Media ads keep telling the public to immediately call a lawyer after having been involved in a car accident. However, under certain circumstances, people consider that a lawyer´s assistance is not needed. For instance, where there is clarity of liability and the faulty subject recognizes it, when there are none to minor injuries with low medical costs, absolutely no doubts about insurance coverage, or uncertainties about the deadlines for a lawsuit if needed.
Technically you are entitled to file yourself a personal injury claim against the injury company. However, regardless of deciding to hire a lawyer, there are a few first steps you need to take immediately after the car accident not to lose your rights if you later decide to bring an injury lawsuit.
- Call the police! No matter how friendly the counterpart may seem, no matter if he takes responsibility for the accident or how willing to solve things without involving the police. Take this as an alert; the other driver might have no coverage, may change his story at a later stage or may even be a criminal.
- Take pictures of the scene, of both cars and their damages, as well as the license plate of the other driver in case he suddenly “hit and run”.
- Regardless of how minor your injuries may seem, call you insurance company at the moment, and file the claim. If it was not your fault, calling your insurance company would not harm you, you won´t have to pay, and it will be them who will hurry to get reimbursed by the other company.
- If you, anyone involved, or your passengers got injured, do not wait to seek professional attention immediately. You may need to be taken in an ambulance, or you can even go to ER yourself if your condition allows it. Insurance firms consider it the better; the sooner treatment is given.
- If no one seems injured, take them to a safe place, to the sidewalk. Regardless of being everyone apparently uninjured, a medical revision is advised as internal wounds may be affecting them.
- If possible, and unless there are injured people take the vehicle out of the middle of the street to avoid blocking traffic. Whether you do it or not, lay orange cones, flares or reflective triangles.
- Health comes first, so after all those steps have been taken, filing a claim is what follows.
That being said, although you are entitled to handle all aspects on your own, nothing better than getting in touch with a car accident attorney to establish the claim. As most of them work on a percentage, you would not need to spend money until you case is settled or prevails at trial. There are lots of aspects a lawyer will have to deal with, being negotiating with the insurance company to get you what you really deserve, not to mention the importance of his work if you unluckily happened to have been the responsible for the accident.