Car accidents can be upsetting and traumatic, and leave you with a host of different issues. If you’ve been in a car accident, you may be wondering what to do next – especially if another party was responsible. Do you need to hire a lawyer, and what are your legal rights? In this article, we’ll discuss how to deal with a car accident without hiring a lawyer.
Do Some Online Research
There are many free legal resources available on the internet, and by consulting them, you may be able to resolve the situation without an attorney. Some helpful resources include:
- The American Bar Association’s website: http://www.americanbar.org
- The National Motorists Association website: ww2.motorists.org
Each of these sites offers comprehensive information on automobile accidents and also provide links to local or state bar associations where you can find more specific advice. There are also personal injury lawyer websites that you can advise you. In order to handle the issue privately, they’ll say you should evaluate the extent of your damages, speak to the insurance adjuster and craft your demand letter. You’ll then need to do your due diligence before going to court, awaiting the judge’s verdict and accepting the settlement.
If you’re in a car accident, it’s vital to exchange information with the other driver before they leave the scene. Be sure to get their name, address, phone number, insurance company, and policy number. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you may need to sue them in order to get compensation for your damages. Also, find out their driving license details and establish who owns the car they were driving.
Keep in mind that anything you say can be used against you in court, so don’t admit fault or apologize. If there were any witnesses at the scene, make sure to get their contact information also. They could be helpful in establishing who was at fault and, if necessary, you may subpoena their testimony in court.
Call The Police
In many situations, the Police are required to attend the scene of a road accident. If so, no one must leave the area of the crash until they have arrived. They’ll then make their assessment and later on produce a Police Accident Report.
Take the contact details of the Police in attendance so you can later ask them for a copy report. This could be used as vital evidence to support your claim for financial compensation.
Get Medical Attention
Get a medical assessment and check-up as soon as possible so that you can begin any treatment immediately. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s important to see a doctor after a car accident. Some injuries may not manifest themselves until days or even weeks later. If you don’t see a doctor soon after the accident, an insurance company may claim that whatever injuries you sustained were caused by something other than the car accident.
Your doctor may take tests such as X-rays or refer you to a specialist for a full diagnosis. Ask the doctor to provide you with a medical report so you have proof of the injury, should you decide to file a claim later on.
Gather The Photographic Evidence
- photos of your injury/ies
- photos of the scene (e.g. landmarks, road signs)
- photos of your car’s damage (and the other person’s)
- photos of any road debris
- If the road condition was responsible for the crash, take photos of:
- any poorly lit areas
- trees overhanging the road
- potholes or loose gravel
All these things could be vital for proving the responsibility of another party.
Compile Your Legal Claim
There are many things you will need to collate for this, such as:
- Medical evidence and doctors’ /specialists reports
- Proof of any lost income or wages
- Expense documentation (e.g. medical treatments, travel for medical appointments, medication costs)
- Witness statements
- The Police report
You’ll need to notify your insurance company, and later negotiate with the other party’s insurance company. They will be keen to avoid paying out, and may try to trip you up or get you to accept a lower settlement figure. Don’t discuss the accident on social media as they could use this as evidence against your claim.
As you can see, there are a host of different things you need to consider when dealing with a car accident without a lawyer. Statistically speaking, people have greater success when they are legally represented by an attorney. Perhaps you should begin with a free consultation and take it from there.