight for fair compensation begins at the moment of the crash. Knowing how to act can maximize the payout and help you get your life back on track. Let’s take a closer look at what to do after sustaining injuries in a car accident.
Stay Safe and Collect Evidence
The dangers of a car crash don’t end when one car hits another. Vehicles can ignite or rollover, causing you to sustain more injuries. If you are still at the scene of the accident, you need to:
- Move to a safe distance if possible
- Call 911
If you can do something to tend to your injuries on the spot, do it first. If there are people around you, ask them for help. While you are waiting for the police and medical assistance, you can start collecting evidence that includes:
- Photos and videos of the accident scene, your injuries, other injured parties, vehicles, and any other damaged property.
- Contact details of all eyewitnesses
- Name, address, phone numbers, and insurance information of the at-fault driver.
If you are seriously injured, focus on your health. Even if you don’t collect evidence at the scene, an experienced attorney can still build a strong case with whatever they gather afterward.
Listen to Your Doctor
When you get hurt in a car accident, the main goal is to take care of your health. While legal action is undoubtedly important, you shouldn’t do anything before tending to your immediate injuries. Just following a doctor’s orders isn’t good for your health. It’s important for the compensation recovery process. If the at-fault party can prove that you aren’t treating your injuries, the payout may be lower.
While you are getting medical treatment, make sure to collect all related paperwork, including:
- Medical bills
- Doctors’ reports
- Medical records (x-rays, MRIs)
These documents are important evidence that proves your right to compensation.
Learn the Laws
Before taking legal action, you need to study West Virginia laws related to personal injuries sustained in car accidents. Such laws include:
- Statute of limitations – you only have two years to file a personal injury claim in West Virginia.
- Comparative fault – you can still recover damages even if you are partially at fault for the accident.
If you don’t have experience with filing personal injury claims and lawsuits, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer.
Consult an Attorney
Even if your car accident was straightforward (e.g., another driver rear-ended your vehicle after running a red light), proving your right to compensation may not always be easy. To get a settlement from the insurance company or take the case to court, you would need to:
- Provide evidence
- Identify at-fault parties (there can be more than one)
- Prove the at-fault party’s negligence
- File all the paperwork on time
- Hire expert witnesses
- File a lawsuit (if necessary)
All the above actions require legal experience and time. When you are recovering from injuries, you rarely have mental and physical resources to deal with legal research, investigations, and negotiations. That’s why it could be a good idea to consult and hire a Miley Legal attorney. Miley Legal offers free case consultations. Take advantage of this opportunity to review your chances of getting compensation.
What NOT to Do After Getting Injured in a Car Accident
Even if your case looks straightforward, it’s easy to hurt it by making simple mistakes. Here is what NOT to do after getting injured in a car accident:
- Admit your fault to the police or the insurance company (even if you think you could be partially at fault, don’t make any statements confirming it).
- Give a statement to the insurance company without consulting an attorney.
- Settle for the first offer from the insurance company.
- Sign any settlement agreements without consulting an attorney
Keep in mind that insurance companies do everything they can to minimize your settlement. Don’t give them an opportunity to lowball you by making unfortunate mistakes.
What to Do After Getting Injured in a Car Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault: Checklist
- Move to a safe distance
- Call 911
- Collect evidence
- Seek medical assistance
- Follow doctor’s orders
- Learn the laws
- Speak to an attorney
If a negligent driver caused a car crash that resulted in your injuries, you could seek sizable compensation. Improve your chances of getting a higher settlement by consulting an attorney, sticking to filing deadlines, and collecting high-quality evidence.