Legal Guide

Accident victims should have a clear idea about their role in assisting lawyers in building a solid case

Motor vehicle accidents can be traumatic for the victims, and the accident scene can become so chaotic that it would leave the victims in a state of stupor. As soon as the dust settles a bit, the affected persons start gradually realizing the harm that happened to them both physically and mentally. As car sales increase, the rate of car accidents is also increasing. Although drivers and passengers mostly hold the center stage during discussions about motor vehicle accidents that mainly involve collisions and crashes, the pedestrians are often the hapless victims of accidents.  Reckless and irresponsible driving not only harms the driver and the passengers of the vehicle, but it poses a threat to others too.

Saving lives a priority

If you are ever involved in a road accident and suffer injuries, the first thing to do is reach out for medical assistance. Soon after the accident, quickly evaluate the kind of injuries sustained by you and your co-passengers and the driver and understand its severity so that you can seek immediate medical assistance. Saving lives should be a priority after an accident and after receiving medical care, but before leaving the accident site, report it to the police if they have not arrived till then. Narrate the incident to the police in as much detail as you can recollect and take help from your accompaniments to provide the right inputs to become the official record of the accident. Avoid emotion and be objective to record the facts about the time of the accident. Note the situation prevailing at the spot of the accident and how the accident happened.

Seek legal remedy for the accident victims

Having assured that there is no danger to lives and the injured persons receive medical treatment, you will regain much of your composure and clarity of thoughts. It is the time when you should think about the legal remedy available for seeking justice and receiving compensation for personal injury. The personal injury laws empower victims of accidents to exercise their rights and claim compensation for the damages and sufferings.  However, you must go through a legal process to file the claim for compensation according to the state's laws because personal injury laws are state specific and vary by state. Engage a personal injury lawyer of the state who has knowledge and experience in helping accident victims to receive proper compensation. The lawyer will take complete responsibility to ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation and start leading a regular life once again.

 Preparing to file a claim

Suffering injuries during an accident do not automatically qualify the victim for claiming compensation for personal injury.  Avail of the opportunity of a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. Explain in detail how the accident happened,  who was driving the car, were there other passengers in the vehicle, the speed at which the car was moving, the time and place of the accident, and whether some other vehicles were involved or it was a crash. Suppose some other vehicle was involved in the accident, then who was at fault for causing the accident.  Unless you can establish another party's involvement in the accident and establish their fault or negligence as the cause of the accident, you do not have a case for claiming injury. Proving negligence or fault is critical to hold the other party liable for the accident and receive adequate compensation.

Although the lawyer will guide you and do all the heavy lifting related to the case, you must play your part well and help the lawyer strengthen the case. You must establish that had the other part been more cautious and followed the rules of responsible driving. Then it would have been possible to avert the accident.  Moreover, you must help the lawyer gather evidence because you might have interacted with many people at the spot after the accident who might be willing to give witness and strengthen your case.

This article will discuss the role of accident victims in providing accurate information and materials to the lawyer for building a solid case. Witnesses do not only include the persons who were present at the accident site at that time, but for complex cases, the lawyer might arrange for specialists to give testimony to establish the proper grounds for compensation.

Gather information about the parties involved

Since you need the whereabouts of the other driver involved in the accident, you must gather all the driver's information. You need the name, address, phone number, other contact details, driver license details, car registration number, and car model and insurance details because these are the primary information necessary to start a case. Note all details and do not depend on your memory because providing the correct information to the lawyer and the police is your primary responsibility. Once you let the person go away without collecting the information, the task can become quite tricky later.

Take pictures

To reconstruct the events at the accident scene, start taking pictures randomly but with the clear intention of gathering correct information about the location and the site conditions. As pictures speak a thousand words, you can gather a lot of information from the images taken while the wreckage is still in place. Having a timeline printed on the photographs will form a more credible witness. You can put several pictures in sequence to establish your point regarding the extent of the damage. Take photos of the injured persons to explain the severity of injuries that point to the seriousness of the crime.  Take pictures of the surroundings too to identify the location more precisely. Use your smartphone to capture photos and videos that become part of the investigation record.

Take notes

Think of yourself as a reporter of the accident scene and start taking notes of everything that you feel is relevant and useful for constructing the case in your favor.  Not everything has even the slightest connection to the accident, directly or indirectly.  Try to record whatever you see around you and take notes to capture the accurate picture or at least in a way so that later you can join the dots to get a clear and bigger picture. So not try to filter information when taking notes but keep noting randomly to cover as many things as possible. Once the accident site is cleared of the mess, you will not get a second opportunity to gather the correct information. Therefore, be on the top of your game in taking notes fast and accurately so that you have all bases covered.

Witnesses

Building a case and supporting it with the proper evidence is how to convince the insurance settlers or the judge about the extent of victimization and the harm caused due to the accident. Witnesses are the key to building a solid case and are the most valuable pieces of evidence.  Talk to people who were present at the accident scene and have seen everything happen. Identify those people who followed the events closely and gather their contact details and names so that you can stay in touch with them and request them to depose in the case to help you prove the point in an undisputed manner.

Not all witnesses might agree to appear in person on the desired date and at the desired place. Some might even be reluctant to share their address. For such people who are still ready to cooperate though not agreeing to be physically present, record their statement about the accident by asking some questions and request them to sign on the document for using it as testimony. Even if the court does not value the document much, the information is indeed much valuable that you can use to your advantage in some other ways.

Medical reports

Right from the time you first receive treatment for the injuries until you recover from it entirely or the doctor declares the treatment as complete after reaching a limiting stage, keep track of all documents like medical reports and bills and preserve it carefully. The medical reports are crucial documents to prove that the injuries happened due to the accident only and were never a pre-existing condition. Moreover, the reports issued from time to time help to track the progress of the treatment. No matter how small the amount might be, the medical bills are important for calculating the total medical expenses that form a big chunk of the claim. Without caring about the usefulness of the bills, keep collecting them and maintain a list so that you can track the spending too.

It is important because in cases that require prolonged treatment, the lawyer can seek interim compensation at intervals to maintain the flow of funds necessary to continue treatment. You should typically file the claim after completing medical treatment and recovery by following up to ensure that it is on the right path.

Once you submit a claim, there is no way that you can alter it later.


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