Being in an accident can be a scary and stressful experience. If you’ve suffered an injury in a crash, you may be dealing with pain, medical bills, missed work, and a damaged vehicle on top of the trauma. Knowing what steps to take and speaking with a car accident lawyer can help protect your rights and raise your chances of getting fair compensation for your injuries.


Seek Medical Attention

Even if you feel fine initially, always get checked out by a medical professional after an accident. Some injuries, like whiplash, concussions, or internal bleeding, may not show obvious symptoms right away. Seeing a doctor creates official documentation of your condition stemming from the accident.

If there’s any chance of serious injury, go to the emergency room or call an ambulance immediately. Don’t try to tough it out – prioritize your health and safety.

For more minor injuries, make an appointment with your primary doctor or visit an urgent care facility within 24-48 hours. Explain what happened and have the doctor record all your symptoms.

Follow the treatment plan exactly as prescribed. Missing appointments or stopping treatment early can hurt your case later on. Save all medical records, bills, and receipts for your accident injuries.

Report the Accident

An insurance agent inspects a damaged car and fills out a claim report form after an accident. Traffic accident and insurance concept.

In addition to calling the police from the scene, you’ll need to report the accident to your insurance company and start the claims process. Most policies require prompt reporting within a set period, like 24-48 hours.

Remember the facts about the accident and your injuries when speaking with the insurance company. Avoid admitting fault, speculating on causes, or providing unnecessary extra details. Those discussions should wait until you’ve had legal counsel.

Keep records of the date, time, and name of any insurance representatives you speak with. Get claim numbers and confirmation details in writing.

Consult a Car Accident Attorney

Consider speaking with a car accident lawyer, even if the fault seems obvious.

An experienced attorney can:

Investigate the Accident to Determine Causation and Liability

An experienced car accident attorney will immediately launch a full investigation into your crash. This involves reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses, analyzing photos and videos, and consulting accident reconstructionists if needed.

The goal is to gather concrete evidence demonstrating exactly how the accident occurred and who was at fault. In many cases, liability isn’t as obvious as it may initially seem. Multiple negligent parties can be involved, from the other driver(s) to a third party like an automaker or municipality.

Your lawyer will work to build an air-tight case proving the other side’s negligence caused your injuries and associated damages. A thorough investigation early on lays the groundwork for a successful claim or potential lawsuit down the road.

Deal with the Insurance Companies on Your Behalf

Handling insurance adjusters is one of the biggest headaches after an accident injury. They prioritize protecting the company’s profits, not getting you maximum compensation. They’ll look for any reason to underpay, delay, or deny your claim.

Your car accident attorney becomes your advocate when communicating and negotiating with the insurance companies involved. With a lawyer protecting your interests, you won’t have to haggle over details. You won’t have to face aggressive tactics aimed at minimizing your payout.

Your car accident attorney will submit a formal “compensation demand” to the insurance company(ies). It will detail the damages you’ve incurred.

A lawyer will fight for every dollar you owe for medical expenses, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. Having skilled legal representation levels the playing field against insurance giants.

Calculate All Damages You May Be Entitled to, Now and in the Future

Even injuries that initially seem minor can impact your life for months or years to come. Your lawyer’s damage calculations go beyond current costs to factor in your future needs, such as:

  • Ongoing medical care and rehabilitation
  • In-home nursing care or medical equipment
  • Future lost income if you cannot return to work
  • Loss of future earning potential for a disabled injury
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life and activities you can no longer enjoy

Without an attorney, you can easily settle your case for far less than what you and your family will require. Experienced car accident lawyers know how to properly calculate and justify demands for maximum compensation.

Advise You on Whether to Accept an Initial Settlement Offer

Most insurance companies will start out offering an insultingly low settlement, banking on you without realizing the full value of your claim. While it may be tempting to accept a check, that first offer rarely comes close to adequate compensation.

Your attorney will evaluate any settlement proposals to advise if they meet justifiable damages according to your circumstances. They’ll reject lowball offers and fight for what you truly deserve based on current and future needs calculations.

If liable parties refuse to make a fair settlement offer, your lawyer can advise you on filing a personal injury lawsuit to take your case to the next level.

Represent You in Court if a Lawsuit Becomes Necessary

When settlement negotiations break down, your last recourse becomes filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault parties and letting a judge or jury decide your case’s outcome.

Going to court is complicated. There are strict procedure rules, filing deadlines, and technical requirements like evidence disclosures. Having representation from a qualified car accident trial attorney gives you, by far, the best chance of success.

Your lawyer will:

  • Handle all pretrial motions and court filings
  • Represent you at hearings
  • Make opening/closing arguments at trial
  • Cross-examine witnesses
  • Maximize the compensation awarded for your injuries and related damages.

While most car accident cases ultimately settle out of court, you want an attorney experienced in litigation. Getting an attorney involved early gives you the best chance of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries.

Most injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means you don’t pay any upfront fees. The lawyer’s payment is a percentage of your final settlement or court award.

Avoid Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Case

While your injury claim is ongoing, be cautious about certain actions or behaviors that can undermine your case:

Social Media Posts

While recovering from your injuries, avoiding posting accident-related content on social media is best.

Insurance companies are known to comb through plaintiffs’ online activity, looking for anything contradicting or diminishing their claimed damages. A simple status update or photo taken out of context can potentially undermine your case and reduce the compensation you receive.

Keep all accident details off the internet to play it safe until your claim resolves.

Treatment Compliance

Following your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan to the letter is crucial for substantiating your injury claims and damages. Missing appointments, stopping rehabilitation early, or deviating from recommended care can all signal to insurance companies that your injuries are less severe than stated.

Maintaining meticulous treatment records demonstrates your condition’s legitimacy. It eliminates potential arguments that your lack of recovery might be self-imposed. Your treatment compliance creates an indisputable paper trail proving your injuries and need for compensation.

Statements to Adjusters

Dealing with insurance claims adjusters alone is unwise. They frequently use tactics aimed at minimizing payouts or denying claims outright.

Without legal representation, you can make twisted statements to undermine your case. Something as simple as an offhand remark about feeling “okay” someday can be misconstrued to dispute your injury’s severity and impact.

Having an attorney field all conversations with adjusters ensures you avoid mistaken admissions that diminish your claim’s value. Your lawyer defends you against any unsafe statements.

Early Settlements

Insurance agent inspecting damaged car

Insurance companies commonly push quick, lowball settlement offers, hoping to resolve injury claims cheaply. While fast cash may seem appealing, these initial proposals rarely provide enough compensation to cover outstanding and future damages relating to your accident injuries and recovery needs.

To best protect your interests, have an attorney review any settlement paperwork in full beforehand. This ensures complex legalese isn’t obscuring terrible terms and that you’re being advised properly on agreement fairness versus pursuing further legal action. Never settle prematurely without experienced legal counsel.

Missed Deadlines

Personal injury lawsuits operate under strict statutes of limitation for filing claims or appearing for legal proceedings. Missing these critical time-sensitive deadlines, even unwittingly, can permanently derail your ability to pursue compensation through the justice system.

From initially reporting your accident and injuries to appearing for scheduled hearings and other case events, your attorney meets all mandatory obligations and cutoffs. Their diligence keeps you compliant and your case progressing smoothly.

Honesty About Injuries

Credibility is key when seeking compensation for accident injuries and damages. Any attempts at misrepresenting the extent or impact of your harm, whether exaggerating or downplaying it, can be undermined by contradictory evidence.

Always be honest and forthcoming about describing the symptoms, limitations, and effects of the accident on your quality of life. Over or understatement creates skepticism. It jeopardizes your entire case’s integrity. Sticking to the provable facts, from medical documentation to attorney communications, is wise.

Truthful transparency is non-negotiable. No matter how the accident occurred, an injury case comes down to proving damages through proper documentation and evidence. Any mistakes along the way can reduce your chances of full compensation.


When should I get a lawyer for an accidental injury?

It’s advisable to involve a car accident attorney as soon as possible after being injured, even if the accident seems minor or the fault seems clear. An experienced lawyer can ensure you don’t jeopardize your ability to recover full compensation by making mistakes early on.

How much does it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?

Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency basis. They only get paid if they win your case by obtaining a settlement or court award. Their fees are a percentage of those proceeds rather than any upfront costs.

How long will my case take?

Every accident case is unique in its complexity. Some claims may resolve in a few months through insurance settlements. Others can take over a year if a lawsuit goes through the courts. An attorney can provide personalized timeline estimates for your situation.

What damages am I entitled to recover?

– Potential compensable damages in an injury case include:
– Current and future medical expenses
– Lost income
– Property damage
– Physical pain and suffering
– Emotional distress
– Disability/disfigurement
– Loss of enjoyment of life

An attorney investigates to calculate your total possible damages.

How can I afford an attorney if money is tight?

Many car accident lawyers offer free initial consultations to evaluate your case, allowing you to understand your legal options without any financial commitment. Since they work on a contingency fee basis, you pay no upfront costs. This arrangement ensures that legal representation is accessible to everyone, regardless of financial circumstances. Additionally, once you recover compensation, the settlement proceeds to deduct any legal fees, providing further peace of mind during the legal process.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer to Move Forward With Your Life

Steven A. Bagen
Steven A. Bagen, Esq., Car Accident Lawyer

Being injured in a car accident often creates physical, financial, and emotional disruption. Take good care of yourself through this process. Focus on following your prescribed treatment plan. Avoid strenuous activity until cleared by a doctor.

Use your support system of family and friends to help take care of household tasks and obligations. If your injuries prevent working, consider disability benefits from your employer or insurance company.

Consult an experienced car accident attorney to review your legal options and protect your rights. Most offer free initial case reviews.

An attorney can guide you through all upcoming steps, from investigating fault and liability to negotiating with insurance companies and filing a potential lawsuit if needed. With skilled legal representation, you’ll have peace of mind as your injury case progresses, allowing you to focus on healing.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, don’t wait to take action. The sooner you start the process, the better your chances of getting the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact a qualified personal injury attorney today for a free consultation and let them guide you through the legal process, advocating for your rights and helping you navigate the complexities of your case.