Were you recently in a car accident, but find it never seems to end?
Life after a car wreck comes with sore muscles, anxiety, and an unending stream of bills. If you’re lucky, you can file an insurance claim, repair your car, and get on with your life. Unfortunately for many, it isn’t so simple.
A lawsuit is needed to get you the compensation you need to begin to pick up the pieces.
Are you wondering what to do after a car accident and thinking about suing?
Here’s what you need to know about dealing with the aftermath of a car accident when facing a potential lawsuit.
1. Fill Out Your Insurance Paperwork Honestly and Quickly
Every lawsuit begins life as an insurance claim. Filling out the paperwork involved in the claims to ensure you get the reimbursement covered by your respective policies is your first task. But you need to fill out the paperwork accurately, honestly, and quickly.
Not only will result in prompt payment, but it will also work in your favor if you need to go to court.
Mistakes – even an honest one – become ammunition in a courtroom. Even silly mistakes like getting the date wrong could work against you.
2. Consider a Car Accident Lawsuit
Your insurance company is your first port of call. If you don’t receive fair compensation from your insurance company or if the other party is uninsured, you can then consider the option of suing.
In most states, you have one to two years to file a personal injury claim (car accident lawsuit) in the courtroom. If you wait too long, you miss the statute of limitations and any change you had at further compensation.
Although it is difficult, you need to make your decision quickly. It often takes months to prepare a case and present it to the court.
3. Hire a Lawyer
If a lawsuit is on the cards, you need a car accident attorney as quickly as possible.
Attorneys who work in personal injury have a strong understanding of tort law, which is the law related to your case.
Are you worried about the cost of finding a lawyer? Many personal injury lawyers represent clients on a contingency basis. In other words, they take a percentage of your settlement as their fee. As a result, they primarily stick to cases that experience tells them they can win.
4. Keep Your Insurance Case Close to Your Chest
When you file your insurance case (and eventually a lawsuit), you should only discuss it with your insurance representative and with your personal injury lawyer (when you hire one).
If a defense lawyer or insurance adjustor attempts to contact you, direct them to your attorney.
Additionally, don’t share any details about the accident or the claim process on social media. It can be helpful to set your accounts to private and avoid posting throughout the claim and lawsuit process. Opposing counsel can and will investigate even private accounts in their defense of their client.
4. Follow Your Treatments, Keep Your Appointments, and Save All Medical Items
If you need to file a car accident lawsuit, you likely need to do so to recover pain and suffering damages.
Your ability to collect damages depends on your ability to prove the existence of said suffering.
Keep all your doctors and therapist appointments. Follow their treatment plan, and make it plain to your doctor that you take their instructions seriously. If you have casts, braces, prescriptions, or other medical items related to your accident, save them as evidence of your injury.
Failure to do any of the above creates the appearance that your injury isn’t “that bad” or that you aren’t taking the lawsuit seriously.
5. Note Any Changes to Your Work Schedule
Has your injury changed your hours at work? Do you now have different duties (like those of a lower salary position)? Have you had to take further time off to recover?
Keep meticulous records of all aspects of your professional impacted by your accident.
Don’t forget to let your attorney know as things change rather than updating them after the fact.
6. Remain as Organized as Possible
Personal injury lawsuits feature many variables liable to change at any moment.
You need to document everything – from the day of the accident onward – and remain organized until you settle.
Keep everything in the same place and take more notes than you think you need. It will help your attorney identify potential strategies and point to the most persuasive evidence available in your case.
7. Be Realistic About Your Settlement
Despite what you heard from acquaintances, every personal injury suit is different. As a result, the settlements all differ, too.
Knowing how much you can feasibly settle for is essential from early on in the process. Asking for too much can send red flags that you might be inflating the accident and your injury.
Additionally, if there is evidence against you, then your chances of winning can drop dramatically.
Typically, your attorney will calculate your damages based on the extent of your physical injuries (and associated bills) combined with lost income. Often, you ask for more than you need, which gives you room to negotiate with the other side’s insurance company.
The bottom line: don’t inflate your ask and stick to it with the hopes of a windfall. Being realistic is pragmatic in the majority of personal injury cases.
Do You Know What to Do After a Car Accident?
Most of us understand what to do after a car accident: call the police, exchange insurance details, and file a claim.
But when the situation requires you to go further, what will you do?
By following these guidelines, you better prepare yourself for a successful lawsuit should the need arise.
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