Injured in an Accident? Here Are a Few Steps to Take a Legal Action
Do you know what would happen in an hour, tomorrow, or after two years? No matter how much you plan things, life is unpredictable. At times, destiny has written something else for us that is beyond our imagination. You might be driving safely, enjoying music, but what if another car collides into yours? Accidents happen and often result in severe injuries. Unfortunately, you cannot change the situation, but you can take control of it.
If you have been injured – call 911 to seek immediate medical assistance and someone who lives nearby. It is imperative to make sure the culprit doesn’t escape the scene since he/she owes you a lot. Alongside covering the vehicle damage, the negligent party would have to cover all your medical bills. Since car accidents happen frequently, they are the most common cases in civil justice, meaning you can take legal action.
In short, the steps you take after an accident can be crucial in protecting your rights. You have to ensure you are doing things correctly to close doors for any pitfalls. To provide you some assistance, here are a few steps to take legal action after suffering from an injury in an accident.
1. Call An Attorney
Before anything else, you have to immediately call your attorney or a friend who knows a lawyer. It doesn’t matter whether the accident was minor or significant, repercussions can pop up anytime. A lawyer would make sure the third party is not exploiting you under any circumstances. However, if you choose to accept a settlement without seeking legal representation, you might not receive fair compensation.
Similarly, once the claim is settled, you can’t reopen it. Therefore, calling a lawyer is crucial. If you are in Florida, look up for personal injury lawyers in Miami, especially if you have considerable injuries. Injury attorneys handle cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay unless they recover compensation from the negligent party. Thus, you would only have to bear out-of-the-pocket expenses.
Remember, even if you are not seeking compensation, you need a lawyer. Otherwise, you won’t have any idea of what the other party is up to. Retaining a lawyer beforehand gives you ample time to start building a case if needed.
2. Speak With Witnesses & Take Pictures
After an accident, health should be your priority. Once getting an attorney on board, seek medical assistance. Visit an ER in case of pains or else consult a general physician to assess internal injuries. If possible, wait for your friend or relative to arrive as it would allow you to get hold of the witnesses. Your friend can start taking inventory of what happened while protecting your rights. Ask them to do the following,
· Take pictures of the vehicle and the location of the accident.
· Capture the internal and external damage of the vehicle.
· If there are any witnesses, speak to them and get their information for your legal team.
· Make sure witnesses are not jeopardizing, meaning their statements should be consistent.
· Don’t mind taking photos of your physical injuries, as it will provide additional evidence.
These little gestures can make a dominant difference. The pictures might show skid marks as if the driver had to slam the brake, showing signs of negligence.
3. Avoid A Quick Settlement
At times, when the other driver is at fault, their insurance company might call you for a quick settlement. They would make tempting offers, persuading you to drop the case. Unsurprisingly, this not how legal matters work. Inform your lawyer about the offer and conduct a cost-benefit analysis to see whether the deal is in your favor or not.
Don’t rush over things - wait until your chiropractor and physician complete evaluating your health, ensuring no additional injuries manifest. After this, if your attorney believes the settlement is fair and just, you may proceed. Remember, signing the document means you can no longer file a case against the other party anytime.
4. Insist Police Investigation
If someone encounters multiple injuries in an accident, it means the accident was a significant one. Hence, instead of letting it go, insist on the police investigation. Unless your vehicle is leading to a traffic jam, refrain from moving it. It is a piece of evidence that determines who is at fault. Once the police arrive on the scene, they will get your statement for the report. Irrespective of the conflicting views, dictate the scenario and give them all the facts you can recall.
Nevertheless, make sure you don’t say anything that can put you into hot water. The police would involve the driver and document all the details of the accident. Gather all the documents by requesting police photocopies of the reports as it will help you with legal proceedings. Besides, if the driver agrees he/she is at fault and does not want police interference – insist on a written draft after consulting your lawyer.
5. Prepare For Mediation & Trials
There are two ways you can go about it – either you agree on the settlement or file a lawsuit. If the negligent party is not offering fair compensation for your injuries and damage, feel free to move ahead with a lawsuit. Consult your lawyer and continue with mediation – a dispute resolution process. Here a third party would intervene to promote a voluntary settlement of the case before the final trial.
The mediator would listen to both sides of the story but has no power to order settlement. In case the mediation is unsuccessful, the case would proceed to trial. Usually, trails don’t happen until a year after filing a lawsuit. You would have to prove the negligence of other drivers by backing up your arguments with essential evidence. The attorney would show how much money the jury should award for damages while requesting the witnesses to testify. The other party would also put their stance and will judge give a verdict to make the final settlement.
If you don’t seek medical assistance timely, injuries can have lasting effects since accidents are traumatic. Alongside physical injuries, it is challenging to cope mentally since footing bills is entirely stressful. Instead of crying over the spilled milk, take legal action against the culprit for negligence. Seek help from a lawyer as they would assist, how to go about the case, making sure you get compensation for injuries and other potential losses.
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