Car accidents are something none of us want to think about when we get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, however, given their frequency, it is likely that you will experience one in your lifetime. In fact, statistics estimate that around 77% of people will be in at least one crash during their lifetime. It’s thus important that you know what to do if you’re in that situation. This is especially true if you are considering taking legal action related to your accident. Here are 4 useful legal tips for if you’re ever dealing with a car accident.
Contact Your Insurer as Soon as Possible
From a legal perspective, one of the first things you should do once you have been in a car accident is contact your insurance provider. There are numerous reasons for this. Perhaps most importantly, your insurer may refuse to provide coverage to you if you do not alert them to your accident in a prompt manner. In addition, your insurer may offer useful benefits to you in the event of an accident, such as a temporary replacement vehicle. These can be extremely helpful while you settle your claim with the other driver. Finally, if you later decide to file a legal claim related to the accident, the fact that you did not quickly notify your insurer may affect the validity of any claim you make.
Gather as Much Evidence as Possible
If you later decide to take legal action pertaining to a car accident, the main factor that will decide the outcome of your case is what evidence you can provide to support your claim. Therefore, the more documentation you can provide to support your version of events, the better. This can include photographs from the scene of the incident, police and insurance reports on the accident, and eye witness accounts. In addition, it is worth documenting any medical bills or missed time off work due to the accident, since this can effectively demonstrate that you suffered financially as a result of it.
Check Your Area’s Specific Laws on Car Accidents
Surprisingly, jurisdictions can vary largely in terms of how they deal with car accidents. Since, as the JLF firm mentions, it can be difficult to determine fault in a car crash, some areas operate a “no-fault” policy, meaning that you cannot pursue civil claims relating to car accidents. Instead, the car insurers of both parties are the sole arbiters of the event. Different regions can also vary drastically in terms of how long after the accident you can take legal action, so you may need to check your area’s statute of limitations to see if you can make a claim, if it has already been some time since the accident.
Discuss Your Options with a Lawyer
If you think that the car accident you were in was someone else’s fault, you should try to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Regardless of whether you choose to pursue your claim, contacting a lawyer early can help you avoid any further complications later. Many law firms also offer free legal advice at this stage. If they choose to take your claim, many firms will not charge you if the case is unsuccessful.