Bagen Law Firm | October 16, 2022 | Car Accidents
You have legal rights if you have suffered an injury in a car accident that was someone else’s fault. Your primary legal right is that of full compensation once you can prove that someone else was negligent. However, your legal rights are only as good as what you do with them.
The worst thing that you can do after a car accident is nothing. You will usually have both health and legal issues to deal with in a short period. If you want financial compensation for the injuries that someone else caused, you need to take action.
Do Not Take Your Health for Granted After a Car Accident
In the days after an accident, you may think you are physically fine. Even if you have some minor pain or discomfort, you might not consider it a health problem. However, you should not try to tough it out and wait for health issues to disappear. Even if you think nothing is wrong, you should still see a doctor to rule out any injuries.
Some car accident injuries work beneath the surface and do not immediately show symptoms in the days after the accident. For example, whiplash is a typical car accident injury that often occurs in rear-end crashes. Whiplash injuries are not immediately apparent at the scene of the accident. Even if you have some symptoms, they may show themselves as minor pain. However, whiplash injuries may not go away on their own. They may worsen over time to the point where you can have permanent neck damage or even a brain injury.
Untreated Car Accident Injuries Can Worsen With Time
You may have suffered a head injury in your car accident and may not know it. Traumatic brain injury victims do not always know that they have suffered an injury at first. In the meantime, you are losing valuable treatment time that can help lower the possibility that you may suffer permanent damage.
Similarly, internal injuries may also get worse over time without treatment. You may not know that you have suffered internal bleeding or organ damage. Your doctor May notice some of the symptoms and run the necessary tests to diagnose these injuries. You may never know that you suffered an injury without seeing a doctor.
Closely Follow the Treatment Recommendations and Plan
Getting medical help is just the first step. You must also follow the doctor’s recommendations to further your health and your legal situation. You can be sure that the insurance company will closely review your medical records to see if you did what you were supposed to after the accident. If they think that you did not, they may try to cut the amount they pay you, claiming that you were partially to blame for the extent of your injuries. They will say that you failed in your duty to mitigate your personal injury damages.
Finally, getting the necessary medical records can lead you toward maximum medical improvement more quickly. You must reach this point before you can file a personal injury claim. Otherwise, your damages may be speculative because you do not know how badly you have suffered an injury over the long run.
You Must Also Act for the Legal Process
You must also take steps to further protect your legal rights after a car accident. The primary legal right you have is total compensation for all of your injuries when someone else was to blame for your accident. Many things must happen between when someone injures you and when a settlement check gets deposited in your bank account. Along the way, there will be various obstacles that you must overcome while you are fighting to receive the maximum compensation for your car accident injuries.
You Need an Attorney to Gather Evidence for You
You may be confident in your own story of what happened in the car accident, and you may be sure that someone else should pay for your injuries. However, when a claim goes in front of an insurance company, it is not what you know but what you can prove. You may have heard this statement repeatedly uttered in legal matters.
In your case, you need to show precisely what the other driver did. You may have seen it with your own eyes, but the other driver’s actions may not be readily apparent to others without some form of proof. Your word only goes so far in a car accident.
An attorney must get to work quickly to gather the necessary evidence Before it disappears. Car accident evidence has a limited shelf-life before you lose track of witnesses or the physical evidence simply goes away.
Your Lawyer Will Deal With the Insurance Company for You
Then, you will need an attorney to help you deal with the insurance company when you try to file a claim. Some people fall into the Trap of thinking that they can end up with more money in their own pocket if they try to handle their case. The insurance company wants you to believe in this because they have an easier time taking advantage of you. The last thing they want is for you to hire an attorney because you will know the full extent of your legal rights.
You Do Not Need to Rush a Claim (Only File When You Are Ready)
Hiring an attorney is a clear sign that you are ready to begin the legal process. You do not need to proceed to file a claim or lawsuit immediately. Your attorney can work at whatever pace necessary to begin to assemble and build your case.
At a certain point, you may formally seek financial compensation from the driver responsible for your crash. While you do not need to rush to file a claim, you do need to hurry to hire an attorney. Otherwise, you are vulnerable to whatever tactics the insurance company uses to short-circuit your legal rights. You are also more likely to make one of the mistakes described below.
Build Your Support Network for a Difficult Process
You should also find and build a robust support system. The days after a car accident can be rough, physically and mentally. If you choose to engage in the legal process, you may face a long road that can last for over a year until you can receive compensation. The case may subject you to both ups and downs and uncertainty. You must have the necessary people to talk to to help get you through what can be the roughest time in your life.
Tend to Your Mental Health
In addition, you should not only get help from a medical doctor but also seek a therapist if you are dealing with any emotional distress or anxiety from the accident. Pain and suffering will be an essential element of your car accident claim.
If you argue that the accident has affected your life beyond just the wages you might have earned, you must have the documentation to show how you have suffered. A mental health professional can not only help you get back on track to the fullest extent possible, but they can also give you treatment notes that can prove your own individualized experience since the accident.
Prepare Yourself for an Unpredictable Process
In addition to the active steps that you must take to tend to your health and further your legal rights, you must also prepare yourself mentally for what can be a process that has more than its share of ups and downs. The legal process can take time, and it can be challenging. Even when you have a lawyer handling the details for you, there are many moments when you may have stress and anxiety.
For example, you may be excited when you receive an initial settlement offer from the insurance company, only to learn that it is paltry and borderline insulting. You should brace yourself to deal with the peaks and valleys, hoping you will get fair compensation when you can prove that someone else was to blame for the accident. Your car accident case result may well be a settlement check when you do everything necessary to further your legal rights.
Get Organized to the Fullest Extent Possible
To the extent that you are able, you should also get as organized as you can when you meet with your attorney. Understandably, it may be challenging to focus on anything when dealing with a car accident’s physical effects and stress. If you cannot take steps to organize yourself, you should enlist the help of a family member.
Organization means gathering all evidence you have in your possession and the necessary records to prove your damages. Understandably, you cannot always be meticulous and diligent after an injury. However, you should also get the help that you need to do everything possible on your end.
Be Careful About Posting or Speaking Publicly
In addition to being proactive after a car accident to protect your rights, the other thing that you should do is avoid making mistakes. You can do (or not) things that can hurt your legal case, either with the insurance company or in the eyes of the jury.
Always assume that the insurance company is watching you because they sometimes hire investigators to either follow you or check your social media. Be careful how you speak about the accident and your life after your injuries.
If you put anything out in public, the insurance company can use that as evidence against you. You should avoid discussing the accident while the legal process is ongoing. If anyone asks you, the best thing to do is politely decline to speak about it. If the insurance company calls you, refer them to your attorney, who will speak with them for you.
As an accident victim, you should also avoid speaking with the other driver’s insurance company on your own. Even if you do not yet have a lawyer, you should politely decline when they call you and seek to ask you questions or begin the legal process. They may ask you to sign a document.
Never do this without a lawyer’s review because you do not know what is lurking in the small print. Never accept any financial benefits from the other driver’s insurance company because they may sneak in a release clause that can absolve them from any further responsibility for the crash.
Your Car Accident Attorney You Enhance Your Legal Position
You must put yourself in a position to receive financial compensation for your injuries by undertaking many difficult tasks. The good news is that an experienced personal injury lawyer can be in your corner and handle the details for you. Once you take the first steps, you can leave most of the rest to your lawyer. They will be the ones who fight for you when the insurance company tries to put obstacles in your way.
Even better for you, a personal injury lawyer will not ask you to write them a check as a condition of representing you. Instead, you will sign a representation agreement that specifies that they only get paid if you receive a settlement or award from a jury. The contingency basis of payment should encourage you and make it easier for you to get the legal help you need.
Many people believe there is no way they can ever afford to hire a lawyer. However, with injury cases, this is simply not true. You never need money to come out of your own bank account to pay a car accident lawyer, so cost should not be a concern.
In reality, hiring a lawyer often puts you in a better position in the end – even if you pay legal fees out of your settlement or award. This is because the right car accident attorney can often obtain more than you ever might on your own.