Ten Things Every Accident Victim Should Know
The aftermath of a car accident is often a confusing intersection of personal injury, emotional turmoil, and apprehension about what to do next. Injury victims may be concerned about being disabled, scarred, missing time from work, or facing a new reality or quality of life. Accident victims are wise to follow a series of post-collision tips that can help them preserve valuable evidence, protect against accidental admissions of negligence, and obtain the highest possible compensation for their physical and financial harms.
The following are several tips designed to help plaintiffs as they prepare for their car accident lawsuit, as well as several ways Maine’s leading accident attorneys Hardy Wolf & Downing can help.
Tip #1 – Seek immediate medical attention
The number one issue following a car accident is the health and safety of all involved. As such, the first, and most vital, step following a collision is seeking prompt attention for all injuries and medical issues. Many victims require evaluation by several medical professionals, and are best advised to follow the doctor’s orders precisely.
Tip #2 – Stay safe while you exchange information
If it is reasonably safe to do so, be sure to move your vehicles from the path of oncoming traffic, as well as turn off the engine right away. As you speak with the other drivers or police, keep out of the roadway and maintain a safe distance from the shoulder.
Tip #3 – Document all medical attention
Injured plaintiffs should document all aspects of their medical treatment, including all expenses, co-pays, and out-of-pocket costs associated with follow-up care or prescription medications. Not only will this ensure enough evidence to support a claim for damages, but it will help plaintiffs keep a timeline of events following the accident, as the lawsuit process often spans at least a year or more.
Tip #4 – Follow doctors’ orders
Even if you feel back to your old self, you should always follow your doctors’ orders with regard to taking it easy and not engaging in too much physical activity too soon. Not only could you aggravate your injuries, but your premature return to an active lifestyle could provide the defense with arguments against your injury claims.
Tip #5 – Be wary of insurance company tactics
One important caveat to remember is the insurance company has a goal of paying plaintiffs as little for their claims as possible. Companies will employ several tactics to divert victims’ attention from the true value of their claims and persuade them to settle for a fraction of what the case is actually worth. At Hardy Wolf & Downing, we are not intimidated by the ploys of insurance companies and encourage our clients to discuss all settlement offers with their car accident attorney before accepting anything from an insurer.
Tip #6 – Stay informed of your legal options
Car accident lawsuits may be resolved in a number of ways, and your accident attorney can help advise you as to how to increase your accident compensation. While some cases can be settled through the negotiation or mediation process, others require resolution through litigation – and you need an attorney who can handle either situation.
The majority of cases reach a conclusion through a mutually-agreed upon settlement. The defendant or his insurance provider may opt to settle the case for a variety of reasons – including strength of your claims, avoidance of a public trial, or the desire to resolve the conflict quickly. On the other hand, parties to a lawsuit may be unable to reach an agreement, prompting the need for trial. Either way, Hardy Wolf & Downing is prepared to negotiate or litigate your claims using a thorough and tactful approach toward reaching a conclusion for your case.
Tip #7 – Property damage issues
For car accident victims, personal physical injury is not the only issue presenting itself in the days and weeks following the incident. In many cases, plaintiffs are also dealing with the inconvenience of a totaled vehicle or the need to wait for extensive repairs. We understand the hassles associated with not having a vehicle to drive, and will make certain your rights are upheld – particularly with regard to the benefits you deserve under your own auto insurance policy. For instance, many accident victims are entitled to a rental car from the at-fault driver’s insurance company for a specified period of time while awaiting repairs or a replacement vehicle.
Tip #8– Be mindful of preserving evidence
Gathering and presenting evidence is an extremely important component of the car accident lawsuit process. While a good portion of the car accident cases handled by Hardy Wolf & Downing reach settlement, a percentage do progress toward a trial – requiring a strong evidentiary basis for your claims. In addition to carefully documenting all medical events as explained above, it is also vital to consider other sources of evidence from the moment of your collision onward. No matter how seemingly minor a collision may be, always summon police to the scene of the accident. The police will create a detailed accident report, which will be helpful down the road to help recollect the intricacies of the crash. Other possible sources of evidence to consider include roadway cameras, eye witnesses, or the testimony of passengers in any of the involved vehicles.
Tip #9 – Don’t be afraid of litigation
We have all seen the dynamic courtroom dramas as they play out on prime time, but the actual civil lawsuit is much more controlled, demure, and predictable. If you are apprehensive of the lawsuit process, this is understandable. However, by working with the right car accident lawyer, you can secure a positive experience – and hopefully more positive outcome – as you pursue your claims against the party responsible for your injures.
Tip #10 – Contact a reputable Maine car accident attorney today
At Hardy Wolf & Downing, we are proud to serve injured car accident victims in Portland, Bangor, Lewiston, and surrounding areas of Maine. We are unafraid of taking your case to court if necessary, and are not intimidated by large insurance companies or claims adjustors. If you are interested in speaking with a reputable and experience car accident attorney, Hardy Wolf & Downing has been engaged in personal injury litigation for decades – and we look forward to working with you. For more information, please contact us today at 1-800-INJURED.