What to do After a Car Accident
If you've been involved in a car accident and were hit by a distracted, drunk, or otherwise reckless driver, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages sustained from the accident. However, before you can recover any compensation, you will need to file a car accident claim with the insurance company.
The following is a brief, easy to follow outline of the steps it will take to file a claim:
1. Immediately Seek Medical Care
The first thing on your mind following a car accident should be regarding your health and well-being. Immediately seeking good quality medical care will ensure you receive proper treatment for all your injuries, including some injuries that may not be immediately apparent. Immediately tending to your injuries also demonstrates to insurance companies your active commitment to mitigating your damages, which is vital element for building a successful claim.
2. Save and Collect all Evidence You Gathered at the Scene
In California you may seek compensation from those who were responsible for the crash by filing third-party claims with their insurance company; however, you will have to present sufficient evidence of liability in order to recover a payout, thus commencing an investigation process.
To help with and speed up this investigation process, gather the proof you collected from the scene. This could include anything and everything from pictures of the accident scene, pictures of the damage sustained by all vehicles, dash cam footage, and statements from eyewitnesses. The more proof you collect, the better for your claim.
It would also be wise and advisable to create a daily "journal" noting your injuries, how you are feeling, the treatment you are receiving, and how the accident and the injuries are impacting your day to day life. It would also be wise to include any time off you take from work due medical treatment visits. For the first entry, record everything you can remember about the incident as it would still be fresh in your mind.
3. Call an Attorney
You are entitled to call the insurance company on your own, however, it is strongly advised that you call a lawyer instead and have them handle all communications with the insurance company. An attorney with insurance experience will not allow the claims adjuster to manipulate the case and get you to admit fault, accept an unfair or premature settlement, or otherwise jeopardize your case in any way. An experienced attorney will handle all aspects of your claim, all while protecting your best interests along the way, so you can focus on your health and well-being.
4. Preserve Relevant Records
Your attorney will investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident, save all relevant bills, receipts, and invoices that correspond to your damages. You will need these documents to justify the amount you end up seeking during the settlement negotiations.
Once you have completed your medical treatment, according to your doctors, we will present the evidence that the investigation yielded and then commence negotiations. Whether the insurance company is willing to offer a fair payout will depend on the strength of your claim and the conclusion of their own investigation.
If the insurance company decides to dispute liability or even refuses to acknowledge the extent of your damages, we will help you move forward with filing a formal lawsuit. By filing a lawsuit, you are asking a judge or jury to issue a verdict in your favor.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it’s important that you talk with and retain a competent lawyer to help fight your legal battle. At AJK Law Office, we have experience dealing with insurance companies, know how they operate, and know how to maximize your recovery. If you need help filing your claim, please do not hesitate to contact us, or fill out our free consultation form.