Unfortunately, vehicle accidents are a common occurrence – more than 2 million people were injured in 2014 accidents alone. By practicing safe driving skills you can minimize your chances of getting into an accident while you're behind the wheel, but you can't always control the situations you find yourself in or how other drivers perform so it's a good idea to make a plan in case you are ever injured in an accident. By taking the right steps after an accident you may be able to get compensation for the pain, suffering, medical bills, and loss of income due to missed work that resulted from the accident.
The first and possibly most important step is to call a lawyer who specializes in auto accident and will walk you through the filing process and represent you when it comes to working with the other driver's insurance company and the court system. Here are some other things you can due to protect yourself and maximize the compensation you get for your injuries:
Document the Other Driver's Information
Right after an accident, it's important to document the other driver's vehicle license plate number before even getting out of your vehicle if possible. Once you make contact with the other driver, you will want to gather and transcript the following information on a piece of paper:
- Full Name, Phone Number, and Mailing Address
- Driver's License Number
- Insurance Company Name, Contact Information, and Policy Number
It's also important to note the make, model, and year of the other driver's vehicle, as well as its VIN (vehicle identification number) if possible.
Gather Witness Statements and Contact Info
If there were any eye witnesses to the accident, take a moment to ask them for their names and phone numbers, and a short description of what they saw. Keep a pad of paper and a pen in the glove compartment or trunk so the witness have something to write on and you can keep all of the information in one convenient place. Don't worry about drilling witnesses for specifics because your lawyer should be able to contact them if specific information is needed.
Take Photos of Landmarks and Vehicle Damage
Use a camera or smartphone to take photos of both vehicles at the scene of the accident if at all possible, and take some time to snap pictures of any landmarks that help to tell the story of what happened. For example, if your accident happened in an intersection walk back about 50 feet from the intersection and photograph the lights, corners, and signs. You should also photograph road signs close up to document exactly where the accident happened. Make copies so you and your lawyer can keep a set.
Make Copies of All Receipts, Reports, and Bills
Another important thing you'll need to do in order to protect yourself and prove your case to get compensation for your injuries is to obtain and make copies of anything that is financially, medically, and physically associated with the accident. Your bills, receipts, and documents will help your lawyer determine how much compensation to ask for and how to proceed during negotiations. Documents that shouldn't be overlooked include:
- Car Rental Payment Receipts
- Medical Bills and Reports
- Physical Therapy Bills and Reports
- Proof of Inability to Work from Your Employer and Doctor
It is also helpful to collect receipts for medical accessories such as bandages, crutches, over-the-counter medications. Massages and other therapies used to treat your injuries can also be copied and handed over to your lawyer so they're included in your overall expense declaration.
Implementing these tips and tricks will help prove your case and verify costs as well as loss of wages, which is something your lawyer is sure to appreciate. In fact, you'll be saving your lawyer some legwork and time, which should result in a bit of cost savings on their services overall.
For more information, contact a company like Wolter, Beeman & Lynch.